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LGA 2011 Xeon or i7 for Music Production

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April 3, 2012 7:12:18 AM

Allo there!

Just wanted to gather some input on a build I'm constructing. I compose music for film and television and need a lot of performance power from my computer. I don't need much in regards to graphics, but do need plenty of RAM and clocking speed, as the computer I'm building will be for both composing and loading large samples. Bearing this in mind, what CPU do you think would be a greater asset, the i7 3930k or the Xeon E5-2650?

I believe that if I was just using the computer as a sample server workstation, the Xeon would be more of an asset, but since I will be doing both composing on a sequences and loading samples, I was leaning towards the i7 (also, the difference in price kinda plays a role :) 

Btw, here's the current list of hardware I'm considering....

LIAN LI PC-B10 USB3.0 Black Aluminum ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

EVGA 01G-P3-1561-AR GeForce GTX 560 Ti FPB (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP

COOLER MASTER Silent Pro Gold Series RSA00-80GAD3-US 1000W ATX 12V v2.3 / EPS 12V v2.92 SLI

Logitech Cordless Desktop EX 100 Black USB RF Wireless Standard Keyboard and Mouse

G.SKILL Ares Series 32GB (4 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 (PC3 14900) Desktop Memory

ASRock X79 Extreme6/GB LGA 2011 Intel X79 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

Intel Core i7-3930 Sandy Bridge-E 3.2GHz (3.8GHz Turbo) LGA 2011 130W Six-Core

Intel BXRTS2011LC Liquid-cooled Thermal Solution For the LGA2011 Socket

1 Intel 320 Series SSDSA2CW 2.5" 160GB II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

2 Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2CCA 2.5" 256GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) with Transfer

2 Western Digital Caviar Black 1 TB SATA III 7200 RPM 64 MB

Any and all thoughts would be appreciated!! Thanks!

More about : lga 2011 xeon music production

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a c 192 à CPUs
April 3, 2012 8:44:48 AM

The question I like to ask people when they're stuck between choosing a high-end desktop platform and a more expensive professional workstation is this:

What's the monetary value of the time lost if it fails?

If that's not a small number, or you simply cannot afford to be without it, go with the C600 platform. If you can afford to be without a workstation for a few days, go with the X79 platform.

Consider also that you might be using this for several years so amortize the cost over that whole period, don't view it entirely as an upfront cost.

Also consider a redundant power supply, discrete battery-backed RAID controller and enough storage space to put anything you absolutely cannot afford to lose in RAID-1. Use SAS drives

I know that this isn't the most popular advice here on Toms but you should consider shopping at Dell or HP and getting a service plan. If something goes wrong they will fix it up right away, see what I said above about value of time lost.
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a c 186 à CPUs
April 3, 2012 9:34:46 AM

i7-2600k
Asrock z68 extreme 4 gen 3
Corsair H80+2 Cougar 120mm Vortex fans OR XSPC Rasa Rx120
32gb Corsair Vengeance ddr3 1600mhz
Corsair Tx650M, You do not need such a large power supply, especially one by a crappy psu company (cooler master)
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a b à CPUs
April 3, 2012 10:04:55 AM

change the water cooler, it's overpriced
lots of RAM
lots of cores
think about a workstation GPU
not very knowledgeable on Xeons though so can't help with processor so sorry about that
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April 4, 2012 4:36:43 PM

amuffin said:
i7-2600k
Asrock z68 extreme 4 gen 3
Corsair H80+2 Cougar 120mm Vortex fans OR XSPC Rasa Rx120
32gb Corsair Vengeance ddr3 1600mhz
Corsair Tx650M, You do not need such a large power supply, especially one by a crappy psu company (cooler master)



Why do you recommend going the i7 first generation route?
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a c 186 à CPUs
April 4, 2012 7:49:21 PM

Second generation! First gen is i7 9xx and 8xx cpus. That is because you can upgrade to ivybridge 3770k later on!
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April 4, 2012 11:07:36 PM

amuffin said:
Second generation! First gen is i7 9xx and 8xx cpus. That is because you can upgrade to ivybridge 3770k later on!


He's trying to work out if he wants a 6-core or an 8-core. Neither LGA 1155 processors offer the same kind of performance or memory support of the LGA 2011 options.

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UncleChimps,

Go with the i7. The 3930K, and it's Xeon version the E5-1650, are really the best choices unless you can afford dual processors and are willing to spend over $3,000 - I wouldn't go less than dual E5-2640s for what you are doing over the 3930K/1650. The E5-2650 is for servers, not workstations where clockspeed still matters so much.

Using a single 8-core E5-2600 Xeon is rarely going to be the practical solution as you waste so much money on the premium for dual processor capabilities. Even some dual options are better depending what you do. It's like $300 cheaper to get 12x 2.0GHz cores with dual E5-2620s than buy a single E5-2650 and only $100 more for dual E52630s. Only the really high-clock speed 8-cores are sort of worth it and then if money isn't really an issue.
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April 5, 2012 7:48:37 AM

Umbongo said:
He's trying to work out if he wants a 6-core or an 8-core. Neither LGA 1155 processors offer the same kind of performance or memory support of the LGA 2011 options.

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UncleChimps,

Go with the i7. The 3930K, and it's Xeon version the E5-1650, are really the best choices unless you can afford dual processors and are willing to spend over $3,000 - I wouldn't go less than dual E5-2640s for what you are doing over the 3930K/1650. The E5-2650 is for servers, not workstations where clockspeed still matters so much.

Using a single 8-core E5-2600 Xeon is rarely going to be the practical solution as you waste so much money on the premium for dual processor capabilities. Even some dual options are better depending what you do. It's like $300 cheaper to get 12x 2.0GHz cores with dual E5-2620s than buy a single E5-2650 and only $100 more for dual E52630s. Only the really high-clock speed 8-cores are sort of worth it and then if money isn't really an issue.



Yo Umbongo,

Thanks for the response. What would be the salient differences between the i7 3930k and the Xeon E5-1650? I would like to keep cost in check, but if a more expensive purchase made sense down the line, then I'd certainly consider. Also, if going the Xeon E5 route, what about the 1660 vs the 1650?
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a b à CPUs
April 5, 2012 9:47:59 AM

you might want to consider an opteron system. lots of cores for somewhat cheap.
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April 5, 2012 12:19:09 PM

UncleChimps said:
Yo Umbongo,

Thanks for the response. What would be the salient differences between the i7 3930k and the Xeon E5-1650? I would like to keep cost in check, but if a more expensive purchase made sense down the line, then I'd certainly consider. Also, if going the Xeon E5 route, what about the 1660 vs the 1650?


The only real difference between the E5-1600s and the Core i7 3000s are the Xeons support ECC memory (that includes Registered ECC working - so you can use 16GB and 32GB DIMMs) while the Core i7s are what you want if you are going to overclock.

I really wouldn't step up to the core i7 3960X or E5-1660. 100MHz clockspeed and 25%/3MB more cache for over $400 just seems so little for so much money. Honestly, the $600 6-cores are in such a great place for workstation usage that other options really only make sense if extra processing power saves you measurable time and you value that time. The mix of high-clockrate, big Turbo Boost and good amount of cores is great. Will the 3-5% performance gain of a 3960X/1660 give you $400 worth of your time back?

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April 5, 2012 6:32:05 PM

Umbongo said:
The only real difference between the E5-1600s and the Core i7 3000s are the Xeons support ECC memory (that includes Registered ECC working - so you can use 16GB and 32GB DIMMs) while the Core i7s are what you want if you are going to overclock.

I really wouldn't step up to the core i7 3960X or E5-1660. 100MHz clockspeed and 25%/3MB more cache for over $400 just seems so little for so much money. Honestly, the $600 6-cores are in such a great place for workstation usage that other options really only make sense if extra processing power saves you measurable time and you value that time. The mix of high-clockrate, big Turbo Boost and good amount of cores is great. Will the 3-5% performance gain of a 3960X/1660 give you $400 worth of your time back?


I see. Cool, thanks Umbongo.

Now my question is...:)  - is coughing up the extra money for the E5-1650 worth having access to ECC memory? Furthermore, if I want to get 8gb sticks of ECC memory, I judge it would get fairly pricey, yeah?

Finally, and I know I'm asking a lot of questions here, but what would be more beneficial in my situation (considering I'm sequencing music and hosting samples on my computer)...having the ability to overclock, or having access to registered ECC memory?

Thanks again man!
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April 12, 2012 7:21:45 AM

Best answer selected by UncleChimps.
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October 14, 2012 7:32:57 PM

The i7 have 10 PCI-e lanes and the Xeon e5 have 40 PCI-e lanes, do this mean that the i7 can't deliver data to a PCI-e 16x GFX?
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November 8, 2012 6:05:35 AM

Guthrum said:
The i7 have 10 PCI-e lanes and the Xeon e5 have 40 PCI-e lanes, do this mean that the i7 can't deliver data to a PCI-e 16x GFX?

I M S.K. MOHANTY MUSIC COMPOSER & PROGRAMOR , PLEASE SEND ME HI FI COMPUGRUTION, MY E-MAIL sridhar.kumar93@yahoo.com
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