The New Powerhouse


The 7044A-82R is a mid-tower system that is targeted at the workstation/server market. Its case design and feature-set could definitely put it in either market, with a strong emphasis on the server market due to its redundant power, rack-mount option, and hot swappable hard drive cage. The case itself has a triple redundant 760 Watt power supply, hot swappable cooling fans and a flexible drive bay configuration. Our unit was equipped with 5 hot swap drive bays, but the system can handle 10 hot swap bays with a stackable drive cage mounted in the front of the case (see image below).

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Motherboard & CPU

The heart of our new workstation is a Supermicro X6DA8-G2, outfitted with Dual 3.6 GHz, 800MHz FSB Nocona CPUs. The X6DA8-G2 is one of the latest boards from Supermicro for Intel's new Nocona CPUs. This particular board uses Intel's E7525 Tumwater chipset and has the following features:
  • 16GB DDR2-400 SDRAM (our system arrived with 4 512MB Infineon sticks)
  • Intel Dual Gigabit Network interfaces
  • Adaptec Dual U320 SCSI (AIC-7902)
  • Dual SATA ports (ICH5R)
  • 1 (x16) PCI-Express slot
  • 1 (x4) using (x16 slot) PCI-Express
  • 1 x 64Bit 133Mhz bit PCI-X
  • 2 x 64bit 100 Mhz PCI-X
  • 1 32bit PCI slots
  • Zero channel raid support (allows you to buy an Adaptec 2010S to add raid support)
  • AC'97 6-channel sound
This is a well-equipped board, and has room for storage expansion with zero channel raid support and flexible chassis configuration support.

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Graphics Card

Since our system was built as a workstation, it was outfitted with a NVidia Quadro FX 3400. Granted, this card is overkill for my purpose, but it does have Dual DVI and is ready for SLI with another 3400 if the need for more power is ever required. The Tumwater chipset is currently the only chipset that will support operating NVidia's Quadro or 6800 based cards in SLI. The Quadro FX managed to maintain 60+ fps at 1024 x 768 high quality in Doom 3 when I wasn't busy writing code.


Since compiling is very I/O intensive, we put two Seagate 18GB U320 15,000RPM drives in the system. We'll probably get larger drives in the future, but for now, it's enough space for the OS and the site code, with some room left over for the odd game or two.

First Try Operating System & Changes
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  • a3217055 - Sunday, September 12, 2004 - link

    Why don't you use Linux, it will be better faster and cheaper. But then again if a big corpration is promoting hardware for Anandtech to use so ...
    Anyway but you should use what ever you feel like. After this is a job and in the end you gotta get the job done.
  • Questar - Friday, September 10, 2004 - link

    Please test workstations in the manner they are used, i.e. heavy multitasking situations.
  • gherald - Friday, September 10, 2004 - link

    I would like to see an Opteron vs Nocona article using Gentoo AMD64 with GCC 3.4.2 and
    CFLAGS="-O2 -pipe -funit-at-a-time"

    USE="nptl" when compiling glibc would also be nice.
  • ncage - Friday, September 10, 2004 - link

    Jason i know what i would like included in the benchmarks if you have time to do it:

    1) SQL Sever 2000 DEFINITLY; Preferably with Net Server
    2) SUSE 64 bit Linux with 64 bit MySQL would be an awesome test too.
  • T8000 - Friday, September 10, 2004 - link

    This looks like a very good video editing system to me. Could you include Adobe Premiere Pro in your upcoming review to see if it is.

    Preferably with some HDTV footage, as this is getting more common in large screen live video presentations and it takes long enough to edit to see very large improvements here.
  • fritz64 - Friday, September 10, 2004 - link

    Good Article Jason
    Most of you guys have not really respond to Jason's request. I will particularly like to see benches on
    scientific computing(say parallel Molecular Dynamics). GROMAC is freely available and runs fine on windows. This will task the FPU and NUMA capability of Nacona and Opteron dualies. Nacona with Hypertrading turn on can also be compared with HT turned off. If you can, try to bench any Chess program with parallel CPU support to gve us an idea of the Integer Unit performance.
  • val - Friday, September 10, 2004 - link

    Ecmaster76: My professor once said us: independent journalist is the one who takes from both :-).
    And nooo, i am realy not dreaming about to have such a system at home... Noooo sure not!
  • RZaakir - Friday, September 10, 2004 - link

    This is interesting, but setting up the 2003 server seems like overkill. I have been able to do multiple site .NET development on XP IIS pretty easily. All that you have to do is make a folder under the web root of the site and then turn that folder into an application by opening the IIS manager and going to properties of that folder and clicking the create button under application settings. That way http://localhost/foldername) would be an individual project. You could repeat this as many times as you wanted.

    Since they are applications, your bin folder and web.config files should sit in the root of these folders like any other .NET application. Maybe I missed something, but the only way that this wouldn't work is if you had some sort of per project need for host headers, custom error pages, or performance throttling. I have to say that only use VS.NET to build my assemblies and I use Dreamweaver MX for my layouts and bindings. I tried using VS.NET for everything but Dreamweaver is head and shoulders better when it comes to HTML / CSS. I say that to say that again, I may be missing something.

    Whatever the case, clearly you guys had the resources to splurge so go for it. I would love to have a setup like that (though with dual Optys :)).
  • STaSh - Friday, September 10, 2004 - link

    You don't need to edit any ini files to connect to session 0 (the console) on a 2003 machine. That ability is already there.

    Just type "mstsc /console" from the run line.

    Or you could type "mstsc /console /v:servername" to connect directly to the machine.
  • Brickster - Friday, September 10, 2004 - link


    Thanks for the article! I find it really awesome that you guys put these together and actually talk about Anandtech's experience with hosting such a site.

    It's like reading a really good white paper that just keeps going; a good story that never ends.

    Keep up the good work!


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