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I7 940 vs 2x Quad Opterons 2350

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March 9, 2009 9:31:20 PM

Hi there, this is my first post. I need to find out which one of the systems below will do a better job at multimedia productions... (3D rendering, motion graphics, video editing) We use 3D Studio Max with Mental Ray and the Adobe Creative Suite CS4. Currently we have 3 systems that are very counter-productive...

I've recieved an email with a system from a system builder. Here are the specs.

Motherboard: MSI Speedster
CPU: 2x Opteron 2350 @ 2ghz (8 Cores)
RAM: 8Gigs Kingston ECC Registered FB-DIMMS 667Mhz
VGA: 9800GT 1Gig Ram
HDD: 1x Velociraptor 150GB + 2x500GB

Price for 2 identical comps: 4880Euros (including monitors, optical drives etc etc)

The above specs against these:

Mobo: Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD5
CPU: i7 940
RAM: 12GB (6x2GB) OCZ OCZ3G1600LV6GK DDR3
VGA: 9800GT 1Gig Ram
HDD: 1x Velociraptor 150GB + 2x500GB

Price for 2 identical comps: 4200Euros (including monitors, optical drives etc etc)

The question is which one will have better render times with 3D Studio Max using Mental Ray and for multimedia productions with adobe creative suite... The dual Quad Core Opterons or the i7 940?? I wish I had the hardware to test it my self so we wouldn't need to have this debate...

More about : 940 quad opterons 2350

March 9, 2009 9:40:20 PM

- The DDR3 RAM on the I7 rig is much faster and there's more of it.
- The i7 can be overclocked to be 4Ghz and will equal the same amount of clock speed as the two CPU's.
- The i7 is meant to be the best CPU for multimedia productions
- Having two CPU's will mean two coolers and more work in the case.
- The i7's motherboard is also better and will probably work out to be much more stable than the opteron's one.

Hope that info helps.
March 9, 2009 9:47:20 PM

Get the i7 920 (it overclocks almost as well as the 940 and is half the price) and get two 300GB velocirapters in RAID 0 as well as a data drive. Disk speed is normally the biggest bottleneck remaining on most systems. If your 12GB of memory holds all the data you need to access, this may not help you however.

You could probably do with a better graphics card as well but I am not sure how much use those applications make of the actual graphics card.

The i7 has functionally got 8 cores for well written code using hyperthreading, so the pure code running power is comparable on that front.
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March 9, 2009 9:48:32 PM

petsoukos said:
Mobo: Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD5


Is that the MB with only 4 memory slots ? If so... spend $50 more on the Asus P6T.
March 10, 2009 5:31:43 AM

Soo it seems I will be better of with the i7 940 than the rig the "guru" send me.

This MB has 6 memory slots.

In a few hours we're going to purchase... There is still time to do some final research... ;) 
March 10, 2009 5:50:29 AM

I've also found this chart and at looks like a single i7 940 is a bit faster than a dual cpu configuration Opteron 2354. The cpus the "guru" put in his rig are the Opteron 2350 my guess is they're going to be a bit slower then the 2354. This PassMark CPU software what does it do to bench these CPUs? Coz I'm interrested in Rendering times for 3D Graphics and render times out of the Adobe Creative Suite...
a b à CPUs
March 10, 2009 5:52:44 PM

if you are going to go with the i7 then you will have to overclock it to find its potential. look into liquid cooling and a very good motherboard. if you are using multimedia applications at the same time then 6+ gigs of ram is recommended. also as stated above, raptors on raid 0 will help out.
March 10, 2009 6:13:18 PM

If your doing 3d rendering or effects you should really consider a higher quality video card. You want to invest in a Top of the line graphics card, not necessary cpu overkill. Your fine with a i7 940 but you need a better graphics card if plan on doing video rendering. I would recommend a i7 920 (2.6ghz) the extra 200-300$ for 300mhz isn't a very good decision economically (940 2.9ghz). Get a i7 920 and use the remainder to get a better gfx card maybe a gtx 280 or better.
March 16, 2009 10:15:12 AM

I'e got some stability issues.

I use Everest Ultimate 5. When I run the System Stability Test it raises temps at 74C at crashes after 8 to 15 minutes. Currently the settings are 1.225 Volts for the CPU and 1.65 Volts for the memory. Memory is @1600 with 8-8-8-24 timings!
March 16, 2009 11:00:32 AM

Update:
It just made one pass error free with Memtest86+
I'm guessing memory is just fine. I'll let it do some more passes.
March 19, 2009 8:10:38 AM

Hey, I just picked up a Tyan workstation motherboard and two 8347 cpu's for the equivalent of $300 US. I am mostly after reliability so the i7 doesn't mean much to me and the opteron quads are available for a great price on ebay. A pair of quads goes for $150 US. At the moment I am just waiting for a new bios chip before I can fire it up. BTW the Opteron boards use DDR2 reg ecc ram which is not the same as the FB ram Xeon boards use. Also if your going to be doing rendering and the software your using is CUDA enabled then go for an Nvidia GTX 260 or GTX 280 because they will make a lot more difference than the cpu. A GTX 260 with CUDA working is somthing like 50x faster than an i7 at rendering so don't wory too much about the cpu. I have also included a link to a home made linux based rendering cluster which is a very cool setup.

http://helmer.sfe.se/

Regards, Malcolm
a b à CPUs
March 19, 2009 5:12:47 PM

You are after reliability, so the i7 doesn't mean much to you?

What's that supposed to mean? The i7 is a perfectly reliable and stable CPU.
March 19, 2009 7:49:05 PM

I've been through so many 775 motherboards it's not funny. Opterons and Tyan motherboards with ecc memory are designed to run 24hrs a day for years. Also there would be no difference in power consumption between two Opteron HE cpu's and one i7 and the Opteron supports a lot more memory.
a b à CPUs
March 19, 2009 8:17:58 PM

First, my computer is on for weeks at a time, and trust me, it would run longer if there weren't windows updates that take a reboot. It's a highly overclocked i7, and the RAM is overclocked too, implying that if anything, it would be more stable at stock settings. There are definitely no stability problems with i7, and the same is true with 775, if you are at all competent with computers (unless you're using garbage components, in which case it isn't a fair comparison). Second, as for power consumption, I would seriously doubt if two opteron HE CPUs plus a full complement of ECC memory actually uses less power than an i7 rig. For total memory, you're right, but that's because the i7 workstation and server boards aren't available yet. The actual i7 controller supports up to 3 dimms per channel, and with 4GB DIMMs and three channels, that's up to 36GB of memory, given the right motherboard.
March 19, 2009 8:38:49 PM

Well your i7 might be reliable but the fact remains server equipment is built to a higher standard than consumer boards and two HE Opterons would use a maximum of 120w which is the same as a 920 i7 at stock speeds. Also your i7 965 cpu costs $2000 in Australia and my dual socket quad opteron with a workstation Tyan motherboard cost me $500.
a c 108 à CPUs
March 19, 2009 8:42:33 PM

The Opty would be better - - but not with 2350s. You are getting shanghai'ed, not Shanghai.
March 20, 2009 1:17:44 AM

If your going for new Opteron's go for the 2376 Shanghai because there only $180 each on newegg. I'm going to try and pick up some second hand Shanghai quads in a year or so.
March 20, 2009 5:10:25 PM

Errm I think they go the exchange rate the wrong way round when they shipped these to the UK, a 2347 for instance is $209.99 US on newegg, but £312.03 on scan.co.uk

And Scan don't have any Shanghais at all, haven't checked other suppliers yet but Scan are usually pretty decent.
March 20, 2009 8:05:39 PM

Overall I think the two Opterons will perform better but not by much because after all the Core i7's are hyperthreaded so you have 8 logical cores you can use.
March 21, 2009 5:10:14 AM

If your going to be happy with a pair of 2347 Opterons then just get them off ebay for $150 US plus postage. They might not be as good as the Shanghais but it's great value either way.
March 27, 2009 3:04:11 PM

Hi,

For intensive professional 3d work, I would get a Pro gpu -- the AMD FirePro and Nvidia Quadro FX line. The speed improvement from a 9800GT would be about 3x to 10x (yah...they are that good...because they have special drivers written to take advantage of the GPUs rather than relying on DirectX or OpenGL calls from the OS). So rather than a really fancy 8 core machine -- you may be just happy with a normal machine with an awesome GPU. Personally...I would either get a nice Core 2 Quad core with a mid range Pro GPU. If I had more money to burn...get a I7 920.

- Victor.
March 30, 2009 5:37:28 PM

Hello All,

Who do you recommend to build a box in the U.S.? I am working with mirror and reflextive surfaces at near poster size resolutions. I also need to cut down processing time. I have a 4K budget.

Has anyone heard of Bunkspeed or should I stick with 3DsMax/V-ray?

V-girl

!