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Dual motherboard for 2 chips??? AMD, Intel...which way?

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May 2, 2006 11:47:48 PM

Hello everyone, and sorry if this be a retarded topic...but I'm very much a simpleton when it comes to this stuff. So hopefully someone can help?

I am looking to upgrade my computer, and I am a concept designer/illustrator who uses photoshop for digital painting, and also plays games.

Now this is the million dolla question...

I was instructed that to get the best performance [professional performance] from photoshop I should look at a dual slot motherboard with 2 dual core processors...also a hardrive for my operating system and software, and a smaller seperate hard-drive for photoshops scratch disk [it's thinking/brain].

So, I am willing to do this...or at least get one chip and then buy another later on...but is this a big deal in terms of the learning curve. I have a friend who is an IT technician and he won't even discuss this with me in fear of suggesting the wrong stuff!

Anyway, what I found out is this...and please help me out here...

There aren't [can't find any] AMD motherboards for dual processors [2 processors i should say], but there are intel...however they all seem to be socket 604 [and use the intel Xeon chip]. I found one for about £200 [supermicro x6dvl-xg2 dual xeon nocona intel e7320].

So is the XEON better/worse than a dual-core processor?

Or should I wait for AMD to bring some out and go for 2 amd 64 x2 chips on a motherboard with a couple of gig of ram?

Again...I am new to this topic, and really need some advice. So I guess what i need to know is what things to look for in terms of dual motherboards...and if there are those boards for amd dual-processors, or intel dual-processors....or is the Xeon combination a good combination in itself?

£700 on all this is a lot to spend!!

Thanks for any help you can give.

M
a c 99 à CPUs
a b V Motherboard
May 3, 2006 3:38:33 AM

There are quite a few dual-socket 940 motherboards for Opteron dual-cores. Tyan makes a bunch, and so does ASUS. Supermicro only makes Intel-compatible boards.

I built a dual-2.8 Irwindale (single-core) Xeon machine for a lab and I would definitely say go for the Opterons. It is extremely hard to find any dual-core Xeons and the only ones I even saw were 2.8GHz units (glorified $700 Pentium D 820s.) You can get a single-core Irwindale 2MB chip for not a lot of money, but the Opteron dual-cores are MUCH more powerful than the Xeons. An Opteron 270 at 2GHz is roughly equivalent to a pair of 3.4 GHz Xeons. Two Opteron 280s at 2.4GHz will outdo any quad-Xeon unit out there, bar none. That includes the Yonah-based Xeon LVs as well as the 3.73GHz Xeons.

And about the Supermicro board: the unit I built had an x6dvl-eg2 board in it. It seems to be okay, but registered ECC DDR2-400 is pretty slow and this unit had a dead IDE port on it. It is otherwise respectable, considering its limitations in slow RAM and processors. Oh, and do note that you MUST install RAM in pairs on this board as the northbridge only does 128-bit memory interleaving (the Opterons can do 64-bit single-channel or 128-bit dual memory interfacing.)

Two hard drives, one for the applications and one for data/scratch is a very good idea. Hard drive I/O is usually the limiting factor in computer performance and any way to relieve I/O pressure off of one drive is surely a winner. I do that with my machine as I have a small 74GB 10k SATA drive for the OS and programs, while swap and my data sit on a slower 250GB drive. It runs smooth as butter even when I do something that hogs disk I/O like run VMware Server. I personally think that this is a better setup than RAID, as RAID is not well-suited to desktop uses.

If you have any other questions, I'd be more than happy to help.
May 3, 2006 4:17:30 PM

Thanks for your help. Awesome.

So are the AMD Opterons dual core? and are faster than the xeons? I can only find the Opteron 246 at 2ghz!!

And an Asus K8N-DL Dual AMD Opteron™ nForce4 dual ch. DDR400 +SATA RAID Firewire Gigabit LAN 8ch.audio ATX

Sorry if i'm being stupid, i'm sure I am...however if dual core is the way to go, and there are such chips as the AMD Athlon 64 x2 Dual Core 3800 512k Cache per core then what would be a dual motherboard to fit 2 of these on? It seems I am struggling to match up the sockets etc.

Or am I missing the point of having a dual motherboard?

Also, being in England, microdirect [which i only really know about] may not have a good selection when it comes to this kind of thing.
Related resources
May 3, 2006 4:42:24 PM

I'm at a similar point in regards to evaluating a quad core system...

Does anyone have any info on how Opterons stack up to the Athalons for gaming? I do not want to build a graphics system that screams but that drops to a crawl when gaming.
May 3, 2006 5:02:35 PM

Opterons are the same cores as Athlons, they are just hand selected, made to the highest standards for business. All of these Opterons are dual core.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.asp?Submit=EN...
I would highly recomend Opterons for your application. For the same money they will out preform the Xeons. The 1xx series is for Socket 939, the 2xx Series is for Socket 940.

I say go with a dual socket 939 motherboard and two 170's, 175's or 180's.

For the working hard drive for photoshop, use a 10,000 RPM Raptor.
May 3, 2006 5:14:36 PM

You might as well go for a Socket 939 platform along with a dual core Opteron (model 165 to 180) or even an Athlon 64 X2 (model X2 3800+ to X2 4800+).

Such a system will be cheaper and easier to put together since all the component involved are widely accessible consumer products while a dual socket 940 platform is bound to be much more expensive and harder to get.

Regardless of which route you decide to take, its the video card that makes or break a gaming system, as long as you go for an high-end to bleeding-edge GPU and a decent motherboard, your gaming experience will be silk smooth.
May 3, 2006 5:28:01 PM

Sounds like good advice, thanks for all of this.

So as I understand it...

It is a better option for me [my lack of computing knowledge] to opt for the more widely available socket 939? And also 'opt' for the Opteron, or maybe the AMD 64 dual?

However, am I right in thinking that there are socket 939 motherboards which support 2> processors? Are they called 'dual socket motherboards'?

Cheers

p.s does anyone have any good shops in England that sell the socket 939 dual motherboards and Opteron/amd 64 dual-core processors?
May 3, 2006 5:53:22 PM

There are several brands of dual processor motherboards for AMDs, here's the list at asus.com as a reference point:

http://usa.asus.com/products3.aspx?l1=9&l2=39&l3=174&sl...


What I have not heard of is, if Opterons are just well inspected Athlons, has anyone picked up a dual opteron MB and tried to plop in a pair of Athlon X2 chips and how'd that work out for them.
May 3, 2006 6:09:36 PM

There are things that you should consider before you buy. Socket 940 opterons require that you use more expensive buffered memory, socket 939 opterons do not. Not all opterons are dual core, as has already been discussed here, and not all opterons will work in a dual socket situation. The 1XX series of processors are for use with a single socket solution (some are dual-core, but they are designed to work in a single socket). With the 2XX series you can use up to two sockets (if you have two sockets of course), and the 8XX series can function with up to eight sockets (though the most I have ever seen on a workstation board is four, and those are rare, any more than that and you're getting into the server arena). I would not recommend buying two 1XX series processors for use on a dual socket board because I don't believe that you can use two of those on the same board, in that particular case you would want to buy one of the 2XX series. If anyone here knows how you might get around this let me know. I know it's not retail, but you can find single core opteron 246's (2.0 ghz) for around $240 a pair on ebay, and thats pretty damn cheap for that much power, keeping in mind that in the future you could throw a couple faster dual core opterons on there and have four processor cores to work and play with. To answer your question I beleive there are socket 939 dual socket boards, though dual socket 940 boards are a little cheaper nowadays since opteron processors were originally released as socket 940 processors.
May 3, 2006 6:37:08 PM

DONT mobos that support dual cpu's are used as servers only??
May 3, 2006 6:37:26 PM

DONT mobos that support dual cpu's are used as servers only??
May 3, 2006 6:43:50 PM

There aren't any 939 dual socket motherboards.... has anyone ever seen one? Come on guys.... look..... 939 is for single slot solutions..... IE.... the Opteron 1XX series..... or A64 939's. The Dual Socket 940 board is for Opterons only. It suports 2 940 pin Opterons, either 2XX dual core Optys or 2XX single core Opty's. IE, you could drop 2 Opteron 280's or two Opteron 246's.......... you would not be able to put the 1XX series of of Opterons on this board, they have one less pin and are pinned differently. So, if you want one dual core CPU go with a 939 board..... if you want two go with 940 as it is your only option.....
May 3, 2006 7:09:11 PM

Considering that you'll only be using your computer for photochopping and gaming, I don't think that you'll notice any benefit from a dual Socket 940 vs a single Socket 939 with a dual core CPU.

Workstations with more than 4 CPUs are mostly ment to tackle intensive number crushing such as running scientific/engineering simulations or heavy duty CAD and rendering.

What we refer to as "dual core" CPUs are two processing units within the same chip, making it possible to have two CPUs on a single socket motherboard.
May 3, 2006 7:12:33 PM

Ok, thanks for clearing that up weskurtz81. To bluntside: There are a LOT of dual socket mobos that are used in servers, but that isn't their only purpose. If you do a lot of encoding and/or rendering--especially if it's a "time is money" kind of situation--having a dual socket system can be an asset in a worstation, though you will only really see any benefit if the applications you're using are multithreaded or you just happen to have a hell of a lot of programs running at one time. For general usage it is a bit of overkill, especially considering that dual-core/single-socket systems are becoming more commonplace recently.
May 3, 2006 7:29:21 PM

ignore this
May 3, 2006 7:32:02 PM

And what about the AMD Athlon 64 dual-core? Is that the same situation...you can only use one of these on a single socket motherboard?

So, from the debate the options are...

Socket 939 'single' socket Moboard, with a 1xx series Opt or Athl 64 dual.

or

Socket 940 'dual' socket Moboard with 2 2xx dual/single Opterons
+expensive buffered memory? + anyhting else?

So how do these compare in power then [for Photoshop]?? Which set up is faster...how do these setups compare?

What about these...

http://www.microdirect.co.uk/ProductInfo.aspx?ProductID...
+
http://www.microdirect.co.uk/ProductInfo.aspx?ProductID...

Otherwise I go for Socket 939...with AMD 64 dual??

This is the only way???

Is there anything else that would be needed with this setup though...such as cooling? Specific memory?etc

Thanks again
May 3, 2006 9:29:39 PM

You seem to understand it fine now..... if all you want is 1 single or Dual Core cpu, then go with 939. If you want two of either you must use 940. Check out this site for details on Dual 940 setups.... you can pretty much consider a dual core cpu getting about the same results as one of the socket 940 Dual Single Core cpus.
http://www.gamepc.com/labs/print_content.asp?id=opteron...
Check that link.... it could answer some of you questions.
May 3, 2006 9:46:34 PM

So am I correct in thinking that

...it would be better just to stick with a 'single' moboard with a single [on it's own] AMD 64 'dual-core' processor

than to get a 'dual' socket moboard with '2' 2xx opteron processors [dual-core]??

because the price will half? and the power...speed will amount to the same?

Is this right...or am I missing the idea?

My whole purpose in getting this system [upgrading from an Amd 3000+] is to have a fast system for running massive photoshop files...i.e digital painting.

I realise that i must buy a highend graphics card also...and to have about 2gig mem.
May 3, 2006 10:25:19 PM

Yeah, stick with a 939 dual core setup, you can even get the Opteron 165,170,175,180 to go on that board if you wanted to. If you are just going to run the system at stop settings, then I would just the A64 X2.... if you plan to OC it, the Opteron would do better. But yes, a dual core cpu would make a rather large difference in what you are doing. For instance, encoding for me went from 50-55 minutes on my 3500 venice down to 24 minutes on my opteron 165 for Finding Nemo with nothing removed from the movie. keep in mind that is with both cpu's oced..... at the same oc as the venice, the opty was about twice is fast if not exactly twice is fast when it came to encode time.
May 3, 2006 11:27:03 PM

Ok, then I guess from looking at the opteron 940 dual stuff I would be in for some serious money...£400 for a moboard which supports the bios for the opteron chips which 1 would cost about £400...and that's just for 1...yikes

We go for the 'single socket'....

So if I now go for an AMD 64 Dual-core then I have 2 questions regarding this...

Which is going to be better/faster....
the

AMD Athlon 64 3700+ San Diego Core 64 bit 1MB L2 Cache
AMD Athlon 64 x2 Dual Core 3800 512k Cache per core (2.0GHz)
AMD Athlon 64 4000+ San Diego Core 64 bit 1MB L2 Cache
or AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core 4200 512k Cache per core (2.2GHz)

or a very expensive AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core 4400 1MB Cache per core (2.2GHz)

Apart from the price of course [which is considerably different], I dont understand the difference between San Diego core and dual core etc??

ALSO

With an AMD 64 Dual-core processor, then what motherboard do i go for? As these also vary considerably in price?!?

For example...
http://www.microdirect.co.uk/productlister.aspx?GroupID...

I need to get a decent amount of kick from these 2, but am still a little perplexed by choice :) 
May 3, 2006 11:37:39 PM

Oh...and which would be better between the

AMD 64 Dual

and the

Opteron 165>

Used for photoshop, digital painting, and maybe games.

I'm a concept artist.
May 4, 2006 12:21:01 AM

The San Diego is a single core variant of Venice. It has more cache. If I were you I would go with either the Opteron 165 or 170. If price is not that much of an issue or you don't want to overclock at all go with the 170. I have the 165 and it clocks up to 2.7 ghz stable. The 165 is just a little slower than the X2 3800 at stock speeds. The Opteron series just tend to run a little cooler, use less energy, and have higher overclocks. As for the motherboard, I have had good luck with Asus and DFI. I like the A8N SLI Premium Asus motherboard, and have achieved the same overclock that I did with my previous DFI boards. It has a better layout and has a passive chipset cooler. And if you need graphics horsepower you can SLI or just use one fast card. Even if I were using SLI I would get the Asus Premium board.
May 4, 2006 11:44:05 PM

Thank you very much for all your help.

I think I will go for that choice...thanks

The Opteron 170, with the A8N Sli premium Asus.

However, just to be on the safe side...are there any other parts I would need for this setup...such as cooling? Or is it fine just to use with onboard fans etc?

Also...I could do with a little advice on the graphics side :)  Again i'm in the same situation!!

Now Am I correct in thinking I could attach 2 graphics cards to this moboard? If so is there a specific type? Or could it be anything? Also is there any benefit to this?

I know it is important to get a good spec card as to help photoshop become even faster...but my knowledge goes as far as getting a GeForce...maybe a 6600?!? Which was advised by a friend, but equally I think he may have not understood my purpose.

I don't want to sell myself short with the graphics when I'm getting a sheet hot processor!
May 5, 2006 1:13:03 AM

No problem man. Some people on here don't like the Asus boards, because they think that the boards do not overclock. The one I have overclocks just as well as both my DFI boards did and it has a couple of bonuses which they don't, passive cooling and a better layout. If I were you, I would purchase either a ATI 1900XT or a Nvidia 7900GTX. I don't think graphics technology has come far enough to help with that program, but keep in mind that card will be good for quite some time to come. And if you ever need to, which I doubt you would, you could purchase another one and SLI them. SLI is not a bad technology but it is twice as expensive without twice he returns. Some games don't show much of an increase with SLI at all. If you are running CAD programs highend graphics cards would probably help alot also. But for your purposes I am not sure if the expensive cards can benefit you. But just like you said, if I were putting that system together I would go with a good card as well. One other thing, the ATI cards (1900,1800) are rather loud and run hot in comparison to the Nvidia counterparts. If you want to have a quiet system you would almost have to by an Nvidia card. Other wise you can find 1600's from ATI and 7600 from Nvidia which are not as expensive as the high end ones. And the lower end ATI cards are not so loud. If you have any mroe questions feel free to ask.
May 5, 2006 1:27:52 AM

You've been amazing...thanks so much for all yor help, it's a shame you're not on commission :) 

Someone has mentioned the nvidia GF7600

Do you know about this card? They did mention Quadro...however I think that is abit beyond my price range :) 
May 5, 2006 2:02:18 AM

Quadro is expensive..... the only problem is I am not familiar with how much Photoshop taxes video cards. I know if you are going to be playing games @ 1600x1200 resolution with high settings, you will need a good video card, the 7900GTX or X1900XT. With that motherboard you will only be able to run one ATI card, but on the high end, you should only need one. It should be plenty powerful. I have looked around and am unable find photoshop benchmarks for video cards. I think they could make a difference, but not sure if between a 7600 and 7900 you would see one in photoshop. In games you would at high resolutions and settings. All I can tell you, is what I would do..... it doesn't really pertain to your situation, but I would buy at least a 7900GT. The reason is because it will last you quite a while, and will be able to play all new games at good settings. I think the only game that is killing cards is oblivion. Another option you have is to buy a lower end card, and try it out. If you find that it doesn't work for you, you can sell it on ebay or something and buy a better one. Chances are, if your not gaming on high res then a 7600 or x1600 series card should do just fine for you.
May 5, 2006 6:57:17 AM

Wusy, I was leaning that way also, but, I found some benchmarks of a dual dual setup, and in only a few cases was it really any better than a dual cpu setup, which is about the same as a dual core setup. Apache was about the largest benfit from it, but it seems the software does not use the dual dual setup properly, and it acutally takes a hit in alot of cases. That is why I recommended a straight dual core setup to him.
May 5, 2006 7:41:08 AM

Does 939 come in two sockets?
May 5, 2006 8:31:41 AM

Have a look at:
http://www.tyan.com

You are after either AMD Opteron (Dual-Core varients), 200 series.
http://www.amdcompare.com

or, Intel Xeon processors:
http://www.intel.com

Xeon is what Intel call their server / heavy workstation CPU.
Opteron is what AMD call their server / heavy workstation CPU.
Both lines of chips have various models, and various different specs at various price points, just like the Intel Penium and AMD Athlon lines.
May 5, 2006 4:14:35 PM

Quote:
Seeing you're not using your money(right?) to buy the rig I would personally go for the single 2xx(dualcore) option then add another one later when needed to have 4cores. That means going with expensive dual socket S940 board and registered DDR400 RAM as people above mentioned.

If the money is coming out of your pocket, go with what weskurtz81 is recommending you.


Oh if that was the case...unfortunately this is all from my own pocket...all my own budget I'm afraid!!

Hence the Dual socket 940 option is perhaps asking too much at the present time :) 

I think I trust weskurtz81's judgement, in saying the opteron 170 and the A8N-SLI premium...unless you are saying I should think again? I believe that you are both in agreement in this being a good setup?

The problem arises with the graphics side!!

I would like to be able to play the latest games with this card, and although photoshop and possibly studio max [leter] are priorities, I have to becareful when considering money, as the chip and moboard are at £450 as it is. SO being efficient is a necessity :) 

So does the 7900gt support dual tft monitors? And what would happen if I got a 7600gt and then bought maybe a cheaper card such as a 6600 and sli'd them both...or am I missing the point with having the 2 cards making a lot of difference?
May 5, 2006 6:56:42 PM

Just wanted to say, if you are to SLI video cards, they have to be the same model number.... IE. 7900gt and 7900gt..... maybe Wusy would know if a more powerful video card would help in your situation.
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