Advice needed for new PC: dual Xeon or dual Opteron, or neither...

Discussion in 'Photoshop Tutorials' started by Toby, Apr 16, 2004.

  1. Toby

    Toby Guest

    Hi folks,

    I am finally getting near buying a new PC to replace my ancient one, and I
    have some decisions to make.

    My main use for it will be graphics, and both of the main programs I use
    (Photoshop and Ultra Fractal) can take advantage of dual processors. UF in
    particular depends primarily on pure number crunching, so CPU speed is the
    major determinant of speed. Its architecture is such that dual processors
    provide nearly twice the rendering speed of a single CPU.

    I had originally thought of going with dual Xeons, say around 2.6 or 2.8
    GHz, but I would be able to put something together with dual Opteron 64s for
    just around the same price. I haven't been able to find much on the net
    about dual Opterons, and I'm wondering about stability issues, etc. I'm not
    really interested in overclocking or anything extreme, and my needs apart
    from number crunching would be quite modest--I'm not a heavy gamer or

    For that matter I wonder if the 64 bit processors will really offer any
    advantages in the next few years in general computer use.

    Another option would be to forget about dual CPUs completely and go with a
    moderately high end P4 or Athlon.

    I'm wondering if anybody has any experience with any of this that they'd
    like to share, or links where I could find info on dual Opterons.

    Thanks in advance,
    Toby, Apr 16, 2004
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  2. Toby

    msi Guest

    In my opinion a slower dual cpu system will totally outperform a single cpu
    with a much higher speed. i used to have a dual G4/450 and OSX. it would
    outperform single G4/733 and so on. running multiple apps at the same time
    or using multithreaded apps that will actually use all of the cpus, both of
    them, that is much better then running a single cpu. i think you should
    totally go for a dual cpu Xeon like you said instead of say a P4/3ghz.
    you'll in my opinion notice a difference for sure.

    i know nothing on 64bit other then no big deal for a few more years in my
    opinion. windows doesn't even use it yet and won't for a long time. if you
    get a dual opteron 64bit, the only way i would do that is if it was the same
    or cheaper then similar from Xeon etc. i even hear it can slow the system
    down in some cases. not sure why or remember where i heard it, but i think
    it was on the screen savers on techtv.

    me personally i would get the dual Xeon 2.8ghz unless the cost was a lot
    more then the dual Xeon 2.6ghz. then just install windows xp pro as home
    won't see the second cpu.
    msi, Apr 16, 2004
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  3. Toby

    Voivod Guest

    You better tell Microsoft that. Apparently they say you're wrong:
    Voivod, Apr 16, 2004
  4. i know nothing on 64bit other then no big deal for a few more years in my
    There's a significant difference between compiling a 32 bit OS or
    application with a compiler which generates code compatible with a 64 bit
    CPU, and actually writing code which *uses* the 64 bit potential. The OP is
    right. Windows doesn't use it yet.
    Derek Fountain, Apr 16, 2004
  5. Toby

    Keith Guest

    You might want to check which operating system you are refering to.
    Windows SERVER 2003, that isn't on the list of supported OSes for
    Photoshop CS.
    Keith, Apr 16, 2004
  6. Toby

    Don Guest

    There is no point in going with the 64-bit processors in the near future, as
    the appleication software can't take advantage of it, and only server
    versions of Windoze can use it. I don't know if WinXP would even boot on a
    64-bit processor, but it certainly can't take advantage of it.

    You didn't mention the size of the photos you'll be processing. Unless you
    are using high-resolution scans of medium format film or larger, I think
    either dual Xeons or a fast P4 would be adequate. I use an older 1.7Ghz P4
    with 1GB of RAM and PS 7.0.1, and find it plenty fast for 10 megapixel scans
    of 35mm slides. I can't recall ever taking more than 3-4 seconds to
    complete an unsharp filter or a saturation adjustment at 8-bit depth,
    usually among the slower operations. I think a lot of RAM is usually more
    important than processor speed. My machine is maxed out at 1GB, and there
    are times (using several layers) when I would have liked more.

    Don, Apr 16, 2004
  7. Toby

    msi Guest

    i didnt think 2003 was 64bit at all considering they have now just released
    barely, a beta/alpha OS with 64bit.
    msi, Apr 16, 2004
  8. Toby

    DeMoN LaG Guest

    Depending on what you are doing, two Opterons are between 20% and 80%
    faster than two Xeons. In some tests, two Opterons score higher than a
    quad Xeon system.
    Not really for general use. However, the Opteron isn't just 64-bit, it
    also has a highly efficient inter-CPU connection with no shared buses
    (unlike the Xeon which shares both a memory bus and a bus connecting the
    CPUs to the Northbridge). Not to mention the onboard memory controller on
    the Opteron provides low latency, high speed access to RAM. Each CPU can
    also (depending on your motherboard) have it's own banks of RAM to work out
    of, access those at 6.4GB/sec while simultaneously accessing the second
    processor's RAM at 6.4GB/sec.

    Overall, the chip is a beast. Don't get a Xeon, more money for less
    DeMoN LaG, Apr 16, 2004
  9. Toby

    kyjim Guest

    damn, that's really good..........
    kyjim, Apr 16, 2004
  10. Toby

    DeMoN LaG Guest

    You don't have any idea what you are talking about. In addition to
    providing entry level 64-bit support for applications, the Opteron is also
    the fastest 32-bit CPU on the market. Read's articles where
    the dual opteron beats out a dual xeon by about 20% overall, and a quad
    opteron absolutely destroys a quad xeon by over 30% on average.

    Before you comment on technology, at least understand it. The Opteron has
    3 modes of operation:
    Legacy mode - Acts just like a 32-bit processor, provides no 64-bit
    capabilities. Still gains advantages of HyperTransport and onboard memory

    64-bit Compatibility mode - Can run a mix of 64 and 32-bit programs.
    Requires a 64-bit OS.

    64-bit Long mode - Provides access to ~128TB of address space, supports
    extended register set for 64-bit apps. Requires 64-bit OS and 64-bit apps.
    DeMoN LaG, Apr 16, 2004
  11. Toby

    Toby Guest

    Mnay thanks to you all for the responses.

    Toby, Apr 17, 2004
  12. Toby

    Hecate Guest

    That'll be why, then, Intel have announced that their latest chips
    will be able to run 64 bit and 32 bit apps at the same time. And the
    function libraries they're using to this? Er, they've licensed the
    ones that AMD developed because they're so good.

    Yes, that's right - Intel chips using AMD because Intel can't do it
    any better.

    And just in case you didn't hear it the first time - right now. :)
    Hecate, Apr 17, 2004
  13. Toby

    Don Guest

    Gee, I didn't mean to gore your ox. Sorry. I'm aware that there are 64-bit
    chips out there - Intel has had a 64-bit server chip for about a year and a
    half, as well as AMD, et al. The problem is that there is no 64-bit Windoze
    to run on them (other than the server version), and Photoshop won't run on
    the other 64-bit operating systems that *are* available. So, you can buy
    the 64-bit hardware with an opeerating system that even the 32-bit Photoshop
    won't run on, or you can wait a while and get the Intel/Windoze combination,
    and still have to run the 32-bit Photoshop on it because there will likely
    not be a 64-bit Photoshop for some time.

    Adobe doesn't announce their plans ahead of time, but their past performance
    shows they are very slow to encompass new paradigms. They still haven't
    fully implemented 16-bit color depth, althought they've been slowly chipping
    away at it through the last 2 version (7 & CS).

    On the other hand, you *can* run 32-bit Photoshop on a dual Xeon with 32-bit
    Windoze right now. It ain't the greatest, but it's the fastest available
    current solution, by far.

    Don, Apr 18, 2004
  14. Toby

    Hecate Guest

    You still don't understand do you? The reason Intel are purchasing
    libraries from AMD is because the AMD 64 chips run 32 bit software far
    faster than Intel 32 bit chips. Intel 64 bit chips however, run 32
    bit software slower than their 32 bit chips because they're not
    optimised. If you want speed, then the AMD 64 bit chips are the ones
    to go for - they are a minimum of 10% faster than *any* Intel chips at
    running 32 bit software, regardless of whether the OS is 64 bit or the
    software is 64 bit.
    Hecate, Apr 18, 2004
  15. Toby

    Don Guest

    That's true, but they're not faster than two Xeon chips.

    Don, Apr 18, 2004
  16. Toby

    UrbanVoyeur Guest

    Test after test has shown that dual Opterons are significantly faster than
    dual Xeons at running 32 bit software. 10-25% In fact, dual opterons have
    been outperforming quad Xeons.

    Opterons are also cheaper and run cooler.
    UrbanVoyeur, Apr 18, 2004
  17. Toby

    Michael-NC Guest

    Michael-NC, Apr 18, 2004
  18. Toby

    DeMoN LaG Guest

    No, it isn't. You can run 32-bit photoshop on a dual 64-bit Opteron
    machine running 32-bit Windows right now. In fact, AMD has a marketing
    thing which is entirely true:
    "The only 64-bit Windows compatible chip on the market", as any of AMD's
    chips will run a 32-bit OS perfectly fine, and thanks to having an onboard
    memory controller they will run things like Photoshop that require oodles
    of RAM bandwith faster than anything Intel can throw on the market.
    DeMoN LaG, Apr 18, 2004
  19. Toby

    DeMoN LaG Guest

    Two Opteron 24x's are over 20% faster than two Xeon chips, and also cost
    about 20% less.
    DeMoN LaG, Apr 18, 2004
  20. Toby

    DeMoN LaG Guest

    Without a doubt, you have no clue what you are talking about.
    DeMoN LaG, Apr 18, 2004
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