Something I needed to do was update my computers to Windows 7 since most all the apps I work with require Win 7.1 and above.

I first installed Win7 on my laptop and rather liked it, so what the heck, putting it on my Main computer should prove even better - right? In theory it was a great plan - in practice however - it turned out to be a huge mistake.

HP never updated drivers for my main comp to Vista 64 bit let alone Win 7 64 bit. And turning back to XP as we all know is a lost cause since Microsoft quit update support for XP. Leaving my main computer a non functioning brick.

My thinking on this was - great! An excuse to get a better newer computer! I've been wanting one for a  long time now anyway.

So I started looking and wow. The new tech is absolutly great! But out of my current budget. But that's okay I don't mind getting a used workstation and in my researching discovered dual Xeon 4 and 6 cores machine price point crashed back in January of this year. And I mean really crashed.

 As you can see by the below history of the price point for these Dual-CPU machines as of January 1st 2014 they dropped to around $327.

Keeping my budget in mind - the fact I'm not a production company - I'm currently just learning CG and programming. I started researching machines that have these CPU's in them, which is as expected a couple generations ago.

What I found was I could get a used Dual CPU Xeon 2.8ghz+ workstation with a Quadro FX4000+ GC, 12-24gigs of DDR 1333 ram for a reasonable in budget price. And you know what, for what I'm doing right now, it'll be just fine. I'm not a big production company, just a guy learning right now.I do find I have to keep telling myself that when looking at these and then seeing the new.

So staying realistic, a machine in this realm will suite me just fine.
Hopefully when DDR4 takes hold in the next 18 months, I'll be ready to work on a new build.

So I started looking around and sure enough there are a ton of them all over the web for dirt cheap, under $500 and the price is still dropping - Fast!

Here is an example build for sale all over  the web at $499:

Dell T5500
CPU's - 2x x5660 Xeons 2.8ghz (total of 12 cores)
HD - New 1 TB under warrenty for 2 more years.
OS - Win 7.1 x64 with COA
DVD - New BlueRay Read/Writer
Raid - Raid Card
GC- Quadro FX 4000
Power Supply - 850watt
RAM - 24gigs of DDR3 1333 Ram
Power Cord

With a over all 90 day guarantee as well!

And you'll find the same with HP Z800 dual CPU machines and many other Dual Xeon workstation machines whether 2.8ghz or 3.2 or 3.3 and up.

Granted it's not the best computer and some of these workstations don't have enough room for all my drives. The Dell T5500 and HP Z800 only have 2 HD bays with a possible 3rd if you remove and convert one of the DVD drive bays... but I can live with that or figure out something to accommodate my RAID system.

Point being - and yes - I do have to remind myself constantly when looking at all the new gear in my searchs.
- it will be just fine for what I'm doing now.

So I started looking around locally figuring I can pick one up and my down time would be short lived. I contacted several local "wholesale" computer places that had posted to Craigslist thinking given the average price they would have similar and competitive pricing. Who better to have their thumb on the pulse of computer price points than a computer wholesaler - right?

At least in most area's that would prove to be true, that is - unless you live in South Florida which I currently do, (though I hope to change that soon)

For example we see the above build for $499 which for me is exceptable - you can find them even lower for similar builds.

This is a sample quote I received from a local computer "wholesaler" and this is indicative of the Tri-County area...

Dell T5500
CPU's - 2x Xeon 5660 2.8ghz (total of 12 cores)
HD - None
OS - None
DVD- None
GC - Quadro FX 4000
RAM - 24 gigs of DDR3 1333
Raid - Raid Card
Power Suppy - 850 watts
No power cord.

No over all guarantee.

You'd think the quote would be around $250- $300 bucks tops for this not even bare-bones comp.
-  try $1,250.


Oh that's right - this is South Florida, home of every greedy sob on the planet. First the Real Estate, then Cars, then everything else. Computers included I'm finding out.

And it has nothing to do with supply and demand down here,  as stated, they do the same with Real Estate,be it for sale or for rent. New and Used Auto sales which btw are and have been the highest in the Nation for several years running now, Due to them asking 3-4 times value down here. And having the worst junk cars to boot.

As it ends up thus far - getting one of these workstations has been a bust for me. Only because like a dumbass I was trying to support local business. If buying online I can get one all day long. Which is apparently the route I'll succumb to - or just move to where they are. There is a thought.

But in the mean time this also meant I had to drop the courses I was taking at MIT for Computer Science (programming). - for a second time. Which totally sucks.

On a positive note..  and I'm really trying hard to be positive in my this post, well, as much as I can given the circumstances. In looking for a computer and researching what was going on tech wise, new and old, I did run into some interesting builds with multi monitors.

Here is an example of what I'd like to model a build on when I get to where ever out off this area:

You got to love the gamers who really made the multi-screen set up popular.
I may make a blog post on Multi Monitor set ups. I found several that really are impressive as well different configurations that I want to keep in mind when designing mine.

Plus a post like that might lift my spirits and at least give some incentive for any builds you might be considering as well.

And a final note to all those in computer sales, especially the computer "wholesalers".  As anyone dealing with computers knows all too well, but exspecially those in computer sales know; "He who is holding the proverbial computer bag last - looses"

Hopefully next time I'll have a more positive flow to share. And a decently priced used computer to work on.

Till then, Happy Rendering,

- chase -

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