First Try

The first thing that we tried was building a separate server out of some spare parts. We threw a dual Opteron 246 together with a 120GB 8MB Cache SATA hard drive and 1GB of memory. The hardware itself worked fine, although I/O was a bit of a bottleneck due to the mediocre IDE hard drive. Compiling larger .NET projects is very I/O intensive. The main problem, however, lied with the software side of the implementation, particularly debugging. In order for Visual Studio to debug projects on remote servers, there are several hoops that you have to jump through, and after you finish doing that, you may or may not be successful.

After spending a day or two trying to get remote debugging working correctly, I decided that developing the .NET projects locally was the reliable choice. The next decision: which hardware were we going to use? I/O wasn't that great on our home-built server, and we wanted to use the latest technology to build a powerhouse workstation that would serve our needs for years to come (rebuilding workstation/servers isn't something that we like doing often).

As luck would have it, we received a SuperMicro 7044A-82R from SuperMicro, which certainly fits the "Powerhouse" workstation bill that we were looking for. Not only is our new workstation outfitted with the latest technology, it has the redundancy and workstation/server chassis to go with it. We've used some Supermicro products through the years, and it has always served us well. In fact, we still have an old SC750-A Supermicro case around the labs, which was one of the first server cases that we used at AnandTech.

Index The New Powerhouse
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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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