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We-Co
08-06-2008, 02:06 PM
Hey everybody, we all know about the skulltrail and that it can have 2x CPU's on it's rock hard board, but what I want to know is if we can get a decent price.

I'm wondering has anybody seen, or heard, or has a skulltrail setup/rig that they built for under 2,300 dollars?

mattclary
08-08-2008, 01:48 PM
All in due time, my friend. All in due time. In 10 years we will have hardware that makes Skulltrail look like a TI calculator.

AbnRanger
08-10-2008, 01:06 AM
forget skull trail...go with dual quad zeons on a server board. The server board is a few hundred bucks, but you can get some rather inexpensive quad zeons to help offset that.

We-Co
08-10-2008, 12:18 PM
If I do a server can I still use it as a regualr computer? Like can i still run LightWave on the server, games, internet, etc.

Lightwolf
08-10-2008, 01:30 PM
If I do a server can I still use it as a regualr computer?
It's just a motherboard with a different emphasis on the parts (as opposed to a consumer or workstation board).
Just make sure you have a 16xPCIe slot for a graphics card.

Cheers,
Mike

We-Co
08-10-2008, 03:23 PM
Hmmmm...SWEET!!! But I have one more question. Would a serverboard be better than a consumer board with a QX9650?

Ernest
08-10-2008, 06:00 PM
Well, there are other things to consider with server boards. I remember that the Intel S5000X took like three minutes just to display an image and forever to finish booting. We cried every time we had to reboot. Also, you will probably have to use the only type of memory left in the world that is still expensive (and slowish): fbdimms.

JonW
08-10-2008, 06:50 PM
Depending on your budget, just up or down grade the parts. You can have a very cheap V8 these days. Very roughly every 6% increase in processor speed is approximately 40% increase in price. One can put together a very cheap V8 using a pair of E5420 processors.

Sacrifice a couple of 6% CPU performance steps and you have a computer which is almost as good as the top of the range at a fraction of the price.

http://newsgroups.derkeiler.com/pdf/Archive/Alt/alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt/2008-05/msg00753.pdf

AbnRanger
08-10-2008, 07:01 PM
Hmmmm...SWEET!!! But I have one more question. Would a serverboard be better than a consumer board with a QX9650?A server board is specifically designed to go beyond what is available for desktop PC's. That's what you'll find in the professional class workstations from BOXX and Dell, HP, etc.
The QX9650 is a Desktop PC CPU, so you would need a Zeon CPU or AMD Opteron CPU.
The downside to having all those extra RAM slots is that all those chips packed in so tightly together generate more heat...one reason why you have lower RAM speed maximums than you do for desktops. Plus most server CPU's require registered memory, but it has reasons for that.

Here are just a few server boards that you may want to check out.
AMD boards:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813151091
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=2000200302+1071323148+4020&name=%24400+-+%24500

Intel Boards:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813151162
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=2000200302+1071321504+4020&name=%24400+-+%24500
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813151162

AMD Quad-Opterons:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819105189
http://promotions.newegg.com/AMD/opteron070908/index.html?cm_sp=Cat_CPUsProcessors-_-AMDOpteron070908-_-_-http%3a%2f%2fpromotions.newegg.com%2fAMD%2fopteron 070908%2f118x118.gif

Intel Quad-Xeons:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819117138
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819117145
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819117148
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819117149

Lightwolf
08-11-2008, 03:41 AM
Well, there are other things to consider with server boards. I remember that the Intel S5000X took like three minutes just to display an image and forever to finish booting.
That sounds like ECC scrubbing was activated. Our server is the same, but you can turn it off. It's a trade-off between safety and convenience I suppose...

Cheers,
Mike

mattclary
08-11-2008, 08:41 AM
Hmmmm...SWEET!!! But I have one more question. Would a serverboard be better than a consumer board with a QX9650?

The big difference in server and consumer boards are what and how many CPUs they will take. IMO, you should stick with a consumer board. As others have pointed out, it has been my experience that in some ways servers are much slower than desktop machines.

You would probably be better off building a few cheap machines as a render farm. Just turn them on for rendering.

AbnRanger
08-11-2008, 11:20 AM
The big difference in server and consumer boards are what and how many CPUs they will take. IMO, you should stick with a consumer board. As others have pointed out, it has been my experience that in some ways servers are much slower than desktop machines.

You would probably be better off building a few cheap machines as a render farm. Just turn them on for rendering.Those limitations are very minor compared to the fact that you can run what amounts to a whole other machine on the same board...and the RAM capability puts it over the top. Desktops still restrict you to 4 DIMMs. Server boards are still expensive, but with the CPU price wars still in effect, it nullifies that obstacle.
I would consider keeping your powder dry for a few more months...there are more cores coming...

We-Co
08-11-2008, 02:37 PM
Um, I’m still not sure what to do. A consumer board has pros and cons such as Core 2 Extreme’s and DDR3 RAM but I heard that DDR3 isn’t that much faster compared to DDR2 RAM (depending on what you get/afford), not to mention that the only consumer board that can do Dual CPU’s is a Skulltrail. The server boards seem to start up slower (yes), but I don’t really care how slow it starts up as long as it will do the job when I’m editing, modeling, or rendering. The server boards have slow RAM DDR2 667 FBDIMM (Super Slow), but like everyone knows u can get from up to 64GB’s if you want. The CPU’s for the server boards are very good (Intel Xeon) I don’t see any problem with that.

The thing is how much money it will cost.

Server Rig:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813182101 – $400.00 USD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819117149 – $540.00 USD  (x2)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148128 – $435.00 USD

Total of ($1375.00 USD)

Consumer Rig:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813188025 - $350.00 USD  DDR3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813188026 - $190.00 USD  DDR2
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115034 - $1020.0 USD  Core 2 Ex.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227310 - $340.00 USD  DDR3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231166 - $220.00 USD  DDR2 (X2)

Best rig with DDR3 ($1710.00 USD) Lower rig with DDR2 ($1430.00 USD)

Yes I know I’m forgetting things such as, cases, heatsinks, hard drives, etc. Basically what I’m trying to say is there a for sure way to figure out which is better for production work?

Lightwolf
08-11-2008, 02:47 PM
Basically what I’m trying to say is there a for sure way to figure out which is better for production work?

Which apps do you use besides LW? Remember, LW will only really profit from the cores when rendering.

What I tend to do is configure a baseline system, estimate the performance (if it is the same class of CPU the clock speed will do) and compare to other systems configured to the same spec.
Compare the relative performance as well as the relative price, and you should be able to quickly pick a favourite.
DDR3 does very little at the moment, the CineBench scores I've seen change by around 1-2% between DDR3 and DDR2.

Also, P45 based boards can take up to 16BG of RAM, however, the 4GB DDR2 modules are still quite expensive.

Cheers,
Mike

JonW
08-11-2008, 07:59 PM
If you need a new box now, you need it now, there is no point trying to do work with one hand tied behind your back, time costs too much.

I only have V8s so I can’t give a comparison to a 4 banger!

All the new stuff comes out in October or soon after, so if you can wait another generation it would be wise, its not too far away.

What’s in the pipeline, no LW here but it will give relative performance.

http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/intel/showdoc.aspx?i=3326&p=7

We-Co
08-11-2008, 10:35 PM
My pipeline consists of more than just 3D animation, HD editing with AVCHD, coloring for comics, website building, etc. I’ve been doing my research and it seems that the QX9650 is really good for all those things, but I don’t see the point in getting the top of the line when I can just get Dual Cores, and change them whenever. I’m still going to have to do some digging. Also I know what you’re saying about the Nehalem and I’m going to wait till that comes out but I’m not holding my breath, just because everything that comes out in the first three month usually has bugs. I don’t exactly need a new rig right now, but business is starting to catch on and my setup right now isn’t cutting it for HD editing plus 3D.

AbnRanger
08-11-2008, 11:10 PM
Why do you have to get the top of the line quad-core? Take a step down, and overclock if you must have the extra clock cycles. Even the AMD quad-cores are stupid-cheap. They are so cheap, it just makes no sense to settle for a dual-core right now. All CG programs make use of multi-cores...especially rendering tasks (which includes NLE's)

JonW
08-11-2008, 11:21 PM
Virtually all programmes won’t utilise anything more than dual cores, including Photoshop, tragically, and I believe all of Adobe’s products unless I’m mistaken. So there is no point buying anything more than a dual core processor, unless you are going to get different cores working on different programmes.

But, when it comes to rendering, apart from the fact that Lightwave will use up to 16 threads (16 cores) on one image, or 999 via render farm. Rendering is a whole different ball game in number crunching. So if your customers can’t wait you need to through as many CPUs at the rendering as you can, whether its a quad, V8 or render farm.

We-Co
08-12-2008, 10:31 AM
Well people have been saying to get the Q9450 and overclock that, but i don't see the need when i could basically get two of those on one board (serverboard). Yeah most programs don't really need more than a dual-core, but come on those are in the past. Plus AVCHD dose actually need more than dual-core, the processing of 1920x1080i is so choppy if you don't have more than that. Right now I have a Q6600 and 3D is good but can be improved.

What I'm going to try to do is build my new rig for HD editing plus 3D animation. I was even thinking of keeping the rig i have now and just making a rig that was specifically for rendering 3D. Then reason for me getting a new rig with the top of the line stuff is so I don't have to mess with it for at least a couple of years. I don't even mind spending the money, but if there is not a reason to spend so much then I would like to know that. When the new stuff does come out, I'll check it out, but what I'm thinking right now is either a server with dual-quads, Q9450-OC'd, QX9650, or maybe that Nahelm.

We'll see, all i got is time right now.

mattclary
08-12-2008, 10:56 AM
Those limitations are very minor compared to the fact that you can run what amounts to a whole other machine on the same board...and the RAM capability puts it over the top. Desktops still restrict you to 4 DIMMs. Server boards are still expensive, but with the CPU price wars still in effect, it nullifies that obstacle.
I would consider keeping your powder dry for a few more months...there are more cores coming...

Boards that support 8 and 16GB of memory...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=Property&N=2010200280%201070509908&PropertyCodeValue=727%3A10630%2C727%3A10689&bop=And&Order=PRICE

Ivan D. Young
08-12-2008, 11:54 AM
I believe that Skulltrail is a server board, if it is using FB-DIMMs it is a server board. NO Matter what Intel says, it is a server board. They are refusing to release a motherboard or chipset that alllows regular Quad cores to be paired up and use regular style RAM. If this has changed I would like to know, I would like to step up to a better setup with out paying for expensive, slow, and hot running components.

JonW
08-12-2008, 05:18 PM
I had a Tyan Tiger, with Athlon MPs, and 2.5gb ram, in its day it was a very good machine, I had it far too long because it just wouldn’t die.

As far as rendering, how I see it, one needs to have the largest number of CPUs at the lowest price per GHz per the whole computer set up. If you look at the price of CPUs on their own & don’t factor in the rest of the computer & software it can be a false economy.

But the Q6600 is a very good processor & they are practically giving them away these days, so if you have the space, buying a handful of these boxes it probably the best way to go.

Here they don’t use LW but it does give you relative performance between CPUs & if you factor in the price of the rest of the computer you will be able to work out the inclusive cost of $ per Ghz.

http://techreport.com/articles.x/14573/11

(My E5450 finishes a render in approx. 63% of the time of my E5335, so allowing for the difference in GHz, an equivalent 54xx is about 6% faster than 53xx)

Lightwolf
08-12-2008, 05:24 PM
I have an old Tyan Tiger collecting dust under my desk, it has two Athlon MPs in it and also uses fully buffered memory.
That's registered, not fully buffered RAM on those boards. I've still got four running (every now and then...).

Then again, my current quad is faster than the four of them ;)

Cheers,
Mike