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Dual Core vs. 2 single core Xeons in workstation

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February 9, 2006 12:25:26 PM

Question:

What are the advantages (other than power consumption and heat) of going with a dual core system over using 2 single core Xeons in a workstation? Is there a performance gain since the dual is in one chip? What is the gain? Not looking to make a quad system.

Background info for system use:

-CAD workstation (main use)
-Use for Solid Works or Inventor CAD system
-System to be using XP Pro 32 (possibility of XP 64 later on?)
-Dell systems being investigated (Are other workstations worth looking into for price?)
-Systems to be configured w/ 2 GB ram (2 sticks of 1GB), nvidia quatro 256mb video, SCSI 15,000 HD

Any input or sources to read on this matter would be greatly apreciated
February 9, 2006 2:44:32 PM

The best CPU for CAD and SolidWorks is AMD Opteron.
An Opteron 170 is best if you wish to overclock, and if that is not your thing, then a 175 of 180 can not be beat.
CAD performs best on an Opteron over a Xeon.
February 9, 2006 3:15:05 PM

I dunno about dual core xeons, but dual core opterons outperform a system equipped with 2 Opteron CPU's at the same clock speed. The same is probably true of dual core xeons.

And Rich is right, Opterons are a no-brainer for CAD. They're cheaper, have a better upgrade path, and outperform Xeons.

-mpjesse
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February 9, 2006 4:20:38 PM

Yeah, the advantage of dualcore is not performance (because actually they perform slightly worse) but simplicity and money. One chip with two cores is cheaper just for the CPU cost, runs on a much more affordable mobo, doesn't require as expensive of a PSU, yada yada. Dualcore is just two-procs made easy. :)  And cheap. :D 
February 9, 2006 4:23:15 PM

And man, the last time that I used any CAD software was AutoCAD release 10 for DOS and 12 for Windows. That was like ... '94/'95. I wonder what CAD software is like today. I bet it's a hell of a lot better. :lol:  :lol:  :lol: 
February 9, 2006 5:12:44 PM

dual cores > dual single cores. the memory bandwidth will be higher and less latency will exist between the two cores. however, the fact is that it doesn't make a massive difference and if you can just go with whatevers cheapest.
February 9, 2006 5:37:19 PM

Quote:
dual cores > dual single cores. the memory bandwidth will be higher and less latency will exist between the two cores.
Sorry, but benchmarks are showing the exact opposite. Maybe dualcores that actually share cache will change that.
February 9, 2006 5:40:12 PM

i don't think so, show me these benchies.
"Our benchmark results show that AMD's latest 90 nm E revision cores clearly are the faster products when it comes to a head-to-head comparison with 130 nm devices. Memory controller improvements and SSE3 support have an obvious effect.
Today, dual-core chips can only be considered a reasonable choice at the entry level or the mainstream segment, or if computing density in server racks is your primary goal.
The dual cores in the professional space still are expensive and their price/performance ratio does not hold a candle to a dual-processor single-core machine (leaving computing density aside).
Right now, going for a dual processor machine using single cores will deliver the best bang for the buck. "
this is quoting from Tomshardware.com's "Single core ain't dead yet" review. Single cores do not performe on par with dual cores for everything, but offer better bang-for-buck, like I stated earlier.
February 9, 2006 6:33:05 PM

I think Slvr was specifically refering to latency, not overall performance.

-mpjesse
February 10, 2006 10:37:14 AM

Thanks for the info everyone. Price wise at the Dell web site my company can purchase twin single core Xeons with a higher CPU speed (3.4 GHz) for less than the dual core Xeon(2.8 GHz). I tried to convince them to purchase Sun systems with dual Opterons, however due to their lack of experience and just plain 'ol ignorance... they are sticking with Dell. I myself run an AMD64 on my personal system I built and it runs Solidworks with NP. And it is only a single core system... Oh Well.

Thanks for letting me in on the Opteron performance info though. I did check into them for myself.

TheWOLf...
March 3, 2006 2:53:27 PM

So, what did you decide to go with? I'm standing in front of the exact same dilemma. In my case, one app is a single CPU heavy simulation app, the other is a GIS app that can use multiproc if need to be (but I can't imagine using both exceptionally well).

That being said, I'm leaning to higher individual procs rather than lower speed core.

Thoughts?
!