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Workstation Graphics/Xeon?

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July 19, 2010 10:33:13 PM

Hey everyone, I have a friend that wants a build for 3D Rendering and some video editing... and I know a great deal about mainstream/gaming builds, but no clue when it comes to workstation components...

Is there a big difference in video cards? Would he benefit from buying a workstation specific card, or would a gaming card do the job?
If I were making a Sub-$1k gaming rig, I'd most likely recommend the new 460 at this point, but I have no idea how this compares.

Also, are Xeon chips worth it for these applications at their price point? I can get a $199 i7-930 at MC, for reference.

Thanks :pt1cable: 
July 20, 2010 7:44:59 AM

A xeon by itself doesn't match up but on a duallie rig it will shred rendering and video work since most of those programs are multi threaded and that is what SMP rigs shine at but if it is not a business application than I am sure a 930 will do the trick. As far as cards go nvidia quadro FX cards are choice for workstations especially Open GL stuff. BUT I guess a 460 will do in a pinch.
Google SMP and duallies and check out 2cpu.com
As we know from FPS games there is nothing like Big Twin Guns to get the job done.
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July 20, 2010 8:16:55 AM

king smp said:
A xeon by itself doesn't match up but on a duallie rig it will shred rendering and video work since most of those programs are multi threaded and that is what SMP rigs shine at but if it is not a business application than I am sure a 930 will do the trick. As far as cards go nvidia quadro FX cards are choice for workstations especially Open GL stuff. BUT I guess a 460 will do in a pinch.
Google SMP and duallies and check out 2cpu.com
As we know from FPS games there is nothing like Big Twin Guns to get the job done.


Thanks for the reply

I did some more reading and was looking at the $150 to $200 price point... I found the V4800. Is this a good card in your opinion, or do you prefer the nvidia lineup in this situation? It was getting lots of praise, and it's a Redwood chip... You'd think a 5770 (Juniper) would do the job better, but with the workstation cards there's a huge price jump between chips. I just don't understand the differences really, and why they perform so much better in certain apps. Drivers help?

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July 20, 2010 6:03:56 PM

I am sorry I was being a wise-ss regarding the 930 and 460. They would do an awesome job especially cooled properly and OC'd stable.
Seriously unless it is a business application with financial dependence on data than doing a new duallie rig is cost prohibitive. I am not up on newer cards and cpu's. I do use GPU review http://www.gpureview.com/show_cards.php which is handy. Really a good I7 with a strong ati 5000 series or a 200 series nvidia would shred in light to medium duty application.
If you want to go balls out check out 2cpu.com for new duallie rigs.
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July 20, 2010 6:19:51 PM

There are a few cases to use a Xeon:
1. If you want an insane amount of RAM (think >24GB) as most "gamer" boards max out at 16-24GB. Usually Server boards using Xeons have more RAM slots for use.

2. If you want a 2P/4P system, you have to use a Xeon.

3. If you need ECC RAM capability. Only a few gamer boards support ECC RAM correctly.

@OP: What's the total budget?
Depending on budget, you can easily build a 2P set up. ~$1700 and up. If doing massive rendering work that's multi threaded (ie Maya) a 2P certainly helps.
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July 20, 2010 8:25:12 PM

Thanks guys. =]

Yeah, I forgot to mention that this is about a $1000 build, so I think I'll stick with the i7.
I have no idea what programs are more demanding.. he just mentioned CAD and 3D rendering.
Ultimately, he wants a portable MicroATX build for him to take places.. which changes things, but I'll discuss it with him.

Given the limited information, would you recommend buying the V4800 or something like a GTX 460 or HD 5770?
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July 20, 2010 8:35:21 PM

giiven he wants it portable than look at which GPU is quieter and power efficient so you can run a lean PSU.
Other than that performance wise it is more of a price factor between the both of them they both will work well.
I wonder if a physics card would help???
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