Saturday, June 28, 2008

Upgrading my workstation - the hard way

My Dell Precision 650 dual processor workstation has fully depreciated after 4 plus years and now it’s time to order a new machine. I attempted to go through my employer’s IT department, but the cost of an extra 8 GB of RAM sent the total over their allowed budget for a workstation. I reasoned that it could be ordered with 8 GB and then once it was delivered, I could order an additional 8 GB on a separate purchase order to get it to the desired 16 GB.

The IT guy would have no part of that deal. He said that I should order the machine to meet the requirements – which means I have to write a capital equipment request. That translates into a lot more paperwork, requires 9-10 signature approvals and instead of being on a 2-3 year refresh cycle, the workstation will need to fully depreciate before its next replacement – that’s 4 plus years. All of that for 8 GB of RAM. Such is corporate life…

Last week, I got the price quote and the justification paperwork together and sent it on its journey through the corporate procurement cycle. It’s going to be a great workstation. It’s a Dell T5400 with dual quad Xeon processors, 64 bit OS and a 512 MB video card. I’m looking forward to the expanded capability – it will allow me to build much larger and more complex computer models for electromagnetic simulation purposes.

The only downside is that now my PC at home is going to seem like even more of a slow dog! It’s a little old Dell Dimension 2400. I actually won it in a lottery at work. If that sounds odd, let me explain how it worked. For each piece of old computer equipment brought in for salvage, you got a lotto ticket. The first 5 names to be drawn won various types of new computers. I hauled in a bunch of old computer equipment from the labs that I manage and amazingly my name was drawn 2nd and I won a desktop PC. Too bad they don’t have those lotteries anymore!


  1. sheesh that's a lot of bits

  2. yes, and 64 bits allows applications to utilize double precision which will in turn require twice as much RAM.

  3. More corporate hoop jumping red tape nonsense. :(
    You might be able to persuade them if you can shop around to show your complete system falls within budget, but that the IT dept is paying too much, which is usually the case.
    We used to have similar lotteries at my company and they also went away.
    I prefer to build my own home systems since then I'm guaranteed to get exactly what I want. Dell can make it cheaper, but their upgradability is pretty limited.

  4. My employer has an exclusive deal with Dell. If I were to try to buy another brand - the red tape would realy fly.