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Core2Quad VS Xeon Quad Core vs i5/i7
Old 10th November 2009
  #1
Lives for gear
 

Core2Quad VS Xeon Quad Core vs i5/i7


Trying to understand Intel CPU's.

Are Xeon's their flagship series ?
So, for example, which of the following is more powerful:

INTEL CORE i5
750 2.66Ghz (8MB CACHE - 2.5 GT/s)

INTEL CORE i7
920 2.66Ghz (8MB CACHE - 4.8 GT/s)

INTEL CORE 2 QUAD Q9400 2.66Ghz (6MB CACHE - 1333Mhz FSB)

INTEL
XEON QUAD CORE X3330 2.66Ghz (6MB CACHE - 1333Mhz FSB)

INTEL
XEON QUAD CORE X3350 2.66Ghz (12MB CACHE - 1333Mhz FSB)

INTEL
XEON QUAD CORE W3520 2.66Ghz LGA 1366 (8MB CACHE -4.8GT/Sec)

So clocking is not the only factor as all of the above are 2.66ghz. What is the CACHE and what does the 4.8GT/s stand for ?

Thanks
Old 10th November 2009
  #2
Gear Guru
 
kafka's Avatar
Your CPU doesn't directly operate on the RAM, which cannot transfer data at CPU speeds. The CPU does all of it's operations on cache, and swaps those blocks of cache back and forth with RAM. Front-Side Bus speed is the speed at which the cache is transferred with RAM. The more cache you have, the less often you have to swap cache with RAM, and the faster your performance will be. How much depends on how memory-intensive your programs are.

Audio applications can be very memory-intensive - at least in terms of cache usage. Cache is probably a more significant performance limiter than CPU these days, at least with audio apps. You will probably get a greater performance increase by increasing cache amount and FSB speed than you would by increasing CPU speed. This of course depends on the app, but I'm generalizing based on typical audio needs.
Old 10th November 2009
  #3
Lives for gear
 

Then this should be really cool!

INTEL CORE 2 QUAD Q9550 2.83Ghz (12MB CACHE - 1333Mhz FSB) !!
Old 10th November 2009
  #4
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Altitude909's Avatar
 

Just looking at those numbers is absolutely usesless when trying to determine how "powerful" a processor is, they are a very small part of the equation. for example, my old P4 that is clocked a full Ghz FASTER than my Q6000 and is not even remotely more powerful. The I7 destroys everything right now due in very big part to architecture improvements. The memory bandwidth has improved greatly due to quickpath (notice no FSB on the newer chips) as well as other things which make give it a lot more oomph at a lower clock speed
Old 10th November 2009
  #5
Lives for gear
 

Wow, i'm learning so much today about PC's. In all honesty its much more confusing than the Mac world because of the available options.

So i7 is faster than Xeons even at the same clock speed ?
Old 10th November 2009
  #6
Lives for gear
 

you cannot compare GHZ unless comparing within the exact same series.

you have 5 platforms (4 really) and 3 gens of processors.

the 35xx series of Xeons are core i7 and are the same parts.

IE a 920 is a W3520, exact same product. this is the 3rd go round where intel has rebranded a desktop cpu into a Xeon without any difference whatsoever.

the 750 is technically a 920 without Hyper threading
however the platforms they go into are different

the 750 is a 1156 socket for P55 chipset (budget)
the 920 is 1366 socket for X58 chipset. the X58 is better.

the rest are too old and slow and of different architectures.

contrary to what intel would have you think there is no gain in using a Xeon.

now dual Xeons is a different story.

Scott
ADK
Old 10th November 2009
  #7
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Dysanfel's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcschild View Post
now dual Xeons is a different story.

Scott
ADK
Whats the advantage in dual Xeons over a single Xeon Scott? Besides the obvious core advantage.
Old 10th November 2009
  #8
Lives for gear
 

HI,

its 2 fold

1) the sheer power (assuming your software can use it) watching 16 cores is kinda cool

2) memory bandwidth is 50% more. think samples.

core i7 single 28MB/s
Dual Xeon i7 38MB/s

Scott
Old 10th November 2009
  #9
Lives for gear
 

I'm lost!!!
Old 11th November 2009
  #10
Lives for gear
 

lets make this easy for you
BUY a 920 system.

Scott
ADK
Old 11th November 2009
  #11
Lives for gear
 

That's what i thought too!! I'll get the 2.8Ghz i7 Quad!
Old 11th November 2009
  #12
Gear Head
 
sethh's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcschild View Post
lets make this easy for you
BUY a 920 system.

Scott
ADK
just wondering about one thing though, do the steppings and batches matter much?

i got a C0 stepping of the i7 920 (S-spec SLBCH; batch# 3847A666) and not the newer D0 ones...
Old 11th November 2009
  #13
Gear Addict
 
dub3000's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcschild View Post
HI,

its 2 fold

1) the sheer power (assuming your software can use it) watching 16 cores is kinda cool

2) memory bandwidth is 50% more. think samples.

core i7 single 28MB/s
Dual Xeon i7 38MB/s

Scott

you'd be burning a lot of that advantage with inter-cpu synchronisation though, wouldn't you?
Old 11th November 2009
  #14
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nyne View Post
That's what i thought too!! I'll get the 2.8Ghz i7 Quad!
thats an 860 not a true i7, well the platform is P55 vs X58. the cpu is an i7.

still a very nice system. i prefer the X 58

Scott
Old 11th November 2009
  #15
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sethh View Post
just wondering about one thing though, do the steppings and batches matter much?

i got a C0 stepping of the i7 920 (S-spec SLBCH; batch# 3847A666) and not the newer D0 ones...
stepping does not matter unless over clocking.
something i noticed lately (last few months) the voltages within the same stepping are drastically different whcih means INtel is binning and raising voltages just to get them to work.
OCing lately has not been the best of luck (1 out of 10 rather than 8 out of 10)

i wont push the envelop...
stability is a must.

Scott
Old 11th November 2009
  #16
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dub3000 View Post
you'd be burning a lot of that advantage with inter-cpu synchronisation though, wouldn't you?
a picture is worth a 1000 words.

Benchmarks for Pro Audio! .

while i have never seen dual give 2 times the power of a single. 50% more works for me!

Scott
ADK
Old 13th November 2009
  #17
Gear Guru
 
kafka's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by dub3000 View Post
you'd be burning a lot of that advantage with inter-cpu synchronisation though, wouldn't you?
There isn't that much. A thread executes only on a single core. The OS has to assign the thread to a core, whether it's one of two on a single chip, or one of eight spread across two chips. I have dual quad-core Clovertown Xeons. They're a few years old at this point, but they're not showing their age yet.

My main performance limiter now is hard drive throughput. If I could get my DAW onto 64-bit, I could load up on RAM and minimize how often I have to go to disk. That would be the single best improvement I could make.
Old 13th November 2009
  #18
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nyne View Post
I'm lost!!!
The *only* advantage buying a "Xeon" versus an i7 CPU is realised when (and if) you wish to eventually purchase a "Dual Quad Xeon" system...because you'll need 2 Xeon CPU's.

You cannot pair 2 i7's on a dual quad motherboard due to QPI link, and TDP measurements...but this is a moot point if you only need one, and if this is the case?

i7 920 (and if you must?) Overclock it to 2.93/3.2 rather easily....
Old 14th November 2009
  #19
Lives for gear
 

the Xeon X3440 has HT yet is priced pretty much same as the i5 which doesn't. So the Xeon has a big advantage of the consumer chip there (of course they just decide what they turn of and enable but you can't change that)
Old 14th November 2009
  #20
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcschild View Post
you cannot compare GHZ unless comparing within the exact same series.
the 35xx series of Xeons are core i7 and are the same parts.

IE a 920 is a W3520, exact same product. this is the 3rd go round where intel has rebranded a desktop cpu into a Xeon without any difference whatsoever
Arent the W3250 better binned? (better silicon material was used) although they are the same perfomance wise the better binning will allow for cooler temps and if your crazy enough to do it on DAW better overclocks.
Old 14th November 2009
  #21
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by peejuu View Post
Arent the W3250 better binned? (better silicon material was used) although they are the same perfomance wise the better binning will allow for cooler temps and if your crazy enough to do it on DAW better overclocks.
Downside they wont work on all 1366 MB's as of now the only one im certain it'll work on without a hefty price tag is the EVGA boards.
Old 14th November 2009
  #22
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Timur Born's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kafka View Post
Audio applications can be very memory-intensive - at least in terms of cache usage. Cache is probably a more significant performance limiter than CPU these days, at least with audio apps. You will probably get a greater performance increase by increasing cache amount and FSB speed than you would by increasing CPU speed. This of course depends on the app, but I'm generalizing based on typical audio needs.
Apart from the actual audio samples I don't think most audio algorithms use much memory. Most likely anything used for calculating audio effects and generation can fit into even small caches.

I suspect that only the samples have to be transfered back and forth from memory, but these usually come in such big numbers that any CPU cache wont hold them anyway (unless a repeated operation is done on single samples like sample based instruments).

So, yes a bigger cache surely helps, but no, I don't think it has as much of an impact as you suggest (a faster cache likely does though).
Old 14th November 2009
  #23
Gear Maniac
 

All super techy considerations aside, I just built an I7 for ultra low latency performance and it did not dissapoint. 32 samples is good enough for me as a musician and it is really worthwhile. Being able to mix with that kind of latency is so refreshing. It means controller moves are spot on (ever tried mixing with 1024 samples?) and last minute overdubs are in the pocket.
A nice step forward.
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