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Xeon and Thunderbolt

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September 12, 2012 9:16:28 PM

I am looking to build a PC workstation with dual xeons but want to make sure its future-proof. I am a PC guy who works amongst a lot of mac users, so its looking like thunderbolt will be a very important consideration if its going to be my main workstation for the next 2 years.

There are plenty of options to get thunderbolt-enabled boards that support desktop i7s, but absolutely none on the xeon front. From the little bit I can scrounge up via google searches, it doesn't sound too promising that the combo will ever come out (understandably, considering xeons are really for data centers / servers). All of the information I can find sounds like speculation though, and I am looking for facts so I can make a decision to wait or just to go with an i7 desktop solution.

Does anyone here know any specifics regarding xeon + thunderbolt in the near future? Lets leave Mac Pro speculations out of this...

More about : xeon thunderbolt

a b à CPUs
September 12, 2012 9:21:18 PM

Thunderbolt is very niche and not a lot of people use it, even Mac users.
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September 12, 2012 9:24:24 PM

obsama1 said:
Thunderbolt is very niche and not a lot of people use it, even Mac users.


I strongly disagree.

Video cameras are now using it as the default port, thunderbolt drives are coming out of the woodwork, and the idea of having power + data on a single cord for monitors, expansions / components that used to require PCI, etc will take off like wildfire.

Niche to power users, maybe. But Xeons are a power user processor.
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a b à CPUs
September 12, 2012 11:49:10 PM

Not that I don't believe you, but what cameras use TB as default? It's not going to take off until the cable prices go down. Only 2-3 1155 mobo's have TB. What Xeon were you looking at?
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a b à CPUs
September 12, 2012 11:55:07 PM

Hi :) 

I dont even stock TB cables in my shops, as absolutely NO call for them , and we stock cables of all types for video cameras...

Pro guess as to when we will stock them... hmmm...somewhere between 1 to 3 years from now...

All the best Brett :) 
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September 12, 2012 11:57:56 PM

The Blackmagic Cinema camera, which I have on pre-order.

I work in video, so perhaps my industry is a bit niche and Im a bit stuck in my own little bubble in terms of whats taking off and not, but within the post-production industry, the advantages of thunderbolt are huge. Guys are running 27" monitors via thunderbolt all of the time on their MBPs and external RAID arrays are fast enough to work with large media files quickly.

If they were to support thunderbolt now, I'd pick up a couple of the E5-2687W Sandy Bridge-EP 3.1GHz.
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September 19, 2012 11:56:44 PM

So nothing, eh?

Just asking if anyone has heard / read anywhere any signs of XEONs working with Thunderbolt.

Even a rumored date for the next xeon updates would be helpful so I can determine if its worth waiting to see.
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December 21, 2012 1:42:06 AM

Also seeking a multi-xeon + Thunderbolt solution... Hopefully, you can share answers. Otherwise, I will seek a single Xeon + Thunderbolt if I can find it, or I will have to just go all Xeon.
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January 23, 2013 11:34:19 PM

Hi

I'm also researching a dual Xeon Thunderbolt system - no joy at all it seems.

Having to decide between a dual xeon or thunderbolt i7 system. Probably going with the xeon system for pure horsepower, it'll be running DaVinci Resolve with 4k images, I'll move data around with RAID fibre channel until a more simple Thunderbolt solution arrives.

Cheers

Shane
shanedaly.info
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January 24, 2013 11:02:13 PM

You won't likely see a dual-Xeon board with thunderbolt built in for years. It's way too niche a desire from customers at the moment for board-makers to be making a special model that is $50-$80 more. There also appear to be implementation issues when there is no iGPU present.
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January 28, 2013 7:08:05 PM

Hi all

I'm looking to build to fastest home setup possible without actually spending on a full licensed Linux resolve.

I researched all last week on the best home Resolve setup and went from OSX Hackintosh to Linux to PC and eventually back to OSX as I learned more.

So far I have settled on these components;
- Resolve for Mac OSX license on Mountain Lion
- Corsair Obsidian 900D case
- ASUS LGA2011 Intel C602 DDR3 1600 SATA III Motherboard Z9PE-D8 WSIntel Xeon Eight-Core E5-2687W 3.1GHz 8.0GT/s 20MB LGA2011Corsair Hydro Series
- 2 x Intel Xeon Eight-Core E5-2687W 3.1GHz 8.0GT/s 20MB LGA2011
- 64Gb Corsair Dominator 2100Mhz
- 2 x Extreme Performance Liquid CPU Cooler H100i
Cubix Expander for;
3 x EVGA GeForce GTX 680 FTW 4096MB GDDR5, DVI, DVI-D, HDMI, DisplayPort
1 x Red Rocket Card
- GUI = 1 x Quadro 4000 for Mac
- Decklink 4k card
- Apple Display as GUI monitor (via Displayport?)
- 4 Monitoring undecided as yet
- RAID storage currently undecided


I wanted to build a Thunderbolt setup but have preferred the twin Xeon motherboard to a single i7 core - I need a super stable environment so am not over-clocking.
So my questions are;
Are these the top of the line components??
Is there a better setup?
I read conflicting info about the advantages of 2/3Gb 580 PCIe2 cards vs 4Gb 680 PCIe3 cards? Which is the definitive best for OSX Resolve work?
Why not use 4 x 680 (1 x 680 as the GUI)?
Why are Quadro seen to better with so many less CUDA cores? Is the larger memory bus the deal breaker?
Is an all Quadro / Tesla system better for Resolve (and worth the larger expense)?? They aren't approved by DaVinci.. Would 4 x Quadro 6000 work??
Is the Windows advantage of another GPU and more RAM worth the pain of dealing with the OS? (I hate Windows!)
What are the advantages of DVI over HDMI?
I am trying to build a system which will be relatively future proof moving into a 6k / 4k world.


Thanks all, any advice gratefully appreciated.


Best
Shane
shanedaly.info
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February 3, 2013 11:29:45 PM

Sounds like we are doing the same type of work.

I think you are going a bit overboard in some areas, and setting yourself up for failure anyway by going the hackintosh route. Resolve for Windows is solid as a rock, and its a legit environment.

DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT USING A HACKINTOSH FOR PRODUCTION WORK! Worst. Idea. Ever. It will leave you stranded one day. Guaranteed. If you get a software / OS update it will blacklist your hardware. And you need to update your OS / quicktime in order to stay current with all the new codecs coming out. Your a pro, so use pro equipment. Apple is nothing but a phone company now. Theres more money in that arena, so I don't blame them and miss the OS. No excuse to stay with them though.

Also, xeons have nothing to do with resolve anyway. No need whatsoever. All processing is in the video card, and supporting most video cards in os x is pretty much a no-go. Especially hackintoshes.


I have been using an i7 machine (sandy bridge 6 core @3.2 hyperthreaded) using 2 gtx 680s, 32 gigs of ram, 128gb system ssd, a 512 gb SSD dedicated for cache, 6 TB raid 0 for media, and a 2 TB raid 1 for work / project files. Everything runs real time, even with an insane amount of different keys / mattes / windows in a shot. If its dedicated to resolve thats all the power you need. You can get away with less of a hard drive array if you wanted. I overclock because I also render cinema 4d and run after effects on it.

Not only is it about 25% the cost of a mac pro that can support resolve, but it outperforms it by a long shot as well. The reality is that Apple is no longer a power computing company, which is forcing those of us in post production over to windows. I am able to offer far more attractive turn-around and lower prices to clients than the majority of competitors who are clinging to their ancient mac pros for some reason.

Quadros are a complete rip off, and don't do anyone any good in reality. Its basically for software companies that would rather not test their software on so many different video card types / drivers and just have a short "supported pro card" list. *cough apple *cough.

If you are not overclocking, there is no need for that hydro cooler. But I have that H100 and am overclocking to 4.9 solid. I even render Cinema 4d for hours at 100% load for days and it never crashes.

For resolve, cuda cores are very important. When shopping for your cards, make sure you are packing in as many cuda cores as possible.

Also, stay away from apple monitors. You will They only make glossy now. Just stay away from everything apple for post-production from now on. Dell IPS monitors are good.

Thunderbolt seems to be dying away. A lot of 3rd party companies are dropping support and going USB 3 instead. It would have been nice for the blackmagic camera, but I just put in a SSD hot-swappable dock in the front bay of my machine and all is well.
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March 14, 2013 3:09:18 AM

Aromakat,

Is 32GB of RAM enough (I assume that is what the SSD is for...caching)?
And what motherboard are you using?

We just picked up a Blackmagic Cam and are looking to build a post-prod system around it.
Possibly a dual-OS setup just in case.
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March 10, 2014 5:14:45 PM

aromakat said:
I am looking to build a PC workstation with dual xeons but want to make sure its future-proof. I am a PC guy who works amongst a lot of mac users, so its looking like thunderbolt will be a very important consideration if its going to be my main workstation for the next 2 years.

There are plenty of options to get thunderbolt-enabled boards that support desktop i7s, but absolutely none on the xeon front. From the little bit I can scrounge up via google searches, it doesn't sound too promising that the combo will ever come out (understandably, considering xeons are really for data centers / servers). All of the information I can find sounds like speculation though, and I am looking for facts so I can make a decision to wait or just to go with an i7 desktop solution.

Does anyone here know any specifics regarding xeon + thunderbolt in the near future? Lets leave Mac Pro speculations out of this...


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March 10, 2014 5:37:57 PM

That's a great question. So here is my theory. I am a video producer myself, so I understand where you come from with thunderbolt. Here is what I discovered, considering I was looking for the same set-up. In my humble opinion, Intel MAY have a lock on motherboards using thunderbolt. I think they only reserve the LGA 2011 socket motherboards with thunderbolt for the contract agreement workstations partners like HP, Apple, and Dell. As of now, you can only use the LGA1150 socket motherboards with thunderbolt if you buy these motherboards separately. The problem here? You're right. No 6, 8, 10 or 12 core chips available for socket 1150. Why? Again, I think intel is protecting their contracts they have with HP, Apple and Dell considering they buy a ton of processors. Now don't get me wrong, the day may come when Asus, Gigabyte and others offer this setup, but not until Intel allows this, if this theory is true. I also saw where Gigabyte is coming out with a new socket 2011, but no thunderbolt 1 or 2!

http://www.gigabyte.us/products/product-page.aspx?pid=4...

So I can't imagine Gigabyte offering the - Latest and Greatest - LGA2011 motherboard and not offering Thunderbolt 1 or 2, which makes me believe Intel has a restriction on this custom build. I could be wrong. Maybe it's do to a lack of interest considering most people in the - Media World - making money intend to buy the whole professional setup from HP, Apple or Dell; therefore, the target market is too slim and not worth it. If your looking to build, I would think the best option is buying an HP Z820 case with the motherboard from Ebay. They're selling these cases with the actual motherboard and power supply - nothing else. I have seem them for 700 to 1300. The you could upgrade the computer with your own parts, but have the option of thunderbolt. However, The HP's require you buy a PCI card for their thunderbolt option.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/HP-Z820-Base-Unit-QG198AV-w-Hea...

So needless to say I am looking at the Mac Pro myself. Can't take the risk of building a set-up and then it fails on a big project.
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April 3, 2014 9:09:02 AM

Supermicro has a few Xeon boards that have on-board Thunderbolt but, no duel boards at this time.
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