3d workstation processor question

Hi guys :) My first post so far, I really badly need help because everybody tells me something different. I don't really know much about that, so it might happen I write some BS here ;)

I want to assemble a 3D workstation and I have performance/money issue, better said a Xeon/Core i7 issue.
What shall it be: Core i7 965 4x3.2GHz @ 8 threads or 2x Xeon E5530 2.4 GHz @16 threads?
The cost would be approximately the same, Xeons might cause an extra cost of about 100€ more for the MoBo.

What do I need: fast frame rendering, not only animation (I could build a home render farm), but fast rendering of stills with lots of ray tracing used. I can use up to 8 threads (special build) for rendering an image, possibly even twice as much.
What would be great: if I could use some of the CPU power for other applications while doing rendering - digital painting, for example, so if one CPU with HT is maxed out, I could use some of the remaining threads. In case that works that way...

In the computer store, they tell me the 2 Xeon quads would smoke the i7 965 although they have "only" 2.4 GHz. But of course they want sell me something, so I really prefer to ask in a public forum.

I'll be going with 12GB ram (fluid sims need a lot) and probably a GeForce GTX 295 (can't afford highend there..)

PLease? :)
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  1. The Extreme chips is honestly overpriced for what it is. You can easily OC the lowerend chips to the 3.2GHz speed.

    Also, If your apps will use all cores of a dual Xeon 5530 systems, that is TOTALLY the way to go. Are your applications CPU intensive or are they GPU intensive? Maybe a single i 920 would be more economical and a HIGH end workstation card would be in order. Just throwing out ideas.
  2. My applications are more CPU intensive for sure. I've heard (also from the computer store) that as long as the GPU supports CUDA it should be fine for GPU intensive applications. I also can upgrade the GPU more easily than the CPUs, to I personally wanted to go for higher end CPUs.

    So you guys are sure that 2x 2.4 Xeon Quads are gonna blow an i7 for rendering? :) That'd been the path I'd have chosen anyway, but I 'd rather ask around a lot than sit on an overpriced piece of equipment that won't give optimal performance...
  3. They are, I know, but 2.4vs 3.2GHz... I don't know. But that's why I'm here :) I have a feeling I want the Xeons. Others said I should get i7 920, but all no hardware cracks! Same price, more power - no decision problem :)
  4. Good... I was quite worried because all the new 3d workstations coming out have the i7 965 built in :-( but I figure this is to keep them affordable. They all feature at least an Ati Fire Pro for 1100€ if not a 2500€ Nvidia. So there are no concerns, anybody?
    Damn, I'll be happy to get rid of that Athlon 6400 :)
  5. Well, I haven't yet considered a board as I'm not, or warsn't yet sure about the CPU, but I guess an Asus never goes wrong...is it possible/wise to OC Xeons? I never ever in 20 years OCed ANYTHING. I guess that will make decisions about the board easIer. Any recommendations?:)
    Thanks for you help!!
  6. 12 Gb in Tri :) So I'll best ask Asus then...?
  7. If it will use all cores, the no question the dual Xeon will blast the 965 away
  8. One more question to ask: would the 5550 at 2.66(?)GHz be worth shelling out another 400€ compared to the 5530? I.ve had an X2 maximum, so I don't know to which extent the 2 quad's GHz would add up. Would that be just a LITTLE faster or make a real difference for rendering 3d?
    Thanks, guys :)
  9. ^No. It won't make too much of a gain compared to the price of the 5550.

    Also if you are doing 3D rendering you WILL benefit from a workstation graphics card over a gaming card. If you can find an old 8800 you could softmod it and it should be better than the gaming cards for 3D renderings.
  10. Hey Corn,
    can you post your build details and how its working out for ya?
  11. Sorry, not yet - I got pummeled by a few major bills, so no new workstation yet :( I will post once I'm there, as lately the AMD 8-cores have been released the whole thing might get a new face after all....
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