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Some Good Power Pivot / Power BI Computers

Post by Rob Collie

Good Computers for Power Pivot / Power BIA Lot More Work Than Expected!

Last month I posted a survey of computer performance for Power Pivot and Power BI usage.  I underestimated how much work it would be, to synthesize the results into something useful for the community.  At bare minimum, this has been five different tasks:

  1. Throwing out untrustworthy outlier results
  2. Cross-referencing with CPU benchmark sites
  3. Finding computer models that contain those CPU’s
  4. Verifying that those models have good RAM
  5. Pulling together a view different price points
  6. Repeating for Desktop vs. Laptop

So for now, I’ve only managed to pull together options from HP.
(I will add other manufacturers later, but I have always liked HP hardware, especially their laptops, so it’s a great place to start).

Desktops – High End Options

If you want a true beast of a computer that chews through DAX workloads, you might consider something like THIS monster:

 The Z840 Workstation is an Obvious Candidate.
(But the Next One Below is Better AND Cheaper.)

16GB of RAM is more than enough for Power Pivot and Power BI workloads.  Seriously, 8 GB is gonna be enough for most of your needs until/unless you start transitioning into SSAS Tabular because you have too much data for Power Pivot.

Note that this workstation above offers much faster RAM than most other machines, at 2133 GHz.

But it also carries the ultra-premium Xeon E5 2620 v3 CPU – which the test results and benchmarks indicate is a LESS effective processor (for our purposes) than many lesser models of Xeon, such as the E3 family.

So, for $1300 less, you could have the following workstation, which in all likelihood performs even BETTER for our needs:

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