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Active Contributor
dmagnus
Posts: 41
Registered: ‎11-08-2007
Message 1 of 8 (452 Views)

Dell Optiplex 960: Used as a Workstation, any thoughts?

452 Views, 7 Replies
08-18-2009 04:54 AM
Optiplex 960
Quad Core (Q series - Q9400, Q9550, Q9650)
4G of Ram
Nvidia Graphics (512MB) - NVS 420

In comparison with Dells workstation setups that use Xenon chip, are Dell Precisions overkill with the 5400 and 5500 series processor? The chip is designed for servers and workstations but some think that it should be used for servers only. Some feel that we will never see the benefit of using the Xenon chips. Any thoughts?

Can it run multiple applications such as:
C3D 2010 / Arcview 9.3, Map 3D 2010 / Arcview 9.3, Architecture 2010 / Electrical 2010, or Revit MEP.

Current OS - Windows XP 2002 service Pack 2
(may move to Windows 7 after the first SP1)

- Does anyone care to share their thoughts on this topic?

- Anyone purchase the Dell Optiplex 960 machine? If so, what are your thoughts on its performance?
(Rendering, importing/exporting .shp files, working with large .dwg files like surveys)

- Any pros and cons of implimenting the Optiplex as a company wide generic workstation?

I'd like to thank everyone for their input and participation. It is very much appreciated. Edited by: dmagnus on Aug 18, 2009 7:55 AM
*Joel
Message 2 of 8 (452 Views)

Re: Dell Optiplex 960: Used as a Workstation, any thoughts?

08-18-2009 06:03 AM in reply to: dmagnus
Expansion will be the second biggest limit you have with the Optiplex -
there's almost none.

That NVS graphics card is going to be the biggest limit you'll have with all
you want to throw at it. The Quadro NVS line is absolute crap - and you
want to load it down with huge drawings, images and Revit? Never choose the
NVS for real CAD work, unless you want to replace it with a good GeForce or
Quadro FX line from another cheaper source (than Dell).

The Xeon (no Xenon) processor is actually a better choice for the heavy duty
stuff you want to do. But you can get away with a good higher clocked Core
2 Duo (few of these programs make use of more than 2 processors unless you
are doing actual renderings which can use as many as you can give it) The
real question is whether the ECC ram that the Precision uses is really worth
it, but it is more stable.
Active Contributor
dmagnus
Posts: 41
Registered: ‎11-08-2007
Message 3 of 8 (452 Views)

Re: Dell Optiplex 960: Used as a Workstation, any thoughts?

08-18-2009 06:22 AM in reply to: dmagnus
I didn't know that about the graphics card, wow. You are right, I do not see much room for expansion on the builds that Dell offers.
Didn't know that AutoCAD doesn't use all cores unless it is rendering. That is something to think about because some do rendering and work in large files while others do not. Core 2 duo processor, I have to look into that to learn more about it.

I don't like those limits in the Optiplex.
*Joel
Message 4 of 8 (452 Views)

Re: Dell Optiplex 960: Used as a Workstation, any thoughts?

08-18-2009 08:14 AM in reply to: dmagnus
Wait around a bit to see if anyone else chimes in. There may be a different
perspecive about the dual core vs. quad core argument.

We happen to have Dell Precisions (the T7400) in our office doing ACA 2009
and Revit 2010. We started with 4GB but we've changed to loading up with
8GB running XP 64-bit (for the moment). They all have single dual-core
Xeons, but there's a second socket to drop another CPU in if we ever need
to.

I personally don't think the 5500 series is overkill at all with the list of
programs you have. If you're worried about price, look at the 3400 Precision
line - that one uses the Core2 processor line (dual or quad) , while the
3500 is the start of the Xeon boxes.
*Dustin
Message 5 of 8 (452 Views)

Re: Dell Optiplex 960: Used as a Workstation, any thoughts?

08-18-2009 08:33 AM in reply to: dmagnus
we have both the t3400 with dual or quad core with 4 gigs ram and fx570
video card. Solid machines, the quad cores are great if you multitask a lot
with multiple programs running in the foreground and background. Depending
on demand windows will place each app on it's own core when heavy loads are
required. With 64bit machines, I would get quad core with 8 gigs ram. A
single xeon is overkill unless you are going to have a dual processor
machine with 2 xeon processors(which would be 8 cores).

"Joel" wrote in message
news:6238922@discussion.autodesk.com...
Wait around a bit to see if anyone else chimes in. There may be a different
perspecive about the dual core vs. quad core argument.

We happen to have Dell Precisions (the T7400) in our office doing ACA 2009
and Revit 2010. We started with 4GB but we've changed to loading up with
8GB running XP 64-bit (for the moment). They all have single dual-core
Xeons, but there's a second socket to drop another CPU in if we ever need
to.

I personally don't think the 5500 series is overkill at all with the list of
programs you have. If you're worried about price, look at the 3400 Precision
line - that one uses the Core2 processor line (dual or quad) , while the
3500 is the start of the Xeon boxes.
*Matt Stachoni
Message 6 of 8 (452 Views)

Re: Dell Optiplex 960: Used as a Workstation, any thoughts?

08-19-2009 05:38 AM in reply to: dmagnus
On Tue, 18 Aug 2009 15:14:58 +0000, Joel wrote:

>Wait around a bit to see if anyone else chimes in. There may be a different
>perspecive about the dual core vs. quad core argument.
>
>We happen to have Dell Precisions (the T7400) in our office doing ACA 2009
>and Revit 2010. We started with 4GB but we've changed to loading up with
>8GB running XP 64-bit (for the moment). They all have single dual-core
>Xeons, but there's a second socket to drop another CPU in if we ever need
>to.
>
>I personally don't think the 5500 series is overkill at all with the list of
>programs you have. If you're worried about price, look at the 3400 Precision
>line - that one uses the Core2 processor line (dual or quad) , while the
>3500 is the start of the Xeon boxes.

For almost all CAD usage, a single Quad Core CPU is all that is needed. Revit is
actually optimized for 4 processors (it spawns off threads for wall joins and
other CPU intensive procedures). Anything over that introduces more overhead
than its worth.

Matt
matt@stachoni.com
Active Contributor
dmagnus
Posts: 41
Registered: ‎11-08-2007
Message 7 of 8 (452 Views)

Re: Dell Optiplex 960: Used as a Workstation, any thoughts?

08-19-2009 06:00 AM in reply to: dmagnus
Are the Quad Cores, that I had listed, perform the same? So any Quad would suffice?

Depending on what processor you have in your workstation, would it possibly compensate for
the 4GB limit on 32-bit Microsoft Operating systems? Would performance also depend on the type of memory being used as well?

Previously it was mentioned that the the NVS graphics card line-up is not good and that the motherboard has a 4GB limit.

So would be a good idea to order, the Optiplex 960 machines for our AutoCAD / GIS users?
*Dustin
Message 8 of 8 (452 Views)

Re: Dell Optiplex 960: Used as a Workstation, any thoughts?

08-19-2009 06:36 AM in reply to: dmagnus
would not get that machine for cad or gis work. video card would kill you
and ram limit is not good if you want to move in 64bit windows vista or 7.

wrote in message news:6239566@discussion.autodesk.com...
Are the Quad Cores, that I had listed, perform the same? So any Quad would
suffice?

Depending on what processor you have in your workstation, would it possibly
compensate for
the 4GB limit on 32-bit Microsoft Operating systems? Would performance also
depend on the type of memory being used as well?

Previously it was mentioned that the the NVS graphics card line-up is not
good and that the motherboard has a 4GB limit.

So would be a good idea to order, the Optiplex 960 machines for our AutoCAD
/ GIS users?

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