12 Replies Latest reply on Jun 10, 2011 1:38 AM by Creampuff

    Need Help on which to select - Xeon Processors


      Hi guys,


      Need some help again, after viewing through Xeon Processors i have selected a final 5 options from the Xeon processor list (based on budget) but i'm stuck here as i do not know what's best from this 5 options. Programs that i will be running on Window 7 64 bit : Autodesk 3Ds  Max, Inventor, Autocad, DS Solidworks. Adobe Ilustrator, Photoshop,  Acrobat, Microsoft Office and other rendering programs such as Bunkspeed etc.


      1) Should i go for a 6 core/4 core

      2) Should i go for a 1/2 PC configuration processor

      3) 24GB / 288GB memory



      6 core comparison:




      4 core comparison:




      Combined comparison:




      Thank you very much for your time and help : D

        • 1. Re: Need Help on which to select - Xeon Processors

          If I start sounding like a sales man  ----- SHOOT ME!!!


          Cores vs. Clock speed  - I would pick cores as long as your running software from the last few years that knows how to use more than one core.

          3 channel vs 2 channel memory -- 3 channel (mother board needs to support 3 channels also)

          System Bus -- faster is better (6.4 GT/S) assuming your using 1333 memory. If your budget says 1066 memory the System bus would clock down to 5.86 GT/S anyway. Likewise if you get a 5.8 GT\s processor, the memory is only going to run 1033 so why pay for 1333 memory.


          You are going to need to zero on on what mother board you want to make sure the processor is supported.


          If you go with a duel CPU board, (even if you only use one CPU) you need a 56xx processor.

          (You can consider adding a second processor in the future when the price is lower (BANG  - just shot myself)

          If you don't what to think about a possiable future upgrade, max 24g is enought memory for you and your mother board choice supports 130 watt processors, the W3670 is great at the price.(note shop around. the MSRP on Intel web site is always way higher than what you can find in the real world)


          Rendering and cad both like lots of memory and compute power.

          I would go with a duel CPU board http://www.intel.com/products/workstation/motherboards/s5520sc/s5520sc-overview.htm

          (I am biased here so check out other vendors also)

          and a E5645 or to keep the cost down.

          And at least 8 to 16 g ram. (more if it fits the budget)

          Then when the next generation of Xeon processors hit the market in a year or so, the price for a second E5645 will drop and you can have even more processing power.


          Besides it looks good to open task manager and see 24 cores working at 1% while surfing the web.



          • 2. Re: Need Help on which to select - Xeon Processors

            I think the first thing you need to know is if you want DP processors. 3600 series is for UP boards only and 5600 series if for both DP and UP. And then you need to see if these processors are supported by your server/workstation boards. there are some link for supported processor list fyi.






            In theory you can get high performance with more cores.

            • 3. Re: Need Help on which to select - Xeon Processors

              Hi Doc,


              Thanks for all the input, really makes me comprehand things better.

              As long as i have more cores to work with, the clock speed and turbo frequency doesn't really matters right as long as my softwares can work on more than a single core. If i were to go with E5645, i'm not too sure on how to select the motherboard (still a newbie). I was planning to order this workstation from Dell/HP by doing so am i still able to decide on the motherboard, or should i build my own system from scratch - really lack of knowledge in this area  : ) 

              On the salesman part, it reallly does helps me decide on a better option. (really appreciate it)


              Once again Thank you....
              • 4. Re: Need Help on which to select - Xeon Processors

                Hi Yanming,


                Thank you for providing the links and for all the inputs, guess i have decided to go with a dual processor workstation.

                Really appreciate your help


                Thank you...
                • 5. Re: Need Help on which to select - Xeon Processors

                  Well you have pick the core of the system, now you get to the hard part. Accessorizing!


                  There are pros & cons to both building your own or buying an OEM pre-build.

                  If you build your self you get to choice all the components that matter too you and leave out those that don't.

                  OEM get better pricing buying a zillion video cards than you will get buying one. the OEM pre-build is likely to be much less expensive.

                  OEM systems are off the shelf and running in you house in a day or three.

                  Build your own is pretty straight forward if you know which end of the screw driver goes down, but plan on a week to read all the instructions, load an OS and get all the software working.

                  You may be able to find a fairly generic OEM system and add a few upgrade accessories to get what you want. (Check the OEM web site for supported accessories. I still can't believe one OEM system I bought would not let dump the IDE HDD and replace it with a RAID.)


                  There are build to order shops too that are kind of 1/2 way in between. They assemble what ever you want , but you end up paying for it.



                  Big hitters on accessories:


                  Video - When working with graphics, you want a good graphic card. Better than what comes with most OEM computers.

                  Sound - Personally, it most my systems have very low end sound cards & I run it in to a very high end stereo amplifier.Sounds great to me.

                  RAID? -- a raid can be a life saver if you have important files you really can't lose. Some boards have embedded RAID, HW raid  or a softwware raid. HW is best since it takes the work off the CPU, but embedded is good and SW raid is better than no raid. Simple 2 HDD mirror puts everything on both drives, however, HDD are slow by nature some are faster than others, and a bigger raid (5 hdds or more) can really speed up a system by spreading the data across several HDD and preserving it with error checking in case of failures.

                  HDD # & type  -- since HDD are so slow in come SSD. Way faster and can still be set to raid for even redundancy and more speed.

                  When rendering, you do a lot of writing to the HDD so the faster this interface, the faster the rendering goes.

                  dvd, blue ray, CD  --Of couse your computer should replace all the other electronics in the house.

                  USB - how many ports do you need? Keyboard, mouse, web cam, scanner, printer, second printer, joy stick for gaming, CF\SD reader, remote control nerf rocket launcher (ok, may be you don't need that one , but it is fun). You can use USB hubs or just plug and un plug a lot, but if you can get 6 or 8 USB ports, I bet you could fill them up.

                  firewire - mostly video interface, but if your doing video editing a lot of camcorder have direct firewire interfaces.

                  eSata - for external back-up -



                  In my experience, you get more your your money with an OEM system because they can get better pricing (a desktop under $1000 is common now days) , but you rarely get the high end best.

                  But you get everything you want in a build it your self system assuming you can afford all the pieces. (my cheapest system would run over 3K and my workstation would hit 30K if I built it out fully. 12 - 16 G dimms are not cheep!



                  (Remember too, I am a computer engineer (even if I do sound like a salesman some times). I build up systems just for the fun of it then see what I can do to break them! (and they pay me to do this to the most bleeding edge systems in the world!)


                  Good luck on your system, With the Xeon core your not likly to go wrong.

                  • 6. Re: Need Help on which to select - Xeon Processors

                    Hi Doc,


                    Thank you for taking your time to write up such a lengthy explaination (really appreciate it ). After consideration i will go for the OEM pre-build instead of building it myself as it really needs some time of studying and searching. While looking up Dell workstation i see that a T5500 stated: Massive memory scalability (up to 72GB2 of DDR3 ECC memory) while looking at Intel's E5645 Processor it is stated that Max Memory Size (dependent on memory type) 288GB, does this means that the maximum memory capacity is only 72GB ? Inside the customization Dell also provides SDRAM / RDIMM memory, i'm not too sure of the differences or which to choose from.

                    Thank You  .......

                    • 7. Re: Need Help on which to select - Xeon Processors

                      Hmm, I not sure I would call 72g "massive" when you consider the processor is capable of 288G in mother board designed to support it.

                      But it is likley more than enought for most people.


                      The T5500 standard configuration is 1 CPU with 6 DIMM sockets supporting up to 8G DIMMS or 8g * 6 = 48G

                      If you add he 2nd CPU which uses a riser (kind of a unique idea. wonder what it costs.) it gets the 2nd CPU and 3 more DIMMS.to add another 24G total = 72G


                      DEL is only not supporting the 16G dimms yet that i could find, but i did not look that hard. (they cost a bundle. I just looked and the 16G DIMMS are down below $1000 each. they were ~ $1400 last time I looked)


                      If the mother board design supports it, each of the 2- E5645 processor has 3 memory channel that will support 3 dimms per channel = 18 DIMMS. Maximum size of DDR3 memory is a 16G DIMM so 18x16g = 288g


                      For best performance, you want to use all three channels per CPU (ie. 6 or 12 or 18 dimms min if you have dual CPUs,)

                      24g in the DEL would be nice if handling lots of rendering.

                      Throw in the SSD and a good 3d video card and your ready to roll.


                      I plugged everything in on the DEL web site.  $7,509.00

                      My System Details   Let me know how this stacks up to what your planning.
                      My Services & Warranties
                      Also Included
                      No Resource DVD
                      Documentation, English, with 125V Power Cord
                      Quick Reference Guide, English, Dell Precision T7500
                      Shipping Material for System



                      too late tonight, but tomorrow, I will see if I can find the cost on a built it your self equivalent,

                      • 8. Re: Need Help on which to select - Xeon Processors

                        I google a bit and found http://www.pugetsystems.com/nav/genesis/II/customize.php

                        Who use the Intel S5520SC in their Gensis II workstations.

                        I did not see the E5645 in there self configure web site so played with tryiing to build the same configuration as the DEL but but a L5640 which is about $330 more than the E5645. ($660 for 2)


                        I came up with $7900 (less the 660 for the E5645) = $7240 which is a little less than the DEL and a lot more system.


                        Ether one will be a awsome workstation for you.

                        • 9. Re: Need Help on which to select - Xeon Processors

                          Hi Doc,


                          Sorry for late reply, i was looking up more details on the workstation for quite some time.

                          Decided for the OEM. Thanks for helping me research about it.

                          After configuring with Dell's customize configuration tool i had came up with this specifications:


                          Build My Dell

                          Minitower Orientation with 1394 Port /Desktop Orientation
                          6GB (3x2GB) DDR3 RDIMM Memory, 1333MHz, ECC ( not too sure if this is using all 3 channels per CPU for better performance )
                          500GB SATA (7200RPM) Hard Disk Drive  ( not sure if i should Raid the Hard Disk, don't really know about Raid either)
                          For now, i will go for a single CPU first later may look into ugrading it into a Dual Processor Workstation in the future, as in the case of HP workstation, only the Z800 is able to configure with RDIMM / UDIMM which i found out that RDIMM is much better (if not mistaken), the Z400 / Z600 only supports UDIMM. As for Solid State Drive it's still abit pricey... so i'll go with two 500GB SATA HDD..
                          What do you think?
                          • 10. Re: Need Help on which to select - Xeon Processors

                            Hi Doc,


                            Come to think of it, if i were to add the second processor in the future, would it require me to reinstall all the programs or o/s ?

                            Thanks again....

                            • 11. Re: Need Help on which to select - Xeon Processors

                              No the OS will adjust to the extra processor & memory (you will need memory on the 2nd CPU also)


                              Since the second CPU get installed on a a CPU riser card in the Z800, you may want to check will DEL to make sure the riser either comes with the system or will be available in the future when your ready to upgrade. The model life on a workstation is about 2 to 3 years and these models are into the second year already. So in the next 1 to 2 years they will be replaced with the next greatest computer. (don't you love Moore's Law)


                              3 - 2G dimms would be installed 1 per channel which is the fastest.


                              To RAID or not to RAID, that is the question.

                              A 2 HDD RAID can be a stripped or a mirror.


                              A stripped RAID makes you HDD access faster since is writes one stripe to DISK 1 then 1 stripe to DISK 2, but if either drive develops a problem, you loose everything on both drives. The RAID also uses a little bit of HDD space so instead of 2 -500M = 1T you get more like 975G


                              A mirror RAID writes everything to both HDD.If one fails, the other can be use to recover everything. The RAID runs at the same basic speed as a single HDD and you only get just under 500G total disk space.


                              No RAID.


                              You can put the OS on 1 HDD and you work on the other. Then manually copy any important stuff you don't want to loose to the first drive or a DVD as a back-up.


                              SSD - They are nice, but still expensive and small. They make your system boot faster and diskl access time is much less, but....


                              I run a SSD in my laptop so that i don't have to worry about turning it off when I am moving it around. (Walking down a hall way with a regular drive in a laptop is the fastest way to crash the disk, short of dropping down the stairs) SSD don't have that problem -- No moving parts.


                              My workstations, desktops & servers all have regular HDD. The Servers have RAID and I back up my workstation and desktops to them.


                              RDIMM vs UDIMM as long as both are ECC it not a big deal in your system. Where the RDIMM starts shining is when you get 2 or more DIMMs per channel. RDIMM is the best choice.



                              Make sure you come back and tell us how you like the new system when you get it.

                              • 12. Re: Need Help on which to select - Xeon Processors

                                Thanks Doc, for all the help.  

                                Appreciate it!