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Questions about server vs workstations and my build

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July 8, 2012 1:33:58 AM

So im looking to buy a new workstation for motion graphics & visual effects and maybe some video editing on the side (possibly RED footage but for now 5D) My current workflow is usually Premiere Pro (Editing), Nuke (3D compositing) or C4d & After Effects (Motion and Design).

I was looking at the AMD Opteron 6274 (16 Cores) but realized it was a server processor.
Someone also suggested I take a look at the Intel Core i7-3960X Extreme (6 cores).

So my questions are:

1. If I chose to go the server processor route, how would I go about choosing the right mobo etc. for it. I dont want to turn the machine into a render server, I just want it to be a workstation

2. I know this is can be a really large answer, but basically what's the difference between using server processors as workstations than using regular desktop ones.

3. What would suggest to be the best build for me with a $4000 budget if Im completely off.....

Thanks guys!!!!!
a b B Homebuilt system
July 8, 2012 1:56:02 AM

There are very few differences between server processors and desktop/workstation processors.

1. Server processors have historically been designed for sockets that are multi-processor capable. Recently the sockets have been unified (LGA 2011) but only server processors have the added QPI links necessary for dual and quad socket systems.

2. Only server processors have support for ECC SDRAM

3. Desktop processors will usually work just fine in server motherboards of the same socket (this is true for LGA 1155 and 2011) but server processors will not work in desktop motherboards. There is no technical reason for this, it's purely a matter of firmware.

4. Server motherboards usually have built-in support for enterprise devices such as SAS storage devices, remote management, battery backed write caches, etc...

ECC SDRAM is helpful but not strictly necessary for 3D rendering unless you're rendering something for a week straight. The next best thing to the 3960x is the 3930k, it's nearly half the price and is only lacking a little bit of cache.
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July 8, 2012 2:18:28 AM

thanks for your reply! For the projects that I have coming up, I might be rendering for several days, maybe not exactly a week but definitely many days.

After looking at several other reviews it looks like I might be gearing towards the Opteron 16 core server processor.

And just to clarify things, I can use a server processor ask a workstation correct?
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 8, 2012 2:27:59 AM

p0tzzz said:
thanks for your reply! For the projects that I have coming up, I might be rendering for several days, maybe not exactly a week but definitely many days.

After looking at several other reviews it looks like I might be gearing towards the Opteron 16 core server processor.

And just to clarify things, I can use a server processor ask a workstation correct?


You can absolutely use a server processor on a workstation. This is incredibly common

The cost of going to ECC registered SDRAM from an equivalent capacity of non-ECC non-registered SDRAM is only a few dollars more. However, going to larger capacities such as 128GB is quite a bit more per gigabyte.
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July 8, 2012 2:44:53 AM


Great! Im sorry for so many questions, Im just really new to all of this

So the motherboard I was looking at for the AMD Opteron 6274 was the
ASUS KGPE-D16 SSI EEB 3.61 Server Motherboard Dual Socket G34 AMD SR5690 DDR3 1600/1333/1066/800

now it has the option for two CPU's but does that mean I need the two CPU's? or is that just there in case I want to add another in the future. It also has an onboard video card. Would it be possible to somehow switch that off and use say a GTX 680 instead?

Thanks!
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 8, 2012 2:46:52 AM

p0tzzz said:
Great! Im sorry for so many questions, Im just really new to all of this

So the motherboard I was looking at for the AMD Opteron 6274 was the
ASUS KGPE-D16 SSI EEB 3.61 Server Motherboard Dual Socket G34 AMD SR5690 DDR3 1600/1333/1066/800

now it has the option for two CPU's but does that mean I need the two CPU's? or is that just there in case I want to add another in the future. It also has an onboard video card. Would it be possible to somehow switch that off and use say a GTX 680 instead?

Thanks!


Yes you can absolutely add another CPU later on. It just has to be identical to the one you have installed.

How the onboard video is handled depends on the motherboard but it's usually trivial to switch to a discrete card, no different than any other IGP.
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July 8, 2012 3:22:24 AM

Okay thanks! Last question
What RAM and power supply would you suggest for this particular mobo and processor setup?
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 8, 2012 3:38:18 AM

p0tzzz said:
Okay thanks! Last question
What RAM and power supply would you suggest for this particular mobo and processor setup?


If you're planning on going with the ECC route (which I recommend for multi-day render jobs) then your options are basically WinTec or Kingston, both of which are good.

As for power supplies, that'll depend on the case but you'll want something in the 1000-1350 watt range. If you buy an EATX formfactor workstation case it may come with a good one manufactured by Flextronics or Delta
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July 8, 2012 3:45:37 AM

Best answer selected by p0tzzz.
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July 8, 2012 3:48:55 AM

thank so much Pinhedd. Do you mind if I PM you if I have any more questions
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 8, 2012 8:52:51 AM

p0tzzz said:
thank so much Pinhedd. Do you mind if I PM you if I have any more questions


Please do. My PM responses may be delayed a bit but I will get around to answering them
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