64 bit Workstation suggestions.

Discussion in 'Windows 64bit' started by John John, Nov 2, 2005.

  1. John John

    John John Guest

    Can anyone suggest a good choice for a preconfigured 64 bit workstation?
    I checked Dell and Sun Microsystem but these machines are pretty
    pricey. I want something for test environment (ok a play toy). I would
    like to start on the 64 bit journey. Being that 64 bit software choices
    are a bit limited at the present I want a machine that can handle 32 bit
    programs properly as well. Finally, I don't want to spend a fortune on
    this "test drive" machine.

    Regards;

    John
     
    John John, Nov 2, 2005
    #1
    1. Advertising

  2. Then you wouldn't want a workstation in the first place. Workstations tend
    to be for technical environments and tend to be expensive. In your case you
    want something you can afford and be able to do testing with. I would
    suggest you check out the HP Pavillion desktops. All 64 bit machines can
    handle 32 bit programs, 64 bit processors from AMD and Intel run 32 bit
    Windows XP which runs 32 bit software just fine. Running 32 bit software on
    64 bit Windows is another story, most applications will run just fine with
    the exception of those that 16-bit and 32-bit applications that use 16 bit
    installers. You will likely encounter
    hardware problems with Printers, Scanners and some digital cameras that use
    Firewire. I would recommend you give XP Pro x64 a try in a dual boot
    configuration first before committing and its also recommended you keep back
    XP x86 in a dual boot configuration just in case you encounter problems with
    legacy applications.

    Download the trial:
    http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/64bit/evaluation/trial.mspx

    Also check out the following post by Charlie Russel on his website about
    resolving Printer Driver issues on x64:
    http://msmvps.com/xperts64/archive/2005/06/18/54021.aspx
    http://msmvps.com/xperts64/archive/2005/08/05/61685.aspx


    a1130e
    http://www.shopping.hp.com/webapp/s...desktops/hp_pavilion&storeName=computer_store

    d4100e
    http://www.shopping.hp.com/webapp/s...desktops/hp_pavilion&storeName=computer_store
    --
    Andre
    Extended64 | http://www.extended64.com
    Blog | http://www.extended64.com/blogs/andre
    http://spaces.msn.com/members/adacosta
    FAQ for MS AntiSpy http://www.geocities.com/marfer_mvp/FAQ_MSantispy.htm

    "John John" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Can anyone suggest a good choice for a preconfigured 64 bit workstation? I
    > checked Dell and Sun Microsystem but these machines are pretty pricey. I
    > want something for test environment (ok a play toy). I would like to
    > start on the 64 bit journey. Being that 64 bit software choices are a bit
    > limited at the present I want a machine that can handle 32 bit programs
    > properly as well. Finally, I don't want to spend a fortune on this "test
    > drive" machine.
    >
    > Regards;
    >
    > John
     
    Andre Da Costa [Extended64], Nov 2, 2005
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. Personally, if cost is a factor, I'd build it yourself. Let's you control
    the tradeoffs between functionality and cost. And also lets you make
    decisions based on what drivers are available. The real problem with the
    current crop of 64-bit machines is they are either higher end workstations,
    or they do NOT include x64 Edition and don't have good driver support, IME.
    But the better mobo mfg's are doing a better job of providing x64 drivers.

    --
    Charlie.
    http://msmvps.com/xperts64

    John John wrote:
    > Can anyone suggest a good choice for a preconfigured 64 bit workstation?
    > I checked Dell and Sun Microsystem but these machines are pretty
    > pricey. I want something for test environment (ok a play toy). I would
    > like to start on the 64 bit journey. Being that 64 bit software choices
    > are a bit limited at the present I want a machine that can handle 32 bit
    > programs properly as well. Finally, I don't want to spend a fortune on
    > this "test drive" machine.
    >
    > Regards;
    >
    > John
     
    Charlie Russel - MVP, Nov 2, 2005
    #3
  4. John John

    wewa Guest

    I did exactly what you did 11 months ago, and was flabbergasted as to how
    much a 64bit workstation cost, just to play with x64. Yikes!

    I'll let you in on a cool hack.
    Just remember that I called it a 'hack,' exactly what it is, but if you are
    technically inclined, you will enjoy great benefits at great price.

    Level 1 hack:
    You can get a dell server for about $499, depending on the deal you grab at
    the moment.
    I got one last year, and its a dual capable xeon 3ghz, 160GB SATA,
    10/100/1000 NIC, 512MB ECC, 1 year onsite, etc.
    Then you can load x64 and it works great.
    Keep in mind Dell won't provide support for running workstation OS on a
    server hardware.
    You still have hardware warranty, of course.
    Well, until you get to the next part anyway.
    You can stop here, if all you wanted was a simple x64 workstation.

    Level 2 hack:
    The standard video is lame, but luckily, it is a card you can remove.
    You can go buy a PCI Express 16 dual DVI (I bought a BFG 6600) or whatever
    your fancy and install it for higher performance.
    You can get a Dremel or equivalent and burr out the plastic divider on the
    PCI Express slot to turn it into a PCI Express 8 slot.
    Then you can insert the 16 wide video card and you now have dual DVI or
    whatever you please.
    Not 16, but not bad.

    Level 3 hack:
    If you purchased 2 servers, then you can combine them. Get the RAM, HDD, and
    even the Xeon processor (you will need to order a additional CPU shroud from
    Dell - not included) from the spare machine, stick it into the primary
    machine, and you just built yourself a dual processor Xeon workstation for
    $1k or less.
    Sell the canniballized server (case, motherboard, ps, etc.) or keep it for
    backup.

    I have it posted on my blog and there is even a web forum for discussing
    this 'dell server hack.' It has been done since the dell celeron server $299
    model way back when...

    I have been running it for 11 months now, with great pleasure. :D

    You can even dual boot x64 and Mac OS X Tiger Intel. :p


    "John John" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Can anyone suggest a good choice for a preconfigured 64 bit workstation? I
    > checked Dell and Sun Microsystem but these machines are pretty pricey. I
    > want something for test environment (ok a play toy). I would like to
    > start on the 64 bit journey. Being that 64 bit software choices are a bit
    > limited at the present I want a machine that can handle 32 bit programs
    > properly as well. Finally, I don't want to spend a fortune on this "test
    > drive" machine.
    >
    > Regards;
    >
    > John
     
    wewa, Nov 2, 2005
    #4
  5. John John

    John John Guest

    Thanks Andre, I hadn't thought of HP.

    John

    Andre Da Costa [Extended64] wrote:

    > Then you wouldn't want a workstation in the first place. Workstations tend
    > to be for technical environments and tend to be expensive. In your case you
    > want something you can afford and be able to do testing with. I would
    > suggest you check out the HP Pavillion desktops. All 64 bit machines can
    > handle 32 bit programs, 64 bit processors from AMD and Intel run 32 bit
    > Windows XP which runs 32 bit software just fine. Running 32 bit software on
    > 64 bit Windows is another story, most applications will run just fine with
    > the exception of those that 16-bit and 32-bit applications that use 16 bit
    > installers. You will likely encounter
    > hardware problems with Printers, Scanners and some digital cameras that use
    > Firewire. I would recommend you give XP Pro x64 a try in a dual boot
    > configuration first before committing and its also recommended you keep back
    > XP x86 in a dual boot configuration just in case you encounter problems with
    > legacy applications.
    >
    > Download the trial:
    > http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/64bit/evaluation/trial.mspx
    >
    > Also check out the following post by Charlie Russel on his website about
    > resolving Printer Driver issues on x64:
    > http://msmvps.com/xperts64/archive/2005/06/18/54021.aspx
    > http://msmvps.com/xperts64/archive/2005/08/05/61685.aspx
    >
    >
    > a1130e
    > http://www.shopping.hp.com/webapp/s...desktops/hp_pavilion&storeName=computer_store
    >
    > d4100e
    > http://www.shopping.hp.com/webapp/s...desktops/hp_pavilion&storeName=computer_store
     
    John John, Nov 3, 2005
    #5
  6. John John

    John John Guest

    Thanks Charlie. That was my first idea but I was concerned of the
    difficulties of finding 64 bit drivers for the devices, so I though a
    preconfigured machine might be better. But you have rekindled the idea
    of the "back yard" build.

    John

    Charlie Russel - MVP wrote:

    > Personally, if cost is a factor, I'd build it yourself. Let's you control
    > the tradeoffs between functionality and cost. And also lets you make
    > decisions based on what drivers are available. The real problem with the
    > current crop of 64-bit machines is they are either higher end workstations,
    > or they do NOT include x64 Edition and don't have good driver support, IME.
    > But the better mobo mfg's are doing a better job of providing x64 drivers.
    >
     
    John John, Nov 3, 2005
    #6
  7. John John

    John John Guest

    Thanks wewa, that Dell server idea is a pretty clever one, worth
    investigating. Who cares if Dell won't support it, I have a bunch of
    Dells at work and in all the years I have had them I only called Dell
    support twice. The first time was handled by the server/enterprise guys
    in Texas, the guys knew what they were talking about. The second time
    was handled by a fellow in some call centre I don't know where and he
    knew less about Dell computers (or computers in general) than I did!

    John

    wewa wrote:

    > I did exactly what you did 11 months ago, and was flabbergasted as to how
    > much a 64bit workstation cost, just to play with x64. Yikes!
    >
    > I'll let you in on a cool hack.
    > Just remember that I called it a 'hack,' exactly what it is, but if you are
    > technically inclined, you will enjoy great benefits at great price.
    >
    > Level 1 hack:
    > You can get a dell server for about $499, depending on the deal you grab at
    > the moment.
    > I got one last year, and its a dual capable xeon 3ghz, 160GB SATA,
    > 10/100/1000 NIC, 512MB ECC, 1 year onsite, etc.
    > Then you can load x64 and it works great.
    > Keep in mind Dell won't provide support for running workstation OS on a
    > server hardware.
    > You still have hardware warranty, of course.
    > Well, until you get to the next part anyway.
    > You can stop here, if all you wanted was a simple x64 workstation.
    >
    > Level 2 hack:
    > The standard video is lame, but luckily, it is a card you can remove.
    > You can go buy a PCI Express 16 dual DVI (I bought a BFG 6600) or whatever
    > your fancy and install it for higher performance.
    > You can get a Dremel or equivalent and burr out the plastic divider on the
    > PCI Express slot to turn it into a PCI Express 8 slot.
    > Then you can insert the 16 wide video card and you now have dual DVI or
    > whatever you please.
    > Not 16, but not bad.
    >
    > Level 3 hack:
    > If you purchased 2 servers, then you can combine them. Get the RAM, HDD, and
    > even the Xeon processor (you will need to order a additional CPU shroud from
    > Dell - not included) from the spare machine, stick it into the primary
    > machine, and you just built yourself a dual processor Xeon workstation for
    > $1k or less.
    > Sell the canniballized server (case, motherboard, ps, etc.) or keep it for
    > backup.
    >
    > I have it posted on my blog and there is even a web forum for discussing
    > this 'dell server hack.' It has been done since the dell celeron server $299
    > model way back when...
    >
    > I have been running it for 11 months now, with great pleasure. :D
    >
    > You can even dual boot x64 and Mac OS X Tiger Intel. :p
    >
    >
    > "John John" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    >
    >>Can anyone suggest a good choice for a preconfigured 64 bit workstation? I
    >>checked Dell and Sun Microsystem but these machines are pretty pricey. I
    >>want something for test environment (ok a play toy). I would like to
    >>start on the 64 bit journey. Being that 64 bit software choices are a bit
    >>limited at the present I want a machine that can handle 32 bit programs
    >>properly as well. Finally, I don't want to spend a fortune on this "test
    >>drive" machine.
    >>
    >>Regards;
    >>
    >>John

    >
    >
    >
     
    John John, Nov 3, 2005
    #7
  8. Well, if cost is a factor, take a look at any one of the non-SLI 939
    motherboards. (Don't go with 754, regardless.) Some of non-nvidia are quite
    inexpensive, and work very well indeed. I have no driver issues (except the
    Promise controller) on the ASUS A8V, and there are others, such as abit and
    asrock, that are cheaper still. But check their drivers situations before
    you plunk down your money.

    --
    Charlie.
    http://msmvps.com/xperts64

    John John wrote:
    > Thanks Charlie. That was my first idea but I was concerned of the
    > difficulties of finding 64 bit drivers for the devices, so I though a
    > preconfigured machine might be better. But you have rekindled the idea
    > of the "back yard" build.
    >
    > John
    >
    > Charlie Russel - MVP wrote:
    >
    >> Personally, if cost is a factor, I'd build it yourself. Let's you control
    >> the tradeoffs between functionality and cost. And also lets you make
    >> decisions based on what drivers are available. The real problem with the
    >> current crop of 64-bit machines is they are either higher end
    >> workstations, or they do NOT include x64 Edition and don't have good
    >> driver support, IME. But the better mobo mfg's are doing a better job of
    >> providing x64 drivers.
     
    Charlie Russel - MVP, Nov 4, 2005
    #8
  9. John John

    Mercury Guest

    I just put together an Asus A8N-E (non SLI) a couple of days ago & it was a
    breeze.

    The install CD seemed to have everything needed for X64 with BIOS 1005 on
    the board (which I believe is needed for X2 support). Never the less, check
    what you need and download all updated drivers and bung them on a CD, make
    the F6 driver floppy and so on...

    I have run Prime95 on it overnight with 100% success (the RAM is
    inappropriate) and the CPU (stock cooler) never going over 52c during a hot
    day (Prime95 torture test again). CPU is normally < 40c.

    This is a low cost, but very effective system and to me a reliable and dead
    easy XP64 solution. Note: no firewire and only 4 x SATA ports (RAID 0, 1,
    10, JBOD) and 1GB NIC.

    CPU: XP 3500+ (waiting for X2's to come down)
    RAM: 2 x 512mb A-Data cheapo sticks (I wouldn't use these normally)
    HDD: 2 x 250 GB Seagate with NCQ
    DVD: Pioneer 110D Dual Layer 16x DVD-RW
    PSU: Antec Phantom 500w fanless (using a Task 500 watt loaner)
    Graphics: Albatron 6600LE PCIe,
    Floppy...

    The PSU was the most expensive part - the Task PSU (on loan until the Antec
    arrives) seems too good to be true @ 1/3 the price. I am waiting on ECC Ram
    and an Antec case - not included in the price...total cost ~$US980 here (I
    am not in the US). This excludes a case, RAM and includes only 1 of the
    above HDD.

    Bios everything on defaults initially & no issues at all.

    So I encourage you to get an anti static wrist strap and BYO.

    If that mobo does not have enough connectivity for your needs then shop
    around - Tyan makes some more potent systems with PCI X and so on & is a
    reputable brand. Post back or check reviews for comments on mobos if you are
    unsure - some makes are crappy & are usually the cheaper ones.


    "John John" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Can anyone suggest a good choice for a preconfigured 64 bit workstation? I
    > checked Dell and Sun Microsystem but these machines are pretty pricey. I
    > want something for test environment (ok a play toy). I would like to
    > start on the 64 bit journey. Being that 64 bit software choices are a bit
    > limited at the present I want a machine that can handle 32 bit programs
    > properly as well. Finally, I don't want to spend a fortune on this "test
    > drive" machine.
    >
    > Regards;
    >
    > John
     
    Mercury, Nov 4, 2005
    #9
  10. You might also check CyberPower. I have found them several hundred dollars
    cheaper than HP and Dell.

    --
    Colin Barnhorst [MVP Windows - Virtual Machine]
    (Reply to the group only unless otherwise requested)
    "John John" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Thanks wewa, that Dell server idea is a pretty clever one, worth
    > investigating. Who cares if Dell won't support it, I have a bunch of
    > Dells at work and in all the years I have had them I only called Dell
    > support twice. The first time was handled by the server/enterprise guys
    > in Texas, the guys knew what they were talking about. The second time was
    > handled by a fellow in some call centre I don't know where and he knew
    > less about Dell computers (or computers in general) than I did!
    >
    > John
    >
    > wewa wrote:
    >
    >> I did exactly what you did 11 months ago, and was flabbergasted as to how
    >> much a 64bit workstation cost, just to play with x64. Yikes!
    >>
    >> I'll let you in on a cool hack.
    >> Just remember that I called it a 'hack,' exactly what it is, but if you
    >> are technically inclined, you will enjoy great benefits at great price.
    >>
    >> Level 1 hack:
    >> You can get a dell server for about $499, depending on the deal you grab
    >> at the moment.
    >> I got one last year, and its a dual capable xeon 3ghz, 160GB SATA,
    >> 10/100/1000 NIC, 512MB ECC, 1 year onsite, etc.
    >> Then you can load x64 and it works great.
    >> Keep in mind Dell won't provide support for running workstation OS on a
    >> server hardware.
    >> You still have hardware warranty, of course.
    >> Well, until you get to the next part anyway.
    >> You can stop here, if all you wanted was a simple x64 workstation.
    >>
    >> Level 2 hack:
    >> The standard video is lame, but luckily, it is a card you can remove.
    >> You can go buy a PCI Express 16 dual DVI (I bought a BFG 6600) or
    >> whatever your fancy and install it for higher performance.
    >> You can get a Dremel or equivalent and burr out the plastic divider on
    >> the PCI Express slot to turn it into a PCI Express 8 slot.
    >> Then you can insert the 16 wide video card and you now have dual DVI or
    >> whatever you please.
    >> Not 16, but not bad.
    >>
    >> Level 3 hack:
    >> If you purchased 2 servers, then you can combine them. Get the RAM, HDD,
    >> and even the Xeon processor (you will need to order a additional CPU
    >> shroud from Dell - not included) from the spare machine, stick it into
    >> the primary machine, and you just built yourself a dual processor Xeon
    >> workstation for $1k or less.
    >> Sell the canniballized server (case, motherboard, ps, etc.) or keep it
    >> for backup.
    >>
    >> I have it posted on my blog and there is even a web forum for discussing
    >> this 'dell server hack.' It has been done since the dell celeron server
    >> $299 model way back when...
    >>
    >> I have been running it for 11 months now, with great pleasure. :D
    >>
    >> You can even dual boot x64 and Mac OS X Tiger Intel. :p
    >>
    >>
    >> "John John" <> wrote in message
    >> news:...
    >>
    >>>Can anyone suggest a good choice for a preconfigured 64 bit workstation?
    >>>I checked Dell and Sun Microsystem but these machines are pretty pricey.
    >>>I want something for test environment (ok a play toy). I would like to
    >>>start on the 64 bit journey. Being that 64 bit software choices are a
    >>>bit limited at the present I want a machine that can handle 32 bit
    >>>programs properly as well. Finally, I don't want to spend a fortune on
    >>>this "test drive" machine.
    >>>
    >>>Regards;
    >>>
    >>>John

    >>
    >>
     
    Colin Barnhorst, Nov 4, 2005
    #10
  11. That is a great tip Wewa, thanks.
    --
    Andre
    Extended64 | http://www.extended64.com
    Blog | http://www.extended64.com/blogs/andre
    http://spaces.msn.com/members/adacosta
    FAQ for MS AntiSpy http://www.geocities.com/marfer_mvp/FAQ_MSantispy.htm

    "wewa" <.4me> wrote in message
    news:eIMbZN%...
    >I did exactly what you did 11 months ago, and was flabbergasted as to how
    >much a 64bit workstation cost, just to play with x64. Yikes!
    >
    > I'll let you in on a cool hack.
    > Just remember that I called it a 'hack,' exactly what it is, but if you
    > are technically inclined, you will enjoy great benefits at great price.
    >
    > Level 1 hack:
    > You can get a dell server for about $499, depending on the deal you grab
    > at the moment.
    > I got one last year, and its a dual capable xeon 3ghz, 160GB SATA,
    > 10/100/1000 NIC, 512MB ECC, 1 year onsite, etc.
    > Then you can load x64 and it works great.
    > Keep in mind Dell won't provide support for running workstation OS on a
    > server hardware.
    > You still have hardware warranty, of course.
    > Well, until you get to the next part anyway.
    > You can stop here, if all you wanted was a simple x64 workstation.
    >
    > Level 2 hack:
    > The standard video is lame, but luckily, it is a card you can remove.
    > You can go buy a PCI Express 16 dual DVI (I bought a BFG 6600) or whatever
    > your fancy and install it for higher performance.
    > You can get a Dremel or equivalent and burr out the plastic divider on the
    > PCI Express slot to turn it into a PCI Express 8 slot.
    > Then you can insert the 16 wide video card and you now have dual DVI or
    > whatever you please.
    > Not 16, but not bad.
    >
    > Level 3 hack:
    > If you purchased 2 servers, then you can combine them. Get the RAM, HDD,
    > and even the Xeon processor (you will need to order a additional CPU
    > shroud from Dell - not included) from the spare machine, stick it into the
    > primary machine, and you just built yourself a dual processor Xeon
    > workstation for $1k or less.
    > Sell the canniballized server (case, motherboard, ps, etc.) or keep it for
    > backup.
    >
    > I have it posted on my blog and there is even a web forum for discussing
    > this 'dell server hack.' It has been done since the dell celeron server
    > $299 model way back when...
    >
    > I have been running it for 11 months now, with great pleasure. :D
    >
    > You can even dual boot x64 and Mac OS X Tiger Intel. :p
    >
    >
    > "John John" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    >> Can anyone suggest a good choice for a preconfigured 64 bit workstation?
    >> I checked Dell and Sun Microsystem but these machines are pretty pricey.
    >> I want something for test environment (ok a play toy). I would like to
    >> start on the 64 bit journey. Being that 64 bit software choices are a
    >> bit limited at the present I want a machine that can handle 32 bit
    >> programs properly as well. Finally, I don't want to spend a fortune on
    >> this "test drive" machine.
    >>
    >> Regards;
    >>
    >> John

    >
    >
     
    Andre Da Costa [Extended64], Nov 4, 2005
    #11
  12. John John

    John John Guest

    Hi Charlie. Cost is a factor but not at all costs, if you know what I
    mean. I don't want to spend money on substandard or dead end hardware.
    The hardware that I buy today might be completely obsolete tomorrow,
    but I want to be in the right technology track for the next generation,
    the learning curve thing. I have always been partial to Intel boards, I
    like their reliability, their innovation and their excellent support.
    Almost all board driver and board .inf files are easily available on the
    Intel site and their site is one I know my way around.

    I also know that AMD is very innovative and that their boards often turn
    Intel boards upside down on their heads. I have been told, or read that
    AMD 64 bit boards/processors are better at handling 32 bit applications
    than Intel boards. Mind you when I read that I don't think that the
    EM64T was released, they were talking about the Itanium Family. What's
    your take on this? Do the Intel EM64T processors approach the AMD 32/64
    bit compatibility? Also, what about these ASUS boards? Other than
    Intel or AMD it's probably the only other board that I might feel
    comfortable with but that would be a leap of faith at this time.

    I know that this 32 bit software compatibility issue might sound crazy
    for someone wanting to move to the 64 bit platform but having a 64 bit
    workstation that can't run hardly any software is like having one of
    these computers 25 years ago that could only turn LED's on and off.
    Also, my software is worth many times the cost of the priciest
    workstation. I don't intend just yet to pay to upgrade all that
    software to 64 bit when (or if) it becomes available, and certainly not
    for a test environment. When I decide to migrate the software to 64 bit
    the price of the hardware will be peanuts to the cost of the software.

    And finally yes, I'm talking workstation. CAD/CAM and engineering
    applications. Test environment. I don't think SLI is a concern right
    now, just the 64 bit processing stepping stone.

    Regards;

    John

    Charlie Russel - MVP wrote:
    > Well, if cost is a factor, take a look at any one of the non-SLI 939
    > motherboards. (Don't go with 754, regardless.) Some of non-nvidia are quite
    > inexpensive, and work very well indeed. I have no driver issues (except the
    > Promise controller) on the ASUS A8V, and there are others, such as abit and
    > asrock, that are cheaper still. But check their drivers situations before
    > you plunk down your money.
    >
     
    John John, Nov 5, 2005
    #12
  13. John John

    John John Guest

    Yes indeed. Especially the Dual Xeon times twice the memory one!

    John

    Andre Da Costa [Extended64] wrote:

    > That is a great tip Wewa, thanks.
     
    John John, Nov 5, 2005
    #13
  14. John John

    John John Guest

    I'll look into that, could very well be that the cheapest thing right
    now might be the right thing to do. I do have SCSI controller issues to
    think about and good board support, for cheap of course. Just for test
    right now.

    John

    Colin Barnhorst wrote:

    > You might also check CyberPower. I have found them several hundred dollars
    > cheaper than HP and Dell.
    >
     
    John John, Nov 5, 2005
    #14
  15. John John

    John John Guest

    What's your take on these ASUS boards? Firewire no big deal to me, RAID
    or SCSI controller support is.

    John

    Mercury wrote:

    > I just put together an Asus A8N-E (non SLI) a couple of days ago & it was a
    > breeze.
    >
    > The install CD seemed to have everything needed for X64 with BIOS 1005 on
    > the board (which I believe is needed for X2 support). Never the less, check
    > what you need and download all updated drivers and bung them on a CD, make
    > the F6 driver floppy and so on...
    >
    > I have run Prime95 on it overnight with 100% success (the RAM is
    > inappropriate) and the CPU (stock cooler) never going over 52c during a hot
    > day (Prime95 torture test again). CPU is normally < 40c.
    >
    > This is a low cost, but very effective system and to me a reliable and dead
    > easy XP64 solution. Note: no firewire and only 4 x SATA ports (RAID 0, 1,
    > 10, JBOD) and 1GB NIC.
    >
    > CPU: XP 3500+ (waiting for X2's to come down)
    > RAM: 2 x 512mb A-Data cheapo sticks (I wouldn't use these normally)
    > HDD: 2 x 250 GB Seagate with NCQ
    > DVD: Pioneer 110D Dual Layer 16x DVD-RW
    > PSU: Antec Phantom 500w fanless (using a Task 500 watt loaner)
    > Graphics: Albatron 6600LE PCIe,
    > Floppy...
    >
    > The PSU was the most expensive part - the Task PSU (on loan until the Antec
    > arrives) seems too good to be true @ 1/3 the price. I am waiting on ECC Ram
    > and an Antec case - not included in the price...total cost ~$US980 here (I
    > am not in the US). This excludes a case, RAM and includes only 1 of the
    > above HDD.
    >
    > Bios everything on defaults initially & no issues at all.
    >
    > So I encourage you to get an anti static wrist strap and BYO.
    >
    > If that mobo does not have enough connectivity for your needs then shop
    > around - Tyan makes some more potent systems with PCI X and so on & is a
    > reputable brand. Post back or check reviews for comments on mobos if you are
    > unsure - some makes are crappy & are usually the cheaper ones.
    >
    >
    > "John John" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    >
    >>Can anyone suggest a good choice for a preconfigured 64 bit workstation? I
    >>checked Dell and Sun Microsystem but these machines are pretty pricey. I
    >>want something for test environment (ok a play toy). I would like to
    >>start on the 64 bit journey. Being that 64 bit software choices are a bit
    >>limited at the present I want a machine that can handle 32 bit programs
    >>properly as well. Finally, I don't want to spend a fortune on this "test
    >>drive" machine.
    >>
    >>Regards;
    >>
    >>John

    >
    >
    >
     
    John John, Nov 5, 2005
    #15
  16. There is no difference in compatibility between Intel EM64T and AMD64. That
    being said, I find the AMD64 offerings a bit stronger, at this point for the
    sort of work I do.

    On motherboards? I've been happy with ASUS, even though they're more of an
    Intel mobo manufacturer than an AMD one. They have a new pair of AMD and
    Intel mobos out with dual x16 video that are absolute screamers, from all
    reports.

    DFI LanParty mobos are probably the top of the AMD tree, right now, with the
    exception of that new ASUS. On the other hand, my last two mobos were plain
    jane, ASUS mobos based on VIA chipsets. Not exciting, and only lowly AGP
    graphics, but they are solid boards that have me up and running without
    issue in x64 Edition for a good deal less money than if I'd had to buy new
    video cards, etc. And I don't game anyway. :)


    --
    Charlie.
    http://msmvps.com/xperts64

    John John wrote:
    > Hi Charlie. Cost is a factor but not at all costs, if you know what I
    > mean. I don't want to spend money on substandard or dead end hardware.
    > The hardware that I buy today might be completely obsolete tomorrow,
    > but I want to be in the right technology track for the next generation,
    > the learning curve thing. I have always been partial to Intel boards, I
    > like their reliability, their innovation and their excellent support.
    > Almost all board driver and board .inf files are easily available on the
    > Intel site and their site is one I know my way around.
    >
    > I also know that AMD is very innovative and that their boards often turn
    > Intel boards upside down on their heads. I have been told, or read that
    > AMD 64 bit boards/processors are better at handling 32 bit applications
    > than Intel boards. Mind you when I read that I don't think that the
    > EM64T was released, they were talking about the Itanium Family. What's
    > your take on this? Do the Intel EM64T processors approach the AMD 32/64
    > bit compatibility? Also, what about these ASUS boards? Other than
    > Intel or AMD it's probably the only other board that I might feel
    > comfortable with but that would be a leap of faith at this time.
    >
    > I know that this 32 bit software compatibility issue might sound crazy
    > for someone wanting to move to the 64 bit platform but having a 64 bit
    > workstation that can't run hardly any software is like having one of
    > these computers 25 years ago that could only turn LED's on and off.
    > Also, my software is worth many times the cost of the priciest
    > workstation. I don't intend just yet to pay to upgrade all that
    > software to 64 bit when (or if) it becomes available, and certainly not
    > for a test environment. When I decide to migrate the software to 64 bit
    > the price of the hardware will be peanuts to the cost of the software.
    >
    > And finally yes, I'm talking workstation. CAD/CAM and engineering
    > applications. Test environment. I don't think SLI is a concern right
    > now, just the 64 bit processing stepping stone.
    >
    > Regards;
    >
    > John
    >
    > Charlie Russel - MVP wrote:
    >> Well, if cost is a factor, take a look at any one of the non-SLI 939
    >> motherboards. (Don't go with 754, regardless.) Some of non-nvidia are
    >> quite inexpensive, and work very well indeed. I have no driver issues
    >> (except the Promise controller) on the ASUS A8V, and there are others,
    >> such as abit and asrock, that are cheaper still. But check their drivers
    >> situations before you plunk down your money.
     
    Charlie Russel - MVP, Nov 5, 2005
    #16
  17. John John

    Mercury Guest

    I consider Asus a "Tier 1" mobo producer in the desktop / workstation class.

    Quality of assembly: as good as any.
    Quality of design: Top of the consumer range.
    Quality of BIOS etc: If there is a BIOS bug they fix it, they persist in
    maintaining BIOS and keeping BIOS / Firmware up to date for the product
    life.

    You get what you pay for. If you want an economy board (EG with a Via or SIS
    chipset) then Asus make these too so are susceptible to the bugs these lower
    cost chipset board introduce. The Via K8T800, *not* K8T890 family of boards
    appear to be an exception...IE reliable from the outset - that is more a Via
    achievement than Asus tho.

    The best way to pick the motherbord is to list what you *do* need and look
    for a match in specs keeping in mind that you can always use add-in PCI e/x
    cards. Some prefer SCSI etc. controllers not to be on the mobo, often the
    mobo embedded controller is a very cost effective way of geting such a
    controller EG SCSI, SCSI RAID, SATA RAID. Don't put up with marketing BS
    some makers have - products and features that amount to nought usefulness.

    Some gotchas I have found over the years on Tier 2 vendors is that the
    product may be released without a usable BIOS, BIOS Upgrades are slow to
    come, BIOS upgrades fail to include embedded RAID controller firmware
    upgrades, embedded SCSI controller (1 particular occasion) is performance /
    feature limited & this becomes apparent only in use :(

    So, look for recommendations for specific boards or makes - Asus is good.

    The A8N32-SLI will be out soon.


    HTH

    "John John" <> wrote in message
    news:uI6D$...
    > What's your take on these ASUS boards? Firewire no big deal to me, RAID
    > or SCSI controller support is.
    >
    > John
    >
    > Mercury wrote:
    >
    >> I just put together an Asus A8N-E (non SLI) a couple of days ago & it was
    >> a breeze.
    >>
    >> The install CD seemed to have everything needed for X64 with BIOS 1005 on
    >> the board (which I believe is needed for X2 support). Never the less,
    >> check what you need and download all updated drivers and bung them on a
    >> CD, make the F6 driver floppy and so on...
    >>
    >> I have run Prime95 on it overnight with 100% success (the RAM is
    >> inappropriate) and the CPU (stock cooler) never going over 52c during a
    >> hot day (Prime95 torture test again). CPU is normally < 40c.
    >>
    >> This is a low cost, but very effective system and to me a reliable and
    >> dead easy XP64 solution. Note: no firewire and only 4 x SATA ports (RAID
    >> 0, 1, 10, JBOD) and 1GB NIC.
    >>
    >> CPU: XP 3500+ (waiting for X2's to come down)
    >> RAM: 2 x 512mb A-Data cheapo sticks (I wouldn't use these normally)
    >> HDD: 2 x 250 GB Seagate with NCQ
    >> DVD: Pioneer 110D Dual Layer 16x DVD-RW
    >> PSU: Antec Phantom 500w fanless (using a Task 500 watt loaner)
    >> Graphics: Albatron 6600LE PCIe,
    >> Floppy...
    >>
    >> The PSU was the most expensive part - the Task PSU (on loan until the
    >> Antec arrives) seems too good to be true @ 1/3 the price. I am waiting on
    >> ECC Ram and an Antec case - not included in the price...total cost
    >> ~$US980 here (I am not in the US). This excludes a case, RAM and includes
    >> only 1 of the above HDD.
    >>
    >> Bios everything on defaults initially & no issues at all.
    >>
    >> So I encourage you to get an anti static wrist strap and BYO.
    >>
    >> If that mobo does not have enough connectivity for your needs then shop
    >> around - Tyan makes some more potent systems with PCI X and so on & is a
    >> reputable brand. Post back or check reviews for comments on mobos if you
    >> are unsure - some makes are crappy & are usually the cheaper ones.
    >>
    >>
    >> "John John" <> wrote in message
    >> news:...
    >>
    >>>Can anyone suggest a good choice for a preconfigured 64 bit workstation?
    >>>I checked Dell and Sun Microsystem but these machines are pretty pricey.
    >>>I want something for test environment (ok a play toy). I would like to
    >>>start on the 64 bit journey. Being that 64 bit software choices are a
    >>>bit limited at the present I want a machine that can handle 32 bit
    >>>programs properly as well. Finally, I don't want to spend a fortune on
    >>>this "test drive" machine.
    >>>
    >>>Regards;
    >>>
    >>>John

    >>
    >>
     
    Mercury, Nov 5, 2005
    #17
  18. Dell Precision 670. Excellent. Not that expensive.

    "John John" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Can anyone suggest a good choice for a preconfigured 64 bit workstation? I
    > checked Dell and Sun Microsystem but these machines are pretty pricey. I
    > want something for test environment (ok a play toy). I would like to
    > start on the 64 bit journey. Being that 64 bit software choices are a bit
    > limited at the present I want a machine that can handle 32 bit programs
    > properly as well. Finally, I don't want to spend a fortune on this "test
    > drive" machine.
    >
    > Regards;
    >
    > John
     
    Jean-Baptiste Faure, Nov 5, 2005
    #18
    1. Advertising

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