5 Replies Latest reply on Aug 21, 2009 2:46 AM by Mylenium

    Dual Quad Core? Dual (2) Dual Core?

    showentx Level 1

      I am looking at upgrading our main production system.  I have a maximum budget of $3000 and want to get the most bang for my buck.  I am having a hard time deciding on the processor though.

       

      Currently I have CS2 on a Pentium D 2.8 Ghz with 2GB of RAM.  It functions fine for Photoshop, very slowly in After Effects and very very slowly when encoding in Premiere or Encore. That said, I am upgrading because I need speed for encoding processes and rendering in After Effects as well as being able to see work in the preview panes.  I will also be using it for some DCI output (big files - 8-10 GB) in 1998x1080 or 2048x1556.

       

      That said, I will be upgrading to a 64 bit system and a minimum of 6 MB of RAM. I am considering 2 Dual Core E5502 or 2 Quad core E5504.  I have been trying to research in the forums as to which processor these apps will make the best use of without overspending.  Any thoughts or experiences are much appreciated.

        • 1. Re: Dual Quad Core? Dual (2) Dual Core?
          Andrew Yoole MVP & Adobe Community Professional

          Personally, I'd still recommend raw CPU speed over extra cores, particularly for your encoding requirements.  A system with 4 x 3Ghz cores will get more encoding work done than 8 x 2.5Ghz cores.  But that's not an all-encompassing assessment; the latter may render faster in After Effects.  My personal suggestions to you are:

           

          High CPU speed is important.

          Lots of RAM for multicore systems, at least 2GB per core:  4 core system needs 8GB, 8 core system needs 16GB.

          Upgrade CS2 to CS4 for better utilization of multicore hardware

          • 2. Re: Dual Quad Core? Dual (2) Dual Core?
            Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

            I have been trying to research in the forums as to which processor these apps will make the best use of without overspending.

            Well, with only 6GB of RAM and no plans on upgrading your software, neither of that is particularly relevant. I know this sounds harsh, but buying a 64bit system and not upgrading to CS4 is literally like chopping off your own foot. All of CS2's/ AE7's functions are nowhere near as optimized to take advantage of multicore processors as some of CS4's stuff is. Even if you don't use DynamicLink and other fancies, you would still massively benefit from multithreaded encoding and timeline renders. That said, if you go that route, on a dual core 8GB to 12GB are closer to the truth and on a quad core, 16 to 24GB. If, for some unconceivable reason, you do not want to upgrade your software, the only true answer is getting a dual core and then the fastest one, but still more than a meagre 6GB of RAM so you don't have to change/ upgrade your hardware yet again, if and when you decide to upgrade your software...

             

            Mylenium

            • 3. Re: Dual Quad Core? Dual (2) Dual Core?
              showentx Level 1

              Great - thank you for the info - this is incredibly helpful.  I thought my intention to upgrade to 6GB of RAM was pretty ambitious - apparently not.  Better to learn now.  Also, I was pretty sold on upgrading to CS4 - sorry I didn't mention that. Although - I understand that it is not a 64 bit app?  Is this correct.  Will this effect performance?

               

              More importantly, in looking at the price on the higher GHZ processors, I am now wondering if I should consider a Single Dual Core or a Single Quad core.  Does CS4 take advantage of the Dual processors?

               

              Finally,  I have seen people discussing the i7 as well.  Should I also be considering it or sticking with the Intel Xeon?

              • 4. Re: Dual Quad Core? Dual (2) Dual Core?
                Andrew Yoole MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                AE is not yet 64 bit, but runs better in Windows and Apple 64-bit enviroments than otherwise.  Presumably, CS5 will move to 64 bit.

                 

                AE will utilize every processor core you offer it (if you have the RAM to support them) but this is only relevant during previewing and rendering.  While you're actually designing you are typically only using the one processor core, which is why CPU speed is still relevant.

                 

                I don't know much about the i7, sorry, but Xeon processors are certainly tried and true.

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                • 5. Re: Dual Quad Core? Dual (2) Dual Core?
                  Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

                  More importantly, in looking at the price on the higher GHZ processors, I am now wondering if I should consider a Single Dual Core or a Single Quad core.  Does CS4 take advantage of the Dual processors?

                   

                  As Andrew said, this depends on what the bulk of your workflow is. If interactive performance is important, dual cores offer a better per-core efficiency for non-multithreaded operations. Now that nerd speak in reality means, that effects and functions, that are not able to use more than 2 threads (cores, respectively) will not benefit from a quad core. However, for CS4 that would not be that many, as most processing intensive functions and effects (e.g. Fractal noise) have been optimized beyond that. It is certainly true for many third-party effects such as e.g. Trapcode Particular 2, Digieffects Freeform, most of RevisionFX' tools etc.. Those will always try to max out resource usage. So, assuming you upgrade to CS4 and in the same vein upgrade your plug-ins, you would see a definite performance boost, no matter whether it's a dual or quad core. The benefits would only go to waste if you really stick with CS2/ AE7 and older versions of the plug-ins. Also be aware, that e.g. Premiere has introduced dynamic background rendering of timeline segments and nested timelines in CS4, which will further speed up existing workflows and make the best of the available hardware. All of that should of course always be measured with sufficient memory available on the system - fast processors can't do their work, if they are stuck with not enough memory to store their processing results. So the balance is important, for multiprocessing, anyhow. For final rendering, in most cases a dual core and a quad core will be on par. Some projects will render faster on one type, others will be faster on another. One of the most critical factors here, which people often forget, is file I/O, i.e. how quickly files can be read and written. In theory a quad core shoudl always be faster with multiprocessing, but since there are 2 processes more to feed with source files and also 2 processes more try to write their results, harddrive performance becomes a big part of the equation. On the other hand, if only stuff is used that is generated artifically inside the program, of course a quad takes the lead...

                   

                  Finally,  I have seen people discussing the i7 as well.  Should I also be considering it or sticking with the Intel Xeon?

                   

                  That also depends on some of the above considerations. The nice thing about Core7i (or soon also Core5i) processors is, that they are dynamically managed and in a way can be both in terms of their performance behavior - a good "dual core" but also a quad core. I'm quite happy with mine here at home and the performance easily beats my 2.5 year old dual Xeon workstation at work, not just in AE, but also in my 3D programs. I dare say that for most tasks it is more than adequate and should our company survive the current crisis, I'll probably have my boss get Core7i's instead of true Xeons so the new workstation doesn't become excessively expensive. Of course on paper a dual Nehalem Xeon Mac Pro or something comparable sounds nice, but for my personal needs it would be over the top. Would be more of a geek toy than really add production value except for the times when you need to render a 5000 frame 3D animation between breakfast and lunch, of course...

                   

                  Mylenium

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