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Seeking help with SR-2 build. Is my idea sound?

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November 25, 2010 10:40:56 PM

Thought process going into this build: I will say straight up front, I have been a mac person for the past three or so years. I still enjoy the OS and if I had my way I would be going that route but there are things that I will straight up admit that windows systems do better. The two qualities I am looking at in this build is power and expandability. For me these two areas are what macs are lacking in and it is these two qualities that I am going overboard on in this build.

Approximate Purchase Date: As soon as possible. If someone can provide me with a good reason to wait to a certain date I will consider it though.


Budget Range: Around 5000 US Dollars in the initial setup. ( though the lower the better )


System Usage from Most to Least Important: Photoshop, school work ( which can range from essays to graphic processing in photoshop, illustrator, etc. )


Parts Not Required:
Keyboard
mouse
monitor: Asus VK278Q Black 27" 1920x1080 2ms Full HD HDMI LED BackLight LCD Monitor w/Webcam 300 cd/m2 10,000,000 :1 (ASCR) ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... considering getting a 2nd if the opertunity presents itself. )
Power supply: Antec High Current Pro HCP-1200 1200W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Really im up for hearing about any place you have gone that has given you good service in the past. For the most part all I have used so far is newegg. That is not to say that if you know of a place that has a good price on a part I'm looking for or that is suggested that I would not look there as well.

Country of Origin: Washington state USA


Parts Preferences: No real preference at all I would like to do things has cheaply and long lasting as possible.


Overclocking: Maybe, I have never done it and im hoping that with this system I won't really need to OC it at all until long down the road.


SLI or Crossfire: Yes, if anyone can give me a pref on what card and brand and such please do so following a discussion on why I should go that way, im not likely to buy something unless I understand why.


Monitor Resolution: currently 1920x1080, i may go and get another monitor later, still not sure yet.



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CPU:
Intel Xeon X5680 Westmere 3.33GHz 12MB L3 Cache LGA 1366 130W Six-Core Server Processor BX80614X5680 ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ) [$1,722.30]

Mobo:
EVGA Classified SR-2 270-WS-W555-A2 LGA 1366 Intel 5520 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 HPTX Intel Motherboard (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ) [ $589.99 ]
Monitor:
Already noted.

RAM:
WINTEC 8GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM ECC Registered DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Server Memory Model 3SH13339R5-8GR ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ) [$219.99] I know one stick isn't a lot, but this build is suppose to be expanded upon as time goes on and I get money for additional parts. Also contrary to what EVGA tells people, I have seen instances online that show people using 8GB sticks of ram on their SR-2 Mobos. )

Graphics Card:
EVGA SuperClocked 015-P3-1582-AR GeForce GTX 580 (Fermi) 1536MB 384-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ) [ $529.99 ] This is awfully expensive so if people can present a good reason to go with a 480 or something I am all ears.

PSU:
Already noted in existing parts

HDD: Not sure, if i can afford it I might get a small SSD or a TB HDD. I would love one or two SSDs but my fear is if my primary use is photoshop and I use the SSD as a scratch disk then won't that degrade its integrity quicker than almost anything else. Unless I got myself a ram disk ( which would be too expensive with this build ) it seems that flash based memory will not hold up well as a scratch disk so I might be better off investing in a raid or attempting to max my ram faster.

Case:
I need a lot of help here. There is the LIAN LI PC-V2120B Black Aluminum ATX Full Tower Computer Case ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ) But at roughly $430 ( $460 if you wanna count shipping. . . ). The one I am currently leaning toward a Moutainmods U2-UFO http://www.mountainmods.com/u2ufo-cyo-choose-your-own-p... with the additions I want comes to around $345 ( im not sure how much shipping will be. ). There is also the DangerDen Tower 29 ( http://www.dangerden.com/store/black-series-tower-29.ht... ) but I am not a fan of the single optical drive port. While I can get a combodrive and I would probably be fine I would feel kind of stupid if I found myself limited by my case in some way when I bought this computer with expandability in mind. Though atm DangerDen has a 15% discount on this case which sounds pretty nice and prices it around $342.46. Any help here would really help, I don't know much about these cases or how to configure the custom ones. Im also not sure what to have in mind as this is the first computer I am building so I would like to know what I should expect from each and if there are advantages to some over others. Also other suggestions would be great if you know of a case that will fit this mobo that is not one of these three, but keep in mind that im trying to go cheap, and I would really prefer to not have to mod the case in any way.

ODD:
Will probably salvage these from older computers.

OS:
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM - $99.99
or will see if I get a student discount on it somewhere.

This comes to about $3561.27 in parts I need. ( also not I have spent roughly 500 dollars on the monitor and power supply already. The whole build as it stands will cost around $4061.27. This leaves me with around 900 dollars to spend on storage, more ram and maybe even a SSD or something. But believe me if I can come out with a system that is under 5000 I would be elated. Might start to save for the next CPU or a cintuq or something. )

Is there anything I am missing, or does anyone have any suggestions. I know it looks blasphemous to be buying an SR-2 and not maxing it the hell out and OCing it to the point that I no longer have to heat my house on account that my computer now doubles as a space heater. They way I see it, some people buy a new computer every 3 or 4 years. With this one my hope is I will spend a fair amount of money on it initially, but by buying parts over time they will only get cheaper and will leave me with a computer that not only be high-end initially, it will also hopefully stay high-end longer than most do for a cheaper price. So by the time that 4 or so year period comes up I will have a computer that will last me another 4 or so years. I am also trying to buy top of the line parts in the hopes that I will not have to replace anything, I had trading parts out, it feels wasteful. . . I have no idea if this thought process is sound or not, none of my friends handle thier computers this way but they seemed intrigued by the idea. So why don't you all tell me what you think of this build and the main idea around it, and please do it in a thoughtful manner.
November 25, 2010 11:07:55 PM

1) I think your budget is about twice as high as it needs for your needs. I would invest half your budget and you will be able to replace today's system with something much better in a couple of years.

2) A strong graphics card like the GTX580 is needed only if you will be playing fast action games. There is some value in being able to use CUDA for photoshop, but that can be done as well with a GTX470 which is selling at reduced prices now. SLI(nvidia) or crossfire(ati) allows two graphics cards to work together. It is useful mostly when a single card will no longer do the job. It may be needed for fast action gaming with three monitors, or dual 2560 x 1600 monitors

3) 6 core i7-970 processor will cost half as much and do the same work as the Xeon,
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

4) Most any X58 chipset based motherboard will do.

5) A key to Photoshop performance is large amounts of ram. Ram is relatively cheap today, get a 12gb kit(3 x 4gb) If you will use windows 7 pro or ultimate, you can use more than 16gb. 24gb is about the max on non server motherboards

6) Get a good SSD for the OS and apps at least. Get a couple of 1tb drives for storage, work, and backups.

7) OC will be easy, at least to sane levels. I doubt that you will need to.

8) Get a decent oem cooler. It will let your system run cooler and quieter. If you OC, you can go higher and easier.

9) cases are a personal thing, but if you are looking for a quality unit that can hold lots of stuff, with superb quality and cooling, I can recommend the lian li PX X1000:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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November 25, 2010 11:30:41 PM

geofelt said:
1) I think your budget is about twice as high as it needs for your needs. I would invest half your budget and you will be able to replace today's system with something much better in a couple of years.

2) A strong graphics card like the GTX580 is needed only if you will be playing fast action games. There is some value in being able to use CUDA for photoshop, but that can be done as well with a GTX470 which is selling at reduced prices now. SLI(nvidia) or crossfire(ati) allows two graphics cards to work together. It is useful mostly when a single card will no longer do the job. It may be needed for fast action gaming with three monitors, or dual 2560 x 1600 monitors

3) 6 core i7-970 processor will cost half as much and do the same work as the Xeon,
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

4) Most any X58 chipset based motherboard will do.

5) A key to Photoshop performance is large amounts of ram. Ram is relatively cheap today, get a 12gb kit(3 x 4gb) If you will use windows 7 pro or ultimate, you can use more than 16gb. 24gb is about the max on non server motherboards

6) Get a good SSD for the OS and apps at least. Get a couple of 1tb drives for storage, work, and backups.

7) OC will be easy, at least to sane levels. I doubt that you will need to.

8) Get a decent oem cooler. It will let your system run cooler and quieter. If you OC, you can go higher and easier.

9) cases are a personal thing, but if you are looking for a quality unit that can hold lots of stuff, with superb quality and cooling, I can recommend the lian li PX X1000:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


What you are saying runs in line with what I have been hearing from a lot of people. I guess what I wanna ask is do you see any reason to go the route that the original build is addressing. For instance it has room for another processor in the future, and space for 12 sticks of ram. Now I will state right now that I understand that technology gets better over time and the products of the future with put those of today to shame. So that might be my answer right there, just do what everyone else does and buy a new computer every 4 years, but can you see any merit to upgrading a computer over the span of 4 years? I suppose what im doing with this board is treating it like two computers in one. I will end up buying another processor for it more ram, another GPU, etc. I guess what im asking is do you think by that time do you think I will have actually saved money on spending my money on this build? Not only that but will I have not only of saved money but would I have a decent computer still. I mean in theory if I put another processor in this board I would have two 6 core processors leaving me with 12 physical and 12 virtual cores. Do you think we will be seeing 12 core processors at 3.33 GHz in less than 4 years? I suppose with how technology works that isn't impossible, but to have that would I end up spending just as much money in four years to have something that I could have gotten, granted not quite as good, four years before and maybe cheaper? Im just posing this question because I am curious, I wanna know if this has been thought of and countered and if it has I want to understand why.
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November 26, 2010 3:12:44 AM

1) Do you anticipate multi core enabled apps that are important to you? Multi thread programming id very difficult, and developers do not want to create programs that few customers have the pc to run. For example, games today rarely can use more than two cores, certainly not 6 or more.
2) Architectures change, about every other year, Intel's tic-toc strategy. Each architecture has given about a 15% improvement in processing capability at a given clock rate. Manufacturing technology makes chips smaller, faster, and cheaper to make. Today we see 32nm process, next year will bring a 22nm process. After that comes another architecture generation, and then the 16nm process. Four years from now, will you want to bypass such a chip? Or, if you had used this plan in the past, would you feel good about adding soomething like a 65nm pentium?
3) How much ram can you use? Do you have an app that could use 24 sticks of ram?
4) Server motherboards have a place. They are for commercial apps that do things like web hosting where thousands of small apps are running servicing customer inquiries and such. A very specialized application. Even there, they are replaced by smaller, more efficient cpu's, not by more of the old technology. It is simmply more cost effective to do so.
5) Sandy bridge is near launch. read about it here:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/3871/the-sandy-bridge-pre...
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November 26, 2010 6:28:01 AM

I don't think I would conclude that we will see technology progress in this linear fashion at all times. However, I would also add to your argument that typically components work best alone or in arrangements in which they were built specifically to work in larger systems. I would say ram and raids being good examples of components working together and multi GPU and multi CPU set ups being instances where scaling may have a large effect. I suppose that if in essence if what im trying to do is scale two computers 4 years before they are made obsolete then even if I am putting two computers together that are par at the time together, there will be no synergy between them nor will they even add up to the components inside either due to the inherent slow down between the use of more products over current ones.
Also before you replied I was doing some math and it didn't take long to see that 5000 dollars is more than even my thought process could handle. Even if I spent 3000 dollars on a computer today and spent another 3000 on a computer 4 years from now, it would be cheaper to spend that over spending 5000 on less than half the capacity of this motherboard now. Even if I spent pennies on the components to fill this computer four years from now I would still likely go over budget. Not to mention that sales dictate prices, not logic, an example being DDR2's price even after DDR3 coming into the picture and coming as far as it has.
As for my needs, you know, i probably don't need 96 gb of ram, but I might. The problem being I have never been able to do the things I would like to try partly due to my system's current abilities. I have files that start off at 1.3 GB at times with no layers. In theory duplicating the base layer then results in a 2.6 GB file. If I want to make more layers I can run into this same process of adding the base size to the existing size which would soon leave me with a very large file. A 10 layer PSD would now be taking up 13 gb of ram. Granted that is not anywhere near 96 GB, it is getting closer to 24 gb. Also taking into account that the OS is taking up ram and that every action I am doing in photoshop will also result in more need for ram, I don't see it being impossible to to use all 24 GB of ram. This is also granted im not being highly distracted by having a web-browser open and such. The main point being that while I don't think I can use up 96GB of ram I think I could use up 24GB. Though photoshop uses scratch disks which are usually the HDD, but to the degradation of an SSD I could just use one of those and be sure to corrupt it before the warranty passes and and save myself something like 3000 dollars. Its not as fast as ram but it is blazing fast compared to using an HDD as a scratch disk.
Also can you explain to me how CPU frequencies work? I am not asking in a mocking fashion or anything, I am just genuinely curious. As I was saying before my main concern is photoshop. Now what you were saying about programmers not wanting to use multi-threading because it is hard, I would also add that it is not always the most efficient way to do things. This arises a lot in photoshop, there are many actions that are only one thread because it just makes more sense to leave it up to one thread. I think a lot of my uses will only use one core which is why a high frequency is very important to me. So I would like to understand frequency better. I would like to learn by asking a question, though this might not be accurate since my understanding is limited. If you took a P4 processor running at 3.8 Ghz and compared to to a Core 2 duo running at 2.6 doesn't the P4 have a higher clock frequency of 3.8 for one thread, but the core 2 has around 73% more processing power because it can process two threads at once at 2.6 Ghz? I only ask this because in my situation does this mean that processors, at least in single thread applications have seen limited benefit in the trend of increasing cores over an increase in frequency? I know that they still do benefit since a single core system has to keep processing other tasks, such as the OS. But at a certain point wouldn't there be enough cores? Not only that but in my situation with photoshop if I had the choice between 4 cores at a higher frequency and 6 cores at a lower one, do you think I would see better performance out of the quad core?
Also thanks for noting Sandy Bridge, I am interested in seeing what comes of that. Though admittedly I am more interested in Bulldozer only because if I am not going the 5000 dollar route then I probably won't want to pay the price premium likely going to come with a new intel chip, though if it is good enough I might go with it. I think though, for the moment I am going to wait. . . though I have been putting a good deal of time looking into this and i grow tired of waiting. . . Anyway, If this is TL-DR then whatev's at least you talked to me this long. But If you don't mind continuing to help that would only serve to help me, and maybe you will get something out of it too, though I have no idea if i have provided anything thusfar.
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