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View Full Version : Core 2 Quad - Xeon Quad-Core - Core i7 questions.



Snosrap
08-20-2009, 08:11 PM
I've heard that the i7 just rocks, but if I go to various PC vendors workstation portions of their sites I don't see i7's as options, I can only find i7's in their high-end gaming and mid level multimedia systems. So what's the scoop people? I'm looking to upgrade my LW box (P4) to something a little more up to date and I am confused about these various chips. Is it better to go with the latest high-end processor and upgrade every 6yrs or so, or go with mid level stuff at the lower cost and upgrade every 3yrs or so? (On my budget anyway) Thanks for any insights and suggestions.

JML
08-20-2009, 08:16 PM
Hmm.. you can get i7 on dell for less than 800$ and many other builders supports it too..
are you trying to upgrade your computer or buy a new one ?

JML
08-20-2009, 08:20 PM
dell for example:
-dell,
-home desktop
- narrow your search by processor type on the menu on the left.

Snosrap
08-20-2009, 08:29 PM
Hmm.. you can get i7 on dell for less than 800$ and many other builders supports it too..
are you trying to upgrade your computer or buy a new one ?

My current PC is old to upgrade. I need a whole new box. I'm not into building PC's, so I'll probably go the Dell or HP route.

JMCarrigan
08-20-2009, 08:31 PM
My current PC is old to upgrade. I need a whole new box. I'm not into building PC's, so I'll probably go the Dell or HP route.

Be prepared for a bunch of crapware included.

Snosrap
08-20-2009, 08:31 PM
Hmm.. you can get i7 on dell for less than 800$

Is that what you recommend i7 over the others?

JML
08-20-2009, 08:34 PM
I bought mine recently and I thought it was the best choice at the time..
A i7-920 is just a tiny bit more expensive than a Q6600 and it's much faster.

I get my computers at cheap builders but all the PCs at work are dell and
they're great.

JML
08-20-2009, 08:38 PM
they are expensive but if you get a good deal on a Solid State Drive from corsair or intel, (just for the OS and software), the speed increase is amazing..
then get regular hardrive for your data..

JML
08-20-2009, 08:42 PM
to give you an idea, CPU charts for 3dmax:
http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/2009-desktop-cpu-charts/3DS-Max-2009,1380.html

Snosrap
08-20-2009, 10:49 PM
to give you an idea, CPU charts for 3dmax:
http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/2009-desktop-cpu-charts/3DS-Max-2009,1380.html

Wow!

Rayek
08-20-2009, 11:17 PM
A Core i7 920 just BEGS to be overclocked - I am running mine at 3.6ghz (normally 2.6ghz!) and it is rock stable on air (Noctua NH-U12P Cooler). Actually, I don't think I've ever had a more stable system than my current rig. Overclocking was very simple and took 5 minutes (seeing this was the first time I overclocked a cpu without assistance). If you know the settings, it will take no more than 30 secs.

For such a low price, rendering is mindbogglingly fast - comparable to current dual cpu systems. I hear the new 3.3ghz 975 can be overclocked just as easily to 4.3Ghz on air - if you are willing to pay the price: $1000 for a cpu (ughh!). Anyway, I am digressing here. ;-)

Remember, if you do get a pre-built system, and you are at all thinking about overclocking, check if the bios allows for it. Though if you are going down that road you are advised to get a better cooler, depending on the system.

Speaking for myself, I have always built my rigs - but for one time (bought a Dell notebook) which I came to regret later (horrible after warranty service). One advantage of buying separate components may be warranty-related: for example, all major components in my system have a minimum warranty of three years, with two a life one, at no extra cost.

Instead of HP or Dell, you might want to consider something like this:
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=4508970&CatId=4138
It includes 64bit Windows, so you can enjoy the included 6gb ram. The included motherboard is excellent.

Same configuration more or less as the XPS 730x, except for the dual graphics card option (which is useless for Lightwave use), and quite a bit less expensive.

biliousfrog
08-21-2009, 01:35 AM
The 920 i7 chip is very fast and only marginally slower than the other CPU's in the i7 line-up despite being a fraction of the cost. I have an i7 render node at stock speeds, 6gb RAM and it averages 10-20% faster than my 8 core Xeon BOXX workstation (2x1.86).

My next purchase will be a pre-overclocked barebones system ([email protected]) to drop into the BOXX case (best cases ever). They're at around £550 for the motherboard, cpu, cooler and 6gb memory or a fraction more if you want 4ghz. The downside is that you need to sacrifice some of the overclocking to increase the RAM to 12gb...but I don't see that as an issue.

Although you might not see many workstations with i7 chips, you'll probably see Nehalem Xeon's which are the workstation equivilent. If you want an 8 core rig with the current CPU's you'd need the Xeon's because standard CPU's can't be used in a multi-cpu motherboard.

Personally I think that a 920 based system is the best value for money currently.

akademus
08-21-2009, 02:25 AM
Sounds very interesting. But I just hate building systems and don't have time to do it anymore.

Since we are on hardware page, this is what I've been drooling on lately
http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/au/en/sm/WF05a/12454-12454-296719-296721-296721-3718645.html

COBRASoft
08-21-2009, 02:42 AM
Fine computer, my partners configured a Z600 yesterday (little brother of Z800). It simply can't compare with an own build rig and overclocked I7. My I7 920 is running on 3.675GHz with 12GB ram. A Solid State Drive will be the next investment to put Win7 on it :)

akademus
08-21-2009, 02:44 AM
I'm also thinking about making my own SSD and putting it on the laptop, and putting the original laptop drive as secondary.

Burchigb
08-21-2009, 02:57 AM
I also own a 920 and I think it rocks. Does more far better than what I had in the past.
My build cost was 1200 which including shipping.
had the thing up and running within a couple of hours.
Only problem I have so far is the darn dust being where I am at.
Also thinking hard about the SSD drive. Heard it makes a real difference.
like seeing the CPU max out with the programs I have

biliousfrog
08-21-2009, 03:58 AM
Have the SSD's improved yet? I've read that there's some serious read/write issues with all but the Intel ones.

[EDIT]

hrgiger
08-21-2009, 04:05 AM
I have an i7 920 and love it. I overclocked it but only slightly as I'm afriad of shortening the life of the processor. I bumpedit from 2.66 GHZ to 3.2GHZ and it's stable. I bought a 3rd party Cooler by Cooler Master called the V6.
It's fun doing benchmarks with other people. On the modo boards there was a thread of benchmarks for this particular scene. Most of the people were posting render times from anywhere from 1 to 2 minutes. Me and a few of the others who had i7's were posting about 17-19 seconds. Nice.
This was the first computer I built myself. I spent a little more on it but I went with the DDR3 RAM and put a 285 Geforce card in it. The processor itself though was cheap. Only around $200. I'd also heard that the next Intel processor was going to use the same chipset so I thought I might be able to upgrade without replacing everything.

akademus
08-21-2009, 04:39 AM
Have the SSD's improved yet? I've read that there's some serious read/write issues with all but the Intel ones.

[EDIT]

Dunno. I want to upgrade my laptop, as I tend to carry it around whole lot more these days and want to have it faster and safer from bumping.

I looked at two options, one is putting SATA to CF adaptor and plugging one of those 266x CF cards.

The other is using premade SATA like this one from ebay
http://cgi.ebay.com/64GB-Crucial-CT64M225-2-5-SSD-SATA-Solid-State-Drive_W0QQitemZ400068764924QQcmdZViewItemQQptZPCC_ Drives_Storage_Internal?hash=item5d25f4e4fc&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14

it seems fairly fast to me, does anyone have more experience with this?

Matt
08-21-2009, 05:15 AM
to give you an idea, CPU charts for 3dmax:
http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/2009-desktop-cpu-charts/3DS-Max-2009,1380.html

Nice, the Intel Core i7-975 Extreme Edition is 60% faster than my current CPU.

I want to upgrade my rig, but doing so pretty much means a whole new system. I also heard Intel will be doing true 8 core i7 cpus, don't know how far off that is, but I think I'll wait for those.

biliousfrog
08-21-2009, 05:40 AM
Nice, the Intel Core i7-975 Extreme Edition is 60% faster than my current CPU.


I'm working with another freelancer at the moment who has an 8 core Xeon system with two 2.2ghz CPU's. He asked a friend to test some scenes we were working on who had the 975 Extreme and it wasn't any faster than his workstation despite being a £2.5k system. The higher end i7's just aren't worth the price when you consider that the 920's can reach the same speeds for a fraction of the cost.

JonW
08-21-2009, 07:41 AM
I put an Intel 80gb SSD (old model) & a Velociraptor in my new box, I basically only have Lightwave on the PCs & everything else is on a Mac.

Loading a 4gb scene is about 30% quicker than the Velociraptor. The computer is snappier & I’m glad I got one.

If you have large scenes or a render farm I would say its a very good idea to remove as many slow links in the chain as you can.


The best CPU has to be the 920 (I’ve got 2 920s & a 940), even mine clocked at a pathetic 3.15 Ghz will sometimes spit frames one quicker than my E5450 V8 depending on what its doing.

The frame output rate for the dollars per box is extremely good. An overclocked 920 is great for a main computer & bare bones boxes.

I’ve never done overclocking before as the computers were either dual CPUs or MACs, but it’s a piece of cake with the i7s to get a substantial increase in speed.

hunter
08-21-2009, 04:18 PM
Sounds very interesting. But I just hate building systems and don't have time to do it anymore.

Since we are on hardware page, this is what I've been drooling on lately
http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/au/en/sm/WF05a/12454-12454-296719-296721-296721-3718645.html

We just got these here at work. Amazing. Dual quad and 25 gigs of RAM. I can finally render at 36" x 48" 200 dpi in one shot. Anxious to try out i7 though.

Snosrap
08-21-2009, 08:20 PM
Since we are on hardware page, this is what I've been drooling on lately
http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/au/en/sm/WF05a/12454-12454-296719-296721-296721-3718645.html

Again I ask the question, why are the current crop of "workstations" not using the i7? Error checking? Stability? To new?

Rayek
08-21-2009, 10:47 PM
Actually, there are plenty workstations that do:

http://www.workstationspecialist.com/product_range/ws_114/
http://www.boxxtech.com/products/3DBOXX/4850_Overview.asp

To list but a few.
Boxx even offers an overclocked version 'out-of-the-boxx". Pun intended. :-)

The Boxx configured as to be identical to my rig is stupendously pricey: $4,173.00 !!! Why?!!! Granted, it is oc'ed to 4.15Ghz (which implies water cooling), but still.

And Apple does offer a workstation with a single nehalem xeon (basically the same as an i7):
http://store.apple.com/us_smb_78313/browse/home/shop_mac/family/mac_pro
Not as pricey as the Boxx - still overpriced, I feel. Especially seeing that the video card is puny.

The line between 'workstation' and 'gaming' computers is fine one. Workstations tend to offer a Quadro of FireGL in the mix. Or add ECC memory in the mix (which is arguably only useful for servers) at the expense of extra cost.

JonW
08-21-2009, 11:13 PM
They are, in the form of X5570s & W5580s (now W5590 @ 3.33 Ghz), I bought one http://newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=100802 but at AU$360 per Ghz, it’s a lot of money, but it’s breathtaking at the rate the frames come out of this thing, but its mostly for things that have to be done on one box. The frame output rate is more economical than my E5450 V8 box.

Unless you need every last bit of Ghz in one box, its much cheaper to by an i7 920 rather than 2 x55xx CPUs.

It’s just not worth buying the lower speed x55xx when you can buy one 920. If you are keen you can have it running at around mid 3 to 4 Ghz. The rendering output for the money invested is very good.

If I look at my 940 but most people are running their 920s faster than my 940, but lets just pretend it’s a 920. At 3.83 Ghz compared to 2 x W5580 @ 3.2 Ghz x 2 CPUs = 6.4 Ghz (all the $ per Ghz are x 4 cores, but I’m not writing this each time)

At 3.83 Ghz you have 60% of the rendering power of a pair of W5580s. You can put together a box for AU$143 per Ghz @ 3.15 Ghz (or AU$118 running @ 3.83 Ghz) compared to W5580 AU$360 per Ghz.

You really have to justify $360 over $118, & if you buy a top end box from one of the big names you will be paying a minimum of $500 per Ghz, closer to $550-600 by the time you put in a SSD & Velociraptor & 24gb of ram (I upgraded to 24 in the end it got the better of me!)

I also had to wait 3 weeks for the W5580 as there were none in Australia at the time. The ones I got apparently came from the USA because the supplier couldn’t even get them from Malaysia. They are also engineering samples as well.

Orders floating around big corporations for weeks on end, management doesn’t like it, so they will charge even more for these products.

So build your own or have it built by a small supplier where you get much better service anyway.

Or better still knock up an absolute killer of a box with a 920 to your own exact requirements for a bargain basement price or give your local computer shop a list of the parts you want. If you need more power buy a second box.

Intel Xeon* Quad Core W5580* 3.2G CPU
Super Micro X8DAL-3* Server Motherboard
24G DDR 3* ECC Reg Ram
1 x Intel 80G SSD, 1* x WD 300G Raptor*& Seagate* 1TB SATA II HDD
896mb Geforce* GTX 260 over clock version
Logitech Ps II Keyboard and Mouse
Server Tower Case with Super Micro 865W Power Chenbro case
DVD RW
Dual Gigabit Lan
Windows XP Pro 64 bit



Render box only (put in my own graphics to set up then removed it)

Intel i7 920 CPU
MSI X58 Pro-E Motherboard
12G DDR3 G.Skill CL8,8,8,21 ultra low latency ( 6 x 2G ) 1600Mhz
500G HDD Seagate or Hitachi 7200rom
No graphics
iCute case with 550W Power and USB in front
No Keyboard and Mouse
No Monitor
22 x DVD RW Dual Layer LG or Sony
Built in Gigabyte Lan USB 2.0 Sound
Windows XP Pro 64 bit

JML
08-25-2009, 10:37 AM
about SSD drive, this is the one I got,

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820233087

when I did my research on the ssd, there were saying only 3 brand are good, intel,corsair and kingston i think.

when you shop for ssd you have to look for write and read speed as some ssd are really slow and some buggy too..

I had a raptor drive before, and that new ssd is so much faster... it's like everything is loaded to ram all the time..
and the reviews on newegg confirms

JMCarrigan
08-26-2009, 08:04 AM
Can't wait until ALL my drives are SSDs. I had one but sent it back because of something I heard. That review mentioned Windows 7 RTM which I'm using. Can't wait for the prices to drop.

Larry_g1s
08-26-2009, 12:31 PM
If you have a Costco membership, check out this bad boy: http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product.aspx?Prodid=11481485&cm_mmc=BCEmail_439-_-FOCUS-_-2-_-DellStudioXPSCorei7


Intel® Core™ i7-920 Processor at 2.66GHz
12GB DDR3 SDRAM at 1066MHz (6 x 2GB)
1TB 7200RPM SATA II Hard Drive
512MB ATI Radeon HD4670

All for $1099

Andyjaggy
08-26-2009, 01:02 PM
I love costco. That's a great deal, and if it breaks like within a year costco will take it back with no questions asked.

Snosrap
08-26-2009, 05:00 PM
If you have a Costco membership, check out this bad boy: http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product.aspx?Prodid=11481485&cm_mmc=BCEmail_439-_-FOCUS-_-2-_-DellStudioXPSCorei7


Intel® Core™ i7-920 Processor at 2.66GHz
12GB DDR3 SDRAM at 1066MHz (6 x 2GB)
1TB 7200RPM SATA II Hard Drive
512MB ATI Radeon HD4670

All for $1099

Holy crap! Too bad I'm not a member.

Larry_g1s
08-26-2009, 05:02 PM
Too bad I'm not a member.Might be worth while to find out how much. I don't remember myself. But yeah..sweat deal.

JML
08-26-2009, 05:06 PM
or you can get one at cyberpowerpc.com for 945$ and no taxes,
but you cannot return as easily since they are in CA. but they have
good components brands there.
http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/system/Mega_Infinity_6000_Lightning/

MCHammond
08-27-2009, 03:34 AM
I've been eying up this I7 Laptop for a while :P

LINKAGE (http://www.novatech.co.uk/novatech/laptop/range/x90gtx17.html)

Lewis
08-27-2009, 04:28 AM
I've built hundreds of various home/workstation machines and i7 nowdays is really way to go, especially if you are going with X58 MBO chipset which will support new i9 CPUs by end of year (6 cores + 6 HT = 12 Threads).

I have three Q6600 machines at work (and one at home) and recently few months ago I've added one i7 and that was really good choice sinc eit really overclocks well :). I've had some internal benchmarking in Lw 9.6 wiht Radiosity, multibounces, IES light, raytrace reflections, refractions, transparency and all what i could throw in and here are results for PAL resolution PER FRAME:

Scene 1:
1. Q6600 @ 2.4Ghz (default speed) - 30m 25sec
2. Q6600 @ 3.34Ghz (overclocked ) - 19m 26sec
3. i7 920 @ 4.0Ghz (overclocked :)) - 11m 26sec

Scene 2:
1. Q6600 @ 2.4Ghz (default speed) - 27m 43sec
2. Q6600 @ 3.34Ghz (overclocked ) - 18m 55sec
3. i7 920 @ 4.0Ghz (overclocked :)) - 10m 29sec

I know it's not same clock speed and all that but since my i7 is stable overclocked i could use/test it on that so only important for me is how much faster it can go than my current workstations :). Also you can see that overclocking Q6600 also gives big boost in performance but i7 has HT and it also helps 15-20% in speed increase no matter if is not REAL core :D. Now when you consider that my 2 upper scenes both had more than 1000 frames you can easily calculate how much DAYS i saved with i7920 comparing to Q6600 :).

cheers

COBRASoft
08-27-2009, 05:50 AM
I've been eying up this I7 Laptop for a while :P

LINKAGE (http://www.novatech.co.uk/novatech/laptop/range/x90gtx17.html)

That's not a 'laptop' anymore, but a mean machine! I think it's quite heavy. Also the I7 is not a mobile cpu yet. Would like to have one though :)