What is the point to go for a Xeon based workstation?

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Osvaldo Cristo
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What is the point to go for a Xeon based workstation?
11 months ago

My built desktop is one year old. This week is its anniversary. It is a decent configuration based on Intel i7-3930K processor and 32GB RAM.

Previous I own a Dell Precision 490 workstation based on dual Xeon processor and for six years it run the same installation of Windows XP-64bit. It was a extremely reliable computer when compared with all my previous ones. I had no single BSOD (Blue Screen Of Death). It was also faster than all my previous computers but I was looking for an upgrade after six years of very heavy daily use.

I tried another Xeon based workstation mainly for its reliability. Its memory was ECC based so it looked me one very important factor to the reliability I got. Unfortunately no computer manufacturer could deliver at home the configuration I was looking for on that occasion.

I decided to build my own computer based in the i7 processor. I got the parts from a few different local suppliers in a Saturday morning. Mounted the computer afternoon. At the beginning of the night in the same day I had Windows 7 Ultimate installed and running. Ready to install the application programs. Everything worked fine and I had spent 35% than the expected solution based on Xeon processor I had insisted for a couple of months and finally gave up.

I prepared all parts to be overclocked (so I bought higher quality parts) but I used the regular clock speed for CPU and memory. I imagined if I run overclockable system at slower speed I would get more reliability at cost of some (potential) performance.

All looked very good to be true - so I expected some reliability problems, including BSOD for the next few months. I have used this computer intensively as well and for my big surprise it is so reliable as my previous Xeon workstation but muuuuch faster and cheaper.

I am surprised with Windows 7 reliability and, mainly, with the reliability of my 32GB non-ECC memory and my water cooled i7-3930K processor. No regrets, so far.

When I went to i7 solution I saw it as an interim solution. I planned to make an upgrade after the first year. I had intention to go for a "real" workstation based on Xeon processor made by a major manufacturer but I gave up, at last for the moment. Performance wise the CPU I have is quite close to the top end Xeon processors, actually higher than several of the current Xeons and I cannot see what benefits I could get from a Xeon processor for reliability also.

What is the point to go for a Xeon based workstation?

Your inputs are welcome. Thanks in advance.

Regards,

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O.Cristo - An Amateur Photographer
Opinions of men are almost as various as their faces - so many men so many minds. B. Franklin

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