Building a "Bitsa"


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I am embarking on building another "Bitsa" and have a pretty basic question. Is there any point in going for a quad CPU motherboard as opposed to a dual CPU version. This going to be a standalone system, not a server. The CPU I propose to use is the AMD Opteron and all "quad" boards for that CPU require the 8000 series, which are inordinately expensive, and I hate wasting money. Would I be just as well off using a dual CPU board, for which I could use the less expensive 200 series?

The PC would be used for some pretty intensive media graphics work and I get the feeling that if I'm going to spend mega money I would be better off spending it on top spec graphics card(s) than on CPUs that the software may not use.

Advice from anyone who has gone this route and/or been involved in work with servers would be appreciated.

Best Regards

Tony Norton
 
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Adywebb

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If you are going to use this as a standalone system, as opposed to a server - is there any reason you can't use a regular P35 board together with a Quad CPU such as an Intel Q6600?

That would be fine for intensive graphics work - and you would then have the money for a top-spec graphics card.

I run a Dual-Quad Intel Xeon system using a Supermicro 5000X server board - and something like that would indeed be expensive, and I suspect overkill for your needs.
 
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Thanks for your response Adywebb,

I take it, from other stuff I have read, that the system would "see" a quad core processor as 4 CPUs. Question then is, how many cores, or CPUs, can a piece of software use at once? If not more than one, is there any point in having more CPUs/cores than the number of programs you would run at one time?

If you are using multiple CPUs/cores does the second piece of software started automatically use an unused CPU/core, or does it 'share' with the first until that CPU/core is working at 100% and only then go for the second one?

Thanks for your help.

Tony Norton
 
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Further question

Is the AMD Opteron 252 only single core, or was there a dual-core version. The AMD website is somewhat unwieldy and geared towards promoting the latest products, so the info is difficult to find.

TIA

Tony N
 

Ian

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The Q6600 is actually two dual core CPU's in one processor. Each of the "quad's" can run a thread at any one time, so if you have a multithreaded application it may run much faster on a quad core system. Of course in reality, there are multiple applications running many different things at any one time so a dual/quad core system is considerable faster than a single core CPU.

I would wholeheartedly recommend Ady's suggestion of a Q6600 and P35 board. I took this route on his recommendation and I'm incredibly impressed with the speed. For the sort of software you sound like you will be running, quad core is the way to go. If you overclock the Q6600 to 3.0Ghz you will get a bargain of a CPU - I did this and it runs cool, stable and on stock voltages.

As far as I can tell the 252 is single core: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opteron
 
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Adywebb

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Tony Norton said:
Thanks for your response Adywebb,

I take it, from other stuff I have read, that the system would "see" a quad core processor as 4 CPUs. Question then is, how many cores, or CPUs, can a piece of software use at once? If not more than one, is there any point in having more CPUs/cores than the number of programs you would run at one time?

If you are using multiple CPUs/cores does the second piece of software started automatically use an unused CPU/core, or does it 'share' with the first until that CPU/core is working at 100% and only then go for the second one?

Thanks for your help.

Tony Norton
This depends on the software application being used - if it is coded to execute in separate threads then it will do, and hence use as many cores available as there are threads.

As far as I'm aware any second, third applications etc running will use any unused core first - if all are already in use then it will start to share.

Multi-core processors are definitely the way to go for intensive media graphics work, as even if the application is only single threaded, it can use 100% of one of the cores without interruption and still leave 3 further cores for other use.
 
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