Results 1 to 9 of 9
Like Tree2Likes
  • 1 Post By iru69
  • 1 Post By user_josh

Thread: Critique this workstation build

  1.    #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    September 25, 2014
    Posts
    6
    Current Local Time
    04:01 PM

    Critique this workstation build

    Our IT manager is currently being quoted $3,400 USD for the system below. These machines will be for user workstations running Revit, AutoCAD, and Adobe products. (For reference, our largest Revit model is currently 150MB.) We are married to HP, and IT does not want to deviate from the Z800-series despite my request to consider at least the Z640s. Regarding the processor, there is a 4-core 3.0 GHz E5-2623v3 at a $60 difference; the 4-core 3.5GHz E5-2637v3 is a $1000 difference. The difference between the K2200 and K4200 is $380. For the hard drive, IT prefers a 450GB SAS 6Gb/s drive (additional $150) over the quoted SATA drive; for reference, a $256 GB SSD would add $209 to the quoted price. The office's typical refresh cycle would see the machines replaced after 5-6 years of service.

    I am extremely new to the firm (I am both architectural staff and design/information technology staff), and our IT manager is not a user of the design software, so any real-world experiences would be most helpful to overcome the 'we do it this way because we've always done it this way' approach.




    • HP Z840
    • Processor
      • Intel Xeon E5-2630v3
      • 2.4 GHz, 8 core

    • Hard drive
      • 1TB SATA-500

    • RAM
      • 4x8GB 1866MHz DDR4 SDRAM

    • Graphics Card
      • NVIDIA Quadro K4200
    Last edited by user_josh; March 19th, 2015 at 06:50 PM.

  2.    #2
    Moderator snowyweston's Avatar
    Join Date
    December 21, 2010
    Location
    C.LONDON
    Posts
    2,766
    Current Local Time
    09:01 PM
    £2300!? Woah.

    1. You don't need a server-class SAS drive. You need an* SSD drive. The cost hike over the SATA is worth it. The size needs only store OS & Apps.
    2. You really don't need a Xeon class CPU.
    3. The K2200 is more than sufficient for the applications you've listed.


    *not sure if Adobe have dropped the "scratch" drive requirement, but if they still employ that, 2x drives = ideal.



    In the end, if your IT manager is not a user of the software, it is up to you (as a user of said software) to explain to people above said IT manager that you feel your productivity would be greatly improved by x, y and z. All as it should be, your bosses should then engage your IT manager with your concerns - as your concerns are theirs also. If your IT manager immediately puts up a fight, or reticently complies with conducting a like-for-like comparative investigation (with benchmarking), then your bosses should view that with suspicion.

  3.    #3
    Moderator cellophane's Avatar
    Join Date
    August 9, 2011
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    3,811
    Current Local Time
    04:01 PM
    Does the $3,400 pricetag include monitors (2 - 24"min at that cost) and some toys like a fancy wireless mouse & keyboard and SpacePilotPro?

  4.    #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    September 25, 2014
    Posts
    6
    Current Local Time
    04:01 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by cellophane View Post
    Does the $3,400 pricetag include monitors (2 - 24"min at that cost) and some toys like a fancy wireless mouse & keyboard and SpacePilotPro?

    The quoted price is for the workstation, standard wired usb keyboard and mouse, and 3 years on-site P&L support.


    EDIT:
    I'm not sure what happened to my original post, but the specs (with options) are:
    • HP Z840
    • Processor: Xeon E5-2630v3, 8-core, 2.4 GHz
      • (option +$60: E5-2623v3, 4-core, 3.0 Ghz)

    • Hard drive: 1TB SATA
      • (option +$150: 300GB 15K SAS - preferred by IT)
      • (option +$209: 256GB SSD)

    • RAM: 2x8GB 1866 MHz DDR4
    • Graphics card: NVIDIA K4200
      • (option -$380: NVIDIA K2200)


    I'm assembling some materials on the differences between the Z440, Z640, and Z840; recommendations from Autodesk's "Model Performance Technical Note" and HP/NVIDIA's "Autodesk Building Design Suite 2015 Graphics Optimization Guide"; and the sticky threads here to present a full report. For background, I'm very new to the firm (I am ideally 80% architectural staff and 20% design/information technology staff). The machines will be for typical user workstations running Revit, AutoCAD, and some Adobe products, with some users in Rhino and Sketchup. Our typical refresh cycle is 5-6 years. IT manager is married to HP and prefers the Z8xx series because that is what the firm has purchased in the past.
    Last edited by user_josh; March 19th, 2015 at 08:59 PM.

  5.    #5
    Forum Co-Founder iru69's Avatar
    Join Date
    December 7, 2010
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    1,375
    Current Local Time
    01:01 PM
    Hi Josh, I've seen this over and over and over and over and over and over again... IT people who don't understand the software they're purchasing the computers to run. Both those Xeon's are bad choices, but the 4 core one is at least better than the 8 core one. 5-6 year replacement schedule is too long... more ignorance. That the IT person is suggesting an SAS drive in this age of SSDs... it's hard to say anything without being insulting because that would take the cake in total banana idiocy. But again, I just see this over and over and over...

    Sorry you're in that position... best you can do is try to explain what the software you're using benefits from what type of hardware.

    Quote Originally Posted by snowyweston View Post
    *not sure if Adobe have dropped the "scratch" drive requirement, but if they still employ that, 2x drives = ideal.
    Snowy, this pops up about once a year around here and it's like whack-a-mole.
    There isn't anything a typical architectural firm would be doing in any Adobe program that would benefit from a dedicated scratch drive. With the advent of SSDs and plentiful amounts of RAM, it's not an issue for any typical usage.
    snowyweston likes this.

  6.    #6
    Moderator snowyweston's Avatar
    Join Date
    December 21, 2010
    Location
    C.LONDON
    Posts
    2,766
    Current Local Time
    09:01 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by iru69 View Post
    it's not an issue for any typical usage.
    GB+ .psds?

  7.    #7
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    September 25, 2014
    Posts
    6
    Current Local Time
    04:01 PM
    Thank you, all; I truly appreciate the help so far. Does anyone have experience with HPs for a similar use case? What models did you consider?

    iru69, I don't believe the situation is dire in the long-term because my IT manager does listen to and consider my suggestions.
    snowyweston, our .psd files are not approaching 1GB.
    snowyweston likes this.

  8.    #8
    Moderator snowyweston's Avatar
    Join Date
    December 21, 2010
    Location
    C.LONDON
    Posts
    2,766
    Current Local Time
    09:01 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by user_josh View Post
    snowyweston, our .psd files are not approaching 1GB.
    Lucky you - ours regularly eclipse that! It was more in response to Iru's use of "typical usage" (a term I seldom find applies when talking about our profession's collective efforts, because we all do things differently)

    If you're married to HP - with a decent account manager - you should be able to get some machines to A/B compare before committing - we're not talking an insignificant amount of money.

  9.    #9
    Forum Co-Founder iru69's Avatar
    Join Date
    December 7, 2010
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    1,375
    Current Local Time
    01:01 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by snowyweston View Post
    Lucky you - ours regularly eclipse that! It was more in response to Iru's use of "typical usage" (a term I seldom find applies when talking about our profession's collective efforts, because we all do things differently)
    (sorry all to go off topic here - I'll leave it at this...)

    Exactly, which is why I threw in "typical usage" - because there's always someone who brings up their unique circumstances.

    But even 1GB+ PSD's are no problem. Keep in mind that you should be working with these size PSD's on a computer with at least 8GB of RAM and an SSD.

    The reason separate scratch disks became useful in the first place is that a HDD has poor IOPS/latency (access times) performance and quickly gets bogged down when the system tries to to do too much at the same time with the HDD. SSD's can read/write at ~500MB/s and handle IOPS hundreds of times faster than an HDD.

    Here's just a random sampling from an HDD vs. SSD:
    HDD SSD
    Read/Write Read/Write
    Seq: 149MB/s & 130MB/s 514MB/s & 466 MB/s
    4K: 0.69MB/s & 1.22 MB/s 36MB/s & 128 MB/s
    4K-64Thrd (NCQ): 1.6 MB/s & 1.2 MB/s 361 MB/s & 235 MB/s
    Access Time: 15.7 ms & 3.2 ms 0.03 ms & 0.03 ms

    I've literally tried to grind my system to a halt with 1GB+ PSD files with dozens of layers and running filter after filter just to see where the bottlenecks are with CPU/RAM/SSD. It's really hard to slow down. With lots of RAM and an SSD, the bottleneck is, like most tasks, CPU.

    But even before the advent of SSD's, unless you spent your working life in PS, the benefits of a separate scratch disk were negligible for "typical" usage. You really have to go back quite a way to the times before we had GB's of RAM.

Similar Threads

  1. Workstation - Build or Buy?
    By Glen1980 in forum Hardware and Infrastructure
    Replies: 22
    Last Post: February 27th, 2015, 09:33 PM
  2. Workstation help
    By JDRusted in forum Hardware and Infrastructure
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: November 20th, 2014, 02:49 PM
  3. HP Workstation vs BOXX Workstation
    By MPwuzhere in forum Hardware and Infrastructure
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: February 23rd, 2014, 06:12 PM
  4. Workstation Build for REVIT and 3dsmax
    By rboaz in forum Hardware and Infrastructure
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: May 2nd, 2013, 08:49 PM
  5. Revit OpEd: Content Critique
    By Revit OpEd in forum Blog Feeds
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: November 22nd, 2011, 03:15 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •