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  1. Post
    #1

    Building a decent work PC

    So I currently am using a latest model EliteBook (provided by company) which uses the mobile i7 CPU and Im finding that it struggles to do what i need it to do for work. I was wondering if we could use our collective discussions to think about what an ideal work PC would be for me and I will put forward the proposal to my superiors. I firmly believe that the time lost in productivity is costing us more than a few $$$ in a new PC.

    Job consists of:
    Large dataset manipulation (R, python etc, biggest stuff is done on a linux HPC cluster)
    Large database management/record finding
    Considerable amount of genetic analysis software running at once

    Current bottlenecks:
    Nearly always 100% CPU usage which leaves me waiting for PC to respond most of the day
    Limited to 3 external monitors via dock

    Any ideas id love, I was thinking one of the new Ryzen chips as ive heard they are good with computational stuff but unsure if id be better off with one of the new i9s etc. Also a GPU that supports say 6 monitors would be ideal (if even possible, two GPUS?).

  2. Post
    #2
    Ballistica wrote:
    So I currently am using a latest model EliteBook (provided by company) which uses the mobile i7 CPU and Im finding that it struggles to do what i need it to do for work. I was wondering if we could use our collective discussions to think about what an ideal work PC would be for me and I will put forward the proposal to my superiors. I firmly believe that the time lost in productivity is costing us more than a few $$$ in a new PC.

    Job consists of:
    Large dataset manipulation (R, python etc, biggest stuff is done on a linux HPC cluster)
    Large database management/record finding
    Considerable amount of genetic analysis software running at once

    Current bottlenecks:
    Nearly always 100% CPU usage which leaves me waiting for PC to respond most of the day
    Limited to 3 external monitors via dock

    Any ideas id love, I was thinking one of the new Ryzen chips as ive heard they are good with computational stuff but unsure if id be better off with one of the new i9s etc. Also a GPU that supports say 6 monitors would be ideal (if even possible, two GPUS?).
    Sounds like you need memory bandwidth and ECC, which means Xeon (whatever E5 is now) or ThreadRipper only.

    Going down those routes basically mean you'll have a huge number of threads, which should solve all other problems. Plus a pair of decent NVMe SSDs in RAID 1 would sort out the rest.

    Pretty much any modern GPU can support 6 monitors now, but your monitor needs to support DisplayPort 1.2 to daisy chain. Or you could go for a pair of 4K monitors which would be the equivalent of 8x 1080p displays in a more convenient package.

    From the point of going down the Xeon level route, the question becomes, "What is your budget?"

  3. Post
    #3
    suntoucher wrote:
    Sounds like you need memory bandwidth and ECC, which means Xeon (whatever E5 is now) or ThreadRipper only.


    From the point of going down the Xeon level route, the question becomes, "What is your budget?"
    Well they spent ~$4k on this laptop + accessories so id guess somewhere around there and ill pawn the laptop off to another colleague who hasn't had one yet.

  4. Post
    #4
    Ryzen

  5. Post
    #5
    Ballistica wrote:
    Well they spent ~$4k on this laptop + accessories so id guess somewhere around there and ill pawn the laptop off to another colleague who hasn't had one yet.
    I would have suggested Dell or HP but I've tried speccing one up on HP and their website is worthless for pricing a workstation, and Dells will be out of your budget and upgrades to a worthwhile spec will significantly increase this.

    The reason being the NBD onsite warranty they supply (and your laptop will have).

    I wouldn't recommend building yourself unless you have a spare machine worth of parts to sit next to it. If it breaks and you spend your days troubleshooting, RMAing and not working any productivity gains will be lost.

    Looks like Lenovo can manage it
    https://www.lenovo.com/au/en/worksta...AU6/customize?

    Quad core Xeon W with upgrade options, Quadro P400 you can plug into a pair of 4K displays with no real 3D capabilities (or need). 4x 8GB DDR4 for mem bandwidth, pair of NVMe drives at a reasonable price, onsite 3 year warranty. Possible to fit it into $4k.

    If you do decide to build it yourself, though, then go Threadripper, more performance for the same price as a Xeon W. Could probably build a Threadripper machine with a significantly higher spec than the 4k Lenovo for 3k.

  6. Post
    #6
    I would say you need to try for a bigger budget in order to buy something off the shelf/made to order via dell/HP/lenovo.
    Sure you could build a ryzen system or similar but do you want to take the responsibility for it? Or even if you get a shop to build it, its not quite the same as an actual computer built by one of the companies above for business use.

    also, not sure if this is a problem but you are going from a laptop to a desktop situation. I guess you dont need to move it around with you?

  7. Post
    #7
    AMD will have the best bang for buck solution i'm sure. It will come down to exactly what is being taxed. How many cores is the i7 currently?

    Even Ryzen in AM4 socket supports ECC by the looks (if you need ECC memory), it comes down to motherboard support. I'd see what Computer Lounge can put together to suit your needs. They will have built a few as workstations so will know what options you have.

    Do you actually need Threadripper levels of compute or will a 3900x with 12 cores / 24 threads be enough? Paired with however much memory you need will be a solid base. It would squash the mobile i7 like a bug.

    i9's are a joke compared to AMD's offerings. Second gen Threadripper chips can be pretty good value, and they may drop further in the pricing. If you need the extra memory bandwidth and IO. If you don't you can get 16 cores on AM4 now (stock levels allowing).

  8. Post
    #8
    Thanks all, I hadn't considered the potential troubleshooting time costs, i will discuss it with my superiors. Its very likely I could get it covered under an existing service contract if we bought pre-built. In terms of mobility, I do travel for work but not very often so will just borrow a laptop if needed.

    Current i7 is the 8650U.