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Tag: Intel

My Natural Environment

This is where I do my software development (unless I’m on-site in a cubicle somewhere).

This is my natural Environment (my home office in development mode)

I love working in my home office and find it to be an extremely effective and efficient environment for writing software!

  • Fast Intel i7 CPU at 4 GHz
  • 32 GB of RAM
  • 1 TB SSD for boot & temporary storage
  • Dual 4TB hard drives in RAID-1 for data storage
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 for driving my main 4K monitor
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti for driving my 2 additional monitors
  • Main monitor is 55″ 4K which allows me to see A LOT OF CODE at once
  • Two secondary monitors for references or other information
  • Indirect, subdued lighting so the focus is the monitors
  • Music with a strong beat (electronic, industrial or metal) for motivation

Though normally the computer is sitting on the right side of the desk, not on top. My motherboard failed last week and I had to replace it. Historically I’ve preferred AMD based systems but decided to give Intel a try for the last upgrade. That has gone very poorly resulting in yet another hardware failure (see my previous post AMD vs Intel) .

I’m waiting for the 3rd generation of AMD Ryzen Threadripper processors to become available (hopefully later this year) for my next upgrade. Those are a game changer with all of their extra I/O bandwidth. I’ll also upgrade to a M.2 PCIe main drive and 64 GB of RAM at the same time. Should be nice.

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AMD vs Intel

TL;DR: For two decades I’ve run 5-6 computers 24/7 with AMD CPUs and never had a hardware failure. A couple years ago I tried a top of the line Intel i7 and have had to replace the CPU once and the motherboard twice due to hardware failure. Ouch!

I worked at Intel for 5 years and it was a really good experience. Despite that, I’ve been a fan of AMD CPUs for ~2 decades (including while I was at Intel). The AMD processors always seemed to offer a better price / performance ratio. But now I’ve discovered a much more compelling argument against Intel.

I run a high-end primary workstation, a couple of other PCs and 5 servers, the workstation and servers run 24/7 and are on UPSs. Every couple of years I upgrade my workstation and the old parts (which were high-end at the time) either upgrade one of my servers or create a new server. At present all of the computers I have use AMD CPUs except my workstation.

A few years ago I decided to try Intel so built a new workstation around an Intel i7 4790K and Gigabyte z97x Gaming G1 Wifi Black motherboard. The reason for the “gaming” motherboard is I need 2 PCIe x16 slots for 2 good video cards to drive my 3 monitor setup. Just the CPU and motherboard combined cost around $1,200! The new workstation was very expensive but it did perform well.

Problem is that it wasn’t reliable. It worked reliably for about a year, then the motherboard failed and had to be replaced. Bought a one of the same model and swapped them. The system ran about about another year then the CPU died. So I had to buy a replacement 4790K and swap that. Its been about another year and I’m having motherboard issues again! It will only boot sometimes and it won’t boot with 32GB so I had to downgrade to 16GB. At this point I’ve had to replace both the CPU and motherboard and have just ordered a new motherboard (different brand this time).

The Intel CPU and motherboard were significantly more than AMD equivalents to start with, but having to replace the CPU once and the motherboard twice is ridiculous!

By contrast I literally can’t remember the last time I had an AMD CPU or motherboard fail. I have run some of them 24/7 for nearly 8 years and they never had a single hardware issue. But I try Intel and its failure city!

Regarding my next upgrade, I’m late because I’m waiting for new CPU models that mitigate against Spectre in hardware. I was going to upgrade to an AMD Threadripper but then Spectre happened. The 3rd generation Threadrippers based on the Zen 2 core are due out this year, then I’m upgrading. When I upgrade this Intel hardware IS NOT going into a server, I’m tossing it in the garbage! What a waste of money.

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