View Full Version : Will I benefit from a 2-CPU System?

Peter Moore
July 28th, 2003, 10:13 AM
I was thinking of buying a new computer with a Dual CPU system, either AMD Opteron or Intel Xeon. Does anyone know if I'll benefit from this for video editing with Vegas, Pro Coder, or anything similar? Even if I could have one chip dong MPEG-2 encoding while another was doing video rendering, it would be worth it I guess.

I could also go to G5 but I don't want to give up all my PC apps. :)

Peter Jefferson
July 28th, 2003, 10:40 AM
well encoding and rendering are pretty much a similar thing, the difference being rendering is off a timeline and encoding is we... encoding a clean file...

personally, id save my moola for a ton of ram and go with a Hyperthreading CPU...

see, what your saying you want to do is feasible, however, the strain on your HD (ie, rendering one file while encoding another) is gonna overheat your patter to no end as one drive head will be doing twice the amount of work as it tried to keep up with all this stuff.. not to mention yoru render will be bogged down something fierce as CPU is swapped between apps...

if you have 2 different HD's then its a different story...

Again, persoanlyl, id go for a high end HT CPU, and with the moola you save, grab a couple of gig of DDR ram


the only thing i would use a mac for is metasynth... and thats about it...

Edward Troxel
July 28th, 2003, 11:09 AM
One of the great things about Vegas is that you can run multiple instances of the program. So, you could have one instance open and rendering (or encoding) while continuing to edit in a second instance. Similarly, you could have two instances rendering/encoding as well. In either of these cases, dual processors will help. When running a single instance, you will not see that big of a gain.

Peter Moore
July 28th, 2003, 03:38 PM
Interesting idea. I do have multiple hard drives so that's not an issue.

Now, if I have two CPUs and Windows XP Pro, will Windows know to assign the second CPU to the second instance of Vegas?

What is a hyperthreading CPU? As in, what model CPUs are hyperthreading?

Thanks a lot.

Aaron Koolen
July 28th, 2003, 04:05 PM
Peter I have a Hyperthreading CPU. They are the Intel P4's with the C (Canterwood) definitions. Anything with has the 800MHZ FSB will have Hyperthreading.

I just bought one of these and must say I'm pretty impressed. Having been an AMD man for most of my PC life I went Intel this time round. When I render in Vegas, I can still use my computer for other things if I need to as even though Vegas is going flat out I still have about 30% CPU time spare (From looking at CPU monitor in XP) . I could then, I guess fire up another Vegas and do some other stuff if I wanted to.


Barry Gilbert
July 28th, 2003, 05:54 PM
I think one other thing you should concider is weather or not the program is written to take advantage of the dual processors. Sounds as if the Vegas program may be. That could a good question for the people you bought your editing program from. I "too" believe that your money is better spent in memory.

Just my 2 cents.

Peter Moore
July 28th, 2003, 07:58 PM
Well I already have a gig so I don't think more memory's gonna help there. :)

I've been very frustrated with my PC's speed lately. I recently tried Pro Coder and it took 8 hours to render one hour of master-quality MPEG-2 video. Now that's fine, if I could use the computer for other things, but to have it tied up, that's annoying. So I was thinking maybe dual CPU is the answer.

Glen Elliott
July 28th, 2003, 08:17 PM
Peter what are your system stats. I used Procoder to encode an hour long program and it only took me an hour.
I'm getting ready to build a new machine- after some insite from the board and a couple of articles at Tom's I'm convinced Intel is the way to go. I've been an AMD man for many years.
I'm going with the 3.0 w/800fsb, I'd opt for the 3.2 but beings it's the top processor you pay premium for it ($300 more than the 3.0!) That...a set of paired 512 sticks from Corsair, a 240 gig SATA raid0 and I'll be good to go. Scrounging money as we speak!

Good luck on your new machine Peter- save some money and go single processor but fast, like 2.8 and up, at least that way you'll get HT which is like dual processing.

Aaron Koolen
July 28th, 2003, 09:16 PM
Glen, that is precisely what I did. TwinX Corsair PC3700 with Abit Ic7. I have my machine overclocked to 3.2GHZ rock steady. Anything higher and it's no go, but my friend got such a good combo that he's running 3.4Ghz steady as.

I definately like Hyperthreading and would go with that Peter if you can.


Nigel Moore
July 28th, 2003, 11:48 PM
First point, xeons with a 533MHz FSB also support HT, so with a dual system you effectively have 4 processors (2 real, 2 virtual). Whether or not that makes any difference IRL is something to which I cannot attest...until my new CPUs and mobo arrive.

Second point:I think one other thing you should concider is weather or not the program is written to take advantage of the dual processors. Sounds as if the Vegas program may be.I agree with the first statement, but I've read nothing in this thread that tells me that Vegas is tuned to dual processors per se. You can run multiple instances, but you can do that with AfterEffects version 5 to boost rendering, although it's not terribly SMP-savvy. To determine whether or not Vegas was SMP-aware, you would have to look at the CPU usage balance in a dual system.

Peter Jefferson
July 29th, 2003, 04:22 AM
Vegas DOES support dual processors...

Peter Moore
July 29th, 2003, 06:22 AM
My stats are P4 1.9 GHz, with the 400 MHz FSB and 800 Mhz memory (1 GB). The hard drives are regular UDMA 133, not RAID (I can only afford so much!)

So Pro Coder only took one hour to encode one hour at MASTER quality? The software warned that it could take 10 to 20 times longer at master quality. I'm doing Master, 2-pass 5.5 Mbps VBR (the only way to go - the footage is indistinguishable from native DV) and 1:15 takes 10 hours.

I would love to get two Xeons. People always seem to assume Xeons are only for servers. Is there any disadvantage to Xeon versus P4, or G5?

Nigel Moore
July 29th, 2003, 07:56 AM
Disadvantages of xeons:

Compared to P4 - cost, slower FSB & therefore slower memory

Compared to G5 - they're not in the world's fastest computerô (according to Apple hype)

Glen Elliott
July 29th, 2003, 08:20 AM
Ahh you did 2-pass variable bit-rate, see I was only doing CBR. That's why it took so long- plus mastering quality does take quite a bit longer though not even close to the 10 to 20x more like they warn.

Speaking of Xenons, if you go that route you my as well go with AMD Opturons, they run circles around Xenons. Check Tom's Hardware benchmarks.

Nigel Moore
July 29th, 2003, 09:36 AM
<<<-- Originally posted by Glen Elliott : Speaking of Xenons, if you go that route you my as well go with AMD Opturons, they run circles around Xenons. Check Tom's Hardware benchmarks. -->>>

If you mean this ( I don't see the Opteron "running circles" around the Xeon. At least not in media applications on XP. But there you go.

Peter Moore
July 29th, 2003, 05:16 PM
Wow, looks like 2 Pentium Xeons are the best. But they don't have 800 MHz FSBs? Strange. But it looks like it makes little differences.

John Hartney
July 29th, 2003, 06:31 PM
I've been told Vegas uses one processor for video and the other for audio, when presented a dual board... That came from the vegas sofo board and was confirmed by Douglas Spotted Eagle...

Peter Moore
July 29th, 2003, 08:24 PM
Hm, I wonder if that's only when one instance of Vegas is open? I'd want to use two instances to render two different scenes at once.

Still, I wonder: does Windows know to assign different processors to different processes automatically or must the software specifically support this? So if I open two different instances of Vegas, or Vegas and then Premier, will XP give one to one processor and the other to the other?

Barry Gilbert
July 30th, 2003, 10:47 AM
I may be wrong Peter but it would seem to me that the software you are using would have to be the one making that distinction. Not the OS. Have you thought about asking the folks that make Vegas? They may be the best to answer that question.

Peter Moore
July 30th, 2003, 06:43 PM
If I open two different programs, or two different instances of the same program (or processes as Windows calls them), then it should be the OS who decides which processor to assign those processes to, not the programs themselves. That behavior is too low-level, I would think, for a Windows program.

Can anyone confirm though?

Gints Klimanis
July 30th, 2003, 07:36 PM
>a 240 gig SATA raid0


How does this Raid work for you? I have a hunch that
video encoding programs just aren't performing well as they may be limited by the hard drives during the DV file read. While this is probably less of an issue with 8 MByte buffers on hard disk drives,
I'm stuck with some large drives with 2 MByte buffers.

Peter Moore
July 30th, 2003, 09:57 PM
Not sure about your hard drives, but I'm pretty sure that's not an issue for most. For instance, rendering unaltered (cut with no effects, I mean) DV footage can go as much as 3x realtime for me. Try encoding that with color correction and 16x9 clipping, and we're talking about 1/10th realtime.

I love the Mac users who claim, though cannot substantiate as far as I've seen, that the G4 can do color correction of DV in realtime.

Glen Elliott
July 31st, 2003, 06:02 AM
Gints, I would think processing speed would be the bottle-neck while encoding. I don't see even a 2mg cache HD becoming your weakpoint- I just don't think the encoder can process that much info that it has to, in turn, slow down to match the write speed the the drive.

I'm going with a raid not because I need it- I'm working with a 2mg cache 7200rpm ATA133 Maxtor drive now for my video and I've never dropped a frame yet. I'm planning the raid just for the sheer hd space. It's cheaper to buy two 120gig SATA drives than one 220 (if one even exists in SATA). Plus as you know it's faster- even though I don't think it'll directly benefit me at least I know the speed is there if I need it!
Plus I'm looking forward to having a case that isn't cluttered by standard IDE cable- that is the baine of the interior of my case. Then again I could use rounded cables but have been weary with reports of data corruption when using them- is this true? Can anyone confirm this allegation?

Lars Siden
August 4th, 2003, 12:32 PM

Had a dual P3-800 system with 1gb 2clk 6ns memory.

My "old" P4 1.5gz kicked a*s with the dual least using Premiere 6 and Mainconcepts MPEG encoder. The single P4 was easy 30% faster than the dual P3-800

My current setup is:

P4 @ 2.53ghz 1.5gb fast memory -> Working machine

P4 @ 1.5ghz 768mb -> Rendering machine / file server

I remote the sever using terminal services...start rendering on that machine...and happily plays games or makes some C# code on my "work" machine.... this is "true" multitasking....

Besides, it is always nice to have a file server...makes re-installing the "work" computer a breeze...

As I said, this is just my 2 cents....

// Lazze

Rob Lohman
August 11th, 2003, 05:48 AM
To give a bit more information about Windows & multiple processors.
Now I'm not an expert on the area of multiple processors, so I
won't say too much about that.

There are 2 things in Windows that are important with regards
to applications and processors. We have processes and threads
(also fibers, but I'll leave these out for now).

A process is more or less a single instance of an application. So
if you start Vegas it has only one process.

Which you can check yourself if you have Windows 2000/XP by
right-clicking on the task bar and choosing task manager. Go
to the processes tab and you'll see vegas40.exe there one time
only. If you open it a second time it will be there two times.

Funny thing to mention is that the second instance is using a lot
more memory on my system then the first instance. Edward?

Windows will put different processes on different processors if
possible to answer the earlier question. So as Edward pointed out,
you can have one process/instance/application [all the same]
rendering and you can do something else in another one.

Now within a process Windows creates threads. By default one
process has one thread. Now here we get into how an application/
process can take advantage of multiple processors. Windows
has the ability to run different threads on different processors,
but for this to work to your advantage an application has to:

1) have multiple threads doing DIFFERENT things

2) design the application so that each thread can work as
standalone as possible without needing other threads or
blocking access to harddisk/memory/devices/resources that
that another thread might need

Only with this might you see an increase [mostly only on time
consuming things].

Back to our process list in the task manager. Go down in the
menu 'View' and to 'Select Columns'. Enable 'Thread Count' and
hit OK. On my system vegas40.exe is using 12 threads at this
moment. Now this does not mean that all 12 threads are actually
doing something or will work in your favor on a multiple processor
system [it might actually slow the application down if it is not
programmed for such a system].

As you see it is a complex system which will not garantuee that
if you put in an extra CPU it will also increase your speed. It might,
but it won't by default. An application must be specifically be made
to work in your favor [as most serious 3D rendering applications
are for example]

Edward Troxel
August 11th, 2003, 07:17 AM
<<<-- Originally posted by Rob Lohman : Funny thing to mention is that the second instance is using a lot more memory on my system then the first instance. Edward? -->>>

Does the second instance have the focus? I wonder if it could be related to the Options - Preferences - Dynamic RAM Preview? I know that Vegas is very friendly to other applications. The first instance probably gave up that memory so the second one could use it.

How does the memory usage change if you minimize both and then start up something like Photoshop?

Rob Lohman
August 11th, 2003, 07:34 AM
I did some testing and got some interesting results. When I
start Vegas 4 [without any projects loaded] it uses about 23
mb of memory. If open up a second instance (without minimizing
the first one) they both use 23 mb. If I open up another application
like Visual Studio.NET 2003 (which uses 12 mb) nothing happens.

If I however MINIMIZE one instance of vegas it is only using
around 800 KB (yes, KB) of memory. If I restore it, it uses 3 mb...

Funny, but seems to go alongside with your remarks. I hadn't
noticed in my first test that it originally used "a lot" (relative) and
then dropped down when I minized it.

Glenn Chan
August 17th, 2003, 04:21 PM
This has been covered in the VV forum at sonic foundry. Rendering with 2 processors doesn't increase render speeds much. Vegas Video isn't very good at using the second processor (it uses it to process sound and to encode DV, which isn't as intensive as rendering video). The second processor could come in handy for multitasking. Hyperthreading makes the machine see 2 processors instead of one. All the calculations are still done on one processor and there could be possible bottlenecks. In some benchmarks of raw calculations, hyperthreading decreases performance by around 10%. Applications that are not optimized for hyperthreading would not see much, if any increase in speed. I'm not sure if VV is optimized for hyperthreading.

In the Tom's hardware benchmarks, dual xeons are about as fast as just one pentium. It doesn't seem like the cost of dual xeons is worth it. Also note that results could be drastically different with Vegas Video. If I had the money to get dual xeons I would get a G5 instead. You'd have to wait until it comes out but the dual 2mhz is probably going to be at least twice as fast as the 1.42DP G4. I'm pretty sure the 1.42DP G4 can color correct and output via firewire in real-time (might be able to do 2 layers of that). The old old Dual 500mhz G4 at my high school can do CC in real time with FCP3 (but not output via firewire simultaneously). In terms of FCP versus Vegas Video, each has its advantages. The color curves in VV are really cool and they aren't in FCP (3rd party plug-in required). The workflow is very very different- Vegas Video made no sense to me coming from Final Cut Pro. Everything in Vegas Video is upside down, including the timeline on top. *Depending on what you do*, FCP might be the better choice than VV. The FCP4/G5 combo looks like it's going to kick some ass. You can emulate PC programs that don't have Mac equivalents.

As for rounding IDE cables, it's better if you keep the cable short (not the long ones that are out of spec) and if you cut every 4 wires. Every other wire is a dummy wire that sucks up cross talk between the signal carrying wires.