I've been on a search for the best possible mobo/processor(s) to be able to handle and convert the latest 4K raw video files from the new HD formats. These are monster files, so I'm prepared to seek out a monster system to work with these.
The latest rave has been the HP xw8600 dual Quad workstation at 3.20 GHz with 8GB RAM with a NVIDIA Quadro FX 4600 (768 MB) video card.
So at this point I have a few questions; (It's been awhile since my last PC build so bear with me) does "dual Quad" mean the board seats 'two' Quad-core processors? What should I be looking at to beat the xw8600 (processor and mobo-wise)? Lastly, is doing a direct link from PC to PC as easy as connecting a SATA cable between the two, or is there a better way of doing that not using a LAN? (if you want two work-stations side by side to work in parallel, reading the same hard-drives, RAID, etc)
xw8600 boasts a pretty good configuration with enough PCI slots to grow. Matter of fact, it beats other competition in its class as far as the best possible PCI slots combination is concerned.
Does "dual Quad" mean the board seats 'two' Quad-core processors? What should I be looking at to beat the xw8600 (processor and mobo-wise)?
xw8600 has the option that u can install 2 XEON processors. But make sure you have the correct power supply. you can also talk to HP salesman and they sud be able to help you configure the right box. You can try that chat now window ...
What should I be looking at to beat the xw8600 (processor and mobo-wise)?
What you need is support for HOT SWAP RAID drives, which is missing in lower end xw8600 work stations. And also if price is not concern add on the SAS or SCSI Drive.
Another cheaper way is that you add more SATA drives and create RAID 1 or 5
Try Quadro series grapphics card like NVIDIA Quadro FX 5600 with 1.5 GB DDR3 RAM.
None the less, you need a good monitor which can support 4K resolution. Size does matter as far as the resolution is concerned.
The other option is to go for HDR LCD monitor or go for projection unit which can display proper resolution.
Its essential that you use proper display which possibly has SDI input that would be great.
Your bottle neck will be the Storage. so make sure you buy high speed disk drives. or you can buy pre-built RAID units connecting on gigabit LAN card.
All the boxes mentioned here supports two LAN card so you can two RAID units connected.
The cheaper option is that go for a chasis which supports RIAD. Cheapest out of the box option is SuperServer 7045W-NTR+B supports 128 GB RAM at par with HP xw8600 or SuperWorkstation 7045A-WTB suppports 64 GB RAM.
On the high end which blows the xw8600 away is SuperMicro X7QC3 motherboard, which supports Quad (6 core) ( total 4x6 = 24 cores) Intel 64-bit Xeon, Quad Quad Core ( total 4x4 = 16 cores) Intel XEON and Quad Dual core ( total 4x2 = 8 cores) XEON processors at 1066 MHz FSB and 192 GB RAM.... yes you got it right ..it supports 4 XEON processors with 6 cores on the same motherboard.... did I hear a wow ?
you sure have another option; Supermicro H8QMi-2, which supports Four Quad-Core / Dual-Core AMD Opteron™ 8000 Series (Socket F), 1000 MHz HyperTransport Link and 256 GB RAM.
or Tyan Thunder n6550EX (S4989)
It supports (4) 8000 series AMD Opteron™ Dual-core/ Quad-core Processors (1207-pin; Socket F), & 32 DDR2 DIMMs, up to 128GB
The X7QC3 board has one missing link ...true x16 version 2.0 pipe
which could be fine if you going to use this processing capability either for rendering, encoding or transcoding.
The H8QMi-2 & n6550EX board would make a great AMD based workstation if you chose to do so and have no PCI issue. I mean they have enough PCI slots to qualify as great workstation.
These boards are designed for heavy duty 24x7 rendering farm servers or 3D simulation tasks.
all these motherboard support RAM on board. So you do not any extension or riser card to support the full capacity RAM.
all above boards do come with fibre channel option to integrate high end RAID.
Whatever you do make sure you do not buy a system with power supply less than 700 watts.
I would recommend to get 800 watts or above power supply
(1000 watts is preferred).
Only downside is that you have less number of PCI Cards as compared to HP xw8600.
Which you need to decide if two full x16 slot is enough for you.
You certainly need at least 2. One for AGP Card ..other may be for second display or some other great future frame grabber card to protect your investment and third for 2nd display.
If you want to build your own box on budget you must consider TYAN motherboards The Tempest i5400PW S5397 or S5396 as well.
TYAN does not has the Chasis bundled for this MB but you can check with resellers which one will work with it. I know that SuperMicro has a chasis which is fit for the target config.
A professional help will sure be helpful when you decide which components you need to buy to put together a workstation using different untested components. As any mismatch, will leave you high n dry with couple of boxes at your desk and thousands of dollars less in the bank account.
If I were to compare other competing products, I would consider Apple MAC pro as I find it cheaper as in Bundled hardware and software support for Editing Video.
I would suggest you to do find out the price for the most likely upgrade for HP XW8600 before you decide to buy it and compare it with Apple MAC Pro.
Most of the hardware / software will work without hassles on MAC pro. Matter of fact they are optimized for that.
Only downside is that the upgrade on Apple MAC pro will be more costly compared to wintel platform.
Good luck with your your 4K effort and let me know your exp with 4k.
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