workstation

Alright, Im thinking about building myself a workstation since my current PC is not handling my workload. My question is what is the best CPU out there right now for such a thing? I need dual processors, so should I go with the Xeon or Opteron? I would like to get a 64 bit processor, so should I do it now or wait a while before I start this?
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  1. What sort of workload is this again?

    -----
    Moo.
  2. geophysical data processing, cad, and GIS
  3. What is your OS and actual platform.Your budget also.

    Just to show bad
  4. I'm thinking about doing the same thing, but the choice seems to be about money more than anything else (as very little [mainstrean] 64 bit software is available at the moment).

    Where I live (UK), I can buy a ASUS dual Xeon motherboard (PC-DL) and two Xeon 2.6Ghz CPUs (533Mhz FSB) for £470. 2x Opteron 242 (1.6Ghz) with an MSI board will set me back £744. Adding faster CPUs will only exacerbate the price difference.

    The Opteron is very nice etc., but it is not a value solution unless you have an application which makes heavy use of 64bit integers (like encryption).

    "Some mice have two buttons. Macintosh has one. So it's extremely difficult to push the wrong button." - Apple ad. circa 1984.
  5. Well, Xeon will hardly be more expensive than Opteron... and the 242s are at 1.8Ghz only, but are still terrific processors when compared to the 2.6Ghz Xeons...

    Just out of curiosity, you're theoretically the guy who would be interested in finding out about 64-bit Xeons... We'll all know more about that after IDF (17-19th February)...

    Meanwhile, I think it boils to a question of budget. Are the dual 1.8Ghz Opterons faster?... Well, probably. But they're probably more expensive as well. And the Xeons should do OK, too...
  6. any idea how long it will be before we see 64bit Xeons?
  7. if we can believe the rumour mill, not until sometime next year. Frankly, I don't see any reason for you to not get a nice dual opteron rig right now. It tends to beat Xeon systems in price performance for most workstation apps (not media encoding), and it already supports 64 bit. Tyan has a few damn nice dual opteron boards for very reasonable prices. Opteron 244 sell for $440 on pricewatch. Not cheap, but reasonable IMHO. if that is too much, half that price gets you a 240, and you can always drop in a 24x or 25x later as prices come down.

    = The views stated herein are my personal views, and not necessarily the views of my wife. =
  8. Well, really in media encoding Opteron smokes Xeon, too:

    http://www.sudhian.com/showdocs.cfm?aid=487&pid=1806

    http://www.sudhian.com/showdocs.cfm?aid=487&pid=1807

    Of course in Maya, AutoCAD, SolidWorks, Scientific apps, mathematical apps, Development apps... Opteron smokes Xeon too.

    Xeon only mantains his lead in 3dsmax, LightWave and Cinema 4D (in Cinema only in final render, not in OpenGL or Shading according Cinebench 2003 results, where Opteron is best).
  9. I hate to recommend either because both suck so bad. I mean, a 100% increase in processing power only yields around 30% decrease in computing times. And server/workstation chipsets favor I/O over CPU/graphics performance. Even "graphics workstations" tend to use these slower parts.

    A P4 3.4GHz should handle the same workload as those two 2.6GHz Xeons, but opens you up to faster boards/chipsets/RAM.

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  10. You forget one important and in workstation world vital thing: dual CPU = real and true multi tasting.
  11. And dual chip software.
  12. > mean, a 100% increase in processing power only yields
    >around 30% decrease in computing times

    That depends very much on the app, some apps, especially workstation apps will get close to 100% speedups, and adding a second cpu might even give you far better p/p than increasing your processing power by only 6% (and therefore, maybe 3% decrease in computing times) for a 50% more expensive cpu.

    Also, a dual cpu motherboard will usually let you expand I/O further, give you more PCI slots, and 64 bit 133 MHz slots. And lets you increase memory size more economicaly as you have more memory slots. You and me may not need more than 3 gigs of RAM, but then, we are not workstation users working with GIS apps either..

    Lastly, have you ever worked with a dual cpu rig ? It just rocks to have a "spare" cpu when you are running some non threaded app, and still be able to work full speed. That alone could mean a >10000% increase in producivity. You work, instead of wait for the computer to finish. I have never worked with a HT chip, do I can't speak from experience if it behaves similary.

    = The views stated herein are my personal views, and not necessarily the views of my wife. =
  13. Yep, I don't want a pseudo 6Ghz ubermachine, I just want to be able to knock up textures in Photoshop and browse the web on one CPU whilst MAX does it's pre-rendering calculations (which usu. kill the GUI) on the other CPU.

    I could buy another computer and use network rendering etc., but a dual system allows me to merge two computers into a smaller footprint and share things like gfx cards etc.
  14. Well, as much as I would like to have a new workstation now it looks like it would be best to wait as long as I can. Currently I have a P4 2.26 with 1 gig of Mushkin case 2.2.2 memory. Some of my data sets lock up my computer and eventually crash it. I think I will wait for the 64bit xeons to come out or wait for the AMDs to get a little faster.
  15. > I think I will wait for the 64bit xeons to come out

    Why is that ?

    > or wait for the AMDs to get a little faster

    compared to what ? your current setup or Xeons ? Opterons are already as fast as it gets. What might make sense though, is waiting for 64 bit windows (assuming you are using windows) to become available, and then buy a 64 bit capable machine (as they will be cheaper than today). even if your apps are not ported to 64 bit yet, a 64 bit OS will allow 32 bit apps to use the full 4 GB address space, not the 2 GB you are currently limited to.

    If you use Linux, I see no reason to wait for anything, it seems like you need a 64 bit WS asap.

    = The views stated herein are my personal views, and not necessarily the views of my wife. =
  16. I use Windows XP and then run Suse Linux within it for some programs. I believe I will hold out as long as possible to see how prices drop and what new tech come out. Anyone know when Intel will release their full 64 bit op system? I know there is the one year trial version, but I mean the real program.
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