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View Full Version : Getting new workstation, DUAL XEON or DUAL G4?


ctaborda
Apr 24, 2003, 12:24 AM
Hi everyone this is really URGENT, please,
listen I need a new machine for MAYA work and for all my work, like after effects, bryce, photoshop, illustrator and like alot of video editing too..

(please note " its "NOT" for gaming, no games at all.)

Well I can get a macintosh
A DUAL 1.42ghz (2 meg of Kcache) and 2gb of RAM.
(its got a dvd burner, a 128 meg video card (ati 9700), a 120 gigabyte hard drive)
OR
a

DUAL XEON 2.66ghz (1meg of cache (both together)), and 1 gb of ram (regular 48x cdrom, 64meg video card)

WHAT WOULD YOU GET AND WHY?

Why MAC? Why Not PC?

Why PC? WHY NOT MAC?!

PLEASE!
Thanks!
Carlos.

ibookin'
Apr 24, 2003, 12:40 AM
For a workstation, you'll probably want a higher-end graphics card like an ATI Fire or similar, especially for 3D work.

The PC will probably give you more bang for your buck, but the Mac you've spec'd has more RAM and more cache, so you may get better preformance from that. I'd suggest running your applications on both machines or comparing benchmarks to make your final decision.

EDIT: Remembering video editing, keep in mind that the Mac will run Final Cut Pro or an Avid app (or Premiere, etc.), whereas the PC cannot run Final Cut Pro.

3G4N
Apr 24, 2003, 01:04 AM
I just put together my own dual Xeon box for about $3000. 2x 2.6ghz, a killer $600 mobo with up to 12GB ddr/ram (I have 2gb installed, with a max of 4gb under XP), 2x 36gb 10k scsi drives, a 120gb ata drive, combo dvd-cdrw, 1394, and a (sweet) Quadro4 for $350. The mobo has 5.1 sound, gigabit ethernet, etc....

It **completely dominates** the dual 1.2ghz PowerMac at work in AfterEffects, Maya, Combustion, etc... Get a the best video card you can afford if you are going to do any kind of 3d animation -- you will want the fluid freedom of motion -- 4x, 8x agp, 128mb. No pro 3d cards avail for the mac just yet, more aimed at 2d & gaming. Rendering times are at least 2wice as fast on the dual Xeon.

I still love OSX and my (newly bastard step) mac-children (dual 500 G4, etc), and will add to the fam when dual 970's come out (in a laptop!?). I live my mac life on an iBook now.

hugemullens
Apr 24, 2003, 01:24 AM
If you need it right away and can't wait for a 970, dual xeon all the way. I love my mac....but when time is money, a high end intel workstation wins.

benixau
Apr 24, 2003, 08:43 AM
:( :( :( :(
get ................. the xeon and make sure you add a quadro or something in there - you'll need it.
:( :( :( :(

Freg3000
Apr 24, 2003, 09:46 AM
Get the Xeon just because you wrote "MAC."

I don't understand it, what ever gave people the idea that you wrote Mac all in caps?

Besides that little point, get the Intel machine because, as others have already said, right now it beats the G4.

iJon
Apr 24, 2003, 10:21 AM
im gonna say pc. with all the stuff you are doing the pc will beat the mac in probably every field, sad but true.

iJon

FelixDerKater
Apr 24, 2003, 10:30 AM
The dual Xeon system will leave the dual G4 in the dust.

ctaborda
Apr 24, 2003, 10:42 AM
but, even though if the G4 has 2meg of cache per processor?, while the XEON has 512k cache per processor?

The cache is very important for speed and well everything..

or not?

Thanks!

firestarter
Apr 24, 2003, 10:48 AM
Which platform are you on at the moment?

That's some expensive software - and it would cost to swap over. If you're PC, then it might be most sensible to stay there for the time being.

If you're Mac - then get the Mac, and sell/upgrade to the 970 when that comes out (could be a little as 3 months away). The Mac may be a little slower compared to the PC in the meantime, but you will regret leaving the platform later in the year when Apple becomes speed competitive (and a Dual 1.42G 'aint that slow!)

Some of the tasks you're running are quite disk intensive. Throw a SCSI controller onto the Mac, and stripe onto a couple of 10000rpm SCSI disks, and you'll have pretty sweet performance - especially for the Photoshop/Video stuff.

Abstract
Apr 24, 2003, 10:53 AM
Yeah, or just get the Xeon because the Mac is outclassed. ;)

firestarter
Apr 24, 2003, 11:09 AM
I'm not too familiar with Maya - but I just checked out their web page.

It seems that the new version can offload the rendering work on to your video card hardware for much quicker results - as long as you have a compatible video card. Of course the compute intensive work would then not be dependant on your platform choice.

On the Mac, the only compatible video card for this is the GeForce 4 Ti

"The new Maya hardware renderer enables you to generate images ... for broadcast quality final output... hardware rendering up to 20 times faster than software... full support for off-screen, background, batch rendering"

http://www.aliaswavefront.com/en/products/maya/whatsnew/v5.0/pdf/newinmaya5.pdf

So if this works for you, forget about the Intel and stay with Apple.

jefhatfield
Apr 24, 2003, 11:59 AM
most of us know the capabilities of the g4s, and they have a proven track record

i am a pc tech and know the pc setups at the various colleges and many businesses

i still have not seen a xeon machine so i have no reference point of comparison

the jc here uses g4s, the 4 year college has g3s and p-IIIs, the 3 grad schools use p-III dells, and one school uses some sun machines with some very old chips in them...and the only local graphics house in town uses g3s and some 604e machines which are enough for the local ad accounts they get

the only xeon machines i have seen are in catalogs targeted to k-12 (future graphics people) and some of the chips come with a lot a cache, dual or single chip format, and several gigs of ram but those machines cost in the 10s of thousands sometimes...but still greatly discounted for the k-12 market

they better be good at that price and able to surpass the g4

iShater
Apr 24, 2003, 12:55 PM
As one of the previous posters asked, what platform are you on right now? is all your software for the Mac? or Windows?

3G4N
Apr 24, 2003, 01:29 PM
Originally posted by stirefarter
I'm not too familiar with Maya - but I just checked out their web page.


I am familair with Maya. Go with the Xeons. You can get a faster system for the same money. I built a better system for $800 less than apple store's "Ultimate" config -- same ram, same ata hd, add 2x 10krpm scsi drives, better video card (dual head), only fw400 (gee). I could have added a superdrive and still come in under budget.

Don't mean to start any fires... but,
Did I mention twice the clock rate?
And fairly rock-solid.

The only thing that would hold me back on this decision would beif I already made a heavy investment in mac software.

I love my macs, but anything but the simplest of tasks in Maya sucks on a mac.

I think you can see the consensus on this, a mac, forum.

patrick0brien
Apr 24, 2003, 01:46 PM
-ctaborda

About the video aspect:
I'm a member of Chicago Final Cut Pro Users Group, and we just had our meeting last night. Where we saw the upcoming FCP4 and DVD Studio Pro 2.

It comes down to this: If you want to do video, real, broadcast quality stuff, do the Mac with FCP4 and DVDSP2. Avid can't touch them now.

Absolutely stunning stuff, unreal.

Another angle: if you want to match the performance and quality of FCP4 and DVDSP2 in the realm of WinTel, you'd be talking $15,000 for the edit suite plus $14,000 for the DVD suite.

Not to mention the Text capabilties of FCP4. Used to be India Text, a $700 text suite all by itself.

Then there's the incorporation of Logic audio controls for multitrack input.

My advice on the original question: Get a couple of wintel nodes for rendering Maya and create a mini render farm.

You don't need the full dual 1.4 G4 for the Video, but it helps.

Mix them up, set up renders from the Mac and use it as the head of your studio, send them to your render farm, and edit with the Mac.

They can share the RAID (Level 3 if you can)

waynepixel
Apr 24, 2003, 01:55 PM
I would get the DUAL XEON if time is money for you.

Don not get me wrong I love Mac. But when it comes to a DUAL XEON The G4 is just not as fast.

Please when will we get new hardware from Apple.
:confused:

jefhatfield
Apr 24, 2003, 03:18 PM
just out of curiosity, how many of you have used a dual xeon system?

or

how about a silicon graphics workstation, lower end one, like the 02?

like i mentioned the most powerful computers in my area in schools or businesses are g4s or pentium 4s for single users doing graphics or business

as for gaming, i have heard of some crazy-a$$ systems some gamers, with unlimited money, have built...even some gamers without unlimited money will forgoe food, hygiene, and dating life (if any) to scrape up at least five grand (many times much more) and build some crazy gaming machine

i have a gaming friend who has a ten thousand dollar screen alone and one can literally get motion sickness using that system...it cost another few thousand to find the right brackets and wall to install the darn thing (there are also other extras since he has his cs degree and worked in the flat lcd screen and plasma screen industry in silicon valley)...his double inheritance also helped:p

iJon
Apr 24, 2003, 03:23 PM
Originally posted by ctaborda
but, even though if the G4 has 2meg of cache per processor?, while the XEON has 512k cache per processor?

The cache is very important for speed and well everything..

or not?

Thanks!
i think the extra 1ghz on each processor will gladly make up for the 2mb cache. oh yeah, did mention system bus.

iJon

jefhatfield
Apr 24, 2003, 03:36 PM
Originally posted by iJon
i think the extra 1ghz on each processor will gladly make up for the 2mb cache. oh yeah, did mention system bus.

iJon

where does it say the xeons have only 512k level 2 cache?

hugemullens
Apr 24, 2003, 03:54 PM
I've used a xeon system for I-DEAS modeling at school. Amazing what it can do. Most of the computers are Suns, and they can't compare to what a dual xeon can do. I belive it was a dual 2 ghz, i honestly don't know though.

Cubeboy
Apr 24, 2003, 04:07 PM
If you can't wait for a PPC970 system, I'd recommend the dual xeon system, basicly, it leaves any Powermac in the dusts. This really isn't as bad as it seems, a dual 2.4 ghz Xeon system trounces fully equipped 3.06 ghz P4 desktops, in most of the programs aforementioned, we're talking a speed increase between 33% to 50%. A dual 2.66 ghz Xeon, with it's faster bus and clock, will be significantly faster.

A dual 1.25 ghz powermac running Final Cut Pro is about even with a single 3.06 ghz P4 running AfterEffects and is easily outperformed by a single 3.06 ghz P4 system running Combustion. A dual 2.66 ghz Xeon running either AfterEffects or Combustion will leave both systems in the dust. Results of a dual 1.42 ghz powermac will be similar-there will be a significant performance gap between it and the Xeon system.

Another problem is the video card. The GF4 or Radeon 9700 video card are already a full generation behind the ones found PC desktops, they just aren't going to match up very well with the professional video cards such as the Nvidia's Quadro 2000FX or the ATI's FireGl X1 used by PC workstations. The Quadro FX is based off the GeforceFX, already a generation ahead of the GF4, similarly, the FireGL X1 is based off the Radeon 9800. Beyond being already outclassed by professional video cards, the video cards being used by powermacs are also obsolete.

I don't really think the current Powermacs are meant to be compared against full-fledged workstations, maybe when the PPC970 comes out but not now.

shawnjackson
Apr 24, 2003, 04:56 PM
hell... I would go with a 2 x 2.8ghz xeon that came out... at ~450 a CPU you could build a sweeeeeet system for no more then 2600...

patrick0brien
Apr 24, 2003, 05:08 PM
Originally posted by Cubeboy
I don't really think the current Powermacs are meant to be compared against full-fledged workstations, maybe when the PPC970 comes out but not now.

-Cubeboy

Interesting points, and I'm rarely one to argue, but you can quote all the specs you wish, it still dosent change the facts that a dual 1.4 is the best at professional postproduction price/performance wise.

Caveat: "outperform" is a bit of a misnomer and I'm trying to understand how it applies to this. All but 12 effects in FCP4 render in real-time. (on a dual 1.4) How can you outperform real-time? Does a dual Xeon render before you even apply the effect? Are tachyons involved? :D (making jokes here, not a smack)

Don't kill the messenger here, I've seen it myself, and am trying to understand your post.

Cubeboy
Apr 24, 2003, 08:29 PM
Originally posted by patrick0brien
-Cubeboy

Interesting points, and I'm rarely one to argue, but you can quote all the specs you wish, it still dosent change the facts that a dual 1.4 is the best at professional postproduction price/performance wise.

Caveat: "outperform" is a bit of a misnomer and I'm trying to understand how it applies to this. All but 12 effects in FCP4 render in real-time. (on a dual 1.4) How can you outperform real-time? Does a dual Xeon render before you even apply the effect? Are tachyons involved? :D (making jokes here, not a smack)

Don't kill the messenger here, I've seen it myself, and am trying to understand your post.

You see, that's the problem Patrick, I'm not so sure that a dual 1.4 offers the best price/performance. A dual 1.42 powermac costs anywhere between 2700 and 3800 dollars, FCP4 adds another $1000 or so to that so we're talking 3700 to 4800 dollars for the complete package. For around 2400 dollars, I can get a dual Xeon 2.4 ghz system with 512 mb Dual Channel PC266 DDR (532 mhz), ATI FireGL graphics card, and 36 GB Ultra320 SCSI hd. Combustion would cost an extra 1000 dollars so the total price we're paying is 3400 dollars. For 400 dollars more, you can get a dual 2.66 Xeon workstation. For 1400 dollars less (or 1000 dollars less for the dual 2.66 Xeon), I can buy a solid Xeon workstation that will leave the Powermac in the dusts in nearly every program.

Also, 'outperform' applies to to wide variety of effects and source material, such as video files, Illustrator files and bitmap graphics used by testers to measure system performance in digital video. These things do take time to get done and some of them take alot of time. These files are also similar to those are commonly used by video editors so increased performance is clearly visible.

Personally, I still prefer powermacs, Jaguar is unmatched and a powermac is more than fast enough for my needs. However, if your livelihood depends on your computer and workflow, and you can't wait for the PPC970, than I suggest you take a look at all your courses of action before you make your move.

jefhatfield
Apr 24, 2003, 09:07 PM
i didn't realize that you could buy dual xeons in a system that cheap...very different than the catalog prices i have seen for heavily configured boxes

but the dual xeon system you are talking about has extremely low RAM, so that could be a major factor in price

i think the xeon could take up to 8 GB of RAM per processor...and i wouldn't see needing that much unless i did heavy, heavy 3D graphics, heavy scientific calculations, or extreme gaming

ktlx
Apr 24, 2003, 09:27 PM
Originally posted by jefhatfield
but the dual xeon system you are talking about has extremely low RAM, so that could be a major factor in price

It will not change things that much. A matched pair of 512MB DDR266 ECC CAS2 DIMMs (to support the dual channels) is going to cost less than $300. That would bring the total system memory to 1.5GB.

3G4N
Apr 24, 2003, 09:42 PM
Originally posted by ktlx
It will not change things that much. A matched pair of 512MB DDR266 ECC CAS2 DIMMs (to support the dual channels) is going to cost less than $300. That would bring the total system memory to 1.5GB.

512MB DDR266 registered ECC
$80 ea. $320 for 2gb.

3G4N
Apr 24, 2003, 09:51 PM
Originally posted by patrick0brien
-Cubeboy
All but 12 effects in FCP4 render in real-time. (on a dual 1.4) How can you outperform real-time? Does a dual Xeon render before you even apply the effect? Are tachyons involved? :D (making jokes here, not a smack)


no tachyons. no tokamaks.
no reality distortion fields : )

render a 5 minute movie in 3 minutes. voi'la! faster than real-time! And they
said it couldn't be done. bah!
you just get to watch it in real-time.
whatever keeps up with your creative flow, and your fingers.

iJon
Apr 24, 2003, 09:54 PM
i believe he is right, from my final cut training class knowledge a couple of years ago. fcp just shows you the real time. then at the end it renders it, so it just depends if you wanna do it know or later.

iJon

patrick0brien
Apr 24, 2003, 10:51 PM
-iJon

FCP4 render it so fast that by the time you apply the filter, you can watch it. No waiting. Truly real-time. Renders faster than the scrubber.

The same it true for the LiveType text generator.

And FCP include Cinema Tools as well as Soundtrack and Compressor.

Aaah, I'm starting to sound like a commercial - I'm done, you guys can make your decisions for yourselves. :) Please go check it out, and if have a FCPug go to that! It's worth knowing the facts you seek. It might change your mind like it did mine.

iJon
Apr 24, 2003, 11:07 PM
Originally posted by patrick0brien
-iJon

FCP4 render it so fast that by the time you apply the filter, you can watch it. No waiting. Truly real-time. Renders faster than the scrubber.

The same it true for the LiveType text generator.

And FCP include Cinema Tools as well as Soundtrack and Compressor.

Aaah. Please go check it out if you can. It's worth it, it might change your mind like it did mine.
like i said, i think.lol. im not final cut expert. thanks for clearing it up.

iJon

Cubeboy
Apr 25, 2003, 11:44 AM
Originally posted by jefhatfield
i didn't realize that you could buy dual xeons in a system that cheap...very different than the catalog prices i have seen for heavily configured boxes

but the dual xeon system you are talking about has extremely low RAM, so that could be a major factor in price

i think the xeon could take up to 8 GB of RAM per processor...and i wouldn't see needing that much unless i did heavy, heavy 3D graphics, heavy scientific calculations, or extreme gaming

More memory can always be added without changing the price to much. Of course, I wouldn't really say that 512 mb RAM is extremely low, after all, the only Powermac to have more than 512 mb is the ultimate configuration which costs $3800. The next fastest configuration, the $2700 Powemac has 512 mb ram, and the last two configurations both have 256 mb ram.

i_wolf
Apr 25, 2003, 08:47 PM
I bearfeats and digitalvideoediting did some tests comparing the single 3.06 P4 to the dual 1.25 Powermacs for digital editing and digital content creation. In pretty much every test the single 3.06 wiped the floor with the dual powermac by significant amounts. No amount of my personal mac bias can ignore the fact that the mac didn't even touch the hyperthreaded P4. In fact in a lot of tests the 3.06 P4 was nearly 200% faster. Incidentally this was on the older i850 motherboard..... there are even faster motherboards and memory interfaces since then... the dual channel granite bay would have given the P4 another boost in that test..... now intel have released an 800fsb Springdale/Canterwood motherboard that would give the P4 an additional 20% boost to its scores.
Bear this in mind before I mention that the Xeon workstation used in that review was pretty much out of date. It was using the old 400fsb Xeons. Intel recently upgraded their Xeon line to give them a brand spanking new dual channel motherboard like the single processor equivalents called Placer. Furthermore Intel released the Xeons on a faster front side bus (fsb) at 533 and improved their hyperthreading technology (all C1 stepping Xeons feature the improved hyperthreading tech)... what all this boils down to is a hell of a lot more processing power than the mac. I reckon a dual 2.8Xeon with Hyperthreading enabled on the recent Placer motherboard would be more than 4 times faster than the mac on Maya. I own Maya on the Pc and have used the Mac version... it isn't anywhere in the same ball park.

jefhatfield
Apr 28, 2003, 04:28 PM
Originally posted by Cubeboy
More memory can always be added without changing the price to much. Of course, I wouldn't really say that 512 mb RAM is extremely low, after all, the only Powermac to have more than 512 mb is the ultimate configuration which costs $3800. The next fastest configuration, the $2700 Powemac has 512 mb ram, and the last two configurations both have 256 mb ram.

why is it on like products or similarily priced computers, it is always the wintel world which offers the higher amount of RAM, and often faster RAM??

to get people to switch is harder now than ever