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View Full Version : Athlon 64 X2 Desktop Replacement - your advice



Martin Adams
01-05-2006, 01:53 PM
Hey all,

I am almost at the point were I can afford to treat myself to my dream laptop. I'm looking at the following Xtreme64 with the following spec from www.rockdirect.com:

AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ with Dual Core
2GB DDR 400MHz RAM
2 x 100GB 7200rpm SATA disk drives with Stripped Raid (I'm planning on backing up seperately)
8 x DVD Dual Layer Writer
NVIDIA GeForce Go 7800 256MB Graphics Card
17" WUXGA X-Glass TFT Screen (1920 x 1200)

Battery life will suck - these are designed with desktop processors in them, so I'm going to treat it as a portable desktop.

Now, the advice I want is really with how well something like this would work with LightWave. If I want to take advantage of LW-64bit, do I need to be running the Windows 64-bit operating system? One thing that I was never clear on is that while the application needs to be written for 64-bit, there's no mention of whether the operating system also needs to be. If I did go for Windows XP 64-bit, would that affect other applications I might run that are native 32bit. I remember hearing that the dongle drivers aren't compatible without upgrading them, which would make me question other vendor's drivers.

Secondly, does anyone have any experience with dual-core. How much will LW take advantage of this. I think reading another thread there was mention that the renderer makes full use. Being a developer I understand the concepts and that Modeler or Layout will probably only utilise one core.

Is it possible to specifiy what core for an application to use? E.g. Modeler on one and Layout on the other? (Although there probably wont be a benefit since I'll only be able to use one at a time). Or for example, rendering on a second core only while continuing to work on something else.

Finally, there is the option to go for the AMD Athlon 64 FX57 processor, which is really designed for gaming to give all the power up front. Would anyone say that would be better for someone who quite often works in LW, PhotoShop, DreamWeaver, Flash, etc? What would the power correlation be between the FX57 and the X2 4800+?

Thanks in advance...

wellsichris
01-05-2006, 03:06 PM
let's see, first you have to have xp 64 to run a 64-bit app. and with a laptop that has 2 gig I don't know how much that will help because in a 32 bit os you can use all 2 gig. and lightwave 32 uses 2 gig. I don't know of any dual core laptops that will take 4 gig though. also at work I have dual dual core and it is really sweet for rendering. but only rendering will use all 4 processors. and even them sometimes not all depending on the scene. ie sasquatch doesn't. If I wan't to use all for with a furry beast, I would need to use screamernet with four or more nodes. as for 2 processors. more programs will take advantage of that but still for the most part most only use 1. you can in task manager set the affinity and tell what program what cpu to use. by clicking on the processes tab and then right click on the program.

so you know the biggest problem i've had with 64 is no quicktime. as far as the program. and lack of plugins and fprime in 64. as for the FX. that dual-core will be faster for rendering, "everything that is multithreaded" but the FX would be faster for sincle cpu stuff. like simulations and photoshop. If I were making the decision I would say go dual core since most of the time spent waiting is spent waiting for renders. anyway hope that helps.

chris

Martin Adams
01-05-2006, 03:20 PM
Thanks for the info. I presume you're using Windows 64-bit only? You mentioned that there's no Quicktime or FPrime, but I presume you could still use Windwos Pro (32-bit) and use them on that right? An option I would consider would be to dual boot 32-bit windows and 64-bit windows. One for compatibility and one for speed.

AbnRanger
01-05-2006, 04:54 PM
Thanks for the info. I presume you're using Windows 64-bit only? You mentioned that there's no Quicktime or FPrime, but I presume you could still use Windwos Pro (32-bit) and use them on that right? An option I would consider would be to dual boot 32-bit windows and 64-bit windows. One for compatibility and one for speed.
You won't be sorry for getting a dual core. If price has any bearing, I would choose the 4400 model (what I have).
As MattClary would tell you as well...you can get close to the same performance for half the price or less (for the CPU). You will always take a bit "premium" hit in the wallet, going for the top model. Both the 4800 and 4400 have 2mb L2 cache...the others, only 1mb.
www.tomshardware.com is a good resource to do a little homework on the CPU's performance/benchmarks.

You can download Quicktime 7, which is compatible w/
Win XP 64. Also, make sure that you have one separate partition JUST FOR YOUR PAGEFILE....and set it at 1.5 times the amount of RAM (3072MB in your case). It is often overlooked, but it REALLY matters performance wise.
Also, I wouldn't worry about Win XP64 unless you have 4GB or more, because that's where it starts to make any difference at all...since it can handle alot more memory, and is more efficient with it than 32 bit.

Sounds like a nice system....a beefy one for a laptop, for sure.

Martin Adams
01-05-2006, 05:12 PM
Thanks for the info AbnRanger. I've just checked out the price difference between the 4200+ and 4800+ and it comes to 200 exactly (excluding VAT). I do agree that there is a premium to the top of the range so I'll do my homework a little further to justify doing so.

One thing that is still confusing me a bit though (which is probably me being stupid), is, if I run Windows Pro (32-bit), can I still take advantage of the 64-bit dual core?

So could I run LW 64-bit on Win32?

Also, can I still 'right-click an application' and assign it to one of the cores in Win32?

If that is the case, then I see no real reason to for got Windows 64-bit as I'm limited to 2GB RAM on the machine anyway.

Again, thanks very much for your help.

wellsichris
01-05-2006, 06:50 PM
yes you can set which processor to use in xp 32. Can you take advantage of 64-bit dual core? yes you can. AMD X2 processors work fine with xp 32 and are fast. as you said I think 32 is really the best option for you. at work I have a dual boot option. Come to think of it I haven't tried quicktime 7 on the xp64. thanks for the tip AbnRanger. but anyway a dual boot setup is really tricky to get to work. well specifically having both 32 and 64. not quite as easy as the old win98 / xp dual boot. so xp32 is good. anyway, yeah sounds like an awesome laptop.

mattclary
01-06-2006, 06:06 AM
You won't be sorry for getting a dual core. If price has any bearing, I would choose the 4400 model (what I have).
As MattClary would tell you as well...you can get close to the same performance for half the price or less (for the CPU). You will always take a bit "premium" hit in the wallet, going for the top model. Both the 4800 and 4400 have 2mb L2 cache...the others, only 1mb.
www.tomshardware.com is a good resource to do a little homework on the CPU's performance/benchmarks.


Why, yes I would! The only thing I might disagree with is the thing about Tomshardware. They actually have a pretty bad reputation. Anandtech.com is a more reliable hardware site.

Martin, don't obsess over the difference between 64 and 32bit. For now, just stay with all 32bit versions of your software and you will be fine, you will still see all the advantages of dual processor goodness.

Verlon
01-06-2006, 07:09 AM
Right now, I would not advise Windows 64 bit. While Windows itself is fine, the rest of the world is not.

The cisco vpn client does not work (if you log into work from home or the other way around)

device drivers are still scarce, especially for niche items like musical instruments.

64 bit lightwave is great. Plugins? I am not finding many (well ANY) updates to the ones I have bought.

On the bright side, many virii are also incompatible with the new version.

Tech support for a lot of places will just say 'we do not support that' and hang up (when it isn't the issue at all....they just want you off the phone)

Older copy protections (Starforce for example) prevents you from playing games you have legally purchased (cough GTR cough)

Some places offering drivers do not offer complete functionality. My HP all in one is reduced to just a printer under 64 bit. I have to connect it to my laptop to scan photos.

I can rationalize tech upgrades with the best of them, but the world is not ready for a 64 bit windows, apparently. If you do not need 64 bit lightwave and are not willing to write your own plugins, run the 32 bit version (still get the dual core cpu though....Vista IS coming)

BeeVee
01-06-2006, 07:34 AM
If you wanted to run both the 64-bit and 32-bit versions of LightWave, yes you would need Windows XP x64, but no you wouldn't need to dual boot since you can also install the 32-bit version and all goodies on a 64-bit Windows without problems.

B

nthused
01-06-2006, 08:23 AM
I've had very few issues with XP64. But my machine is very limited to it's functions - LW32, and LW64, Photoshop, Premiere...

stevecullum
01-08-2006, 06:22 PM
I'm running LW32 under x64 and all is pretty sweet. I think its probably a bit more secure too as there are less 64 bit nasties running around the web.

The only real downer tho, as previously mentioned, is the lack of device drivers. No scanner, printer or graphic pen for me.

AbnRanger
01-08-2006, 07:37 PM
I'm running LW32 under x64 and all is pretty sweet. I think its probably a bit more secure too as there are less 64 bit nasties running around the web.

The only real downer tho, as previously mentioned, is the lack of device drivers. No scanner, printer or graphic pen for me.Which graphic tablet? Wacom has 64 bit drivers.
I had a tough time initially finding drivers for printer, scanner,etc...but if you do a google search using "64 bit driver for______" you can usually find at least a beta.

Verlon
01-08-2006, 10:54 PM
I run both lightwave (32 and 64) under Win64.

BUT, I run Win64 because I WANT to and I do not earn my bread and butter with it.

If I needed to run a business that somehow ran the hardware and software I use, I would be giving a long, HARD look at going back to XP32. The absence of 64 bit nasties is very nice, but ouch...at what price (and then again, how do you know there are no 64 bit nasties given the state of 64 bit virus scanners? )

stevecullum
01-09-2006, 04:11 AM
I've got a Graphire 2 pen, but I haven't looked at the Wacom site in a while. Looking now though - thanks for info!

I was being a bit pressumptious with the 64bit worms and virus things. Seeing as x64 hasn't been around as long as xp32, it stands to reason that there are less nasties about. I'm sure they do exist though.

astrangerinthew
01-10-2006, 07:33 PM
So I could install both the 32 bit and 64 bit on the same machine. I recently purchased 8.5 and have an Opteron 64 AMD machine. I loaded Lightwave 64 thinking I could only install one version. Is there anything I need to be aware of to also install the 32 bit? Thanks for any comments

AbnRanger
01-10-2006, 11:17 PM
So I could install both the 32 bit and 64 bit on the same machine. I recently purchased 8.5 and have an Opteron 64 AMD machine. I loaded Lightwave 64 thinking I could only install one version. Is there anything I need to be aware of to also install the 32 bit? Thanks for any comments
Yes, you can. I have both on mine...works fine

stevecullum
01-11-2006, 02:23 AM
I'm running several versions too.

The only thing that comes up is that I haven't been able to run both at the same time, as the 32bit LW is incompatible with the 64bit Hub and vice versa.

If you could get both hubs running, this might work, but I'm not even sure if thats possible!

Martin Adams
01-11-2006, 05:16 AM
This is probably a really stupid question, but then I'm probably full of them today.

1. Can I install LightWave 64 bit onto Windows 32 bit running on a 64 bit machine?

2. If the answer is no, then would would Lightwave 32 bit then I presume it wouldn't take any advantage whatsoever of the 64 bit processor.

3. But would LightWave 32 bit take advantage of a dual core for rendering on Windows 32 bit?

BeeVee
01-11-2006, 06:27 AM
1. no.

2. correct.

3. yes.

Not silly qs at all!

B