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Xeon PIII

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November 17, 2001 2:02:44 PM

Been thinking about multi-cpu rigs lately. I have got heavily into video transcoding converting my home videos into DVDs.

Anyway, looking around all the latest options obviously, dual AMDs, P4s or whatever. What about some of the older (slower) chips that exist for a good price though?

I noticed on p/w you can pickup up 500Mhz PIII Xeons with 1MB cache for $95, surely 2 or 4 of these is going to give most systems a real run for their money (okay, I expect the board and memory is going to be expensive).

What would a 2 or 4 way rig with 2 or 4 meg cache perform like for video, or is it cpu/fpu we need there, not cache?

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November 17, 2001 2:05:50 PM

ooh - $1850 for a quad mobo - I think that answers my question effectively.

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November 19, 2001 4:54:10 PM

I think those VIA dual PIII motherboards, and two PIIIs in smp is a better deal.
Video editing use lot of floating point prcessing power, lager L2 cache does not help much.
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November 19, 2001 10:11:00 PM

You might want to look into the PII Xeon 450! Only $30 can get you a 1MB version. And they have FULL SPEED CACHE unlike all other PII's. Plus, if you can find a way to overclock, well, they should outperform a dual PIII Coppermine settup of similar speed, since both have full speed cache. Except in SSE programs of course.

What's the frequency, Kenneth?
November 20, 2001 6:39:56 PM

For video, it's the integer/fpu performance that matters, not the cache so much, it actually has less of an effect than in other applications. Those Xeons would be better put to use in a DB or Web server. I'd recomend dual Athlon MP's, or if you're an Intel fan, then dual PIII's.
November 22, 2001 1:53:31 PM

Have a look over at www.2cpu.com

One of the most interesting developments of late is the abbility of the new PowerLeap slockets to run Tualatin core PIIIs in SMP on older SECC2 (slot 1) motherboards.

In any case, finding a good chipset to run on is the hard part.

PII Xeon:
- i440GX ~ A board can be found for a decent price, and the processors even cheaper, but not exactly stellar performance anymore.

PIII:
- i440BX ~ Probably the greatest (in my opinion) chipset ever made. While it doesn't do 133FSB natively, most i440BX boards will overclock to this frequency without any real problems, but you may be sacrificing a bit of stability by doing this. Also because the boards are overclocked by 33% just to run a 133FSB chip at regular speed, you won't get much more headroom. Board prices are in the mid range (US$150~300) and most will run any coppermine core up to 1GHz or any Tualatin core up to 1.2GHz+ Most poplular boards are the Tyan Tiger 100 and Asus P2B-D
- VIA Apollo 133A/T ~ Will take up to 133FSB 1GHz coppemines natively, and great for overclocking. The 133T chipset supports Tualatins natively. Stability appears to be an issue for many people, esp. when using Creative Labs and ATI cards. US$100~200. Poor memory bandwith. Most popular boards are the Tyan Tiger 133, Abit VP6 and Tyan Tiger 230(T).
Via Apollo Pro 266(T) ~ A new PIII chipset. Apparently this one has really good memory bandwidth and fewer stability issues (probably because it doesn't use the 686x southbridge). The 266T supports Tualatins but the only board built on the 266T that Iknow of is the US$200 Supermicro P3TDDE. For a non-Tualatin AP266 board there is the Asus CUV266-D.
- i820 ~ A chipset that quickly died out because of the MTH problems that plagued it when using SDRAM. However, it works fine on RDRAM and now that RDRAM prices have fallen to half decent levels I think the chipset is worth a look again. You can get an ASUS P3C-D for only US$115 which provides better perfomance then an Apollo 133A based board, and similar performance to a i440BX board except it supports a 133FSB natively so it should provide more overclocking headroom (The P3C-D allows settings up to 180FSB). The i820 chipset supports 100 & 133FSB and should run the Tualatin cores in PowerLeap slockets.
- i840 ~ The "replacement" for the i820, is used mainly on server boards and tends to be expensive (US$200~400). Fast and stable, the most popular boards are the Tyan Thunder i840 and Intel OR840. Rumor has it the chipset doesn't work well with slockets.
- SeverWorks III ~ Fast, stable, $EXPENSIVE$, non-overclockable...

PIV:
- i860 ~ don't know to much about them, you need PIV XEONS which are $$$, The Tyan Thunder i860 and Supermicro P4DC6 go for about US$500~$800.

Athlon:
- AMP 760MP ~ Fast, cheapish, some people have stability issues, again mainly with Creative Labs and ATI cards. The Tyan Tiger MP goes for US$200-$250.

I run an Asus P2B-D rev 1.06 D03 ~ Dual PIII-800E @ 900 ~ 512MB Micron @ CAS2 ~ Radeon 32 SDR @ 185 ~ Sony Trinitron 20" ~ SBAudigy ~ Intel Pro Management NIC ~ 3COM WinModem (Faxes) ~ ABIT Highpoint 370 ATA100 RAID controller ~ 20GB Quantum Fireball (Applications) ~ 40GB Maxtor RAID 0 Array (Data) ~ Plextor 12/10/32 CD-RW ~ Panasonic 8/32 DVD-ROM ~ Win2000pro SP2

One thing to remember is that if you get an older chipset/motherboard the drivers are already included in the OS and you don't have to mess around with that stuff (VIA 4in1s come to mind here...)

Anyways, hopes that helps a bit,
- JW
November 22, 2001 2:17:11 PM

also: SBLive cards don't work in SMP systems. But Audigys do.

- JW
November 22, 2001 11:43:40 PM

Wow - thanks! I'm researching all sorts of wierd stuff know, know a lot more avout video compression and encoding that I did, but still virtually nothing. Same with SMP now.

General opinion is that hardware encoders used to be the only way to go, but now with so much cpu power available, it is generally felt that software will be the future. Looking at some of the prices of the fast software v.s. hardware I'd say there is a little way to go yet.

Thanks again!

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