View Full Version : Double Pentium!!
August 22nd, 2003, 09:05 AM
Hi all! I heard from a friend that not all applications take advantage of the processing power of a dual-chip system. He told me that some applications still use only one chip even if there was a second chip on the motherboard. Could anyone give me any clarification on this matter? More specifically, do programs like Photoshop, After Effects, and AVID take full advantage of both processors in a dual-chip system?
--Randy Reyes-- :]
August 22nd, 2003, 09:23 AM
Your friend is correct, not all applications or operating systems support multi-processors. However, you are in luck as Photoshop, After Effects and AVID are all multi-processor aware and benefit to different extents from the second chip.
August 22nd, 2003, 09:36 AM
Thanks for the info Adrian! I do have one more concern on the subject matter and that is choosing the right motherboard for a dual P4 configuration.
I've been through many websites trying to pinpoint a top contender, and I am thinking of going with a SuperMicro board. I'm planning to set up a RAID, but all the info I've been sifting through is making my brain burst. Any thoughts on selecting a good dual-chip P4 board? Many thanks!!
--Randy Reyes-- :]
August 22nd, 2003, 09:40 AM
Pentium 4s don't support multiple processors, you'll have to use Xeons.
There was a thread recently on just this topic so do a search and you should come up trumps on the motherboards Qs.
August 22nd, 2003, 10:39 AM
I asked about this in another thread. The final consensus seemed to be that even if the apps didn't utilize it, as long as the OS did (such as XP Pro), then at the very least running more than one application (process) will be much faster with a 2-chip system.
It all has to do with low-level programming. Applications running are called processes and are automatically assigned to a processor by Windows. Threads are subroutines within a program that run independently of each other. On a one chip system, the threads and processes get processor power distributed by time slicing. In multi-chip systems, the OS has more processing power to hand out in fewer time slices, essentially. So if an application is multithreaded, it will benefit tremendously from multi-processing systems. Even if it's not, Windows itself will run faster by allocating applications, and its own processes, different processors.
August 22nd, 2003, 10:53 AM
But remember that not all versions of Windows supports multi-processors, 95 - not sure, 98 - no, NT - yes, W2k - yes, XP Home - no, XP Pro - yes.
August 22nd, 2003, 11:24 AM
I saw on Toms Hardware that the new P4 Hyper Threading single CPUs are just as good as dual processors now. Plus, you'll save alot of money. Anyone have any knowledge on this?
August 22nd, 2003, 02:59 PM
None of the Windows 9x variations support it, but NT4, 2k, and XP Pro do.
Why XP Home does not is beyond me, except as a marketing ploy, since it's the same OS as Pro with different features enabled. I bet someone could write a hack to make XP Home support it.
August 23rd, 2003, 09:12 AM
All interesting information, indeed!! Thanks again for the replies.
I guess what I really need to know is whether or not it is cost-efficient to build double-Xeon system as opposed to a single one. I know it's a lot of money, but I am more than willing to shell out the extra cash if the benefits are significant compared to a single Xeon. I plan on building a new system in less than 6 months (still saving up!!), and I really want to build a powerful machine capable of editing as well as multi-tasking with design applications in mind (e.g. Photoshop, After Effects, AVID, etc).
August 23rd, 2003, 09:24 AM
From what I've heard a single 3.06 Hyperthreaded P4 will outdo dual Xeon 2.4s in most video rendering tasks. I'm not sure about AE but in 6 months Intel are likely to be around the high 3 possible even near 4 Ghz mark with the hyperthreaded chips. It will work out cheaper to go with the single chip then you can spend more on RAM and HDD space. A single 3.5ish HT chip with a couple of gig of RAM would be more than enough for home studio/DV editing.
August 23rd, 2003, 10:36 AM
You can setup after effects to use the 2nd processor as a render farm on the mac. You can probably do this on the PC too.
Check out the Avid website for the recommended specs for your system.
August 23rd, 2003, 03:09 PM
What if you have dual XEON chips with HT? Will it make the system think there's 4 chips ????
August 23rd, 2003, 07:35 PM
All Xeon processors have hyperthreading but I don't know if windows sees them as two processors. There are two types of Xeon processor, the standard, with a 1MB cache for dual processor applications, and the MP with up to 2MB cache for multi, 4 or 8, processor applications. The thing with Xeons vs P4 is that Xeons, while dual/multi processor capable, are optomised for server platforms where P4s are optomised for video/multimedia performance. From the systems I've seen here in Japan a single 3Ghz+ P4 with 2GB of RAM is ample for AE and AVID. You could use Xeons but it's really overkill and unnecessary expense.
August 24th, 2003, 12:18 PM
I saw somewhere (could've been Tom's Hardware website, not sure!) that Windows XP certainly does recognize Hyperthreaded Xeons as two chips. If I remember correctly, I actually saw a screenshot of a task manager-performance window where two Xeons were seen as four chips.
It sounds as if the single Xeon is the better route to go. Any other thoughts? Thanks!!
--Randy Reyes-- :]
August 24th, 2003, 08:55 PM
That's correct, two Xeons will appear as four chips on boot-up during the BIOS start-up screen, and again anytime you check Task Manager or the System Information tool in Windows.
Every system I've owned and built for myself has been a dual. I too agree that a single 3GHz is great for DV - what it really comes down to is getting that balance of performance vs. price.
From my experience, sometimes a dual setup is actually just as affordable as a single chip setup or even cheaper, especially when the newest and best single chips and boards are just released. When the 3GHz Pentium IV first came out I could have gotten two fairly high-end Athlon MP chips for the price of that one, and the motherboard differences were negligble in some cases.
If I were you, I'd review my budget, determine the best I could afford, then go for it. If this means purchasing a single 3GHz, then that's quite adequate. Just don't neglect other components of your system for the best and fastest processors.
I'd rather have a 2.66GHz or lower CPU with a sweet 10,000- or even 15,000RPM SCSCI setup than a 3GHz one with a single ATA drive. People forget about other important areas of the system. I have a friend who coupled a dual processor system with a very old 2GB drive as his boot system - he effectively crippled his box and wondered why his system was so slow. *sigh*
Too much hardware out there to get the best of everything (which at this level isn't even the best anyway). Audio monitoring speakers? Computer monitor? Editing monitor? Glidecam this, matte box that? Its tough to acknowledge, but the truth of the matter is I think we get ahead of ourselves at times over all the gear - I know I do!
August 25th, 2003, 06:57 AM
If your going to go the single chip route I'd go for a P4 over an Xeon as the P4s are optomised for video work. The Xeons are really designed for server platforms.
August 25th, 2003, 09:45 AM
Pentium 4 over a Xeon, huh? Thanks for the info and suggestions guys. I'll definitely explore the P4 route and see if that might be the best solution for me. I didn't know that P4s are optimized for video work.
As far as RAID setups go, which is the better route to go--SATA or SCSI? I've been getting my feet wet in the area too as I've been trying to research about harddrives and motherboards, etc, trying to build a powerful editing/design workstation. Is SCSI still the top solution in fast harddrives or do think SATA will be a more cost-efficient/effective route?
August 25th, 2003, 09:54 AM
SATA is what I have, and I have yet to do any video editing on it because my Adobe Premiere Pro software has not shipped yet.
But, I'll give a report once I test it out. You won't notice any speed increases with the SATA until you start transferring LARGE files...and that's where SATA shines. SCSI, I think, is getting overrated. Everyone keeps saying to just increase the RAM, CPU, etc.
August 25th, 2003, 10:35 AM
Unless you plan on doing uncompressed D1 or HD then SCSI is overkill and overpriced. A good ATA raid array is more than fast enough for MiniDV/DVCAM
August 25th, 2003, 11:22 AM
This motherboard from Asus seems to be the fastest single-processor motherboard around.
It's what some of the Canopus users are going to since we got the new editing software that can use a lot more power than a pair of dual PIII's.
It has the 800 MHZ FSB, nardware RAID for both serial and parallel drives, a Ghz Intel LAN and lots of very nice speed goodies. And if you are brave, you can set it up for overclocking.
Figure about $400 for the 3 gig proc, $200 for the Mobo, $300 for 1 gig of qualified RAM, an OpenGL display card for the accelerated AE capability (figure $150 on up), $200 for a nice case with lots of fans and at least a 400 watt PS.
I'm told one of the fast dual Athalon cards is just as fast and perhaps a bit cheaper.
It is said that SuperMicro builds conservative, reliable motherboards. Asus, in my experience builds them just as reliable (we're talking crashes here) and faster.
August 25th, 2003, 11:32 AM
1gig of 400 ddr ram is now at $190 at www.googlegear.com
August 26th, 2003, 08:09 PM
Overclocking will give you the fastest computer possible. You can get to around 3.5/3.6mhz if you're lucky and got quality parts. With a Pentium2.4mhz you are nearly guaranteed to hit 3.0mhz (this should be slightly faster than a stock pentium 3.0mhz since you've increased your front side bus speed). It will take some time to test your computer for stability and to trouble shoot so that can make up the price difference between an overclocked computer and a stock one. Don't worry about warranty because you could just buy any parts that fail. Overclocking will decrease processor life from like 10 years to 5 or 6 (depending on how much you overclock) but in 5 or 6 years your computer will be worth very little and you're likely to replace it. The choice is yours.
For your system + applications drive, the best setups are in this order:
SCSI RAID (very expensive, slight performance boost)
SCSI (1 drive, 15k rpm)
SATA Western Digital Raptor ($200, you need a mobo with SATA)
ATA Western Digital Caviar with 8MB buffer ($100ish?)
ATA anything else
The 1st 2 choices are expensive. The 2nd and 3rd choice are about equal in performance for application performance. The 3rd and 4th choice are good value. The 2nd choice is not bad.
For video storage, the best choice is always nearly a RAID using ATA drives. If working in DV you do not need a RAID. RAID might improve rendering times, but I have yet to see any benchmarks. RAID doesn't cost that much if you get it with your motherboard. You can go with SATA and it is very much like (parallel) ATA. Performance-wise SATA is just barely faster (probably unnoticeable). The cables are smaller so that will improve airflow and make your computer easier to build. SATA drives cost a premium right now. SATA RAID controllers may not have that many reviews.
The MSI Neo something board has the best performance, but that's because it dynamically overclocks (not sure if it came out yet). Asus and Abit make good motherboards for overclocking.
Ars Technica has some information on building your computer. Look at their buyer guide and forums for recommendations on parts (be clear about your needs when asking on a forum).
Dual processors will speed up AE rendering (assuming the 2nd proc can render farm, which it should be able to), won't do much for Photoshop, and will help for Avid (see http://www.avid.com/products/xpresspro/specs.shtml they recommend dual xeons for *Avid Xpress PRO*).
Avid recommends you use lots of RAM if you are using their hardware. More RAM means you can send more video to their hardware (mojo or adrenaline or whatever its called). That's what Avid's FAQ says anyways...
The fastest RAM setup is 4 chips (same type) of quality RAM (top of the line kingston, geil, corsair, OCZ, etc.). If you go 2 gigs (a lot of RAM!) then you want 4 X 500MB. Quality RAM means you can push your machine further if overclocking and if you are not then you can lower the RAM timings in the BIOS to get better performance.
August 27th, 2003, 04:32 PM
I recently upgraded and after much research decided on a P4 with the MSI Neo2 - FISR motherboard. The board is brilliant! It uses the 865PE chipset but practically runs like an 875 (or faster). The FISR "flavour" would probably be the best option for us because firewire support is integrated. It also comes with gigabit LAN which has benefits of its own. Plus it can support A LOT of hard drives, including 4 x S-ATA onboard.
If you are new to overclocking (or even if you're not) this board is a dream come true. It has Slow to Ultra Turbo settings and dynamic overclocking settings from Private to General. So you don't need to really understand overclocking to squeeze the most out of your system. Of course, actual performance depends on the other components and overall quality of your setup.
By the way, the best part is that this board is rock solid. Since the overclocking is dynamic, the settings constantly change depending on system conditions to maintain stability.
August 28th, 2003, 02:02 AM
For dual processing visit www.2cpu.com (http://www.2cpu.com)
They deal with multi-processing and you can find a ton of great information there. I've been there myself and I will be going to a dual system for my first video editing system
August 28th, 2003, 07:59 AM
Do all of you guys use RAID in your editing solution?
I stumbled across a website succinctly explained the pros and cons of different RAID setups:
It seems that level 0 is the most commonly suggested setup for video editing. But what about level 3 or maybe 5? Which is the best way to go in terms of cost and benefits? Does parity justify levels 3 and 5 as practical solutions?
August 30th, 2003, 01:05 PM
If you store only video on a RAID 0 array, you should be able to recapture all your footage and start editing again. If you used RAID 3 or 5, you will still need to wait since a drive has to be rebuilt. In this case RAID 3 or 5 may save you a little bit of time for a very rare occurance (hard drive failure) but it will cost more and have decreased performance.
For large arrays (maybe for HD editing) some sort of protection is a good idea as just 1 drive failure will get you.
For DV editing, JBOD (just a bunch of disks) and RAID 0 are good choices. For uncompressed, RAID 0 is usually the best choice.
August 31st, 2003, 11:23 AM
Okay, okay!! I finally remembered to ask about 3D in regards to double processing. Now if I wanted a new system to handle Maya, Avid, and other design apps, would a single p4 still outperform a dual-Xeon? Any 3d users out there notice a difference with 2 processors? Which one is the cost-effective route?? Thanks in advance!
August 31st, 2003, 01:17 PM
Tom's hardware has a comparison between dual xeons and the fastest pentium at certain 3D tests (lightwave, 3D studio max) and encoding (mp3, mainconcept mpeg2, pinnacle studio mpeg2).
The dual xeons have an edge in certain areas, like the 3D apps. Those benchmarks may not apply to Maya.
The Pentium is still probably the most cost effective route.
September 4th, 2003, 09:42 PM
<<If your going to go the single chip route I'd go for a P4 over an Xeon as the P4s are optomised for video work. The Xeons are really designed for server platforms.>>
This isn't technically true. For Hyperthreaded P4's, they're basically the same beast, except the Xeon has much more cache. And cache is what makes it shine as a server. For non-HT P4's, well... there's your difference right there.
The other major difference is that no P4 can be used for SMP (which Hyperthreading doesn't really count as since while it acts like two processors, it's really not), which is fine if you have the scratch for a nice Quad Xeon setup.
<<Overclocking will give you the fastest computer possible. You can get to around 3.5/3.6mhz if you're lucky and got quality parts.>>
Yes, this is true, but very few professionals will benefit from overclocking in the long run. Only enthusiasts and other people with more time on their hands will want to deal with overclocking, which generally requires (at least in the beginning) a lot of trial and error, as well as a very real risk of total failure of your components. Aside from the fact that overclocking any retail system (if you even can) will void your warranty (and many people do still care about that), in order to truely get a good, stable, and fast overclocked system, you need to handpick your components which may be more information than a lot of people can absorb and properly process.
Not that overclocking is a bad thing. Hell, if someone manages to get a 50% performance boost out of thier system, they may well get hooked on a quest for speed. I just wouldn't recommend it to people who, for the most part, will either want to make movies without worrying about their computer, or make money.
<<Ars Technica has some information on building your computer. Look at their buyer guide and forums for recommendations on parts (be clear about your needs when asking on a forum).>>
I couldn't agree with this more, though. Ars Technica is a great resource, and also has the great information-over-posturing vibe that this forum seems to have (which is rare on the Internet, let me tell you).
Anyway, if you ask many Dual CPU'ers (like myself, I have Dual Athlons), they'll tell you it's not always about raw speed. You're not going to ride any faster with two horses instead of one pulling your cart, but they'll pull you through a lot more crap without a hassle. The fact that you can have After Effects running on some footage while you touch up the timing on some cuts in Premiere and you don't really notice is wonderful. I've talked to people who, after giving up their dual 400MHz Pentium 2s for a zippy Athlon 1700+ setup actually said they wanted their duallie back, since it would never choke and wait for something while it was working (personally, I don't think the difference is that great, but I think I need a better disk setup than the one I have now anyway).
How that lines up for a price/performance shootout, I have no idea. But really, since single processor components are much much cheaper than duals, if you're strapped for cash it's the best way to go.
But possibly even more important than processor speed is RAM and Disk speed, since it doesn't matter how fast your processor can go if it's always sitting there waiting for data, which is why RAID is brought up so often. Personally, I dislike IDE RAID (although I've used it) and would go for SCSI, if only I had the money, of course, but that doesn't mean it's not still useful. One thing, though. Make SURE you have backups if you decide to use RAID 0. If one of your drives goes, ALL of the data is toast. I prefer RAID 5 or RAID 0+1 if you can afford it, since they allow for redundancy.
<<(top of the line kingston, geil, corsair, OCZ, etc.)>>
And just a nitpick, OCZ isn't what many people would call top of the line. They may be fine now, but there have been FAR too many dissatisfied people due to what can only be called "misrepresentation" by OCZ, as well as flat out bac business practices. I've also heard that they've cleaned up their act recently. I don't know either way, but I don't think I'd recommend them to anyone based on their reputation.
September 13th, 2003, 02:57 AM
based on this thread, and other reviews of the MOB mentioned by mike, I think I am going to build an editing PC based on the asus Asus P4C800 delux (not the -e tho, asus says it is not needed for video editing). I am looking into the 3.0 hyperthread P4.
The motherboard comes with a firewire, do I need a capture card in addition to a video card or is it built in? Any suggestions on a decent, but not budget crunching video cards? Is the Prolink Geforce FX 5600 256MB, 8X AGP, VIVO+DVI+VGA+TV Model VIO-5600-256AD a good choice?
What about audio, do I need a sound card or is it built in?
It looks like ethernet is built in as well, is that correct?
I plan to use XP pro, any thoughts?
What should I look for in my RAM. If I understand correctly, I need a matched pair for this board and chip. What should I judge quality issues on to make the most of the speed?
Any thoughts on HD and 1G ram, video cards? What setup should I use? I am about out of money, but I would rather set things in motion on the right path from the start, and get hardware that will maximize use of speed (can't afford the G5 dual, so I want as close as I can in performance from a PC. So far the WD WESTERN DIGITAL "SPECIAL EDITION" 250GB 7200RPM 8MB EIDE HARD DRIVE MODEL # WD2500JB - OEM, DRIVE ONLY is within my budget, any comments?
I'm looking at he ANTEC SOHO File ServerTower ATX Case Model SX1040BII with 400 Watt Smart Power, Power Supply for the case, any thoughts?
I may overclock if it helps, but its not likely for the awhile given my limited understanding and experience. The board looks perfect if I choose to try, however.
Also, I am leaning towards vegas bundle since I have an audio background, but the Premier 6.0 bundle is tempting as well. Anyone have any thoughts? The DVD authoring and dolby is important.
My applications will be the usual, multipurpose wedding/corperate/versitile videography. We will also need good skin tones on the final mix, but we won't get into that here.
In order to keep my costs down, I am going to try to build this myself. Anyone have any good links or advice to make sure I don't screw up my investment? What cables and connections do I need to obtain to build this?
Maybe worth noting, my cam is a Canon GL2. I would like the computer to take full advatage of all options (S Video, firiwire, usb etc)
I can hold my own in some respects, but the more technical it gets, the less I understand. I do attempt to learn, so its just as important to me for you to explain why, if you can, I should choose a particular piece of hardware or software. If I have chosen hardware which will stunt my growth, please advise.
Any parting thoughts on my choice of components? Any additional advice to save startup funds without limiting the potentrial of my system? Thanks in adavance for all your help, this forum provides a valuable resource and I am glad to have found it.
September 13th, 2003, 09:17 PM
The better sound cards will have better inputs and outputs (less hum, better frequency response). If you use headphones you can find the hum from your sound card to be disturbing. If you are happy with the built-in sound on your motherboard then you don't need a sound card like one from M-audio or phillips. You'd install those later anyways so I would start off with on-board audio and move up if you are unsatisfied. On-board sound can suck because of interference
Processor: The 2.4mhz is the best for overclocking, but the 2.6mhz is also good. The 3.0mhz doesn't have much room for overclocking. The 2.4mhz and 2.6mhz processors are good value. Pentium processors only overclock by increasing the front side bus speed (the ratio between FSB and processor clock speed is fixed). Processor speed tops out at around 3.5/3.6mhz (with conventional air cooling). Both FSB and processor clock increases improve performance so you want both to be as high as possible. With a lower clocked processor you have more potential. see http://www.ocaddiction.com/reviews/cpu/p4roundup/
RAM: Make sure it will work with your motherboard (should be on the Asus website IIRC). Quality RAM will let your overclock more. If not overclocking then you can lower the timings on your RAM (though the BIOS) to get better performance. Some brands are slightly better and more expensive than others (OCZ). If you want value then get (hyperx) kingston RAM. If you want insane speeds then go with the top of the line OCZ RAM (can hit like DDR550, while normal RAM would be DDR400).
Matched pairs of RAM are guaranteed to work together and are usually cheaper.
Firewire and ethernet are built in I believe.
XP Pro is fine.
Hard drive: A large western digital drive plus a smaller drive should be good. You want to keep your video and your system/applications drive seperate. Get the 8MB cache for your system drive. storagereview.com has reviews of drive, but basically the Western Digital drives come out on top. storagereview.com has lots of information on hard drives, but some of the info is contradictory, outdated, or turn out to be wrong in practice.
Vegas versus Premiere 6.0: Do you mean Premiere Pro? I would stay away from Premiere 6.0. Vegas is a very nice NLE. There could be some debate between it and Premiere Pro.