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Dell Precision T3500 vs. Optiplex 980

Question asked by Steve Gorghuber on Jan 12, 2011
Latest reply on Jan 31, 2011 by Corey Vantilborg

I'm getting ready to place an order with Dell for a new SolidWorks workstation at work.  It will be used for large assembly modeling, as well as linear static simulation (studies with 1,000,000+ degrees of freedom).  Photo rendering is not a requirement at this time.  In the past I've always ordered Precision T3500's with the following:

- cheapest 3.0 - 3.2 GHz processor available

- 12 GB of memory

- midrange nVidia Quadro video card (Quadro 4000 for example)

- 10k rpm SATA hd


These configs usually end up listing for around $3500 on Dell's website.  Just for the heck of it, today I configured an Optiplex 980 with the following specs:


- 2.93 GHz i7 870 processor

- 16 GB memory

- 500 GB 6.0 gb/s SATA hd

- 256MB ATI RADEON HD 3450 video card


This config lists for under $2200.  I realize the graphics card is crap, but a Quadro 4000 can be had from newegg for under $800, putting my entire cost under $3000, and I end up with more memory as well.  Basically I'm going from a Xeon to an i7 processor, and losing ECC ram (which I don't think is a huge deal these days anyways).


I also think I would actually see a memory speed benefit with the optiplex system.  Usually when I buy the T3500, I select on of the 4.8GT/s processors, which according to Dell's website causes the memory to run at only 800Mhz.  The i7 in the optiplex should allow the memory to run at it's full speed.


Has anyone done this before?  Any thoughts?  Thanks.