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bakbek
08-05-2005, 09:32 AM
A Cost-Effective Workstation?

Hallo all… I’ve been looking for a new computer for some time now, but I’m overloaded with information and can’t see through the clutter….

What I’m asking is, what will be the most cost-effective deal today… I don’t have a set budget (i guess around 2500$), but I want to spend the very least needed for a 3D/2D/Animation Workstation. It needs to have good visual response for large models (Mainly Arch-VIZ) and have render power so that I can do render while I work and have it rendering full throttle at night.

So what are the options? Is it a clear cut between Intel or AMD?

Is it justifiable going Dual? Or is the Athlon 64 x 2 (Dual Core) a better options? Should I even consider going Dual Core given the current price vs. performance?

What about the Graphics Card – Nvidia; Ati; 3DLabs ? ? ? i never used a dual screen setup before, but i plan to do so with this system - so the card needs to handle this well.
i'm currently thinking of a GeFORCE 6600 GT - could be pushed with SLI with 2 cards, at the same or lower then the 6800 costs i think, or not?

Is a high end game card a better deal the a pro card? And what is it that we really need to push the polys on screen, without the overkill - I never played on my main work box, so this is not an issue.

HDD speed, is 7,200RPM enough or should I go for the new 10,000RPM brands – is this a real performance boost.

RAM - I have 1 GB Currently… I guess 2 GB will be the minimum for a new box, when will I need more? If a go dual core should I take more?

I know I ask a lot… but I’m just overwhelmed by this new advances and need some help I focusing my targets.

I Plan to use Maxwell, and I need to decide between Cinema 4D or XSI I think as main platforms (I don’t think I’ll go with 3dsMAX) more application I’ll use will be ACAD, SketchUP (I use this for all my modeling now) I Guess when VRay standalone will be out I’ll check it out too.

Somthing that poped up in this forum... Athlon 64bit x2 vs. Single Opteron Dual core (adding second later on) - What is the better deal here at the moment of buy and later on too. I Guess the opteron option because of the low cost of upgrade when needed.
Can i do the Same on a Xeon system (are those 64bit? Dual Core?)

Hope this thread will help more people then just me…

Cheers

rebo
08-05-2005, 10:10 AM
I dont mean to be rude but to say


I don’t have a set budget, but I want to spend the very least needed for a 3D/2D/Animation Workstation.


And then start talking about a higher end processor like a dual core Athlon, or a Dual processor setup and 10,000 RPM drives makes no sense.

Set a budget and then people can realistically suggest a machine.

All your suggestions make sense if they fit within a budget, apart from


'm currently thinking of a GeFORCE 6600 GT - could be pushed with SLI with 2 cards, at the same or lower then the 6800 costs i think, or not?


SLI is useless for 3d workstations as applications like maya are not optimized for it, and if your out to spend the very least possible then SLI is certainly a no no.

Do you need monitor(s) or do you already have them? Do you need a dual monitor setup or will one large monitor do?

Currently i'm on an AMD X2 4400 @2.5Ghz with 2 gig ram and 6800GT, it suffices for my needs ( Maya, Zbrush and Photoshop).

bakbek
08-05-2005, 10:13 AM
OK then... i guess i'm ready to spend around 2500$ give or take. but if i can get a good system with less then that then thats what i'll do. my problem is really knowing what is needed and what is overkill for the cost.

rebo
08-05-2005, 10:19 AM
Thats a good starting figure and helps give everyone an idea of what your aiming at. Are monitor(s) to be included in that figure?

bakbek
08-05-2005, 10:21 AM
NO... thats on a differant budget. i have one and can obtain one more with low cost... so new monitors will have to wait.

qwatkins
08-05-2005, 04:45 PM
how 'bout this dualy:

http://www.alienware.com/Configurator_Pages/mj-12_7550a.aspx?SysCode=PC-MJ12-7550-A&SubCode=SKU-DEFAULT

or this one for a little more

http://www.boxxtech.com/products/cf_step2.asp?ModelInstanceID=491&cfg4451=3303&cfg4519=4094&cfg4618=3398&cfg4650=3319&cfg4710=2446&cfg5167=3094&cfg5168=2446&cfg7919=2446&cfg5248=2446&cfg5251=2446&cfg7535=2446&cfg5328=4439&cfg6566=2446&cfg5331=2446&cfg5463=2399&cfg5464=3730&cfg5465=2446&cfg5569=2446&cmdUpdateTotal.x=73&cmdUpdateTotal.y=14

RTN3000
08-05-2005, 05:04 PM
A Cost-Effective Workstation?

Can i do the Same on a Xeon system (are those 64bit? Dual Core?)

Well, they are 2 single core processors, used together, but they do need to have 64-bit suport as well...

You might want to look into quad cores, dual, dual-core optetrons in dual socket motherboard, very expensive though...

Intel processors are supposed to work better in graphic-stressed tasks, compared to AMD processors, so try to lean toward intel, but new X2 processors, like rebo's, are getting pretty good...

My opinion is to spend less on processor, more on graphics card...

thedaemon
08-05-2005, 06:29 PM
$2500 on just the computer, is not a budget build. $1000 would be a budget workstation. With $2500 you will get an awesome system. Go hog wild. My current workstation, minus the monitor (which is like $1200) Is around $1.5K. I have a amd 64bit 3000+, 1.5GB kingston ram, 250gb hd geforce 6800, and a few other things. Or course you could build it now, I bet for under $1k.

lots
08-05-2005, 06:36 PM
Geforce 6600GT in SLI is going to be about the same as one 6800GT. They cost about the same as well. The plus to the 6800GT is the single card solution. You wont have the compatability problems that cards in SLI have. So go with the 6800GT if its within your budget.

lots
08-05-2005, 06:47 PM
Well, they are 2 single core processors, used together, but they do need to have 64-bit suport as well...

You might want to look into quad cores, dual, dual-core optetrons in dual socket motherboard, very expensive though...

Intel processors are supposed to work better in graphic-stressed tasks, compared to AMD processors, so try to lean toward intel, but new X2 processors, like rebo's, are getting pretty good...

My opinion is to spend less on processor, more on graphics card...
AMD is definately the way to go. They run cooler and faster than the competing Intel chips. Also the dual core offerings from AMD are much better than Intel's. So I would recommend going for the X2, since it is more budget friendly than th dual DC Opterons :)

Intel processors used to be a pretty good deal, when all they had to compete with were the Athlon XPs, but now adays, the K8 architecture is vastly superior.

I also would spend more on CPU and RAM than on the video card. This will help improve performance in both viewports and rendering. A graphics card will only bring benifits to the viewports (and in special cases rendering, Maya), and may not bring full benifit if your CPU/RAM cant feed the video card data fast enough. In many cases with slow viewport performance, it is the CPU/RAM that needs upgrading.

Also, if you're a beginner to the 3D world, a Quadro 4500 will not help you at all. I would save the cash and invest in better CPU and more RAM, and buy a gamer card. You will not push the limits of such a rig for a while. Only when you start creating very complex scenes and models, will a high end workstation class card come in handy.

deathman20
08-05-2005, 07:36 PM
I second a higher end CPU and more ram.

X2 4400 or if u really want to spend money on a CPU X2 4800 will treat you very well. If your into overclocking or know a little about it an X2 4400 and a decent heatsink will get you over what a 4800 can do and also run cooler.

More rams always good, probley better to start off with 2gigs (and expaind later when you need more for more complex scenes) weither it be 4x 512meg sticks or 2x 1gig sticks thats up to you, but i try to look for the fastest timing possible on it for more preformance. Usually its neglagible but hey every bit helps.

Getting a higher end gaming card will serve you well. Besides saving you probley 2x the amount you paid for the gaming card you might even beable to softmod the card into acting like a professional one.

Harddrives are a huge bottleneck in system preformance, usually the faster the better but then comes the cost of it. Raptor drives are definatly the fastest of the IDE/SATA family. They got great seak times and preformance is nearly that of SCSI drives. Also though theres a few SATA drives now that do preform nearly equal to that of the Raptors and a cheaper cost and lots more storage space. Truely up to you, but a suggestion to make sure you cool the harddrives, most people don't they do run hot, try putting a fan over them it will help extend there life by not running so hot.

lots
08-05-2005, 08:09 PM
To help point out the thing about cooling the hard drives. Like most things, the disks in a hard drive will expand when they heat up (and they will). Most hard drives have built in software to take care of adjusting the read heads accordingly, but still, heat will eventually distort the drive. Keeping the drive as cool as possible will help the longevity of the drive.

MadMax
08-05-2005, 08:45 PM
Intel processors are supposed to work better in graphic-stressed tasks, compared to AMD processors, so try to lean toward intel, but new X2 processors, like rebo's, are getting pretty good...


That is absolutely ridiculous and completely false. In fact quite the opposite is true. if you are looking for a graphics workstation, AMD is the way to go, no question about it.

AMD is currently and has been for some time the leader in technology over Intel. AMD developed an x86-64 architecture, Intel copied it when Microsoft refused to support Intel's archaic plans for a desktop Itanium.

Dual core. AMD developed a highly integrated and efficient dual core processor, Intel glued two aging processor cores together that can't even communicate with each other directly. All communication has to go out to an aging FSB and tehn back into the processor.

AMD has substantially greater memory bandwidth.


You need to do your research better.

MadMax
08-05-2005, 08:54 PM
For your budget, this would be a great setup for you:

Asus A8N-SLI Premium 175.00

OCZ or Corsair ram, 2gb. rought 250.00-300.00 depending on the grade of ram you get.

nVidia 7800, it's powerful and it's a bit expensive at around 500.00

AMD X2 3800 dual core, about 400.00 currently, might drop in the next couple of weeks as vendors get them. Usually the first guys to get them charge a premium.

Antec Treupower II 550w PS. This is a pretty expensive unit at 150.00, but I found it on pricewatch from a dealer for 107.00

get a good case. I have 3 Lian Li 2000b cases and they are awesome. tons of space for airflow, and an absolutely ridiculous amount of space for lots of drives.

NEC ND 3540 DVDR/RW 16x dual layer, around 40.00

Monitors:

IF you need them....... look for Dell coupons online. thier 20.1" LCD can be had for as low as 380.00, the Dell store is like 700.00 something. The 24" Dell LD can be had for as low as 800.00 wth coupons.

Howver, if you are not looking to build, and want to purchase a well designed, solid system, you want to go with a BoXX. They are very sturdy, you get a nice custom case, and it's rigorously tested before shipping.

And you can't beat BoXX tech support.

Joel Hooks
08-05-2005, 09:05 PM
I built a dual Opteron box in April for <$2500

Tyan K8WE w/ Opteron 242s
2gb Ram
Leadtek Gf 6800gt PCI-X
180gb SATA
cmStacker case (beats the Lian Li v2000 in price by $100, same features)

It has been fantastic so far, plus it will upgrade easily to dual core next year when the price has gone down and I will trickle down the 242s into a nice bare-bones render node.

lots
08-05-2005, 09:48 PM
Same exact idea as me Joel :)

Except I shot for the 246s, ah well. I think I may drop them into a SFF from IWill and give it to my GF for her editing needs + Sims :):P

linus3d
08-05-2005, 09:55 PM
I suggest you check out tech review sites like www.anandtech.com and especially www.xbitlabs.com. Xbitlabs is really good for comparing products because whenever they do benchmarks they test a whole bunch of products within that category. For example, whenever they benchmark CPUs, they always include different categories of perfomance such as gaming, rendering, multitasking, etc. I recommend you sort out which categories of performance are important to you, and then afterwards look for products.

As for Intel vs AMD, I've been keeping up with the news and I think AMD is the better choice (either Opteron or Athlon 64, dualcore or not). The K8 architecture (the general chip design that both the Opteron and Athlon 64's use, including dualcore) is 64-bit compatible (you mentioned that you might be using XSI or Cinema 4D... I think the new Cinema 4D has some 64-bit functionality improvements). Yes, Intel does have 64-bit support now with their newer chips (I forget the names of these) but benchmarks and reviews show that in general, a K8 chip gives you more bang for the buck. (I would also add that I've been an AMD fan for some time now, just by the general trend for Intel to overprice their items compared to AMD).

For video cards, I don't know much about gaming cards (the general ones you can buy) vs. workstation cards (e.g. 3D Labs and Quadro/FireGL cards). I'm pretty sure though that high end gaming cards will suit your needs unless you will be dealing frequently with high-poly, high-memory (detailed, numerous textures) models/scenes. Generally the workstation cards differ from the gaming cards in that they have extra memory (the video RAM, which is different than your regular motherboard RAM in that you use the former to display pictures and the latter when you render), more pixel pipelines (the more the better), and higher memory/chip frequencies (leading to faster usage of video RAM and hence visual performance). That being said, unless you require the added performance of these high-end cards, you should just go with the general gaming cards.

I just wanted to say the above about gaming vs. workstation cards because I didn't know how much you wanted to divide up your computer between visual performance/feedback vs. rendering. If you want a good balance, then just go with a gaming card and a modest K8 chip. If you want more visual performance than rendering, get either a high-end gaming card or perhaps even a workstation card (I warn you though that these cards seem overpriced) and a cheaper K8 or even a Pentium D or Sempron. If you just want more rendering power than anything else, then get a modest K8 chip and overclock it, or perhaps get a dual-core, or even dual chip solution (Opterons).

If you're thinking about NVIDIA vs. ATI, the market right now looks like this: NVIDIA is leading the market with their flagship 7800 graphics card models. These are the fastest ones out there. However, ATI will be coming out with their top cards, based on the R520 chip design, later this year, or perhaps early next year if it gets delayed. I suggest you wait for the R520 based cards to come out because it will definitely drive prices down.

On a final note, I recommend that you build your own system as it saves several hundred dollars than purchasing a Alienware or Boxx or Dell or whatever. It is not too difficult to build your own system--buying a computer hardware guide book and building your own computer will save you a lot of money and help you to better judge computer components in the future. Additionally, there are many, many tech forums out there filled with people who talk about optimized "rigs" (self-built computers), and also people who help out others when they encounter problems when building their own rigs.

bakbek
08-05-2005, 10:52 PM
Thanks for all the feedback… I appreciate it.

Well… I'm going the AMD route, this is pretty much decided and I think I'll go for an Athlon 64x2 (Dual Core) but I just wanted your comments on the option of setting up a rig of Opterons (Dual core or not) with just one chip at first… is this going to have same or more power / less or more expensive?

I guess if the power/cost is at the same range then it is better to go for the Opteron option because of lower upgrade costs later on?

As for the card... I currently use an Fx 5700 LE. Some of my models are a little heavy for this card… Screen performance is important to me but not as much as rendering power. i think I'll go with the 6600 or maybe the 6800…

If I can do this rig under 2000 $ it will be great.

metalliandy
08-05-2005, 11:16 PM
AMD cant be that bad if ILM (http://www.amd.com/us-en/Corporate/VirtualPressRoom/0,,51_104_543_5730%7E84919,00.html) use them ;)

rebo
08-05-2005, 11:24 PM
Dont pay the premium for a 7800GTX and get a lowerend CPU like the 3800 X2. Thats a bad decision for a work station, a workstation needs all the CPU power it can get. Sure you may be able to OC the 3800 from 2.0 to 2.4 but thats quite a jump and not all people will manage that, getting the 4400 X2 and a 6800GT makes more sense imo.

MadMax
08-06-2005, 01:47 AM
Dont pay the premium for a 7800GTX and get a lowerend CPU like the 3800 X2. Thats a bad decision for a work station, a workstation needs all the CPU power it can get. Sure you may be able to OC the 3800 from 2.0 to 2.4 but thats quite a jump and not all people will manage that, getting the 4400 X2 and a 6800GT makes more sense imo.

Dude, that is just silly advice all the way around.

First off the 7800 kicks the ever living crap out of the 6800.

also, calling the 3800 a low end processor and a bad choice is nothing short of laughably ludicrous. Since you are obvioulsy not all that familiar with the AMD product line, you might not want to be giving advice on them. I have yet to see an X2 that wouldn't hit 2.7 easily. Doesn;lt mena that ALL CPU's will, but the odds seem to be greatly infavor of it workig just fine. And 2 2.oghz cores is hardly low end, underpowered or slow anyway.

rebo
08-06-2005, 02:15 AM
also, calling the 3800 a low end processor and a bad choice is nothing short of laughably ludicrous. Since you are obvioulsy not all that familiar with the AMD product line, you might not want to be giving advice on them. I have yet to see an X2 that wouldn't hit 2.7 easily. Doesn;lt mena that ALL CPU's will, but the odds seem to be greatly infavor of it workig just fine. And 2 2.oghz cores is hardly low end, underpowered or slow anyway.


For a workstation on said budget its far better to spend money on a X2 with 2.2 default core ( say the 4200 or 4400 ) and get a lesser graphics card than get a top of the range graphcs card with wont affect work station performance and a lesser processor. Its pretty damn hard to stress a 6800GT in 3d application viewports. If he was playing games ofcourse i would agree, but hes creating a work station and the increased stock speed ( and stablity at an overlock) is far more important than more FPS for games which he wont be playing.

He is simply not going to see any usable performance increases to his computer by getting a 7800GTX. He wants a workstation not a games machine.

The title of the thread is "cost effective workstation" why spend over a quater of his ideal budget on a video card that will bring him no viewport advantages compared with one $200 less. It makes no sense.

shreedharcva
08-06-2005, 02:52 AM
Pls Let's not go what one person wants, what's his budget 1000$/2500$ b;ah b;ah.
Try to be more generic in terms of a
Cheapest methods with the selection of

A. User is a Learner/Intermediate/Proffessional

1. Best overclockable motherboard.
2. Socket A/775/448/754/939
3. VGA card i.e unlockable using rivatuner (whether its PCIE or AGP)
4. Minimum Powersupply reqd
5. Monitor choice is left to user's comfort.

THis would be better.

MadMax
08-06-2005, 04:13 AM
For a workstation on said budget its far better to spend money on a X2 with 2.2 default core ( say the 4200 or 4400 )


Interesting.. He should spend almost 200.00 MORE for a 4400, when he should be able to easily get such a small overclock for free.


and get a lesser graphics card than get a top of the range graphcs card with wont affect work station performance and a lesser processor. Its pretty damn hard to stress a 6800GT in 3d application viewports. If he was playing games ofcourse i would agree, but hes creating a work station and the increased stock speed ( and stablity at an overlock) is far more important than more FPS for games which he wont be playing.

He is simply not going to see any usable performance increases to his computer by getting a 7800GTX. He wants a workstation not a games machine.


uh huh. yeah ok. and just WHO said anything about games?????

rebo
08-06-2005, 05:02 AM
A 4400 also has 1mb per core cache as apposed to 512k for the 3800, the higher stock frequency means it will overlock with more stablity and more Mhtz than a 3800.

Even if i didnt spend the $200 on a 4400, it still doesnt justify spending it on a 7800.GTX Far better to spend it on a 2*WD Raptor raid setup for better performance or redundancy. Either of those would make more difference to a Workstations performance than the premium you pay for a 7800 GTX.

Futheremore

http://www.3dfluff.com/mash/cbtop.php

Lets assume that #1 result in the benchmark table is yours ( the dual 275 opteron 7800GTX)? The opengl score of 3254 for the 7800GTX is less than my 6800GT result of 3284. If I had OCing available in x64 I would be getting 3900 odd (what I get in XP ). This is based on a program he wants to actually use. I dont see how advocating spending money on a card that benchs no/negative performance increase in software he uses makes sense.

Ofcourse I'm not saying a 6800GT is a better card, but the advatages a 7800GTX brings to a work station for the cost outlay isnt really worth it imo. Unless ofcourse you have a budget excess.

lots
08-06-2005, 05:21 AM
Have you guys ever seen benchmarks of Athlon64s with 1MB cache vs 512KB cache and identical clock? It's not quite as advantagous as you'd think. This is mostly due to the design of the K8. The onboard memory controller helps cut down latency, so the importance of cache is lessened. Dont get me wrong though, bigger cache does help, it's just not as favorable as one might think.

Knowing this behavior of the first few generations of the K8, I would wager a guess that the X2s have a similar placement. You have to ask your self is the increase that the larger cache brings worth the larger price tag. A year or so ago, the answer was no. The prices have changed, and I havnt re-evaluated.

ambient-whisper
08-06-2005, 05:31 AM
Dude, that is just silly advice all the way around.
First off the 7800 kicks the ever living crap out of the 6800.


quoted for agreement.

i have been dissapointed when i went from a geforce 2gts to a geforce 5600, for modelling reasons. there just wasnt enough performance advantage as far as poly pushing went, and games mainly sped up because of the pixel shading code.

so when i was buying the 7800GTX, i wasnt expecting much in terms of poly pushing speed, and boy was i wrong. the card surprised me on all fronts. it plays games like a freakin' dream, and its so damn snappy when modelling.

at work i have a 120k model in silo, which im topologizing, on a quadro 4 x750 ( i think thats the number ) it tumbles, but very slow. i have to delete 2/3 of the model for it to tumble fast enough to make it interactive, and not a slide show.

at home i can display the entire model, at about the same speed as the work model does when i delete 2/3 of it. so, i have about 2-3 times more geometry at home, and it tumbles very, very nice.

surprisingly enough ,from my experience the speed between the quadro 4 750 and a quadro fx 3000 wasnt that much different. in some cases the Quadro 4 750 seems faster in geometry pushing than the quadro fx 3000.

and to those that think that intel dual cores arent a solution. the only bad sides is that they generate a bit much heat for my liking ( im getting 65 degrees celcius at idle, which is way too much. so i had to place an extra fan that blows at the case to lower the number significantly),

theres a timed benchmark in zbrush shows that theres very little difference in speed between the amd 4400, and pentium d 820. maybe it makes a larger difference elsewhere, but both are very much on par inside the apps i use. yet the pentium processor costs much less. looking at benchmarks, to me it seems that youll gain more speed if you invest in a good Vcard ( like the 7800, instead of anything lower ), than if you were to go between the Pentium D 820 or the amd 4400. however, if heat is an issue ( ie, hot environment, cheap case, and no good fans around you ), stick with amd.

rebo
08-06-2005, 05:35 AM
I wasnt suggesting a 7800 isnt a massive improvement over a 5600, it is but so is a 6800 GT. The fact is a 7800 GTX viewport performance over a 6800GT is not huge enough to justify buying one when other things can be done within the budget to have real increases in workstation performance.

MadMax's own cinebench result shows this.

parallax
08-06-2005, 09:51 AM
I'd have to side with Rebo.
Other then the fact that (unless he NEEDS every possible future microframe of viewport performance, i'm not familair with his work), it seems silly to me to even consider overclocking a professional tool that you use in business, regardless of the fact that AMD's technology is vastly superior to current Intel offerings.

So the choice between the faster CPU or the faster grfx card is solely dependant on his modelling/rendering ratio.

Other then that, you wouldn't catch me spending this much on a computer in this lifetime, without adding some massive storage, cause single HDD's absolutely do nothing for me.

MadMax
08-06-2005, 06:03 PM
I wasnt suggesting a 7800 isnt a massive improvement over a 5600, it is but so is a 6800 GT. The fact is a 7800 GTX viewport performance over a 6800GT is not huge enough to justify buying one when other things can be done within the budget to have real increases in workstation performance.

MadMax's own cinebench result shows this.

So you do not conisder software using OpenGL 2.0 and utilizing the GPU for for rendering OpenGl viewports is a significant need for all the GPU performance you can get?

See, I do think that is a reason.

And considering that depending on the card, the differnce between a high end 6800 and the 7800 is very little money.

MadMax
08-06-2005, 06:09 PM
I'd have to side with Rebo.
Other then the fact that (unless he NEEDS every possible future microframe of viewport performance, i'm not familair with his work), it seems silly to me to even consider overclocking a professional tool that you use in business, regardless of the fact that AMD's technology is vastly superior to current Intel offerings.



Since it can be done without risk using only a software based program provided with the motherboard, that can test the system prior to making changes, why is it silly?

I've been running 2.7ghz for 3+ weeks solid without a reboot or shutting down at night with no problems and no program stability issues.

If you want to call it silly, provide somethig to back it up. Why is it silly? give me a viable reason to back the statement up. I know for a fact it isn't system stability. It's not program stability, then what????

linus3d
08-06-2005, 09:52 PM
On a side note, here are are the pros and cons of overclocking (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overclocking) (not just CPUs) at Wikipedia. I personally recommend overclocking if you know the right techniques because it cuts down on your computer component costs by tweaking relatively inexpensive components as opposed to buying a comparatively higher performing factory-set component. Since you do plan to spend $2000~ on your system bakbek, I think there is more room for buying the right components and saving a good chunk of money in the end (versus spending only $1000 which limits your options on the number/quality of components).

I think I've exhausted my limited knowledge on computers and computer components, so good luck on finding the right parts/getting your new system!

mlmiller1983
08-06-2005, 10:47 PM
I am in the process of building myself a workstation PC too. Right now I am on a 3.2C P4 and in serious need of an upgrade so I am going for AMD 64 X2 4200+ and a 7800GTX video card. Looking at the benchmarks and there is very little difference between the 1MB and 512KB cache processors in terms of performance. RAM I am going 2GB now and 4GB down the road when I get a 64bit OS or I have software that will utilize it. I am going for the ASUS A8N-SLI Dlx motherboard. I want to save $$$ for a PCI Express Raid card but I wait and see whats available when I building my system( I might buy this after I build my system). I can't wait until i finish my system but I need to save money and wait for prices to drop.

I think the 3800+ would make an excellent render farm cpu once they drop to about $350 or below.

I use After Effects, Cinema 4D, Lightwave 3D, Modo, Photoshop, and Premiere Pro.

Note: Anybody have suggestions on a good LCD monitor(or 2). I always had my eye on Samsung LCDs.

MadMax
08-06-2005, 11:08 PM
On a side note, here are are the pros and cons of overclocking (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overclocking) (not just CPUs) at Wikipedia. I personally recommend overclocking if you know the right techniques because it cuts down on your computer component costs by tweaking relatively inexpensive components as opposed to buying a comparatively higher performing factory-set component.


Unfortunately that information is so out of date that it is not applicable. Look at the "disadvantages" in that article.

First of, modern board are bus locked. That means that any components on the PCi and AGP bus are unaffected by change in the CPU or ram. On older machines, back when this was written, overclocking a system meant applying those changes to peripheral cards as well because they altered the 33mhz PCI bus. This would cause instabilities with certain components that were sensitive to the changes.

On AMD's we are dealing with the CPU and the ram. Overclocking a board that has bus locks will not cause system instabilities because peripherals are run out of spec.

Increasing the clock speed and/or voltage of a component can shorten its lifespan and possibly damage it.

Consider that we are talking about components that on average should last a good 10 years. slight additonal voltage applied in overclocking might drop that figure by 5%. Most people upgrade far more frequently than the presumed danger of shortened lifespan. even when this was a bigger issue back in the old days, I volted higher than you ever would on an A64, and the system lasted for more than 3 years, and still worked reliably when I sold it because I upgraded. this is even less of an issue now, when the amount of voltage tweaks are well within the components safe operating parameters.

Non-trivial speed increases often require premium cooling equipment, and once the hobby bites it can become an expensive pastime.


Another outdated quote, and frankly not true at least regarding A64/X2's. simple aircooling at 42c on a 2.7ghz overclock. hardly what one would call premium cooling equipment and far from being expensive. In fact, cooling for an overclocked AMD is cheaper than standard cooling needs for a stock P4.


for an AMD system, you don;lt even particularly need to know what you are doing since nVidia has made it extremely easy by a supplied application which comes with the motherboard called nVTune. it tests possible parameters and will not let you set anything that could damage your system. They have made it so easy a monkey could do it.

MadMax
08-06-2005, 11:10 PM
Note: Anybody have suggestions on a good LCD monitor(or 2). I always had my eye on Samsung LCDs.


Samsung 213T's are fantastic, but Dell is whoring out a 20.1" LCD that you can buy for less than 400.00 if you can track down a coupon on the internet.

mlmiller1983
08-06-2005, 11:21 PM
Samsung 213T's are fantastic, but Dell is whoring out a 20.1" LCD that you can buy for less than 400.00 if you can track down a coupon on the internet.

Any idea where I can find this coupon. Thanks!!!

MadMax
08-07-2005, 01:31 AM
Any idea where I can find this coupon. Thanks!!!

do a google search on Dell LCD coupons

Also try bensbargains.com

EDIT: I have been searching for some the last few days and there do not appear to be any currently valid Dell coupon specials for LCD's. Last one I saw expired a week ago.

lots
08-07-2005, 06:06 AM
The most recent Dell coupon was expired on the 2nd. Too bad, I'm thinking I may get one as well :), the 20.1"

Ah well, I'm sure another coupon will come up...

lots
08-07-2005, 06:11 AM
BTW: MadMax is right. Overclocking an AMD system is as easy as clicking a button. Also, we know an overclock can reduce the life span of a CPU, but think about this. You usually dont keep a CPU for more than 3 to 5 years, and you still have a decent ammount of life left in the CPU after that, even with an OC...

Alot of the slower model CPUs are just high end CPUs that didnt make the cut for some reason or another. This makes me think that the CPU is designed to run at speeds such as these, but due to some problem, it does not meet QA requirements. It doesnt prevent you from running it this way though, and in most cases it doesnt mean the CPU can't. It just means AMD is more interested in providing a stable product.

parallax
08-07-2005, 08:49 AM
@ Madmax calm down man :)

You're totally right on the viability of an overclocked AMD cpu, but nobody can guarantee anything for 100%.
Other then that, you might be surprised how many people get jumpy when you even mention 'tinkering' only a bit with your hardware. I should mention my boss overclocking all CPU's, he'll laugh me right out the door.

While the value of overclocking is pretty obvious with some CPU's, the perceived value is much, much, less for some. People running businesses only want to run their hardware at stock spec.

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08-07-2005, 08:49 AM
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