Thanks for the request for information.
Question to you --- will you be migrating to CS 4 or CS 5?
To answer your question there are dual socket workstation solutions from OEM's like Apple, Boxx Boxx3D8500, Dell T7500, Fujitsu CELSIUS R670, HP Z800 and Lenovo D20. You can of course build your own with WS boards that support Intel® Xeon® processor 5500 series from vendors like ASUS Z8NA-D6C or Super micro. You really need to work ASUS or Supermicro to make sure you get the correct motherboard.
Your question on memory has a foundation on what you are actually doing. You will need to provide more data on that in order that I can provide you a better answer.
That said thinks that can impact your performance;
1) Processor speeds
2) Mem Capacity
3) Mem bandwidth - more is always better
4) Dick config RAID, Solid State Disk, etc…
One more thought on which workstation. I assume you buy a workstation probably very 2-4 years. If that is the case, then you may want to opt up in your configuration – e.g. do not buy the older model buy the most recent model – it will last you longer.
If you're looking for an Intel workstation board, I'd recommand S5520SC. You may select components on http://serverconfigurator.intel.com/Configure.aspx?ID=1666. The CPU/memory/graphics model selection is based on your requirements. You may visit http://www.intel.com/performance/workstation/xeon5000/dcc.htm?iid=perf_ws_body+5000_dcc for performance benchmarks.
Thnx both the above answers are very helpful especially link to server confiurator. Still I couldn't understand & select few things like RAM: Unbuffered ECC or Registered ECC, Further in RAM : Select Rank single or dual, Intel® Thermal Solution, Intel® RAID Controllers, Intel® RAID Accessories, Solid-State Drive.
To answer your questions:
- Both unbuffered and registered memory are supported on S5520SC, but you can't mix them on the same system. Generally speaking registered memory can support larger capacity. I suggest you select tested memory in the list from Server Configurator.
- Single and Dual rank are about how memory chips are organized on the DIMM module. Again you can select from tested memory list on Server Configurator. The Intel Memory Configuration Tool can help to determine what kind of memory to use.
- Fan heat sinks are sold separately for Xeon 5500 series. For S5520SC, you should choose an active thermal solution, STS100C or STS100A. The difference is that STS100C can support CPU up to 130W, while STS100A can support up to 80W only, See http://www.intel.com/support/processors/xeon5k/sb/CS-030328.htm for details.
- You can choose different RAID/storage solutions for S5520SC. See http://www.intel.com/support/motherboards/server/sb/CS-030320.htm for details.
- Solid-State Drives are much faster than hard drives, but are also more expansive. See http://www.intel.com/design/flash/nand/extreme/index.htm.