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Seeking info, Xeon

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August 10, 2006 9:36:06 PM

Hi all,

I've been toying with the idea of getting a new system and probably get one made instead of building it this time. My focus has shifted from a Core 2 to a Xeon "Woodcrest". I have no idea how the new Xeon preforms on games and wondering if anyone has any input?

Thanks!

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August 10, 2006 9:39:10 PM

Woodcrest Xeons would perform great in games, but probably not any better than Conroe Core 2 Duo consumer chips. Woodcrest requires FBDIMMs for memory with are more expensive and slightly higher latency which is not great for games.

If you are doing more workstation type workloads, with the occasional game, then a Woodcrest based system with a decent graphics card will be great.

Best of luck!
August 10, 2006 9:42:22 PM

Woodcrest is also for workstations and servers, so you shouldn't even be considering it for a gaming comp.
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August 10, 2006 10:27:26 PM

But AMD has a server chip thats good for gaming.... what is it called... opter,... opter, opteron?? Something like that. Oh and doesnt it OC well?
August 10, 2006 10:54:31 PM

Quote:
Woodcrest is also for workstations and servers, so you shouldn't even be considering it for a gaming comp.


Cost and a shortage of SLI motherboards would be the only reason the woodcrest would not work.

If not mistaken you can get a better bang for the buck at a least one speedgrade with the woodcrest vs core 2 duo. Plus the woodcress has a 1333 FSB.
August 10, 2006 11:30:36 PM

Well here is my thinking:

I can either get an 7500 Alienware rig 2gb ram, 250gb hdd, very nice video card, and a cooling system. Or I can get an Apple Mac Pro (G5) with twin Xeon 2.66Gb processors, 2gb ram, 250Gb hdd, iffy video card, and the Apple will cost $100-$200 less than the Alienware.

Yes there are cheaper systems out there, but my systems typically have cooling issues, and Alienware builds systems to avoid said issues. Apple desktops typically don't have heat issues...
August 10, 2006 11:44:21 PM

Quote:
Well here is my thinking:

I can either get an 7500 Alienware rig 2gb ram, 250gb hdd, very nice video card, and a cooling system. Or I can get an Apple Mac Pro (G5) with twin Xeon 2.66Gb processors, 2gb ram, 250Gb hdd, iffy video card, and the Apple will cost $100-$200 less than the Alienware.

Yes there are cheaper systems out there, but my systems typically have cooling issues, and Alienware builds systems to avoid said issues. Apple desktops typically don't have heat issues...


With an Apple, don't forget to add the cost of a Windows install if you're going to be gaming (Apple market is pretty dry, this may change if they continue to increase sales).
Also, I've heard that Apples with Windows (via Bootcamp) run slower than comparitive Intel Windows machines. Don't know if this is true but benchmarks would make a great THG article.
August 10, 2006 11:56:17 PM

Limited tests with a MacBook Pro 2Gb running Beta1 BootCamp and Windows XP Pro SP2, the laptop runs as well as any Dell Latitude D620/D820 I have worked on. Add the cool factor of the Apple laptop, slim line case, great screen and great keyboard, it makes for a rather impressive system. I'm hoping with OS X 10.5 and native BootCamp, an Apple will run side by side with any pure Intel/AMD based system.
August 11, 2006 12:11:01 AM

Quote:
Limited tests with a MacBook Pro 2Gb running Beta1 BootCamp and Windows XP Pro SP2, the laptop runs as well as any Dell Latitude D620/D820 I have worked on. Add the cool factor of the Apple laptop, slim line case, great screen and great keyboard, it makes for a rather impressive system. I'm hoping with OS X 10.5 and native BootCamp, an Apple will run side by side with any pure Intel/AMD based system.


No doubt - Apple builds sweet looking machines. Most of my Apple information comes from people who don't like Apple, so I try to take whatever they say with a grain of salt.

Do you know if anyone has published Windows benchmarks of Apple vs comparable Windows machines?
a c 100 à CPUs
August 11, 2006 12:39:14 AM

Think about it. If a Dell and a Gateway had similar RAM, motherboards and processors, you'd expect them to bench pretty similarly, right? The same is true here. If you have a dual 2.66 Woodcrest system with 4x1GB DDR2-667 FBDIMMs on a 5000 chipset and bench it against a 2.66 dual Woodcrest Apple Mac Pro with 4x1GB RAM, it should be JUST ABOUT THE SAME.

Apple doesn't have some special potion that makes hardware any faster than anybody else's units when equipped similarly when running the same OS. And as far as Boot Camp, from what I have read all it does is fake a BIOS interrupt call and then chainload the Windows bootloader so that Windows can start. Once Windows is up, Apple's Woodcrests are treated the same as anybody else's.
August 11, 2006 4:36:15 PM

Which brings me back to the question; "How does a Xeon (Woodcrest) processor do on games"? Looking for anyone that has tried it, not TheoryCraft :) 

Thanks for all the imput!
August 11, 2006 5:51:48 PM

What would be really nice, is a list of pc parts which would be the equivalent of one of these woodcrest quad mac pros. From what I can tell from my google adventures so far, they look to cost about the same. Jncs had a bundle which costed the same as the mac except it came without the case, power supply, video card, and a bunch of other stuff. ADKProAudio has a quad woodcrest which after selecting all the parts to make it similar to that mac pro, ends up about $100 more, so I imagine if one could score those parts elsewhere, then maybe it could be cheaper. It just seems so weird that I can't put a parts list together which would be similar to a mac pro and cost less! Could it be, a mac with a superior performance/price?

Cold day in hell!

I guess it doesn't really matter though, I don't have 5K for a quad machine, plus the cost of the monitor(you would really need two, why cheap out on the screen if your getting such a fancy system) and all the other peripherals.

But if I was living in a dream world, I would want(this would be an audio machine primarily, no need for fancy gfx)
2x 3Ghz woodcrest
4 gig's RAM
2 500gig storage drives
1 80(+-) OS drive
7300gt(or similar performing card)

everything else equivalent to the mac pro's power supply, cooling, case, etc, so that it would be just about the same amount of fan noise and such, not bothering with the prices of peripherals. I can get on adkproaudio.com and choose parts for a "xeon extreme" station and they end up costing more than the mac pro of similar configuration, and I'm not finding many stores that even have the mobo's and cpu's so that I could compare the prices if I built the thing myself(which I can't due to lack of funds, but would really like to know in case I score a scholarship and find myself in the market for one)

With the academic discount it appears I could get a mac pro for a better price than an equivalent PC (which I would have to assemble myself). It surprises me.
August 11, 2006 7:06:15 PM

Quad macintel woodcrest vs quad PC woodcrest:

It was driving me crazy, so I had to do it, I newegged a parts list which as far as I can tell comes close to being a mac pro, and costs about the same as what I would pay with the student discount, so here goes:
(prices on newegg)

Lian Li PC-201B Black Case - $269.99
X7DA8-O Dual Socket 771 Intel 5000X Motherboard - $549.99
ASUS EN7600GT SILENT Video Card - $209.99
Antec Phantom 500 Power Supply - $159.99
2 X Intel Xeon 5160 Woodcrest - $1,833.98
4 X Crucial 1GB DDR2 FB-DIMM DDR2 667 (PC2 5300) - $777.96
2 X Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 500GB Hard Drive - $579.98
Logitech Ultra X Wired Standard Keyboard - $21.99
Logitech MX518 PS/2 Optical Mouse - $39.99
Pioneer 16X DVD±R DVD Burner - $31.99
TOTAL: $4,405
(excludes OS, support, monitor, etc)

The MAC for comparison:
power mac case
mac pro motherbard (5000x chipset as far as I can tell)
Nvidia 7300gt(slower than the pc version)
apple PSU
2 X 3GhZ woodcrest
4GB Mystery RAM
2 X 500Gb Mystery HD
Apple Keyboard
Apple MightyMouse
"Superdrive" DVD burner
TOTAL: 4,549 (with academic discount, includes OS and support, no monitor)

I left out the OS hard drive, tried to pick the PC parts that would result in a quad woodcrest for the same price as the mac(hoping that the pc I specced out would be the obvious better deal for the money, but I was surprised), but there are more variables here, like cooling devices, OS cost, etc. It still is really surprising, the mac pro looks like a good deal compared to this thing I picked out, with the added convenience of knowing for sure that it will already work for doing the audio stuff(on the PC side quad woodcrest audio workstations are still very experimental type things from what the forums have been saying) (though there are problems with things like protools on a mac at the moment as well). You can put multiple video cards in the mac pro but there is only 1 pcie x16 slot in the pc board, but for the money you can put a nicer video card in the pc(which I did, with the fanless 7600gt). It would be neat to have these side by side, to compare their noise, I tried to pick out parts that would keep the pc close to the mac in noise but I have know way of knowing for sure. (wish tomshardware would get this stuff and write an article for me, except with better comparisons)

Also the macs come with firewire, some sort of fancy heat spreaders on the RAM, a warranty, and you might could argue a better motherboard, despite it not supporting as many video cards. Usually I can make a system that easily has better parts than mac for the same money, but this one is quite a different situation. If I were rich enough I might consider getting one.
August 11, 2006 7:28:47 PM

Quote:
but for the money you can put a nicer video card in the pc(which I did, with the fanless 7600gt).


The downside of the MacPro currently. The stock 7300GTs suck. You can have four of them, but I'd rather have one mid-range 7900GT or something like that... I hear you can, but with a bit of tweaking to get the Macs to recognize these "unsupported" video cards.
August 11, 2006 7:30:16 PM

Quote:
Woodcrest is also for workstations and servers, so you shouldn't even be considering it for a gaming comp.


Cost and a shortage of SLI motherboards would be the only reason the woodcrest would not work.

If not mistaken you can get a better bang for the buck at a least one speedgrade with the woodcrest vs core 2 duo. Plus the woodcress has a 1333 FSB.

THe move to 1333 FSB gives similarly clocked Woodcrest (vs Conroe) a 7% gain. Other than that they are for all intents and purposes the same processor. The only real price/performance advantage is at the very top end (x6800 vs the top Woodcrest I forget the model #). But once you throw in the extra price of the MB and RAM your better off with a Core2 chip for any consumer grade work (the woodcrest LISTS for $849 @ 3ghz who knows what it really sells for).

The reason to go Xeon is if you need more than one processor in your system.
August 11, 2006 8:14:51 PM

Quote:
But AMD has a server chip thats good for gaming.... what is it called... opter,... opter, opteron?? Something like that. Oh and doesnt it OC well?


Xeon would be better this time around. And K8 has been straiend pretty much to its clock limits, you won't be able to get far OCing an opteron. Core 2's have been clocked past 5.5 GHz. (That's the desktop version of the Xeon, essentially the same chip, only I believe Conroe's are a bit higher performing.)
August 12, 2006 11:25:17 AM

How OC friendly is the Mac Pro? I haven't seen anyone try yet...

One thing that I saw on Ars was that the PCI-E slots had configurable speeds:

Quote:
By default, the Mac Pro is configured with slot 1 set at 16 lanes (x16), slot 2 at x1, and slots 3 and 4 at x4. The AirPort Express slot mentioned above uses a single lane. If you don't like that set-up, you can switch from x16, x1, x4, x4 to one of the following configurations:

x8, x8, x1, x8
x8, x8, x4, x4
x16, x1, x1, x8


Has anyone seen a white box board with this capabilty? (beyond setting the SLI slots from x16/x1 to x8/x8)
August 12, 2006 11:34:30 AM

Quote:
Xeon would be better this time around. And K8 has been straiend pretty much to its clock limits, you won't be able to get far OCing an opteron.


Nor would you get far trying to OC a Woodcrest. Workstation/Server mobos just don't have many OC options. Why would you OC a server? Reliability is critical... In general, I find OCing a waste of time. It sounds like a neat hobby, but it should stay in the enthusiast realm (non-Woodcrest, non-Opteron)
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