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Sandy Bridge or SB-E for workstation?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I'm going to request a new workstation since my hardware is old and I spend a lot of time waiting for it to catch up, and it's getting worse since I think I'm having some overheating issues. But there's a lack of information on Sandy Bridge-E that's making my decision difficult.

I'm a software developer and I stress my current system (Q6600 with 8 GB RAM, cheap mechanical hard drive, and overheating Quadro graphics cards) to the limit. We occasionally do some video encoding but this may increase in the future. Having a 6-core beast on-hand to handle overnight encoding would be a nice bonus. I'm also one of the three IT guys at my company so having enough power to play with a few virtual machines at once will be beneficial for testing and planning purposes.

I think they're going to let me build it myself, meaning I can fit some nice stuff like an SSD and far more RAM then we could get for the same budget on a prebuilt system. Ideally I'd go for a 6-core Sandy Bridge-E with a minimum of 16 GB RAM which will be great for future expansion since those x79 motherboards have an insane number of RAM slots. But no one has said anything about ECC RAM support on the upcoming SB-E processors. I'm concerned about running that much RAM without ECC.

I already have a nice system spec'd out using an LGA1155 E3-1230 Xeon which is basically an i7 clocked a bit lower than the 2600's and supports ECC RAM. However it won't be as upgradeable since there won't be anything higher than quad-core for 1155 and 32 GB RAM is the limit, both of which may be a limiting factor in a few years. It would be a really nice upgrade for today though.

So (sorry for the rambling, I can be long-winded sometimes:D) what should I do? Get an LGA1155 Xeon system now or wait a couple weeks and get an LGA2011 i7? Am I just too paranoid about the lack of ECC (my current workstation doesn't have ECC and seems stable, my home PC has 16 GB non-ECC and never has problems though it's a gaming rig and doesn't use much RAM anyway)? It would be nice to see some kind of study on stability with ECC vs. non-ECC.
post #2 of 4
I've built several workstations using non-ECC RAM that were 12-18GB of RAM in them. Single user, ECC isn't THAT important anymore (not that it hurts anything), on a server, where multi-user support is required than ECC can become a little more important. Using quality RAM though even this isn't a huge worry, but it may help you a little in a year or two.

If this will be a virtualization server, more cores, more ram, buy socket 2011 or 1567 and get yourself a 12-20 threaded CPU with lots of RAM. If this is for one person doing VMs for dev work, you can go either way (1155, 2011, or 1567) and not have any problems with performance.

It's all a matter of how many people are going to be using the horsepower of this one box.

And as a good point of reference, clock for clock, an i5 (on 1155) is around 20% faster computationally than a Q6600 at the same speed.
Edited by CTRLurself - 11/3/11 at 7:45am
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5-3570k ASUS MAXIMUS IV GENE HD7970 Gen 1 Ripjaws Z 2x8GB 2133MHz 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
1TB RE4 2x3TB WD Red LG 10x BD-R Corsair H80i w/push pull 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Win 7 Ultimate 3x 1920x1080 LG IPS displays. Razer Mass Effect 3 Blackwidow Ultimate Cooler Master Silent Pro M850 
CaseMouseMouse Pad
Silverstone TJ08B-E R.A.T. 7 An ergonomic one 
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
i7 3770k Gigabyte Sniper M3 1155 mATX CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 1600MHz 1TB WD RE4 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
2TB WD Red 2TB WD Red 4TB WD Red 4TB WD Red 
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Maximum Dwarf
(15 items)
 
Density!
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5-3570k ASUS MAXIMUS IV GENE HD7970 Gen 1 Ripjaws Z 2x8GB 2133MHz 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
1TB RE4 2x3TB WD Red LG 10x BD-R Corsair H80i w/push pull 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Win 7 Ultimate 3x 1920x1080 LG IPS displays. Razer Mass Effect 3 Blackwidow Ultimate Cooler Master Silent Pro M850 
CaseMouseMouse Pad
Silverstone TJ08B-E R.A.T. 7 An ergonomic one 
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
i7 3770k Gigabyte Sniper M3 1155 mATX CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 1600MHz 1TB WD RE4 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
2TB WD Red 2TB WD Red 4TB WD Red 4TB WD Red 
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750W Seasonic Gold Fractal Node 804 5.1 Definitive Def Tech PERC 5i RAID card w/ BBU (LSI Firmware) 
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post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
I do currently have a development server that will be retired if my new workstation is powerful enough. (Currently my dev server runs on a couple ancient NetBurst CPUs and struggles to run a few small VMs, but it does make a nice space heater.) Most of the time I'll be the only one using it but we may have four or five users at once from time to time. However, the server software we use is very CPU-intensive.

Also, we're planning on upgrading our servers and adopting virtualization so I'd like this machine to be powerful enough to run several VMs at once so we can test some ideas out before the real hardware arrives.

But most of all I want a fast system that will be upgradeable. With so many RAM slots and hopefully 8-core CPUs when IB-E comes out, x79 just seems like a much better choice.
post #4 of 4
For what you're describing, yeah. I'd wait for SB-E or I'd look into a 1567 build (but those cost a LOT more) and see if it's still within your budget as you can get up to 160 threads, 1TB of RAM and ridiculous storage all into 1 box.
Maximum Dwarf
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Density!
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5-3570k ASUS MAXIMUS IV GENE HD7970 Gen 1 Ripjaws Z 2x8GB 2133MHz 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
1TB RE4 2x3TB WD Red LG 10x BD-R Corsair H80i w/push pull 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Win 7 Ultimate 3x 1920x1080 LG IPS displays. Razer Mass Effect 3 Blackwidow Ultimate Cooler Master Silent Pro M850 
CaseMouseMouse Pad
Silverstone TJ08B-E R.A.T. 7 An ergonomic one 
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
i7 3770k Gigabyte Sniper M3 1155 mATX CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 1600MHz 1TB WD RE4 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
2TB WD Red 2TB WD Red 4TB WD Red 4TB WD Red 
PowerCaseAudioOther
750W Seasonic Gold Fractal Node 804 5.1 Definitive Def Tech PERC 5i RAID card w/ BBU (LSI Firmware) 
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Maximum Dwarf
(15 items)
 
Density!
(12 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5-3570k ASUS MAXIMUS IV GENE HD7970 Gen 1 Ripjaws Z 2x8GB 2133MHz 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
1TB RE4 2x3TB WD Red LG 10x BD-R Corsair H80i w/push pull 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Win 7 Ultimate 3x 1920x1080 LG IPS displays. Razer Mass Effect 3 Blackwidow Ultimate Cooler Master Silent Pro M850 
CaseMouseMouse Pad
Silverstone TJ08B-E R.A.T. 7 An ergonomic one 
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
i7 3770k Gigabyte Sniper M3 1155 mATX CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 1600MHz 1TB WD RE4 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
2TB WD Red 2TB WD Red 4TB WD Red 4TB WD Red 
PowerCaseAudioOther
750W Seasonic Gold Fractal Node 804 5.1 Definitive Def Tech PERC 5i RAID card w/ BBU (LSI Firmware) 
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