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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2012 5:49 pm 
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Hi all -

My main PC is well overdue for retirement. It's not too shabby - i7 920, 24GB RAM, striped pairs of Velociraptors, but with the price of memory plummeting, and a potential big pano to stitch in the next few months, I'm looking to replace it.

Please be patient with me, because some of the following is probably a bit basic, but hey - it's fun spending other people's money, yeah? So please do chip in with answers and suggestions :)

Questions:

Processors -
How should I be looking to balance processor cores vs processor speed?
Dual Opterons (up to 16 core each) or Dual Xeons (up to 8 core each)?

RAM -
The more the merrier, yes?
How do all the numbers in the RAM description impact things. Do I need to pay much attention to that? Quad Rank/Dual Rank???

Disks -
SAS or SATA?
Just throw them into the box and RAID them through disk management, or do I need a RAID controller?
Have to admit that I don't really understand RAID controllers. Are these PCI cards that you then attach the disks to, rather than to the sockets coming out of the MoBo (yes - I really am that much of a noob on this)?

SSDs. Are these reliable these days? I had a bad time with a pair of Corsair Force 3 256GB SSDs. Both of them died on me. Just not sure these things are up to the task of scratching away for hours, possibly days, on end.

What I'm currently considering:

This base:
http://www.avadirect.com/workstation-pc-configurator.asp?PRID=17216

Default options except for:

CPUs:
2xOpteron 6276 16-core 2.3GHz LGA1944 G34 HT 6400MHz 16MB L3 cache

RAM:
Crucial 256GB (16x16) Quad Rank PC3-8500 DDR3 1066MHz
(the fact that this base model has 16 RAM slots makes a HUGE difference in the cost of the RAM compared to other options. I do NOT want to go down the route of having a MoBo that only has 8 slots, because 8x32GB is way too expensive for me.)

Hard drives:
(For some reason, I only seem able to select 4 drives on that configurator thing).
Either...
4x 1TB Velociraptors
Or...
4x OCZ 512GB Vertex 4 SSD

If I should be looking at a RAID controller, what do I need to get? If I did go this route, does that then mean I can use more drives? (I'd rather have another drive for OS and programs, and maybe a couple of big slow 3TB drives as well for storage).

To clarify - ideal scenario for me would be 1 HD for OS/Programs, 2 pairs of striped drives for scratch, and a pair of large capacity drives for general storage. I would be happy to use a pair of external USB 3 drives for the latter though.

Basically, I'm looking to put together a lean, mean, pano-stitching mother of a machine for something in the region of $8K.

Thanks, in advance,

Gerald.


Last edited by gddxb on Sun Sep 09, 2012 5:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 12:59 pm 
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Location: New Hampshire, USA
Don't forget the power supply! I'm an "old-school" type who thinks that a computer needs a big power supply to be reliable. For my current system, which has only 12 GiB of RAM, I used a 1000 watt power supply. It was more than I needed, but made me feel good. With your 256 GiB of RAM you will probably need even more.

I recommend you sum the power requirements of each component, then double it. Also, look for a "server-class" power supply. They are more expensive than power supplies designed for workstations, but also more reliable.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 3:30 pm 
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Slight change of plan.

I'm now considering this one instead -

http://www.avadirect.com/4u-rack-server-configurator.asp?PRID=25122

4x 16 core Opteron 6272 2.2GHz
256GB RAM (16x16GB)

Rationale for this is that I can upgrade the RAM to 512GB at some point in the future.

Re disks:

Is RAID 5 really going to be faster than RAID 0? I'm not concerned about possible data-loss here. The RAID array will be used only for scratch. If RAID 5 does make most sense, then I'd probably go 5x Hitachi 600GB Ultrastars, with one for OS/Progs, and the other 4 in a RAID 5 array giving me around 1.8TB.

If RAID 0 is better, then I don't think I'll have sufficient disk space in the array (1.2TB), so might have to think of a pair of the Hitachi's in one RAID 0 array, and a second pair of higher capacity, but slower, drives in a second RAID 0 array.

Hmm. The drive options are going to be a challenge to get my head around, I can see.

Regards,

Gerald.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 3:39 pm 
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Location: Dane in Western Australia
WORKSTATION PC Dual Opteronâ„¢ 6200 Twelve-Core Graphics Computer Workstation

LIAN LI PC-90 Black Full Tower Case, HPTX, 10 slots, No PSU, Aluminum
ANTEC HCP-1200 Power Supply, 80 PLUS®, 1200W, 24-pin ATX12V V2.3 EPS12V V2.92, SLI® CrossFire­™ Certified
ASUS KGPE-D16, LGA1944 G34 /2, AMD® SR5690, DDR3-1600 ECC/UECC 256GB/64GB /16, PCIe x16 /2, SATA 3 Gb/s /6, GbLAN /2, SSI EEB, Retail
AMD 2 x Opteronâ„¢ 6212 Eight-Core 2.6GHz, LGA1944 G34, HT 6400MHz, 16MB L3 cache, 115W, Retail w/o Fan
NOCTUA NH-U12DO A3, Socket G34 / C32 / F Active CPU Cooler, 1300 RPM, Copper/Aluminum
NOCTUA NH-U12DO A3, Socket G34 / C32 / F Active CPU Cooler, 1300 RPM, Copper/Aluminum
NOCTUA NT-H1 Thermal Compound, 1.4 g
CRUCIAL 16GB (16 x 8GB) Dual-Rank PC3-12800 DDR3 1600MHz CL11 SDRAM DIMM, ECC Registered
ZOTAC ZT-60103-10P, GeForce® GTX 680 1058MHz, 4GB GDDR5 6008MHz, PCIe x16 SLI, 2x DVI + HDMI + DP, Retail
SAMSUNG 256GB 830 Series SSD, MLC Samsung S4LJ204X01, 520/400 MB/s, 2.5-Inch, 7mm w/ 9.5mm Spacer, SATA 6 Gb/s, Retail
SAMSUNG 256GB 830 Series SSD, MLC Samsung S4LJ204X01, 520/400 MB/s, 2.5-Inch, 7mm w/ 9.5mm Spacer, SATA 6 Gb/s, Retail
SAMSUNG 256GB 830 Series SSD, MLC Samsung S4LJ204X01, 520/400 MB/s, 2.5-Inch, 7mm w/ 9.5mm Spacer, SATA 6 Gb/s, Retail
SAMSUNG 256GB 830 Series SSD, MLC Samsung S4LJ204X01, 520/400 MB/s, 2.5-Inch, 7mm w/ 9.5mm Spacer, SATA 6 Gb/s, Retail
RAID RAID 0 (striping), min 2 hard drives and RAID controller required
LSI MegaRAID SAS 9265-8i SAS/SATA RAID Controller, 8-ports, 6 Gb/s, Levels 0/1/5/6/10/50/60, 1GB DDR3 cache, PCIe x8, Full-height/Low-Profile, Retail w/o Cables
THERMALTAKE MAX-1562 Black SAS/SATA Multi-HDD Hot Swap Module, 6x 2.5-inch HDD, 1x 5.25-inch Bay
SEAGATE 3TB Constellationâ„¢ ES.2, SAS 6 Gb/s, 7200 RPM, 64MB cache, 3.5-Inch
SEAGATE 3TB Constellationâ„¢ ES.2, SAS 6 Gb/s, 7200 RPM, 64MB cache, 3.5-Inch
SEAGATE 3TB Constellationâ„¢ ES.2, SAS 6 Gb/s, 7200 RPM, 64MB cache, 3.5-Inch
SEAGATE 3TB Constellationâ„¢ ES.2, SAS 6 Gb/s, 7200 RPM, 64MB cache, 3.5-Inch
SEAGATE 3TB Constellationâ„¢ ES.2, SAS 6 Gb/s, 7200 RPM, 64MB cache, 3.5-Inch
SEAGATE 3TB Constellationâ„¢ ES.2, SAS 6 Gb/s, 7200 RPM, 64MB cache, 3.5-Inch
LSI MegaRAID SAS 9265-8i SAS/SATA RAID Controller, 8-ports, 6 Gb/s, Levels 0/1/5/6/10/50/60, 1GB DDR3 cache, PCIe x8, Full-height/Low-Profile, Retail w/ Cables
RAID RAID 5 (fault tolerance), min 3 hard drives and RAID controller required
SONY AD-7280S Black 24x DVD±R/RW Dual-Layer Burner, SATA, OEM
INTEL 10 Gigabit CX4 Dual Port Server Adapter, PCIe x8
MICROSOFT Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit Edition w/ SP1, OEM
WARRANTY Silver Warranty Package (3 Year Limited Parts, Life-Time Labor Warranty)

$9167.22


that will do for starters, you obviously need to add a nice monitor or two

the option for 256GB of ram is nice

Henrik


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 3:51 pm 
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Raid- 5 is not faster then raid-0

the different RAID levels offer or should I say serves different needs for redundancy at the cost of usable space and speed.

I have three RAID-0 is my system, I have just added a 24-channel RAID controller with 4GB of cache.
currently only 12 SSD's and 8HDD's but then there is also an 8-drive Synology 3TB RAID-6 or Synology's own two drive redundancy for my "backup" plus I also have portable disks to back that one up.

reason being that there is NO redundancy in RAID-0 only SPEED and its the need for SPEED in the storage department that will help get your data on to disk once its been processed.

The advantage of your system here, either 4x or 2x CPU is that you can fill it with a lot of memory.

I am in the process of replacing my memory and have gone from 96GB to 48GB 1333Mhz ram ECC, which will be replaced with 1600Mhz ECC to give me a better overclock approx 4.3Ghz, maybe with the new ram I may be able to go higher but its very ram dependent

Now,the AMD will perform well when it can use many cores but often that isn't the case, most programs can't take good advantage of this yet. I run two Xeon 6-cores, and even that isn't pushed to its limits sometimes.

I did you at your system a few years ago, the mainboard is a little dated but still relevent, i think there is also an option to add a Zero-RAID card to it, to give you an onboard raid function on the onboard connectors (SAS).

I think in my setup above, I selected two RAID controllers, but the LSI 9265 are really good controllers

I wish you good luck its really exciting and keep us informed what system you get and how it will perform

Henrik

gddxb wrote:
Slight change of plan.

I'm now considering this one instead -

http://www.avadirect.com/4u-rack-server-configurator.asp?PRID=25122

4x 16 core Opteron 6272 2.2GHz
256GB RAM (16x16GB)

Rationale for this is that I can upgrade the RAM to 512GB at some point in the future.

Re disks:

Is RAID 5 really going to be faster than RAID 0? I'm not concerned about possible data-loss here. The RAID array will be used only for scratch. If RAID 5 does make most sense, then I'd probably go 5x Hitachi 600GB Ultrastars, with one for OS/Progs, and the other 4 in a RAID 5 array giving me around 1.8TB.

If RAID 0 is better, then I don't think I'll have sufficient disk space in the array (1.2TB), so might have to think of a pair of the Hitachi's in one RAID 0 array, and a second pair of higher capacity, but slower, drives in a second RAID 0 array.

Hmm. The drive options are going to be a challenge to get my head around, I can see.

Regards,

Gerald.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 4:04 pm 
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Thanks Henrik -

Lots for me to consider there. Much appreciate it.

In terms of taking advantage of 64 cores and 256GB of RAM, I'm only really concerned about two programs. APG, and Gigapan's Time Machine creation software, with the emphasis very much on the former.

I like the idea of starting off with the 64 cores/256GB of RAM, because as mentioned it gives me the option to upgrade to 512GB at a later date.

I'm considering a very large project, and simply cannot afford to build the scratch out of RAID'd SSD's. The option you present in post number 5 would only give me 512GB on the SSD scratch, which wouldn't be nearly enough. Once you take this into consideration, it then becomes a question of whether any SSD's are worth the investment. I'm also still VERY suspicious SSD's reliability when scratching for days on end.

Regards,

Gerald.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 1:31 am 
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Location: Dane in Western Australia
HAVE A LOOK AT SUPERMICRO AND TYAN MAINBOARDS AND SEE IF THERE IS AN AMD WITH PCIE 3

HENRIK


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 3:44 am 
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I like the idea of 256GB of ram too, but you also need to put some thoughts into your storage system, which when done properly will cost you as much if not more the then the actual machine!!! it is your bottleneck otherwise - you can have as much ram and cpu power, it will just cue up and have to wait for the storage to read or write

Henrik


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 6:20 am 
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Thanks Henrik -

I guess the problem I have is that for the size of pano I'm considering, the cost of solid state storage is prohibitive.

I understand from Alexandre that with 256GB of RAM, panos up to around the 20GP size will render completely in RAM, which will be nice.

I was wondering - if I can't go with a full SSD set-up, is there any benefit in having any at all?

Regards,

Gerald.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 6:22 am 
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ITS ALWAYS A COMPROMISE

I HAVE BUILDT MINE OVER A FEW YEARS

hENRIK
NB: didn't mean to write with capital letters :-) sorry


Last edited by tived on Sat Sep 15, 2012 2:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 6:46 am 
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instead of building a multi drive set or 2 or 3 arrays build one big one, with say 8x256GB SSD's that will give you 2+GB/s on the LSI-9265-8i
get something like the samsung or intel 520

Henrik


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 2:47 am 
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gddxb wrote:
Thanks Henrik -

I guess the problem I have is that for the size of pano I'm considering, the cost of solid state storage is prohibitive.

I understand from Alexandre that with 256GB of RAM, panos up to around the 20GP size will render completely in RAM, which will be nice.

I was wondering - if I can't go with a full SSD set-up, is there any benefit in having any at all?

Regards,

Gerald.

you got to start somewhere, i had a look at the HP Z820 yesterday and played with the configurator and added 512GB of ram to it - yeah right $47k just for the ram!!! thats HP prices, as you know 16GB sticks can be had for a whole lot less

buy a good foundation, get good solid quality parts, roomy case with good air flow, power supply 1200+ but get something like Antec, Corsair just to name a few. Mainboard, TYAN, SUPERMICRO, ASUS or EVGA dual or quad socket, the later will require WinServerOS or *nix. RAM Crucials, Kingston ECC, the first is probably the best, i will be replacing my Kingstons with that when $$$ becomes available. As for CPU's perhaps don't buy the top model but one or two down, also look at the energy consumption. this could save you a few bucks too, and put it towards other things.
Depending on the board, use the onboard controller to start with, fill it up with the biggest and fastest SSD's raid them and/or get a PCIe SSD for boot disk and use the onboard SAS/SATA for your RAID but to keep both your files and temp on, this will save you a few thousands dollars, or I should say this may get you in on budget ;-) still $8-10k :lol: for the box

if you have 16 ram slots, either get 8x16GB for 256 or 16x8GB, the later will be cheaper, but on some systems it will slow down if you populate all the slots

let me know what you have in mind - happy to help

Henrik


Last edited by tived on Sat Sep 15, 2012 2:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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