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Old October 23rd, 2011, 06:41 PM   #1
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Editing System Build - Xeon Vs. i7

Hey Folks,

I am helping a friend build an editing system. I haven't built one since quad-core was tops, so I need help choosing components.

Here is the question at hand: Will he have better performance building a dual processor system with a couple of lower-end Xeons, or is it a more prudent choice to buy a core-i7 based system? for example: Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz - Newegg.com - Intel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I72600K

This PC will be built mostly to run Vegas, probably Premiere as well, and possibly Avid. Vegas definitely takes precedence.

The goal is to edit HD video with smooth preview playback even with some effects, and of course to render as quickly as possible. We are not worried about 2K or 4K.

Most of the footage will be AVCCAM like the HMC150, probably a good bit of DSLR AVCHD, all the usual stuff. I might convince him to invest in cineform.

Some projects might not even be editing, just straight up transcodes, so fast renders are very important.

***

It appears that for all out speed the i7 processors in our price range are faster.

However, I read someplace that i7 vs Xeon is like comparing a sports car to a truck, in that a sports car may be faster all out, but a truck is appropriate for big loads while a sports car is not.

What I take from that is for big renders where a lot of data needs to be chewed through, a Xeon would outperform the i7.

I built a dual processor system back in the days when AMD could compete with Intel, and I did experience the "truck" metaphor first-hand, but I am wondering if that is still valid.

I've done some searching, and it seems the i7 processors are very popular for editing builds these days, and it also seems that the motherboards and memory for a Xeon system costs more. But if either choice of processor offers a significant trade-off in productivity over time, that is the direction we want to go.

***

Your advice, knowledge, and especially if you have experience with a Xeon vs. an i7 system is greatly appreciated!

Ken
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Old October 23rd, 2011, 07:54 PM   #2
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Re: Editing System Build - Xeon Vs. i7

I went with the video guys blog system recommendations. I ended up with the below. It seemed a good middle/upper performance system for the price. Your friend will discover/rediscover that the system is never fast enough. GL

ASUS P6X58D-E motherboard
i7-960 CPU (there's better/faster/cooler/more $) with HyperThreading it shows as 8 cores to Windows
Corsair Hydro Series H80 High Performance Liquid CPU Cooler
Corsair Dominator 12GB 2GHz triple channel RAM with fan (MB can handle another 12GB)
EVGA GeForce GTX 570 1280MB GDDR5 Graphics Card (for GPU accelerated effects rendering)
Dual 28" Hanns.G monitors
Windows 7 64-bit
Adobe CS5.5
2x 500GB SATA2 (system and cache)
1x 2TB SATA3 HDs (there is an issue with the interface and it's not working reliably on the SATA3 port so it's actually only SATA2, maybe they'll fix it someday)
I also use a KingWin KF-1000-BK internal drive tray that allows me to remove the data drive and drop it in my safe. I can reinstall windows anytime. I can't reshoot video.
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Old October 24th, 2011, 05:36 AM   #3
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Re: Editing System Build - Xeon Vs. i7

i7 2600K seems to be the best bang for the buck, it sometimes surpasses i7 980X in rendering tests. Unless your friend has money for dual Xeon build, then 2600K looks like a good investment to me. However I would advise to get a Z68 motherboard with nForce200 chipset to get more PCIe bandwidth, because this was the main criticism against Sandy Bridge architecture.
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Old October 24th, 2011, 10:07 AM   #4
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Re: Editing System Build - Xeon Vs. i7

H Kawika,

Thanks for the reply. I have seen the Videoguys DIY guides and I think they are helpful. It looks like you are fairly satisfied with your choice.

Any complaints? What kind of render speeds do you experience, and what software do you use?

Ken
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Old October 24th, 2011, 11:25 AM   #5
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Re: Editing System Build - Xeon Vs. i7

I'm not aware of something directed towards Vegas, but for Premiere Pro this Benchmark Results may give you an idea of what makes a fast system.

Xeon systems generally are not faster than i7 systems, in fact most of the time they are much slower, but way more expensive. For instance, the ADK Juggernaut at rank #1 is a dual Xeon at a cost of around $ 20K.

If you can wait for a couple of months, the SB-E might be the way to go. At this moment it is either the i7-2700K or the i7-970+ for an affordable system.
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Old October 24th, 2011, 12:07 PM   #6
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Re: Editing System Build - Xeon Vs. i7

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenneth Fisher View Post
H Kawika,

Thanks for the reply. I have seen the Videoguys DIY guides and I think they are helpful. It looks like you are fairly satisfied with your choice.

Any complaints? What kind of render speeds do you experience, and what software do you use?

Ken
Hi Ken,

I'm using Adobe Master Suite CS5.5, Dashware for Garmin bike computer data videos and Cubase for audio. My biggest frustration was not being able to reuse anything from my old system other than my tower.

Some were required; CPU and RAM go together, Motherboard to use the new stuff, Graphics to meet the Adobe requirement to use CUDA, beefer power supply to handle the increased demand from the new components, etc. But it was a bit of a surprise to have to switch from IDE to SATA CDROMs (MB has no IDE ports) so I chucked my two DVD burners and liquid cooling (the i960 gets hot when Premiere Pro is cranking away and I'm overclocking it).

The i970 and higher switch to the 32nm chip, vs. the 45nm chip of the i960 and lower, so it's supposed to run on less power but the i960 can handle more heat (presumably due to overclocking). I'm not an overclocking expert and early tests were not that great so I stay close to the rated clock speeds and voltages. The CMOS on the MB makes overclocking a lot easier than a few years ago but it still takes a lot of time to get the right settings.

Overall it works but I know there's better. I just wasn't willing to make the $ leap to the next level up.

I generally make cycling videos which require two renders; Dashware then PP. AE renders are so small it's not a major concern. Render times are all over the place so I hesitate to generalize as I'm sure some of it is just workflow shortcuts that I'm still trying to master. But, total time to do a multi-GB ride video is 2 days for which ~24 hours is spent rendering Dashware (12 hours), PP (2-4 hours) and uploading to YouTube (6-8 hours+).

The system I have does multiple tasks so well that I don't get any time savings by offloading the renders to another computer.

I hope that helps. Cheers
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Old November 5th, 2011, 06:54 PM   #7
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Re: Editing System Build - Xeon Vs. i7

I've been spending some time putting together a components list on Newegg.... started out with the i7-9xx series earlier this year, then switched to the i7-2600k as of late.

I had most everything picked out and was getting close to pulling the trigger soon (had to pay off some other bills etc first)... and then this past week, I stumbled across a great deal on techbargains for a Dell XPS 8300, loaded. Then yesterday I saw they were offering an additional 5% off all systems until Monday.

So, the final configuration I spec'd out with Dell was:

i7-2600
Win 7 Pro
16GB RAM
2TB Hard Drive 7200 RPM (will have to buy a second ... when prices drop after the Thailand Flood thing passes)
nVidia GTX 560Ti
Soundblaster Titanium
Bose Speakers
Blu Ray Burner
2 USB 3.0 ports


List Price is $2,585 but after the discounts, it's $1,465. I can't hardly build one on my own with those components for that price.

I'm hoping to get a 24" Dell Ultrasharp when they go back on sale. The cheapest I've seen the 2412 model is $319.

For my purposes, it should be more than adequate. My purposes, being a hobbyist and not a pro making big bucks from this, although I do make some income... photo video work isn't my main gig.

I'm running Adobe CS5 Production Premium.
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Old November 5th, 2011, 07:26 PM   #8
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Re: Editing System Build - Xeon Vs. i7

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyle Root View Post
I've been spending some time putting together a components list on Newegg.... started out with the i7-9xx series earlier this year, then switched to the i7-2600k as of late.

I had most everything picked out and was getting close to pulling the trigger soon (had to pay off some other bills etc first)... and then this past week, I stumbled across a great deal on techbargains for a Dell XPS 8300, loaded. Then yesterday I saw they were offering an additional 5% off all systems until Monday.

So, the final configuration I spec'd out with Dell was:

i7-2600
Win 7 Pro
16GB RAM
2TB Hard Drive 7200 RPM (will have to buy a second ... when prices drop after the Thailand Flood thing passes)
nVidia GTX 560Ti
Soundblaster Titanium
Bose Speakers
Blu Ray Burner
2 USB 3.0 ports


List Price is $2,585 but after the discounts, it's $1,465. I can't hardly build one on my own with those components for that price.

I'm hoping to get a 24" Dell Ultrasharp when they go back on sale. The cheapest I've seen the 2412 model is $319.

For my purposes, it should be more than adequate. My purposes, being a hobbyist and not a pro making big bucks from this, although I do make some income... photo video work isn't my main gig.

I'm running Adobe CS5 Production Premium.
Actually, the Dell is not that good of a value even at its discounted price: Their system BIOSes are semi-permanently locked, so you can't overclock or even set the RAM speed or voltage at all. Worse, Dell's default software is loaded with bloatware that actually slows down system performance so severely that you might as well have only a three-year-old Core 2 Quad. (And you can "decrapify" pre-built PCs, but decrapifying can create new problems.)
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