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nomad_girl
01-01-2004, 09:45 PM
Hi guys!

i am hoping to get some feedback from you about buying a new system. i am running the usual suspects: XSI, Maya & AfterEffects. i will use the machine mainly for 3d modeling/animation/rendering.

i am thinking to buy:

hp workstation xw6000
windows uata

dual processor xeon 2.4 ghz (533mhz)
1 gb/266 ddr reg ecc (2x512)
nvidia quadro4 980 xgl
40 gb ata/100 eide 7200 (first drive)
40 gb ata/100 eide 7200 (second drive)
dvd-rom/cdrw (i have dvd-rw on my mac)

this is the website i was looking at to customize the machine: http://h71016.www7.hp.com/dstore/Subfamilies.asp?oi=E9CED&BEID=19701&SBLID=&ProductLineId=433&FamilyId=1491&LowBaseId=8292&LowPrice=$899.00


my questions are:

1) these are somewhat similar specs to the computers i used at vfs-- except the vfs machines have scsi drives.... of course scsi is more expensive.... does anyone know what type of performance difference i will get if i go with the ata/eide drives instead of 36-GB Ultra320 SCSI (15,000 rpm) for the hard drives?

2)i keep hearing that it is better to have a dual processor than a single.... why is this? (well- obviously 2 is better than 1 in most cases-- but what if you get (1) 3.20 ghz/533Mhz/1MB processor... more powerful (also much more expensive)--then the (2) 2.4 ghz (533mhz)? which would be more efficient for the 3d apps?

3) what type of specs would be similar to a dell machine (or other type) of the same quality, and would it be less expensive? I am getting an approx total for the hp at $2500.

ALL SUGGESTIONS WELCOME!!!!

thanks!

imashination
01-01-2004, 10:01 PM
Originally posted by nomad_girl

1) these are somewhat similar specs to the computers i used at vfs-- except the vfs machines have scsi drives.... of course scsi is more expensive.... does anyone know what type of performance difference i will get if i go with the ata/eide drives instead of 36-GB Ultra320 SCSI (15,000 rpm) for the hard drives?

2)i keep hearing that it is better to have a dual processor than a single.... why is this?


1) Why get two small old harddrives? If you're doing video editing then you will want a helluva lot more space than 80gigs.

2) Because two is twice as good as one.

nomad_girl
01-01-2004, 10:10 PM
imashination-- thanks for replying--

1) the reason is that there is there is about a $500/$600 difference between ata and scsi drives---per drive--- this is an issue for me.-- my question concerns scsi VS. ata/eide, not the size of the drive.

2) please see my question (edited above) i realize that often times 2 can be better than one.... but then why is it that i can get a second processor 2.4 gig for only $300 more..... but if i want (1) 3.20 ghz processor it costs $1200 more? for only one processor?

i believe it is that certain applications can make use of the dual processor.... but perhaps one single more powerful processor would be more efficient?

3Dfx_Sage
01-01-2004, 10:55 PM
as for the SCSI vs IDE debate it really depends on the brand / model of the drives. Check out storagereview.com for everything you could ever want (almost) regarding harddrives.

One thing that I do want to mention is that most IDE drives these days come with only a 1-year warranty and there is a reason for that, comparatively SCSI drives come with standard 7-year warranty. SCSI drives are just built to much higher standards and are many times more reliable. The average person is not going to kill an IDE drive before they upgrade, but when doing things like video editing is torture for those poor drives.

Really, when buying storage it all comes down to one thing- how much does your data mean to you?

imashination
01-01-2004, 11:50 PM
Originally posted by nomad_girl
imashination-- thanks for replying--

1) the reason is that there is there is about a $500/$600 difference between ata and scsi drives---per drive--- this is an issue for me.-- my question concerns scsi VS. ata/eide, not the size of the drive.

2) please see my question (edited above) i realize that often times 2 can be better than one.... but then why is it that i can get a second processor 2.4 gig for only $300 more..... but if i want (1) 3.20 ghz processor it costs $1200 more? for only one processor?

i believe it is that certain applications can make use of the dual processor.... but perhaps one single more powerful processor would be more efficient?

1) I was really commenting on your original spec list. IDE drives will be fine, but getting only 80 gigs of space is the issue. For a video editing system I would grab a couple of 120 7200rpm drives for a RAID 0

2) $1200 !? are you getting them gold plated? If you want a single 3.2gig machine, then the CPU will set you back around $500. If you want a dual machine then you have to use Xeons, which will cost more.

nomad_girl
01-02-2004, 02:04 AM
3Dfx_Sage-- thanks for your advice-- yes the video editing is a concern for me-- i know that the scsi drives are much better for that-- is the playback choppy with the ide drives or does it just wear them out more quickly? my only experience was on the vfs machines which had scsi drives-- & on my mac, which is a g4 and handles it pretty well.

i hear you about the quality storage..... but unfortunately cost is an issue too-- and the scsi's are so much more expensive.... like hundreds more each drive (at least on the sites i am looking-- maybe i am looking in the wrong places)....you get what you pay for i am sure, (but i guess that's what dvd burners are for too--constant backup!)

thanks for the link-- will check that out.


imashination--thanks again-

1) do you know how those 120 7200rpm RAID 0 drives compare to the scsi drives? i will try to do some research

2) i got the $1200 price from the hp site-- again maybe i am not looking in the best place-- where could i get the 3.2 for $500? and would i be sure it would work with the other parts if i do not buy them together?

my situation is that this is my first pc-- (have always worked on macs at home before) so i am not sure that building it myself in pieces is a good idea....

***but i am still unsure about which situation is more efficient for 3d apps-- (1) 3.20 ghz/533Mhz/1MB processor... more powerful (also more expensive)--then the duals (2) 2.4 ghz (533mhz)?

thanks again---

3Dfx_Sage
01-02-2004, 02:08 AM
hmm as far as building it goes- you will save a LOT of money. If you have worked on the insides of macs before then a PC isnt really that different. The hardest part is picking out what to buy, which we will certainly help you out with. Of course, if you're uncomfortable doing this then I wouldn't want to pressure you to. Just don't think it's some gigantic task that really it's not.

imashination
01-02-2004, 11:07 AM
Originally posted by nomad_girl

1) do you know how those 120 7200rpm RAID 0 drives compare to the scsi drives? i will try to do some research

2) i got the $1200 price from the hp site-- again maybe i am not looking in the best place-- where could i get the 3.2 for $500? and would i be sure it would work with the other parts if i do not buy them together?

my situation is that this is my first pc-- (have always worked on macs at home before) so i am not sure that building it myself in pieces is a good idea....

***but i am still unsure about which situation is more efficient for 3d apps-- (1) 3.20 ghz/533Mhz/1MB processor... more powerful (also more expensive)--then the duals (2) 2.4 ghz (533mhz)?

thanks again---

Overall I would suggest you find somewhere to custom make you a system, for HP to charge $1200 just for a 3.2GHz processor is horrendous

1) Regarding the harddrives, install 2 Western Digital Raptor 74Gig 10,000RPM SATA drives in a RAID 0 and your performance will exceed the SCSI machine you used before. These drives are $250 each and will give you a total of 178Gigs of space.

2) The price of a single 3.2GHz machine should be a fraction of what is being charged for a dual 2.4GHz XEON, if this isn't the case then shop somewhere else.

Regarding speed, the single 3.1 system will be the fastest in the editor when working with 3D apps, however for the rendering speed, the Dual Xeon will be around 50% faster. In video editing, the same should also be true, with the editor working speed being quickest on the single, but the final processing and encoding should be faster on the dual.

Also a note, the single machine should have 800MHz FSB, not 533

Srek
01-02-2004, 12:19 PM
Hi,
i got a 18 Gig 10.000 U-SCSI 180 drive and two striped 80 Gig Ultra ATA 133 7200 RPM drives. The striped ATAs are a good deal faster then the SCSI drive.
With the current ATA and S-ATA drives it is a rather stupid decision to spend the money for SCSI drives.
Have you ever worked on a machine with a 10K or 15K RPM drive? The high pitched noise alone makes you mad. I build a very heavy wood case around my machine so i was able to use it. Those drives are meant for server racks not desks.

Cheers
Srek

3Dfx_Sage
01-02-2004, 08:44 PM
One note about RAID-0 (striped):
you WILL evertually end up loosing all fo your data. if done drive gets screwed then everything is lost- you cannot recover anything from just one of the drives, you have to have both.

One solution is to do a striped+mirrored (10, 0+1) array. This uses 4 drives, but is the best performance you can get. Having two drives striped will boost your max speeds pretty well, but it does little to nothing for you latency and min speeds. Using striped+mirrored raises your min speed to virtually the same as your max speed, it makes a huge difference. Also, if one of your drives goes down then you have a backup of it, so it gives you a chance to replace / fix the failed drive and not loose anything.

And I was actually wrong on the 7-year warranty on SCSI drives. The higher-end ones are still 7-year on some, but mostly you're going to get 5-year warranty. Still, this is 5x as long as with IDE.

Dreamabyss
01-02-2004, 09:41 PM
nomad_girl, how much editing are you planning to do and at what resolution? Are you talking mini-DV, analog, beta Cam? High Definition?

Knowing what format and resolution you are editing with will dictate what type of storage you need.

If you are doing full resolution half hour + video projects...then you need a lot of drive storage unless you plan to edit directly from your camera and only grab what you need (not good for the camera transport). The higher the resolution the more storage and the faster your drives will need to be to avoid frame drop. However, if you are just doing small video projects in standard resolution (or for the web) you can get away with single 120 or 160 drives. If money is an issue, just get a single 160 SATA or IDE then add another one later and put it into a raid setup. You can do a lot with a single 100+ drive if it is dedicated to video. High speed drives in raid setups are expensive and overkill if you aren't doing full broadcast production. SCSI has limited use for the average editor and is very expensive unless you can justify it. Like if you are editing a full resolution feature film or video...but even then I'd probably go with SATA drives in a raid setup.

As for single or duel processors. Unless you have the money to spend then go with the highest single processor you can afford. Dual Xeon or MP processors and motherboards cost more and you mostly only benefit with rendering speed. In the future if you find that rendering your 3d stuff is taking too long then setup a cheap rendering machine(s) and send your renders to that. Single processing will be fine in most video editing situations. Again...it's all about the cost to do things fast. If you are running a studio with tight deadlines then get the fastest most efficent system you can afford. If it's for personal use and the occaisonal project then you probaby don't need the leading edge fastest computer. Unless you have the extra cash to burn!

imashination
01-03-2004, 12:32 AM
Originally posted by 3Dfx_Sage
One note about RAID-0 (striped):
you WILL evertually end up loosing all fo your data. if one drive gets screwed then everything is lost

...and if she buys 1 single 160gig drive and that fails, she loses everything anyway.

6 of one and half a dozen of the other.

nomad_girl
01-03-2004, 01:33 AM
thanks so much for all the feedback on the drives!

alot to think about-- the types of editing i would be doing would be both mini-dv and also 3d renders composited in aftereffects or combustion. i am thinking about rendering my next animated short in high-def-- not sure yet. however, i think initially for the most part most of my work will be standard resolution for broadcast--720 x 480

thanks for the advice on the processors too-- after thinking about it i believe that i will go with a single high processor- i think that will suit my needs-- the dual would probably be overkill at this point. no cash to burn on this end!!

couple more questions for you guys.....

VIDEO CARDS--what do you think about the nvidia quadro fx versus the quadro 4? obviously the quadro fx is rated with higher performance--- but how would the quadro fx 500 or 1000 compare to the quadro 4 980 XGL? phrased another way--- animating a couple characters in a average to complex scene for xsi or maya and then rendering would i be able to tell much difference between the 2 cards? anyone have any experience with this? what do you think is the best deal for the price?

for that matter--how do the nvidia geforce cards compare? or the ati radeon 9600 or 9800?

PROCESSORS--after looking at http://www.alienware.com/ site---i am looking at the processors more closely--does anyone know how the amd athlon/opteron processors compare to the pentiums? what is the big difference between amd based vs. intel based?

it looks like the athlons are cheaper....do they hold up? i will be using this machine primarily for 3d character animation/rendering --- xsi & maya.

sorry if these are basic questions-- i am just trying to do as much research as possible---

thanks again--

iC4
01-03-2004, 11:29 AM
how would the quadro fx 500 or 1000 compare to the quadro 4 980 XGL?

Well the quadro 4 980xgl is based on the older nvidia chip....so it doesn't support directx 9. Sometimes it will be faster than the fx 500, sometimes not....the fx1000 is much better.

for that matter--how do the nvidia geforce cards compare? or the ati radeon 9600 or 9800?

The gforce cards are basicly the same cards (the same graphic chip), the main difference are the drivers. So it really depends on for what you need your workstation. If it's for your daily job - go with the quadro. The best deal for the price would be a gforce card. Since you are using Maya don't buy an ati card.

it looks like the athlons are cheaper....do they hold up? i will be using this machine primarily for 3d character animation/rendering --- xsi & maya.

The Intel - Amd question isn't really easy to answer. Some people will tell you that intel is much better, some will tell you that amd is much better. I personally prefer amd - because I think you get more for your money.
The athlon 64 FX would be a good choice here...

3Dfx_Sage
01-03-2004, 09:12 PM
Originally posted by imashination
...and if she buys 1 single 160gig drive and that fails, she loses everything anyway.

6 of one and half a dozen of the other. right, but with a RAID-0 array 1) if EITHER fails then you loose it all, so that doubbles your chances, and 2) RAID-0 arrays are very fragile, often you'll end up having to rebuild your array just cause something funky happened to it- you doubble the complexity but square the failure rate (not actual numbers, but gives you the idea).

Dreamabyss
01-04-2004, 02:04 AM
Originally posted by 3Dfx_Sage
right, but with a RAID-0 array 1) if EITHER fails then you loose it all, so that doubbles your chances, and 2) RAID-0 arrays are very fragile, often you'll end up having to rebuild your array just cause something funky happened to it- you doubble the complexity but square the failure rate (not actual numbers, but gives you the idea).

What about having a smaller but fast drive for edit and capture...like maybe the 10k SATA Raptor then having a cheaper but large 7200 RPM IDE or SATA drive (160 or 200 GB) for storage? This way you can off load footage to the storage and only use the Raptor for editing. Not as fast as SCSI raid but safer and much cheaper. Not everyone can justify the purchase of 4 drives to put into a raid system unless they are working on $$ projects with tight turnaround.

3Dfx_Sage
01-04-2004, 02:18 AM
Originally posted by Dreamabyss
What about having a smaller but fast drive for edit and capture...like maybe the 10k SATA Raptor then having a cheaper but large 7200 RPM IDE or SATA drive (160 or 200 GB) for storage? This way you can off load footage to the storage and only use the Raptor for editing. Not as fast as SCSI raid but safer and much cheaper. Not everyone can justify the purchase of 4 drives to put into a raid system unless they are working on $$ projects with tight turnaround. yeah, that is a good idea. Personally, I don't trust SATA drives... well, I don't trust any ATA/IDE drives... but having one for editing and one for storage would certainly be a good idea, you wouldn't even need a super fast one for editing probably. The main thing is that it really reduces the stress on the one you're actually saving stuff on. Although, I personally like to keep my OS's on an independant drive (probably wont need more than about 17GB at least not until it's time to buy a new one) but that's not really nessesary.

nomad_girl
01-04-2004, 09:56 PM
thanks for all the feedback on the drives guys--- i think now i am pulling away from the scsi's & leaning more toward the striped/mirror raid drives--- having separate-- one for system & others for storage--

IC4-- thanks for the comments on the video cards.... i have been looking thru many of the threads in this forum regarding the video card discussion & i guess i am still wondering about the performance of the quadro fx 500 vs. the quadro4 98oxgl....

did some research on cost-- seems pretty much like the fx500 is going for about $200 less than the 980--- i am wondering why if they are so close in performance? some marketing thing i guess...

checked out the nvidia site- and compared the specs
http://www.nvidia.com/page/quadro4xgl.html
&
http://www.nvidia.com/page/quadrofx.html

seems like the 980 is scoring higher with numbers- but i don't know what all those scores really mean--i think what i will probably do is get a fx500-- still a respectable card-- for right now & then in a few months upgrade to the fx1000 when the price goes down a bit, because i don't know if that extra $200/$250 for the 980xgl is really worth it--probably better to get the fx500 for now- good deal for the price & then upgrade to the fx1000

anybody have some feedback on these cards? (i know..... do a search on fx500!!! i did do that! just looking for more feedback!)

thanks again!!

3Dfx_Sage
01-04-2004, 10:21 PM
well the reason that the FX500 is so cheap is that its based on the GeForceFX 5200 which is the absolute bottom-of-the-barrel for gaming- which means it's dirt cheap to make. But, for the pro version it seems that all nVidia cards are more or less equal.

nomad_girl
01-04-2004, 10:45 PM
i hear you about the gaming-- i have read in alot of the other threads that the fx 500 is not good for that-- but i don't plan to be using it for gaming-- only for 3d-- so i hope it will perform ok with that for while....i will be using it for modeling and animation--

3Dfx_Sage
01-04-2004, 10:49 PM
if you don't plan on doing any gaming at all then the FX500 is an absolute steal. An amazing price for performance and features that's only barely behind the head of the pack.

nomad_girl
01-04-2004, 10:52 PM
great! that is really reassuring to hear-- in some of the other threads there is alot of debate about the cards---so i was a little worried-- but i know that gaming is a one of the top priorities for many--- so i guess that is what makes it the card less appealing for some--

cool-- yes- i think the fx500 will be a good solution for now-- and then hopefully in a few months i can pick up the fx1000 when the price goes down a little!

thanks again!

Dreamabyss
01-04-2004, 11:53 PM
Originally posted by nomad_girl
<edit>cool-- yes- i think the fx500 will be a good solution for now--<edit>

Well...if it makes you feel any better, that's the card I plan to buy. As a matter of fact, I'm in the same situation as you. Not interested in games and I need to build a system that can handle both video and 3d. I'm on a tight budget or I would probably just buy a dual G5 :rolleyes:

I'm looking for the best bang for the buck and that led me to the FX500 and doing a separate storage drive for video. Now all I gotta decide is whether I want to wait for Prescott in February or go ahead and get a P4 2.8 now. In the meantime, I'm limping along on a 500mhz G4 laptop with 16mb of vram. :banghead:

nomad_girl
01-05-2004, 12:36 AM
hi dreamabyss!!

i totally hear you---- mac-girl here all the way!!! i would love to have a dual g5!! right now i have a 800mhz g4 with gig ram-- which has served me well-- but unfortunately some of the 3d software i use (xsi) runs only on pc...(until lately had full use of school computers- so did not buy my own)

graduated & out in the big world now--so i am looking for a pc of my own-- i just don't feel confident enough to build my own just yet, so i am looking around for a good basic system, then learn more about it as i go along & upgrade.

you mentioned you were looking at a p4 2.8--- have you looked at the dell refurbished systems? not sure if you are building your own.... if not... you might find something of interest on that site--
http://www1.us.dell.com/content/products/compare.aspx/workstations?c=us&cs=22&l=en&s=dfh

(alot of people here have things to say about dell-- dell probably deserves it all too-- but i think it can be an economical way to start out....& they come with a full warrantee-- so

i hope to hear more good things on how maya is faring on osX--because i would love to go back on the mac for good..... i guess time will tell..... until then.....

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