I find it ironic in the extreme that probably the best Windows computer in the world is Apple’s Mac Pro workstation. For $2,799 base, you get (2) Intel 64-bit Xeon CPUs, each with 4 cores, 8 memory slots expandable to 32 GB total memory with 2 GB installed, and a bunch of other stuff.
We got the computer and I ordered and installed a total of 14 GB of memory. Mac OS X is already a 64-bit OS so it recognized the 14 GB of memory immediately, with the performance bump to show for it. After booting up in Mac OS X, I created a 100 GB partition for Boot Camp. I rebooted and installed 64-bit Windows Vista Ultimate and then the Boot Camp drivers. Everything installed flawlessly and within another hour I had Visual Studio 2008, SQL Server 2005, and associated utility applications all installed.
So she’s running dual quad-core Xeons with 14 GB. All that for about the price of my MacBook Pro notebook, fully loaded.
But that Mac Pro workstation is a screamer. In early performance testing, the MSBuild compile time of the .NET projects at work dropped from about 35 seconds on my MacBook to 7 seconds on the Mac Pro. More importantly, Ahu’s experiments, which took hours before, now take only a few minutes. The amount of time saved over the next 6 months will more than pay for this luxurious desktop supercomputer.