I'm no virtual desktop expert, so I did not respond initially to your post, however since it has gone without any response for two days I'll share what I can...
Running Premiere, After Effects and Photoshop you would probably be best served at a particular price point with a previous generation Dell Workstation using DDR3. DDR4 is really expensive now (supply and demand for the new technology) and you really want to get at least 32GB. Think really fast 6-core for your CPU choice.
Regarding the video cards, you Dell is still warrantied (except for the video card) if you put a GTX NVidia in it and I highly recommend that for Premiere Pro which really loves a decent video card. Think GTX 770. If you must stick with the 3-yr Dell Quadro cards you will spend a lot more for the Quadro K4200. Don't even think about the Firepro options, they just don't work well for Adobe yet.
Now, for your "virtual server" options. Don't even think about any of the true VM solutions. Issues with lip-sync, responsiveness, etc. would really impact video editing in a negative way. Dell does however have solutions that use Teradici zero-client technology to allow remote "clients" (Dell Wyse P25/P45 hardware) to connect 1-on-1 to Rack-mount Dell Workstations. And, ILM (Industrial Light Magic) is using this technology to do motion picture graphics work and video editing. (not Adobe, but rigorous software I'm sure)
Finally, a 1GBe tethered workflow sounds rather binding; you may want to have at least one fast SSD on your workstations for scratch/cache purposes to keep performance up.
Thank you for the replies. Having looked at the virtual option more closely I have discounted it as an option. Was never really something I wanted but our IT insisted I evaluated it as part of the process.
Regarding the workstations I had decided to go with the hex core E5 1650 option so it is good to hear I am heading down the right road! My reasoning for look at the new T5810 (DDR4 RAM) over the previous T3610 which had the 1650v2 (DDR3 RAM) was based on the fact the the cost difference on the website was only about 70-80 pounds. For that little difference it seemed like a good idea to buy the latest offering for future proofing. I will however get Dell to quote me for the two systems and see what the end result is after adding in 32GB of RAM.
I will also speak to them about their warranty as I was under the impression that by putting a non approved card in the system that if there were issues that involved the card in anyway then they would not assist. Either way I had decided to go Nvidia after reading up about the Firepro computability. Sadly I don't think I would have budget for the K4200 but the K2200 looks like it might be a decent performer as it is based on the maxwell architecture so I would expect it punch a bit above its weight. Would this act as the bottle neck in such a system or would it be fast enough to balance out a E5 1650 and 32GB RAM?
If it is only the card itself that will not be supported then I guess this is lesser risk and I could consider a consumer card. If I did go down the GTX route then looking at the price of GTX 770 (ideally I would want the 4GB version as the 2GB could be limiting for the future), there does not seem to be a lot in it between them and the GTX970. I would expect due to the maxwell architecture that this would offer better performance at a lower power draw so I would expect the be better temps than the previous gen. If so then would this be a better option to go for?
For drives I will look at putting the media cache onto separate drives (we currently do this with our systems that run local storage), though will probably have to be HDD rather than SDD as I have them spare and fast running out of budget!
Thanks again for all comments.
I would suggest the 6 Core and the Quadro K4200 if you have to go that route. Do not get the AMD card. Otherwise get the Quad and the K4200 if that is the budget limitation.
Virtualization has limitations with the video driver. Adobe's Anywhere is the equivalent of what you mention trying. However it has some very specific configuration requirements and is not fully implemented yet.
Thank you for your comments Eric.
I have now happily left the virtualisation idea well behind me thanks to everyone's comments around that.
The other good news is that I spoke to a Dell rep this afternoon and they have confirmed that the support cover remains in place even with the addition of components such as video card. I had thought this should bet he case given the modular nature of workstations but was getting mixed message and so was erring on the side of caution.
As this now opens up the world of GTX cards which I know from reading other threads are highly recommended for Adobe the question how stands at which one would best balanced the rest of the system? I know the GTX 770 has already been suggested and earlier I was weighing it up against the GTX970 as they are basically the same price when looking at the 4GB versions. However I have been reading that there are issue with CC2014 not supporting the GTX 970 maxwell architecture. As I don't really want to do too much messing about under the hood to make these computers work (happily edited .txt files etc for the previous Adobe CS6 & CC work around etc), would I be better off buying the 970 or going with the older 770? My gut tells me that buying the newer model should offer better value for money and I like the fact the lower power usage will mean less heat, but my head is wary if this is going to lead to problems with the card not being utilised properly.
Definitely get the 970GTX card. Should work ok with CS6 and definitely works fine with CC. The advantages of the lower power draw and lower heat generation will be important on the Dell systems. Besides HDMi 2.0 is what you want.
Brilliant Eric, just the clear cut answer I have been looking for. We use CC and I am currently testing CC 2014 with a view to moving everyone over when we bring in the new workstations. I had the feeling the lower power draw and heat generation was going to be an important factor.
Premiere Pro works great in an Ethernet shared storage environment. We have tons of customers doing this today.
Tim @ Small Tree