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New System Build. i7 vs Xeon: need avdice

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Aaron Pozzer
New System Build. i7 vs Xeon: need avdice
on Jan 17, 2015 at 4:59:55 pm

First off, i know there are tons of these threads. not only here, but all over the net. so please, forgiveness for starting another! but that said, iv searched and read as much as i can for the past 2 weeks, and still dont feel im informed enough to make a decision. i think the cpu's im looking at are still too new to have lots of comparison reviews online to help guide me. i found a few reviews on the older i7s vs xeons, but not enough, and nothing on the newer chips. bad timing i suppose that i started to look into this now.

i recently inherited a 780 ti from a friend. put it in my current system, and my bios is too out of date to run it. since my reading leads me to believe bios flashing can be very hit n miss, i decided id use this as an opportunity to finally get around to building a new system. main uses are AE (planning to purchase Element 3d soon, or comping lots of EXR sequnces), Maya (vray), PS, Premiere (probably wont be using 4k content any time soon), and maybe down the road, DaVinci Lite. i know CPU threads are important for multithreaded apps, like AE, and maya, but probably not so much PS, and Prem. ( i think i read DaVinci is happiest with a good CUDA gpu, so im covered there).

im trying to find a good balance of performance vs. price (who isnt). Id put the budget between $2-3000.

here are my 4 options so far...

1. CHEAP $1100ish
i7 5930k (12 threads) passmark: 13600
MSI X99S XPOWER (or similar)

2. MODERATE A $1700ish

i7 5960x (16 threads) passmark: 15900
MSI X99S XPOWER (or similar)

3. MODERATE B $1600
xeon e5 2640 v3 (16 threads) passmark: 14500
ASRock EPC612D8A SSI ATX Server Motherboard (or similar)

4. BALLS OUT $2200
DUAL xeon e5 2630 v3 (32 threads!) passmark: 19300
ASUS Z10PE-D8 WS (or similar)


so, obv. plan 2 is guaranteed to work (and plan 1 is also great, and also good value for only marginally less performance than plan 2). it will be a huge upgrade from my current system (amd 8150). my main dilemma is in regards to the xeons. iv read on here, and other forums, that they make good workstations, and putting them together in dual configuration gives lots of threads and is especially great for 3D work. so, a few questions...

1. given my work load above, will i see the benefits of 2 xeons. slower clock speed, yes, but L2 and L3 caches are the same when compared to the i7 5960x. this will mainly come down to which apps are best at multithreading, which im still not clear on cause i've read conflicting things. i like real world experience, so i know that exists in spades here.

2. with a dual system, i know the resources are not shared between cpus. my plan was to get 32gb of ram. does this mean each cpu would only have access to 16? in effect, having a pair of 2.6ghz/16gb systems running together? i know ram is very important for AE, and i have 16gbs currently and previews/rendering, can be very slow, even with only moderately complex projects. perhaps this is the fault of my cpu, but i dont want to build a new system and end up with the same problem because i crippled AE with not enough ram per cpu. this is always what makes me a bit unsure on the dual route, because i believe it is just 2 slower systems working together. please correct me if im wrong!

3. is a single xeon 2640 v3 comparable at all to the i7 5960. they have similar price, similar passmark scores, and the same L2 and L3 cache. but, the xeon has a slower clock speed at only 2.6ghz. iv not been able to find enough reading online (the only toms hardware benchmark write up for the e5 v3s was for the super expensive top of the line chips), so im hoping someone on here has experience that may help.

thanks all!


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Walter Soyka
Re: New System Build. i7 vs Xeon: need avdice
on Jan 19, 2015 at 11:03:56 am

[Aaron Pozzer] "1. given my work load above, will i see the benefits of 2 xeons. slower clock speed, yes, but L2 and L3 caches are the same when compared to the i7 5960x. this will mainly come down to which apps are best at multithreading, which im still not clear on cause i've read conflicting things. i like real world experience, so i know that exists in spades here."

Your summary above is pretty good. Maya and Ae renders exploit multiple cores, but will probably have periods, especially during interactions, where they are less multithreaded.


[Aaron Pozzer] "2. with a dual system, i know the resources are not shared between cpus. my plan was to get 32gb of ram. does this mean each cpu would only have access to 16? in effect, having a pair of 2.6ghz/16gb systems running together?"

No, either CPU in a dual-CPU configuration can access all of the RAM in the system. However, for CPU 1 to use memory attached to CPU 2, it must rely on CPU 2 to play the role of memory controller.


[Aaron Pozzer] "3. is a single xeon 2640 v3 comparable at all to the i7 5960."

I generally don't think single-socket Xeon systems are worth the money over comparable i7 systems. i7 has better performance/price, but once you get into dual-CPU configurations, Xeon has better absolute performance.

I'd get the i7 and spend the extra money on more RAM or a solid-state disk.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Aaron Pozzer
Re: New System Build. i7 vs Xeon: need avdice
on Jan 19, 2015 at 2:26:31 pm

thanks Walter, i was hoping id get a response from you.

good points, and thanks for clearing up some of my questions. could you just clarify your one point about "but will probably have periods, especially during interactions, where they are less multithreaded".

i would not imaging them to be fully MT'd at all times. like during use, navigating viewport, or setting keyframes, etc, would all be normal use, and they would only start using all cores at render time.


current build plan was for 32gb of ram. i suppose i could step it up to 48 or 64 by adding more sticks. i have a few SSD's, but they're probably out of date at this point (ocz vertex 3) and was looking at getting 1 newer one as a boot/apps drive. there was some M.2 samsung drive everyone seemed to be talking about a while ago, but i cant seem to find it on sale at my local stores. XP941? they have other M.2 drives, but they aren't as "name brand" as samsung.

so after some consideration on the whole thing, i think the best dollar/performance option is to get the i7 5930k and OC it a bit passed 4ghz. i read some people are getting stably up to 4.6, and while i wouldn't want to push it that far and iv never been one for OCing, it seems pretty easy these days to squeeze a bit more juice out of these chips.

i would love to hear any parts recommendations you (or anyone else) have overall. like i said above, current plans is for an Asus x99 XPower. if there are better boards, im all ears! i also havent nailed down my choice of ram yet. everyone seems to love G SKillz, though my initial pricing lead me to corsair or crucial. cooling, air or liquid? iv always used air though i know liquid is very popular these days.

thanks again! the insight is much appreciated.


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Steve Brame
Re: New System Build. i7 vs Xeon: need avdice
on Jan 19, 2015 at 2:50:09 pm

Here's an interesting build by Dave Dugdale and JJ Guererro, who forgot more during his REM sleep last night than I've ever known about building PC's.







Asus P6X58D Premium * Core i7 950 * 24GB RAM * nVidia GeForce GTX 770 * Windows 7 Premium 64bit * System Drive - WD Caviar Black 500GB * 2nd Drive(Pagefile, Previews) - WD Velociraptor 10K drive 600GB * Media Drive - 2TB RAID0 (4 - WD Caviar Black 500GB drive) * Matrox MX02 Mini * Adobe CC * QuickTime 7.7.5
-------------------------------------------
"98% of all computer issues can be solved by simply pressing 'F1'."
Steve Brame
creative illusions Productions


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Aaron Pozzer
Re: New System Build. i7 vs Xeon: need avdice
on Jan 19, 2015 at 2:53:27 pm

thanks Steve, i saw this a couple weeks ago. initially my intent was just to update my existing amd box, but when i saw this, i realized i could get a much better build for not too much cash, parring back a bit from what dave had built. thanks for reminding me of it though! ill have another watch thru.


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Walter Soyka
Re: New System Build. i7 vs Xeon: need avdice
on Jan 19, 2015 at 4:47:11 pm

[Aaron Pozzer] "could you just clarify your one point about "but will probably have periods, especially during interactions, where they are less multithreaded". i would not imaging them to be fully MT'd at all times. like during use, navigating viewport, or setting keyframes, etc, would all be normal use, and they would only start using all cores at render time."

That's basically it. For example, in Ae, I keep multiprocessing off for RAM previews because it takes a while to start up MP and I don't want that delay every time I tap 0. However, for render, the MP startup time is made up and then some by the reduced total render time.


[Aaron Pozzer] "current build plan was for 32gb of ram. i suppose i could step it up to 48 or 64 by adding more sticks."

32 GB of RAM goes fast. Leave a quarter of that for the system and other apps, you're down to 24 GB. Assign 4 GB to each background process for Ae's multiprocessing feature, and you can only start 6 of them, tops.


[Aaron Pozzer] "i would love to hear any parts recommendations you (or anyone else) have overall."

I'll have to defer to someone else on specific parts recommendations. I'm not much of a DIY guy anymore.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Aaron Pozzer
Re: New System Build. i7 vs Xeon: need avdice
on Jan 19, 2015 at 4:54:59 pm

no prob walter, i appreciate the info either way. going back thru that video posted above for some ideas on parts. seems it was sponsored by nzxt, haha. probably not what i would buy, but i can find equivalents.


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