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View Full Version : Pre-built workstations in UK?



stevecullum
07-11-2010, 09:58 AM
I going to need to replace my Dell workstation shortly and just wondered if anyone has got some links to suppliers.

I've already looked at Dell, HP, Armari and Workstation Specialists. Any others to consider?

Amari Dual 6 CORE/12GB is looking like good value at just over 3k. Would prefer to get the same for less if possible though. :D

cresshead
07-11-2010, 11:04 AM
by a mac pro and install windows on it ...and add in a graphics card of your choice...

stevecullum
07-11-2010, 11:22 AM
by a mac pro and install windows on it ...and add in a graphics card of your choice...

Thats worth considering. Do they even do dual 6 core though, when I looked last time it was Dual quad only...

StereoMike
07-12-2010, 02:18 AM
Did I remember right, that Apple doesn't use the latest i7 cpus? Related to nvidia not being allowed to supply mainboard chipsets for i7/i5 and thus Apple being stuck on still supported cpus like core2duo etc?

I build my i7930 @4ghz with ssd and qualitiy components for around 1000€-1200€ (can't remember the exact amount, cause i bought some external hdds and other stuff aswell).

You can save alot of money, when you build it yourself, but you have to spend some time (even days) till everything you need is in place. It's a tradeoff, time versus money.

mike

Lightwolf
07-12-2010, 03:04 AM
Did I remember right, that Apple doesn't use the latest i7 cpus? Related to nvidia not being allowed to supply mainboard chipsets for i7/i5 and thus Apple being stuck on still supported cpus like core2duo etc?
The Pros do (but not the 6-core ones yet), as do the higher end MacBooks and the 27" iMac.

Looking at the prices It might make more sense to get a single CPU 6-core from Intel than a dual socket MacPro for that price though (with more than a little spare change left over...).

Cheers,
Mike

Matt
07-12-2010, 03:22 AM
These guys do workstations:

www.scan.co.uk

But seriously, build your own, it's dead easy and you save a bundle, I've built two PCs now and I've not had one problem.

The one system I had built for me was fraught with issues.

Twisted_Pixel
07-12-2010, 03:59 AM
You could also have a look at http://overclockers.co.uk/

Like Matt I've built my own. Though I can see the appeal of, it arrives and you turn it on.

Oh and I can also vouch for Scan, I use them for most of my parts.

TheDynamo
07-12-2010, 10:45 AM
I recently purchased a HP pavillion elite (190t back then, they changed the model number I think to 390 now) a couple months ago with a i7 980x and 12GB of Ram for about $2200. I ran the latest Cinebench on it and compared it to the Nehalem 8 core 2.26 GHz Mac Pro I have at work. It came in roughly 17% faster than the Mac did. I think it comes in around the same speed the mid level Mac Pro runs at (2.66 GHz).

It works really well in After Effects too. Ultimately later on (2-3 years or so) I plan on buying a motherboard/PSU/Cooling Fan/CUDA video card so I can overclock it but for now it works really well, particularly at 3.33 GHz.

-Rob

Matt
07-12-2010, 11:59 AM
Oh and I can also vouch for Scan, I use them for most of my parts.

Same here, they're very good.

sampei
07-12-2010, 12:47 PM
alienware ? lenovo ?

stevecullum
07-12-2010, 02:05 PM
But seriously, build your own, it's dead easy and you save a bundle, I've built two PCs now and I've not had one problem.

Its once bitten, twice shy for me in regard to build your own. I used to build them myself, and the first one is still running now, after 5 years. But the most recent home brew creation, gave me some grey hairs! It had been working great for 18 months and right in the middle of a job, with a tight deadline it started blowing up. Not starting up, threading errors, bluescreens, then a final death. Didn't have time to track down the cause, so I was forced by an off the shelf Dell, just to finish the job on schedule.

Still, it might be worth re-considering now, as I have this Dell as a backup...

crashnburn
07-12-2010, 07:21 PM
I have built both my PCs, aswell as all my PCs for the last 10-12years. The only fails I have had is a couple of power supplies, but I always have a spare.....just incase. If you build your own, just make sure you buy the best powersupply and motherboard you can afford, then you have the basis for a good system. I've got core2 system and an i7 system. If one goes down, I switch to the backup. A NAS helps bigtime for central storage.

stevecullum
07-13-2010, 11:53 AM
I have built both my PCs, aswell as all my PCs for the last 10-12years. The only fails I have had is a couple of power supplies, but I always have a spare.....just incase. If you build your own, just make sure you buy the best powersupply and motherboard you can afford, then you have the basis for a good system. I've got core2 system and an i7 system. If one goes down, I switch to the backup. A NAS helps bigtime for central storage.

Any suggestions on mobo and psu? Who makes the most reliable ones...thanks.

crashnburn
07-13-2010, 12:08 PM
Asus and Gigabyte both make very good motherboards. I've had 3 Gigabyte motherboards without a single issue. Both my PC's have them, a GA-965P-DQ6 with a core2 processor and an X58A-UD3R with an i7 920. The DQ6 I have had since early 2007 and had not a single hitch. The UD3R I've had for around 3 months and it works nicely. It's got excellent performance for the price. You can spend more, but expect diminishing returns.

As far as powersupplies go I recently purchased a Cheiftec which has had no hitches so far and is modular. I have had another Chieftec before that came in the Chieftec case I bought around 8 years ago and the guy that bought that pc off me is still on the same power supply. Other than that I tend to use Corsair. Avoid at all cost the dirt cheap power supplies, I would only use one of those in a cheap pc for the net or whatever.

crashnburn
07-13-2010, 12:09 PM
BTW, the UD3R will take the six core processor.

stevecullum
07-13-2010, 12:33 PM
If I build my own, then I can probably afford higher spec then buying off the peg. Wonder when those 12 core Opterons will be available? Two of those would be quite nice... :)

vncnt
07-13-2010, 01:07 PM
Make sure USB 3.0 is supported (@ full speed) by your next motherboard and lots of PCI-e slots.

Blackmagic Design is currently shipping very interesting USB 3.0 products, like the Ultra Studio Pro for uncompressed 10-bit 4:2:2 video editing and HD-SDI & HDMI in/out.
In this case Intel x58 is vital, check out their website for compliant motherboards:
* ASUS P6X58D-Premium
* ASUS P6X58D-E
* Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD7
* Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD5

Even if you're just going to use it as a rendernode you might want to choose a Blackmagic Design compliant motherboard, just in case.

stevecullum
07-13-2010, 06:53 PM
Thanks for the motherboard info. Do gigabyte even do dual processor versions? Not seen many...

Lightwolf
07-14-2010, 01:11 AM
Thanks for the motherboard info. Do gigabyte even do dual processor versions? Not seen many...
Nope, most of the biggers brand seem to gradually pull out of dual socket boards recently. Probably because they're becoming more and more of a niche (it doesn't even make much sense for a "normal" workstation nowadays unless you really have money to burn).
If you want a dual, Tyan or Supermicro are the way to go, Intel boards are good as well (usually a bit short on extras though).

Cheers,
Mike

stevecullum
07-14-2010, 01:00 PM
Probably because they're becoming more and more of a niche (it doesn't even make much sense for a "normal" workstation nowadays unless you really have money to burn).

Well it occur to me to maybe build a couple of rack-able render nodes and just buy a more powerful gfx card for my existing machine....mmm decisions, decisions...

Lightwolf
07-14-2010, 01:07 PM
....mmm decisions, decisions...
:D Fun, innit?

Cheers,
Mike

stevecullum
07-14-2010, 01:31 PM
Fun, innit?

Yep - but the real fun will start when I'm up to my ears in boxes from Scan trying to build 3 or 4 rackmount units for the first time. I suspect there are a few 'gotchas' to be aware of with these...

Lightwolf
07-14-2010, 02:04 PM
Yep - but the real fun will start when I'm up to my ears in boxes from Scan trying to build 3 or 4 rackmount units for the first time. I suspect there are a few 'gotchas' to be aware of with these...
Noise. The more dense (and small) they are the louder they get.

Cheers,
Mike

TheDynamo
07-15-2010, 10:53 AM
Racks are notorious for fan noise. Most folks I know who operate using them keep them in another room because of that. I'm not sure if anyone makes liquid cooling rack units but that might be worth looking into.

-Rob

stevecullum
07-15-2010, 11:59 AM
Considering some small micro ATX cubes instead of racks. If I buy decent fans, hopefully the noise will be at a minimum.

The Dommo
07-16-2010, 03:08 AM
I'd definitely recommend these guys:
http://www.ipworkstations.com/

Preset or totally custom built machines. The guys there were formerly XWorks Interactive who won loads of awards for their machines.

Actually I believe their systems power one of the UK's top renderfarms too.

Hieron
07-16-2010, 07:21 AM
I always build my workstations myself, kinda enjoy it as well. Building half a renderfarm in a hurry with a deadline coming up: less fun.

stevecullum
07-16-2010, 01:57 PM
I'd definitely recommend these guys:
http://www.ipworkstations.com/

I tried that site link, but it times out. The xwork interactive site is still there though. Did they leave and create a new co or have they gone back to their original name perhaps?

The Dommo
07-18-2010, 06:10 PM
Try the InterPro url link again - maybe their webhosts were having a bad day. I clicked the actualy linked I posted and it worked fine for me just now.

I don't know the ins and outs, however, the guys who set up XWorks left and created InterPro at that link. If you phone them, ask for Brian Lee and say I sent ya.

TYPICALLY I've built all my own custom workstations since 1999 or so, and love doing it. When we got our machines from XWorks, it was because we didn't have much time to build our own due to huge projects ongoing and a company relocation, it just wasn't feasible. However, I got XWorks at the time to quote on my custom rig and even Dell couldn't match the price.

I did try to beat them down on price even further but Brian told me he wished he could, but he needed to be able to feed the dog at home. I enjoyed the humour!

As I know the main / original guys set up InterPro, I'd recommend them now over XWorks, as I don't know what's happening at XWorks now, and InterPro systems have already won rave reviews and accolades.

stevecullum
07-19-2010, 12:10 PM
Thanks, but still got some issues here!

They sound promising, so I'll try the site again tomorrow...

Lightwolf
07-19-2010, 12:13 PM
Thanks, but still got some issues here!

They sound promising, so I'll try the site again tomorrow...
It works here...

Cheers,
Mike

stevecullum
07-19-2010, 01:02 PM
Bizzare. Seems to work ok with IE but not FireFox.

But at least I can see their options now. :)

Lightwolf
07-19-2010, 01:50 PM
Bizzare. Seems to work ok with IE but not FireFox.

But at least I can see their options now. :)
Apparently anything but FF, I tried Opera, Chrome, Safari and IE.

Cheers,
Mike