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What Does a $16,000+ PC Look Like, Anyway? 495

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the half-the-cost-was-windows-server-liceses dept.
justechn writes "Tom's Hardware has an article about custom PC maker Puget Systems, who had just finished a custom $16,000 PC for one of their clients. So what exactly goes into a $16,000 system? How about: Four quad-core Opteron processors, 32 GB of memory, Windows Server 2008, Asus Xonar DX PCI Express sound card, 3Ware 9550SX-8LP SATA 3 Gb/s RAID controller, Two Western Digital 300 GB VelociRaptor hard drives in RAID 1, Two 1 TB Samsung SpinPoint F1s also in RAID 1, and Four 1 TB Samsung SpinPoint F1s in RAID 5. Puget went with MagiCool's Xtreme Nova 1080 radiator, Nine 120 mm fans, Four Koolance CPU blocks, Koolance combined pump and reservoir unit, and Cooler Master Stacker 810 case. In addition to all that hardware, it also runs very quiet and very cool. The temperature of the CPUs is 36 C at idle, 45 C at load."
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What Does a $16,000+ PC Look Like, Anyway?

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  • by phillymjs (234426) <slashdot.stango@org> on Friday March 13, 2009 @05:09PM (#27186271) Homepage Journal

    ...that's 96.8 and 113 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively.

    ~Philly

  • by roblarky (1103715) on Friday March 13, 2009 @05:18PM (#27186399)
    Instead of what does it look like to build a $16,000 PC, how about the final product. $16,000 PC [tomshardware.com]
  • by CaptainPatent (1087643) on Friday March 13, 2009 @05:21PM (#27186449) Journal
    Because they're Velociraptors - they're extraordinarily fast... much more so than the Samsung drives. If you have a segment of data that has a much higher access frequency, that space would be a great place to put it.
  • by Dude McDude (938516) on Friday March 13, 2009 @05:25PM (#27186503)

    I'm guessing the answer's "speed". The VelociRaptor's are 10,000rpm, whereas the SpinPoints are 7200rpm.

  • Oddly, Raid-5 (2D+1P) + an online hot spare == 4.

    But, you know, that's just new math.

  • Re:And no SSD? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ninnle Labs, LLC (1486095) on Friday March 13, 2009 @05:30PM (#27186593)

    and yet when they go all out on a system like this, they don't even choose one as the system drive?
    How very inconsistent.

    Except Tom's Hardware neither designed this system nor was it the purchaser of the system. So I don't see what the inconsistency could possibly be.

  • by Lookin4Trouble (1112649) on Friday March 13, 2009 @05:33PM (#27186625)
    As a former enthusiast in the liquid and vapor phase-change cooling market, I can point out a multitude of things gone wrong here.

    1) Single Cooling Loop - with 4 quad-core processors, this machine could net much better bang-for-the-decibel out of a dual loop system - one loop handling one pair of processors, second loop handling the other pair. Optimally speaking, a quad-loop system (individual loops per processor) would net even better results.
    2) Video cards have fans, too! - Find yourself a video card that uses cooling pipes or similar technology, rather than fans. Those little fans spinning really fast make _LOTS_ of noise.
    3) Speaking of noise - WD300 Raptors? Congrats, you just put the noisiest modern hard drives in a machine "built to be quiet" - if no expense was to be spared, why is this thing not outfitted with Solid State Disks???
    4) Problems with the liquid - in addition to number one above, the reservoir is mounted at the bottom of the case? That's an amateur mistake right there. Reservoir at top of case = any air infiltration gets trapped at the reservoir. Additionally, the "angled barbs" are 90-degree bends - not exactly what you want in a low-flow system, backpressure is going to kill that pump, or at least cause it to whine incessantly, even at lower flow settings.
    5) PSU - Corsair HX 1000W PSU - why not a PC Power and Cooling ultra-quiet unit, or a SilenX-modded solid cap PSU? Instead, they opt for a PSU rated at 57dBm?

    Amateur job, Puget, very amateur. If anyone feels the need to build a super-quiet box, they really should shop around and look into these type of issue, or suffer sever disappointment.

    E

  • Re:What a waste (Score:5, Informative)

    by thesandbender (911391) on Friday March 13, 2009 @05:34PM (#27186637)
    This is common FUD and the same was said of Linux until a few years ago. Don't confuse application scalability with OS scalability. Windows 2003 and 2008 server scale well and properly support NUMA systems (2000 and NT did not)... however most applications are not written or run in a scalable manner. The OS has no knowledge of an applications threading or memory access patterns and unless the application takes some proactive measures, performance will suffer on any platform. And.. I don't see what's so hard about right clicking an app in program manager and clicking "set affinity". Affinity can be permanently set with the imagecfg utility.
  • by DAldredge (2353) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Friday March 13, 2009 @05:39PM (#27186693) Journal

    No.

    $14,746
    # Two 2.93GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
    # 32GB (8x4GB)
    # Mac Pro RAID Card
    # 1TB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s
    # 1TB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s
    # 1TB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s
    # 1TB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s
    # ATI Radeon HD 4870 512MB
    # One 18x SuperDrive
    # None
    # None
    # Apple Mighty Mouse
    # Apple Keyboard with Numeric Keypad (English) and User's Guide
    # None
    # None
    # None
    # None
    # None
    # None
    # None
    # Mac OS X Server (10-Client)
    # None
    # None
    # Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapter
    # None
    # None
    # AppleCare Protection Plan for Mac Pro (w/or w/o Display) - Auto-enroll

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13, 2009 @06:10PM (#27187181)

    USians

    Who the hell are "USians"? And what is their relation to UKians, IRians, CoAians, CAians, RUians, and morons like yourself?

    It's United States of America, people! That makes us Americans. If you don't like it, too bad. You don't hear us referring to Australians as CoAians, British as UKians, or other inhabitants of Continents/Islands by acronym bastardizations, do you? No, because that would be stupid. Just like referring to Americans as "USians".

    If you absolutely must avoid the word "Americans", why not try something more traditional? Like Yankees or Yanks? It's not like we take offense to the term or something. (Unlike "USian" which is just so insanely stupid and uneducated that it grates on the nerves.)

  • Re:Apple Store (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13, 2009 @06:15PM (#27187249)

    Not quite, unless you want to add $$ for displays and software. The highest I can get with pure hardware changes is $15,299.00 (plus tax of course)

  • Re:What a waste (Score:5, Informative)

    by thesandbender (911391) on Friday March 13, 2009 @06:20PM (#27187303)
    I'm not hand waving it away. Which benchmarks, which applications? I can find benchmarks that have Opteron's outperforming Xeon's and vice-a-versa. There are benchmarks where Vista outperforms Windows 7 and ... again... vica versa.

    Making blanket statements like "Windows doesn't scale" is FUD. It's correct to say that Samba scales much better on linux than Windows 2003 File Server does on the same hardware. However, Oracle Database server scales equally well on both platforms.

    As always... use the right tool for the job and make an informed decision. Which it sounds like you did for your environment. However, having supported Java App Servers, Seibel, Oracle, MS-SQL, etc. in HP/HA environments I can tell your blanket statement is not correct.
  • Re:BAARF (Score:5, Informative)

    by icebike (68054) on Friday March 13, 2009 @06:27PM (#27187363)

    Except he would need another drive to achieve the same storage.

    Raid10 = 1/2 N * Size.
    Raid5 = N-1 * Size.

    Two drives failing before you can replace the first failure is fairly unlikely. The fact that they more than likely bought all the drives at the same time increases the odds that they will fail reasonably close to each other in time.

    But having Two drives failing before you have time to replace the first failure is fairly unlikely.

  • by Sxooter (29722) on Friday March 13, 2009 @06:28PM (#27187375)

    If you want performance, avoid RAID-5 and go straight to RAID-10. RAID-5 has horrible write performance.

  • by xaoslaad (590527) on Friday March 13, 2009 @06:41PM (#27187559)
    It was a reference to the Chewbacca Defense http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chewbacca_defense [wikipedia.org]
  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Friday March 13, 2009 @07:21PM (#27188015) Journal

    It's United States of America, people! That makes us Americans.

    Unfortunately (or fortunately), the USA does not constitute all states of America, so people living in those states are also technically Americans (just like all people living in European countries are Europeans, people living in Asian countries are Asians, and people living in African countries are Africans). Unfortunately, the citizens of the USA have appropriated the term to refer exclusively to themselves, and many people in other countries consider such narrowing of the scope of the term inappropriate.

    Me, I think the idea of rewriting the dictionary definitions when they're already well established, for good or bad, is silly. But they do have a point regardless.

  • by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Friday March 13, 2009 @07:47PM (#27188337)

    Server can use 4 cpu sockets vista / xp can not.

    As for the sound card just to have basic sound? some 2 and 4 cpus board don't have on board sound / crap on board sound.

  • by CajunArson (465943) on Friday March 13, 2009 @07:53PM (#27188385) Journal

    3) Speaking of noise - WD300 Raptors? Congrats, you just put the noisiest modern hard drives in a machine "built to be quiet" - if no expense was to be spared, why is this thing not outfitted with Solid State Disks???

        That's not really accurate, the newest Velociraptors are 2.5" hard drives encased in a large 3.5" heatsink that also is very effective at quieting the drive. Anandtech measured extremely reasonable sound levels [anandtech.com] in its review, so I'd be careful before casting aspersions on that front.

  • by OnlineAlias (828288) on Friday March 13, 2009 @08:11PM (#27188569)
    The reason 2008 was run here is because of the 4 physical processors. There is no Microsoft desktop OS that will that supports more than 2.
  • by Kral_Blbec (1201285) on Friday March 13, 2009 @09:05PM (#27189069)

    Another reason to use Server 08 over vista.

    Microsoft offers a free licence to server 2008 along with some other software to all college students. It's what I'm using now

    http://forums.slickdeals.net/showthread.php?t=943060 [slickdeals.net]

  • by mlts (1038732) * on Friday March 13, 2009 @09:30PM (#27189247)

    There is also one other advantage of Windows Server 2008: Software RAID. I can have the OS mirror onto two drives without any dedicated RAID controllers, and can have a RAID array. Of course, there are plenty of inexpensive hardware RAID controllers out there, but when I had a controller glitch on me and fail the entire contents of a multi-terabyte RAID 5 array, I went to software RAID, and other than using a bit of CPU on a core for disk I/O (calculating parity and encrypting/decrypting through BitLocker), it has been working quite well for a year now. Another advantage of software RAID is that one can move the disks to another machine and not have to be concerned if the controller on the new machine can understand the config on the old setup.

  • by adolf (21054) <flodadolf@gmail.com> on Friday March 13, 2009 @09:32PM (#27189267) Journal

    When I hit that barrier on my old machines, I install Linux, which really just doesn't give a shit about BIOS limitations.

  • by shoemilk (1008173) on Friday March 13, 2009 @09:36PM (#27189287) Journal
    I think I know where the confusion comes in. No body lives on "the planet Endor". The ewoks live on "the forest moon of Endor".
  • by shoemilk (1008173) on Friday March 13, 2009 @09:46PM (#27189361) Journal
    Are you really from the US? I kind of don't believe you because "Like Yankees or Yanks? It's not like we take offense to the term or something." You call someone where I'm from (the south) "Yankee" and you're likely to be punched in the face.
  • by jorx (975057) on Friday March 13, 2009 @09:51PM (#27189395) Homepage
    Hah, talk about illiterate. Pot, kettle, hi! did you miss this part? Another machine will handle AFS and some NFS file services
  • Meh (Score:2, Informative)

    by symbolset (646467) on Friday March 13, 2009 @11:18PM (#27189801) Journal

    I just configured a DL580 G5 tower at HP.COM. With four 6-core processors and 256GB of RAM fully populated with 16 300GB SAS drives, Dual P800 SAS controllers and the usual goodies you're looking at $70,000. And that's before you buy a decent graphics card and a monitor.

    No, it's not Vista compatible and it won't run Aero without additional hardware.

    BTW, it would make a lousy media center PC too. Fans sound like a helicopter, the lights dim when you turn it on. On the upside if you put a couple decent graphics cards in it and install Linux, you can watch 100 videos at the same time.

    Since when is expensive hardware a big deal for /.? It's much more difficult to make the hardware inexpensive.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 14, 2009 @08:31AM (#27191729)

    Untrue:

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/827281 [microsoft.com]

    Windows Server 2003 Family - 32-bit (x86) Editions supports 1-8 CPU's...

    APK

    P.S.=> You must be careful to read to the bottom there, as it notes what versions of Exchange, AND Windows OS' in Windows Server 2003:

    APPLIES TO
    Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Enterprise Edition
    Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Standard Edition
    Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server Standard Edition, when used with:
    Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition (32-bit x86)
    Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition (32-bit x86)

    apk

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