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CPU for industrial-strength multi-task stability?

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January 20, 2005 8:42:58 PM

I've put together a new custom PC about every 1-2 years since 1985 and now it's time for another one. This computer will likely be rarely used for gaming, but will be used for heavy multi-tasking while running a TV in the corner of the screen. The multi-tasks include primarily capturing/editing/(some re-encoding) video streams (up to 9800 Kbps), Solid modeling, running Office applications, and from 1 to 10 open windows of Internet Explorer.

I'm more interested in stability than speed. I've always used Intel for stability and compatibility with Microsoft products, but I'm concerned about the reputed heat generated by the new Prescott CPUs. I've never used an AMD CPU but have many friends who swear by them (mostly gamers). Nevertheless, because of the gaming and bang-for-buck attributes I've found myself tagging AMD with, I've been reluctant to seriously consider it over an Intel processor for my more "industrial" needs.

Should I try to find one of the discontinued Northwood processors to lessen my heat concerns? Should I not worry about the Prescott as long as I don't plan to overclock? What would you recommend for a computer like this and why?

Thanks!

Tim

More about : cpu industrial strength multi task stability

January 20, 2005 9:17:00 PM

Best multi tasking are dual Xeons setups but I guess that you don't have the budget for those.

I don't know much about AMD multi tasking ability but I'm sure many here do and I'm sure they gonna help you about AMD.

Prescott doesn't have any heat issues when used with a <A HREF="http://www.newegg.com/app/searchProductResult.asp?Submi..." target="_new">Intel approved chassis</A>

<A HREF="http://support.intel.com/support/processors/pentium4/sb..." target="_new">Look here if you wonder what makes those chassis different</A>

HyperThreading makes a good multi tasking computer which is a lot more responsive. <A HREF="http://www.tomshardware.com/images/thg_video_5_p4_ht.zi..." target="_new">Tomshardware HT video</A> and <A HREF="http://www.tomshardware.com/cpu/20021114/index.html" target="_new">The Article</A>



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January 20, 2005 10:18:31 PM

Any time you need a special case to use a processor, that shows that the processor runs too damn hot!

I'd spend the extra $30 or whatever to get the Northwood if I were in your position. Being in MY position, I'd go with an A64 3500+ and an nForce4 Ultra chipset board to do what you're doing.

Actually, I DO do what you're doing, but I'm cheaper than you, I'd get the same platform with an A64 3000+ and overclock it. It's funny, even a 3000+ overclocked to 3500+ speed puts out much less heat than a Prescott!

Right now I'm running a Northwood 2.6C at 3GHz, but that's simply because I needed a P4 platform to test some RAM I got free for a review (A64 was in it's infancy when I got it).

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
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January 20, 2005 11:22:20 PM

The Amd chips are great at multitasking. This will improve when win64 becomes available. The extra registers will be good for you.
If you add the cost of cooling a prescott, to the cost of buying an A64, you will end up with a chip that puts the intel system to shame, right accross the board.
Then, when you get going in long mode (64 bit) you wont even be able to see that intel chip, in your rearview mirror.
January 21, 2005 12:24:14 AM

If you are spinning your own code I would suggest the Intel route with regards to much better compilers.

Xeon

<font color=red>Post created with being a dickhead in mind.</font color=red>
<font color=white>For all emotional and slanderous statements contact THG for all law suits.</font color=white>
January 21, 2005 12:29:30 AM

Quote:
the Intel route with regards to much better compilers.

And I would recommend the Amd route, with reguards to much better use of available compilers.
January 21, 2005 2:58:17 AM

Intel all the way, and in regards to 64bit, I don't think there is any practical use for it currently or for the next year or so (when Longhorn comes out). Also the prices on the dual cores are out and the 3.0ghz only cost about $314 and $200 for the 2.8ghz (this might help convince you > http://www.anandtech.com/tradeshows/showdoc.aspx?i=2317...).
January 21, 2005 3:03:26 AM

So you are saying that he should get intel and be a little behind, so that when 64 bit is good, in a year or so, he will have a real and urgent need to upgrade? Sounds like solid Intel thinking to me.
January 21, 2005 3:06:40 AM

i gave him an alternative ^
January 21, 2005 6:04:55 AM

I'd really rather base my decision on what's possible right now using WinXP Pro. It will take a fairly big jump in performance gap to make me want to build my next computer (after this) any sooner than my typical 1 or 2 years out.

Based on some of the response to my questions it's looking like the AMD/Intel discussion has many similarities to the Ford/Chevy debates on automotive forums. Perhaps my question was a little misleading. I'm really NOT concerned about performance as long as it's within 10%-25% of what's considered "fast" at the time. With a halfway capable computer, I spend a lot more time <i>thinking</i> about what I'm going to ask the computer to do than I do tapping my fingers on the desk waiting for it to do it. However, I AM very interested in the positive attributes of going AMD versus the positive attributes of going Intel, especially as it relates to reliability and compatibility. I really value the opinions of those who can objectively appreciate the benefits that each side offers.

I'm pretty sure I'm going to go with the Intel P4 3.0c (Northwood). Before I press the "confirm order" button, are there any reasons I shouldn't go that direction now that you know what my priorities are?

Thanks!

Tim
January 21, 2005 6:57:50 AM

64bit is not about Longhorn. Longhorn is the next upgrade to WinXP and is due yet on 2006/07. 64bit is about WinXP64 which is due this summer. Buy a 32bit proc now but don't gloat 6 months later if you cannot install WinXP64 on it. Don't rationalize with you-dont-need-64bit-today thing but appreciate the advantages of a dual-boot setup. See for yourself first-hand the power of 64-bit while preserving your 32-bit setup. And this will only be possible if you go AMD64.

Been using AMD64 for the last 12 months for application development aka Windows programming. Encountered no problem on stability, performance is excellent. I've got also a P4 Prescott 2.8 and P4B 2.4. If you'll value my two-cent, go AMD64.
January 21, 2005 6:58:42 AM

As far as discontinued chips go, the P4c 3.0 is one of the best.
I do believe that 6 months to a year from now, when you are running 2 year old tech, you will be saying to yourself, I really should have bought the A64 system.
If you can find one, get yourself an Abit IS7 mobo. They are a great performance board, at a value price.
January 21, 2005 8:39:23 AM

AMD is definatly industrial strength these days.
Why else would the like of SUN/HP/IBM offer servers based on these chips, as well as software vendors, like SAP/Oracle, etc, etc (Just checkout the AMD benchmarks on www.sap.com/benchmarks, where the AMD64 beats the itanium 2 in 4 way configurations)
January 21, 2005 9:49:03 AM

I have built 2 systems in the last 2 months... I built my own system an AMD A64 3200+ s939 with MSI mobo. And have also built my brother an Intel 3.0Ghz s775. On my system I have had one crash due to a bad PSU, my brother has had numerous crashes, and has been running at idle temps of 43 degrees (which happens to be 2 degrees higher than mine under full load). I would put my computer up against my bro's any day of the week (although my story might change when he gets liquid cooling). AMD gets my vote everytime, unless the CPU is being used for only video editing.
January 21, 2005 4:09:47 PM

The P4 3.0c should do nicely for what you need. Just be sure you get a high quality motherboard. Be it Intel or AMD, the system is only as reliable as its poorest component.
January 21, 2005 4:42:49 PM

editing and encoding are 2. I use an AMD64 3000+ for editing and encoding, but since it is only for hobby, then I dont mind the extra time for rendering the final product.

But If I was doing it, I'll put an A64 3400+ or 3700+(socket 754), the 3700+ has a fast clock (2.4GHz)and large cache(1megs). This is the same as the socket 939 4000+, but for 330$ can. less than the 939 4000+. The cheaper 3400 is the same CPU, exect it has only 512 megs cache.

These CPU produce less heat than Intel counter parts, which is good, because, while editing, HDD work hard and produce heat too, as well as the other hardware. Unless it has an expensive cooling system for his machine, I dont think that this would build something reliable.

By combining the cost of water cooling, with the CPU, then a 3700+ on air is a viable option. My system never crash when I'm editing and rendering even with 4 HDD, 2 being use as RAID0 and actually working when editing while the 2 other just sit there providing the data needed when being asked for. I have 3 fans to move air in the case, but I have them running at 7 volts instead on 12...less noise. all this in a small 17 inches case...

Only problem here.. if it can be called a problem, is that PCIe socket 754 board are not yet on the market( I'M not sure about that thou, mayse some are) but capture card and other hardware for editing are PCI based. PCIe based boards has less PCI slot and this could turn out to be a problem if he need more slot.

We dont really know his need apart from wanting reliability, but reliability is not something you buy, it is something you build.

-Always put the blame on you first, then on the hardware !!!
January 21, 2005 5:28:24 PM

I'm looking at the less expensive, harder to find (at least from my preferred vendors) i865PE-based Abit IS7 or the 875-based Abit IC7-G (easier to find, about $40 more). I don't care about the price difference, I just want the most effective, compatible, and reliable combination I can get. Even though I listed those other uses at the top of the thread, the most important need I have is a good video editing machine that will crunch along quickly for many hours at a time.

Crashman says he prefers the IS7. Anybody else have some advice as well?

Thanks,

Tim
January 21, 2005 8:04:50 PM

Asus P4P800 (i865) is a good board if you're looking at s478.

If you're going the intel route I'd suggest s775 and a Prescott-"J" (ie: 540J). They (the E0 steppings) run noticably cooler then previous Prescotts. Boards to look at are the P5P800 (i865) series (if you want AGP) or P5GDC (i915) series (if you want PEG & all the extras ICH6 brings).

*Dual PIII-800 @900 i440BX, Tualeron 1.2 @1.6 i815, Celeron 2.6 330J @4.0 i915*
January 21, 2005 10:24:16 PM

Quote:
If you're going the intel route I'd suggest s775 and a Prescott-"J" (ie: 540J). They (the E0 steppings) run noticably cooler then previous Prescotts...

I hadn't heard that. How does the "cooler" running temp of the Prescott "J" series compare to that of the Northwood "C"?

If it's really enough cooler and the extra performance is significant, going the Prescott "J" looks intriguing. However, I don't think it would serve me that well to stick with my AGP AIW 9600 Pro because then I'd be buying a motherboard that doesn't take full advantage of the CPU's capability and seems that it wouldn't run as cool as with the Asus P5GDC with Stack Cool. Then I'd also be looking at getting a PCIe video card, which is not necessarily bad except now I'm talking about getting an HDTV tuner card (which I was already planning on) <i>AND</i> a new video card. Is it possible that the performance gain I'd see with the Prescott "J" and i915 PCIe motherboard and the inevitable new faster video card is really worth it for what I'm planning to use it for?<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by tluxon on 01/21/05 05:30 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
January 22, 2005 1:53:21 PM

With a half decent s775 cooler I don't find "J"s run any hotter then "C"s.

Here's my Celeron 2.66 (133FSB) 330J on a P5GDC running at 4ghz (200FSB). This is with a CoolerMaster Hyper 48 heatsink with a Zalman fan running at ~1250rpm.

Idle, 26C:
<A HREF="http://img136.exs.cx/img136/5738/idle8hi.gif" target="_new">http://img136.exs.cx/img136/5738/idle8hi.gif&lt;/A>

Loaded, 39C:
<A HREF="http://img136.exs.cx/img136/5502/loaded6vi.gif" target="_new">http://img136.exs.cx/img136/5502/loaded6vi.gif&lt;/A>

The stock intel heatsink gives similar temps (a little higher) but I was going for a completely silent system and it had a bit of a whine to it.

At stock speeds temps are ~26C at idle and ~32C loaded.

A P5P800 will take full advantage of a "J" and still allow you to use the AIW 9600. If you're looking at new video anyways I'd go PEG (PCI-Express Graphics). If you don't game you could also look at the P5GDC-V, which has integrated graphics. http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/chipsets/display/i915g... Not the fastest, but they'd be fine for poking around the desktop and you could always add a PEG card later. I run an X700pro in mine, about the same speed as a 9800pro/XT.

Will a 915/"J" system be faster? Probably a little - any video stuff will love the large L2 cache. An i915 board will cost you a little more because you get more features on it (like NCQ, HDA, PCIe, DDR2 support...) Is it worth the extra money? It depends if you're going to use the extra goodies. One of the main reasons I bought the i915 board was for the HDA Dolby Digital Live! encoding so I could just plug it into my Yamaha receiver.

I'm not trying to suggest you'd be a fool not to get an i915/"J" combo - I'm just saying don't be afraid of all the hype surrounding the heat and you should include it in your list of options.

*Dual PIII-800 @900 i440BX, Tualeron 1.2 @1.6 i815, Celeron 2.6 330J @4.0 i915*
January 22, 2005 8:05:19 PM

Thanks for your input.

I can't possibly get by with any onboard graphics. I imagine my video requirements are the equal of most gamers when you consider that I need to be able to spin solid models with 100s and 1000s of parts in real time at 1600 x 1200 resolution. Many people doing the modeling I do spend $1K-$2K on their graphics cards alone. I just can't justify quite that much for home use, especially since much of my use is for much less graphics-demanding video editing. I'm going to have to settle for a graphics card with good OpenGL so I can get a little better horsepower for the video editing/encoding.

I've been doing a little reading and it seems to me that PCIe is in its fairly early stages of eventually supplanting AGP. Maybe that time will come pretty close to when I'll be forced to get a 64bit CPU.

I think I'll end up sticking with a Northwood for now.

Have a great day!
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