Hi Chip, My $.02 of course... I lean in favor of the dual-booting Intel workstations. The scientific software developers and bioinformatics researchers will like Linux because of the development environment and wide variety of algorithims and tool suites. The researchers interested in visualization and data mining will also like Linux but they can benefit from Windows as well when/if they want to run apps like Spotfire which are Windows-only. You need to be careful with your hardware selection if you expect to do serious visualization work on your workstations. Make sure that whatever graphics card / monitor combination you get is _well_ supported by the X11/Linux distro you plan to use. It may be worth aquiring a test machine before you actually commit dollars to a bigger purchase. It is probably also worthwhile to try to find people who are currently using any workstation combo you plan to aquire to see what real users think. Dell tends to be not that great with Linux at the presales / tech support level (sometimes I get lucky) but their Linux guru's hang out on the dell-poweredge mailing list and have been amazingly helpful with supporting Linux across the entire Dell server line. As an example, check out Matt Domsch's website at http://www.domsch.com/linux/ -- that site is the first place I check when I'm cluster building with Dell PowerEdge boxes. Not sure if that expertise is also offered for the workstation line though. Someone else mentioned building your own -- that may be fine for cluster nodes but it may not be worth the effort just for workstation machines. Especially in an academic lab where there may not be a huge amount of steady IT support to run/fix the machines. People may be suprised at the price Dell quotes for workstations. Last time I checked into a 'build it myself' vs 'buy from Dell' for a personal machine it turned out that the Dell box was about the same price as what it would have cost me to purchase componants on my own. When you add in the fact that Dell will come onsite and fix your box for three years running then that seriouly tilts the purchase decision for business/academic users. -Chris BioTeam.net Chip Coward wrote: > Greetings, > > I am a researcher in bioinformatics at Drexel University and we are > setting up a computational lab for research and teaching in Computational > Systems Biology/Bioinformatics. We are looking for workstations for our lab > using existing software tools or developing new tools to perform molecular > modeling/visualization (e.g. RasMol/Protein Explorer), searching the genome, > stochastic modelling/cellular automata, ect. We are considering both SUN > workstations and Dell workstations (Precision 450/Precision 650) although we > would be open to consider other platforms if there are compelling reasons. I > am writing to get input/information that will help us make a decision on > platform selection. I am leaning toward selecting the Dell Workstation due > to the theme that prevades these email lists about use of Linux which seems > to be the way the bioinformatics community is heading. If we purchased the > Dell system I would configure it to support both Windows and Linux under the > assumption that by supporting both operating systems, we would have more > options/flexibility for tool selection. > > I would appreciate any thoughts or opinions that would help in our > platform selection. > > Thanks.