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Conroe/Quadro Daul Socket Mobo's

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September 27, 2006 3:05:04 PM

Hi All:

I am planning to build a music DAW and would like to be able to run two 6600 Conroe chips (= 4 processors) and then later upgrade to two Quadro chips (= 8 processors).

I have not seen a mobo that will support two chips but it seems to me that people building servers will want one.

Does anyone know of a mobo that uses the Intel chipset that is available or coming out?

Any risks in doing this that I am not thinking about?

No overclocking planned.

Thanks,

Charlie
September 27, 2006 3:44:49 PM

Intel does not make motherboards with 2 processors for the consumer level. You could do what you wanted if you use Xeons (woodcrest is the server variant of conroe), then when Intel releases Clovertown (server variant of kentsfield) you could upgrade to have 8 cores (2 quad-core Clovertowns).

Just a question. What will you be using 4/8 cores for?
September 27, 2006 4:00:29 PM

I'm a composer (as a hobby) and currently have a large rack of gear. What I want to do is replace all this hardware with software (in the past couple of years a great number of software synthesizers have been released).

The problem is that these synths are very CPU and memory intensive.

Currenly I am using multiple boxes but this creates a real problem with keyboards, mouse and video. I need to use a KVM and it's a real pain while trying to create music.

I decided to build a high end system and see if I can run all the music software in a single box. My budget is around $3000.

I was thinking that I would start with dual core and then move to quad core as the prices drop.

It seems to me that having two chips (4-8 processors) would work well in the music environment since (I assume) each software synthesizer would use a different thread.

I am not a hardware specialist so I don't want to mess up and have a $3000 box that does not work.

But I can see a day where I would want 8gig of ram and very, very fast processing.

I don't need it all right now and was thinking that a good place to start would be with 2 6600 Conroes. But if I cannot get a dual socket motherboard, I'll probably need to stick with one Conroe and later upgrade to one Quad.

If the cost of a dual socket mobo were reasonable (e.g say no more than $600) then it would make sense to go that route.

Charlie
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September 27, 2006 4:29:46 PM

If you really need that much CPU power look into the following...

Mobo - Asus DSBV-D 5000V - 2 sockets and 24GB RAM max.. This is the best Xeon mobo I have seen as it's the only one to have a x16 PCIE slot for a good gfx card...
http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?Product...

CPU - 2 x Xeon 5140 (aka Core2Duo E6600)
http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?p=XEON5140&c=fr&pid=0852...

Memory - Kingston 2GB 240-Pin DDR2 FB-DIMM (6 of these would get 12GB RAM in the Asus mobo)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682...

Case - Antec Titan 550W - Need something big for that extended ATX mobo
http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?p=CA-TITAN55&c=fr&pid=08...

As you can see - it's not cheap, but it is within a $3000 budget.
September 27, 2006 5:26:53 PM

Quote:

I don't need it all right now and was thinking that a good place to start would be with 2 6600 Conroes. But if I cannot get a dual socket motherboard, I'll probably need to stick with one Conroe and later upgrade to one Quad.

If the cost of a dual socket mobo were reasonable (e.g say no more than $600) then it would make sense to go that route.

Charlie


Just my two cents buying way too much hardware.

Buy for what you actually need. If your needs change later, then buy that later. In the end you'll end up saving money. Overspending to accomodate for "maybe I'll need it tomorrow" doesn't work with the rate of CPU horsepower increase annually, and the rate of CPU performance/cost decline. Processors that cost $500 today end up costing $50 in a few years. Do yourself a favor, and buy what you really need, and upgrade when you can't stand it anymore, or use it daily.

I'd also recommend you follow this advice if your hobby doesn't make you any money, and you don't plan on it doing so.

If it will, figure out when it'll repay, and buy accordingly.

John
September 27, 2006 6:20:08 PM

James -- thanks a lot for your advice. I will check out the components you suggest. Question -- how does the Zeon processor differ fromt the Conroe? I see it is about twice the price but has the same cache?

John - I think your point is well taken. I may be buying too high. What I was trying to go for is expandability rather than high end right now. I would probably start with one processor chip and 2-4 gigs of memory. But it would be great to be able to increase the power if I needed it without having to rebuild and reinstall.

I agree that the prices will surely come down quickly.

Right now I am in the thinking stage. I expect to get a check in about two weeks and would like to compelete my research then so I can spend the money when it gets here.

I am excited about the possibility of getting back into music composition. I've been far too busy recently to work on it and I really miss it.

Thanks again to both of you.

Charlie
September 27, 2006 6:42:19 PM

Quote:
James -- thanks a lot for your advice. I will check out the components you suggest. Question -- how does the Zeon processor differ fromt the Conroe? I see it is about twice the price but has the same cache?


At a silicon level the Conroe (C2D) and the Xeon 51xx are identical, only the CPU package is different. They are basically the same product for different markets. The price difference is because Intel expects people who need multi CPU to pay extra for it. Be thankful for AMD that the price on Xeon is so low now, Xeons used to be about $4k each or more, but that was before Opteron came along and put series pressure on this market segment.

Xeon 51xx will run anything that a C2D does, but the motherboards for socket 771 allow for multi CPU. This CPU / mobo is targeted mainly as CAD users / image designers etc where they will spend anything to make there work faster.
a b V Motherboard
September 27, 2006 7:07:02 PM

If you're interested in only using Intel products, then as mentioned, you will have to Xeon rather than Conroe...however, if you don't mind using AMD, for $3000 you can get a nice pair of dual core opterons and a Tyan or Supermicro motherboard...the Socket F series are supposed to be compatible with AMD's quad core chips coming out 2007/08...again, just another option to consider, especially since you can buy them now and not have to wait...good luck!
September 27, 2006 7:10:30 PM

Quote:
At a silicon level the Conroe (C2D) and the Xeon 51xx are identical, only the CPU package is different.


It is true that the silicon is the same for both of the products, but since they are targetted at different segments they have different performance aspects. The prefetchers on the processors they can be set for different workload types. The prefetchers are set by "knobs" which I believe work the same way as fuses on processors. (Fuses on processors is what limit you to the speed and multiplier along with cache size).

I haven't been able to get any more information on the knobs that they can set. I heard about the knobs at the Spring 2006 IDF.
October 16, 2006 2:54:34 AM

Hi All:

I've been thinking about the exccellent advice you all have given me and come to the decision that I really like the idea of a dual Xeon workstation that I can upgrade to quad "Clovertown" processors in the future.

As I am not particularly technically proficient, I would like to have the box built for me. I found a company called AVA Direct on the web and priced out the following:

INTEL SERVER, SC5299/S5000VSA Dual-Core Xeon DDR2 SATA/SAS Entry Series Tower Server $2627.02 UPDATE $2627.02
# INTEL, SC5299DP Black Pedestal / 6U Rack Server Chassis, 6x SATA HDD, 550W PFC PSU
# INTEL, S5000VSASATA, 2x LGA771, Intel 5000V, 1333MHz FSB, DDR2-667 ECC FB 16GB/8, SATA RAID 10, VGA, 2x Gb LAN, Retail
Note: I did not realize that the 5050 was not a Woodcrest chip. So instead, I will plan on using the 5140 which is 2.33 GHz. A bit slower but, I am told, a faster chip. Price is about $480.
# INTEL, Xeon™ 5050 Dual-Core Processor 3GHz HT EM64T DBS XD VT, 667MHz FSB, 2x2MB L2 cache, 95W, 65nm, LGA771, Retail
# INTEL, Xeon™ 5050 Dual-Core Processor 3GHz HT EM64T DBS XD VT, 667MHz FSB, 2x2MB L2 cache, 95W, 65nm, LGA771, Retail
# KINGSTON, 4GB (2 x 2GB) Dual Rank PC2-4200 DDR2 533MHz CL4 (4-4-4-10) SDRAM FB-DIMM, ECC Fully Buffered
# WESTERN DIGITAL, 80GB WD Caviar® SE, SATA II 300MB/s, 7200 RPM, 8MB cache
# HITACHI, 500GB Deskstar® 7K500, SATA II 300MB/s, 7200-RPM, 16MB cache
# HITACHI, 500GB Deskstar® 7K500, SATA II 300MB/s, 7200-RPM, 16MB cache
# RAID, RAID 1 (mirroring), min 2 hard drives and RAID controller required
# LITE-ON, SHD-16P1S Black 16x48x DVD-ROM Drive, IDE, Retail
# LITE-ON, SHM-165H6S LS Black/White 16x DVD±R/RW Dual-Layer Burner w/ LightScribe, IDE, Retail
# MICROSOFT, Wireless Optical Desktop 1000, Keyboard & Mouse, Black, USB
# INTEL, Intel® System Management Software 1.0
# MICROSOFT, Windows XP Professional Edition
# SERVICE, Assembled & Tested, Standard Service (3 Years Limited Parts, Lifetime Labor Warranty)

TOTAL COST is $2627

All comments and concerns will be greatly appreciated. Anything there you don't like?

I am assuming that though it is a server, it should work just fine as a workstation and the mobo will support the upgrade to 4-core processors.

As Windows XP can only support up to 4 gigs of ram, that's what I specified. I plan to use the /3gig switch in the .ini file so 1gig goes to the OS and 3 to the applications.

Not the mobo that jamesgoddard recommended but AVA Direct does not seem to carry any others.

If ayone knows of another company that builds high quality computers at a good price, I'd be interested in looking at their website. I have no experience with AVA Direct but don't see too much negatives posted on the web.

Thanks,

Charlie (CBK780)
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