Hardware - HP Proliant DL380 G5, two disks, one is Intel SSD and another one is HP SCSI 15K drive, each running as RAID0. Software - IOMeter, latest version. File system - default NTFS partitions were setup, with Intel being a system drive. It might sound like a bit of overhead (bringing incorrect measurements), but honestly, I don't think it would really matter on such speeds and IOps. Controller caching - 25% read/75% write.
My primary concern to upgrade was photo editing. I have a Canon Rebel XSI (450D), which takes 12MP photos. Unfortunately, I'm not yet a very good photographer, probably just need more practice. Anyway, editing photos became a frequent task. For some reason Phenom 9500 is pretty slow on those large ones. And it used to take me around 2-3 seconds to perform simple transformations. Having heard enough about the benefits of Phenom II, I decided to push forward and buy Phenom 955.
I recently had a chance to try Windows 7 Enterprise x86 on an old PC. Overall, quite impressed with performance.
First, I’m not a big overclocker. Second, I’m not going to use any TEC coolers for ultra fast performance. Third, I don’t have a canister of liquid nitrogen. So, nothing fancy, just air, common non-black processor and a little customized case are going to be involved. If you think it’s pathetic, just don’t read lines below. But if you value your money and want something for cheap, keep reading.
Our company finally bought a powerful HP DL380 G6 server with 2 x Xeon 5540 (8 cores total). Prior to production, we put 2 x 4 gig memory sticks (8 GB of memory) and 3 SCSI hard drives to make RAID5. As you can imagine, initial testing of this box was up to me.