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#1 Nov 01 2013 at 2:38 PM Rating: Decent
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Since there are many 'puter savvy people on these forums, I'd like to get some thoughts on this system quote from Dell for a 3D modeling (massive Autodesk Inventor energy plants) workstation upgrade.
Our IT and purchasing have zero interest in any build your own scenarios. It's pretty much Dell or nothing.

Dell Precision T7600, MT, 1300W
No Speaker option
317-9582 1 Four Core XEON E5-2643, 3.3GHz, 10M, 8.0 GT/s,Dell
Precision T7600
318-1326 1 8X DVD+/-RW,Data Only,Dell Precision T3600,T5600 and
T7600
318-2231 1 Thank you for Choosing Dell
318-1333 1 Dell Precision,T7600,1300W 85% Efficiency
331-4129 1 Regulatory Label,Dell Precision T7600
342-2635 1 Enable Low Power Mode for EUP Compliance,Dell Precision
Desktop
320-3298 1 6GB nVIDIA Quadro 6000,Dual Monitor,2DP and 1DVI,Dell
Precision Tx600
320-3316 1 Monitor Option-None
330-1085 1 No Remote Access Host Card, Dell Precision Desktop
330-3201 1 Energy Star Not Selected,Dell Precision Desktop
330-4024 1 No Resource CD for Dell Precision Desktop
330-6228 1 Windows 7 Label, OptiPlex, Fixed Precision, Vostro Desktop
421-5335 1
Dell Client System Update (Updates latest Dell
Recommended BIOS, Drivers, Firmware and
Apps),Precision Desktop
421-5607 1 Windows 7 Professional,No Media, 64-bit,Fixed Precision,
English
421-7814 1 Dell Data Protection Access, Precision Workstations
330-9458 1 Dell MS111 USB Optical Mouse,OptiPlex and Fixed
Precision
331-3037 1 Rack Mountable Platform without Rails, Dell Precision
R5500
331-4094 1 Quick Reference Guide,English,Dell Precision T3600,T5600
and T7600
331-4131 1 No Out-of-Band Systems MGMT,PWS T7600
331-4135 1 Shipping Material for System,Dell Precision T7600
331-4816 1 NO RAID,Dell Precison Tx600
331-9370 1 PERC Controller, Dell Precision T7600
331-9586 1 Dell USB KB, English, WIN7/8, OptiPlex and Precision
Desktop
332-0472 1 Documentation (English), Dell Latitude and Precision
Workstations
470-AATC 1 US Power Cord
340-AACS 1 Dell(TM) Precision Resource DVD contains Diagnostics and
Drivers
342-5065 1 PERC H310 SATA/SAS Controller for Dell Precision, T7600
342-4014 1 C2 SATA/SSD 2.5 Inch,1-4 Hard Drives,Dell Precision
T7600
370-AAYJ 1 32GB (4x8GB) 1600MHz DDR3 ECC RDIMM
400-AATN 1 512GB 2.5inch Serial ATA Solid State Drive
630-AABP 1 Microsoft Office Trial, MUI, OptiPlex, Precision, Latitude
934-8147 1 Dell Limited Hardware Warranty Plus Service Initial Year
994-9710 1 ProSupport: Next Business Day Onsite Service After Remote
Diagnosis Initial Year
994-9900 1 ProSupport : 7x24 Technical Support , Initial
938-4548 1 Dell Limited Hardware Warranty Plus Service Extended
Year(s)
994-3472 1 ProSupport: Next Business Day Onsite Service After Remote
Diagnosis 2 Year Extended
994-3572 1 ProSupport : 7x24 Technical Support , 2 Year Extended
989-3449 1 Thank you choosing Dell ProSupport. For tech support, visit

total price with taxes $7500 CDN.

From the Dell sitem it appears this could be maxed out to 128GB Ram. Is there significant differences in RAM speed/types from 1600 to 2400 mhz ram speed?
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#2 Nov 01 2013 at 10:00 PM Rating: Excellent
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A couple of observations. The T7600 series chassis has actually been replaced by the T7610 which was released about a week and a half ago. If you are set on going bleeding edge top of the line, you may want to look there first, though it doesn't look like they have the customization options working on their site. The main difference is the T7610's will ship with hexacore Xeon's by default.

That being said, there may be a few areas to look at where you could get more power for your money. The Main draw of the T76xx series chassis is their ability to house a second CPU. If you are not planning on buying the second CPU, it might be better to look at a T56xx or even a T36xx, which is going to have a fairly large price drop between similarily configured models. Depending on what you are doing, you may want to consider adding the second processor. The T5600 also supports a second processor if you want to go that route. We don't have the 5600 listed on our Premiere site since we don't buy that chassis, so I can't look at the exact options it has. Why the **** dell changed their site so you can't even see the options without a premiere login I'll never know.

Autocad is one of those applications that truely will take advantage of all the Quadro video card features and processor horsepower you can throw at it, especially when you start using words like "Massive" and "3D Rendering" The more processor cores, the more ram, and the more video cards you can throw at it in SLI mode, the faster your renders will happen. Processor speed is secondary to processor cores in this instance, and physical cores trump hyperthreading virtual cores because autocad will be using the physical core to it's fullest extent. It's a similar story for ram. Faster ram does help, but if you can get 25% more ram by going with the slower stuff, it would be worth it in this instance. Autocad leverages the CUDA / FERMI engine for rendering quite extensivly though, so one of the best upgrades you can do is put multiple Quadro cards in the machine in SLI mode, regardless of the size or number of monitors. The video card is even more important than the ram or the processor in this particular instance.

If you only intend on going with a single quadro card, you do not need a 1300 watt power supply. Even a 525 watt is adequate to run the highest end single quadro. Going with dual Quadro 6000's would give you a tremendous boost in render speed.

If you aren't planning on running multiple drives, the smaller less expensive chassis would be the way to go. The T76xx series chassis are massive. They are taller than a cooler master ATCS 840 case, and they are really, really, really heavy. If you can go with the smaller chassis but double the video card, and a lower speed but higher core count processor or two and still meet your budget, that would likely be a worthwhile change.

If you can get them to spring for a fusionIO PCI express based SSD card, that would also be a good thing. That would probably obliterate your budget though.
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#3 Nov 04 2013 at 2:19 PM Rating: Decent
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Thanks Kao.

Our CFO is supposed to be back from his UK tour this week, so we will see how how much his eyes bug out when he sees this quote. We are going to see about maxing out the RAM, or at least make sure it has the option to max it out in the future.

One of the things we were looking to test out was the Quadro card vs a gaming card, as Inventor switched to Direct X awhile ago. This would save a huge amount of money, but as Autdesk does not list these cards for approval, Dell seems hesitant to configure for them.

Toms hardware did an interesting review comparison on workstation cards vs gaming cards for Inventor use.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-workstation-graphics-card,3493-7.html

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#4 Nov 04 2013 at 2:37 PM Rating: Excellent
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Dell won't sell you a workstation grade card in a precision. We've tried to get them to do that for years. We use Microstation for our cad package at work, which doesn't support the quadro instruction set, so it makes no sense for us to use quadros, so what we end up doing for those few dell workstations we buy instead of building, is order them with the cheapest crappiest video card dell makes, then pull it and replace it.

That being said, All Autodesk software will make use of the rendering engine specific to the Quadro. It's one of the few applications where going with the Quadro actually gives you a measurable speed increase. That being said, there is an argument in favor of going with a really high end workstation class card Vs. a lower end quadro. A pair of 6GB 780 GTX's would perform better than a singe quadro 5000 series for example, and be about the same price.

I use a studdent version of Autodesk inventor for some of my 3D printing rendering stuff, it works fine on a pair of 3Gb 580 GTX's, even for fairly complex renders. Probably not on the scale you are dealing with, but my computer could probably handle it in a pinch if it needed to, and definitly if I upgraded the ram past 32GB even on the video cards as they are now. of course the hexacore processor helps somewhat.
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#5 Nov 04 2013 at 2:39 PM Rating: Excellent
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Part of the quadro optimization is aimed at larger renders. A workstation class card may beat a quadro on a smaller render depending on circumstances.
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#6 Nov 04 2013 at 3:02 PM Rating: Decent
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Now I'm confused, as I thought a Quadro was a worksation card?

http://www.nvidia.ca/object/product-quadro-6000-us.html

I had no idea you were a CAD guy also. Want a job in Vancouver? :)
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#7 Nov 04 2013 at 5:17 PM Rating: Excellent
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Oops, said workstation, meant gaming class card. Quadro's are the workstation class ones.

Hehe, CAD is one of my many hobbies. I actually did do some "professional" cad work, producing setback and allignment plans for residential housing one summer, but it's mainly just something I dabble in. Though you can see one of my designs here if you are curious: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:164054

Hmm. Depends though, which Vancouver? Washington, or Canada?
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#8 Nov 04 2013 at 5:49 PM Rating: Decent
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The real one, Canada :)
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#9 Nov 04 2013 at 5:58 PM Rating: Excellent
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Might be a bit of a long commute then. Thats what, 300 miles north of here?
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#10 Nov 21 2013 at 1:27 PM Rating: Decent
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I had another conversation with our IT, and after he ran some real time tests using "performance monitor" and "process hacker" software while I was outputting some screen renders and an export to .stp, the conclusion was we just possibly saved the company several thousand dollars.
According to his tests, processer and ram results were well within operating specs, but the disk I/O was capped out and flatlining. My current hard disk is your basic old hard drive type.

So while the new machine would be faster, it wouldn't be 10 grand faster.

Since my current machine has Raid capability, we are going to test some SSD's in raid configuration, and test it again and see how things compare. I'll keep you updated.

Edited, Nov 21st 2013 11:29am by Xizervexius
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#11 Nov 21 2013 at 4:52 PM Rating: Excellent
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SSD and RAID has some issues you need to be aware of. specifically, windows can't pass the TRIM command to a SSD drive in a raid array, so you will need to make sure you pick a drive that can run TRIM nativly. Most of the Sandforce derived controller drives can. Samsung 840's should be able to, same with most of the corsair and most of the newer Intel ones. If you experiance a slowdown over time with the SSD, that's a symptom that TRIM is not working correctly.

if you are looking at raiding SSD's, look at one or more of these cards in conjunction with a few samsung 840 pro SSD's http://www.angelbird.com/en/prod/wings-pcie-102/
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#12 Nov 21 2013 at 5:48 PM Rating: Decent
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Thanks Kao, I'll pass that along to the IT dept.
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#13 Dec 19 2013 at 3:01 PM Rating: Good
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New workstation is ordered, I'm now like one of my kids eagerly awaiting Christmas.

Xeon 3.3 ghz quad core T7600, Windows 7 64 bit, 2x SSD 512GB drives in Raid, dual SLI Nvidia Quadro K5000, and a 128GB 1600mhz ddr3 Ram.

er..so the SSD drive test produced some positive results, but I did convince IT finally that maxing out Ram and GPU would be the one/two knock out combination. Now once these 3D software programs rewite themselves to work with multi core processing it will be a whole new ball game.

Edited, Dec 19th 2013 1:04pm by Xizervexius
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