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Ooh, my machine is SO much faster than yours... Oh, wait, that might be a bit of a problem...

StargateSg7 Bronze badge

"....That is often the case, the developers and support get high end machines and the users get stuck on low-end stuff...."


This I fully understand to the Nth Degree! I recent exercise I did for a "relative" and their small business, I forced the company to install two 72 inch racks and had them install ten of the AsRock Gaming Motherboards with the 10 Gigabit network connector on it (i.e. Asrock Fatility mobos at $300 CAN each!) and with each mounted on a thick nylon kitchen cutting board that I bought at a local kitchen supply store.

Since each board already is 10 Gbits networking AND can take up to a 32 core/64 thread AMD threadripper-2 chip in it we can upgrade the systems ANYTIME. Each board gets an 8-core 16 thread CPU (AMD Ryzen 1900x in TR4 socket at $350 CAN), a Vega-64 8-gig GPU card ($525 CAN), 32 gigs of system RAM ($370 CAN) and a one terabyte SSD Sata-3 ($270 CAN) drive and one 4 terabyte 7200 RPM storage drive ($150 CAN) which is more than enough for daily use and finally everyone got two LG Freesync 27 inch displays for $400 CAN each ($800 for both), a KVM box for keyboard/mouse/video connections to their desks and Windows 10 Enterprise bulk pricing.

In bulk wholesale pricing, total cost was around $3000 per workstation-class computer and these are being use for daily CAD/CAM and ERP/SALES use with no network issues at all. Server is a TWO-CPU sever motherboard (Tyan) also racked on a simple cutting board running AMD EPYC 7251 16-Core 2.1GHz CPU's on Windows 2016 server doing NOTHING but Active Directory, DHCP/DNS, and Email services and daily backup/antivirus/anti-malware against all clients between midnight and 6 am. NOTHING ELSE gets done on those servers so they are lightly loaded!

Everything else gets done at the client level since they have so many usable cores that I can assign TWO CPU cores FOR JUST background tasks as end-user widgets, client-machine midday and 6 pm daily backups of Email/Documents/CAD/Cam/Image files folder and a scheduled 1 pm and 7 pm email/anti-malware/anti-virus memory/user files scan. On these machines, everything takes only between 30 minutes to one hour on the backups and scans and the users never know because those tasks are running only in the background on specified and RESERVED cores. The user still has six cores/12 threads to play with in their CAD/CAM/ERP/Sales systems.

They use Sonicwall firewall appliances and a single managed 10 GB switch so speed of data transfer is a non-issue and they CAP everyone's client internet and network access at 400 megabits per second so NO SINGLE USER chokes the entire network (i.e. user Quotas on Network Bandwidth). The other bandwidth left over is reserved for outside sales on VPN and for all scheduled daily backups and anti-virus/malware network scans.

EVERYONE is now happy with this new scheme and I can simply add another 10 boards into two more racks and add another managed switch/router with a bridge in-between creating a sub-net which won't interfere with current users. In terms of maintenance, they are NOT reliant on a SINGLE server box running blade clients which could take down the ENTIRE operation! Everyone gets their OWN client motherboard and if one machine needs maintenance, a user can have their roaming user profile activated on one of the spare boards!

Additions and changes are a BREEZE and easy to do without harming ANY OTHER user!

So far I've been given "Two Thumbs Up" for a small scale network system that works for Workstation-class machines usage rather well!

While it's a rather expensive option if you want to scale beyond 25 users, I would have no personal issue with using nothing but racked gamer motherboards and multiple subnets on 10 Gbit bridges between managed switches/routers. I estimated my system could EASILY be scaled to over 1000 motherboards/users before costs get truly outlandish and I probably have to call IBM in for a Z-series Mainframe price quote!

I've heard of systems using TEN THOUSAND+ such racked motherboard setups using multiple sub-nets for scale-up and scale-out purposes!

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