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Dual or Quad Prcessor Mobo good idea?

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February 9, 2010 5:22:44 PM

Want to buy or build my own PC, prolly build. But, there are so many choices I am baffled, and everything gets old in a years time anyway. So, I thought it might be good in the "long run", i.e. 3 years or more, to spend extra for a dual or quad processor server mobo with 4 PCIe x16 slots, and plenty of ram slots and just fill it up as prices drop, a brute force approach. I would be filling it with aging stuff, but, todays high end is tommorows low end and the low end is where I tend to shop. I get a $500 PC every 3 years or so. Extra PCie x16 slots would allow me to put more monitors to use as I accumulate them. Extra slots of any kind let me put stuff to use as I accumulate it. True the ram, and stuff, would be getting slower, but there would be more of it so I could get speed increases versus larger and larger graphis, video, and sound files.

What do you guys think? Is this cost effective?

Newegg has such a mobo for $300, a tyan, and AMD socket F Opterons to go with it for $180. Applications I would use are: NWN2, GIMP, Open Office, L3DT, Dragon Age, other future PC games, music recording.
a b V Motherboard
February 9, 2010 6:09:47 PM

What is your total budget?
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February 9, 2010 6:20:17 PM

Trying to keep it sub $1000USD. Dell has dual xeon servers starting at $900. HP has a single processor pc with dual PCIe x16 for $1100. So I want to beat those at least. But, I don't know how the xeons, i7, Opterons, and Phenoms compare to each other. I don't know if it's better to go with two lower grade cpus or one higher grade cpu, at same clock speed.

The dual and quad cpu mobo is an upgrade thing, and, I like to have a few big apps open at once too. So it's not just about single app performance.

EDIT0: I'm liable to have L3DT crunching away creating height maps, the NWN2 toolset importing height maps, firefox open with many tabs, chat, logged into an NWN2 server, and guitar amp modeler running at the same time. I'm thinking one or two monitors for a game and one for all the other apps crunching away.

EDIT1: Ha, I forgot the TV tuner running too. So, am I thinking of a server here?

EDIT2: Open Office too. Basically, as far as performance for the way I intend to use the PC, what would work better, a big single cpu, or two lesser CPUs?
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a b V Motherboard
February 9, 2010 6:44:48 PM

Not sure why you are considering Xeons or Opterons... Are you looking for a server platform that can do all of the above?
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February 9, 2010 8:46:27 PM

I'm looking for a PC that will do all of the above, affordably, and I'm wondering what my options there are. Why not Xeons or Opterons?
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a b V Motherboard
February 9, 2010 8:59:38 PM

For your needs you do not need a Xeon nor an Opteron, you will be fine with an x4 or equivalent...
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February 9, 2010 9:39:01 PM

An x4? Are Xeon or Opteron overkill? An Opteron can be had for $180 and the i7 can be much more expensive, as much as two lower numbered xeons, 5000 series iirc.

So, what are the key components of my system that let me open all those apps at once and maintain performance? What are the bottle necks? Games depend on vid card and cpu. L3DT, Gimp, and I suppose music recording software bennfit from as much RAM as needed to avoid file swapping, and CPU. More monitors means more powerful vid card.
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February 10, 2010 12:08:03 AM

If I may humbly input on this one. OvrClkr has a point. You don't need much horsepower if all you are going to do is run OpenOffice and the typical home office stuff. but looking at "EDIT0" I can see why you want to go all out.

I have built such system recently for my DAW/Graphics/Video system. If you do your homework and get the right parts the first time around you could have a dual quadcore opteron for about a grand (realistically $1200 pending you recycle some parts from the now " not so new hotness." However one could argue that you could put that money in a Core i7 920 or a AMD X4 and a good ASUS EVGA MSI or Gigabyte motherboard (or any other reputable brand) with PCIe slots to spare for all the GPU power you can throw in there.

With the system I built I decided I didn't need SLI or multiple PCIe Slots and the mobo I have suits me for my task perfectly. It is "basic" looking by most standards but packs a pretty good wallop for me.

If you are going to build a server/workstation on the cheap - be prepared to be disappointed on your RAM choices. Systems using DDR3 ram for under a grand is not really going to happen unless you scour EBay like a maid on a mission and even then you are going to come up with less than stellar results. here is an example.

My system:
AMD Opteron 2352 ( dual - that is 8 physical cores) for about $230.
MSI Speedster WA6 ($99 to $218 pending where you shop and you must get a bios upgrade in order to use the above processor.)
DDR2-667 ram (8gigs @ 2gigs by 4) 180.00( I dare you to find cheaper!!)
NZXT Whisper case ( $109 plus shipping)
Corsair 850w powersupply - single rail ($134.00)
Graphics card were throwbacks from another pull...

The above system gives me 2 16x pcie ( one really a 8x in sheep's clothing ) a 4x that is really a 1x and such ... not going to get you through the old folding in record time .. and if you get a double wide super long GTX 275, 280 and such .. be prepared to not have access to your SATA slots! NOT GOOD...

if you wish to go intel....
ASUS Z8NA-D6 and the Z8NA-D6C - only difference between the two that I can tell is you lose 8 SATA slots that are really hooked to an add on. it uses DDR3 ram but you dont have multiple PCIe slots ..
the CLOSEST thing you can get that I have seen thus far for multiple PCI16 is the old Skulltrail Mobos .. and I wouldnt wish that build on anyone at this time.

Get yourself a good X4 chip and mobo package ( MSI GD70 would be good ) and go nuts with that. or a good Core i7 with options. if you want too

just let me throw this in before you feel like you are drowning in specs. Workstations are for those that need Diesel like strengths with out the flair its a good work horse but not for the average gamer or casual user... for music, amp sims, room sims ... 24 tracks of 24bit/192 audio .. you betcha I would go this direction... however for the budget and the ease of the mind .. an AMD with a decent chipset ... you will get just as good results. hope this helps ...
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February 10, 2010 12:24:53 AM

I think that would be a terrible idea and it certainly won't be cost effective.

There is a significant amount of money being spent on making multi-socket motherbords work well and you don't need that extra capability. The two socket MBs aren't that much more expensive, but you need CPUs that work in them because they have to have extra communication paths (second QPI link for Intel). Multi socket motherboards are created for higher throughput, not to be more responsive as a desktop.

Get a single socket motherboard with the 4 core CPU that fits your budget, that can be anywhere from a $100 AMD 620 to a $280 Intel 920 (anything above that isn't cost effective). A moderate overclock (say 3.5 GHz) on a 920 is likely to be more that you will need and you probably don't even need to do that.

Then get a reasonable amount of RAM now (use 2Gb sticks, you can upgrade when the 4Gb sticks become cheaper) and if you can fit in the budget an SSD as the boot/application drive (maybe a Velociraptor if Linux has TRIM issues). RAM is easy to upgrade and the fast OS disk will have a large impact on how responsive the system will feel.

Get one of the new ATI DX11 cards from the 5670 upwards since that has support for three monitors (though one of them will need to use displayport), budget for how much power the games you play need ($100 for a 5670 to $600 for a 5970).

The best compromise would probably be something like (but this is more likely to be overkill than not enough)

- A mainstream X58 motherboard
- Intel i7 920
- 6Gb DDR3 (likely to be plenty)
- Velociraptor HD (then use existing HDs or 5400 rpm Tb drives if you need extra storage)
- AMD 5770

You could then in the coming years get an SSD (as they mature, get better Linux support and fall in price), 12Gb RAM and the next generation video card as needed. You may even be able to get a 6-core processor in there when they get down to reasonable money, but that is not certain.

Make sure you get a case that can handle expanding need and a high quality power supply, they will last you a while and will be important for your enjoyment. I just build a box using a Silverstone Fortress FT02 and Seasonic X-650 with future flexibility in mind (and ability to have an low noise computer).
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a b V Motherboard
February 10, 2010 12:44:27 AM

digitalrazoe said:
If I may humbly input on this one. OvrClkr has a point. You don't need much horsepower if all you are going to do is run OpenOffice and the typical home office stuff. but looking at "EDIT0" I can see why you want to go all out.

I have built such system recently for my DAW/Graphics/Video system. If you do your homework and get the right parts the first time around you could have a dual quadcore opteron for about a grand (realistically $1200 pending you recycle some parts from the now " not so new hotness." However one could argue that you could put that money in a Core i7 920 or a AMD X4 and a good ASUS EVGA MSI or Gigabyte motherboard (or any other reputable brand) with PCIe slots to spare for all the GPU power you can throw in there.

With the system I built I decided I didn't need SLI or multiple PCIe Slots and the mobo I have suits me for my task perfectly. It is "basic" looking by most standards but packs a pretty good wallop for me.

If you are going to build a server/workstation on the cheap - be prepared to be disappointed on your RAM choices. Systems using DDR3 ram for under a grand is not really going to happen unless you scour EBay like a maid on a mission and even then you are going to come up with less than stellar results. here is an example.

My system:
AMD Opteron 2352 ( dual - that is 8 physical cores) for about $230.
MSI Speedster WA6 ($99 to $218 pending where you shop and you must get a bios upgrade in order to use the above processor.)
DDR2-667 ram (8gigs @ 2gigs by 4) 180.00( I dare you to find cheaper!!)
NZXT Whisper case ( $109 plus shipping)
Corsair 850w powersupply - single rail ($134.00)
Graphics card were throwbacks from another pull...

The above system gives me 2 16x pcie ( one really a 8x in sheep's clothing ) a 4x that is really a 1x and such ... not going to get you through the old folding in record time .. and if you get a double wide super long GTX 275, 280 and such .. be prepared to not have access to your SATA slots! NOT GOOD...

if you wish to go intel....
ASUS Z8NA-D6 and the Z8NA-D6C - only difference between the two that I can tell is you lose 8 SATA slots that are really hooked to an add on. it uses DDR3 ram but you dont have multiple PCIe slots ..
the CLOSEST thing you can get that I have seen thus far for multiple PCI16 is the old Skulltrail Mobos .. and I wouldnt wish that build on anyone at this time.

Get yourself a good X4 chip and mobo package ( MSI GD70 would be good ) and go nuts with that. or a good Core i7 with options. if you want too

just let me throw this in before you feel like you are drowning in specs. Workstations are for those that need Diesel like strengths with out the flair its a good work horse but not for the average gamer or casual user... for music, amp sims, room sims ... 24 tracks of 24bit/192 audio .. you betcha I would go this direction... however for the budget and the ease of the mind .. an AMD with a decent chipset ... you will get just as good results. hope this helps ...


+1 dude ;) 

He should be fine with an x4 955 or i5 750... it all comes down to the $$

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a b V Motherboard
February 10, 2010 12:48:32 AM

nicethugbert said:
An x4? Are Xeon or Opteron overkill? An Opteron can be had for $180 and the i7 can be much more expensive, as much as two lower numbered xeons, 5000 series iirc.

So, what are the key components of my system that let me open all those apps at once and maintain performance? What are the bottle necks? Games depend on vid card and cpu. L3DT, Gimp, and I suppose music recording software bennfit from as much RAM as needed to avoid file swapping, and CPU. More monitors means more powerful vid card.


Bottleneck is when one or more of your components are either faster or slower than the rest of your hardware. For example if you have an i7 920 at 4Ghz paired with a 9600GT then that is a major GPU bottleneck, the CPU is waaay to fast for that GPU, BUT this only affects the PC graphics-wise..you get the idea ;)  anyways what is the most you can spend on this system and post what you need and what you already have and we will come up with a few setups [:jaydeejohn:5]
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February 10, 2010 6:28:33 PM

I have ... crap machines. I have an emachines T6528(hmm is that a russian tank?) winxp, onboard graphics, 1.5gb ram. It has an hd problem that will not let it boot. I still want to upgrade the cpu and processor and do something with it, maybe linux or openbsd I guess.

Just bought a compaq presario CQ5320Y. Crap, but, it's a step above the emachines and I needed something to tide me over. Imagine my excitement when I opened it to find no operating system disk and only one HD bay, already filled.

I buy the cheapest PC every three years so it always an affordable improvement over what I have.

But, I've developed a taste for running a lot of apps at the same time, CPU and graphics intensive apps.

I want to run, all at the same time, Dragon Age or NWN2 with eye candy at least 30FPS, 7Zip, L3DT, GIMP, Open Office, NWN2 Toolset, Windows Media Player, Pidgeon, Music Recording Software/Hardware and the universe, on one machine without the usual hiccups and slow downs.

So, how do you describe that use? IS it a server? Is it s throughput problem? Is it a CPU problem?

I guess the cheapest thing may be to upgrade both of them. I do have an even older PC lying around that I could use as a firewall/router to keep my ISP happy.

But, I don't know if upgrading them for this purpose is such a good idea. I'd have to deal with file sharing/networking hassles. It's been a while since I setup an openbsd router and I'm confused enough already. I don't want to setup a router because I have to.

I can afford one hell of a PC from Alienware, Dell, or whoever. But, I can't allow my self to just give away money like that. I have to understand what I'm getting and get it at a good price. I'm not going to put a wad of profit in someone's pocket just for spewing a bunch of happy talk and sales pitch.

I just want to make sure you guys understand what I am trying to do here. L3DT will take all the ram and cpu you can give it. It makes randomly generated 3D terrains. The NWN2 Toolset will eat my CPUs whenever it has to import an L3DT height map. I want to run those two at the same time while decompressing files, chatting, web surfing(a ton of pages open), and playing Dragon Age or NWN2 or recording my guitar practice on the same PC, with more than one monitor.

Maybe I do want the CPU to be a lot bigger than the gpu.

I don't know how many video cards I may need here so two PCI slots seems like a safe thing. Don;t know how much RAM I'll need and I hate to set aside perfectly good ram anyway, so more than 4GB and lots of slots seems like a safe thing. Two CPUs seems like a safe thing too. But, If I can do this affordably with one CPU, then great.
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a b V Motherboard
February 10, 2010 7:35:31 PM

Well, first of all DO NOT even think about a pre-built PC. You can build yourself a nice system that can achieve the same results as a pre-built for a fraction of the cost.

It seems like you would benefit from a 6 core CPU (istambul). Or even a Core i7 920...

Where are you located at right now?
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February 10, 2010 7:40:57 PM

USA, but, I doubt I'll get my stuff at a store. I'll probably get it at newegg.

So, the AMD CPUs do not measure up to the i7?

What exactly is the difference between a xeon and an i7 or an Opteron and a Phenom?

EDIT0: Does socket LGA 1366 have six core cpu in it's future?
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a b V Motherboard
February 10, 2010 7:52:59 PM

nicethugbert said:
USA, but, I doubt I'll get my stuff at a store. I'll probably get it at newegg.

So, the AMD CPUs do not measure up to the i7?

What exactly is the difference between a xeon and an i7 or an Opteron and a Phenom?

EDIT0: Does socket LGA 1366 have six core cpu in it's future?


That is why I asked ;)  , I only buy from the Egg and Microcenter (best deals around not to mention best RMA service as well)...

Intel has a 6 core that should be released anytime soon, so does AMD (Gulftown and Thuban ;)  )

If I were you I would wait till the 6 core CPU's are released just to have better options...
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February 10, 2010 8:37:56 PM

Cool, I'll wait and make the best of my two low end PCs in the mean time. I just found the guides too. So, I'll be digging in those. Thx, guys, for the PC therapy. :)  Keep it coming if you have more. It helps me sort things out.

EDIT0: Incidentally, I don't remember seeing any benchmarks that would compare to what I intend to do with my next PC. Did I miss them? Which benchmark compares to L3DT?
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