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Old August 18th, 2008, 06:51 AM   #1
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Upgrade or buy new?

Hi all,
I have now two DIY workstations, bought two years ago. they are near-identical :

Mobo : P5WDG2 WS Professional - DDR2 800/667/533 - FSB 1066/800/533 - Intel 975X chipset - LGA775 Intel Core2 Processor Ready
CPU : Intel core2duo 6600, 2.4 ghz
4GB DDR2 (I think 667, not sure)
OS drive is wd 74gb 10k rpm raptor, two additional 250gb 7200 rpm (not raided) drives for media.
Only difference between the two is that one has a Quadro FX1500, and one has a GeForce 7900 GS.

The Mobo has an onboard Marvell 4xsata II raid 0/1 controller. Initially I planed to raid-0 the two 250 media drives, but had some problems and found that for SD the system worked fine enough without raid.

Now that I'm moving the HDV, the workstations are struggling a bit...

My question is : the Mobo clearly states it is compatible with 45nm 1333mhz FBS quad-core processors. Can I hold of buying a new system from scratch, and just upgrade to a quad-core? It will probably mean staying with 4GB (currently working in XP 32 with the 3gb switch, thinking of moving to XP 64), and because the Mobo has only two PCI-e slots, if I add a BM card (which I plan on doing), raid options will be limited to the onboard raid-0 controller, or PCI-X if I want an external raid-5 box.

Also, if I upgrade, is there anything I can do with the old CPU's? is it worthwhile to build around them 2 very cheap systems and use them as network rendering stations?

Sorry for the long post and many thanks in advance,
Jon.
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Old August 23rd, 2008, 01:10 PM   #2
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I'll try and simplify my question, as I'm still really hoping for advice:

Will changing my core2duo to a quad-core, and raiding my media drives on a motherboard raid controller result in a noticeable improvement in terms of editing HDV?

Or will the improvement be negligible and I'm better off saving my money towards a future purchase of a good raid-5 tower, cineform/sheervideo codec and (eventually) an 8-core,16GB ram workstation?

many thanks
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Old August 23rd, 2008, 02:07 PM   #3
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Hi,

You can add a Quad Core CPU, matching RAM, and probably do fine. I certainly would start there and see what happens, you can add a RAID later. You don't have to do anything right away.

The CPU and RAM upgrade is where most of the action is, with some performance coming from the graphics card depending upon the NLE and the effects you're using.

Good luck!

Mike
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Old August 25th, 2008, 08:57 AM   #4
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Dropping a Q6600 (best bang for the buck at the moment) in should improve performance quite noticeably. Replacing the RAM isn't likely to make a perceptible difference.
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Old August 25th, 2008, 12:38 PM   #5
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Thanks for the replies, guys.

I am a bit confused about the Asus Mobo, on one hand it says :

"It also can support Intel next generation 45nm Multi-Core CPU. With new Intel Core microarchitecture technology and 1333 / 1066 / 800 MHz FSB, Intel Core2 processor is one of the most powerful and energy efficient CPU in the world."

On the other hand it has the 975X chipset and the specs say FSB 1066/800/533, while the 45nm quad cores all seem to be 1333 Mhz. I guess I'll just have to check compatibility with a technician.

Robert, do you say replacing RAM isn't going to make a big difference because in my specific case my Mobo is still limited to DDR2 800? Theoretically, if I could switch to DDR3 1333 RAM would it still not make a big impact on performance? (I'm asking out of curiosity)

thanks.
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Old August 25th, 2008, 04:43 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Shohet View Post
Robert, do you say replacing RAM isn't going to make a big difference because in my specific case my Mobo is still limited to DDR2 800? Theoretically, if I could switch to DDR3 1333 RAM would it still not make a big impact on performance? (I'm asking out of curiosity)

thanks.
DDR2 667 is meant for 1333 FSB, DDR2 800 for the 1600 FSB. DDR3 requires a new chipset and thus a new mobo and carries a hefty price for meager performance gains. Think in a 1% to 3% performance gain.
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Old August 25th, 2008, 10:26 PM   #7
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thanks Harm.
A quick googling confirmed that my Asus board officially supports 45nm processors, although it apparently involves some over/under clocking to support 1333 FSB. Don't understand exactly what this means, and if it has any possible performance impact.
The q6600 does indeed cost around 3/4 of the q9300 so I may take your advice on it.

When you say that it should improve performance quite noticeably, does that mean just rendering times, or in general?
My biggest frustration moving to hdv are the long waiting times that PP and AE take to ingest/conform before you can start working, and of course working with effects that it seems to me used to work in real time with dv and now don't.

I actually don't mind the export rendering times as much as having a more responsive system while working. Could a 45nm 3.0 Ghz core2duo be actually a better option?
(I know that PP and AE are multiple CPU aware, but do they actually utilize this for tasks other than rendering?)
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Old August 27th, 2008, 11:55 AM   #8
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Generally, there just isn't much performance difference between using faster or slower RAM (most the action is in the cache on the CPU chip, for executing programs). It's just not cost effective to buy extremely expensive memory to get a low single digit percentage gain in performance. Getting a CPU that's even just .1GHz faster is usually way more cost effective. For example, the difference between overall performance with a Q6600 vs Q6700 (a .26GHz difference), dwarfs the difference in overall performance between DDR2 667 and DDR3 1333.

You can match memory to FSB speeds, as mentioned above, but that doesn't really make much real world difference either (a little, but not a lot). You actually are matched to a Q6600 (or Q6700) anyway. If you go with a quad with a faster FSB, it's not likely to be worth the cost or hassle of getting new memory to match, but it's not expensive to get DDR2 800 to match a 1600 FSB if you want to (dual channel DDR2 800 = 1600 effective speed). DDR3 is still to expensive to make any sense for most uses.

You can get a good quality 2x2GB (4GB) DDR2 800 kit nowadays for close to $50, if you shop around. Newegg.com almost always has some rebate deals on something that's good quality. Lately there has been a lot of nice rebate deals on OCZ memory (check customer feedback on any particular model).
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Old August 27th, 2008, 12:50 PM   #9
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I'm learning so much from this thread. thank you.

Not sure I understand completely about matching RAM and processor speeds.
The Q6600/6700 (and the E6600 I have now) all have 1066 FSB, so to match them shouldn't I have 533Mhz DDR2?
Even the top of the line QX9775 "only" has 1600 FSB, while I'm seeing DDR3 already at 1800Mhz speeds.

Also, could someone comment about the 3.0ghz dual core vs. 2.4ghz quad?
I know that for rendering the more cores the merrier, but what about caching to RAM in AE, real-time processing of effects in PP, ingesting of hdv sources and so-on...

thanks again.
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Old August 28th, 2008, 09:02 AM   #10
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My bad. Yes, 533 (dual channel) for the Q6600 or Q6700 I suppose. I really pay almost no attention to matching RAM speed to FSB, because I've looked at a lot of test results that show very minimal differences in overall performance, using RAM of different speeds with many different types of apps, and I've not noticed any perceptible difference in real use.

I'd go with a quad generally. Apps that can fully take advantage of all 4 cores will get a considerable boost (and some of those apps really need it). Apps that only run on one core tend to be apps that don't really need more power than a single core in most quad chips anyway (there are notable exceptions - like VirtualDub, a very useful tool).
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