View Full Version : Dual Processor question

09-05-2005, 01:44 PM

I am about to make an investment in a new machine. I was hoping some of the folks on the forum could provide some advice, and answers to stupid questions

1) Intel or AMD? No flamewars here, please. I have been hearing very good things about the AMD processors. Yet, when I go to the Lightwave benchmark site, all the best scores seem to be with Intel processors. What gives?

2) Anyone ever buy from Boxx? Are they good? Anyone bought one of their higher-end boxes?

3) WinXP Pro or Win 64-bit? I know very little about 64-bit computing. Will Win 64-bit run 32-bit applications?

4) Conversely, if I choose WinXP Pro, will I be able to run Lightwave in 64-bit mode even though the OS is 32-bit?

5) When running LW in 64-bit mode, will any of the 3rd party plugins work, or do they all have to be 64-bit as well?

That's enough for now. All answers appreciated. Any answers will, no doubt, lead to more questions.

09-05-2005, 02:55 PM
I can't answer all of your questions..especially because I don't know all that much about pc's, being a mac user myself; however, in response to your second question....from what I have heard in the past, Boxx makes an incredibly nice computer, there are people here who swear by them...you are probably going to end up paying a little more for it than you would a comprable dell etc...but i am sure that the price is justified quite well by its' quality. anyways, good luck.

09-05-2005, 03:29 PM
1) I personally prefer AMD, they just seem to run more stable and use less power, but that's just been a personal experience. I'm sure plenty of people would recommend Intel, but again, I prefer AMD.

2) I've heard they're really nice, but a little pricey. Most say it's worth the money and their support is great, but I personally liked putting my system together and saving some of the money.

3) I'd say both, and if you don't have the money, go 32-bit for right now. Too many applications haven't started making the 64-bit transition to really justify possibly crippling your workflow.

4) No

5) I'm sure Newtek is going to try to make lightwave able to read both 32-bit and 64-bit plugins. If it is a purely 64-bit port, then no, it probably won't. I'd imagine that they'd make LW able to interpret both, but I don't know much about this.

09-05-2005, 03:54 PM
Go to Tom's hardware guide: www.tomshardware.com
and read the full reviews on AMD vs Intel Dual Core CPU's. You will see some stats for render times with 3ds Max 7 (not sure if they have one with LW)
...there is no doubt that AMD currently rests as the undisputed King of the Hill.
AMD's run very cool, while Intel CPU's have serious heat issues (you have to have a REAL beefy CPU cooler or water cooling system). The only thing Intel has on AMD at this point is that they offer a few models for those on a really tight budget. But a $550 AMD Dual core can spank snot bubbles out of a $900 Intel Dual Core, if that gives you any idea.

I recently built my own system:

AMD Athlon 64x2 4400
4Gb Dual channel Ram
ATI Radeon X800XT Platinum Edition
2x200 SATA HD in RAID 0 configuration
Zalman CNPS 7000 CPU Cooler (very quiet)

You can put together a system like that yourself, buying the components from places like Newegg.com or Tigerdirect.com..... for about $1500-$2000.
An identical system from BOXX would cost you easily $500 more.

Yes, Win XP Pro x64 will run most all 32 bit apps, but driver support is not what it should be. The reason it is taking so long for LW to release the 64 bit
program is largely that it won't be worth much if there is no plugin support...so I'm assuming that is the major thrust of their efforts.

09-05-2005, 04:34 PM
I've been an Intel guy forever up until now. Just last week I picked up my new system; twin dual core 275 Opterons on a Tyan board. This thing blows my mind - renders are an average of 5 times faster than on my P4 2.4 box that it replaced. I'm sold on this thing. (Also temporarily out of fun money unfortunately.) Only 1gb of memory at present, but that matches what my 2.4 has so it was fair game as far as that goes. Also, it seems to run cooler than my old machine, which surprised me. As far as Boxx systems go, I hear that they are outstanding. I'm not a techie, but understand that Intel's dual cores are inferior in design. I do not regret my choice to go AMD based on what I've seen with mine.

Captain Obvious
09-05-2005, 04:52 PM

Check the results for Opterons vs Xeons.

09-06-2005, 11:42 AM
I know the following is a bit OT, but it is more in response to a BOXX system.

If you have the cash, buy a system where the cache on the processor is 2mbs. The cache on the processor is the most important aspect of the processor and will also determine how fast it can run.

2nd, I would suggest building your own system. It is incredibly easy to do (heck, I make roughly $150 off of every PC I sell) and can save you alot of cash. And as long as you buy good quality parts (as in known vendors, MSI, ASUS, TYAN, ect.) your system should last quite a long time (most of the machines I built using MSI parts are running on there 4 year marks).

In you system look for SATA Hard drives (they are fast) and lots of RAM with a PCI-E video card. I prefer AMD because they are the only ones that support NForce boards (which I have come to love greatly!). There really is no difficulty in installing your own OS accept were the SATA drivers are concerned, you will need the disk that comes with the MOBO. And try and located a machine that is 64-bits because that is where the world is heading even if you only buy Windows XP Pro (32bit edition) it will work none the less.

09-07-2005, 05:52 AM
Xeon 3.06 has about same render speed as Opteron 248 but Xeons are cheaper (for 32-bit)... As for 64-bit processing there's no alternative to Oprerons i think.
I had both dual AMD and dual Intel platforms. From my experience Intel was more stable. Actually i used dual AMD 760MP as render node and it never crashed while rendering, but had random lockups while i tried to work there. Not so often though.

Captain Obvious
09-07-2005, 06:00 AM
The new Xeons are also 64-bit. They also have HyperThreading. It helps out quite a bit for multi-threaded rendering.

Neither processor crash more than the other. When a system crashes, it's either a) processor malfunction; b) other hardware problems; c) software problems. Obviously, c is the most common by a huge margain. If a occurs, it will crash pretty darned often, if it even boots up in the first place. If b occurs, which is also quite common, you can't really blame Intel or AMD, since they only build the processors anyway.

In conclusion, if your computer crashes, it's not your CPU that's unstable.

09-08-2005, 11:23 AM
I believe if memory serves correctly (pun intended), RAM and/or video cards are the primary black sheep of a home built computer. If you decide to go that route, make sure by going to either AMD's website or Intel's website to look at tested and approved components for system assembly.


09-08-2005, 11:29 AM
TheDynamo: Hence the emphasis on KNOWN vendors with reputations (MSI, ASUS, PNY for vid and Kingston, PNY, Corsair, Crucial for Mem)

09-08-2005, 11:33 AM
Well, with AMD (at least with 760MP) it was hardware problems. AMD was making not CPU only but chipset as well. This thing was quite picky about RAM and some periferals like sound cards for example. If you got right components - you got rock solid system. In case of Xeons and i860 chipset you had just one RAM choice - RAMBUS... so it was hard to make unstable system (hardware wise). Nowdays both systems use same type of RAM and probably have even chances to be stable/unstable.
As for new 64-bit Xeons - if you meant Noconas they aren't "true" 64-bit CPUs as far as i know.

09-08-2005, 11:47 AM
Known vendors are a good start but checking with the CPU manufacturer's website makes sure things are hunky-dory. :agree:

Granted this was a few years ago. I remember a BIOSTAR motherboard I ran with some Kingston (I think, either that or PNY) RAM that would have some serious crashing issues (freezing and whatnot). It turned out that the motherboard had known issues about that particular model number of Kingston. Had I checked out the BIOSTAR website before buying that ram it would have pointed me to another manufacturer which I believe was from Crucial. I don't have the system anymore but I think that thing's been running for at least 4 years without a hitch.

My point is even if you go through known name brands, informing yourself by looking at recommended (and tested) ram and peripherals for your main components will save you a TON of potential future headaches.


09-08-2005, 12:12 PM
Benchmarks can be missleading. If you do a lot of modeling and only render high quality stills, you would probably want a different system than if you do a lot of animation and very little modeling. A good independant source of info to keep up to date is MaximumPC magazine. It's intended for gamers, but I subscribe due to the articles on cutting edge hardware. I'll probably get flamed for this, but I'd avoid xeons as they are intended for servers. IMHO at the present time AMD is the only way to go. If you go Intel, stick with Pentium.
I tried the same questions on a few boards and in the end - you need to do your homework. You will not get a concensus on a board. Only disagreement and confusion. You've got to decide what your needs are and which needs are the most important to you. i.e. - what your computer is used for most of the time - which software do you have or intend on buying in the near future. Check with all of your software vendors for compatability info. What works great with one may not work well with another.
I've never heard a negative word about BOXX. I plan on having them build my next system. I'd get on the phone with them, with a list of your software and needs in your hand and let them guide you. Sometimes its worth extra to have good support and a system that was built for performance rather than economy.

09-08-2005, 12:38 PM
there is no difference in stability between Intel and AMD processors, the big advantage Intel has is they build their own motherboards chipsets. So if u really want a very stable system buy a motherboard build by intel with an intel chipset of course a good DDR and intel processor. U can't make any mistake for stability issues, but the others build faster MOBO than INTEL, so it is your choice. The MOST important thing in a computer is the motherboard than the RAM. There are no problems with video cards, if they are oki and not defect. i have never had any problems with ATI or nVidia cards and i installed more than 500, also if the video card has problems u will feel it, the computer goes down fast and very often. U don't have to buy expensive DDR to have a good computer. Fast expensive DDR is mostly for games so even chip DDR like Simpletech, ADATA, will work very very good, no problems so far. Most problems between DDR and Motherboard are solved with an Bios update, unfortunatly very very very necessary for AMD boards, VIA or nForce. A lot of boards created a lot of problems before Bios Update. The best Motherboards so far i sold are INTEL, MSI, EPOX, GIGABYTE, ASUS. I put ASUS last because it needs good stuff to work and i'm pretty disapointed cause they won't last the 3 year warranty, not even 200 USD DeLuxe series. Epox is pretty middle class Motherboards but i have only 1 broke in 150 sold, pretty happy with it, same goes for Gigabyte and MSI. I like a lot the new AMD processor, very good, but still will have to find a reliable motherboard. Intel a recomend with INTEL motherboard, life can't get safer, but it not a fast board. For Lightwave i'll not recomend ATI, very poor Opengl implementation in cheap cards, maybe FIREGL one's are great, don't know. For DDR i'll recomend SIMPLETECH, www.simpletech.com, 256 DDR 400 is about 27 USD, preaty good price and very reliable, and for god sake :) get a good CASE, ANTEC, Chieftec, etc..... with good ventilation.

VERY VERY important, CLEAN UP YOUR COMPUTER, dust is a killer, no joke. just put the vacuum cleaner inside and take the dust out, if u feel like NO WAY, go to a computer shop and ask them to do it. u have to go at least once per year but do go if u care for stability. Do not put the computer in small spaces, it will heat up no matter what and will break.

09-08-2005, 02:00 PM
And remember to NEVER take a bath with your computer :eek: :compbeati

Captain Obvious
09-08-2005, 02:51 PM
As for new 64-bit Xeons - if you meant Noconas they aren't "true" 64-bit CPUs as far as i know.
They use the same 64-bit extensions as the Opterons do.

I'll probably get flamed for this, but I'd avoid xeons as they are intended for servers. If you go Intel, stick with Pentium.
Well, it could be because you're downright wrong about it. The Xeons are very much intended for workstation use. Why else would they have SSE units? I don't think Apache or MySQL cares if you have some floating point SIMD or not. And why do you suggest sticking with Pentiums? Xeons are basically just multi-processor capable Pentium 4s with more cache.

09-09-2005, 06:47 AM
I'll probably get flamed for this, but I'd avoid xeons as they are intended for servers. ... If you go Intel, stick with Pentium.

I won't flame you, but I will disagree with you. I agree Intel aims marketing of Xeons at servers, but why would that in itself make it an inferior chip? Go to www.blanos.com and start looking at benchmarks to see how good the Xeons are. And those are real-world benchmarks, they are real scenes actually rendered in LightWave.

And I agree with you on one point, AMD is prefferable. AMD64 X2 is the best bang for the buck, IMO.