2 Replies Latest reply on Mar 11, 2010 11:10 AM by Bill Gehrke

    Intel 960 vs dual Xeon E5520 for AVCHD editing


      Like many people on this forum I am trying to determine the best hardware to purchase for my use of Premiere Pro. For the last several years I have been using Liquid Edition but decided to move over to Premiere because of its support for AVCHD editing.


      I have narrowed my system choice between a single processor i7-960 and a dual processor xeon E5520. From the PPBM4 benchmarks it appears that a 960 system is sligthly ahead of the xeon system which surprises me. However, the results does vary based on task. An added benefit is that the 960 system is cheaper to build. On the other hand, Adobe seems to recommend a dual processor system for HD editing.


      My question is which system is better at AVCHD editing? For the tasks that you routinely do in Premiere which configuration would better suit me?


      Thanks for any help.

        • 1. Re: Intel 960 vs dual Xeon E5520 for AVCHD editing
          Harm Millaard Level 7

          There are a number of things to consider:


          1. Price/performance

          2. Number of CPU's and cores

          3. Clock speed

          4. Memory slots

          5. Overclock ability


          What are the factors in favor of the i7-960 in comparison to dual E5520:


          1. Price/performance

          3. Clock speed

          5. Overclock ability


          so that means that dual E5520 have in in their favor:


          2. Double CPU's and double the number of cores

          4. Twice the memory slots (12 or even 18 versus 6)


          When looking at the PPBM results, the i7-960 @ 3.2 performs around equal to dual E5520 @ 2.26. So effectively double the cores and lower the clock speed gives around the same performance. However, overclocking can have a significant impact as you see in the top results and that is where dual Xeons have a problem. Servertype mobo's are very difficult to overclock if at all (the same applies to Dell XPS BTW, because of their crippled BIOS). But the servertype mobo's have double or triple the memory slots of an X58 mobo and with CS5 around the corner, that may be a distinct advantage, because you can at reasonable prices go for 24 or even 36 GB memory.


          However you remain limited to the standard clock speed and E5520 are not very fast. On the other hand if you were to build the system yourself, you could get an i7-930 at half the price of a i7-960 and overclock it to let's say 3.6 and it will be faster than both a single i7-960 and a dual E5520 at stock speeds.


          Unfortunately, there are no tests specifically for AVCHD (there may be in the future for CS5) so a definite answer can not be given to your question, but keep in mind that all the top scores were achieved with raid configurations, so that is an aspect that should not be forgotten.


          My advise: Depending on your budget, calculate between 30 - 50% of your budget for disks and raid controller. That will probably limit your choices.


          If you have indefinite means available, I would go for dual W5590 or the new Gulftown hexacores, at least 24 GB RAM and an Areca 1880iX-24 with 24 Seagate Cheetah 15K.7 600 GB disks in raid30 and 4 SSD's in raid10 for boot disk. Add a nice nVidia card and a Tesla C2000 co-processor and you are equipped for the next coming years.

          • 2. Re: Intel 960 vs dual Xeon E5520 for AVCHD editing
            Bill Gehrke Adobe Community Professional & MVP

            My recent i7-920 overclocking CPU intensive (MPEG encoding) results from PPBM4.CPU-vs-MPEG.jpg


            P. S. I am not happy with the disk performance (even with or without my Areca controller) of this P6T7 WS Supercomputer board.