14 Replies Latest reply on Jun 5, 2010 11:26 PM by Harm Millaard

    Possible advantage i7-860 vs. i7-930: 16GB memory vs. 12GB?

    J.Elliott8652 Level 1

      Folks,

       

      I'm agonizing over a new build for CS5. I have searched and read post after post, and am trying to avoid clogging up the board with redundant threads. I'm fairly new here and would like to do my part by utilizing prior posts first. Many thanks to Harm for his guides and others too.

       

      My question today doesn't seem to have been addressed, concerning the advantage of having 16 GB on the LGA-1156 platform to 12 GB on the LGA-1366. One can skip the intro and go straight to the red text if this post looks too long.

       

      At this point, I've given up the fight to hold onto my Phenom X4 system, especially as I have a Canon T2i that produces AVCHD files (thanks to all for the enlightenment on this issue). I realize too that other core programs in CS5 aren't accelerated as is PPRo with its MPE. Therefore, it only makes sense to make the jump to Intel for an editing rig at this time if I want to use my AVCHD clips straight-up without transcoding (which is something I may try for a bit before I sell my AMD rig). An AMD fan, or like myself a person with an AMD system, isn't likely to see the immediate situation change. Even the 6 core AMD 1090T isn't showing huge gains in the early benchmarks.

       

      I teach, and what put me onto AMD was the lower platform cost. Motherboard and DDR2 memory savings added up as I put four systems into my math classroom. An oddity of trying to hold onto my AMD setup for CS5 was realizing that I could max out my DDR2 motherboard with 16 GB of memory (4 slots x 4 GB per module) and fill up all the slots to get the dual-channel performance across all modules. It got me wondering if the advantage of more memory might make up for my slower CPU. I think now probably not, that I should still dump my Phenom X4 platform for Intel.

       

      The interesting thing is that this 16/12 GB memory consideration carries over to the LGA-1156 versus LGA-1366 platforms. It seems likely that if Harm can live with 12 GB and hit the top of the benchmark with it, then 12 GB sounds good enough for me. But still, it would be nice to have the additional 4 GB.

       

      Maybe there is a compromise that bridges the best of both worlds?

       

      The i7-860 uses motherboards that have 4 memory slots. Newegg has a G.Skill 16 GB DDR3 memory kit with 7-7-7-18 timings for $600 (good price, good timings). When bought as part of a combo, one can secure a decent SATA 6/USB 3.0 LGA-1156 motherboard for about $100. I like this approach a lot, as paying $200 for a motherboard just gripes me. (Which is likely stupid, as I tell myself that if I plan on using my CS5 Production Premium and my video equipment to their full abilities, I need to assemble a rig that isn't bottlenecked. Why get hung up on $300-$400 difference in platform costs when I've got thousands in the rest of the stuff?)

       

      On the otherhand, if one doesn't economize where possible the whole thing'll creep out-of-hand quickly....


      So, what say ye? Might one prefer a 16 GB i7-860 system to a 12 GB i7-930 rig, simply due to memory? Would one see a generalized difference either way? Does the i7-930 platform have an advantage over the i7-860 in some dimension that would overtake the additional memory? Or does Pr like memory so much that going from 12 to 16 GB will make a noticeable difference in program useability, as when scrubbing, such that any small loss in other areas pales by comparison? I could live with slightly longer rendering times, etc. if the extra memory would make the program more accessible. From what I read here-n-yon, going to 16 GB makes a difference. But what kind of difference? Game changing?


      I notice there aren't any i7-860's anywhere near the top of the PPBM chart, which gives me pause. Also, I know about the upgradeability of the X58 'boards to the Gulftown 6 core CPU's. But I'll worrry about that after I see how my first rig works - I shoot short clips at school and don't have to edit full length movies.

       

      Bottom line - would anyone here, if building a new rig, use the i7-860 over the i7-930 simply because the 860 uses a motherboard with 4 memory slots, thereby granting the advantage of 16 vs.12 GB memory? I'm not putting 24 GB into an x58 'board regardless, so the choice firms up pretty nicely. Slower platform at 16 GB opposed to faster platform with 12 GB memory.


      Does the nature of Premiere Pro and its needs answer the question, or does the answer fall to general editing issues like render times, etc? Does anyone have cause to think the extra 4 GB will make Pr hum along better in some important aspect?



        • 1. Re: Possible advantage i7-860 vs. i7-930: 16GB memory vs. 12GB?
          Harm Millaard Level 7

          Bottom line:

           

          X58 has 6 DIMM slots, P55 has only 4.

           

          X58 had 36 PCIe lanes, P 55 has only 16.

           

          When you are talking about 16 G on a P55 board, you ought to compare that to 24 G on a X58 board. Each slot with 4 G.

           

          Given the price difference on a total system, I would certainly advise X58 and not P55 mobo's. The price of 4 GB sticks is so high in comparison to 2 Gb sticks, that it is more economical to install 12 GB on a X58 than 16 on a P55 board. It will be difficult to see a performance increase to justify the price difference.

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Possible advantage i7-860 vs. i7-930: 16GB memory vs. 12GB?
            Bill Gehrke Adobe Community Professional & MVP

            I would say that if you are primarily interested in Premiere Pro performance as opposed to doing a lot of multitasking in the rest of the CS5 suites that you would be better off in the long run with less memory (talking 12 GB versus 16 GB) and more CPU, especially for future growth potential.  I just made a few runs of the future PPBM5 benchmark on CS4 (my CS5 will arrive next week) and I found essentially no benchmark difference between 6 GB and 12 GB.  Now you will have to put that in the proper context.  PPBM5 will is much more extensive in testing as it includes many of the newer HD formats and rather than downloading a 100 KB file you will have to download a 100+ MB.  Also hopefully you will not be multitasking when you run any benchmark so memory is not being used by other applications.  When you start using the dynamic linking built into CS 4/5 you definitely will be using more memory, but, if that is not a concern today than you could always easily address that problem later whereas the reverse (upgrading for instance to hex core next summer when there is supposed to be one and half the cost of the i7-980X) more than likely will require a new motherboard.

             

            Again, Harm beat me to it with a much simpler to the point suggestion

             

            Message was edited by: Bill Gehrke

            1 person found this helpful
            • 3. Re: Possible advantage i7-860 vs. i7-930: 16GB memory vs. 12GB?
              J.Elliott8652 Level 1

              Harm,

               

              Thank you for the quick reply.

               

              I can't afford 24 GB of memory, so I'm comparing the advantage of 16 GB on the P55 to 12GB on the X58, solely on the needs of the CS5 suite. And then, primarily under Premiere Pro.

               

              This computer will be built for editing only. I have an internet appliance for general needs. The only thing I care about is CS5 for this machine.

               

              My choice comes to the P55 or the X58 systems. With X58, we get better all-round specs. At my budget, with the P55 I'll get more memory.

               

              Perhaps the extra memory will provide general benefits when using CS5 that supercede other aspects?

              • 4. Re: Possible advantage i7-860 vs. i7-930: 16GB memory vs. 12GB?
                Harm Millaard Level 7

                4 GB sticks are around three times (or more) expensive than 2 GB sticks, so 12 GB with 6 sticks makes more sense than 4 very expensive sticks.

                • 5. Re: Possible advantage i7-860 vs. i7-930: 16GB memory vs. 12GB?
                  John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  No... I don't think so

                   

                  X58 and i7 has both a faster processer AND faster, triple channel DDR3 memory

                  • 6. Re: Possible advantage i7-860 vs. i7-930: 16GB memory vs. 12GB?
                    J.Elliott8652 Level 1

                    Ah, I think the answer to my post is firming up as I type. For the same money, it's X58/12GB or P55/16GB. I could get 12 GB (6 x 2) for about $350. With the savings, I could upgrade to the X58 platform. With X58, we have upgradeability and other goodies, and you two are saying that the extra memory will in no way make up for the weaker platform.

                     

                    Maybe I shouldn't post in the early morn. This seems elementary now, when taken from the equipment angle.

                     

                    Let me say this, though, on closing - I wonder if the benchmarks will provide the answer for a general useability question that entails multiple considerations? I've always used benchmarks for identifying specific performance deltas that indicate an area of genuine superiority, then rely upon daily users for answers to general ease of use under different equipment scenarios. Benchmarks and their makers are awesome, but equipment-centered tests can't always answer the question of what works best under usage. I hope I didn't offend anyone by saying this!

                     

                    The only reason for going P55 would be the extra memory available to scrubbing, dynamic link, etc. Perhaps taken on daily usage, those extra gigabytes of memory would sway one's opinion?

                    • 7. Re: Possible advantage i7-860 vs. i7-930: 16GB memory vs. 12GB?
                      J.Elliott8652 Level 1

                      Oddly, Anandtech's "bench" puts the 860 ahead of the 920 on most apps. I suspect the 930 will close the gap to about even-steven.

                      • 8. Re: Possible advantage i7-860 vs. i7-930: 16GB memory vs. 12GB?
                        John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                        I am also (just starting to) working with AVCHD, and what I built is listed in my notes at http://www.pacifier.com/~jtsmith/ADOBE.HTM

                         

                        So far (see http://forums.adobe.com/thread/652694?tstart=0 for more) things are going well... and I just finished a few more clips and am going back to PPro to do some more learning

                        • 9. Re: Possible advantage i7-860 vs. i7-930: 16GB memory vs. 12GB?
                          Harm Millaard Level 7

                          IMO the major advantage is not in dual or triple channel memory, they even out on most benchmark tests, but what differentiates these platforms is the number of PCIe lanes. A P55 mobo precludes the usage of a raid controller for the simple reason that the required PCIe lanes are lacking. On a X58 platform you have those lanes available for use.

                           

                          I have been pretty adamant that the new bottleneck with MPE is disk setup, CPU has improved, the video card has improved with the advent of MPE, so the new bottleneck in systems design is disk setup. and if you limit yourself by excluding the use of raid controllers due to the chip design on the mobo, you are not doing yourself a favor.

                           

                          It should not be a surprise that all the top-ranking PPBM4 Benchmark performers have (massive) raids.

                          • 10. Re: Possible advantage i7-860 vs. i7-930: 16GB memory vs. 12GB?
                            Bill Gehrke Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                            J.Elliott8652 wrote:

                            .

                             

                            Let me say this, though, on closing - I wonder if the benchmarks will provide the answer for a general useability question that entails multiple considerations? I've always used benchmarks for identifying specific performance deltas that indicate an area of genuine superiority, then rely upon daily users for answers to general ease of use under different equipment scenarios. Benchmarks and their makers are awesome, but equipment-centered tests can't always answer the question of what works best under usage. I hope I didn't offend anyone by saying this!

                             

                            No offense at all, but the idea behind my Premiere Pro Benchmark was to provide an application benchmark under this one specific application of ours that could quantify a disk intensive test and also a CPU intensive test.  I got tired of seeing these one sided tests that had no relevance to our Premiere processing or just at most tested encoding with no pubic version available or no real details supplied.

                            • 11. Re: Possible advantage i7-860 vs. i7-930: 16GB memory vs. 12GB?
                              J.Elliott8652 Level 1

                              Harm,

                               

                              Yes, I do recall that you have been pushing forward the need for RAID.

                               

                              OK, let's talk about that. I am interested in putting together a modest RAID seup. I am on the light end of the PPro user base, shooting short clips that don't need to be commercial quality in the least.

                               

                              Would RAID be of use for 5 minute clips? The one thing that put me into PPro, rather than something for the general public, was the possibilty of doing a lot of effects. My kids will respond to sizzle, I'm sure. So, even though the clips will be short and may even be shot in SD, I expect several layers going on.

                               

                              Do I need a RAID, and will it be sufficient to use motherboard RAID? I don't want to buy a controller. What would a 2-4 disk RAID 0 do for me using AVCHD clips of short length (does clip length even make a difference)? I read a post last night where you advised a fellow to bump up from 3 to 4 disks in his array. Is throughput between a 2, 3, or 4 disk important for short clips, or does this become necessary for heavy users?

                               

                              If I use Neosceen to convert to something more CPU digestible, does going to a RAID setup become even more important?

                               

                              I take it stutter-free playback is where the RAID becomes useful. Does an i7-930/X58 system crunch the data fast enough for a RAID to improve rendering, encoding, or transcoding times?

                              • 12. Re: Possible advantage i7-860 vs. i7-930: 16GB memory vs. 12GB?
                                Harm Millaard Level 7

                                Let's lean back and consider for a moment what kind of disk activities take place during a normal editing session:

                                 

                                1. OS access

                                2. Housekeeping tasks for loaded services and processes

                                3. Tenp file access

                                4. Page file access

                                 

                                and immediately forget about them because there is not much you can do about them, apart from reducing the number of services and processes, in other words tuning your system and increasing memory.

                                 

                                Now what remains during an editing session is:

                                 

                                5. Source material access

                                6. Access to indexed, conformed and peak files in the media cache

                                7. Access to the pointer files in the media cache database

                                8. Temp file access

                                9. Preview file access

                                10. PR files access

                                11. Plug-in file access

                                12. Service Manager access

                                13. QT service access

                                14. Dynamic Link access

                                15. etc.

                                 

                                And in the meantime Windows housekeeping is continuing. So the old saying that every modern day disk is fast enough for a stream of video, while by itself correct, may become incorrect if you have enough streams of video, with enough effects or transitions. The duration of the time line is not really relevant here.

                                 

                                There is no clear cut answer whether you need a raid, too much depends on your editing style and workflow. But in general, I advise against raid when you only have 3 or 4 disks (including the boot/OS disk) but advise in favor of raid when using 5 or more disks. Adobe Forums: To RAID or not to RAID, that is the...

                                 

                                With a limited number of disks available, raid0 is about the only option you have and mobo raid is more than enough. You don't need a hardware controller for that.

                                 

                                I suggest you try it out with your source material on your system without a raid. If you find you have problems with scrolling through  your timeline, fast moving of the CTI, then have a look at raid, if not, great, your system is fast enough for your purposes.

                                 

                                Just my $ 0.02

                                • 13. Re: Possible advantage i7-860 vs. i7-930: 16GB memory vs. 12GB?
                                  J.Elliott8652 Level 1

                                  Thank you, Harm. I feel you should be billing me by now....

                                   

                                  One last swipe before I log off this thread today. When looking at a RAID setup, one is trying to prevent a bottleneck in mainly:

                                   

                                  A) smooth playback

                                  B) encoding or rendering

                                  C) something else

                                  D) general system responsiveness

                                  • 14. Re: Possible advantage i7-860 vs. i7-930: 16GB memory vs. 12GB?
                                    Harm Millaard Level 7

                                    In all of these, with the exception of encoding, which is high CPU intensive.