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kangonto
10-26-2004, 08:05 AM
The time has come to buy another compy, and the greater dilemma is the choice of the CPU.

I have read that for Lightwave the rightest choice could be a Pentium IV thanks to its hyperthreading technology wich could make LW to benefit from it by using various threads when rendering.

But i recently visisited Chris Blano's web page (http://www.blanos.com/benchmark/) to confirm this theoretical superiority. Well, apparently this superiority is not so clear. The only thing clear is that LWers mainly use Intel technology over AMD's. There are lots of Pentium IV entrys, but there are also a few AMD entrys that surprinsingly are on the top of the list in some benchmarks.

So the dilemma is even harder. Even i'm confused about concepts like XEON, Prescott, SEMPRON, ATHLON...

Any help ?

Please, try to be impartial.

I'm also interested in the performance of both CPU's with the rest of 3D and 2D apps.

THANKS IN ADVANCE

NanoGator
10-26-2004, 08:34 AM
I haven't exactly done a benchmark, but I use a dual P4 at work and a dual Athlon at home. I don't see much of a difference. (maybe if i did more rendering I could give you a useful answer there...) If I were computer shopping, I'd just go for 'best bang per buck'. Been a while since I've looked, but AMD is ahead there a bit. I'll be honest, though, I'm not particularly partial to either. For my style of work, RAM makes a bigger difference than a few seconds faster theoretical speed.

Freebooter
10-26-2004, 10:16 AM
Hi,

I'm working on a mixed network at the moment, Athlons, PIVs,and a couple of Xeons too. It isn't so easy as to say "this chip is best", but as a general rule, if you're not planning on rendering great volumes of material, an AMD is going to be fine. Plus they feel very smooth to work with in Open GL. Genrerally a little bit snappier and more tactile in the feedback department. But, if you're rendering as well, read below...

The real difference comes in at render time. Here the PIVs and the Xeons leave the AMDs in the dust. On simple scenes, there is little to show between them, but as the average render time increases, you can watch the time difference between the CPUs multiply.

example (rough, 'cos it's off the top of my head, from memory, first thing in the morning)...

Scene contains a couple of Photoreal bottles. av render per frame across the network (5 nodes) is maybe 4 mins with raytracing of shadows, reflection, refraction and transparencey; GI and some large Image mapped textures. If I look at the render manager list, the AMDs will be pulling 5.5 mins on those frames, while the PIV and Xeons will be cruising them in at around 3-3.5 mins. There really is that much noticeable difference.

Splitting into passes helps, but the best I've mamaged to get out of them is near-parity when everything is baked out as much as can be and the number of parallel calculations at render time are reduced to minimal. (Fortunately I haven't had to do that on every project!) Even then the PIVs are consistently ahead on renders.

If you're independant/freelance and can't afford extra computers for rendering, get one of the new HyperThreading PIVs and some kinda seriious GFX card, you'll be fine. Athlons may be cheaper, but they're only good at doing one thing at a time, real fast - which is fine for modelling or animating, or anything that involves Open GL performance. Just that ain't always what you need in this game.:shrug:

My 0.02

Nic

tibes
10-26-2004, 10:21 AM
the benchmarks I've seen in the past indicate that single CPU hyperthreading does increase 3D performance (i.e. rendering), but not in a linear fashion like a proper dual cpu system. remember also that the cost of a pentium IV chip vs the cost of an althon XP chip puts the price vs. performance ball squarely in AMD's court.

The new semprons are not quite as quick (in general) as the old athlon XP's however.

If I were buying a new system now, I'd definately be going for an Althon 64. Performance is great, and you'll be ready for 64 bit apps, once they roll around.

Exper
10-26-2004, 10:39 AM
I'd definately go for an Althon 64 (or FX) using an NForce 4 mobo.

Freebooter
10-26-2004, 10:42 AM
tibes,

What you say is correct, the price-point-performance of the AMDs is excellent, but even AMD 64s are still way behind the HT-PIVs at the moment. They won't hyper-thread a 32-bit application; so until you upgrade the OS and your software becomes 64-bit capable (which I believe LW is already - not sure though) you're not going to see much difference.

I had the opportunity of playing with a friend's AMD64. It's nice, snappy in OpenGl and stable. Not appreciably faster than a 32-bit AMD at render time though, a few seconds at most.

For years I have championed AMDs, because of the price-point thing, but the new PIVs have changed my mind. The AMDs are good workstations, but I don't want to rely on them to render my footage when I have a deadline. I can spend more time making it look good if I'm rendering on Intels, because the difference on long renders is HUGE.

Me, I'm waiting until 64-bit becomes standard before I consider a 64-bit system. Too many variables. IMHO "future-proofing" isn't a good gamble.

Nic

kangonto
10-26-2004, 10:57 AM
...Scene contains a couple of Photoreal bottles. av render per frame across the network (5 nodes) is maybe 4 mins with raytracing of shadows, reflection, refraction and transparencey; GI and some large Image mapped textures. If I look at the render manager list, the AMDs will be pulling 5.5 mins on those frames, while the PIV and Xeons will be cruising them in at around 3-3.5 mins. There really is that much noticeable difference...

WOW! So much difference?! Recently i'm working on a project which takes ~30 mins. per frame with my Athlon XP 2100+. I think i seriously need a PIV.

Since we are going to buy 2 new machines i think the best choice could be buying both systems.

Another question. What's the difference between PIV and Xeon ?

Thanks a lot.

Exper
10-26-2004, 11:06 AM
Not appreciably faster than a 32-bit AMD at render time though, a few seconds at most.Due to LW's Renderer not to CPU lacks.

NT announced, for LW8, an optimized Renderer (RayTracing) up to 25% faster on Athlon, then it was delayed to the first update and then delayed again after the 8.0.1 one.

Then... Athlon is faster in rendering Hypervoxels and some other things... so it mainly depends on which features you use more!

Use PIV or Xeon if you want go for a "standard" cpu...
use Athlon if you are catty, you care about your own bucks and you want keep the cpu market alive! :scream:

Freebooter
10-26-2004, 11:10 AM
WOW! So much difference?! Recently i'm working on a project which takes ~30 mins. per frame with my Athlon XP 2100+. I think i seriously need a PIV. I think you seriously need a Dual Xeon. And a lot of RAM.

I did a quick test. We have one Dual Xeon 2.6 here. The speed increase on that machine is roughly 1.8x using Dual Processors over a Single Processor. The HT-PIV 3.0s amount to about a 1.2x increase.
On project time, the Big Xeon sits there and renders 24/7. Most of the work of putting stuff together (modelling, anmation, layout) is done on the AMDs, but lighting and render tests are done on the Xeons.

In short, Xeons are the Multiprocessor versions of the PIV. The new ones are quite awesome, but very pricey. A new Dual Xeon box isn't going to come cheap, I've been looking; but ours is going on for 2 years old now and though it could use some uprgading, it's still top of the local heap for render speed.

N

Freebooter
10-26-2004, 11:17 AM
Due to LW's Renderer not to CPU lacks.

NT announced, for LW8, an optimized Renderer (RayTracing) up to 25% faster on Athlon, then it was delayed to the first update and then delayed again after the 8.0.1 one.

Then... Athlon is faster in rendering Hypervoxels and some other things... so it mainly depends on which features you use more!

I agree 100% on the HVs thing, but I usually render them as a seperate element anyway, ans yes, I usually do it on my main (AMD) workstation. And that certainly is good news on the LW8 render improvement. Long overdue, but still not with us yet...

I've also used the Cinebench benchmarker on the network. It uses the C4D renderer, and the results are pretty similar, if I may say so.

Athlons are great for everything except heavy rendering, if you're doing heavy rendering as well as modelling/animation, get intels.

Nic

kangonto
10-26-2004, 02:13 PM
Thanks to all, you have been very informative.

MadMax
10-27-2004, 09:16 PM
The real difference comes in at render time. Here the PIVs and the Xeons leave the AMDs in the dust. On simple scenes, there is little to show between them, but as the average render time increases, you can watch the time difference between the CPUs multiply.
Boy, a lot of misinformation here. Intel leaves AMD in the dust? Unless you are comparing P4 to a 32 bit Athlon XP, this is complete nonsense.

64 bit Opterons FX and A64 are easily a rendering match for the P4. Even on very large scene files with gig's of objects and textures.

And so far the 64 bit Nocona core Xeons are proving to be dogs. The performance is horrid.

Me, I'm waiting until 64-bit becomes standard before I consider a 64-bit system. Too many variables. IMHO "future-proofing" isn't a good gamble. Already has become standard. AMD and Intel have long since ironed out what the 64 bit specification is, and Microsoft has made their choice.

There is nothing iffy about AMD's 64 bit and they are substantially faster performers than the 32 bit versions of Athlon CPU's.

Bottom line, the market is going 64 bit and Intel is scrambling desperately to play catch up with AMD. Intel's HT isn't anythign spectacular it's a hack to compensate for design problems.

From a more technical point of view, Intel suffers from limited FSB speeds, and crippled memory bandwidth compared to the Opterons/FX/A64's.

sundialsvc4
10-27-2004, 10:30 PM
And yet, if you are going to actually, seriously get top performance from the CPU, it is imperative that all of the other components of the motherboard ... and the operating-system, and the application ... are truly speed-matched to it and in all other ways "up to the task." You are always going to be constrained by the slowest element of the system, no matter what that is, not the fastest.

And even if the CPU isn't the fastest one on the planet (any more), another rule of thumb is that the best way to speed up anything is always to "pick another algorithm" and/or "re-state the problem" in such a way that it becomes computationally smaller and/or easier to solve.

It is tempting to try to "model reality" and then to "throw silicon at it" when things (inevitably) run too slow. But your purpose isn't "to model three-dimensional reality" ... it is to create a picture (which by-the-way will be two-dimensional), any way that you can. There is an awful lot you can do in post-processing steps. There's a lot of good that you can achieve very quickly if you take the time to place the lights (including lights that shine only on certain things, and thereby shine "through" others), instead of just mashing the "Radiosity" button. You're producing product here, not impressing people at SIGGRAPH.

Star Wars Episode One actually shipped to theatres with a stadium-crowd in the Pod Race sequence replaced by spray-painted Q-tips for a few brief seconds. Sold millions of tickets just fine, thankye. If the thought of that causes you to grind your teeth, you're not thinking like a businessman. Your boss, or the investor team, is.

Compositing, two-dimensional painted digital "scrims" substituting for backgrounds, anything and everything that works, is fair-game and isn't cheating. Anything that lets you spot a flaw in an ultra-hi-res render and then fix that flaw in "just a couple of hours" without recalculating everything is a blessing from the gods themselves.

essencedesign
10-27-2004, 10:45 PM
I have a rendering network composed of 2 Boxx 3d R1's ..both have dual Athalon 2100's...and they fly through the most complex renders I can throw at them....that's just my 2 cents...I'm by no means a technician....good luck with your new system though


~j

Celshader
10-27-2004, 11:02 PM
My next CPU, should I be able to afford the upgrade, will be either Athlon64 or an Opteron. If I can afford it, dual-Opteron for me. They're fast, elegant and can run 32-bit code natively, as well as 64-bit code.

If I can afford a dual-Opty, my biggest choice will be between the MSI K8T Master2Far and the Tyan Tiger K8W. The Tiger lets me choose my heatsinks, includes on-board FireWire and an extra PCI slot...but the MSI's cheaper. Decisions, decisions...

Can't wait for those dual-core Opterons to ship next year. :love:

SplineGod
10-27-2004, 11:03 PM
I would go Athlon 64 or dual opteron. Newtek just announced that 64 bit versions of LW are on the way sometime. Youll be all set for that when it happens :)

Freebooter
10-27-2004, 11:31 PM
Lots of good advice either way.

I'm only writing from what I've observed. I've not yet had the pleasure of using an Opteron so I can't comment there. I have used both AMDs and Intels in Production, and those results are as I see them. I'm real sorry that some folk see that as "misinformation"; I call it "experience".

It's all good, so long as it helps the man decide.

Peace,

Nic

MadMax
10-27-2004, 11:31 PM
If I can afford a dual-Opty, my biggest choice will be between the MSI K8T Master2Far and the Tyan Tiger K8W. The Tiger lets me choose my heatsinks, includes on-board FireWire and an extra PCI slot...but the MSI's cheaper. Decisions, decisions...
Can't wait for those dual-core Opterons to ship next year. :love:

MSI is a garbage board. The Tyan is okay, but there are better options.

Tyan has 3 new nForce4 based boards coming out, the Thunder version has DUAL Southbridge chips, which gives it 40 lanes of PCI-Express bandwidth, and SLI.

nForce4 is definitely going to be the hot board to get.

MadMax
10-27-2004, 11:42 PM
Lots of good advice either way.

I'm only writing from what I've observed. I've not yet had the pleasure of using an Opteron so I can't comment there. I have used both AMDs and Intels in Production, and those results are as I see them. I'm real sorry that some folk see that as "misinformation"; I call it "experience".

That is what I suspected, that you are comparing based on P4 to 32 bit AthlonXP's.

You are comparing apples to oranges. AthlonXP is old technology, And you would be accurate. P4 IS faster than those. However the majority of AMD's production these days are geared to producing Athlon64 Athlon FX and Opteron.

32 bit processors ae being downplayed to just the budget builder market.

64 bit however largely eat's Intels lunch. That is a fact. And since it doesn't require a dedicated 64 bit OS to gain speed advantages, you lose absolutely nothing by going with A64, and in fact are well prepared for the release of 64 bit WinXP and soon to be coming 64 bit apps like Lightwave which was just announced.

BTW, Newtek isn't the only WinXP 64 software being prepared for release, they are just the first to publically announce it.

Freebooter
10-27-2004, 11:58 PM
MadMax,

Dude, I'm sure you're right. All those things are cool, but still not here. NT has announced an upcoming 64-bit LW which is brilliant news, render advances for 8 on Athlons, equally superb. I love hearing that, makes me feel good. :love:

But to render footage, to pay my rent and feed my family? I know the intels will see me through, and I trust them to keep doing it. When we are all running 64-bit Os and LW64-bit, I'll probably be loving up my Dual Opterons with the rest of you, but until that day, especially while everything is 32-bit, isn't there wisdom in sticking with what is proven to work? :shrug:


Nic

architook
10-28-2004, 12:11 AM
More fuel for the fire.
Intel chips used to lead because LW used SSE2 on the Pentium 4.
Luckily Athlon64's and Opterons now have SSE2 as well.

LightWave rendering speed is not helped much by cache.. LW likes raw FPU power.

Latest news from Intel is that they will not be improving their clock speed (FPU power) much anymore, instead new processors will be enhanced with more cache. That doesn't help Lightwave rendering at all. (It does help other kinds of tasks like DVD encoding).

AMD is continually speeding up.. they released the 4000+ Athlon64 last week. And they have more headroom with new 90nm chips. So the rendering power of current and future AMD chips is bright. And 64 bit support is just the final nail in the coffin. (Giant railroad spike, really.)

Intel.. just cancelled their 4GHz chip.

So, IMHO, AMD is the current rendering choice, and definately the future rendering choice.
We use both flavors currently, but our future machines are all planned to be AMD.

Celshader
10-28-2004, 12:12 AM
MSI is a garbage board. The Tyan is okay, but there are better options.

Tyan has 3 new nForce4 based boards coming out, the Thunder version has DUAL Southbridge chips, which gives it 40 lanes of PCI-Express bandwidth, and SLI.

nForce4 is definitely going to be the hot board to get.
Heh. I want to keep my computers crammed into mid-towers, and I know of only three dual-Opteron boards that can fit in a standard ATX case: the MSI, the Tyan Tiger K8W, and the Arima HDAMB. I'm limited to those choices.

MadMax
10-28-2004, 12:39 AM
Heh. I want to keep my computers crammed into mid-towers, and I know of only three dual-Opteron boards that can fit in a standard ATX case: the MSI, the Tyan Tiger K8W, and the Arima HDAMB. I'm limited to those choices.
Tyan does have a "tiger" version of nForce4 coming.

MadMax
10-28-2004, 12:49 AM
MadMax,

Dude, I'm sure you're right. All those things are cool, but still not here.
What isn't here? 64 bit OS and apps are all that is lacking. Otehwise A64 works with all existing 32 bit apps on the same level as Intel's best.

But to render footage, to pay my rent and feed my family? I know the intels will see me through, and I trust them to keep doing it.
A64 does just as well, just as fast, just as reliably and just as stable. Those are here right now.

Greater memory bandwidth, better FP unit, faster bus, dual systems have independant memory for each processor while Xeon has a shared memory bus.

Opteron pays my bills quite well and reliably. It sounds like you are implying that using AMD endangers your ability to feed your family and I hate to say this, but that is nonsense.

When we are all running 64-bit Os and LW64-bit, I'll probably be loving up my Dual Opterons with the rest of you, but until that day, especially while everything is 32-bit, isn't there wisdom in sticking with what is proven to work? :shrug:
But we were not talking about you. We are replying to someone who is asking for help. And by your own admission, you don't know much about AMD 64 or it's benefits. Even in your closing, you are implying it doesn't make sense since there isn't 64 bit native apps yet, and that is blatantly wrong.

No one is trying to get you to switch, but I'd think you would prefer to be informed with acurate info instead of grossly inaccurate info.

Freebooter
10-28-2004, 01:04 AM
Woah. Dude, Back Down.

I came on this thread trying to help. My info is based on what I've seen and done. I'm looking at the numbers now, and reading your arguments and I was preparing to recant my previous advice. If he wants something for the future it is probably a better bet to go AMD.

Please read my posts. I'm not an Intel freak. Between us my partner and I have a fairly even spread, for the most part, the Intels are his and the AMDs are mine, so I don't favour one over the other.

I know the hardware is there, but surely until the software supports the hardware, the older tech still has the same advantages and disadvantages it always had? Please correct me if this is wrong.

I'm real sorry if I've offended you in any way MadMax, that wasn't my intent. Nor was it my intent to spread misinformation, nor to start a crusade. I do not claim to know everything, but based on what I've seen, Intels render faster than Athlons. At the moment. On the software we are using. That's all I've said.

Thanks for your time, I'll get me coat...

Peace,

Nic

zappenduster
10-28-2004, 01:13 AM
Heh. I want to keep my computers crammed into mid-towers, and I know of only three dual-Opteron boards that can fit in a standard ATX case: the MSI, the Tyan Tiger K8W, and the Arima HDAMB. I'm limited to those choices.
i would also add the new iwill barebone to this ok its not a board only its a whole pc case but since its a dual opteron board in it who cares =)

the iwill zmax dp should come out at the end of this year november or december i think it features a nvidia nforce 3 250gb chipset, 300w powersupply, 2x3.5" and some other goodies as wireless lan all that for 499$ which is not really cheap but its an alternative to all these huge towers in a world where space costs money

http://www.hardwareluxx.de/andreas/News/ZMAX_angle.jpg

MadMax
10-28-2004, 01:38 AM
I know the hardware is there, but surely until the software supports the hardware, the older tech still has the same advantages and disadvantages it always had? Please correct me if this is wrong.
No, there IS a difference because there are a number of changes in the 64 bit core that the older XP's do not have. This is why I said that your comparison is apples to oranges.

A big one is that XP doesn't not have SSE2, A64 does.

A64 has integrated memory controller, XP does not.

XP have Northbridge chips on the motherboard, on A64 these fatures are integrated into the CPU.

X86-64 has higher memory bandwidth than the XP's.

All this makes a substantial difference in rendering.

I'm real sorry if I've offended you in any way MadMax, that wasn't my intent. Nor was it my intent to spread misinformation, nor to start a crusade. No offense was taken. Likewise I didn't think you were trying to start a crusade. But you obviously were unaware of the benefits of the x86-64 as it exists now.

I do not claim to know everything, but based on what I've seen, Intels render faster than Athlons. At the moment. On the software we are using. That's all I've said.
But as you said, you were comparing XP's, not 64 bit chips. Therein lies a HUGE difference in performance. And P4's will always be faster than XP's. They are a dead end. No more of them coming ever. They have been dead for a good year now.
So my ocrrecting you was only to let you know that there were other options, and that 64 bit is more "ready" than the impression you had of it.

No offense taken or intended.

Freebooter
10-28-2004, 03:08 AM
Okay, Cool. No problems then.:thumbsup:

For what it's worth, I'm converted.

Kangonto, Go AMD.

N

kangonto
10-28-2004, 06:42 AM
We bought both systems yet.

I'll throw PIV through the window when Windows 64bits and LW 64 appears.

My boss pays the bills. :)

I'm still waiting to buy my computer at home, i'll wait and see.

Thanks to all.

Exper
10-29-2004, 08:34 AM
For everyone interested in nForce 4 mobo...
take a look here:
nForce 4 A02 Problems (http://www.flexbeta.net/main/comments.php?catid=8&shownews=10080)

The problem will be fixed in A03 silicon.

MadMax
10-29-2004, 03:38 PM
For everyone interested in nForce 4 mobo...
take a look here:
nForce 4 A02 Problems (http://www.flexbeta.net/main/comments.php?catid=8&shownews=10080)

The problem will be fixed in A03 silicon.
I wouldn't put a lot of credibility in that article. They only copied what tehy saw on the Inquirer, and that isn't exactly a very credible source.

A lot of their stories are "a friend overheard two engineers talking at Home Depot" or stuff they get from forum posts.

Even if true, their conclusions lack substance. 4x to 5x going to make a substantial difference as they claim? doubtful. Original AMD chipsets were limited to 600mhz HT because of a silicon problem, and yet there was virtually no performance difference when compared to VIA's 800mhz HT.

This is really going to be a people who have number issues and bragging rights insecurities.

Exper
10-29-2004, 05:06 PM
Yep.. I didn't want say that it was correct... just take a little more care!
Nor I intended to say anything bad about the manufacturer.

As far as I can say by personal experince: "Nvidia rulez!" :thumbsup:

Exper
11-03-2004, 08:58 AM
http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=2264&p=3

dev3d
11-03-2004, 05:50 PM
feeling amBUSHed as a citizen of ze world...

intel is a BIG investor in Israel
AMD is not

the performance is equal

every vote counts (as does every ethically invested dollar)

GekkeHond
11-03-2004, 06:48 PM
As far as I knew Pentiums are still a little faster then there Athlon cousins. Even the 4000+ 64bit ones. Altho they render a lot better then the non64 ones.

A coupls of examples are the following benchmarks with Lightwave:
http://zdnet.de/i/et/client/cpu/200410/image011.png
http://www.hwupgrade.it/articoli/1100/lightwave_1.png

http://www.hwupgrade.it/articoli/1100/lightwave_2.png
The last one shows there are situations where the AMD's do win.

For the future I can't predict what will be the best choice. But for the moment the more expensive pentiums still hold the #1 prize for rendering with lightwave as far as I can see.

But! I chose for AMD as well because rendering with lightwave is not the only thing that I do with my computer :) Another feature I like about the pentiums is they 'feel' faster in windows. Because of there dual (fake :)) cores.

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