I am looking at getting a new workstation for editing, post-production, and 3D work. Would it be better to have a system with two quad core xeon processors (2 GHz each) or one faster quad core xeon processor (3 GHz)?
For editing, the additional cores are almost definitely the way to go, though 2GHz is awfully slow for a modern core 2 architecture xeon. Is there no way to get the dual socket system at 2.5GHz or something like that?
i would go dual quad cores at the slower speed for immediate use, however:
The way to address this option reasonably, is to buy a dual socket board, and put a single 3 GHz quad on there. if/when you need more power down the road, buy a second 3 GHz processor, instead of having to retire both of the 2 GHz processors.
You will know you can use more power/more cores if the tasks you are doing maxes out utilization of all 4 cores of 1 processor. if it does not, or even get close, your bottleneck has to be somewhere else, such as your hard drives and you can spend your money properly.
The 2 x quads he listed would be only 2GHz - and multi socket motherboards don't really do overclocking...
An i7 920 with a mild overclock (say 25% to 3.325GHz) will beat it - plus the i7's have the advantage of very large memory configurations possible - 12GB anyone???
Yeh don't be suckered into buying a server board - you can't overclock. I am running an old Opteron dual-CPU board and it's a pain in the preferable not being able to overclock it... It is no more stable than a Desktop board, even given the ECC RAM... System stability primarily comes from good PWM on the motherboard, good quality components (solid capacitors, etc.) and excellent system cooling. (Plus running Solaris or Ubunutu instead of Window Vista of course!!)
A Core i7 920 will pawn3D a server board w/dual Xeon CPUs (given that the higher clocked Xeon's cost a fortune) for price/performance. A server board will also require more expensive RAM.
Wow! Thanks so much for everyone's helpful feedback.
I am more on the design end of things and prefer not to have to tinker with hardware any more than I have to (and I am not a gamer). And also, price is an important consideration.
I presently have a Dell Precision 650 workstation with dual Xeon processors (3.16 MHz each). It is 5 years old and does OK, but I usually do a lot of things at once and need more power (I may have After Effects, Premiere, Fireworks, Photoshop and Encore all open at the same time, moving back and forth between programs -- Adobe has a great way to "roundtrip" and see changes in one timeline or file take effect immediately in another timeline or file).
I am looking at something in the Dell line of Precision workstations again (The Dell workstations are very flexible and scalable). I know some have bad experiences with Dell, but mine have basically all been good, especially since I get my tech support through Dell's business section, which is much better than the home support.
I am now looking at a dual quad xeon (2.5 MHz each) system.
I would say that for a prebuilt workstation configuration, that would be a good choice. The Dell Precisions are nice, and a pair of 2.5GHz quad xeons would be an excellent choice that could last you quite a while.