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Creating a Woodcrest Workstation, advice needed

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Last response: in CPUs
June 29, 2006 3:26:35 PM

Well as the title says, i'm *hopefully* about to create a woodcrest workstation for myself. Assuming i get my finances in order. But i've never had a xeon based system before, or a dual core system, let alone a dual dual-core system. Nor have i ever used PCI-X for that matter. So i have a few questions.

First off, this is what i plan to get, feel free to comment or suggest replacements or enhancements.

Intel Xeon 5140 - $455
Intel Xeon 5140 - $455
SUPERMICRO X7DBE Dual Socket 771 Intel 5000P - $515
Kingston 2GB DDR2 FB-DIMM - $328
Kingston 2GB DDR2 FB-DIMM - $328
Western Digital Raptor 150GB (system) - $250
Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi PCI - $115
Total - $2446

The remainder of the components will be pulled from my current system:

ATi FireGL V7100 256Mb PCIe
Enermax Noistaker 500W PSU
Maxtor 250Gb SATA HDD
Maxtor 250Gb IDE HDD
Maxtor 250Gb IDE HDD
Maxtor 250Gb IDE HDD
Sony DVD RW
HP DVD RW
Various other peripherals

CHANGES ON PAGE 2


Now, here come the questions:

MUST i use FB-DIMMs with the woodcrest and 5000P chipset? Or is that only if i'm going to use huge amounts of ram? Can i get away with regular old ECC DDR2 chips?

How exactly does PCI-X work? The mobo i selected doesn't have PCI slots, only PCI-X, so what does that mean for PCI cards? Can PCI cards be used in PCI-X slots? How will i get my Soundblaster X-Fi hooked up?

The board has 2 PCIe x8 slots, and obviously my video card is an x16 card. If i'm only using the one PCIe slot will my card be working at 50%? or will that one slot switch to x16?

Do i need a different PSU for a system with 2 CPUs?

Obviously i'll be upgrading to windows XP 64bit. Will there be issues with software?

Are there software issues when using a dual processor system? Or a dual core system?

Are there driver issues when using a dual processor system? Or a dual core system?

What all should i be aware of when upgrading to a dual dual-core system from a single single-core system for the first time?


Any general information and tips would be great too, thanks ahead of time for anyone who helps!



P.S.
The system will be used for a multitude of things, from Digital Art Creation, to 3D Digital Content Creation, to a kick @SS gaming rig, to just surfing. It's going to be my home computer, for work and play.

More about : creating woodcrest workstation advice needed

a c 118 à CPUs
June 29, 2006 4:45:27 PM

Okay, to answer your questions:

1. The Woodcrest can use either FB-DIMMs or regular unbuffered DDR2 modules.

2. PCI-X is a 64-bit-wide slot operating at 66, 100, or 133 Mhz that looks nothing like and is not compatible in the least with standard PCI 32-bit 33 MHz slots. You can't put the X-Fi in that board unfortunately, unless you can find a PCIe version to stick in the second PCIe x8 slot. I don't think Creative makes one though.

2. A GPU can't fully utilise the full 16 lines in a PCIe x16 slot anyway. Your GPU should work in the x8 slots fine.

3. You need an EPS12V PSU with an 8-pin aux. 12V connector versus the standard ATX12V PSUs with 4-pin aux. 12V connectors.

4. XP x64 has virtually no drivers and native 64-bit apps for it. You *will* have issus- however they may be really major or just a little PITA. If you want 64 bits, the only real game in town wears a tux...

5. You can't run XP Home on a dual-socket system as it is artificially lockef to use only one socket. However XP Pro will work just fine on a dual-socket dual-core machine.

6. Software does not usually care if it's being run on a computer with 1 processor or 8, unless it is aware of the additional cores and then it will be faster.

7. Your drivers depend only on the OS you are using and the specific motherboard, not on how many CPUs are present. You should find no issues here unless you're trying to run XP 64-bit, and then your board maker will have likely made XP x64 drivers so at least the board should run. But other peripherals likely won't.

I hope this helps.
June 29, 2006 5:14:37 PM

Quote:
Well as the title says, i'm *hopefully* about to create a woodcrest workstation for myself. Assuming i get my finances in order. But i've never had a xeon based system before, or a dual core system, let alone a dual dual-core system. Nor have i ever used PCI-X for that matter. So i have a few questions.

First off, this is what i plan to get, feel free to comment or suggest replacements or enhancements.

Intel Xeon 5140 - $455
Intel Xeon 5140 - $455
SUPERMICRO X7DBE Dual Socket 771 Intel 5000P - $515
Kingston 2GB DDR2 FB-DIMM - $328
Kingston 2GB DDR2 FB-DIMM - $328
Western Digital Raptor 150GB (system) - $250
Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi PCI - $115
Total - $2446

The remainder of the components will be pulled from my current system:

ATi FireGL V7100 256Mb PCIe
Enermax Noistaker 500W PSU
Maxtor 250Gb SATA HDD
Maxtor 250Gb IDE HDD
Maxtor 250Gb IDE HDD
Maxtor 250Gb IDE HDD
Sony DVD RW
HP DVD RW
Various other peripherals


Now, here come the questions:

MUST i use FB-DIMMs with the woodcrest and 5000P chipset? Or is that only if i'm going to use huge amounts of ram? Can i get away with regular old ECC DDR2 chips?

How exactly does PCI-X work? The mobo i selected doesn't have PCI slots, only PCI-X, so what does that mean for PCI cards? Can PCI cards be used in PCI-X slots? How will i get my Soundblaster X-Fi hooked up?

The board has 2 PCIe x8 slots, and obviously my video card is an x16 card. If i'm only using the one PCIe slot will my card be working at 50%? or will that one slot switch to x16?

Do i need a different PSU for a system with 2 CPUs?

Obviously i'll be upgrading to windows XP 64bit. Will there be issues with software?

Are there software issues when using a dual processor system? Or a dual core system?

Are there driver issues when using a dual processor system? Or a dual core system?

What all should i be aware of when upgrading to a dual dual-core system from a single single-core system for the first time?


Any general information and tips would be great too, thanks ahead of time for anyone who helps!



P.S.
The system will be used for a multitude of things, from Digital Art Creation, to 3D Digital Content Creation, to a kick @SS gaming rig, to just surfing. It's going to be my home computer, for work and play.



Basically, the PCI-X is a 64bit 66-133MHz PCi slot. This provides up to 533MB/s and is necessary for certain NICs, SCSI, etc.

Your specs are great. You will have a super content creation machine.

X64 is supported more int he professional sector so things like Real Player don't work. AutoCAD, MicroStation and the like SIMPLY FLY on X64.
X8 slots are for SLI. When using one card it runs at X16.


There are no issues inherent to dual core so you're covered.
Related resources
June 29, 2006 5:25:27 PM

Unfortunately Intel is trying to stop mobo makers from including OCing features in Woodcrest mobos.

A real pity as I wanted to buy two boxes right away ... as it is, I wont be making a move until OCable mobos appear :x
June 29, 2006 5:38:35 PM

I can see why considering Woodcrest chips aren't that expensive in the lower end and are probably even preferable to the Core 2 Duo since they use a 1333MHz FSB instead of a 1066MHz FSB. I saw the prices for them and immediately thought about my next PC being a Woodcrest powered box.
June 29, 2006 6:24:40 PM

If you're going to use this as a gaming rig, look for a different card than the FireGL. Since that's not a gaming card, you'll get crap framerates because it's not made for that purpose. Get a 7950GX2 if you want to do both.
June 29, 2006 7:38:18 PM

Quote:
If you're going to use this as a gaming rig, look for a different card than the FireGL. Since that's not a gaming card, you'll get crap framerates because it's not made for that purpose. Get a 7950GX2 if you want to do both.


I already use that card in my current PC, runs games fine. After all, it's a suped up X800 XTPE. Plus i need it for my Digital Content Creation.
June 29, 2006 7:39:15 PM

Quote:


1. The Woodcrest can use either FB-DIMMs or regular unbuffered DDR2 modules.


Are we sure of this?
June 29, 2006 7:51:51 PM

Well is the easiest solution just to order a dell to the specs i want and swap out the video card, and add in my other hard drives etc... etc...?
June 29, 2006 7:58:05 PM

Quote:
Well is the easiest solution just to order a dell to the specs i want and swap out the video card, and add in my other hard drives etc... etc...?


if you go with Dell make sure you customize EVERY PART and pay for the best else you'll get crap.
June 29, 2006 8:02:24 PM

Quote:


1. The Woodcrest can use either FB-DIMMs or regular unbuffered DDR2 modules.


Are we sure of this?AFAIK, the current chipsets that support Woodcrest use FB-DIMMS only. This doesn’t mean that a Woodcrest compatible chipset using other types of RAM won’t be released in the future. It would make sense to me to release a workstation chipset that supported DDR2, as the advantages of FB-DIMMs aren’t so necessary there.

Doesn’t the current Woodcrest chipset require quad memory sticks to get the full benefit of its dual FSBs! i.e. it can run two dual channel memory busses simultaneously. That’s probably good news as the smaller FB-DIMMs are cheaper I think.
June 29, 2006 9:42:36 PM

I was thinking of building a Woodcrest workstation also, but gave up on it, the money i would spend would be probably 20 percent more than a comparable Desktop with a Conroe CPU, as for running 2 Dual Cores, (That extra money i will use to purchase a new DX10 vid card, and probably a Quad core Conroe in time)

Hopefully i will be able to pop out the existing conroe for the Quad conroe.
The only thing that bothers me is the bus speed for Conroe, the woodcrest is a nice 1333,

Good luck in your build, let us know how it went and how stable the new workstation is for you.
June 30, 2006 10:16:22 AM

well i don't know if i'm going to go forward until i find a better motherboard. I'd like to find one with at least ONE PCI slot for an X-Fi sound card. And the expensive nature of FB-DIMMs are kind of putting me off... i found a mobo ASUS makes, the DSBF-D/SAS, that has just about everything i want, but it's more expensive of course, and i can't find a store online that has them at the moment.... For that matter, no online stores have woodcrests yet...

And ideally i'd want to wait for a chipset that doesn't REQUIRE FB-DIMMs... (we're sure the 5000 series absolutely requires them?). I have 2GB of DDR2 in my computer now, i'd love to combine that with some new chips (not FB) and get about 6GB of ram, but that's not possible if i can only use FB-DIMMs... i dunno...

Dell seems to have some interesting components, but obviously i can't just customize everything i want and buy one from them, that would be WAAAAAAY to expensive. My option there would be to either customize a dell to a point where i can get the parts i want, and A. pull the parts FROM the dell (bad idea, voids warrenty), or B. put my additional parts in the dell... But i'm not very fond of either idea to be honest.

My ideal situation would be to find a mobo that has (obviously) 2 771 slots, 2 PCIe x16 (x8) slots (for the point in time when i get 2 video cards), at least 1 PCI slot, preferably 2 or more, and has a chipset that can handle regular non buffered or ECC DDR2 ram chips, 2 or more SATA controllers, and at least 2 IDE controllers (most of my current 250GB hard drives are IDE, i'd like to at least keep 2 of them and still have my 2 DVD burners). Has anyone heard of plans for any mobo RESEMBLING this on the drawing board?

Any suggestions?
June 30, 2006 10:43:47 AM

Quote:
Any suggestions?
I can only see two options:

Wait for a Woodcrest chipset that supports DDR2, which might not even happen at all.
Wait a month or so and buy an Opteron Socket F based system which does support DDR2, but probably only registered DDR2, so your current RAM won’t be any use here either.

There’s a trap that people fall into when they see how cheap Woodcrest is and that is they try to ignore the cost of the motherboards and FB-DIMMs and the limited features on the motherboards.
If you really want a DP system you’re gonna have to bite the bullet on at least some of these issues. Personally, I would wait until Socket F comes out and then look at the performance, pricing and the availability of motherboards suitable for your requirements for both platforms. It’s very likely that a decent workstation motherboard will get released at some point, with PCI support for your sound-card and hopefully O/Cing features.

I’d also be wary of buying a system built on a new platform on day 1. If it was me I’d consider buying an Opteron 265 system as an interim solution and then look at upgrading in 6 months or so after AMD release 65nm Socket F. By then both platforms will be 6 months old; let other people sort out the bugs, new motherboards & chipsets will be released and prices will come down, especially for FB-DIMMs hopefully.

I’m not trying to put you off Woodcrest as it does sound a good chip at a good price. But when building a workstation, you have to look at the big picture.
June 30, 2006 1:41:17 PM

For SLI, the current best solution for a DP board is the Nvidia Pro chipset, which is S940. I imagine that they’ll have a Socket F version prepared also, but no idea if they plan on supporting Woodcrest. Intel is in the Crossfire camp, so this may be unlikely.
June 30, 2006 3:09:41 PM

Quote:

I’m not trying to put you off Woodcrest as it does sound a good chip at a good price. But when building a workstation, you have to look at the big picture.


Oy, no flaming. But i don't do AMD, just a personal preference.
June 30, 2006 3:19:01 PM

Quote:
Didn't Intel just announce a slew of new Intel motherboards
for Conroe and Woodcrest? And, on the day Woodcrest
was officially announced, I seem to recall that 200+
systems builders were already assembling working systems.

Google Woodcrest!


Sincerely yours,
/s/ Paul Andrew Mitchell
Webmaster, Supreme Law Library
http://www.supremelaw.org/


i wouldn't call it a "slew"...

I need to create a Digital Content Creation Workstation / Gaming Super-rig / home computer here... This thing needs to fill a lot of shoes.

My configureation (in my signature) as it is right now, fulfills the following needs:

Digital Content Creation Ability: 65%
Gaming: 85%
Home PC: 100%

What i want this workstation to be is at least:

Digital Content Creation Ability: 90%
Gaming: 90%
Home PC: 100%

Obviously i'm counting on the move up from a single core pentium 4 to dual dual-core xeons will significantly boost my DCC factor, not to mention keep the edge on gaming...

Gah so complicated...
June 30, 2006 4:11:15 PM

Just and idea, you may or may not have thought of this...if your going to drop that much on a comp why not make your OS drive a Raid 0 or 0+1 or something with those raptors? It seemed to me like the only real bottle neck...
June 30, 2006 7:01:55 PM

Quote:
Oy, no flaming. But i don't do AMD, just a personal preference.
No problem. Check the roadmaps of Intel, nVidia and possibly even ATI to see if they even plan on releasing a chipset that supports dual GPUs with Woodcrest. You may be better off buying a high end Conroe and OC’ing the pants off of it. A very fast Conroe will still be a good DCC platform and an excellent gaming rig. You can use your current RAM and there’ll be loads of motherboards to choose from so you’ll be able to find one that suits your needs. Some software doesn’t scale so well or even at all above two cores, so a blazing Conroe would be the better solution in that situation. Take a look here at how impressive an over-clocked X6800 is in video encoding etc.
It’s worth a thought.
July 1, 2006 12:13:11 PM

has anyone out there seen any stores with woodcrest CPUs available yet??? I haven't found any. Newegg certainly doesn't have them, neither does pricewatch. all the google stores are "out of stock".
July 1, 2006 1:39:38 PM

Quote:
well i don't know if i'm going to go forward until i find a better motherboard. I'd like to find one with at least ONE PCI slot for an X-Fi sound card. And the expensive nature of FB-DIMMs are kind of putting me off... i found a mobo ASUS makes, the DSBF-D/SAS, that has just about everything i want, but it's more expensive of course, and i can't find a store online that has them at the moment.... For that matter, no online stores have woodcrests yet...

And ideally i'd want to wait for a chipset that doesn't REQUIRE FB-DIMMs... (we're sure the 5000 series absolutely requires them?). I have 2GB of DDR2 in my computer now, i'd love to combine that with some new chips (not FB) and get about 6GB of ram, but that's not possible if i can only use FB-DIMMs... i dunno...

Dell seems to have some interesting components, but obviously i can't just customize everything i want and buy one from them, that would be WAAAAAAY to expensive. My option there would be to either customize a dell to a point where i can get the parts i want, and A. pull the parts FROM the dell (bad idea, voids warrenty), or B. put my additional parts in the dell... But i'm not very fond of either idea to be honest.

My ideal situation would be to find a mobo that has (obviously) 2 771 slots, 2 PCIe x16 (x8) slots (for the point in time when i get 2 video cards), at least 1 PCI slot, preferably 2 or more, and has a chipset that can handle regular non buffered or ECC DDR2 ram chips, 2 or more SATA controllers, and at least 2 IDE controllers (most of my current 250GB hard drives are IDE, i'd like to at least keep 2 of them and still have my 2 DVD burners). Has anyone heard of plans for any mobo RESEMBLING this on the drawing board?

Any suggestions?



There are very few two socket boards with PCI. They put PCI X in them. I know MAD has some boards with PCIe.

Another possiblility is to get the USB based sound blaster. I haven't been searching for Intel mobos but check out Monarch Computer.
July 1, 2006 1:41:07 PM

Quote:
has anyone out there seen any stores with woodcrest CPUs available yet??? I haven't found any. Newegg certainly doesn't have them, neither does pricewatch. all the google stores are "out of stock".



Last word was that ONLY systems will be available for awhile. It'll be at least a month before retail gets them.
July 2, 2006 3:29:06 PM

Quote:
3. You need an EPS12V PSU with an 8-pin aux. 12V connector versus the standard ATX12V PSUs with 4-pin aux. 12V connectors.


What's the difference b/w an ATX12V with an 8-pin aux. 12V connector and a EPS12V PSU with an 8-pin aux. 12V connector?
July 2, 2006 3:42:31 PM

Compared to the upcoming Xeon Tulsa, Woodcrest's clockspeeds are relatively low. What is the reasoning behind this? Is Tulsa not using the Core2 architecture? Or is Tulsa simply going to be faster?

Right now i'm running a single-core pentium 4 at 1066MHz FSB and 3.73GHz. Is a dual-core xeon at 1333MHz FSB and only 2.33GHz going to be faster/more efficient than my current CPU? I'm worried about that clock speed being so low. i realize it's dual core, so it's really like having 2 Xeons, combined with the fact that there will be 2 chips, so 4 cores, but i've heard many applications cannot take advantage of dual cpu's, or dual cores for that matter. any thruth to that?
July 2, 2006 4:42:46 PM

Well you're not alone, I'm building one also. It looks really good overall but I do have a few suggestions.

1. For the mobo have you looked at anything from IWill? They have a bunch of really good mobos that you should look into for socket 771. They all have 1 PCI slot.
www.iwill.net

2. Yes you will need FB-DIMMS in a quad-channel config. That's if you plan on using both CPUs.

3. For the PCI-X it IS compatible with PCI but I wouldn't recommend it since if the speed of the card and the speed of the bus are mismatched what it will do is drop the speed down to the lowest factor between those two which could be 1MHz!

Other than that good luck with your new rig!
July 2, 2006 4:48:36 PM

Yes woodcrest is running almost a full Gigahertz below Tulsa but the current benchmarks show that a single Xeon at 3GHz is faster than two of the previous generation Xeons at 3.6GHz. The woodcrests don't use the old Netburst architecture and thus now do the same task in less time. It's all about efficiency now. If you have anymore questions I'd be glad to answer them! Hope this helps!
July 2, 2006 5:50:17 PM

Quote:
Compared to the upcoming Xeon Tulsa, Woodcrest's clock speeds are relatively low. What is the reasoning behind this? Is Tulsa not using the Core2 architecture? Or is Tulsa simply going to be faster?
Tulsa is not a Core 2 processor but a Netburst one, hence the high clock speeds.

Quote:
Right now i'm running a single-core pentium 4 at 1066MHz FSB and 3.73GHz. Is a dual-core xeon at 1333MHz FSB and only 2.33GHz going to be faster/more efficient than my current CPU? I'm worried about that clock speed being so low. i realize it's dual core, so it's really like having 2 Xeons, combined with the fact that there will be 2 chips, so 4 cores, but i've heard many applications cannot take advantage of dual cpu's, or dual cores for that matter. any thruth to that?
Your P4 3.73 is going to perform roughly the same as one of the cores in a Woodcrest 2.33. You really need to research which of your applications can take advantage of 4 cores, otherwise you might be wasting your money on Woodcrest. As I pointed out previously, you may be better off with a top of the range Conroe instead, which will over-clock nicely. Also, you might have trouble finding a Woodcrest board that over-clocks, so an X6800 @ 4 GHz makes more sense to me than dual Xeon’s @ 2.33. With the X6800 or E6700 for that matter, applications that can only use 1 or 2 cores will run MUCH faster than on the Woodcrest system. Even the few applications that can efficiently use 4 cores won’t run much faster on the Woodcrest i.e. 4 * 2.33 = 9.13 versus 2 * 4 = 8. That’s a less than 15% maximum gain and that assumes that the application scales perfectly for 4 cores which isn’t going to be the case. So you gain very little in the best case scenario, but in the more typical scenarios of applications that can only use 2 cores you end up with
2 * 2.33 = 4.66 versus 2 * 4 = 8. That’s over a 70% gain for Conroe. For single core applications you get a 57% gain for Conroe.
This is only looking at clock speed and not the overall platform performance and there will be cases where Woodcrest will gain at the platform level due to the quad memory architecture. But, this will still not make up for the deficit in clock speed.

Most games still only use 1 core and even those that can use 2 don’t scale well with multiple cores in the way that many Content Creation applications do. X6800 is the obvious choice for games.

Read this article which looks in detail at how application performance scales with up to 4 cores. It’s looking at older Xeon’s and Opterons, but it will still give you an idea on how scaling works.

It would be a shame to spend the extra money on Woodcrest to find that a Conroe X6800 system would typically give you much better performance and at a lower price. There’s something very compelling about the idea of a DP system, but sometimes the reality doesn’t add up.
July 2, 2006 6:52:47 PM

Quote:
Your P4 3.73 is going to perform roughly the same as one of the cores in a Woodcrest 2.33.


So at the very least it will run applications that can only use 1 core at the same speeds as my current system.

Quote:
You really need to research which of your applications can take advantage of 4 cores, otherwise you might be wasting your money on Woodcrest.


Applications that i commonly use are:

Load Heavy Apps:
3D MAX 8
Lightwave 8.5
Maya 6
After Effects 6.5
Premiere Pro 1.5
Media Creator 8
Encore DVD 1.5
Photoshop CS
ImageReady CS
Paint Shop Pro X
Nero 7

Everyday Apps:
Internet browsers
Emule
Bittorrent
various video encoders
Microsoft office
various art programs
Windows media player
etc..

Games:
I play a lot of games, i'm a gamer, so this system will need to perform at least as well as my current system in games. I'm not a huge FPS gamer, but 90% of the games i play still make heavy use of 3D.
Games like:

Civilization 4
Galactic Civilizations 2
Homeworld 2
Nexus
SW battlefront2
SW empire at war
Earth 2160
etc...

I'm pretty sure i can benefit from a Dual Dual-Core Processor System, don't you think? I'm a 3D Digital Artist and graphic designer, i'm always rendering and encoding things, daily. It's my job, it's what i do. Not to mention this is going to be a heavy gaming PC too, there has to be a balance. Or more to the point, it has to kill at both. Basically it's needs to be a KILLER DCC machine, KILLER video/audio editing machine, KILLER gaming rig, my home PC, my home stereo, DVD authoring machine, etc.. etc... That's why i think i could benifit the most from Dual Dual-Core CPUs. Correct me if i'm wrong tho.

I made the following Spec sheet last nite of what i was thinking of, it's changed a bit since the first post. Items without a price are parts of my current system i intend to re-use. Again, please offer any advice or help (ANYONE):

[code:1:8dd6abbe04]
CPU1 Xeon Woodcrest 5140 2.33GHz 1333MHzFSB LGA771 $462.50
CPU2 Xeon Woodcrest 5140 2.33GHz 1333MHzFSB LGA771 $462.50
Mobo ASUS DSBF-D 2x DualCore Xeon LGA771 5000p $633.00
RAM Kingston 1GB DDR2 533MHz FB-DIMM $152.98
RAM Kingston 1GB DDR2 533MHz FB-DIMM $152.98
RAM Kingston 1GB DDR2 533MHz FB-DIMM $152.98
RAM Kingston 1GB DDR2 533MHz FB-DIMM $152.98
PSU Thermaltake ToughPower ATX/EPS 12V 650W $141.23
Sound Creative Labs SoundBlaster X-Fi 24-Bit PCI $109.99
HDD WD Raptor SATA 150GB (system) $225.45
HDD Maxtor 250GB SATA
HDD Maxtor 250GB IDE
HDD Maxtor 250GB IDE
HDD Maxtor 250GB IDE
Video ATi FireGL V7100 256MB GDDR3 PCIe
Optical SONY 16x ± R/RW
Optical HP 16x ± R/RW with LightScribe
Monitor Samsung 914v 19" LCD
Monitor Samsung 914v 19" LCD
KB/MOUSE Logitech MX700 Wireless Keyboard/Optical Mouse
Speaker Creative Labs 7.1 Surround Speakers
Printer Epson Stylus CX5400 printer/scanner
Tablet WACOM Graphire4 6x8 Pen Tablet

Total $2,646.59
[/code:1:8dd6abbe04]

Details on the motherboard are here.
July 2, 2006 7:01:43 PM

Quote:
Mobo ASUS DSBF-D 2x DualCore Xeon LGA771 5000p $633.00


Does that mobo allow OCing?

I'm going to buy two systems virtually identical to yours but I'm waiting to see whether OCable Woodcrest mobos are released first. I want to run 2.33 GHz WCs at 2.66GHz or a bit higher.
July 2, 2006 7:10:12 PM

Quote:
Well you're not alone, I'm building one also. It looks really good overall but I do have a few suggestions.

1. For the mobo have you looked at anything from IWill? They have a bunch of really good mobos that you should look into for socket 771. They all have 1 PCI slot.
www.iwill.net

2. Yes you will need FB-DIMMS in a quad-channel config. That's if you plan on using both CPUs.

3. For the PCI-X it IS compatible with PCI but I wouldn't recommend it since if the speed of the card and the speed of the bus are mismatched what it will do is drop the speed down to the lowest factor between those two which could be 1MHz!

Other than that good luck with your new rig!



No i hadn't looked at Iwill, but i just did. The DPK66 and DPK66S look very nice actually. Are they priced anywhere yet?? The DPK66S is especially nice...

Have you found any Woodcrests for retail yet? What Motherboard are you planning on using?
July 2, 2006 7:12:07 PM

Quote:
Mobo ASUS DSBF-D 2x DualCore Xeon LGA771 5000p $633.00


Does that mobo allow OCing?

I'm going to buy two systems virtually identical to yours but I'm waiting to see whether OCable Woodcrest mobos are released first. I want to run 2.33 GHz WCs at 2.66GHz or a bit higher.

I don't know, ASUS's website has sparse information. I plan on emailing them tomorrow and asking them if it supports overclocking. I would *imagine* it does, most all ASUS products do, BUT I'M NOT SURE. So that's why i'll email them.



Dante_Jose_Cuervo: Do the Iwill boards support overclocking??
July 2, 2006 7:35:50 PM

Quote:
Your P4 3.73 is going to perform roughly the same as one of the cores in a Woodcrest 2.33.


So at the very least it will run applications that can only use 1 core at the same speeds as my current system..I think I underestimated the performance, the CPU itself should be faster for single core applications, but I don’t know how the FB-DIMM’s latency penalty affects overall performance.

You quoted a price for FB-DIMM 533 rather than 667; the 1333 FSB of Woodcrest can utilise the extra speed of the 667 part.

Quote:
Applications that i commonly use are:

Load Heavy Apps:
3D MAX 8
Lightwave 8.5
Maya 6
After Effects 6.5
Premiere Pro 1.5
Media Creator 8
Encore DVD 1.5
Photoshop CS
ImageReady CS
Paint Shop Pro X
Nero 7
Did you read the XBitLabs review of DP systems that I linked to above? It shows how many of the above applications scale on DP dual core systems. Some of them scale better with two fast cores than 4 slower ones, which is what I’ve been getting at.

One definite advantage with quad cores is that you can assign two of them to transcode video whilst using the other two to create media at the same time.
But, if you look at the price differential when building a Woodcrest system over a high end Conroe system, you could actually build two Conroe systems for the same price. This assumes that the 2nd system would be a stripped down system and would be used as a render box so wouldn’t need a DVD drive, sound-card, VGA card. Some heavy duty rendering applications can even work on multiple machines as you probably know. This has it’s pros and cons; one pro is that you can leave the render box to do it’s thing and still have full access to your main machine for other uses.
July 2, 2006 7:50:05 PM

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Mobo ASUS DSBF-D 2x DualCore Xeon LGA771 5000p $633.00
Does that mobo allow OCing?
I don't know, ASUS's website has sparse information. I plan on emailing them tomorrow and asking them if it supports overclocking. I would *imagine* it does, most all ASUS products do, BUT I'M NOT SURE. So that's why i'll email them.Try downloading the Manual for it from Asus’s website, that should give you all the details that you need.
Even if the board doesn’t support over-clocking in the BIOS, you may well be able to use Clockgen or CPUFSB to overclock it in software. You just need to determine what clock generator it uses and see whether either of these programs supports it. This will of course only be feasible if it has PCI/PCIe locks and suitable memory dividers.
July 2, 2006 8:53:06 PM

Quote:
Mobo ASUS DSBF-D 2x DualCore Xeon LGA771 5000p $633.00
Does that mobo allow OCing?
I don't know, ASUS's website has sparse information. I plan on emailing them tomorrow and asking them if it supports overclocking. I would *imagine* it does, most all ASUS products do, BUT I'M NOT SURE. So that's why i'll email them.Try downloading the Manual for it from Asus’s website, that should give you all the details that you need.
Even if the board doesn’t support over-clocking in the BIOS, you may well be able to use Clockgen or CPUFSB to overclock it in software. You just need to determine what clock generator it uses and see whether either of these programs supports it. This will of course only be feasible if it has PCI/PCIe locks and suitable memory dividers.

There's nothing in the bios manual about changing the FSB, only the divider. But then again bios manuals are notoriously poorly written :) 
July 2, 2006 10:06:49 PM

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Compared to the upcoming Xeon Tulsa, Woodcrest's clockspeeds are relatively low. What is the reasoning behind this? Is Tulsa not using the Core2 architecture? Or is Tulsa simply going to be faster?

Right now i'm running a single-core pentium 4 at 1066MHz FSB and 3.73GHz. Is a dual-core xeon at 1333MHz FSB and only 2.33GHz going to be faster/more efficient than my current CPU? I'm worried about that clock speed being so low. i realize it's dual core, so it's really like having 2 Xeons, combined with the fact that there will be 2 chips, so 4 cores, but i've heard many applications cannot take advantage of dual cpu's, or dual cores for that matter. any thruth to that?



No Tulsa isn't Core 2. It's the last of the NetBust chips with 16MB of cache.
July 3, 2006 2:01:35 AM

The mobo that I'm looking at is the DKP66SCSI because I still find that SCSI's are the kings of I/O.

About the overclocking... last time I checked they don't. I'm not sure about these though, but with the performance on these Xeons you might not even need to OC.

About the multi-threading. Most of those programs you're using do support multi-threading and should benefit from the dual dual-core system.
July 3, 2006 7:40:38 AM

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About the multi-threading. Most of those programs you're using do support multi-threading and should benefit from the dual dual-core system.
Read this article as it shows that whilst most content creation type applications will benefit from dual cores, far fewer of them benefit from the move to 4 cores. That’s why at the moment I suggest than an over-clocked X6800 will perform better than dual Woodcrest 2.33 at stock speed for most applications. This situation will probably change as more of these applications are optimized for more than 2 cores.
Personally, I would save myself some money and buy an X6800 or even an E6700 now, knowing that by the time Woodcrest is released on 45nm there will be better motherboard support (hopefully with over-clocking), 64 bit applications will be released for Vista and hopefully with more support for 4 cores and quad cores will also be cheaper then.
July 3, 2006 8:17:45 PM

well i don't have the money to go upgrading my computer ever 6 months, this will have to last me at least 2 years. U seem to have a mean aversion to Dual Dual-Core systems, whats your beef?
July 3, 2006 9:48:28 PM

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...
2. PCI-X is a 64-bit-wide slot operating at 66, 100, or 133 Mhz that looks nothing like and is not compatible in the least with standard PCI 32-bit 33 MHz slots.
...

Completly untrue...
PCI-X is PCI 32 bit backwards compatible.
any PCI card will plug into a PCI-X slot as well as any PCI-X card will plug into a PCI slot.

this doesn't mean you will get it running in optimal configuration... but it will work.

PCI-X will slow down to 33Mhz to support PCI 2.1 spec.
July 3, 2006 11:15:06 PM

He's probably saying that because it's true that a lot of programs won't support that many CPUs. However if I were you I'd totally go for it. If you like the idea of the 5148 at a LV config then more power to you.
July 4, 2006 7:14:29 AM

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He's probably saying that because it's true that a lot of programs won't support that many CPUs. However if I were you I'd totally go for it. If you like the idea of the 5148 at a LV config then more power to you.


It's not as if i'm saying gung ho! i'm gonna go for it b/c i can! The applications i use commonly, esp 3d rendering software and video editing software, will really see a boost from a multi core system, just as they would have a year and a half ago be4 dual cores, on a dual processor system. not to mention that, and correct me if i'm wrong, this system should go toe to toe with most any gaming rig out there (short of spending $10,000 on a quad SLI machine) and KICK @SS.

And i don't have the money to upgrade again and again every few months. this will have to last at least 2 years. And with vista upcoming, and 64bit apps upcoming, and more and more games and/or programs beginning to be able to use dual or multi cores, shouldn't i get my money in for a multi core system now? rather than have to wait another 2 years? I mean am i missing something here? is this system going to suck at gaming? or at DCC? or at everyday computing tasks?

Even at the worst case, that a game or program can only use one core on one processor, won't a single 2.33GHz Woodcrest core running at 1333MHz fsb with the new core2 architecture perform AT LEAST as well as a single core of a pentium 4 660, or a pentium D 960? And i've got to beleive the woodcrest is AT LEAST as good as it's conroe counterpart of the same clock speed. After all, the woodcrest is a suped up version of the conroe. And lets be honest here, with the advent of hyperthreading, which is basically a logical second core, many programs began to be able to use 2 cores.

In the same vein, if i wait 6 months for a clovertown, that's a total of 8 cores. If a program can't use 4 it certainly can't use 8. And a clovertown will probably cost more than a woodcrest at launch. Not to mention clovertown clock speeds will be even lower than woodcrests. And also, after conroe's release, and then clovertown, the next processor will be tigerton, and that's going to use CSI bus, which means a whole host of new more expensive motherboards and maybe RAM...

I mean please, by all means, someone correct me here if i'm off in left field and totally off base.. Am i?
July 4, 2006 6:59:39 PM

A Woodcrest system will get better over time for you as more of your applications get optimized for more than 2 cores.
I wouldn’t buy Woodcrest now because I don’t think its good value. An O/C Conroe will beat your Woodcrest’s @ 2.33 by a decent margin in most cases. It’s not just that’s its cheaper, it’s the fact that if you buy Woodcrest now you are paying the hefty early adopter premiums for the motherboards and the RAM. By next year there should be a better range of motherboards for Woodcrest at better prices and with O/C’ing and with more chance of them supporting 45nm Xeons. FB-DIMMS should be cheaper and hopefully more software will be optimized for 4+ cores. I’m going to wait until more 64 bit applications are released and see how they run under Vista on AMD and Intel platforms before looking at DP systems again.

I don’t think that you’ll lose money if you buy Conroe now and Woodcrest next year. You just sell your Conroe CPU/motherboard/RAM and the money that you lose on those will be offset by savings that you make on the Woodcrest parts. Of course, this is theoretical and could end up going more for or against you.

I’m not saying that buying Woodcrest now is a bad idea; I just don’t think it’s a black and white decision in your particular case. If I were a Media Creation Professional then I would just go and buy dual Xeon 3.0s as for those people the cost premium is not really relevant as time is money to them. But money is an issue for you, which is why I suggested that it’s worth at least CONSIDERING Conroe as an alternative.

Enough already. 8O
July 5, 2006 6:28:08 PM

anyone else like to offer advice or comment?
July 5, 2006 6:59:18 PM

I agree with Crow. Go with a Core 2 Duo until Woodcrest platforms are more mature, at which point you can upgrade to a Woodcrest system. I feel that you'll find that four cores versus two cores won't justify the price premium at this point in time, and you'll be so busy "workstationing" it up that you won't notice you "only" have two cores.
July 5, 2006 7:21:54 PM

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I agree with Crow. Go with a Core 2 Duo until Woodcrest platforms are more mature, at which point you can upgrade to a Woodcrest system. I feel that you'll find that four cores versus two cores won't justify the price premium at this point in time, and you'll be so busy "workstationing" it up that you won't notice you "only" have two cores.


and i say again i don't have the money to upgrade again in 6 months or a year.
July 6, 2006 7:25:33 AM

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cough...cough...sell old parts...cough...


and i say again i don't have the money to upgrade again in 6 months or a year.
July 6, 2006 11:13:54 AM

Who said you have to build again in six months? The beauty of the DIY system is that you upgrade when you can upgrade. Go ahead and say that you can't upgrade in 6 months. You don't have to. A little time for the platform to mature wouldn't be a bad thing either, considering the fact that your work will reside on this machine.
July 6, 2006 11:47:53 AM

I am 99.99% sure that PSU will die on you soon. Just not big enough to handle all that & I'm sure you gonna add more stuff to it.
July 6, 2006 6:14:56 PM

following that line of reasoning, if i were to upgrade in 6 months or a year (which i wouldn't be able to get the money to do), WHY would i get a woodcrest then??? Why wouldn't i get a Clovertown, which is a quad core woodcrest, since they'll be out by then? It would make no sense for me to get a woodcrest when clovertown would be available.
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