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View Full Version : idle ponderance... how much faster are new computers?



dwburman
03-12-2007, 07:22 PM
Okay, here's the deal. I have a WinXP box that I built in 2003. It's a dual Xeon 2.66GHz (actually, I bought it with one CPU and later added the 2nd) with a 533 MHz FSB. It's has PCI-X slots and 2 GB of DDR 2100 Registered ECC RAM. When I bought it the fastest clock speed was around 3GHz and that's about where things sit now.

The question I have is where does my workstation sit speedwise with the current crop of CPUs? Am I going to have to go to a quad core system to see a major improvement in render times? Would getting a core2duo system even be worth it? I know clock speed isn't everything, but how much faster has the rest of the system become?

I went over the the LW benchmark site at blanos but I wasn't sure how to search the results in regards to my question.

Matt
03-13-2007, 04:25 AM
Well, I recently upgraded (actually it's a new machine practically) my old box from a Pentium 4 3.4Ghz / 2GB RAM / GeForce 6800 ULTRA to a Quad Core 2 Extreme / 4GB RAM / EVGA 8800GTX.

I had a scene that on my old box took 20mins to render, on the new one it took 2.5mins!!!

Exact same scene, just loaded in and F9.

So yes, I would say they are A LOT faster!

:)

DogBoy
03-13-2007, 04:41 AM
Quad Core 2 Extreme / 4GB RAM / EVGA 8800GTX.

I had a scene that on my old box took 20mins to render, on the new one it took 2.5mins!!!

Exact same scene, just loaded in and F9.

So yes, I would say they are A LOT faster!

:)

Bear in mind that his quad is 4 cores at 2.66GHz, so twice the cores but same clockspeed.

Those old Netburst Xeons were never great performers, I'm afraid.

Captain Obvious
03-13-2007, 04:44 AM
My 2.59GHz Core 2 Duo (overclocked E6300) is approximately twice as fast as a dual-processor Netburst Xeon system at the same clock frequency.

Same clock frequency. Same number of CPU cores. Twice as fast.

That's quite an improvement, don't you think? Especially when you consider that I bought the cheapest Core 2 Duo available, and didn't really overclock it that much. If you buy a QX6700 and overclock it (over 3 gigahertz is not unrealistic), it's well over twice as fast again.

Bog
03-13-2007, 04:52 AM
Machine speeds have been increasing tolerably, but we still took a terrible hit when the DEC Alpha got canned. Intel bought the technology, but have never made a decent implimentation of the processor for commercial applications.

Which is boring.

Matt
03-13-2007, 05:58 AM
My 2.59GHz Core 2 Duo (overclocked E6300) is approximately twice as fast as a dual-processor Netburst Xeon system at the same clock frequency.

Same clock frequency. Same number of CPU cores. Twice as fast.

That's quite an improvement, don't you think? Especially when you consider that I bought the cheapest Core 2 Duo available, and didn't really overclock it that much. If you buy a QX6700 and overclock it (over 3 gigahertz is not unrealistic), it's well over twice as fast again.

But I reckon you'd need water cooling to combat the heat of an overclocked QX6700.

At full tilt my cores shoot up to around 70-80C

Wolvy_UK
03-13-2007, 06:29 AM
Dwburman, why don' t you try a few benchmark scenes from lw and compare what you get to Matt's new machine ? His is the fastest you can get at the moment ( not counting overclocking ), and it will give you a better indication than the Blanos site.

If you want to see dual core speeds, just half the time matt' s renders take, that should roughly tell you top dual core speed.

mattclary
03-13-2007, 06:33 AM
Anyone running dual quad-Xeons? They start at around $350 ea. at Newegg, and the mobos start around $300... That's pretty reasonable for 8 cores of rendering goodness.

dwburman
03-13-2007, 07:49 AM
Thanks for the info guys. It's been a while since I've studied computer specs.

Netburst Xeons? I don't think I've heard that term before. I know the ones I have use hyperthreading and are on a 7505 (or something like that) chipset.

I may have to make a purchase this year or next. Of course, now free-lance money is going to paying the mortgage and insurance and groceries, etc and not just system upgrades... hehe

Wolvy_UK: maybe I'll render a benchmark later this month when my machines are finished with the current render :)

mattclary: quad-Xeons for $350? are you sure?? the ones I saw there were $850 and up.

At any rate it's good to know that things have improved significantly over the last 4 years even tho some numbers didn't change.

:D

Captain Obvious
03-13-2007, 08:35 AM
But I reckon you'd need water cooling to combat the heat of an overclocked QX6700.

At full tilt my cores shoot up to around 70-80C
Either water cooling, or kick-*** air cooling. Have you seen those big cooling towers? The biggest ones are like 2 lbs!





Netburst Xeons? I don't think I've heard that term before. I know the ones I have use hyperthreading and are on a 7505 (or something like that) chipset.
Netburst is the core used in the Pentium 4 and the Pentium D, as well as the Xeons based on them. If it's an Intel CPU with HT, it's a Netburst.

Matt
03-13-2007, 08:54 AM
Either water cooling, or kick-*** air cooling. Have you seen those big cooling towers? The biggest ones are like 2 lbs!.

I have a Zalman Aero-flower on mine, and it's BIG, but I've seen even bigger fans! Saw one that had two 120mm fans side by side!!!!

Captain Obvious
03-13-2007, 10:07 AM
I saw one with one 120mm on each of the four sides! :O

DogBoy
03-13-2007, 10:27 AM
Netburst Xeons? I don't think I've heard that term before. I know the ones I have use hyperthreading and are on a 7505 (or something like that) chipset.
:D

Netburst was the name of the Pentium 4 architecture. As you said your Xeons were 2.66GHZ on a 533 Front-Side Bus, that makes them NetBurst.

Netburst got dropped in favour of Core (and Core2), which is what all the new Intel CPUs are.

DogBoy
03-13-2007, 10:29 AM
I saw one with one 120mm on each of the four sides! :O

Wow, that is going to be LOUD! Jeez the turbulence alone will make it sound like a hurricane :D
I'll stick wi' my nice, quiet, Zalman water-doohickey for now. It may look like an over-sized sex toy, but at least I still have my hearing and can sleep through a long render ;) .

Captain Obvious
03-13-2007, 12:11 PM
The Dell XPS systems we have here are remarkably quiet. Compared to the Boxxes they replace, they're virtually silent. They have the interesting feature of reving up the fans as you boot them, too. Like the Power Mac G5. It goes "beep-WROOOOOOOOOOOmmmmmmshhhhhhh" and then goes quiet.

dwburman
03-13-2007, 02:02 PM
Actually the bigger the fan, the quieter they are.. that's the theory at least. They don't have to spin as fast to move the same amount of air.

Now my my dual xeon system... THAT's a loud machine. :D

Thanks for the info on Netburst.

Captain Obvious
03-13-2007, 04:16 PM
Actually the bigger the fan, the quieter they are.. that's the theory at least. They don't have to spin as fast to move the same amount of air.
Yep. That's why blades make such a racket.

jaf
03-13-2007, 05:06 PM
The Dell XPS systems we have here are remarkably quiet. Compared to the Boxxes they replace, they're virtually silent. They have the interesting feature of reving up the fans as you boot them, too. Like the Power Mac G5. It goes "beep-WROOOOOOOOOOOmmmmmmshhhhhhh" and then goes quiet.

I noticed my home built system does that too. I thought it may be simply a way to "kick start" a fan that may be a little "tight?" But that's just speculation on my part.

Lightwolf
03-13-2007, 05:11 PM
I noticed my home built system does that too.
No, basically it is a security measure until the bios kicks in and actually measures the CPU temperatues and then adjusts the fans.
Otherwise there'd be a chance that you reboot with extremely hot CPUs and the fans would just spin along idle before the bios comes alive ... potentially damaging the CPUs.

Cheers,
Mike

radams
03-14-2007, 12:15 AM
The Dell XPS systems we have here are remarkably quiet. Compared to the Boxxes they replace, they're virtually silent. They have the interesting feature of reving up the fans as you boot them, too. Like the Power Mac G5. It goes "beep-WROOOOOOOOOOOmmmmmmshhhhhhh" and then goes quiet.


Hi Capt. Obvious,

Why Dell vs BOXX ? Why did they not update with BOXX ?

How are the Dells doing? We have had some heating and stability issues with the latest Dells...

Cheers,

mattclary
03-14-2007, 06:09 AM
mattclary: quad-Xeons for $350? are you sure?? the ones I saw there were $850 and up.


Yep, wouldn't lie to ya'. ;)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16819117112

Captain Obvious
03-14-2007, 08:46 AM
Hi Capt. Obvious,

Why Dell vs BOXX ? Why did they not update with BOXX ?

How are the Dells doing? We have had some heating and stability issues with the latest Dells...

Cheers,
The XPS systems perform much better than I thought they would. Cheaper than Boxx, and I haven't noticed any downsides. Of course, since it's Dell, you HAVE TO reformat and reinstall Windows. The machines ship with so much crap on them, it's downright silly. The first one that came online had like three bluescreens in one day. Reformat & reinstall, and I don't think it has had a single once since. Mine is very stable (and very fast).

DogBoy
03-15-2007, 06:00 AM
Actually the bigger the fan, the quieter they are.. that's the theory at least.

That is true but when you have 4 attache to the same piece of metal, 2 perpendicular to the other 2 then it will get ...interesting.

dwburman
03-15-2007, 12:58 PM
Well, my render ended prematurely when somehow WinXP decided it didn't have the resources necessary to connect to the mapped network drives. That was pretty weird. Oh well. I'm trying to render the scene out on a different machine now so I guess I can do a few benchmarking tests.

Intuition
03-15-2007, 01:53 PM
Anyone running dual quad-Xeons? They start at around $350 ea. at Newegg, and the mobos start around $300... That's pretty reasonable for 8 cores of rendering goodness.

We have about 4 dual quad xeons @2.66ghz workstations here at EdenFX.

They are being used mainly for comping full HD cineon shots in fusion for now.

We did run some Lightwave 9.2 tests and the results would make you drool.

Still... one of my multiple hour GI shots that rendered at about 2 hours a frame @ 1920x1080 2 bounce final gather with 5pass AA and 3 pass photreal motion blur was rendering in 23 minutes on one of these workstations. SO, even with all that power I still want more..... :D

I'd say that a 16 core machine, a dual octo will probably be the start of me being happy with render times. I want to get these kinds of frames down to 5imutes average.

TylerZambori
03-15-2007, 04:51 PM
Yep, wouldn't lie to ya'. ;)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16819117112

Dude, aren't those for server motherboards?

Captain Obvious
03-15-2007, 05:34 PM
We did run some Lightwave 9.2 tests and the results would make you drool.
Yeah, but don't you hate the fact that FPrime only uses up to five threads? On our octos, a single instance of LW running FPrime, CPU usage never goes above 63%. :(




Dude, aren't those for server motherboards?
All new Xeons are socket 771.

jaf
03-15-2007, 07:21 PM
No, basically it is a security measure until the bios kicks in and actually measures the CPU temperatues and then adjusts the fans.
Otherwise there'd be a chance that you reboot with extremely hot CPUs and the fans would just spin along idle before the bios comes alive ... potentially damaging the CPUs.

Cheers,
Mike

Ah, yes, that makes sense.

Thanks Mike!

TylerZambori
03-15-2007, 07:23 PM
All new Xeons are socket 771.

All the socket 771 motherboards that I can find, are for servers.

TylerZambori
03-15-2007, 08:19 PM
All the socket 771 motherboards that I can find, are for servers.

Except for the supermicro X7DAL-E, but I hate supermicro and will
never buy one of their mobo's again.

Captain Obvious
03-16-2007, 04:22 AM
All the socket 771 motherboards that I can find, are for servers.
What do you mean, "are for servers"? If it's got a couple of PCI-Express slots, nothing's keeping you from using it as a workstation.

Look at it this way:

All Xeons are socket 771.

There are Xeon workstations.

Thusly, there must be motherboards that will function in workstations.

trick
03-16-2007, 05:40 AM
We have about 4 dual quad xeons @2.66ghz workstations here at EdenFX.

They are being used mainly for comping full HD cineon shots in fusion for now...

How effective is Fusion using the 8 cores ? Do you use it under X32 with 2-3 Gig RAM or XP64 (32bit mode) with 4 Gig RAM ? How is general performance with Fusion on these machines ?

mattclary
03-16-2007, 06:41 AM
All the socket 771 motherboards that I can find, are for servers.

As long as you can find a case that holds the motherboard, you can call it a tomato, for all I freaking care.

You MIGHT have to use the server version of Windows to take advantage of all those cores, but since there are only two physical CPUs, I think XP would work just fine.

Like I said, the mobos start at around $300, not that expensive, IMO. You can easily pay $200 for a "normal" motherboard.

mattclary
03-16-2007, 06:44 AM
I want to get these kinds of frames down to 5imutes average.

Like you are going to be satisfied with waiting five minutes????!! ;)

I'll never be happy until all the bells and whistles render in less than a second, then I will complain because 60 frames take 55 seconds to render. ;)

Captain Obvious
03-16-2007, 07:43 AM
You can easily pay $200 for a "normal" motherboard.
When I built my PC last fall, I bought a high-end ASUS for like $250. It's a great motherboard, though: built-in wifi & Bluetooth, good overclocker, etc. It can even act as a wireless access point when the computer is in sleep! Really cool.

dsol
03-16-2007, 11:06 AM
Machine speeds have been increasing tolerably, but we still took a terrible hit when the DEC Alpha got canned. Intel bought the technology, but have never made a decent implimentation of the processor for commercial applications.

Which is boring.

Heh, why would Intel encourage an alternative architecture to x86? it's the basis of the entire company. And after the abysmal failure of EPIC/Itanium (which was a new ISA with minimal compatibilty/performance with x86) I can't see them wanting to get their fingers burned with a new ISA. Hell, they've even canned all their ARM division (XScale) - sold it to Samsung I believe.

I miss DEC though. I was working on a crazy project about 5 or 6 years ago with an ex-amigan who wanted to relaunch the platform as a desktop/home/workstation killer piece of hardware, but with some funky added custom tech added. The DEC engineers had some crazy plans past EV7 (and EV7 was a hella fast piece of silicon - very respectable even now).

Ask me about DEC at the next London user meetup if you want to be swamped with bizarre factoids :)