Need to build a v.v.v.v.fast machine, no budget!

Ok, it is not everones dream but we need a new PC for dataprocessing. I was told that the price of the machine was insignificant to the price of the software which runs as fast as the pc.
I have had a quick look at am considering the following systems:
1)Intel Pentium 4b 2.53, with Rambus PC1066 - problem from what I hear this is hard to get ahold of and motherboards do not yet support the 1066 memory.

2)AMD Athlon XP2200+ 1.8 GHz with DDR memory - not as fast as above

3)A multi-processor system possible dual AMD Athlon XP2200+ 1.8 GHz 266 MHz bus iwth ddr memory running on a Linux machine with a VMware client running W2k - are these any good? Do Intel have a better equivilant?

I am on a restricted time frame and would appreciate as much info based on a reliable source i.e. somehting that will work.
I am UK based so the products will need to be available to me.

Many Thanks

Gavin
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gtuserAsked:
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1175089Connect With a Mentor Commented:
The people here are right of course but I will make a attempt to summarize: in such DATAPROCESSING environments the processor power isn't so important: would you like to have PIV at 2.53GHz with 533MHz FSB, but Win2k (Linux., i.e)freezes every 15 min, becouse your MB or memory is not so good? So it is a good idea to take some preconfigured from IBM, DELL, HP/Compaq, i.e. 512MB RAM, PIV 2.0A/2.4 (0.13mk with 512k cache), 80GB SCSI or 2x80GB IDE RAID, GForce 4/4600, 4400 or simular, 19-21' monitor , lan i.e). If you want MP system you must use dual PIII or Athlon MP system, if you want PIV class processor  you must use Dual Xeon. In other hand if you are in deep in comp science, and want to build the system yourself you can build Dual Athlon system and save some money, but if anything goes wrong, you are alone with the problem (with us :-)))).And of course if money are not a problem for you, bay a consultant and he will deside for you...
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gtuserAuthor Commented:
Extra note: What is best on the hdd front? Have adaptec release their new 320 product range of scsi cards or will 160 do??
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dbruntonCommented:
Best talk to one of the big manufacturers such as IBM or Compaq

Go for one of their server based machines where you can load the box with what you want and they will have the products and parts and backup.  They also will have all the right specs.

Compaq will sell you a Proliant loaded with goodies, multi-processors, RAID systems, all you need.

Note you don't specify hard disks.  You need as fast as possibly. like 15000 RPM SCSI for lots of data.

You don't mention caching on the CPUs.  Intel supply CPUs with up to 2 Mb of cache on the CPUs.  Does make a difference.

Again, go to the big boys and talk your problem over with them.  You say money is no problem.  Go to them.
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gtuserAuthor Commented:
Would prefer a custom made solution. We currently deal with Dell for our servers but we have outstanding issues with them supplying what we ask for.
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Kyle SchroederEndpoint EngineerCommented:
Have a gander at ArsTechnica's "God Box":
http://arstechnica.com/guide/system/godbox.html

Sounds right up your alley...

-dog*
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Kyle SchroederEndpoint EngineerCommented:
Also, not sure why you would bother running VMWare under Linux to run Windows 2000...Win2K has native multi-CPU support, adding an additional HAL in the form of VMWare wouldn't help anything at all, and I'm sure it would actually hurt your performance.

There are no (to the best of my knowledge) dual Pentium-4 Xeon boards available at this time.  Also you probably won't be able to get the dual board running properly with AthlonXP chips, you'll need the AthlonMP (MultiProcessor) variety...they're basically the same, but "certified" for dual-cpu usage.

-dog*
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rayt333Commented:
To add my 2 cents worth
" Would prefer a custom made solution"
IBM can do that , also Compaq (I hate compaq's though)
Dell can also

Or by custom do you want to do it yourself?
Remember any computer you build you are responible for any problems or incompatability.

For the money I would go with a Dell, they make quality servers and they have very good tech and warranty repairs if ever needed.
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weedCommented:
Places like Genentech are using XServe rackmounts for data crunching on their human genome project. Might want to look into that if youre not tied into a wintel machine.
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gtuserAuthor Commented:
What do you mean by a Wintel machine?
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weedCommented:
Wintel...Machines that ship with Windows installed and generally on Intel hardware. Its a bit of a catchall phrase for the Windows driven industry as opposed to the Unix or Mac driven industries.
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gtuserAuthor Commented:
What do you mean by a Wintel machine?
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gtuserAuthor Commented:
I the software that we need to run is Windows based.
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jhanceCommented:
I think your description of "DATAPROCESSING" is highly ambiguous!  It's really quite impossible to recommend what type of machine or what features are most important without a DETAILED UNDERSTANDING what the problem at hand and WHAT SERVER CAPABILITIES will be most important to meeting your performance needs.
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1175089Commented:
Don't be afraid, it is not so complex, read this good review from Anandtech's site for their own researches in the field of DATAPROCESSING... http://www.anandtech.com/IT/showdoc.html?i=1606 
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jhanceCommented:
I must have missed that announcement that made the term DATAPROCESSING equivalent to DATABASE SERVER.

It IS COMPLEX, and choosing incorrectly can lead to problems with your career!
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SysExpertCommented:
In principle, I agree with jhance, but if money is really no object then you can buy the biggest IBM x86 machine you can find. I think the price range is in the $100 million range and up for one of their huge multiprocessor arrays.

In reality....
I would suggest that you really sit down and define what you really need this machine to do.

Is it CPU bound , I/O bound, etc.

I hope this helps !
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jhanceCommented:
>>but if money is really no object

Well, if money is no object, then hire a very highly paid consultant and let HIM make the decision for you!!  ;-)
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gtuserAuthor Commented:
Money is not a problem, but based on my initial quetsion I am looking at a Intel P4 2.4/2.53 or AMD Athlon XP 2200+ or a dual processor system, meaning tha the price would not be extensivly high anyway.
By dataprocessing I mean processing data e.g. ocr'ing images, performing IPP etc.
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jhanceCommented:
So why are you asking questions here?  If you've already decided on a solution, then proceed.

Your description of "dataprocess" is still highly ambiguous.  

What is meant by "OCR'ING IMAGES"?  Do you mean you will run some sort of OCR software on scanned text documents?  If so, then I'd strongly recommend a long talk with your SOFTWARE VENDOR as to WHAT SYSTEM properties are most beneficial to their product.  For all you know, they work WORSE on a dual-CPU vs. a single-CPU system.  Don't laugh, there are many applications that have such properties.

How do you know the #1 priority for you should not be MEMORY bandwidth, or perhaps DISK I/O performance?  Perhaps CPU performance is not even a factor in your need.

I think you are proceeding foolishly based on pre-conceived notions of what makes a server "good".

You've NOT researched this problem, consulted with your software partners, or even grossly understood what factors are VITAL vs. IMPORTANT vs. "WOULD-BE-NICE" vs. IRRELEVANT.

If that is indeed the case, and you really don't case, then just but what you like or what looks pretty.
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1175089Commented:
And will explain to you what is VITAL and what is only IMPORTANT (GOOD, BETTER BEST ...)
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weedCommented:
I guess I'm providing the "alternative" voice again..heh.
You don't HAVE to use pentiums, AMDs etc. You can get dual proc systems from Sun, IBM, Apple etc. As I mentioned earlier Genentech has found that Xserve boxes give them the most bang for the buck. Dirt cheap to maintain too. Since price doesn't seem to be an issue you can get one Xserve unit, and if you find you want more bang, get another. You can keep adding onto your rack for more and more power. You can also avoid the pitfalls of windows crashing and the maintenance nightmares of *nix. There are alternatives!
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magarityCommented:
If you're going to use Linux and need serious computer power with an open ended budget, you wouldn't be dinking with that Intel junk...  here is a nice entry level supercomputer for less than $10,000 (US):
http://www.compaq.com/alphaserver/ds20e/

A complete listing of heavier models is here:
http://www.compaq.com/alphaserver/
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gtuserAuthor Commented:
I am conivced of using a Dell system but managment may not be that happy with it. I will suggest having twice the recquired machines so that we have an immediate redundancy solution.
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mjanderCommented:
Hi,

I have just finishing setting up a 12 node computer cluster, to be used for genetic pattern recongition (AKA BLAST).

The cluster has 9 Dell PowerEdge 1650 (dual Pent. III Xeon, 1.4GHz, 2GB RAM), and 3 Apple XServe's 2GBRAM and 1 GHz CPUs.

To make it short, the Apple just sucked in all ways possible. We tried MAC OSX and their just where incredibly slow. We though, ok, MAC OSX is a lamer OS, so better try with our old pal LINUX.
After a lengthy installation procedure of YellowDog LINUX, the results where even worst. The processors of the MACs just keep 99% used all the time, but they take nearly twice the time of the DELL machines to accomplish the same job (same program, same source code, same data...).

The DELL works very well. Compared to a dual Athlon MP (not
part of the cluster) they suck aswell, but at least their results are as high as they could be (they are only Intel CPU's after all).

I have seen some benchmarks comparing IBM computers similar  to the DELL PowerEdge (same CPU's), with XServes, and they showed the XServe beating the IBM's into the dust, but what can i say now... I really don't know what where those guys smoking when they elaborated those benchmarks... Semes to be pure stinking lies to gain some customers.

If you want to take a look:
http://www.apple.com/xserve/performance.html

What are the Apples good for ? The Graphic interface (Aqua) is the beatyfullest i have ever seen. Playing with the mouse is very funny :-)

Its very sad to see those apple suck that much.


Best Regards.
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weedCommented:
Genentech is using the same software you are, with xServes and the report from them is quite different. Perhaps ya did something different. Perhaps you werent using the Apple/Genentech BLAST which makes a huge difference. http://maccentral.macworld.com/news/0202/07.blast.php
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mjanderCommented:
Hi again,

Unfortunatelly, that Genetech/Apple version performs just the same like the original NCBI version. We tried the NCBI and the Apple/Genetech version. The differences where minimal.
And yes im sure it was the Apple/Genetech version, because while compiling there where those "altivec" optimization flags passed to the compiler.

The benchmarks showed the IA32 systems so bad, because they where equipped with only 1 GB Ram. For the current "nt" database (~7GB of text) used with BLAST, you need at least 2GB Ram. If not, they swap on disk like hell. The memory footprint peeks upto  approx.900MB on a IA32. You cant compare a system thats suffering under severe RAM shortage. Thats insane. The Xserve someway seme to need less RAM, because the bencharked ones had only 1GB too.  

Hard to believe he ? I'm really sorry, but those Xserve really suck. And believe me, i don't wanted them that useless. Its really a big problem to me, because  know i have those $4000 dollar computers hanging around here, and don't know what to do with them :-(

Best Regards.
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magarityCommented:
Can you not buy more memory for the machines you bought or does the capability top at 1GB?  Many modern boards can handle more than that; heck, my gaming computer can take up to 1.5GB.

"the IA32 systems so bad, because they where equipped with only 1 GB Ram"

So you've expensively come to the exact conclusion that jhance pointed out before you even tried anything:

"How do you know the #1 priority for you should not be MEMORY bandwidth, or perhaps DISK I/O performance?  Perhaps CPU performance is not even a factor in your need."

This is a great line, I just have to quote it:

"i have those $4000 dollar computers hanging around here, and don't know what to do with them "

You can always send one to me.  Or even better send it to EE, we all know they need another server for a redundancy failover.
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weedCommented:
xServes support 2gb of ram. Not sure what to tell ya mjander. The results from just about everyone else are the exact opposite of yours.
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