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New Build Questions (DIY 8) - Processor / RAM / Ect...

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ScottP
New Build Questions (DIY 8) - Processor / RAM / Ect...
on Apr 5, 2011 at 8:26:59 pm

Hi Everyone!

I've been a long time reader of the forum but finally had some questions I could not find answers to.

I am getting ready to build a new editor, and wanted to run some ideas and specs past you guys to get your advice.

The main purpose of this computer will be using the Adobe CS5 suite. (Premiere, After Effects, Photoshop, Encore, Media Encoder). I also plan to use it for 3D Studio Max. My goal would be a stable and reliable system.

Arrow CPU Processor

I do not want to overclock my CPU as having a stable, quite, and cool editing computer is important.

Right now it looks like I have three choices:
Intel Core i7-970 (6 Core - 3.2 GHz)
Intel Core i7-960 (4 Core - 3.2 GHz)
Intel Core i7-2600 (4 Core - 3.4 GHz) Sandy Bridge

The i7-960 and i7-2600 are similarly priced, currently $299. Where the i7-970 is priced at $599.

I've heard on this forum that the i7-2600 (4 Core) comes very close to i7-960 (6 Core). Is this true? Is it worth putting up with the i7-2600 motherboard issues (PCI-E lanes) or could I avoid these headaches and go with the i7-970? Especially If I am planning on adding an eSATA PCI card or some PCI-E Raid card later? I do have a Black Magic Multibridge Pro PCI-E that I would like to add as well.

Arrow RAM / Memory

I've seen on this forum the RAM recommendations are as follows:
6 GB = Absolute Minimum Recommended
12 GB = Minimum Recommended for Editing
24 GB = Recommended for a Professional Editor

The chart at [url=http://ppbm5.com/Test.html]Premiere Pro BM5 especially has demonstrated the speed increase in rendering MPEG-2. Clearly the more RAM the better.

I plan on getting 24 GB of RAM for this system. I have not seen anyone address the need for ECC (Error Correcting) RAM. I'm actually not even sure if the motherboard supports ECC RAM as I would be getting an Asus P6X58D-E or P6X58D Premium. I know adding ECC RAM is also slower, but would that increase the reliability of an Adobe CS5 system?

Arrow System Drive: Windows 7 (x64) OS / Boot / Application Drive

I am planning separate Render and Video drives, but I would like the get your thoughts on the system drive.
7,200 RPM Harddisk SATA (Low Price)
10,000 RPM Harddisk SATA (Higher Price)
SSD - Solid State Harddisk SATA (Premium Price)

Right now I am thinking about a 10,000 RPM drive. Is the speed increase and snappiness of a SSD worth the trade off of price / storage size / long term reliability?

Arrow Graphics Card

Clearly the way to go is a Nvidia card. I've had Quadro's in the past, and I don't think the price to power was worth it. I am thinking about a GTX470 or GTX480 but I believe the latest card being manufactured is the GTX570 or GTX580 in that class.

Any Ideas on which way to go?

Arrow Tweaks

Where's the best place or recommendations for optimizing an Adobe CS5 system for speed and stability?

Arrow Conclusion

Thanks for your help. Im sure I'll have more questions for ya!


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RJL0365
Re: New Build Questions (DIY 8) - Processor / RAM / Ect...
on Apr 6, 2011 at 1:17:47 am

ScottP,

If you're going to use both a RAID card and the Blackmagic card, you'll need a motherboard that has one PCi-e x16 slot, one PCI-e x8 slot and one PCI-e x4 slot all on the same board. Unfortunately, most current systems using the i7-2600K have precious little PCI-e room to fit all three: You'll need a P67 motherboard with a PLX chip and/or an Nvidia NF200 PCI-e extender chip if you don't want to lose the use of some of the motherboard's onboard features - and those P67 boards with either extender chip are more expensive than those P67 boards with neither extender chip.

Those requirements are exactly why I'm recommending the i7-960 with a moderately-priced X58 motherboard instead of the i7-2600K unless you're willing to spend more money for the entire platform (this includes the CPU, motherboard and RAM) than the i7-960 route. But if you do go the 2600K route, get the system with 16GB of RAM instead of 12GB since three sticks of RAM would force the 2600K's memory controller to run in a mixed dual/single-channel mode which almost always performs worse than those same three sticks in the proper triple-channel mode. This is because Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 performs significantly better with more than 12GB of RAM installed - and my testing on an older i7-950 system showed that CS5 ran significantly faster with 16GB than with 12GB, especially on MPEG-2 DVD encodes, despite the 950's memory controller running in a mixed triple/single-channel mode.

Speaking of ECC RAM, only the Xeon processors support ECC RAM. Regular i7's have ECC memory support permanently disabled during manufacturing.


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Jcschild
Re: New Build Questions (DIY 8) - Processor / RAM / Ect...
on Apr 6, 2011 at 1:36:34 pm

the 2600 is faster then the 960 and technically beats a 970 but only in benchmarks, you would probably not notice the difference in real world day to day. renders would be a tad faster with the 2600

if not overclocking (sad) the 2 options should be 970 or 2600.

as mentioned if adding a raid card and decklink you need the X58 platform.

skip the SSD not worth it. neither is the raptor.

Scott
ADK


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ScottP
Re: New Build Questions (DIY 8) - Processor / RAM / Ect...
on Apr 6, 2011 at 5:23:02 pm

Thank you both for your feedback! I really do appreciate your time.

CPU
It sounds like I should be looking at the Intel Core i7-970 . Ill add up the prices and see if it still is within an affordable reach.

I may have been a little hasty in not wanting to Over Clock the CPU. The advantages are obvious (faster), but what would the disadvantages be? More Heat? No Warranty? Less stability? I would want this computer to be able to run 24/7 (Especially during long renders) without stability issues.


Memory
Thank you for the clarification on the ECC RAM. I was not aware that only Xeon processors support ECC RAM.

I am looking at RAM now. I would want a full 24GB RAM. I also notice that that the Asus P6X58D-E or P6X58D Premium support DDR3 2000 (Overclocked). Is this something I should be looking at?

Right now I am looking at: [url=http://biz.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=6572445&CatId=4527]Patriot PV7324G1600ELHK Sector 7 24GB PC12800 RAM - 24GB, DDR3, 1600MHz, 6x4096MB, 9-9-9-24

I usually prefer Corsair, but I can't seem to find anything that would work on TigerDirect.

Graphics Card
I'm leaning towards the GTX580. Is there any paticular manufacture you guys recomend? MSI? eVGA? Ect...

Thanks once again!


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Jcschild
Re: New Build Questions (DIY 8) - Processor / RAM / Ect...
on Apr 6, 2011 at 7:31:46 pm

overclocking does not have any downside
you do need a good cpu cooler however.

you want 4gig sticks do not buy anything past DDR3 1600.
Super Talent 1600 9-9-9-24 or
Mushkin 1600 9-9-9-24
Corsair 1600 9-9-9-24
no need to buy a 24 gig kit.
Zotac and PNY have lifetime warranty on video cards


Scott
ADK


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ScottP
Re: New Build Questions (DIY 8) - Processor / RAM / Ect...
on Apr 7, 2011 at 7:07:33 pm

Jcschild: overclocking does not have any downside
you do need a good cpu cooler however.

So I would want to upgraded from the stock cooler? Do they sell the Intel Core i7-970 as OEM with no fan?

If there is no downside, why do manufactures rate them lower? Is this the lowest guaranteed CPU Speed? Where some CPU's have different limits? Im a overclocking newbie.. Smile

Jcschild: you want 4gig sticks do not buy anything past DDR3 1600.
Super Talent 1600 9-9-9-24 or
Mushkin 1600 9-9-9-24
Corsair 1600 9-9-9-24
no need to buy a 24 gig kit.

I notice the ASUS motherboard QVL (Qualified Vendors List) for DDR3 1600 only lists one Kingston 4GB modules. How much stock should I put in buying something off of this list? I think the list may be old as well.

Also, I though you should buy them in pairs because they are tested together.

Thanks for your help and advice!


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Jcschild
Re: New Build Questions (DIY 8) - Processor / RAM / Ect...
on Apr 7, 2011 at 8:00:47 pm

i do this for living... check my profile!

"""Also, I though you should buy them in pairs because they are tested together. """"


DONT bet on it.. all that means is they have the same IC's and same back end timings (sub timings)

you can forget QVL its a joke how they test.
not just asus but all of them.


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ScottP
Re: New Build Questions (DIY 8) - Processor / RAM / Ect...
on Apr 8, 2011 at 9:26:02 pm

Hi Scott:

I didn't mean to sound like I was questioning you. You clearly have a lot of experience. Im just trying to make sure I build the best system I can.

You may have convinced me to overclock this system. I've always assumed that was something that gamers and experimenters do, but if I can build a system that is stable (for over night renders, ect) and faster for the same price, that sounds good to me!

I did check out your website, your running quite an operation there! Smile


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Jcschild
Re: New Build Questions (DIY 8) - Processor / RAM / Ect...
on Apr 9, 2011 at 3:57:02 pm

over clocking when done right is 100% stable.
i sell a good amount of OCed systems
technically Intel over clocks their processors automatically now anyway (Turbo mode) with X58 Turbo needs to be turned off as it can cause issues
with Sandy Bridge turbo rocks.

setting up the OC for audio/video is a little different from that fo gaming but the same basic idea.
with Audio/video all c-states and turbo need to be off (X5Cool .

with Sandy Turbo stays on..

Scott
ADK


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RJL0365
Re: New Build Questions (DIY 8) - Processor / RAM / Ect...
on Apr 10, 2011 at 9:31:50 pm

Actually, with i7-9xx/X58 it depends on the CPU. With Turbo off the non-Extreme Edition quad-core i7-9xx CPUs with the second digit being an even number (e.g. i7-920, i7-940, i7-960) and the hexa-core non-Extreme Edition CPUs whose second digit is an odd number (i7-970) generally do not overclock so well due to their even-numbered stock CPU multiplier (the Nehalem-based CPUs overclock better at odd-numbered multipliers than at even-numbered multipliers). What's more, some X58 motherboards require the Turbo feature (and often EIST) turned on in order to use the multiplier number that's the next one higher than the maximum stock multiplier (e.g. 21x on an i7-920). That forces one to manually set a multiplier that's one step lower than the stock multiplier in order to overclock the CPUs in question (for example, 23x instead of 24x with an i7-960). Because of this, with DDR3-1600 memory the overclocks on the i7-920 really can't go over 3.8GHz (200x19) because 4.0GHz requires a multiplier of 20x (which we all know made overclocking stability problematic with the Nehalem architecture) at the same 200MHz BCLK, and the use of 211x19 would have required the user to drop the memory speed well below DDR3-1333 speed (in particular, only DDR3-1266 speed) in order to achieve stability. For the purposes of CS5, 211x19 with memory running at DDR3-1266 actually performs slower than 200x19 with memory running at DDR3-1600.

As for Sandy Bridge:
As Scott stated, Turbo stays on since disabling Turbo will completely disable all overclocking. And unlike Nehalem which requires the raising of the BCLK to overclock, the memory speed does not get touched in multiplier-based overclocking with the Sandy Bridge CPUs.

And one final note:
If going with Sandy (as I mentioned in a thread in another forum), go with the 2600(K) and not the 2500(K): In tests with CS5, the 2500(K) performs 20% to 25% slower than the 2600(K) when both CPUs are run at the same clock speeds. This is not only due to the lack of HyperThreading in the 2500(K), but also due to the 2500(K) having 2MB less L3 cache than the 2600(K) ~ 6MB versus 8MB.


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Jcschild
Re: New Build Questions (DIY 8) - Processor / RAM / Ect...
on Apr 11, 2011 at 12:40:05 pm

for the record i can OC any processor of the X58 nature
with all C states off and turbo mode as well.
and run ram @ 1600
its a mtter of knowing how to correctly OC.

have done 920,930,950,960, 975, 970, 980, 990 oh and the 965.

Very Happy

Scott


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ScottP
Re: New Build Questions (DIY 8) - Processor / RAM / Ect...
on Apr 14, 2011 at 9:29:27 pm

Thanks for your help guys!

I'm in the final stages of specing out the new computer. I will post it here so you and others may take a look and see if I missed anything.

Scott, I may ask for your over-clocking advise once it all arrives!

I've also been keeping an eye on NAB and Adobe's new 5.5 suite. Does that change any recommended components?

Thanks!


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Jcschild
Re: New Build Questions (DIY 8) - Processor / RAM / Ect...
on Apr 14, 2011 at 9:48:46 pm

5.5 does not change anything..


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ScottP
2600K / P67 Motherboard Recommendations
on Apr 22, 2011 at 5:22:39 pm

I think Im going to go with the 2600K (Sandy Bridge) due to the tremendous cost savings, if I can figure out the PCI-e lane limitations.

I would be adding the following PCI-e cards to the system:
GTX570 or GTX580: 16 Lanes
SIL3132 eSATA: 1 Lane
Black Magic Design - Multibridge Pro: 4 Lanes

If the 2600k / P67 only support 16 PCI-e data lanes, how would this work? There's been talk about using a PCI-e Extender, but which ASUS P67 Motherboards support this (I can't find any direct info on ASUS website)? What are this disadvantages of this "Extender"? (Cost / Speed Issues?)

Thanks guys! Have a great Easter weekend!

Scott


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RJL0365
Re: 2600K / P67 Motherboard Recommendations
on Apr 22, 2011 at 6:48:35 pm

ScottP: If the 2600k / P67 only support 16 PCI-e data lanes, how would this work? There's been talk about using a PCI-e Extender, but which ASUS P67 Motherboards support this (I can't find any direct info on ASUS website)? What are this disadvantages of this "Extender"? (Cost / Speed Issues?)


Actually, the i7-2600K has 16 PCIe lanes on the CPU die itself. The P67 PCH adds up to eight (theoretically) PCIe lanes in addition to the 16 on the CPU. However, most P67 motherboards eat up four to six PCIe lanes with onboard devices such as USB 3.0 controllers, additional (e)SATA and RAID controllers and third-party NICs. In the case of the Asus P8P67 Pro, by default the x4 slot runs in x1 mode, all of the onboard devices are enabled and one of the PCIe-x1 slots is disabled. If you set the x4 slot to run in x4 mode with that motherboard, you will no longer have any PCIe slots besides the PCIe-x8 secondary slot (which would have forced the primary x16 slot to run in x8 mode if occupied) available for expansion (in x4 mode, both of the PCIe-x1 slots, the eSATA controller and the USB 3.0 controller that controls the front-panel header are disabled). And you cannot enable the second PCIe-x1 slot (the one that's often completely blocked by a double-slot graphics card cooler) without disabling the USB 3.0 controller that controls the USB 3.0 front-panel header.

At least two of the Asus P67 motherboards try to address the issue. The P8P67 Deluxe gets around the PCH limitations by adding a PLX chip while the P8P67WS Revolution tries to get around the 16-lane on-CPU limitation by adding an Nvidia NF200 chip.


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Jcschild
Re: 2600K / P67 Motherboard Recommendations
on Apr 22, 2011 at 10:58:33 pm

ScottP: I think Im going to go with the 2600K (Sandy Bridge) due to the tremendous cost savings, if I can figure out the PCI-e lane limitations.

I would be adding the following PCI-e cards to the system:
GTX570 or GTX580: 16 Lanes
SIL3132 eSATA: 1 Lane
Black Magic Design - Multibridge Pro: 4 Lanes

If the 2600k / P67 only support 16 PCI-e data lanes, how would this work? There's been talk about using a PCI-e Extender, but which ASUS P67 Motherboards support this (I can't find any direct info on ASUS website)? What are this disadvantages of this "Extender"? (Cost / Speed Issues?)

Thanks guys! Have a great Easter weekend!

Scott


to put it in an easy to understand answer, you will be fine..
you can add the Multibridge to the 2nd 16x
why the added esata? the board should already have 1

no need for the boards with the added PCIe lanes via a 3rd party chipset.

Scott
ADK


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ScottP
System Specs
on Apr 27, 2011 at 9:57:03 pm

I think I'm ready to place my order. If you guys wouldn't mind glancing this over and letting me know your thoughts, I would appreciate it!

Arrow Core System Components

Motherboard
ASUS P8P67 DELUXE
This has the PCIe HUB chip, hopefully this will give me some future upgrade options if I add more cards.

CPU - 4 Core Sandy Bridge
Intel Core i7-2600K BX80623I72600K Unlocked

RAM - PC12800 (9-9-9-24) - 4 x 4GB Kit 1.5V (16 GB)
Corsair Vengeance CMZ16GX3M4A1600C9
I will upgrade to 24GB once 8GB Chips are out

Power Supply - 1000W
Cooler Master RS-A00-80GAD3-US SPG
This may be slightly overkill, but that way Im not pegging the supply to the max.

Video Card
GTX 580 1536MB (Cores: 512 - 800 Mhz OC) MSI N580GTX Twin Frozr II/OC
This has heat pipes, so it should run cooler and quieter

Hard Drive (System)
SATA3 - 1TB Seagate ST31000524NS Constellation
Quiet and more reliable then Caviar Black 1TB, Server Class Drive

Hard Drive (Work/Swap)
SATA6 - 500 GB Western Digital WD5002AALX Caviar Black
Small Drive for rendering and Swap Space

eSATA Card
Sil3132
I've had problems with HotSwaping drives properly. This card works with the "HotSwap" App

Case
AcoustiCase SoundMaster 360
A nice acoustically lined case.

Thank you for your help and suggestions!

Scott


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