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Questions about a dual Xeon system

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December 12, 2007 6:51:33 PM

I am currently in the process of building a dual-Xeon workstation. I have a few questions concerning what i am doing however, as i have not worked with Xeons before and have not been able to find very many solid benchmarks online.

Question #1: How will two single-core Xeons with HT perform in a Windows Vista environment?

Question #2: How does a single-core Xeon perform vs. a dual-core xeon?

Question #3: How does a Xeon's architecture differ from that of the core it is based off of, the Pentium 4?

Question #4: How would a dual Xeon setup perform vs. a newer dual-core, like an Athlon X2 or Core 2 processor, in real-world benchmarks like PCMark?

Question #5: I am switching over from an AMD Athlon X2 3800+ setup. What performance increases and decreases will i see in any given program?

Question #6: How will dual Xeons perform in a gaming environment?

Thanks!
December 12, 2007 6:53:25 PM

bad idea unless they are very cheap - you use the same power for half or less of the calculations

dual is alot faster

if your switching from x2 3800 just use a core 2 dual core and run it 3.6-3.8ghz for smoking performance!
December 12, 2007 7:09:09 PM

but the motherboard is socket 604...such a pain in the rear to deal out four or five hundred bucks for a dual-core for that socket. so they really aren't that great? should i opt for 771/775 or something? and would one dual-core outperform these?
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December 12, 2007 7:11:05 PM

Cpt Deadboots said:
I am currently in the process of building a dual-Xeon workstation. I have a few questions concerning what i am doing however, as i have not worked with Xeons before and have not been able to find very many solid benchmarks online.

May I ask what you're using it for? If you're only using it for simply video editing, dual Xeons are pretty much overkills.
Quote:

Question #1: How will two single-core Xeons with HT perform in a Windows Vista environment?

NetBurst Xeons are POSes. The first generation of HT with single core Xeons have significant flaws that would result in cache thrashing. As far as I know, companies usually disable HT, because it would incur performance penalties. In short, don't go for Xeons.

Quote:

Question #2: How does a single-core Xeon perform vs. a dual-core xeon?

First generation of dual-core Xeons are just two single core Xeons on the same chip. In short, double POSes. You should look for 2nd generation of dual core, codenamed Woodcrest (Xeon 51xx). Woodcrest significantly outpaces first generation of Xeons, and runs a lot cooler. If you're looking for a dual-dual core Xeons, you should look at Xeon 51xx.

Quote:

Question #3: How does a Xeon's architecture differ from that of the core it is based off of, the Pentium 4?

Xeon architecture are identical to their desktop variant, but with better binning. This means better thermal, and stability than their desktop variant. Again, I wouldn't recommend Xeon based on NetBurst architecture (Pentium 4), as they are simply junks.

Quote:

Question #4: How would a dual Xeon setup perform vs. a newer dual-core, like an Athlon X2 or Core 2 processor, in real-world benchmarks like PCMark?

If you're referring to first generation of dual core Xeons, they fare poorly against the newer dual cores. They dissipate more heat, consume more power, and perform worse.

Quote:

Question #5: I am switching over from an AMD Athlon X2 3800+ setup. What performance increases and decreases will i see in any given program?

It depends on which Xeon you get. If Xeons based on NetBurst architecture, it will perform much worse than your X2 3800+. However, if you get one of the newer dual cores (Woodcrest for instance), you'll see substantial gain in any given program. You'll see much greater performance gain in multi-threaded programs.

Quote:
Question #6: How will dual Xeons perform in a gaming environment?

It will be a complete overkill. Games usually don't need that much CPU power. If its an uber-game machine you're looking for, you should get a quad core Xeon (53xx or 54xx), and pair it up with two uber-graphic chips. It will certainly be heck of a lot cheaper, consume less power, and more 1337.

On the side note, it is always better to use single chip solution than dual chip solution. For example, having two dual core chips will definitely perform lower than a single quad core chip, while costing substantially more. Therefore, if you're looking for dual-dual core setup, or a dual-single core setup, it'll be better if you just get a single quad core, or a single dual core instead.

Hope this helps. :) 
December 12, 2007 7:14:32 PM

thanks alot.

are there any cheaper cores that are not based on netburst for socket 604?
December 12, 2007 7:16:56 PM

Cpt Deadboots said:
but the motherboard is socket 604...such a pain in the rear to deal out four or five hundred bucks for a dual-core for that socket. so they really aren't that great? should i opt for 771/775 or something? and would one dual-core outperform these?


If that's the case, I would recommend you getting a new 771 board, and put a quad core / dual core in it. Xeon 54xx (quad core) consume roughly the same amount of power as their dual core counterparts (Xeon 51xx), while performing much better in multi-threaded applications. On the other hand, if you don't mind using desktop variants, getting a 775 socket motherboard would certainly be more cost effective.

If that's the case, I would recommend the newer QX9650 processor. It consumes a lot less heat than similarly clocked 65nm variant (QX6xxx), and has superior performance in video editing (due to SSE4).
December 12, 2007 7:22:42 PM

that's the thing. the quad-cores sound great. but i do not have the money for one of those and a nice mobo. what if i did a socket 775 and the 1.8 dual-core that can be o'ced to 3.2? would that outperform 2 netburst xeons?
December 12, 2007 7:22:50 PM

Cpt Deadboots said:
thanks alot.

are there any cheaper cores that are not based on netburst for socket 604?


Unfortunately, no. Socket 604 is specifically designed for NetBurst Xeons. Here are a list of Socket 604 Xeons that are still being sold.

http://www.xpcgear.com/intelxeon.html

Personally, I would advice you against it. You won't see any tangible increase in performance over the X2 3800 (well, except heat and electric bill :p ).
December 12, 2007 7:24:18 PM

Cpt Deadboots said:
that's the thing. the quad-cores sound great. but i do not have the money for one of those and a nice mobo. what if i did a socket 775 and the 1.8 dual-core that can be o'ced to 3.2? would that outperform 2 netburst xeons?


If that's the case, Socket 775 Core 2 Duos will definitely perform better than NetBurst Xeons. You can get E6420 (2.13Ghz), and overclock it to 3.2Ghz with no sweat.

EDIT:
Oh I almost forgot. If you can wait a bit longer, you can also get the 45nm variant of Core 2 Duos in January. They perform slightly better (a lot better in video editing), consume far less power, and dissipate far less heat. They should also have outstanding overclockability.
December 12, 2007 7:27:09 PM

basically what is really going on is i am considering trading my system - AMD X2 3800+, 2 GB ddr2 800, 160 gb sata II 7200rpm, Radeon HD2600xt, and 575 watt SLI-ready psu and cooler master centurion case - for a dell precision 670 - no procs yet, dual 604 mobo, no mem, quadro fx1500 vid, raptor 10k 150 gig hdd, 650 watt PFC psu. what do you think
December 12, 2007 7:30:42 PM

Cpt Deadboots said:
basically what is really going on is i am considering trading my system - AMD X2 3800+, 2 GB ddr2 800, 160 gb sata II 7200rpm, Radeon HD2600xt, and 575 watt SLI-ready psu and cooler master centurion case - for a dell precision 670 - no procs yet, dual 604 mobo, no mem, quadro fx1500 vid, raptor 10k 150 gig hdd, 650 watt PFC psu. what do you think


Bad idea. Bad idea. Bad idea.

TBH, you'll be scammed if you actually accept that offer :p  .

If you are really thinking about getting more performance, I would recommend you getting an AMD X2 5000+ Black Edition. They should also overclock like a charm, without breaking the bank.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
December 12, 2007 7:33:46 PM

ok. i think the quadro and raptor were tempting me...:) 

oh well.

thanks alot for your advice.

i was more hoping for a new project than anything, but it sounds like i will just have to wait on this one....what is your appraisal of my machine, if you do not mind me asking?
December 12, 2007 7:45:11 PM

Cpt Deadboots said:
ok. i think the quadro and raptor were tempting me...:) 

oh well.

thanks alot for your advice.

i was more hoping for a new project than anything, but it sounds like i will just have to wait on this one....what is your appraisal of my machine, if you do not mind me asking?


TBH, your machine is nothing short of a work of art. I understand the Raptor and Quadro can be very tempting, but you have to understand:

1. Raptor is more of a marketing hype than any real tangible performance gain. These words are directly from one of WD's workers.

2. Quadro was never meant to be a gaming graphic card. It won't perform as good as desktop graphic cards. If you do CG graphics, Quadro will be of good use. Other than that, its not superior than desktop variants.

So although by accepting the offer, you get to have a (seemingly) better HD and graphic card, but you're losing a lot by going for single core NetBurst Xeons. Its like you have a Lexus luxury SUV, and you're trading it for a Toyota Yaris (small car).
December 12, 2007 8:11:13 PM

yomamafor1 said:
Bad idea. Bad idea. Bad idea.

TBH, you'll be scammed if you actually accept that offer :p  .

If you are really thinking about getting more performance, I would recommend you getting an AMD X2 5000+ Black Edition. They should also overclock like a charm, without breaking the bank.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Concur.
You would be royally bent over.

Getting the RAM for that box may cost you $1000 alone!!!!!!!
Good chance it uses old "Registered DDR" memory.
If so, the cost will be VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY HIGH!!!!!!!!

I just priced a 2gb Memory upgrade for an old Dell Precision and I could buy a whole new system far faster for less than the cost of the memory.
December 12, 2007 8:13:52 PM

Quote:
1. Raptor is more of a marketing hype than any real tangible performance gain. These words are directly from one of WD's workers.

A 10k RPM drive is noticeably faster as a system or gaming drive. But the Raptor (not the clear window one) only costs $170 - you don't have to trade an entire system for it.

With the money saved from not buying 2 Xeons and memory, not to mention future savings on the electric bill, OP could probably get a Raptor and a HD3850 video card upgrade for the x2 3800+ system.
a b à CPUs
December 12, 2007 8:25:59 PM

@OP:
What I recommend:
E6550 or better( if you want Quad core get a Q6600)
P35-DS3x(L or R depending on what you want, ie. raid, eSATA, etc)
At least 2GB DDR2 800 RAM
Graphics card depending on your need (8800GT, or smiler)
A solid PSU like the CORSAIR 520HX or COOLER MASTER eXtreme RP-550
A good CPU fan if OCing




December 13, 2007 2:41:02 PM

Ok. Here is what i have worked out for my new system so far:

AMD Phenom 9500 quad-core
2x2 GB kit G. Skill DDR2800
ASUS AM2+ AMD 770 motherboard
Cooler Master Centurion 534
Western Digital Caviar SE 7200 RPM 160 gig hdd
Thermaltake TR2 430w PSU

And then I will add a 3850/70 when I get the money together.

Altogether, the parts without the video card should cost $550. With the vid card $750.

What do you think?
December 13, 2007 2:53:34 PM

Don't get a Phenom.
Get something like the 5000+ Black Edition or the 6400+ if you must go AMD.

The current Phenoms are quite a bit slower clock for clock than even the old X2 chips once the BIOS fixes are put in place to correct the L3 Cache bugs.

December 13, 2007 9:04:03 PM

I agree with da master :D .

If you have to go with AMD, I would recommend a 5000+ Black Edition, along with AMD 770 MB.
December 14, 2007 12:06:56 AM


2 Harpertown 2.33 GHz (about $300 each)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

1 Tyan dual 771
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

approximately = V8 Dual Quad Core Nirvana.

the Tyan has 2 options, $400, then $450 with the RAID, i think.

a heck of a machine for $1000 (400-300-300)

the 2.33 GHz Harpertown Xeon's are hard to get.

they are 45 nm i think, power consumption wise,
80 watts each.

a super power efficient super powerful machine.

plus ECC RAM is about as cheap as it's ever been.

most computers seem to eventually become antiques.
it's hard to imagine that that would happen to an
8 core Harpertown machine.
!