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Old July 9th, 2004, 02:27 PM   #1
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Rendering with dual Xeon and/or AMD system? (533/800 FSB)

A question about rendering with a dual Xeon system?

If I was to upgrade my system should I go for the dual CPU: 2 Xenon 533 Mhz FSB or a singel P4 CPU 800 Mhz FSB

If anyone has a dual Xeon or AMD system I would like to know if the rendering is faster on a dual CPU (slower FSB) than on a single CPU (faster FSB) system.
Lets say If I am going to render video that requires transcoding for example: from HD to DVD using Premiere Pro?

-Chris.
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Old July 10th, 2004, 04:45 PM   #2
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Which codecs are you going to use?
For the exporting of DVD obviously mpeg2, but what is you HD work going to be done with?
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Old July 12th, 2004, 10:50 AM   #3
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I was thinking of using Premiere Pro and the High Definition plug-in from MainConcept.
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Old July 12th, 2004, 11:49 AM   #4
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While this isn't specific to the codec you use, it will give you a general order of whats prefered when dealing with the high memory bandwidth of HD.

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?s=&threadid=26478
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Old July 13th, 2004, 10:47 AM   #5
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Thanks Ken.

I am little bit confused by these "ratings"
David Newman is rating a dual Opteron ahead of everything else. I am assuming that all rated systems have the same CPU clock speeds. It looks to me that a single P4 with 800FSB would outperform dual Xeon 533FSP because of the bus speed alone. In that case it looks like dual (Xeon) cpu is not advantageous which now possess a question why a dual Opteron CPU system would be advantageous since they only run at about (fastest) 2.2Ghz (and these are still 32 bit applications).

I don't know, I don't know I guess the next valid question would be what is the main performance bottleneck during video rendering (I am sure the answer is that it's a combination of factors but there must be some predominant one).
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Old July 13th, 2004, 11:16 AM   #6
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And all of it depends on which processor stepping you buy. I have a dual Xeon and it screams, but it may not do so for PP. I use a NLE that specifically supports multi-processor systems and also uses the Graphics processor through DirectX for rendering.

For simplicity and cost, a single CPU P4 Prescott based processor may be the best bet. Although the Northwood or C stepping processor is faster GHz to GHz, the E stepping Prescott now goes to 3.6GHz. More affordable is a 3.2GHz processor. As the software updates over the next year, more NLE vendors will support the SSE-3 instruction set, which could benefit rendering. Last time I read the Premier specs, a P4 was the best supported performer for it. If you can get something from Adobe about recommended systems, go with that. It cuts through a lot of support red tape if you can say that it is on their list (and usually means they have one at their support site.)

I am sort of lusting over a new Shuttle box that has been announced. This is not a recommendation to get it as it is not shipping. The new XPC SB81P is a Intel 915 based chipset machine that supports PCI-e video. It should support at least 2 HDs and a DVD drive (it has 3 3 1/2" bays). It has built in IEEE1394. Not shipping yet, but when Pinnacle goes forward with the ATI/Pinnacle PCI-e High-Def card in the Liquid suite, it might be the coolest box to run on. Edit* The coolest "cheap" box to run on... :D
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Old July 13th, 2004, 12:50 PM   #7
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In our experience the dual Opteron are the fastest performers, and clock speed as little to do with it. AMD has regularly matched Intel performance at 2/3rd the clock speed for many architectural reasons. The Dual opteron has a memory performance that is equivelent to a fast P4.

Whether a 3.6GHz P4 would out perform a dual Opteron for your rendering application would depend on whether the rendering task was threaded for multiple CPUs. Premiere Pro does not do this naturally (it doesn't hinder it either), it is up to plug-in providers to do this. I'm not sure whether the Mainconcept DVD Encoder is threaded.
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Old July 13th, 2004, 01:12 PM   #8
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-Christopher, Ghz is not a good measure of how to rate a processor. For example an Intel 2.2 Celeron is about 30-40% slower than a 2.2P4. Or an AMD FX51 2.2 is about twice as fast as a Intel 2.2 Celeron. Ghz does not equal performance when you are comparing different chips.
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Old July 13th, 2004, 02:24 PM   #9
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Yes Ken.

Although I didn't mean to sound like that, that's the way it came out. Sure CPU speed doesn't mean performance when one CPU can do more work per clock cycle then another one in 3.

I guess it would be good to actually see the numbers, comparing the different platforms against same rendering material.
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Old July 13th, 2004, 03:23 PM   #10
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Yes it would. The problem being is that there are too many software/hardware combinations for what we are discussing. Your choice of software will dictate which system is best.

My opinion is if you are going to enter the realm of HD/HDV then go with high memory bandwidth systems. As long an Intel keeps their dual systems locked at 533fsb and inlated price, they shouldn't be first on your list.
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Old July 14th, 2004, 06:03 AM   #11
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Actually, Intel has released the 800MHz Xeon processors. Also, the higher end Opteron's are not all that much of a bargain. They are cheaper than some of the heavily cached Intel server chips, but not that big of an advantage at the workstation level. Although some benchmarks have shown the 250 Opteron to be faster in the 64-bit XP world, it is too soon to tell because it is a beta kernel with missing optimizations for both processor types.

Not that they will be released on time, but the 1066MHz FSB Xeon may be Q4 of this year. Not holding my breath though.

New funny term of the week from one of the folks that participates at Anandtech: Intelihertz.
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