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  • secretmanofagent - Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - link

    Perhaps I'm being naive, but why would you still include USB 2.0 ports if USB 3.0 is backwards compatible? The only thing I can think of is that they don't think four USB ports are enough, and I can maybe buy that, but it means the user has to think about which port they're going to plug into.

    Also, how is 8GB middle of the road for a workstation? I would think the minimum would be 16GB.

    Has HP's reliability gotten any better? I've had horrible experiences with them, and our IT department isn't keen on them either.
  • aicom64 - Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - link

    USB 3.0 is only backwards compatible at the hardware level. Without proper USB 3.0 drivers, the ports won't work at all, even in USB 2.0 mode. With Windows 8, I'd expect we'll start to see some motherboards with only USB 3.0, but for now we need some USB 2.0 ports just to get through installation to install the USB 3.0 drivers. On the Apple side, it's not a problem because the keyboard and trackpad are connected via internal USB 1.1 connection even though all external ports are USB 3.0. Reply
  • secretmanofagent - Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - link

    Very interesting, I had no idea. Thanks for the reply. Reply
  • Robert Pankiw - Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - link

    I know aicom64 posted a great answer, but I just enforce that with, my keyboard doesn't work at startup using USB 3.0, but on USB 2.0 it is fine, even though once I am in Windows, my keyboard works in either port. As aicom64 alluded to, issues (like that) will be solves in Windows 8. Reply
  • Braincruser - Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - link

    In addition to that, adding 10 USB 3.0 instead of 4x 3.0 + 6x 2.0 can exhaust the internal bandwidth or will take up too much PCI-E links to operate, and on the other hand, only a few devices benefit from usb 3.0, mostly ones that are data storage and transfers like hard drives. there is no point connecting a mouse and a keyboard to a usb 3.0 when an inexpensive 2.0 will do just the same. Reply
  • augiem - Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - link

    If your keyboard doesn't work before you get into Windows, having Windows 8 on your system won't solve anything. The Bios/UEFI would have to support it. Windows 8 preinstalled systems may have this requirement, I don't know, but certainly installing Win8 on your current PC won't help in that regard. Reply
  • softdrinkviking - Friday, August 03, 2012 - link

    Yup. Except that I don't think any mobo companies will bother with usb 3.0 support in any bios. Bios is almost legacy, so they will probably focus on enabling it in UEFI only. Reply
  • IanCutress - Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - link

    I would like to add, as I end up installing OSes on different Z77 motherboards every week, that sometimes the chipset USB 3.0 do work on install. I have a motherboard here now that has only USB 3.0 on the back panel, but enough of them work during a USB Win7 install to go through it until we can install the rest of the USB 3.0 drivers.

  • bobj3832 - Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - link

    USB 3 has separate transceivers for the USB 2 and 3 parts. USB2 uses 4 pins while USB3 uses 9 because it's the the 4 from USB2 plus 5 more. Another transceiver means more die space on the chip is used and more pins which increases cost. Reply
  • owned66 - Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - link

    never ever buy from companies like these
    these desktops wont live long
    the first thing that gonna die is the motherboard just look at it !
  • Phynaz - Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - link

    when are these companies going to learn that you have to use the RED motherboards for reliability. Reply
  • Parhel - Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - link

    You need to go work for Dell (dude.) I know that was a joke, and i thought it was funny, but it's really not a bad idea.

    A lot of IT guys are enthusiasts too. They'd like to see a little attention to detail on the inside of the case. I know I would. My home PCs tends to be recycled work Dells anyways.

    It might not win any sales, but at least it would get a few of us at work saying "have you seen the new Dells?" and it would cost them next to nothing.

    Overall, these seem to be quality machines for an entry level workstation. They just need a little attention to detail. Like the author mentioned, what's with the base model power supply? Do you really want to deploy 100 of those at your facility, and have them sucking up power and heating your building for the next 3 years?
  • chris471 - Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - link

    The main reason to get a Xeon would be ECC memory, in my case. Testing with non-ECC really seems quirky. OTOH, a great opportunity for you: refit it with ECC and re-run the benchmarks to get the ECC vs non-ECC delta. Reply
  • Grok42 - Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - link

    I was thinking the same thing. The main advantage of Xeon is ECC and depending on the board more than 32GB of RAM. Both of these advantages were not exercised on this setup. The reviewer did state the choices on the box were quirky so I'm guessing Dell simply sent him a test box without any input. Cutting corners on memory has always bothered me with manufactures including Apple. I'm about to build a box and decided to "splurge" and put 16GB of RAM in my box for a measly $90. Reply
  • Icehawk - Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - link

    God, I hope that price is a typo by $1k (I know workstations are padded but this is nutbar)! I don't get this config or price at all. 500gb in RAID 0? 8gb of RAM? Quadro? Oy. Who on earth is this setup for?

    Doesn't seem like they have made an advance in chassis design either in the last 10 years.
  • Kaldor - Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - link

    Dell missed the mark here, this workstation is not worth $2700. Not to mention, this machine is complete and total overkill for the average office worker. You know because you need RAID and a Xeon to type in MS Office!

    We run Optiplex 790 Dells at work and Im fairly happy with them. Easy to work on, stable, and inexpensive.
  • Parhel - Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - link

    That isn't who the Precision workstations are for. For employees who use their computer just to "type in MS Office" or for e-mail, get an Optiplex. For a Developer or a DBA making $150,000 a year, or an executive for that matter, what's $2700 over 3 years? Not much if it helps them be more productive.

    Any time a corporate model desktop or workstation gets reviewed, there are 10 comments saying "but I could build this on Newegg for half the price!" Sure you could, but try building and supporting 1000's of them and tell me if you've saved money.

    As the review said, these prices are low in light of HP's offerings. Dell will sell plenty of these.
  • Kaldor - Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - link

    I never said that I would build from Newegg, at least for a production computer for day to day use. The warranty service and having standardized images is too great a factor. I have built for certain applications, and it usually involves some very proprietary software that needs to run on this computer that I need complete control over what hardware that goes into the PC that is hooked up to a $500k CNC machine.

    This is a problem in the IT industry as a whole Ive found. Sometimes the IT department needs to step up and just say NO or figure out a compromise to make things acceptable without breaking the bank in cases like an exec who wants something. The same goes for DBAs or developers. You reach a point where the IT department needs to have some accountability for their spending and look what they are getting for the money they spend. Personally I could care less if something takes them 1 minute longer. Saving $1000 per computer is more important to me. Get past the "ooh shiny" and actually look at what the return on investment is. These are simply not a good investment.

    The Optiplex 790 I have on my desk is not that much slower that what they are selling here, and we paid a little more than half the cost of the workstation here. Specs: i7-2600k, 8 gigs of ram, 256 gig SSD, 1 TB hard drive, ATI video card. This is the PC we give to everyone, including the engineers using AutoCAD, and I have gotten no complaints that their computer wasnt fast enough when rendering so we back burnered putting in Quadro cards.
  • Parhel - Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - link

    Consider a top tier DBA making $150K per year. Once you add employer side costs, you're looking at maybe $200K. If a workstation is going to be refreshed every 3 years, $2700 is less than 1/2 of 1 percent of your payroll costs for that employee. I don't think that's out of line.

    You wouldn't give one to someone whose needs are already exceeded by an Optiplex 390. That's a given.

    Also, my understanding is that $2700 is a "rack rate." You may be comparing that to a heavily discounted rate on your 790 (which is pretty damn tricked out I must say.)
  • Kaldor - Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - link

    Maybe for a company that has alot of money to spend, sure, but even then... :) Im just the type of person that has no issues whatsoever about telling someone higher than me what I think or how something should be done. Its worked out pretty well for me so far.

    In the case of my IT department, we dont have alot of money to spend. I came to the company I currently work for and the IT department was a mess and we are slowly turning it around on a shoestring budget. Previously I worked for a multi-national corporation that had a massive IT budget, so I have seen both sides of the picture.

    The fact remains, IT departments in alot of cases really overspend as a whole. In a big company that makes alot of money its not really an issue. But in a small company that doesnt make alot of money, being able to do what you can for the smallest amount of money, then saving $1000 goes a long ways.

    And yeah, the discount on that workstation would drop the price considerably. Id say about $500 lower would be the discount price. The 790's we use were specced this way for one reason, 5 to 6 year turnaround on the desktops. We looked at what our users do, and this hardware should be fast enough to still serve our purposes in 5 years.
  • Parhel - Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - link

    Honestly, that seems like a smart route to take. I'm not a hardware guy at all, but I think it makes sense. I would worry about longevity if they were mechanical drives, but with the SSDs, that should be good for the long haul. We just lease all our stuff at my work anyways, so the costs are entirely different. Reply
  • Kaldor - Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - link

    Leasing is an option, but generally from a financial standpoint buying your desktops and leasing your laptops is the best route. When you lease, you cannot depreciate the hardware yearly. Thats also the reason we run on a 5 year cycle. Write off 20% per year. Cant do that leasing!

    We do lease our laptops, and thats purely from a wear and tear standpoint. Every 3 years we turn them around. But we have far less laptops than desktops.

    The SSD vs HD will always be a debate. I dont feel that a spinning HD dying is a major issue myself. I expect to replace 20% of the drives within the lifecycle of a desktop. Thats why we have networks drives and images. The SSDs are not there to provide durability, but to make the user experience better. I was once asked how we could improve the user experience 4-5 years ago, and I gave them two things, make sure the computer has twice the RAM in it that is really needed, and use an SSD for your application drive. All the rest falls into place after that.
  • Ananke - Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - link

    These are like two dozen people at Apple, a dozen at Oracle and Google, etc. .. you get the idea. They don't use desktop workstations anyway, a good laptop - most likely MacbookPro is enough.

    Similar workstations are in use for CAD.
  • Parhel - Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - link

    What, the salary? Maybe that was on the high side, but it's not all that unrealistic for a senior level DBA / software architect type job. At my organization, everyone in our development team automatically gets both a desktop workstation and a mobile workstation, from the most entry level guy on up. Even the QA team. And the higher levels guys basically get whatever they ask for. Why be cheap with the tools you give your top talent? Reply
  • Penti - Wednesday, August 01, 2012 - link

    An engineer would need options that just isn't available on the cheapest desktops to begin with. Plus a decent business notebook (not workstation-class) is already 1500-2000 at base value, add in screens and keyboards etc. It's all in all nothing when it comes to the software cost. A Visual Studio seat with Team foundation plus licenses for testing stuff would cost you more then this workstation. Hardware engineers would use much more expensive software will need specialized hardware, add-on cards and so on too. A 5000 dollar workstation is nothing if it allows you to do your job. You might get by on older hardware and software, but you would suffer other limitations from doing that.

    Any way managing your licenses will earn you more saving then skimping on your technical staff and engineers. It's not the office worker, sales staff, warehouse staff and janitors that will sit on workstations. They will have cheap desktops or more expensive business notebooks, depends on how everything is run. Hardware costs aren't a problem when just paying your basic software licenses (Windows, Office etc) will cost you more then a cheap desktop machine. The cheapest machines won't be as manageable and more expensive to serve then stuff made for business too. It's not cost of hardware that is a factor here. It's it environment, service/setup and use. Everybody probably shouldn't use the same machine. Some will cost more.
  • tipoo - Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - link

    Lol...Who said it was for office workers typing in Office? Not every machine is for everyone. Reply
  • miebster - Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - link

    Am I missing something?

    What is the point of a computer like this? From dell you can get an optiplex 990 core i5 2500k, 16 gb ram, and 120gb ssd for $1200. Can someone give me a reason to buy the workstation over the optiplex?
  • Parhel - Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - link

    Compare the prices without all the options, and it doesn't look so bad. The CPU upgrade alone is $1100 over the base price. The GPU is $600. There are specific cases where you might opt for a workstation over a desktop, but the prices you're talking about aren't representative. The options on this review model seem to more to "show off" rather than represent a realistic configuration. Reply
  • HammerStrike - Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - link

    Workstations are designed for users who have high performance computing needs ( CAD/CAM, engineering, financial modeling, scientific apps, etc. ) Main difference is:

    1. Processors that have more cache on chip (hence the Xeon's). Higher end models alls offer multi-processor support as well.
    2. Beefer motherboard to support Xeon processors - basically server MB's.
    3. Pro grade graphics cards. Main difference here is that they have driver support and are optimized for applications mentioned above. Most of those apps won't really run on a consumer card, and even if you could get them going you wouldn't get any support.

    Higher end work stations will typically support additional memory/types (standard business PC's typically top out around 16GB, while you can get a workstation with 64GB+ of ECC memory), as well as additional storage options (RAID 5, 10, etc, sometimes additional backup options, such as tape drive).

    Admittedly, they probably sell 100 standard business boxes for every workstation, but if you are running a program that needs one you, well, need one. As mentioned above, much of the software that a workstation is designed for wouldn't run on anything else (no driver support), but for the apps that do offer more cross "platform" support the performance boast boast is night and day. It can be the difference of jobs taking minutes vs hours to complete.

    As far as the Dell Precision units are concerned, they also offer some builds that are pre-certified to be compatible with many "workstation" grade applications and perform at a certain level with them. If you have an issue on a workstation that is pre-certified Dells support team will be able to troubleshoot and assist both the hardware and software issue. Depending on the issue, they may need to bring in the software developer, but the Dell team works with them tdirectly. Many companies find a lot of value in that.
  • alxxx - Wednesday, August 01, 2012 - link

    plus space for a full length pcie card/s

    More than 1 pcie x16 gen 3 slot (if needed)

    E5 is the only Intel chip so far to have DDIO.
    Expect to see it in all of them eventually.

    A better comparison would have been with hp z420-E5-1620.
    The one here seems a lot quieter than the z400.
  • cknobman - Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - link

    That is one BFUGLY case!!!!

    Where do these designers come up with this stuff?
  • Gunbuster - Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - link

    Indeed. Paying the "Workstation" markup they could have at least made it look good like the older Precision boxes. Reply
  • Urbanos - Wednesday, August 01, 2012 - link

    why no E5-1600 cpu's in the comparison? Reply
  • cwpippin - Wednesday, August 01, 2012 - link

    Does anyone see the resemblance to the IBM ThinkCenter workstations? Man, these are fugly machines. Good thing we are buying performance, not looks.
  • Valutin - Thursday, August 02, 2012 - link

    Good machine, the Ivy-bridge goodness allows for a boost in performance.

    But as a few pointed out, ECC is a must for a CAD workstation and for some critical work.
    It slightly impacts performance.
    On our side, we still opted for several 3D workstations without it as we wanted to increase productivity with overclocking.

    I am just surprised by some comments, it's obvious that 2700 USD for a box is expensive, but for a Xeon+quadro 2000 set-up and all the ISV certification behind, that's quite in line and you don't buy this kind of stuff for general ledger work...

    One point Coming standard is also the 3 years on-site warranty (at least from our side of the world), which is nice to have from a business point of view.

    I was expecting that Dell would have update the flow of their machine but it appears that either the flow was already great, either price reduction was too aggressive on that one.
    I still prefer the SFF in IBM and HP's line, they better fit my vision of small CAD box. :)
  • canyon.mid - Thursday, August 02, 2012 - link

    Compilation benchmarks? Reply
  • Stupid and new - Wednesday, May 15, 2013 - link

    These machines are a total waste of money. I have a T7600, cost $5500. The absurdly expensive processor in these things suck for 3D modeling. They don't offer a i7 option. I bought $800 pc from Micro Center with a solidstate and i7, put a the same graphics card in it which cost $400 and it runs circles around my T7600. I build it for a co-worker when his office machine died. I felt like a dumbass after that. The key 3d modeling with any type of engineering software is, the programs only support 1 processor. The, the i7 processors are a steal on every level even rendering were the it utilizes all cores. On a side note, I own a M6600 with an i7 for personal use and it is smoking fast, couldn't be happier with it. Reply
  • fezono - Sunday, January 29, 2017 - link

    Can anyone tell if the intel C216 chipset supports Sandy Bridge processor (eg. 15-2500k)? Thanks in advance!! Reply

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