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Old August 22nd, 2003, 10:05 AM   #1
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Double Pentium!!

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?

Thanks!!

--Randy Reyes-- :]
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Old August 22nd, 2003, 10:23 AM   #2
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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.
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Old August 22nd, 2003, 10:36 AM   #3
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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-- :]
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Old August 22nd, 2003, 10:40 AM   #4
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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.
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Old August 22nd, 2003, 11:39 AM   #5
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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.
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Old August 22nd, 2003, 11:53 AM   #6
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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.
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Old August 22nd, 2003, 12:24 PM   #7
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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?
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Old August 22nd, 2003, 03:59 PM   #8
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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.
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Old August 23rd, 2003, 10:12 AM   #9
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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).
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Old August 23rd, 2003, 10:24 AM   #10
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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.
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Old August 23rd, 2003, 11:36 AM   #11
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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.
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Old August 23rd, 2003, 04:09 PM   #12
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What if you have dual XEON chips with HT? Will it make the system think there's 4 chips ????
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Old August 23rd, 2003, 08:35 PM   #13
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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.
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Old August 24th, 2003, 01:18 PM   #14
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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-- :]
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Old August 24th, 2003, 09:55 PM   #15
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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!
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