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Topic Title: Your expert opinions on a video editing system
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Created On: 04/21/2006 11:25 PM
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 04/21/2006 11:25 PM
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dspake
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Greetings all,

I have recently been put in charge of creating a DVD from 36 hours of mini-DV tape (and separate VCR audio). I am in the process of getting Adobe Premier Pro 2.0, but know that it won't run worth a [content edited] on my Athlon 1700. So I need to upgrade. I just upgraded my wife's PC (Asrock 939 with a Athlon 64 3400, and a Nvidea 6800GT). Had to buy it all local in about two hours because my wife had a deadline to meet that evening. The reason that's relevant is that now I can splurge a bit.

I've always been a buy the best option available, and if need be, wait a bit to do it. I'm not a 'have to have the latest stuff' guy, but like to buy solid tech.

Suggested system: Buy a dual CPU MB (Asus K8N-DL or a Tyan K8WE), slap a Dual Core Opterion 265 in it, and a gig (or two) of memory. My reasoning is that I can buy now, leave a socket open, and in a year, put another 265 and memory in it. That leaves me with a quad core system and some (limited) room for upgrade. I know the system requires registered DDR, and not DDR-2, but the prices of DDR-2 don't seem to be moving anywere, and with FB-DIMM's on the horizon (not to mention DDR-3), I don't see the reason to need it. Again, I lean towards the 940 socket as it's a server socket, and AMD will still support it for some time (I hope). I'll have to upgrade my Power Supply (to support the Dual CPU wattage), and a PCI Express graphics card, but those are no biggie. I don't consider AMD X2 an option given that the 939 socket is known to be dead. I will miss Pacifica by running a 940, but I'll have to buy in the next couple of weeks.

I understand that Socket F is around the corner, as is AM2. But I suspect the 'new' system stuff for these boards isn't that great (other than Pacifica), and the prices on the older stuff will drop to some degree.

My questions:
1) Will I run into problems running a dual cpu system and only having a single socket populated?

2) Will matching VCores be that much of an issue by buying now and waiting to populate the other socket?

3) Would it be wiser to just buy two (matched) single core Opterons and deal with the match of a future dual core 940 when the time comes?

4) Assuming a dual core Opteron is the way to go, will a 200 series Opteron be the way to go for an (eventual) dual core, dual CPU system?


Other than the video edit stuff, I'm a fairly normal user (including some gaming). I work IT for the Post office, so my time on the PC at home isn't all that much. When I do use it, it's mostly SQL/PHP/Java work for the nonprofits I volunteer for. Given that I'll have Adobe Premier Pro, I'll probably use it to do some more DVD work, for said non-profits.

I appreciate you thoughts and insights, and thank you in advance.

Dave
 04/22/2006 05:51 AM
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Opteron
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quote:

Originally posted by: dspake

My questions:
1) Will I run into problems running a dual cpu system and only having a single socket populated?

2) Will matching VCores be that much of an issue by buying now and waiting to populate the other socket?

3) Would it be wiser to just buy two (matched) single core Opterons and deal with the match of a future dual core 940 when the time comes?

4) Assuming a dual core Opteron is the way to go, will a 200 series Opteron be the way to go for an (eventual) dual core, dual CPU system?
Other than the video edit stuff, I'm a fairly normal user (including some gaming). I work IT for the Post office, so my time on the PC at home isn't all that much. When I do use it, it's mostly SQL/PHP/Java work for the nonprofits I volunteer for. Given that I'll have Adobe Premier Pro, I'll probably use it to do some more DVD work, for said non-profits.


1)
No problem at all, you just have to care about using the 1st socket ;-)

2)
There has always been problems, though since a test at tomshardware, it looks like it is possible to run 2 different Opterons, but I would not recommend this. Besides I think I have a better idea, see 3.

3)
Yes I think that is the clever solution. Buy e.g. 2x 246 or 248. the 246 is $162 each, the 248 $207, as you need 2 of them, it will cost you $364 resp. $414. In both cases add some $ for additional coolers, as I calculated with the 90nm (SSE3, working PowerNow!, less power usage) OEM chips without a cooler. One single dual core 265 costs $345 (boxed). But that one runs just at 1.8 GHz, the 246 are 2 GHz parts, the 248 is 2.2 Ghz. In addition you get more RAM bandwidth (if you use 4 memory sticks, e.g. 4x 1 GB modules)

As a conclusion I would recommend 2x246 or, if your budget allows it 2x 248s. It will give you better performance (higher frequency, more RAM bandwidth) and you can do a clean dual core upgrade next year without any headaches, due to compatibility issues.
Just make sure, that you get 90nm Opterons (e.g. OSA246FAA5BL) at newegg you can choose, at another dealer, it may be more difficult.

4) If you want to go dual-dual, then yes, you have to use a Opteron 200, but that is also the case if you want to use 2 single core Opterons. 2 sockets -> Opteron 2XX

Good luck

Opteron

P.S: If you can just afford 2 1 GB memory sticks, populate 1 channel at each CPU, that will give better performance, because every CPU has its own memory access.
My mainboard suggestion in your case would be a Tyan S2877, as I guess that you do not need PCI-X. The layout of the Asus is crappy and the Tyan support much better
 04/22/2006 10:02 AM
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dspake
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quote:

Originally posted by: Opteron
3)
Yes I think that is the clever solution. Buy e.g. 2x 246 or 248. the 246 is $162 each, the 248 $207, as you need 2 of them, it will cost you $364 resp. $414. In both cases add some $ for additional coolers, as I..... <snip>

That is an excellent suggestion. I have to admit that I didn't like the idea of only populating one socket, and given the apparent issues with different VCores, running with two single cores seems to be a much better recommendation. Besides, buying those 2x5 dual cores next year allows me to reap any price reductions with the competition from Intel and the Conroe NGMA architecture.. Who knows, maybe AMD will roll out Pacifica to the 940 socket (=D yes, I am sometimes delusionally optimistic).
quote:

Originally posted by: Unknown As a conclusion I would recommend 2x246 or, if your budget allows it 2x 248s. It will give you better performance (higher frequency, more RAM bandwidth) and you can do a clean dual core upgrade next year without any headaches, due to compatibility issues. ....<snip>

I like that suggestion a great deal, and that's what I'll do. I'll do some cost/performance measures on the 246 and the 248, but suspect I'll lean towards the 246. I'm not one to go nuts for a few more Hertz if it doesnt' benefit the price/performance relationship. Besides, I could most probably use the money saved on the 248's (not that it's much) to add an extra 2G of RAM, allowing the system to run with 4G. I'm quite sure Premier Pro will appreciate it.
quote:

Originally posted by: Unknown P.S: If you can just afford 2 1 GB memory sticks, populate 1 channel at each CPU, that will give better performance, because every CPU has its own memory access.

Since I won't have virtualization built into the CPU, I'll mostly be running XP Pro (instead of Suse/XP). As a result, the memory workload won't be quite so bad. Besides, I have heard reports of issues with Stock XP (meaning not 64bit XP) and anything over (3/4?) Gig of physical memory. 4 matched 1 Gig sticks looks like the best way to go, given those most probably will increase with price as time goes along.
quote:

Originally posted by: Unknown My mainboard suggestion in your case would be a Tyan S2877, as I guess that you do not need PCI-X. The layout of the Asus is crappy and the Tyan support much better

That's the one I'm leaning towards. Tyan has a very good name, and the cramped nature of the Asus board did worry me some. Since this workstation will be my primary box, I need to squeeze as much into is as possible. The Tyan K8WE (S2877, ANRF version) has built in Firewire (allowing me to interface directly with the Camcorder) and basic audio (heh.. 6 channel audio is now considered 'Basic'. Since those are built in, that saves the PCI slots for a good RAID controller and my obsolete Home-PNA card (don't laugh). It also has two PCI-Express slots, but since one runs at x16 and the other at x4, I doubt I'll be able to find a SLI setup that will run on it. Oh well, I'd rather have the Dual Opteron (and other features) for the video edit than two video boards. I have little/no time to game anymore anyway (2 1/2 year old), so I'm not missing that much.

Thank you for your reply. I sincerely appreciate the feedback, and your points have been lucid and well reasoned. I know they have helped clarify my own position a great deal. Have a good weekend.

Dave
 04/22/2006 11:01 PM
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pagerboy
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So what's the cost for this server hardware? I would go with a faster x2 with at least 2GB of RAM and at least half a terabyte of HD space.
 04/24/2006 03:37 AM
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_slowhand
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Hi dspake,

For DV editing in Premiere/gaming, a dual dual Opteron rig seems a bit overkill. As pagerboy had suggested, why not consider an X2? It should be sufficient for your needs as you described earlier.

I wouldn't consider socket 939 to be dead as opposed to socket 940. Actually, I believe that s940 would be "more dead", in that it is exclusive to Opterons, and that there are only a few companies that manufacture boards for it. Most frustrating out of all, as you know, is that they must be used in conjunction with ECC registered RAM, because, after all, they are designed for server applications. Socket 940 doesn't have much more to offer than 939 (well, except one extra pin of course ).

Having said that, if you are convinced that you need a dual Opteron 265+ behemoth, all the power to you. As for the motherboard, I would have suggested the S2895, if only it had more than one PCI slot. It gives you the option of running SLi (full speed x16 lanes), and comes with 3 PCI-X slots. If you plan on doing some serious video editing, your motherboard should support PCI-X cards, in the event that you plan on purchasing a real-time editing card (for HD-SDI, etc).

Buying two single-core opterons may be more cost-efficient, but if you're gonna get two dual opterons anyway, you'll end up with two unused 246s. I'd just get one 265 and buy another later on, spending $690 in total, instead of $1014.

But that's just me . I'm actually building a very similar workstation for audio/video post-production in Avid Xpress and ProTools. Good luck, and I hope that everything turns out great!
 04/24/2006 11:34 AM
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dspake
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quote:

Originally posted by: pagerboy
So what's the cost for this server hardware? I would go with a faster x2 with at least 2GB of RAM and at least half a terabyte of HD space.



Paperboy,

I've spent probably 24 hours since I posted this message digging into price/performance dynamics. It's a diifficult picture when you have so few head to head reviews of dual core vs X2.

I better understand how much a particular application's support for dual core is critical to the overall picture of price/performance. Additionaly, the simple nature of the clock rate of the CPU is critical as well. In some cases the dual CPU performs better than a dual core, othertimes not. For my particular case, video editing, a higher clocked CPU seems to make a huge difference vs a dual CPU (http://techreport.com/reviews/...-165-180/index.x?pg=5).

In particular, Xbit has a comparison of Adobe Premier Pro 1.5 with dual cores. Granted they are 285's (maybe 275's), and dual CPU's show a huge increase over single CPU's (75% over a X2 4600). So that lends weight for me as well.

Pricewise, a X2 with 2G of ram is about a 25% cheaper than the Opteron 246 (Troy with SSE3) with 2 Gig of Ram (back of hand calculations). With the Opteron, I have the option of upgrading to dual 2x5's, whereas the 939, I'm dead in the water for upgrades. So, a 25% difference for me, and some (limited) upgradability seems more prudent to me. Besides, what's $700 vs $850 when you are spending that much money?

I appreciate your points, and have a good day,

Dave
 04/24/2006 11:53 AM
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dspake
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quote:

Originally posted by: _slowhand
Hi dspake,

For DV editing in Premiere/gaming, a dual dual Opteron rig seems a bit overkill. As pagerboy had suggested, why not consider an X2? It should be sufficient for your needs as you described earlier.



See last post. I agree that an X2 is close, but I'm still leaning towards the dual opteron. Without hard core head-to-head numbers, it seems to me that the Dual CPU is a better future bet than the X2.

quote:

Originally posted by: Unknown
I wouldn't consider socket 939 to be dead as opposed to socket 940. Actually, I believe that s940 would be "more dead", in that it is exclusive to Opterons, and that there are only a few companies that manufacture boards for it. Most frustrating out of all, as you know, is that they must be used in conjunction with ECC registered RAM, because, after all, they are designed for server applications. Socket 940 doesn't have much more to offer than 939 (well, except one extra pin of course ).



Yea, the board price really shocked the heck out of me. I'm the type who usually pays close attention to the price/performance dynamic,and the $150+ premium of an Opteron board vs a standard 939 board really was a hurdle for me to get over.
But the 940 I know will be around for a while (meaning more than a year, even with Socket F coming out). With AM2 coming out, I'm not willing to bet that with the 939. Server chips are quite an investment, and AMD wouldn't kill their reputation with the server market by killing the 940 socket abruptly. Besides, I'm willing to bet I can get a set of matched 2x5 Opterons next year for considerably cheaper than I can this year. That's what's so great about the NGMA architechure from Intel. Competition is a good thing. =8^)

quote:

Originally posted by: Unknown
Having said that, if you are convinced that you need a dual Opteron 265+ behemoth, all the power to you. As for the motherboard, I would have suggested the S2895, if only it had more than one PCI slot. It gives you the option of running SLi (full speed x16 lanes), and comes with 3 PCI-X slots. If you plan on doing some serious video editing, your motherboard should support PCI-X cards, in the event that you plan on purchasing a real-time editing card (for HD-SDI, etc).



I have to admit having a dual CPU system seems overkill to me, especialy given the 'hit and miss' nature of dual CPU software support. But price dynamics and price performance tend to rule my buying purchases. I'll have to spend $700 for an X2 system, why not spend 20% more and get a Dual CPU system with some (limited) upgradability.

quote:

Originally posted by: Unknown
Buying two single-core opterons may be more cost-efficient, but if you're gonna get two dual opterons anyway, you'll end up with two unused 246s. I'd just get one 265 and buy another later on, spending $690 in total, instead of $1014.



I thought that way at first too. But as poster Opteron said earlier (and something I have been hearing about), you realy have to watch the VCores. Non-matched CPU's can be a mess, so I'd rather be sure than take the chance. Finding an identically matched 265 in a year would be quite an effort. As for the 246's, my hope resides in Ebay. =D

quote:

Originally posted by: Unknown
But that's just me . I'm actually building a very similar workstation for audio/video post-production in Avid Xpress and ProTools. Good luck, and I hope that everything turns out great!



I appreciate the concern, and the points. Your points mirror mine a great deal. It's quite a thing to consider spending as much money as I am on the Dual Opteron system, and my instincts are to go with the X2. But my analysis seems to lead me against my instincts. Heck, I have even really considered a Pentium-D 940 (given the huge price cuts Intel announced yesterday) instead of an X2. It has built in Virtualization, and the 65nm process doesn't suck up as much power as the 90nm stuff. Unfortunatly, the 900 series motherboards (good ones that is) are almost as much as a dual Opteron! Crazy. Besides, I'd probably hate myself in the morning after buying an Intel. I love the new competition from them, but I tend to root for the longtime underdog.

Best of luck with your system,

Dave
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