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Buying & Upgrading used workstations - first questions

Discussion in 'DIY Server and Workstation Builds' started by Twice_Shy, Dec 5, 2017.

  1. Twice_Shy

    Twice_Shy Member

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    Not 100% sure if i'm in the right category...

    So i'm considering a "new" (used) workstation... esp after sudden hardware failure literally on college finals week "worst of all possible times" making it clear I better start searching... and my understanding is just like ServeTheHome was to my knowledge the first site to start popularizing the use of ex-enterprise hardware for home servers (like SAS chassis/Expanders and such) being a better value than you can even DIY... the same may well apply to used workstations as well - with Xeon or Opteron cpu's and ECC RAM of DDR3 or even DDR2 era. Including because secondhand Xeon/Opterons seem WAY cheaper than any comparable desktop of past eras, and even used ECC RAM is far cheaper (1/3 to 1/5th, is that right??) than any new desktop RAM when I start wanting 16-32gigs, while being superior (the nature of ECC) for actual work where you leave things up 24/7 and are processing important things - CAD/CAM, video processing for days sometimes, etc.

    My understanding is it may make more sense to buy some place's used workstation and then upgrade whatever I want/need - mostly hard drives/software but possibly RAM if needed and video card - including to SSD's, consumer video cards, consumer hard drives and such. I would like to get in in the lower level of cost, with a plan to upgrade better in the future. (ie - might start with four cores and a single cpu even on a dual socket system if available, then throw in a pair of fast 6-8 cores later if it works like that/can scale up that much on the same board) Dont even know if overclocking is possible or needed... open to be schooled.

    Does anyone want to suggest good starting points for where to start this learning process? For comparison my current video workstation (for things like Adobe CC, and later will have to do some CAD) is a six core AMD Phenom II with 24gigs DDR3 - i'm curious what systems cost (starting with something not much slower even - just for a backup system potentially if it's super cheap) to things that are faster and at the peak of their value in relation to doing this kind of work. (ie i'm not sure how much faster a modern Skylake is but I wont be buying a Skylake... whats a good solid used system to go for... do I go dual socket? Do I go 4-6-8 core or something else?)

    I'm not sure where the value sweet spots are to where there's a solid power upgrade, vs the point where things get older and not really any cheaper. Not TOO worried about power consumption/not a huge issue - I don't plan to leave things up 24/7 anymore if I have multiple PC's in the future. (going to separate always-on tasks from workstation tasks) I dont really need a big cpu processing upgrade honestly (esp when alot is being done on GPU's more and more) - just steps towards redundancy and multiple seats so a downed computer doesn't muss up everything like it did the last few days. Thinking 3-4 workstations for 2 people (having 1-2 backups or something I can leave on all day processing 6k video from a Panasonic GH5 while starting another project).

    I may want to play around with client side virtualization - like having a standardized VMware session that I can load across more than one workstation - with enough additional RAM or whatever it requires (i'm guessing 8gig more, to my 24gig current workstation so maybe 32gig minimum target?) to run smoothly. Just something that if I have 'problems' in the future I can literally save the VM and load it up on a different workstation hardware without interrupting my work.
     
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  2. poutnik

    poutnik Member

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    HP Z420 workstation. I have one for the past 7 or so months and it is great. Just be careful when buying that some (older) versions don't support E5 V2 processors (mine does not - but I am was happy with E5-2660v1 and am very happy with e5-2643v1 now) - you can buy one with the cheapest processor (E5-2603) or be lucky enough to come across a good deal with a decent processor (E5-1650V2? different ones?).

    Should you need to expand the machine more, you could also consider HP Z620 (has add-in card with 2nd CPU) or HP Z820 (dual proc)...

    Edit: just recently, I have compared the price for used HP z420 workstation to DYI machine with new mainboard, new AMD Ryzen CPU, memory,... and the HP Z420 was at least 40% cheaper.
     
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  3. SeanFi

    SeanFi New Member

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    If you're on a budget, I've had good luck with Dell Precision T3500's. They are older tech, but you can put Westmere-era processors in them and they can hold a good amount of RAM. Here's an example:
    Xeon W3680 6 Hex Core @ 3.33GHz 6GB RAM No HDD Dell Precision T3500 | eBay

    Performance wise that's a hex core processor and will completely outshine a hex core Phenom II. They have 6 RAM slots, so conceivably you can put 48GB if you use 8GB modules, or 24GB using common 4GB modules. Naturally it won't be faster than newer systems, but it should get the work done for you. You can also put a decent graphics card in them for acceleration in Premiere.
     
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  4. Twice_Shy

    Twice_Shy Member

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    Well I will always be on a budget. :) But i'm not against spending a little more now for upgradeability so that I have a longer lifecycle in the future. Future RAM upgrade is a big one, ability to go to 64gigs would be nice, possibly even more - but it depends how much more it costs for that. I'm not an expert on which cpu's are which, but i'm okay with the idea of anything Nehalem and later supportable. It was a big jump over Core2Quad, and since then it's been diminishing increases by what I can tell. Overclocking would be GREAT but my understanding is that's generally only possible on consumer type boards, those of which can use Xeons get dumb expensive.... (if anyone knows a way around this, and some way to say get some 2.5ghz Nehalem and jack it to 4.0 ghz that's the kind of OC i'd love to do like if ppl have figured out hacks the way they used to, minor boosts aren't worth much to me but 60% in clockspeed is)

    I'm assuming everything will be LGA1366..? I mean i'm verifying my sporadic reading that seems to indicate that is where the great values are happening right now... nothing older worth it, newer stuff too expensive, nothing AMD really competitive for the price. Oh, maybe one reason to prefer Intel would be Hackintosh compatibility if anyone knows of workstations that work with OSX hacks, that's always preferred Intel, but may be irrelevant if there isn't known mobo support.


    Mostly i'm looking for a system that even used is probably more reliable than new cheapboard stuff, has solid upgradeability, and will outperform whatever I can throw together on a budget with new parts. (ie compare to I assume a new i3 based system it needs to be better than) That may only be at certain price points (maybe RAM 12gig plus, cpu over a given speed to outdo the newer i3 faster clock-for-clock) but i'm all ears to learn where the sweet spots are to buy in. I dont NEED six cores right away but i'd like four, especially the mobo compatibility for four fast ones, as I might do some mild LAN partying with some older games too and the older games I favor seem to like four fast more than 6-8 of slower.

    EDIT/NOTE: As I search for RAM for that Dell T3500 I see it's like 2.5x the cost for a Dell T5500 which is also a dual socket workstation... i'm willing to spend more for a different workstation to get cheaper RAM (ie i see 'registered memory' for less than half the cost) esp since i'm planning around the cost of the total package not just the starting box. Is ECC registered the cheapest of all RAMs buying used for instance?? I'd like to know more about the differences in product lines ie the (3500/5500/7500 for Dell what makes me choose one over another) and how relevant it is when buying years later and used like now.
     
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    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017
  5. Janiashvili

    Janiashvili Member

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    To be honest since the release of Ryzen I think there are really few options that makes sense to consider:

    The cheaper route:
    First gen Core i era dual Xeon build (i.e. i7-980 - Xeon 5600 series)
    (These costs include shipping)


    CPU: 2x 4 core 8 thread = 2x$6
    Motherboard: $40-$50 X8DTU or X8DTU-F
    Some sell them with a heatsink, some don't. So consider +$15 with best offer for two heatsinks.
    RAM: You can buy 32GB (8x4) kits for $30-35 with best offer (some agree to sell for that price)
    PSU: It's up to you to consider, but these boards need ~40Amps to boot; Official least expensive vacuum cleaner PSUs are:
    PWS-561-1H(or 1H20); PWS-562-1H/1H20; PWS-563-1H/1h20 (You can find them and buy for around 20USD with best offer) (But if you buy one of these you will probably need MOLEX to SATA Power connector and Molex to 6/8 pin PCIe connector);
    Fans

    Total: ?

    The 5500-5600 Xeons are tripple channel, and these boards have two memory slots per channel, so you'll be able to have 24GB per CPU.


    Pros: This is pretty cheap; Server/workstation grade features (I think they now are on any mid to high range motherboards, but 3 or more years ago they were unbelievable :D);
    Cons: You may not be able to use a case, these have SATA 2 (so no reason to have fast SATA SSDs); you may have to use a PCIe riser for graphics card, or you may have to saw off the "holder" support leg on graphics card..






    Or another route is to buy dual LGA2011 v1 board, in case you need up to 12 cores per CPU; but at the moment dual LGA2011 Motherboards are around $200, and 8 core CPUs are for sale for slightly above 100$, and 10 core CPUs could be had for inbetween 100 and 150 USDs.

    The RAM which you can buy for cheap (same 30-35$ for 8x4GB) are either 1066MHz or 1333MHz ones, price is at least twice as much for 1600MHz. But it's quad channel.


    And no, you can't normally overclock Xeons.



    So because of Ryzen there is not that much of a reason left to buy these used Xeons anymore.
    You can get 8 high speed cores for 300-350$, more than decent motherboard for 100$, RAM costs way more, you can remedy DDR4 speed by quad channel DDR3, but you will always know that the desktop motherboard is a desktop motherboard with whole lot of very important features that are usually cut out of server system. Often it's either USBs, almost always audio, amount of PCIe slots, could be all of them;

    Software rarely uses many threads, especially very established products like are most of CAD software, as do Adobe programs; small tasks almost always use a single thread (example - opening a list of assets), some tasks which were small ten years ago now are huge yet developers haven't updated these parts of software (for example opening a file, 10 years ago people made way "little" scenes/images/models than they do today, and these tasks are usually operated using a single thread); and while tasks which you had to wait for, now will take way less time with more cores (rendering, simulation); but daily usage could be more frustrating than modern desktop CPU because of lower speed of individual threads.

    I'm a 3D artist myself, rendering and such and even operating Unity engine is way better with 12 cores vs 4, but things which shouldn't have taken too much time originally, like using automatic UV Unwrappers, like importing 1GB .stl file in 3Ds Max... Seeing only 4% CPU utilization and waiting hours until one .stl object is imported...



    So basically you sacrifice comfort for a cheaper hardware.

    If it was today and somebody asked me which I'd choose - 2x8 core with this board that I have and 32 GB of RAM vs Ryzen 1600x, a B350 motherboard with 8GB RAM, I'd have chosen Ryzen...
    I'd have chosen Ryzen if mining wasn't as easy on Xeons as it turned out to be! :p
     
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  6. Janiashvili

    Janiashvili Member

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    Or you can one of these for 60$ and install two LGA2011 CPUs..


    QUANTA WINDMILL SYSTEM BOARD V1 WITH 10GbE ETHERNET HEATSINK | eBay
    (they say it's Windmill V1, which is dual LGA1366, but I contacted seller and says it's LGA2011, making it a Windmill V2)

    And figure out about the power connector.. (this forum has two long-lasting topics about these systems)

    Or this for $90 and simply put all of v12 from your PSU into red and all of ground into black wire:
    QUANTA WINTERFELL BAREBONE CHASSIS WITH HEATSINK SUPPORT XEON V1/V2 CPU | eBay

    (it's almost identical system but Windmills support up to Win 8.1 and similarly aged Linuxes)
     
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  7. i386

    i386 Active Member

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    I would stay away from proprietary workstations and build my own with "normal" components (eg fujitsu workstations use proprietary, non atx psus. If they fail it could be difficult to find a replacement on ebay).
    Also it should have at least pcie 3.0 so that a proper sas controller/hba or nvme ssd can be used without being bottlenecked.
     
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  8. nthu9280

    nthu9280 Active Member

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    Look at Dell Precision T5600 / T7600 line to get LGA2011 similar to HP Z420/ Z620 / Z820 lines. Both these lines are designed for CAD & heavy engineering type of apps / usage. Quick scan of Dells shows recent sales on ebay for ~300 with Processor and Mem.
     
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  9. poutnik

    poutnik Member

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  10. UncleDonut

    UncleDonut New Member

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    One thing to keep in mind if you're looking at the Dell Precision workstations is physical compatibility with graphics cards. Some of these chassis have very little space between the top of full-height cards and the chassis cover, so you might require a power adapter or two for a bigger graphics card. I've been using these systems at work for several years and they've been solid workhorses. They just have slightly odd quirks, like all workstation/server chassis. The Dell power supplies are proprietary, but also happen to be extremely simple to swap out.

    An important thing to keep in mind on these chassis is also the number of disk bays, or lack thereof. The Dell Precisions only have two bays for 3.5" disks in most cases. The larger T7600, T7810 and T7910 have 4 x 3.5" bays. They all have a single 5.25" bay and a slot for a slim optical drive.
     
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  11. Twice_Shy

    Twice_Shy Member

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    Wow, thanks for the detailed analysis. I'll do a line by line commentary separately later tonight, I just wanted to try and explain my position a little better.

    Part of my reason for considering the used workstation options are to take advantage of cheap RAM (and preferring the philosophy of ECC over nonECC as long as it works as advertised) once youre wanting 24-32tb with a plan for possibly more in the future. My other thinking was that hardware made to be used 24/7 for years would probably outlast even 'new' cheap chinaboard hardware despite starting multiple years old to begin. Whenever i've used well built hardware in the past, it becomes obsolete before it ever dies on me anyways. Buying new and cheap i've had multiple failures in the first 3 years sometimes board killing.

    One thing I dont fully understand is where the best ram deal is by which I mean cheap but unreliable is worthless. I saw some article suggesting ECC ram was unreliable (EDIT: here How to Build an 8-Core Gaming PC from Cheap Server Parts ) which 1) makes no sense why would they use it then, 2) the whole purpose of ECC was to be more reliable. ECC is even required for things like a ZFS file system because of it's need for reliability. There's also some FB-DIMM things I see posted for like $32-40 for 32gigs. Another thing I like about some of the workstation board is having lots of RAM slots, for the situations where the per-GB cost of RAM is lower for smaller RAM sticks, letting me throw in 12x 2gig or something...


    I'm not even inherently against going back to as old as LGA771 (and I could be probably sold on Opterons - i'm still using a Phenom II afterall as my main workstation without complaint, having more of the same performing cores I wouldn't gripe at esp with lots of RAM) - basically I need a couple of systems set up, with alot of RAM (to run the software at all), which let me throw cores at a problem since the per-clock isn't as fast. Nehalem is faster than C2Q but not twice as fast - i'm not saying 8 older cores is as desirable as 4 nehalem, just that speed right now is not the most imperative problem because i'm expecting to primarily be i/o limited anyways and i'm hoping to use newer GPU's with CUDA for certain operations that make the CPU much less relevant. I don't mind letting 1-2 computers just chugging away processing footage all day - whether it finishes in 16 hours or 32 hours is not that big of a deal because the work i'm doing is going to be very intermittent - i'm in school and it'll be things like processing something due a week later/plenty of advance warning. What I need is several PC's so I have the freedom to reboot, run other programs without interruption, and so forth.

    That said features only on a newer system may tip the balance and that's part of what i'm trying to learn about. (likewise features commonly on workstations that wont be on an AMD Threadripper may convince me as well - like out of band remote management/KVM being common on workstations and not so for consumer stuff)
     
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    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
  12. Twice_Shy

    Twice_Shy Member

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    I can get DDR3 for $30-35 for 32 gigs?? :p Is that just because of lowballing guys (like I could be even far cheaper with DDR2 or FBDIMM or whatever) or...

    My second biggest bottleneck for ANY project is expected to be RAM (first is I/O, scratchdisk use, those long processing sessions in Premiere and such for final rendering of a project) so i'm sensitive to RAM price when i'm considering kitting out multiple stations. Even old DDR2 RAM is faster than any SSD and similar - just having ENOUGH is my first goal. If cheap enough I might go to 36gb if I can (three 8's, three 4's).

    Not too worried about the case, i'd build one from wood if I had to. Have you seen the original 1999 Google server? Google "Corkboard" Server, 1999 I'm trying to solve problems on the absolute lowest budget possible - not necessarily the up front cost or per unit cost, but rather the total system cost, over an expected period of time, for a solution that can be upgraded ad hoc as the needs demand. Including things like some backup parts, or future replacements/upgrades and such. I don't care how it looks, I don't care what other people think of my solution, provided that it does exactly what it needs to until I can afford to do things properly and isn't unreliable.

    Again, i'd even roll back to LGA771 and DDR2 RAM _if_ I still have all the features I want/need and the RAM/cpu/other costs were significantly cheaper. I dont need a 16 core Threadripper right now, my AMD Thuban actually keeps up fine (or did until Windows 10 crapped and left me PC-less temporarily) - what I need are some basic backup workstations with alot of RAM and a clear upgrade path for when my intermittent load really does start taking too long and paying jobs are at hand instead of just school projects - then I jump from 4 to 8 or 12 or 16 total cores across two sockets for instance, and throw another 32gigs in and an SSD. Because I expect cash upon completion of the job making it worth it.


    I think the 2011's are a bit new for what I need - I was mostly eyeing Nehalems in the first place, with an openness to LGA771 and even Opteron if anyone can think of a use case to suggest. (quad socket with 16 cores per with the cheapest ram in the universe maybe?)

    I know the Xeon chips can overclock, just not the intel chipsets... but unless there's some hot source for an X58 type motherboard that can use Xeon chips, or some underground hack yeah i'm probably stuck at stock speeds.

    What i'm hoping is that this awareness will trickle into the market and drive it even lower - i'm considering getting these systems in spring or next summer at latest, not right now. By that point the economics i'm hoping will sway back to the Xeon for value.


    Well features is one of the reasons i'm still considering Xeon stuff, even though I should educate myself better and drill down more what exactly I need. I would like things like out-of-band remote management, my understanding is that is common in workstations, rare or expensive to add to desktops.

    Please expand on software NOT using more threads, I thought the whole point of nearly all modern software was to make use of 4+ for everything since that is how the wind has been changing..??

    Unity I havent yet used but I was hoping to eventually, that and UE4 for game development. One of the guys who will be borrowing my hardware would like to use AutoCAD and some engineering type software. Myself i'm primarily focused on visual and especially video processing - so my assumption has always been my bottleneck is the i/o to the hard drives and scratch drives it needs to mess with, plus however much fits in RAM. That's why i'm focused on cheap RAM. I'm hoping to be working alot more with 4k soon and perhaps 6k raw not long afterwards, was originally going to hopefully be shooting 8k footage but the option to shoot that is postponed until at least summer. And I want to be able to just put a dedicated PC to processing away at something until done - so I can reboot my main machine and either load up a second project or play games. :p
     
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  13. Twice_Shy

    Twice_Shy Member

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    I'm totally new to that, that or I forgot it what it's about, my only confusion is that it looks like there's only one usable slot for anything assumedly the graphics card... (though i'd probably rather have an SAS controller if it has on board graphics) I'm not against learning whats involved to run something like that as a slaved PC or meant for virtualization serving if I know where to start.


    Thanks for the tip... yes so far i'm not sure whats proprietary and what isnt. As a rule of thumb the most obvious information was available for Dells so i've been assuming I want a 5000 or 7000 line (as when searching for 3000 series RAM it's all twice as expensive.. but then I see postings for 5000/7000 that they run much cheaper ECC Registered RAM) plus are dual socket and i've been considering _400 _500 _600 models since even LGA771 might be usable to me, then obviously LGA1366 and LGA2011 all price dependant. What the equivalents are in other makers i'm not sure (better features, availability, cost) - something more universal and serviceable obviously desirable. No idea if Dells are or aren't.


    Are there reasons to prefer HP over Dell? Or anyone else over the Dells?


    Yes, if adapters exist for proprietary stuff i'm still all ears to considering those makers.


    I'd read elsewhere about the graphics cards but am not against using bitcoin style risers and cobbling up some mount for the cards if need be provided that works. I do want to use dual video cards in most workstations, possibly even SLI if I can - I like 3 monitors on everything, and if it could game some lesser stuff in the off time that's even better. I know quad monitors on one card exist but the cards cost notably more than my box full of dual output cheapo cards I already have paid for as well.

    Just two bays is fine, if its two 3.5" and somewhere else I can stick a 2.5" SSD even if there's just room in the case and I put it somewhere not designed for it but able to hold it that's even better, but dual HD's and a small SSD is is the most i'd plan to use in any of the workstations anyways so far.
     
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  14. K D

    K D Active Member

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    Not to be rude, but what are you trying to achieve here? I understand the concept of maximizing her dollar but you start with a predefined goal and then work towards it on that case. What your time and effort as well as the data in your system are worth is something that only you can decide.

    I was looking at a recent post of yours where you were stuck with a failed system 24 hrs before a critical project was due.

    I know you blamed windows but you were running Windows 10 on a 8 year old technology (I believe Thuban was released in 2010). You are certainly leaving yourself open to such incidents on the future.


    You have mentioned in previous posts that you are looking to store and edit terabytes of 4k video, you have mentioned Autocad, virtulalization, needing multiple graphics cards.


    I would recommend that you decide what is it you plan to do with the setup, look at the configuration needed for all the software you need and fix a minimum viable configuration and go from there because right now it looks like you are all over the place without a finite goal.


    Again this is just my 2c. Good luck.
     
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  15. Twice_Shy

    Twice_Shy Member

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    The first step out of 'computer poverty' - ie lacking the hardware to do what I will be needing to do in the not so far off future.


    I know... the equivalent of "*eyeroll*... whys the homeless guy asking questions at the business office? isn't he clearly out of his league?" Hindsight is 20/20 but things like deferred maintenance and the best laid plans just have a way of stacking up on you when you're not looking... Why is someone complaining of petty problems even asking questions about normally pricey enterprise grade solutions? All I can say is that i'm in the process of fixing things, alot of things, and having multiple redundant computers all capable of running the same software is step one from preventing that from happening ever again.


    Yes, thank you for paying attention, all of those things ARE on the table to be explored. :) If you want the short version of why i'm asking so many questions in so many directions:

    - This is not solely for ME, I am just sort of the "shoe in" computer tech for a small group of impoverished creatives (mostly students). It's not just my need and wont be just my budget, it's more like others agreed "well if you can help me get the ability to work on X i'll pitch in a few hundred dollars or a % of each paycheck I use your stuff on".

    - Most things we want to do are self funding. So a guy I know who wants to shoot some wedding videos, he maybe has the work but not the hardware/software. If I provide the hardware/use of software, I get paid a bit to help the next upgrade. I've already missed a bunch of 'little jobs' like this because I didn't have things ready in time to be used by others - things like if I can afford to get say a dSLR, I have several friends with personal projects they want to do who promised i'll get the camera rental fee so it will rapidly pay for itself. Use of the computers will be the same. I'd have all this stuff up and running already it's just life gets in the way sometimes.


    On my strategy and if you want to know my 'plan' - step one is that everyone needs data backup, so the LTO Ultrium writing box is literally the first thing needed to prevent anyone from having a data outage ruin anything ever again. That was literally the reason for my name here and I think I said so in my early posts - massive data loss by having more data than I knew what to do with or back up.

    I already have the hardware for that box minus the tape drive, i've just been too too busy to put it together until at least xmas break. Then comes the workstations maybe in spring (which i'm researching now, a bit haphazardly maybe but it's months off) to stop hot-seating over who can use Adobe CC at the same time (when I was offline so was a second frustrated person), so that no matter how much data we generate, it all gets backed up right to tape drive. Then comes the NAS for shared data hopefully no later than next summer - ready to grow to whatever size is needed by jobs that come in, and ready to be backed up to tape as they do.


    [EDIT]Most problems I ask of and am trying to solve by posting here amount to figuring out "how do I get in on the ground floor of for fairly minimal cost, but be able to grow to whatever the need is on-the-fly without having to rethink the strategy?" In the past I was painted into a corner - a box of dozens of 3tb drives until I ran out of drive letters (was on Z then added a few more) before catastrophe. I then researched FreeNAS ZFS but everyones answer was impossible to implement on my budget. Thanks to this place I learned about building a NAS with SnapRAID and SAS Expanders which give me a definitive solution to a specific problem whether it's just me editing video now or six of us with 300TB of active video online - it can scale to anything. It's SOLVED, at least strategically I mean/I can conceive of no use case it wont cover definitively, I just have to build it, and first I need the tape backup to avoid a site catastrophe. Now i'm just trying to solve other things (in terms of strategy and planning future upgrades) equally as definitively.


    Hopefully in a year i'll be able to look back and explain why it's been such a dragged out struggle but maybe have something to contribute back by that point - some things I suggested elsewhere already got a few eyerolls by I assume people that didn't understand what I was trying to do but i'm hoping by then i'll be on the other side of the problem i'm trying to solve and have made a video about it. If you want me to I can send you a few private links to video projects i'm already working on and I can also explain why they are temporarily private instead of public links as well. (aside from that I don't trumpet every going on in my life on public forums to begin with because I doubt most are interested, most of us are just there to help each other solve problems :) )
     
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    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
  16. i386

    i386 Active Member

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    Socket 771:
    pcie v1, ddr2, max 4 cores/cpu @ 3.3ghz with a 10year old architecture, max 48gb
    With such old hardware you will pay more for power than for the hardware and you don't have the ability to use more than 48gb ram or to get more computing power.
    Low priced hardware, but high total costs without a chance for upgrades.
     
    #16
  17. Janiashvili

    Janiashvili Member

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    Hi Twice_Shy,

    I think you misunderstood what K D meant to say; it's that you should know what exactly you may need.

    Thing is with server/cheap hardware you get to sacrifice a lot, and some features so to say give certain benefits to certain applications.

    For example, application that can utilize AVX cpu extention get up to four times speed vs without AVX, in CAD it's rendering (raytracing)

    This was sole reason I choose LGA2011 vs LGA1366 which would cost 4 times less.


    I'd really suggest LGA1366 and ddr3 over LGA771 and DDR2; price is about the same, but you want to use that computer, not just have for a storage system, right?
    Supermicro X8DTs (x - xeon, 8 - 8gen, D - dual, T - LGA1366), a lot of X8DTT-Fs are for sale at ebay (F is IPMI)
    These have three usable PCIe 2.0 slots... x16, x8 and x4.. depending on task these could be sufficient.

    It wont have an audio so you will have to use graphics card's HDMI/DisplayPort for audio; etc.

    Some of Adobe apps strongly favor strong single core, and etc.

    And so on, and so on.

    Buying modern desktop or workstation platform you know that you have everything at hand and maybe all are mid range, but overal sum is greater than individual parts
     
    #17
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
    K D likes this.
  18. Twice_Shy

    Twice_Shy Member

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    ...and if I had it already I wouldn't have had a logjam crisis on Xmas. :p It's comparable to the Phenom II i've been using, just absolutely no better. Plus don't think i'll need more than 48gb even for Adobe CC in 2019-2020 by which point I can hopefully upgrade.

    My CURRENT and UNAVOIDABLE/REQUIRED video work is NOT demanding because i've only been doing shorts at 1080p resolution for class, the worst Premiere render-out time I had was about an hour so far for a four minute short though that was also real simple crossfades and edits and i'm aware it could get alot longer with stacked effects. Several times both me and the GF wished we had three seats because we were both needing to work on a project right then and two could bake away video while a third runs non-Premiere video apps working on some other part of the project. Lacking a faster unit has cost me missing some OPTIONAL minor pay work but it's more important that I not screw up on any of the REQUIRED work. Better two PC's that can finish a job to insure the job gets done than one faster one which might crap out, like it did, last week.

    FWIW the time I tried to use 4k raw source material it choked enough that I went back to 2k compressed for the project, which was okay for the class I was in which only presented things on the 1080p projector. I would like to not be forced to do that though. If I could let it just clunk away for 24 hours without it taking away my ability to edit the next part of the project I wouldn't have downrezzed and would have future proofed that project for the portfolio but it had to get done at the last moment.


    I probably did, and please i'm hoping nobody gets offended or annoyed at me asking all my questions all the time because that isn't my goal. I know i'm ambitious, I know i'm sometimes asking too much from too little, and usually trying to pinch every penny until it screams. But if I do not understand WHY something wont work i'm tempted to try it until I learn or figure it out. Once I understand the exact nature of the barrier i'm trying to overcome I can usually say "Oh." and move on.


    See THAT is understanding the exact nature of the barrier and thank you for pointing it out to me. :p I am aware that newer instruction sets can dramatically accelerate certain applications. So what you're saying is that this probably wont affect me in Premiere, but would in 3D Studio. (though my next question wonders if it be a fourfold improvement vs a fourfold platform cost increase?) Other variables potentially include things like eyeing those incredibly cheap Quanta Windmill boards if there is some way to set them up as a rendering desktop, whether i'd have to VNC into it or how it'd work since I thought they were meant to be headless. There the cost differential is minor enough that i'd just say heck with it. But at a fourfold cost difference i'm still bean counting probably.


    To try and explain my headspace... the biggest thing i'm always trying to do is to first gain a CAPABILITY and then focus about the SCALABILITY. What I mean is that for instance, I should have three workstation seats minimum at home and not one. (in the past i've said 3-6, it's because of a few guys talking about becoming roommates who also happen to want to work on projects with me, so that's still the range I expect over the next ~3 years or so) Two people work on video regularily in classes, and having one as a backup/slave machine to process away. Even if it's an LGA771 with 24gigs it's enough to run Premiere as well as my current Phenom II. Is it fast enough? Yes actually for the shorts in 1080p so far. Once we start doing longer projects of higher quality with more effects I expect it to take longer but by then hardware costs will have dropped more.

    So in the meanwhile am I willing to pay the power bill to complete the project - yes - because it's an intermittent load, "on demand", and only as needed. I wont get bottlenecked, or fall into a situation of "I cant complete the project on time ruining my grade, or for a pay project my reputation" I just have to throw electricity at it at 8c/kwh. When electrical bills start significantly eating into the profit of a video job it needs another look - but cpu's are NOT the biggest power hogs anyways, GPU's and spinning rust in an always on NAS at idle usually are once you need too much storage. I'm considering older cpu, newer gpu to start, and keeping alot of data in a tape library instead of a NAS for now. Both will plunk happily to a newer cpu when that is the bottleneck and next power reduction target.

    At the point when I know I have (x) computing resources, constantly processing away (say were rendering out a 3d movie and the system has to stay up for MONTHS) then I try to figure out what it costs in electricity to render out on a Skylake vs a Core 2 Quad, figure out my Return on Investment timeframe of power bill savings vs hardware upgrade cost, and if I can afford the upgrade drop the coin on it. But otherwise the few hundred saved here or there goes to the savings fund for like the Panasonic GH5 i'd really like to get. Or lenses for it. Or an online instructional course that will take me to the next level.


    Oh I definately prefer LGA1366 and DDR3 and PCIE 2.0 if the RAM price is similar (to my observation it was not from ebay perusal), i'm less sold on LGA2011 for the money just yet, and anything newer than LGA2011 hasn't had convincing benchmarks for performance only for power savings. I've just made a point of showing i'm almost open to anything IF the price drops low enough, better to be in on the ground floor than not in the building at all. For all the concern of power use, thats multiplied by power on work hours per year - if the latter figure is low enough it doesn't matter as much whether my cpu uses 120w or 60w or 30w. Especially when my GPU was using 300w until very recently - I save more kitting things out with a 1060GTX at 150w TDP for GPU accelerated apps than I do using even the newest CPU socket with an older 780 Ti, dont I? I mean if my logic is flawed please correct me - i'm trying to learn. Thats why i'm so wordy, trying to explain the level of my understanding hoping if there is a flaw someone can point it out without too much ridicule.

    Which Adobe apps favor single core btw and actually have cpu speed as a bottleneck? (wont use an SSD, not gpu accelerated, etc)

    If I could make a desktop out of the Quanta Windmill boards I might ditch GPU accel entirely for those prices since it only accelerates some things anyways. (or is it able to use a GPU as an accelerator?)
     
    #18
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
  19. Janiashvili

    Janiashvili Member

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    DDR 3 - some sellers agree to 30$ on 8x4GB

    Windmill has 1 x16 PCIe slot
    2 USB 2.0, 2 SATA, turn on/off button, restart button. Check out "Quanta Open..... Deal" in Deals category on the forum.


    About Adobe - do your own Googling mate
    It's either Premiere or AE as I recall, or both in some ways. But do your own Googling :)
     
    #19
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
  20. Twice_Shy

    Twice_Shy Member

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    Well I wasn't aware of anything obvious but apparently After Effects has some single core bottlenecks though I rarely use that at this point, I don't see much listed for Premiere.

    Honestly if I could throw together a Windmill based workstation that might well be perfect - new enough Sandy Bridge cpu's, sounds like I can throw at least 128gigs there, if I literally see prices of $30 per 32gigs i'd just say the heck with it and go to 128gigs right away and not look back - I just considered those prices unattainable so was designing around RAM price bottlenecks.

    I read through the 33 page Windmill deals discussion but questions i'm still left with are what's the newest supported videocard (someone reports a 950 GTX, my goal would be a 1050 GTX Ti and i'd be fully content with that for the time being - faster better even if an external PSU were needed), whether the system can work with only one cpu socket populated (if I want to upgrade later - i'd be tempted to kit out boards inexpensively on the cpu's to start and wait for prices to drop further honestly since they always seem to be trending down), and just how reliable it is to put together a working system. Reports of Win 7 working vs not working, a certain video card supported or not supported gives me a little hesitation. I'm also for having two nodes in the same box since one of the goals was two PC workstations per person - one for background processing processes powered up on demand plus the 'foreground' PC for continuing setting up other edits and such for instance.

    I could quite happily design around a Windmill system if there's a good reliability of putting together a system where all the drivers and such work with something like the 1050 card. That would make me skip most talk of trying to cheap out with much older hardware because the price entry points for the performance i'm totally content with.
     
    #20
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