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View Full Version : Building a new machine. Which CPU?


Gulliver
05-28-2008, 10:26 AM
Hi again chaps,

Many thanks for the recent help over hard drives (see previous post). I now find that the Intel E6850 Dual Core I wanted is rather hard to get at the moment. In reviews it comes up really well but I'd much rather hear from people who have had experience of this or similar CPUs for DAW purposes.

The intended motherboard is an Intel x 38 and it will run 8G of RAM.
I don't mind going a little higher up the ladder if anyone has a suggestion for an alternative, but I'd really appreciate a bit of help in the minefield. Thanks again.

Pietro
05-28-2008, 03:57 PM
Given that most of current sequencers can take advantage of multicore cpu's , why don't you get Intel Q6600 for the same money?

- Piotr

paulwr
05-28-2008, 07:19 PM
My cpu meter dropped down to 1/2 or less when I upgraded my DAW computer to the Q6600. I think it is still the best value processor out there right now. (P4 D-955 dual core overclocked to 3.7 is what I had before the upgrade)

-Paul

persentio
05-28-2008, 11:02 PM
Hi Gulliver,

I have an X38 MOBO myself and using the Q6600. Great performance. I have yet to see my CPU meters hit more than 50% in a session.

BillyD1953
05-29-2008, 12:17 PM
You may want to leave room for future expansion. You can purchase affordable quad core Xeon processors and compatible 771 socket motherboards (usually described as server motherboards) which allow very large amounts of RAM to be used and RAM is very important for virtual instrument performance. Vista Ultimate allows full use of 64-bit RAM addressing. DDR2 667 MHz RAM sticks are quite affordable and you could exapnd your memory now or in the future, if you start with the right motherboard.

Daryl
05-29-2008, 12:32 PM
It all depends on how much money you want to spend, and how soon you want to replace the machine. Currently you could build a Q6600 machine with 8GB RAM for around £400. The server boards and CPUs are much more expensive, so it might be better to wait until you need something like that before taking that route.

D

paulwr
05-29-2008, 02:53 PM
It all depends on how much money you want to spend, and how soon you want to replace the machine. Currently you could build a Q6600 machine with 8GB RAM for around £400. The server boards and CPUs are much more expensive, so it might be better to wait until you need something like that before taking that route.

D

Yes, and they are tricky to build. Just getting the correct case for the MOBO can be an issue. If you go that route, be prepared to do a lot more research so you don't waste money on unusable parts.

-Paul

action9000
05-29-2008, 08:28 PM
The E6850 is a very nice dual-core. I have one in my workstation and it's been nothing short of amazing! The Q6600, while also a nice chip will suffer in applications that don't effectively use multithreading, when compared to the E6850. Unfortunately, the Q6600, not being a *true quad core* will lose up to 20% (I believe) efficiency, cycle for cycle, when compared to a dual-core. This, combined with the slower clock speed (2.4 GHz vs. 3.0GHz on the E6850) makes your choice of DAW a primary concern.

If you're using FL Studio, I'd recommend the E6850 over the Q6600, mainly because of FL's limited multithreading ability. Some users will say otherwise, but especially at very low latencies in FL, multithreading can suffer. The additional clock speed will do you better. If you'll be using many apps that aren't multithreading, the faster clock speed on the dual-core will be nice, too.

A lot of people are saying nothing but good things about the Q6600. I've never used one so any information I have here is purely theoretical and may not be 100% creditable. I have had much success with the E6850. I plan to upgrade to a quad-core when higher clock speeds (aka. 3.0GHz) become available at a reasonable cost.

If you want the best of both worlds now, check out the Quad core Q9450 or the Core2Extreme quad cores. The Q9450 (2.66GHz, 12MB cache) is typically around $380/$400 and the Core2 Extreme Q9650 3.00GHz Quad Core sits at the high end, at about $1150.

Gulliver
05-31-2008, 04:27 AM
Thanks for the replies. Can we talk more about futureproofing ... what motherboard would I be looking at if I wanted to have more than 8G of Ram? Would such a motherboard fit inside the usual size case or is it a separate piece of kit?

BillyD1953
05-31-2008, 11:00 AM
Tyan has some nice dual socket 771 motherboards that can accomodate a lot of DDR2 RAM, some of them up to 128GB--some at 32GB max or 64GB max.
This allows you future exandability of your RAM, also the dual sockets allow you to expand to 2 processors if you like. These boards will accept up to two quad core Xeon processors, which are quite affordable. Fast sample drives are extremely important too. I'd go with Raptors, either the 150GB or the new 300GB Velociraptor.
I'm personally thinking of going with this sort of setup for a machine I'm going to build in the near future for EWQL Pianos.

http://www.tyan.com/tech/product_matrix.aspx

Gulliver
05-31-2008, 12:58 PM
Thanks for those last few messages. Now I'm thinking that I've got to have that bigger motherboard. Meanwhile can anyone give me an rough idea of how many EW instruments you could be running on 8G of Ram? - that's using Sonar 7 and Vista. I know it's a tricky one to answer but I need to get an idea of how big I am aiming.

Jeremy
06-07-2008, 04:51 AM
Gulliver, if the E6850 tickles your fancy, perhaps you should look toward the E8500. Same 1333 FSB, but with 6MB cache instead of 4, .16 GHz faster, AND $10 cheaper (on TigerDirect).

V o n h ö g e n
06-07-2008, 07:24 AM
Gulliver, although I would probably choose an Intel CPU myself if I had to buy one now, you should really check out the new AMD QuadCore's. AMD has solved a serious 'addressing' issue which slowed down their multi-core CPUs, and they seem to be back in business now.

The AMD Phenom X4 Quad 9750 ("Agena") is almost as good as the Intel Q6600, but has the advantage that it works great on some very nice and cheap mobo's which can hold up to 16GB DDR2 RAM. For example, check out the GigaByte MA78GM-S2H, it even has HDMI-out!

- Jerome Vonhögen