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(another) dual xeon vs single i7 vs quad amd

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July 29, 2009 6:36:54 AM

Gang,

I'm a huge multitasker, my present machine is run 24/7 and I reboot about three times a year. I don't close programs, I usually move stuff around between three monitors and tend to have 60-80 tasks running at once when displayed in Windows Task Manager. When I load the system particularly heavy, the interactiveness of the GUI really starts to be affected.

I'm building a new system. I'm running Windows 7 on a VM, and I hate the interface (I use XP and have stayed away from Vista because I hate its interface). I'm hoping Win7 either has a throwback interface to the Win2k/XP days, or, with some work, is fully customizable to achieve the same effect.

Having said that, after reading the benefits of Win7 on 64-bit hardware, I'm giving it a serious look.

Which brings me to architecture. I don't do a lot of gaming. Mostly I use a ton of desktop apps, mapping software, satellite imagery, and of course a million browser windows, Outlook managing several 2+GB PST files, etc.

Core i7 times one or Xeon 5500 times two? Or quad board with four AMD CPUS? Eight or more physical/sixteen or more virtual cores really has appeal. I understand that for software that is specifically written to take advantage of massively multi-cored systems will no doubt perform better, but what I am looking for is overall system speed when under heavy load. Most importantly, I want my GUI to remain interactively-instantaneous even when I've got a million things open and active. Perhaps trivial to most, the ability to have windows not "skip" when I scroll, fast window paints, instantaneous reaction to icons being clicked, etc., is worth a few extra dollars on system harware considering I want to future-proof this system and will be using it for the next 5 years.

Having said all that, will Win7 perform better with dual Xeons for "regular" user-level apps, vs a single i7 overclocked? Again, I know its trivial, but when I have 3GB RAM in use and 90% CPU load across most cores, I still want Word to open in the blink of an eye :) 

What's my best option?

Thanks.
a b à CPUs
July 29, 2009 8:46:42 AM

First, you definitely want Windows 7 - it will stay responsive with a million windows better than Vista does, and far better than XP. A single i7 or AMD quad should be more than enough, though you'll want a TON of RAM and a dedicated video card (though you won't need a top end one).
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a b à CPUs
July 29, 2009 2:13:20 PM

Oh, and if you want apps to open in the blink of an eye, you'll want an SSD.
August 6, 2009 2:22:09 PM

Hi,

Did you get any solution for your question, I am also looking for the same kind of "super Power" machine,
Please let us know what Recommended configuration you got for such high level multitasking heavy projects..
August 7, 2009 6:46:09 AM

I decided on a single Core i7.

I want, above all, a super-quiet system, and the case I selected (CM Centurion 590) would be a tight fit for a dual CPU board, if it fit at all. A second CPU would be nice, but right now I figure the overall cost-to-performance ratio, plus my need for a quiet system, better lends itself to a single CPU.

I plan to overclock the i7 to maximize performance, something I'm not sure I could do with a Xeon (haven't researched it much). I don't have tasks working in the background (ie a rendering underway while I'm multitasking) so interactive performance of the in-focus app should be sufficient with a single CPU, given enough RAM to manage apps that are open but idle.

I may look into a more robust system down the road, but for now I'll see how a single i7 performs for my needs.

October 22, 2009 10:49:30 PM

tucansam said:
I decided on a single Core i7.

I want, above all, a super-quiet system, and the case I selected (CM Centurion 590) would be a tight fit for a dual CPU board, if it fit at all. A second CPU would be nice, but right now I figure the overall cost-to-performance ratio, plus my need for a quiet system, better lends itself to a single CPU.

I plan to overclock the i7 to maximize performance, something I'm not sure I could do with a Xeon (haven't researched it much). I don't have tasks working in the background (ie a rendering underway while I'm multitasking) so interactive performance of the in-focus app should be sufficient with a single CPU, given enough RAM to manage apps that are open but idle.

I may look into a more robust system down the road, but for now I'll see how a single i7 performs for my needs.


So... Progress report? How goes the i7 so far?
a c 108 à CPUs
October 23, 2009 2:16:40 AM

It ain't the cores ---- it's the RAMs (and as noted) the disk I/O.

And If you want 'super quiet' you do not want to OC ---- you want to underclock and undervolt to keep temps down ....
!