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Noob Question - Ivy Bridge, 4 cores?

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May 16, 2012 2:19:25 PM

I may be quite possibly switching over from mac to pc this summer and am looking to build a workstation. I'm fairly new to customizing and building and am trying to understand all these differences between xeons, i7's, sandy bridge, sandy bridge-e, ivy bridge, etc.

For a while I was sold on the idea of a dual lower ghz xeon-e5 workstation for my 3d/compositing work, but I still see a lot of people pushing the idea of an overclocked i7 as being an worthy competitor for a lot of the type of work I do.

Anyhow, I've been led to believe that for my applications, which can usually use a lot of multicore multithreaded operations, that more cores are better. I've been looking at an 8-core cpu, or possibly dual hex. I've been told to wait for ivy bridge, especially for graphics work and performance, but I notice statements that ivy bridge cpu's have a maximum of 4 cores? How does this leave them stacking up against previous sandy bridge/e 6 and 8 core cpu's?

I'm a little confused about this, why intels next gen microarchitecture would have less cores? Can somebody help clarify this for me?
a c 887 à CPUs
May 16, 2012 2:24:46 PM

On LGA1155 I5 has 4 cores and can do 4 threads at a time, I7 has 4 cores but can deal with 8 threads because of hyper threading. On LGA 2011 you have I7 38xx that has 4 cores 8 threads and 39xx that has 6 cores and 12 threads at a time. Price wise the i7 1155 is a very attractive system for your use.
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a c 203 à CPUs
May 16, 2012 2:32:10 PM

dbit said:
Anyhow, I've been led to believe that for my applications, which can usually use a lot of multicore multithreaded operations, that more cores are better.
Go at this from another direction.
What does your software require to reach the level of performance you need?
Like, how many cores? How many threads?

Are you going professional? Going to earn a living with your work?
What are the experienced uses of your software of choice picking for hardware?
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May 16, 2012 2:37:21 PM

I'm primarily using CS5.5, especially after effects, cinema4d, nuke, and some tracking and color correction software. As I understand it AE and c4d are highly multithreaded and I need decent render times as well. My needs are professional and my budget for the workstation is around 4k.

I'm still trying to understand why I might want a 4 core ivy bridge processor as opposed to a 6, dual-6, or 8 core sandy bridge/e processor. Everytime I think I'm starting to get a handle on things something new throws a wrench in my thinking. Are these people saying that ivy bridge is a huge leap forward for graphics just talking about intel integrated graphics, or does it apply to the handling of graphics related processes in general?
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a c 887 à CPUs
May 16, 2012 2:40:23 PM

For professional money making work and your budget then a multicore Xeon system would be the right way to go.
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May 16, 2012 2:41:17 PM

ps: people in my field are generally opting for high end i7's overclocked, or dual xeon e5 machines if they can afford it, with people generally opting for the most cores they can get, or a dual processor system (often dual hex), although there's a lot of argument over the value of the xeons vs the i7's for peoples work. Similarly there's a lot of fighting about quadro's vs gtx's. There's not a whole lot of talk on forums yet about ivy bridge as it's pretty new, which is why I'm asking around.
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a c 203 à CPUs
May 16, 2012 2:45:23 PM

With your budget you want to be looking at the workstation XEON CPUs and GPUs and not the consumer versions.
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a c 203 à CPUs
May 16, 2012 2:52:07 PM

dbit said:
ps: people in my field are generally opting for high end i7's overclocked, or dual xeon e5 machines if they can afford it, with people generally opting for the most cores they can get, or a dual processor system (often dual hex), although there's a lot of argument over the value of the xeons vs the i7's for peoples work. Similarly there's a lot of fighting about quadro's vs gtx's. There's not a whole lot of talk on forums yet about ivy bridge as it's pretty new, which is why I'm asking around.
We're not going to be able to give you better recommendations than people who make a living using that software.

The fact that people are opting for a range of hardware could be budget driven, rather than performance driven.
Or that some people might not spend a lot of time on those types of tasks.
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a c 887 à CPUs
May 16, 2012 2:55:14 PM

WR2 said:
We're not going to be able to give you better recommendations than people who make a living using that software.

The fact that people are opting for a range of hardware could be budget driven, rather than performance driven.
Or that some people might not spend a lot of time on those types of tasks.

Agree that it is budget driven to go with consumer CPU's and gaming cards over the professional hardware!
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a c 203 à CPUs
May 16, 2012 3:01:58 PM

dbit said:
I'm a little confused about this, why intels next gen microarchitecture would have less cores? Can somebody help clarify this for me?
This one is a bit easier. Ivy Bridge isn't at the top end of the Intel desktop roadmap.


There is another roadmap around somewhere for the workstation / data center CPUs which I can't dig out ATM.
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May 16, 2012 3:08:27 PM

Thanks WR2 for that. So ivy bridge and haswell are still aimed at consumer level performance and power consumption improvements? It looks like from that chart sandy bridge/e will still reign supreme for high end systems for some time?
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a c 203 à CPUs
May 16, 2012 3:16:16 PM

Correct. And above that, in the workstation and data center, its as much about energy savings as performance.
It's where you find hex and octa core XEONs and dual/quad socket platforms.

And you probably want to pay attention to the GPU when GPGPU enabled programs (Adobe CS6?) can make use of the GPU cores for co-processing.

It's a bit tricky for consumers who aren't seeing much of a return on adding two extra cores.
The desktop enthusiast crowd (gaming subset) is usually better off spending more on the GPU than the CPU.

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a c 190 à CPUs
May 16, 2012 3:19:17 PM

Most people miss the simple ≥ which means that we may release something in the future. This is meant to allow use to post some future direction without being tied to the wall as to what the future may hold.

As a general rule we have generally given our server products a 2 year lifespan while the desktop product focus on a one year lifespan. So I would expect you would see some socket 2011 based processors for some time to come in both the desktop and server.


Christian Wood
Intel Enthusiast Team
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May 16, 2012 4:32:35 PM

It looks like I've been focusing in on this mb/cpu combo. Any feedback?

MB: SUPERMICRO MBD-X9DRL-3F-O ATX Server Motherboard Dual LGA 2011 DDR3 1600

CPU(x2): Intel Xeon E5-2640 Sandy Bridge-EP 2.5GHz 15MB L3 Cache LGA 2011 95W Six-Core Server Processor
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a c 203 à CPUs
May 16, 2012 9:45:10 PM

CPU choice is fine.
I'm not thrilled about the motherboard. No PCI-e x16 graphics card slots. Not even one.
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May 16, 2012 10:24:45 PM

I've also been building a comparable i7 build per some advisement on my work. What do you think of this config? Thanks for pointing out the card issue, I hadn't noticed that!

i7 spec:

MB: ASUS Rampage IV Extreme LGA 2011 Intel X79 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Extended ATX Intel Motherboard

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

RAM: G.SKILL Ares Series 32GB (4 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)

Video Card: EVGA SuperClocked+ 02G-P4-2684-KR GeForce GTX 680 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16

HD: (x2)Crucial M4 CT256M4SSD2CCA 2.5" 256GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) with Transfer Kit

(x3)Seagate Barracuda XT ST32000641AS 2TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5"

PSU: CORSAIR Professional Series Gold AX850 850W ATX12V v2.31 / EPS12V v2.92 80 PLUS GOLD Certified

Case: NZXT Switch 810 - CA-SW810-B1 Black Steel / Plastic ATX Full Tower Computer Case with USB 3.0

Total Price: 3309.89
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a c 203 à CPUs
May 16, 2012 11:00:35 PM

Looking good.

Only things I see missing are a copy of Windows and a CPU cooler.
Sandy-E ships without a CPU cooler in the retail package. And you might want to leverage a bit more speed out of the CPU with a good aftermarket cooler.

Everything is compatible and very good quality. You'll only need 1 Transfer kit SSD even if you get 2x Crucial M4.

And you'll have enough left in your budget to look after the important peripherals too.
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May 17, 2012 12:26:03 AM

Thanks WR2 for all your help! I need to look into coolers. If I overclock, do I need a liquid cooling system? I've heard pros and cons, and honestly I'd like to avoid it as the box may be left to render unattended for long periods of time, but I'd definitely like to hear your opinion on the subject.

Also, someone else thought that that rampage board was overkill, but I'd like the option to configure SLI in the future, and I'd prefer to drop a few extra dollars on a quality motherboard than just look at the bottom line price/value ration.
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a c 203 à CPUs
May 17, 2012 12:54:22 AM

I like the ASUS P9X79 WS X79 for a bit less money.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

That price difference would just about cover the cost of an excellent aftermarket CPU cooler.

Noctua NH-C14 140mm x 2 SSO CPU Cooler
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It will need the free socket 2011 kit available from Noctua
http://www.noctua.at/main.php?show=productview&products...



The fully sealed water cooler kits aren't a bad option. For about $20
CORSAIR H80 (CWCH80) High Performance Liquid CPU Cooler
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Almost as good as the Noctua NH-C14


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May 23, 2012 12:34:34 AM

Watch out when going with a gaming card. Even if your render times end up being equal there's proportedly a difference when it comes to final image QUALITY/FIDELITY.
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June 18, 2012 3:56:18 PM

Best answer selected by dbit.
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