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back to article Dell forges GPU-enriched virty rack workstation

Like everyone else on the planet, you want a rocketsled to do your work. The faster, the better. But if Dell has its way, it may not be on top of or underneath your desk, but sitting in a rack in a data center. And it may not be a rocketsled as much as a rocketbus, with multiple people using it at the same time. Virtualization …

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FAIL

Doesn't make any sense at all...

Looking at both Dell's unrealistically weak example spec and the author's dream spec, it strikes me that, for the price, you'd be way better off just buying desktop machines. Dell's spec is silly, but obviously intended for a single person, but, for $2700, you could set up a much better desktop pc than the spec they provided. As for the author's; it looks like it is meant for 2 workstations, so, if we take the $34000 budget and split it into 2 we get two $17000 workstations; the listed spec is pretty weak compared to what you could set up with $17000 for a desktop machine.

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FAIL

Re: Doesn't make any sense at all...

Ehh, nonsense.

First $34k is MSRP - if you don't get at least 25% off with Dell that means you are clueless and you shouldn't even be in the business of purchasing.

Second, again about knowing what you're doing, nobody buys 192GB memory from Dell direct, you upgrade it yourself, Dell does not care and even has agreement with few mfrs to honor each other's warranty; you can buy 192GB around $4k if you know your game.

Third you obviously never tried to buy a Quadro 5000, 6000 or a Tesla - they are priced the same everywhere regardless what machine you would plug it into.

Fourth a "desktop" has little to do with a professional workstation like a T7500 - have you seen one? And you get 3-y NBD warranty by default which you can upgrade to 5-y ProSupport (pretty decent service, even support 3rd party gear now!) for couple hundred bucks or even to 4-hr on-site critical support etc.

Apples and oranges, y'know.

It's not a desktop vs WS question here, nobody in his right mind would rely on custom-built white boxes with no support at remote users when they are generating his high-profit revenue streams, that's a dangerously amateur approach.

It's about individual WS vs server-room WS and by having these stupid design limitations (see my rant for details) Dell successfully undercut its own market when they priced it way too high but offering stupidly low specs (2 GPU, WTF?)...

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WTF?

It doesn't make sense

"First $34k is MSRP - if you don't get at least 25% off with Dell that means you are clueless and you shouldn't even be in the business of purchasing."

What a load of crap. Not every business has an annual IT budget of several million pounds, SMBs just can't get the same deals that #big_megacorp gets when ordering their kit. If you disagree then show me where one could buy a single unit of this thing (or any Dell server or workstation) with at least 25% off.

"Second, again about knowing what you're doing, nobody buys 192GB memory from Dell direct, you upgrade it yourself, Dell does not care and even has agreement with few mfrs to honor each other's warranty; you can buy 192GB around $4k if you know your game."

Yeah, well, that's great, unless your business is somewhat important, at least important enough to justify going for that 4hr 24/7 maintenance contract, because if something goes wrong you want that thing fixed now and not have to deal with multiple vendors (of which many even offer no onsite service watsoever) just because you saved a few bucks on memory.

And while I agree that Dell overcharges on memory, you would be surprised how expensive high density server-grade memory modules can be even from 3rd parties like Micron, Kingston or Transcend.

"Third you obviously never tried to buy a Quadro 5000, 6000 or a Tesla - they are priced the same everywhere regardless what machine you would plug it into."

Nonsense. The prices for these cards vary a lot. Dell generally overcharges on these cards as they do on memory, but as with memory if uptimes are important then you better just bite the bullet. More often than not I found buying the generic PNY card (PNY is the only board partner for Quadro/Tesla and hence all Quadro/Tesla cards are made by them anyways) to be cheaper than what Dell could offer, and in many cases HP even managed to undercut both.

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FAIL

Re: It doesn't make sense

"What a load of crap. Not every business has an annual IT budget of several million pounds, SMBs just can't get the same deals that #big_megacorp gets when ordering their kit."

Spoken like a true amateur.

FYI I work for an SMB and I *DO* get such a deal ALL THE TIME - this is why I keep returning. Again, you are clueless and shouldn't be involved in purchasing if you cannot get at least 25% off at Dell, period.

"Yeah, well, that's great, unless your business is somewhat important, at least important enough to justify going for that 4hr 24/7 maintenance contract, because if something goes wrong you want that thing fixed now and not have to deal with multiple vendors (of which many even offer no onsite service watsoever) just because you saved a few bucks on memory."

Once again, "clueless" is the operative word - Dell's support contract has NOTHING TO DO WITH YOUR MEMORY of choice, your 4-hr Critical/Mission Critical applies with *ANY* memory.

And it goes without saying that when you buy 192GB memory then you add 3-4 extra modules for spare, I thought I don't even have to explain this...

"And while I agree that Dell overcharges on memory, you would be surprised how expensive high density server-grade memory modules can be even from 3rd parties like Micron, Kingston or Transcend."

No, I am not surprised at all because they are NOT expensive - when I wrote $4k for 192GB it wasn't an arbitrary number but an educated guess based on what I paid for half a terabyte server-grade 8GB modules last Fall (incl. estimated price decrease.)

"Nonsense. The prices for these cards vary a lot. Dell generally overcharges on these cards as they do on memory, but as with memory if uptimes are important then you better just bite the bullet. More often than not I found buying the generic PNY card (PNY is the only board partner for Quadro/Tesla and hence all Quadro/Tesla cards are made by them anyways) to be cheaper than what Dell could offer, and in many cases HP even managed to undercut both."

And again, if you would have at least the slightest clue about what you are talking about you wouldn't get into these hilarious claims...

1. High-end Quadros almost *ALWAYS* cost the same (+/- 3-4%) at ANY reputable seller:

http://www.google.com/products/catalog?sugexp=chrome,mod%3D14&q=quadro+6000+6GB&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=1883289758933923353&sa=X&ei=M4y2T9XCHqjW6gGIueHlDw&ved=0CF4Q8wIwAQ

As you can see it starts around $3,900 and goes up to $4,400 or even higher if you pay taxes.

2. Dell's price? It's $4,540.00 http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx?oc=bwcwrzp1&c=us&l=en&s=bsd&cs=04&model_id=precision-r5500

3. Probably the weirdest, most illogical argument in your post is when you are claiming it's smarter to save $300-400 on a $4k critical, single piece of hardware and risk having multiple days of downtime waiting for the replacement instead of having it covered under Dell's same-day on-site WS warranty umbrella but at the same time you argue it's smarter to pay DOUBLE for a dozen memory modules to get it covered in case one or two fails instead of saving thousands and just keep 3-4 spare modules...

...priceless (:D), indeed.

But again, it's about knowing what you are doing - no offense but I really hope you have nothing to do with purchasing because you certainly cost a lot of money to your company.

FAIL because it is.

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Anonymous Coward

Another El Reg article singing the praises of their sponsor Dell...

for making a commodity server.

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WTF?

An effectively 2-user WS for $20k and up? Awesome... is it?

This is a very good idea hampered by stupid design decisions.

The four GPU setup only allows Quadro 2000 which is pretty much useless, worse than a GTX-class Nvidia gaming card.

From decent Quadros you can only install 2 and since we *still* cannot share GPUs this effectively means 2 GPU-heavy simultaneous users - a major letdown for any engineering firm.

A decent setup will cost $20-25k (minus Dell promos) so it's over $10k per *user* which is downright ridiculous when you can get a high-end T7500 with *two* of these Quadros for the same price, running absolutely silently.

Speaking of high-end - why the Xeon 5600-series, why no Ivy Bridge?

Why not allowing 4 dual-slot-sized cards at least?

If 2U is not enoguh then make it 3U - it's a rack product, nobody cares about the look, only sqft/user matters and having 4 GPU-heavy user in 3U is better than this 2 user in 2U...

And Citrix should get off their @sses and finally enable real GPU sharing so we can start carving up GPU resources just like we do CPU and memory.

The only reasonable argument here is if you don't want to shift massive amount of data to your remote users and/or worry about your IP, then it *might* makes sense, provided it's not more expensive than the price of two matching-spec'd workstations.

WTF because: WTF?

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Holmes

This is a very good idea hampered by stupid design decisions.

That is a very good idea that other vendors already had many years ago (I've seen similar solutions from HP in 2006 already) and to which Dell is just too late in the game.

As you say the specs are the same as of a 2010 desktop workstation. For the same or probably even less money one could get a HP z820 workstation with rackmount kit (because unlike Dell HP made their workstations rackable since forever), which gives XEON E5, up to 512GB of RAM and a similar GPU setup.

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Stop

Re: This is a very good idea hampered by stupid design decisions.

You are missing the point - this one comes with preinstalled HDX 3D Pro and full support and you can get little client boxes for few hundred bucks. It's not about being exceptional at all, it's just having a custom bundle for X remote 3D users for the price of X high-end workstations so you don't have to cook your own Citrix setup etc. However these stupid limitations really limit the market appeal, I think.

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FAIL

Retro geek

Not even close.

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Anonymous Coward

Gteat but

Great kit, but in some ways I do wonder whether you'd be better chucking in cheapass whiteboxes (read supermicro rack workstations) and using HA software to take care of things if individual hardware goes wobbly. Certainly possible on XenDesktop / RemoteFX CAD workstations . This kind of kit makes VDI projects pricey. also Dell need to offer 2008 server as an official OS for this kit in VDI-land.

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Linux

A workstation goes under the desk

Like the HP Z820, which sports PCIe 3.0, up to 512 GB RAM, dual 8-core 3.10GHz E5-2687W CPUs, and GPUs a gogo.

Bring your Linux install CD. Windows 7 doesn't go past 192GB RAM. Linux goes ALL the way.

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