8 Replies Latest reply on Sep 16, 2010 6:07 PM by The-Real-Link

    Intel i7 950 vs 2 Intel Westmere (Nehalem) Xeon 5630s?

    The-Real-Link

      Greetings everyone,

       

        Looking to probably be rebuilding a system here soon and had a question that is proving more difficult than I originally thought it'd be to answer.

       

        Basically I'm trying to find out what would be the best performance in the budget I am looking to spend.  Right now I'm contemplating the following:

       

        EVGA Classified board with an I7 950    or

        EVGA SR-2 board with dual Xeon E5630s

        The rest of the budget would be spent on equal amounts of parts for either system, ie. graphics / RAM (probably 6 GB, maybe 12 GB) etc.

       

        Granted, my thought was to greatly (but safely) overclock either system, though I'll admit I'm on an older system here so simply the performance and architectural differences may be fast enough once I see them in person to where I may not OC.

       

        End goals here are a bit of HPC with Folding / CUDA and some advanced gaming.  The biggest part by far though is to mass-edit 5D Mark II photos and videos (RAW photos are 25-40 MB each and video is natively ~300MB/min) for my professional photography.

       

        Now, the only relative benchmark I could even find was on Passmark's site and it gave a score of 6,274 to an i7 950.  It gave a bit lower score of 4,822 to one Xeon E5630 but a dual setup scored 9,387.  Whether one i7 or two Xeons would be substantially faster at my workload though is hard to guess as I can't test that yet.

       

        My main editing programs, Photoshop aside, are partly core count driven but from what I've seen are more substantially clock-speed driven, thus the reason to OC in the first place.

       

        Any insight here would be incredibly helpful as I can't really find anything out there comparing the "normal" i7 Nehalems to the Xeon Nehalems / Westmere cores directly, thanks.

        • 1. Re: Intel i7 950 vs 2 Intel Westmere (Nehalem) Xeon 5630s?
          edwardzh

          You can do a side-by-side comparing here:

          http://ark.intel.com/Compare.aspx?ids=47924,37150,

           

          Basically Core i7 950 has higher frequency. But with Xeon E5630 you have more cache, faster QPI, ECC memory support, 32nm process, lower power consumption, etc. Also each processor has it's own integrated memory controller, so in a dual-processor configuration you have double cores and memory bandwidth.

           

          So it all depends on your applications - if they can take full use of all 16 threads, or if they're memory bandwidth driven, I'd go with dual Xeon E5630.

          1 of 1 people found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Intel i7 950 vs 2 Intel Westmere (Nehalem) Xeon 5630s?
            The-Real-Link

              Thanks very much for that chart Edward!  I was figuring there had to be a place on Intel's site showing a comparison like the one you linked.

             

              While I don't think memory or bandwidth constraints will affect the particular programs I'm using, it's always nice to have higher QPI, cache, and advanced architectural features I'd think.  If I can work out the dual Xeon budget, I'll probably go that route.

            • 3. Re: Intel i7 950 vs 2 Intel Westmere (Nehalem) Xeon 5630s?
              PeterUK

              EVGA Classified board with an I7 950    or

              EVGA SR-2 board with dual Xeon E5630s

               

              You do know one setup will cost over twice as much? Bit of a odd compare?

               

              Why not compare a setup with a i7-980X with six cores? This would cost less then the dual Xeon E5630's and two less cores but its a closer compare to do.

              • 4. Re: Intel i7 950 vs 2 Intel Westmere (Nehalem) Xeon 5630s?
                The-Real-Link

                  Hi Peter, thanks for the advice.  I priced out about $800 difference for the board and extra cpu so while it wouldn't double the system price, it is a fair more pricy option to consider.  Then again though you'd go from one quad core to 2 quad cores for processors.

                 

                  Regarding the 980x - two extra cores are nice but paying $600 more for a processor only a few hundred Mhz faster isn't my cup of tea.  You are right though in the sense that if I did go the dual Xeon route that the performance of one 980X is very slightly above either of the dual Xeon configs I mentioned.  Priced the E5620 set at about $750 and the E5630 set at maybe $1,100.  The 980x by itself however, would be a good value *if* I do go past spending $1k on chips though.  While I may knock the 980x's value, one is still spending about the same on the Xeons so I may very well have to reconsider my thoughts on it.

                 

                  If I was focusing strictly on a program that loved more cores, say, 3ds Max or Premiere or something then true I'd have to compare a 980X with two less cores and faster speed to a dual setup with 8 cores but slower speed.  I just thought the dual Xeon route would be more efficient, that's all.  Passmark shows ~10,300 for a 980x but I'd wager that's because it's a good mix of cores (6) *and* a fast 3.3 Ghz speed.

                 

                  Either way I thought whether I go with one single i7 or dual Xeons, I could always swap to those processors (hex-core i7 or Xeons) when they came down a bit in price.

                • 5. Re: Intel i7 950 vs 2 Intel Westmere (Nehalem) Xeon 5630s?
                  PeterUK

                  You seem to be forgetting about adding the board to this that dual Xeon in a EVGA SR-2 is about $570 (for the board) when you can have the 980X in a EVGA Classified (not sure what one so EVGA E760 ?) for about $360 and really to go 980X you don't have to spend that much even under $200 for a board will take it.

                   

                  So when I was pricing it up you have to include the board as dual socket boards are a lot more then single socket boards.

                  • 6. Re: Intel i7 950 vs 2 Intel Westmere (Nehalem) Xeon 5630s?
                    The-Real-Link

                      Hi Peter, thanks for the quick reply.  Ah ok, the second paragraph makes more sense now.  I guess email didn't copy it all or it was edited soon after... no problem.

                     

                      *nods* no I was certainly aware of the board pricing included in the #s.

                     

                      Basically, a 980x in an EVGA E760 / 762 would be $1k for the processor and $360 for the 760 or $499 for the 762 (though Newegg currently has awesome sales prices for both boards).  You're right in that the SR-2 is $570 + ~$800 for two E5620s or ~$1,140 for two E5630s.

                     

                      Thus it comes down to $1,500 for the i7 setup and $1,710 for the Xeon setup (presuming all else is equal).  The reason I mentioned an $800 difference originally was because I'd put (thankfully now due to the lower price), an i7 950 in the single i7 socket; thus ($500 + $300) compared to say, $1,500 or so otherwise for Xeons.

                     

                      I think the biggest question though is two-fold.  1.  Will the 1366 architecture ever gain more processing power than 6 cores and 2. If I did in fact tap-out the single socket board now (by using a hexacore), wouldn't it be just as advantageous to go to double hexacores if I went the Xeon route once they became more affordable?

                     

                      I totally understand going the 980X route as you're suggesting but I'd like to leave some realm of upgradability into the system for future use.  I intend to be using the system for more than 5 years so I'd rather not hit the end of the architectural path so quickly.  Whether for personal or small business use, it's not every day I can just go out and drop $2-3k+ on a system

                     

                      It's hard to tell from Intel though as to what will become of the 1366 socket past 2011.  Since I'm not planning to go the Sandy Bridge route, I just thought that by going the way of the Xeons it would give me room for future growth in the socket, that's all.

                    • 7. Re: Intel i7 950 vs 2 Intel Westmere (Nehalem) Xeon 5630s?
                      PeterUK

                      If you can just go out and drop $2-3k+ on a system who am I to stop you, and yes when Xeon hex cores became more affordable you can go that route too. The other thing is will a single fast 6 core @3.33GHz 980X be faster or slower then say two slower E5630 for 8 cores @2.53 GHz ? I don't know the answer but it will either be instructions get done faster on less cores faster or instructions get done slower on more cores faster.

                       

                      The other thing to think about is powering that EVGA SR-2 with it needing two 8 pin CPU connectors like Silverstone ST85F-P depending on what cards you put in.

                       

                      Your choice if you’d not already made it...

                       

                      Message was edited by: PeterUK

                      • 8. Re: Intel i7 950 vs 2 Intel Westmere (Nehalem) Xeon 5630s?
                        The-Real-Link

                        Hi Perter, thanks for the reply on this.

                         

                        "...it will either be instructions get done faster on less cores faster or instructions get done slower on more cores faster...."  I think you meant:

                        "...it will either be instructions get done faster on less cores or instructions get done slower on more cores."

                         

                          Well that's the kicker question huh?  While I wish I knew too as to which was the best, I think I'll probably be well-suited either way.  The points according to Passmark are too close to really call I'd think.

                         

                          Oh, trust me, I'm not trying to ridicule you for saying I've already made the choice - that's why I'm asking after all.  I just personally am still leaning to the Xeon setup at this time.  It's still very good and very important to exchange dialogue with people though just to make sure things are good.  Sorry if I came across as being rude.

                         

                          If only I could magically build a 980x box right alongside a Xeon box and try them both at stock and at OC'd speeds... Don't have that kind of money though haha!

                         

                          Thanks again for your input though.  It is greatly appreciated.