Storage Informer
Storage Informer

Building a better, faster, multi-core Tomorrow @ Kid to Work Day!

by on Jun.16, 2009, under Storage

Building a better, faster, multi-core Tomorrow @ Kid to Work Day!

Each year, I get the opportunity to volunteer at our local campus to help setup Kid to Work Day – many companies have promoted this type of activity where the employees can bring their kids to work to see what happens on a daily basis. Well, for the past 6 years – I’ve been lucky enough to host the Technology Showcase and we get to have some fun with new technology! As a member of the site committee, we get a small stipend to showcase new PC technology to Intel employees and their kids… Our Technology Showcase is always a hit, and we usually get over 2,000 visitors in one day.

Usually there are a handful of us working on the setup – and we provide 20-40 Core2 Duo systems for the kids to try out new techologies. But this year, we’ve added the Core i7 to the mix and what a setup! We built a couple Intel Core i7 Workstations setup with quad monitor displays – can you say WOW!?! What’s even more crazy is that this setup can be built for about $2.5k – I’m not kidding!

These systems have 6GB DDR3, twin nVidia GTS 250 video cards in SLI, Intel RAID on the harddrives, a nice Huppauge WinTV capture card, and best of all the Core i7 920 CPU on an Intel Extreme DX58SO “Smackover” motherboard! All pumping through four 24” LCD flat panels…

So you may be asking – why? Well, this media workstation can give you the capability to work across four different screens. So you multitasking experts can really appreciate this! Now you can work on your email, watch a movie, play a game and explore a different operating system – all on one machine!

As you can see, once everything starts up – the Intel Core i7 processor is waiting for some work, Windows 7 Beta is rockin, but we had to give it some tasks to run. I installed a free Virtualization client called Sun xVM VirtualBox – and we loaded up Ubuntu 9.04 as a ‘virtual OS’, boots and installs right from the ISO file – this is great, because if you’ve ever wanted to play around with Linux – you can do it without installing a whole new system! Virtualization is a reality with the Core i7, just enable VT in the BIOS and BAM! – you can do it!

But we couldn’t just stop there! We started up Windows Media Center and can play a movie that has been digitally stored – gotta love the Digital Copy! Just in case we got bored, we loaded up Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance so we could do some gaming while checking everything else out..

When we step back and look at the quad-screened Core i7 platform – we fired up Task Manager – and nearly fell over! When all the apps were idling, the PC was only using 6% CPU utilization and about 50% of the memory in the system.

We can even run some benchmarks like Cinebench and 3DMark – we were amazed that the benchmark was pulling in over 90fps, while playing a digital movie, running a virtualized OS, AND had a multi-core 3D game on the 4th screen… simply amazing!

I hope you enjoy the work that we’ve done in our showcase, and encourage you to post your own stories on new technology – GET YOUR GAME ON at the Intel LANFEST!


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