Building a Dual Nehalem Xeon Home PC - worth it?

Here's my question. I am looking to build the best video editing machine i can with the money i have. I would like to keep it under $1500 and i have a couple of questions.

Strictly for monetary reasons i am unable to purchase a Mac Pro, so there's that. This is what i am curious about and want to know if anyone has any experience with a set up like this.

A Dual LGA1366 MOBO, such as this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131378

And a lesser Xeon such as this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819117185

Now can i use regular DDR3 RAM with a setup like this? Or does it have to be buffered or ECC?

What kind of a power supply would i need to run a beast like this?

Bottom line is, I'm a heavy After Effects and Cinema 4d user, and wan't the best bang for my buck. If that means getting an i7 920 and OC'ing to 3.5 then that's what i'll do.

Any thoughts??

Thanks!
16 answers Last reply
More about building dual nehalem xeon home worth
  1. Can you overclock on server boards?
  2. mostly no, they do not offer things like that since it is very usual for them to offer things to make reliability even less.

    and for video processing, i would have thought that a better video card is more important than cpu, less so to games, but still the video card can help with encode/decode?

    But i would imagine that it depends on what program you use and what vid card you have...
  3. well that's a big misnomer with video editing. The majority of the programs out there don't offload the processing to the video card, they still rely heavily on the CPU. So that i why i was wondering if setting up a server board is worth it, and if it's necessarily and harder than a regular setup.

    Is anyone running dual Nehalems on a home built system?
  4. well, if no one is, try to compare it with mac pro then, OCing on these dual socket boards is usually out unless you find one made by some enthusiast brnads and they label it as such...

    if nvidia wants to have CUDA to be in every comp, they should really push for things like this......

    also, lots of 2sock mobos are eatx, so prepare to spend money on a full tower, and it may not be that great for you depending on where you are putting this (I have a haf 932 full tower and its huge, I can't put my foot up on it any more)
  5. theholylancer said:

    if nvidia wants to have CUDA to be in every comp, they should really push for things like this......


    Tell me about it! I wish that adobe would incorporate this, or at least more of Open GL than they do already.

    I did find a great resource about the mac pro, if curious you can check it out here:

    http://www.barefeats.com/nehal04.html


    Looks like a considerable performance increase with 8 cores.

    I've never used a server setup before, so throw that in the mix too. Although i'm not sure that makes much difference.
  6. zm15 said:
    Here's my question. I am looking to build the best video editing machine i can with the money i have. I would like to keep it under $1500 and i have a couple of questions.

    Strictly for monetary reasons i am unable to purchase a Mac Pro, so there's that. This is what i am curious about and want to know if anyone has any experience with a set up like this.

    A Dual LGA1366 MOBO, such as this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131378

    And a lesser Xeon such as this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819117185


    A dual-socket setup would be a wonderful choice for video editing. Video editing largely is CPU-bound and is one of those tasks that is very parallel and is usually able to be split up to about as many cores as you can throw at it.

    CPU: The Xeon E5520 is probably the slowest Xeon 55xx worth getting as it has the full 8 MB of L3 cache and turbo mode and HyperThreading are enabled. The slower Xeon 55xx units like the 5504 have no turbo mode and no HyperThreading and won't do nearly as well in encoding, so I would avoid them. The Nehalem-EP Xeon 55xx units do very well in video editing, but I'd also take a look at the AMD six-core Opterons, such as the $450 2.2 GHz Opteron 2427. Remember that no current dual-socket-capable Xeons or Opterons ship with a heatsink, so you will need to get one on your own.

    Motherboard: the unit you linked to only allows for you to put in three RAM modules per CPU, which means that you can't just stick in more RAM at a later date if need be. I'd probably go for a unit with six RAM slots per CPU unless your video editing program uses very little RAM.

    Quote:
    Now can i use regular DDR3 RAM with a setup like this? Or does it have to be buffered or ECC?


    You have the choice of using either buffered ECC server RAM or unbuffered desktop DDR3 RAM. The difference is that unbuffered stuff is cheaper and faster, but you get smaller module sizes and slightly less stability.

    Quote:
    What kind of a power supply would i need to run a beast like this?


    You will need an EPS12V power supply of roughly 500 watts or better. It should have a 24-pin ATX power connector, an 8-pin 12-volt CPU power connector, and a 4-pin 12-volt CPU power connector.

    Bottom line is, I'm a heavy After Effects and Cinema 4d user, and wan't the best bang for my buck. If that means getting an i7 920 and OC'ing to 3.5 then that's what i'll do.

    Any thoughts??

    Thanks!

    Get the dual-socket setup as video work eats up cores like Oprah eats up chicken wings.I'd recommend a quad-socket unit if you have a very high budget, but yours isn't high enough (an entry-level quad-socket setup starts at about $4000-5000 for the board and CPUs.) Don't worry about overclocking. You are doing Real Work and toying around with an overclocked CPU is not worth it. Core i7s are hotter than dammit when you put much of an overclock on them, and you are going to be running that machine at full load for a long time, so thermal issues WILL be an issue. Also, stability is a major issue as well. You don't want to get 98% of the way through your day-long transcode job and then get a BSOD because the unstable overclocked CPU bugged out on you and have to wait another day for your job to finish. Plus, eight Xeon 5520 cores at 2.26-2.53 GHz or 12 Opteron 2427 cores at 2.2 GHz will do a lot more work than four i7 920 cores at 2.67-2.93 GHz in your situation.

    zm15 said:
    Can you overclock on server boards?


    Very few of them allow for overclocking. Notable exceptions are the Intel X5400 Skulltrail board (that costs about as much as a quad-socket board!) and ASUS's L1N64 QuadFX board, but those are both older motherboards that won't work with current CPUs. You don't want to overclock anyway as overclocking can lead to you losing your work and spending more time fiddling with your machine rather than doing work on it. Overclocking is fine for a toy computer used to play games and fiddle around on, but don't do it on any machine you do actual work on. Many server vendors also put highly-efficient VRMs in their motherboards that work well for the wattage draw of its supported CPUs at stock speeds but won't handle the increased power draw of an overclocked unit very well.
  7. Thanks for the great response! That really gives me alot to chew on that's for sure.

    So is setting up a server board really much different than a regular pc build? Any tips or tricks that would help along the way that may be different from the normal pc build?

    I liked that Asus board because it was still the ATX form factor and would fit in my midsized case.

    ALSO, i plan on running Windows 7, i assume that a dual processor setup such as this would be ok with that OS?
  8. zm15 said:
    Thanks for the great response! That really gives me alot to chew on that's for sure.

    So is setting up a server board really much different than a regular pc build? Any tips or tricks that would help along the way that may be different from the normal pc build?


    Server CPU heatsinks usually have a metal backplate that is attached to the chassis. You will need to attach this before putting the motherboard into the case. Some boards also are specific about what memory slots must be filled for the unit to boot, so you will need to look at the memory manual.

    Quote:
    I liked that Asus board because it was still the ATX form factor and would fit in my midsized case.


    That's perfectly fine. As long as you don't need a lot of memory (24 GB at the present) you will do fine with a unit with three RAM slots per CPU.

    Quote:
    ALSO, i plan on running Windows 7, i assume that a dual processor setup such as this would be ok with that OS?


    Yes. You will need to get the version that is analogous to Windows Vista Ultimate for a dual-processor setup. The home versions do not support more than one physical CPU, and from what I have seen, neither does the Business version, but the Ultimate version does.
  9. For Vista - My understanding is you'd need Ultimate to do a dual socket system.


    For 7 - I believe support for 2 physical processors begins with Home Premium, (unlimited core count). Though if the OP's RAM requirements (may) exceed 16GB, then he should use Pro, rather than Home Prem. More than two physical proccy's gets you the need for Server 2008.

    Source: http://www.winsupersite.com/win7/win7_skus_compare.asp

    If you want to play with it, the release candidate for Win 7 is the equivalent of an 'Ultimate' build. Free for the moment - Time~bomb'd to begin restarting every 2 hours beginning May 2010. There are hacked/cracked versions on the torrents carrying malware, so I strongly recommend obtaining the bits directly from Microsoft.
  10. I will be using the Ultimate Edition once it arrives. So the 2 processor limit is not a problem.

    Basically i can get a single core i7 920 system up and running for about $700 ( i have the case, power, hd's, etc...)

    or i spend a considerable amount more for the dual core Xeon setup.

    The question to answer is it worth it? Still working that out :)
  11. You got any answer to your question?
  12. b4u2_gaurav said:
    You got any answer to your question?


    It's really just a value judgment that only he can make. Neither choice would be a bad one as video editing scales well to a lot of cores and can fully utilize a dual Xeon system, but it also shouldn't be painfully slow on a single i7. The question is really "is he willing to pay more for the higher-performing Xeons or is he willing to settle for the slower single i7 setup but have more cash left in his pocket?" It all depends on his budget and priorities. If it were me, I'd go for the dual-socket setup if I had the money as the increased performance would be worth it to me (see my signature), but I most certainly don't have the money (see the end of my signature- it's coming in two years for a reason :pfff: )
  13. hi I am confused here, who will tell me which one is better? for high end 3d animation and After effects works. following are two processors are in my mind, please help me to choose.

    two Intel Xeon Processor 5420 of 2.50 GHz
    two Intel Xeon Processor 5520 2.26 GHz
  14. The 5520 setup will be faster.
  15. Much faster.
  16. It is really coming down to my budget, since i do this on the side, the smaller the budget the better. I would really need to consider how i use the machine and the time it takes me to do the work vs working on a slower machine,and allotting more time for rendering.

    There's always a trade off between money and time.
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