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AMD vs. Intel CPU for Rendering/3d Graphics applications

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August 13, 2012 1:25:35 AM

I just got a new i7 based rig at my workplace and i noticed a huge performance difference to my personal rig at home (old q6600 b3 oced to 3,2) - i didn't expect it to be that immense and this is somehow bothering me a little. Since I'm using my computer for about 4 1/2 years now and I'm planning to get into Arnold, Vray and Renderman in my spare time (trying to extend my horizon further than mentalray, modo and lightwave) I'd like to invest in a new rig. It will be mainly used for computer graphics (entertainment specific, nuke, maya zbrush, and the renderers i previously mentioned), and a little gaming (although my current system is fine for the games i play and i would expect the new one to be equivalent at least ;P). Since my budget isn't infinite I think about spending something around 2000€ for the new computer.

I would like to ask you for your expertise regarding a few questions:

- Regarding multiple cores: Obviously rendering is a task that is higly optimized for multicore processors in any SOftware that I can think of.With that in mind, a multi-cpu setup would seem to be an optimal solution - but dual xeon systems are extremely expensive, and some tasks in 3d graphics, like simulations, can hardly utilize all available cores. With that in mind I imagine a core i7 that can turbo boost a single core if it is under heavy load would be more valuable for allround purposes. I have heard of dual-cpu socket 1366 mainboards as well, which would seem to give me the best of both worlds - many physical cores (plus hyperthreading) for less money AND two cores that can be boosted for applications that can only utilize a single core. Since I'm not really up to date with all the new technologies that came with the core-i im still quite unsure if this theory would work out practically.

- CPU-wise, i was thinking of two i7960 (if there actually is a dual core 1366 mainboard - i have read about it, but searching for it now i cannot find one in any store) or a single 970 six core. But considering its price, the amd FX-8150 would sound great (3.6 ghz, 8 cores for 180€..) - how come it's so much cheaper than any of the better i7 models? Considering the budget, what do you think about these cpu's? Since I'd like to get as many, as fast cores as possible, I think I cannot seroiusly consider the xeon cpus, right? How would you weight the nuber of cores vs. the speed of the cores?

thank you a lot for your time -
cheers, martin
August 13, 2012 2:01:01 AM

oh, and I was wondering if waiting for ivy bridge 6/8 core processors would be worth it :) 
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August 13, 2012 5:45:15 AM

In high intensive tasks (and multitasking) the AMD FX 8150 can keep upt with the i7's but the advatage is minimal. The FX 8150 its AMD's flagship...the Intel one will cost you 1000E -^ but then again, the 1000E CPU will kill your FX :) . @ 180E the FX its a very good CPU (passing even the i72600k sometimes)
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August 13, 2012 5:47:02 AM

nuki said:
oh, and I was wondering if waiting for ivy bridge 6/8 core processors would be worth it :) 

There are already Ivybridge/Sandybridge 6/8 cores!
Read this for a good understanding of the Xeon E5 8 cores and their performance:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/xeon-e5-2687w-bench...

Socket 1366 is old, newer sockets are 1155 and 2011!
August 13, 2012 1:19:28 PM

i just read this very interesting article about the fx 8150 http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/fx-8150-zambezi-bulldozer... and was particularly curious about the part where it says that one bulldozer module with two cores shares a single floating point alu to both cores. Since raytracing is all about floating point calculations am I right to assume that it would effectively give me only 4 cores for raytracing purposes?
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