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Help - Wanting to upgrade 3x office computers, specifically GPU and RAM.

Edit: Added the CPU and specified how many more memory slots are available for each PC.

Approximate Purchase Date: 1x PC = 2 years ago, 2x PC = 5+ years ago (these were donated to us)

Budget Range: Currently unknown. If possible, 500/1000/1500 USD upgrade options would be helpful.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Data processing and 3D image rendering. Software that will largely be used are Matlab and Schlumberger geophysical software, specifically Petrel and Techlog.

Are you buying a monitor: Unsure. At most, 2x 27" monitors. Don't have to be anything special beyond having adjustable mounts.

Parts to Upgrade: GPU and RAM

The PCs we're specifically using are as follows.

PC 1


PC 2


PC 3


Do you need to buy OS: No

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: No preference

Location:

City = Lubbock
County = Lubbock
State = Texas
Country = United States

Parts Preferences: No preference

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: No

Your Monitor Resolution: N/A

Additional Comments: None

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: We have some extra money to improve some of the PCs in our computer lab. Hopefully these upgrades would let us reduce the runtime of some of our programs, as one student's work currently takes 2-3 days to process.
5 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about wanting upgrade office computers specifically gpu ram
  1. You already have quite a bit of RAM in each of these boxes. Do you know if you are maxing out the RAM??? Which CPUs do you have in these? A CPU swap might be a good choice.

    The FX GPUs are pretty old and they could use an upgrade to a K2200 or similar. Possibly a TESLA coprocessor would help if you have CUDA code.

    SSDs would be an obvious choice to potentially speed things.

    Are these three PCs used in a cluster? What about improving connectivity between them or between them and storage?
  2. Trubothedwarf,

    PC3: In my view, PC3, the Dell Precision T5810 has a very good specification already- that's DDR4-2133 ECC RAM and 64GB is probably sufficient, but if you are running Schlumberger geophysical for resources analysis with very large datasets 128GB would be suitable. The concern is whether the RAM slots are already filled which would than involve removing the smaller modules.

    The Specifications sheet lists the power supply as 685W or 425W.

    The GPU could be replaced by a Quadro M4000 (8GB) which has extraordinary 3D capabilities, but for Matlab, you might consider adding a Tesla CUDA coprocessor. New ones are very expensive,, but a used one can be very inexpensive, for example a 6GB, 512CUDA core M2090 is only $120 or so- $2,600 new. If the T5810 is the visualization system involving rendering than consider a Quadro M4000 and transfer the K2200 to a second tier system.

    PC1,PC2: Since 2010 I've have a Precision T5400 with 2X Xeon X5460 4-cores @ 3.16GHz /16GB RAM (DDR2-667 ECC) / Quadro FX 4800 1.5GB. A friend borrowed the T5400 to sun some flight dynamics problems in Matlab and one of the problems took more than 2days running time. The problem with the Precision TX400 series is that the CPU's are not hyperthreading and limited to 4-cores, the RAM is hot running DDR2 at 667MHz, and the disk system is very limited.

    The systems could be improved with:

    1. change to dual Xeon E5450 if not the the current processor
    2. Maximizing Ram to 128GB (16 X 8GB)
    3. Quadro M4000 (8GB)
    4. PCIe 6GB/s RAID controller e.g., LSI MR9240
    5. SSD for OS, programs, and working files: Samsung 850 Evo 250 GB
    6. SATAIII enterprise storage drives: Seagate Constellation ES.3

    However, instead of investing in improving theT7400's, my suggestion is to sell those systems and buy a pair of used T5500, T7500's, or budget permitting, T7600's. These use dual hyperthreading CPUs, up to 6-core @ 3.47 / 3.73GHz (X5690) and the RAM is DDR3-1333 ECC registered and the T7600 can use Xeon E5-2600's with up to 14 cores and 4.0GHz and DDR3-1866 RAM. The power supply of the T7500 is 1100W.

    DDR2 RAM is extremely hot running and of course the 667 is half the speed of the TX500 series RAM. And, LGA1366 CPU's currently have the highest cost /performance ratio of any Xeon.

    A T7500 is not very expensive:

    Dell Precision T7500 Workstation two Six Core Xeon X5670 48GB 1tb > Buy It Now $800

    And that particular one has a pair of an excellent LGA1366 Xeons, the X5670 which is a 6-core @ 2.93 /3.33 GHz and 48GB RAM

    Or, a pair of the Xeon X5680 6-core @ 3.33 /3.6GHz:

    Dell Precision T7500 2x 3.33GHz Six Core X5680 24GB RAM No HDD No OS > Buy It Now $760 or offer

    Add to this kind or system:

    1. Add RAM to 48GB
    2. A Quadro K620 and if there is 3D modeling, the K2200 is minimum
    3.Also, a PERC H310 RAID controller to convert the disk system to 6GB/s and add a 250GB SSD and suitable storage drives in RAID 1.

    I have a Precision T5500 (875W PSU, 2 drives bays instead of 4) with a pair of X5680 and the Passmark CPU score is 15047. Comparitively, the highest CPU rating of a T7400 on Passmark is 9534 from a pair of Xeon E5450 running at 3.6GHz. The top CPU score for a T7500 is 15972 (2X X5690) The highest memory score for a T7400 is 1001 (26GB) and for a T7500, the top memory score is 2589 (24GB)

    I would go so far as to say, if the budget is tight, leave the T5810 as is and put all of the funds for upgrades into changing the T7400's into T7500's or aT5500's with a pair of Xeon X5670's : (6-core @ 2.93 /3.33Ghz):

    Dell Precision T5500 Workstation 2x 2.93GHz Hex Core X5670 24GB RAM 1TB HD Win7 > Buy it Now $555 or offer

    The top CPU score for a T5500 with 2X Xeon X5670 is 14130.

    If however, the budget is more generous, change to a pair of used Dell Precision T7600 with a pair of Xeon E5-2690 (8-cores @ 2.9 / 3.8GHz. Passmark CPU score up to 22884) - Very fast CPU's, disk system and memory. This is a reasonably priced project - $2,000 with a Quadro K4200. The E5-2680 (8-core @ 2.7 /3.6GHz is also very good;

    DELL T7600 PRECISION WORKSTATION W7 TWO E5-2680 2.70GHZ 8GB 2 X 500GB H310 QUADRO > Buy It Now $1,399

    The T7600 with a pair of E5-2690's has a Passmark score of up to 20974.

    There are a lot of possibilities, but the certainty is that the T7400 as high quality and reliable as that series was designed, it is not up to current, complex, multithreaded, dynamic analysis.

    If a budget limit is provided, a more specific, optimized recommendation is possible.

    Cheers,

    BambiBoom

    b]Modeling:

    1. HP z420 (2015) > Xeon E5-1660 v2 (6-core @ 3.7 / 4.0GHz) > 32GB DDR3 1866 ECC RAM > Quadro K4200 (4GB) > Intel 730 480GB (9SSDSC2BP480G4R5) > Western Digital Black WD1003FZEX 1TB> M-Audio 192 sound card > 600W PSU> > Windows 7 Professional 64-bit > Logitech z2300 speakers > 2X Dell Ultrasharp U2715H (2560 X 1440)>
    [ Passmark Rating = 5064 > CPU= 13989 / 2D= 819 / 3D= 4596 / Mem= 2772 / Disk= 4555] [Cinebench R15 > CPU = 1014 OpenGL= 126.59 FPS] 7.8.15

    Pending upgrade: HP /LSI 9212-4i PCIe SAS /SATA HBA RAID controller, 2X Seagate Constellation ES.3 1TB (RAID 1)

    Rendering:

    2. Dell Precision T5500 (2011) (Revised) > 2X Xeon X5680 (6 -core @ 3.33 / 3.6GHz), 48GB DDR3 1333 ECC Reg. > Quadro K2200 (4GB ) > PERC H310 / Samsung 840 250GB / WD RE4 Enterprise 1TB > M-Audio 192 sound card > Logitech z313 > 875W PSU > Windows 7 Professional 64> HP 2711x (27", 1920 X 1080)
    [ Passmark system rating = 3844 / CPU = 15047 / 2D= 662 / 3D= 3550 / Mem= 1785 / Disk= 2649] (12.30.15)

    3. Office:

    [bDell Precision T3500 (2011) (Rev 2) Xeon X5677 4-core @ 3.46 / 3.73GHz > 12GB (6X 2GB) DDR3-1333 ECC > Quadro 4000 (2GB) > PERC 6/i + Seagate 300GB 15K SAS ST3300657SS + WD Black 500GB > 525W PSU> Windows 7 Professional 64-bit > 2X Dell 19" LCD
    [Passmark system rating = 2751, CPU = 7236 / 2D= 658 / 3D=2020 / Mem= 1875 / Disk=1221]

    __________________________________________
    CPU's for Dell Precision series Tx500: LGA1366 CPU’s:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Intel_Xeon_microprocessors

    http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu_list.php

    http://ark.intel.com/products


    4-Core: Passmark CPU Average Ebay_12.13.15

    _X-5500 series (8MB cache / 45nm / 95W_ 2009)

    I. X5550 2.67 / 3.06 _5422
    II. X5560 2.8 / 3.2 _5442
    III. X5570 2.93 / 3/33 _5638 _$14 > $45
    IV. X5590 3.33 / 3.6 _9216 _$37 >

    _X-5600 series 32nm/ 8MB/ 95W_ 2011)

    I. X5647 2.93 / 3.2 _5996
    II. X5667 3.07 / 3.46 _4655 _$16 > $40
    III. X5672 3.2 / 3.6 _5148 _$45 > $87
    IV. X5677 3.46 / 3.73 (130W)_7046 _$33 > $80
    V. X5687 3.6 / 3.86 _7217 _$70 > $130

    6-Core

    _X-5600 series 32nm / 12MB / 95W_2011)

    I. X5660 2.87 / 3.2 _7587 _$68 > [$100] > $180
    II. X5675 3.07 / 3.46 _8584 _$78 > [$112] > $215
    III. X5680 3.33 / 3.6 (130W) _9011 _$113> [$140] > $274
    IV. X5690 3.47 / 3.73 (2011) _9216 _$182 >[$220] > $291
  3. kanewolf said:
    You already have quite a bit of RAM in each of these boxes. Do you know if you are maxing out the RAM??? Which CPUs do you have in these? A CPU swap might be a good choice.

    The FX GPUs are pretty old and they could use an upgrade to a K2200 or similar. Possibly a TESLA coprocessor would help if you have CUDA code.

    SSDs would be an obvious choice to potentially speed things.

    Are these three PCs used in a cluster? What about improving connectivity between them or between them and storage?


    I updated the OP to include the CPU and available memory slots for each PC. Also, the PCs are using a SSD for main programs/OS and SATA III mechanical HDDs for data storage.

    As for running them in a cluster, I don't think that they are, but I'm not sure how to check. Our computer lab doesn't have its own personal network if that helps.

    bambiboom said:
    snip


    Thank you for the very in-depth response.

    1.I am not sure if selling the T7400 PCs is an option at this time, but I will ask the professor who wanted to upgrade these computers if he and the department are willing to do so. As for where exactly to sell them, I'm in the dark as I've never done an online sale of this scale before.

    2. Another GPU question: do you think it would be worth running two GPU in each PC? I'm not sure it's worth trying to do so with the GPU we currently have, and if we instead choose to update each PC's GPU then we might not have enough to do much else.
  4. Best answer
    Trubothedwarf said:
    kanewolf said:
    You already have quite a bit of RAM in each of these boxes. Do you know if you are maxing out the RAM??? Which CPUs do you have in these? A CPU swap might be a good choice.

    The FX GPUs are pretty old and they could use an upgrade to a K2200 or similar. Possibly a TESLA coprocessor would help if you have CUDA code.

    SSDs would be an obvious choice to potentially speed things.

    Are these three PCs used in a cluster? What about improving connectivity between them or between them and storage?


    I updated the OP to include the CPU and available memory slots for each PC. Also, the PCs are using a SSD for main programs/OS and SATA III mechanical HDDs for data storage.

    As for running them in a cluster, I don't think that they are, but I'm not sure how to check. Our computer lab doesn't have its own personal network if that helps.

    bambiboom said:
    snip


    Thank you for the very in-depth response.

    1.I am not sure if selling the T7400 PCs is an option at this time, but I will ask the professor who wanted to upgrade these computers if he and the department are willing to do so. As for where exactly to sell them, I'm in the dark as I've never done an online sale of this scale before.

    2. Another GPU question: do you think it would be worth running two GPU in each PC? I'm not sure it's worth trying to do so with the GPU we currently have, and if we instead choose to update each PC's GPU then we might not have enough to do much else.


    Trubothedwarf,

    1. The usual way to reach a lot of potential buyers would be Ebay. That the systems are complete, working, and have good specifications is a plus. The Quadro FX 5800 4GB was a $3,200 graphics card still useful for video editing- one of the very few 512-bit GPU's ever made.

    2. As mentioned, the Xeon X5400 series CPU's were not hyperthreading and that is a disadvantage in both Matlab and rendering which are mutithreaded. But some of the deficiencies can be mitigated by adding a Quadro K2200 or better plus Tesla CUDA coprocessor as mentioned (e.g. Tesla M2090) which works with a Quadro and the CPU's to extend the processing power. The World's fastest supercomputers are controlled by ordinary Xeons and Opterons and filled with thousands Teslas of Xeon. Also, add a 6GB/s PCIe RAID controller to improve the disk system to 6GB/s. The memory is still a weak system especially in consideration of swapping very large datasets.

    This is a bit of a patching /shoring up however and replacing the T7400 with T7500 or HP z800's and still doing those other improvements will create the longest extension of use and delaying replacement perhaps two years can be less expensive over the total period, especially as the systems will also have a higher residual resale value. The difference between the sales value of the well-equipped T7400's- which cost nothing- and the less refined T7500's could be only $200-$300 so the sale already extracts $500-$600 each in value from something with a $0 cost, so the i.e. "upgrade budget" of say $1,000 becomes $1,500 or so and the T7500's can be completed within that cost. The T5500 I have cost $171 to buy with low-specification CPU's and the upgrades totaled about $850, so that system was less than $1,100 and after more than one year is probably still worth about that amount.

    Cheers,

    BambiBoom
  5. bambiboom said:
    1. The usual way to reach a lot of potential buyers would be Ebay. That the systems are complete, working, and have good specifications is a plus. The Quadro FX 5800 4GB was a $3,200 graphics card still useful for video editing- one of the very few 512-bit GPU's ever made.

    2. As mentioned, the Xeon X5400 series CPU's were not hyperthreading and that is a disadvantage in both Matlab and rendering which are mutithreaded. But some of the deficiencies can be mitigated by adding a Quadro K2200 or better plus Tesla CUDA coprocessor as mentioned (e.g. Tesla M2090) which works with a Quadro and the CPU's to extend the processing power. The World's fastest supercomputers are controlled by ordinary Xeons and Opterons and filled with thousands Teslas of Xeon. Also, add a 6GB/s PCIe RAID controller to improve the disk system to 6GB/s. The memory is still a weak system especially in consideration of swapping very large datasets.

    This is a bit of a patching /shoring up however and replacing the T7400 with T7500 or HP z800's and still doing those other improvements will create the longest extension of use and delaying replacement perhaps two years can be less expensive over the total period, especially as the systems will also have a higher residual resale value. The difference between the sales value of the well-equipped T7400's- which cost nothing- and the less refined T7500's could be only $200-$300 so the sale already extracts $500-$600 each in value from something with a $0 cost, so the i.e. "upgrade budget" of say $1,000 becomes $1,500 or so and the T7500's can be completed within that cost. The T5500 I have cost $171 to buy with low-specification CPU's and the upgrades totaled about $850, so that system was less than $1,100 and after more than one year is probably still worth about that amount.

    Cheers,

    BambiBoom


    I've talked to the department and it seems that selling these PCs via Ebay or other similar sites is not allowed. They would have to be auctioned off as surplus, and the department does not expect to make much from auctioning off the PCs.

    However, one possibility that they entertained is to auction off the T7400s and purchasing a second computer on par or better than the 5810. However, I still don't know what the budget is, so asking for any build recommendations is a bit silly at this point in time.

    Thank you again for answering my questions.
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