Looking for a Second Opinion Before an Upgrade.

Started Dec 12, 2012 | Discussions thread
OP CBR1100XX Contributing Member • Posts: 694
Re: Looking for a Second Opinion Before an Upgrade.

Jim Cockfield wrote:

CBR1100XX wrote:

Since this is a big refresh for it I thought I'd lay out the plan here and see if there are any comments/recommendations before I pull the trigger since I'll be living with this as my main system for more 3 years. Its main purpose will be photo/design work and maybe video in the future when I pick up a D800.

Current specs are a Xeon "Bloomfield" W3540, 12GB of ECC RAM, NVIDIA FX580 Quadro, and the bottleneck is a 7,200 RPM 500GB drive.

I'm going to keep the processor since it looks like it would be 1,000+ to only get 20-30% increase in speed.

The graphics card I want to swap out with a consumer card, the NVIDIA GTX 660 since I want to go with 3 and sometimes 4 monitors. (The Quadro's are a lot more expensive and I don't think there's much benefit with my work)

HD is going for an SSD, probably around 250GB.

And the RAM I'm on the fence about but I'm guessing when I move to 32MP images having 24 GB of it will be a big help.

What kind of box is it?

That CPU performance is roughly equivalent to a Core i7 940. That's a dated processor design now (technology changes fast).

A newer Ivy Bridge CPU like a Core i7 3770 (a $300 CPU) is almost twice as fast as that Xeon model you have now.


Or, you could move into an even faster 6 Core Sandy Bridge E model like the Core i7 3930K (or equivalent Xeon processor like the E5-1650) for more.

Is it a name brand box, or a custom box? You'd need a Motherboard Swap to take advantage of a new CPU. Or you could just buy a new box instead.

Do you really need a Xeon and ECC memory? If not, a consumer grade CPU with equivalent performance using non ECC memory is a lot less money, and today's CPU designs are much faster than your older W3540 (and you could get a lot of non ECC memory for very little money now, too).

Plus newer Motherboards are typically equipped with faster SATA III (6Gbps) ports to take better advantage of the speed newer SSDs are capable of achieving (whereas most older boards are using slower SATA II ports)

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It's a Dell T3500 Workstation so the motherboard is proprietary (there are Xeons that are much faster that fit it, but they're the ones over 1k).  But trust me I know all too well about the speed coming from these new processors.  One of the main reasons I'm doing this is my ~400 dollar Dell refurb laptop currently is about on par where they trade off on top spots for each spec, and the CPU is slightly faster (i7-2670QM).

What you're suggesting would be basically building a box from scratch and if I did that I'd leave the Dell alone as a backup and buy a new case/PSU.  But thanks for the post since I haven't thought about how close at least in parts I am to that and it would be another good upgrade path in the future.  The issue is just cash on hand since I'm planning to also get a new 24" IPS monitor, a larger Wacom tablet, and a D800.

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