Performance computing advice

Discussion in 'Overclocking & Hardware' started by soul, Nov 11, 2009.

  1. soul

    soul Member

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    Hi guys,

    I need to build some hardware to run some modelling software. Unfortunately the software is locked to a single core so I'm looking at what I can do to get better number crunching out of the various hardware I have, and possibly buy some new bits to improve things. Unfortunately I'm on a shoestring budget.

    Some advice would be much appreciated!

    My main modeling machine is an AMD Phenom 2 X4 920 on an AM2+ board with 4Gb of RAM. I am starting to push the (capacity) limits of the RAM, and I really need more grunt than this cpu gives at stock.

    I have an E6600 machine at home that I do occasional model work on also. I don't really have a good feel for the performance difference between these two machines, however gut feel is the AMD is solidly outperforming the E6600 (as I'd expect?)

    I was considering an upgrade to an i5 750 with a mild overclock, in which case I would probably recycle the AMD and dump the E6600 machine.

    Lately I have been thinking about whether considering an upgraded AMD cpu and maybe moving to an AM3 platform might have and how that compares with the i5 750. I hope to do a mild overclock on whichever to at least give me a bit more bang for buck.

    Does anyone have any suggestions on good upgrade paths? Bumpin RAM up might be a little useful but I suspect my modeling software will only run in 32bit mode? I will see a little bit of performance improvement with faster RAM but only in some preprocessing parts of the modelling work.

    Any suggestions would be great,

    Soul
     
  2. lionman

    lionman Member

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    Need more information... What is the program you are running?

    If you need more RAM then upgrade to 8GB and x64 OS. AFAIK almost all apps will run on x64 based system. I haven't had any issues yet.

    If you are on a shoestring budget upgrading to i5 probably wont be that cheap. Looking at at around $500 for the CPU/MOBO/RAM if you can replace your current 775 system, reusing the case/PSU/HDD. This will whoop the pants off current AMD offerings though.

    Depending on the app you use you might find better performance on a GPU optimised for 3D modelling (if that's what your referring to). Looking at the Nvidia Quadro range, but I'm not sure what level of card will compare to a mid range CPU.

    EDIT- or change your software to something multi-threaded
     
  3. OP
    OP
    soul

    soul Member

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    Thanks for the reply.

    Software is part of AspenTech's suite. It does not take advantage of multiple cores.

    Offloading number crunching to the GPU is not going to be available within the time frame of my work.

    I strongly suspect I'm stuck 32bits, if I have a 64 bit os perhaps I can access a full 4gb stack within the Aspen process but I'm really not sure. I will get a performance kick moving to DDR3 ram and onchip memory controller, there is a particular bottleneck within Aspen's software that this helps with, however its more a preprocessing thing, not part of the actual modeling work.

    My budget of $500ish for an i5 is about where I'm at, and yes reuse of existing case/psu etc. Looking just at motherboard ram and cpu switchouts.
     
  4. LostBenji

    LostBenji Member

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    Basically if your stuck with a app that is locked to single core/thread then what you want is pure speed out of a dual core clocked off it's guts.

    The E6600 will do 3.6 and more if done correctly and will do well without much more coins other than better cooling. The core i5 and i7 won't help much when focusing on multithreading more than pure single speed.

    A good place to aim is a E8500 or E8600 and OC the buggery out of them. 4.0+ GHz on air is not hard and then you have real speed. The trading posts sections have plenty of materials.
     
  5. OP
    OP
    soul

    soul Member

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    i actually have an 8500 or 8600 laying around... unfortunately i can't get it running on the mobo the e6600 is on. ive also had limited overclocking success with the e6600 although i haven't tried particularly hard and i have crappy ram
     
  6. OP
    OP
    soul

    soul Member

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    So after a little bit more digging around...

    I really need/want to replace the motherboard that my E6600 lives in. I think I am going to see some benefits of going to a DDR3 platform.

    The options I think I have right now are:

    A) Buy a DDR3 based board for the AMD 920 and overclock
    B) Buy a DDR3 based board for the E6600/E8500 and overclock
    C) Buy a i5 750 and overclock

    If I do go down option C, I will probably dump one of the AMD or E6600 rigs. Which would be better... the AMD 920 or a E6600/E8500 with mild overclock?
     
  7. the_pessimist

    the_pessimist Member

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    has someone forgotten? if you have a 32 bit application it is not going to take advantage of the ram.

    other then that i would suggest that you should get a high end dual core or wait until i3 comes out.(over clocking both).


    e6600 > AMD 920 for encoding/rendering work. just oc it.
     
  8. OP
    OP
    soul

    soul Member

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    I'll stick with 32bit OS and 4Gb. Faster RAM copy's will help some parts of my work, this is the main reason behind moving to DDR3 platform regardless.
     
  9. LostBenji

    LostBenji Member

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    A good P35/45 or X38/48 board will see the 8500/8600's scream. DDR-II already has enough speed to flood the bus so DDR-III is not needed.

    Limited budget, simple, get a board as above for DDR-II and fill it with 2 x 2GB sticks of 1066 with tight timings and then clock the 8600 up for 4.2Ghz and you still have some coins for a decent HSF. Fast and not wasting coinage.
     
  10. seasalt

    seasalt Member

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    The P45 is probably better than x48 - newer chipset, has more bios settings, can oc slightly further.

    Specifically GA-EP45-UD3P, but out of prod and current stock drying up.

    EP45 ddr3 boards don't get a good rap, new bioses neglected as newer chipsets get all the attention, at least ddr2 well sorted for p45 platform.
     
  11. Bold Eagle

    Bold Eagle Member

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    Have to agree the e8500 is gonna give better "bang for buck" for a single core app. Maybe get a decent HS for the CPU so you can squeeze a little more out of it.

    What is your current mobo? If it is a single threaded app are there high amounts of HDD activity? Maybe a SSD will help significantly? Is there anyway you can load the app directly onto the RAM to remove write times?

    DDR3 and I5 seems a waste of resources in your specific scenario.
     
  12. OP
    OP
    soul

    soul Member

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    Is there going to be much difference between the E6600 and the E8500 clock for clock?

    I have an aftermarket cooler right now. I'd only consider it mid range but it does fairly well (my original goal was quiet cooling not best cooling).

    I have the E6600 running @ 2.85Ghz at stock volts. I've never bothered pushing it harder than that.

    Current motherboard is an Abit Fatality IN9. The only "prob" with it is that I think I have blown the main audio channel. I'm stuck with the front pannel connectors... and I can hear a buzz from those. I guess I can always get a cheap audio card to not bother with this.

    Oh and the bracket that holds the CPU in seems to not play nice with the E8500 chip i have... I think it isn't getting good contact with the cooler so the temps are going wild.

    The app is not HDD intensive (at all). It does a lot of floating point math... and probably a lot of (wasteful) memory copies.

    I'll try and do some realworld benchmark runs and compare the two running systems I have right now.
     
  13. OP
    OP
    soul

    soul Member

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    While I'm at it... SiSoft Sandra (just as a pick a random benchmark tool) shows the AMD X4 920 pulling much higher ALU and FPU scores... is this just a multicore "artifact" ?
     
  14. OP
    OP
    soul

    soul Member

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    "Realworld" bench of the model im running ... around 1000 hours of simulated data...

    AMD 920 @ stock ~ 8m17s
    E6600@2.8Ghz ~ 4m40s
     
  15. the_pessimist

    the_pessimist Member

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    yes

    Isn't lower better?

    Yes clock for clock e8500 is better.


    i forgot to add that ive been running my brothers e6600 on a x38 for a while now @ 3.4ghz @ about 1.4v (dont know if goes lower i just set it and it work so i left it)
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2009
  16. OP
    OP
    soul

    soul Member

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    Yes lower is better. I was suprised by the results I was expecting it significantly the other way around.

    I think getting the 8500 chip i have up and running (its a mate's i'll have to fix him up for it) might be a good option. I think i can dig up a gigabyte ep-45-ds3 also :).

    I guess I am still curious as to how a clocked up i5 750 would compare. Im probably looking at ~300 bucks worth of hardware to get the E8500 system up and going... and I'm looking at about $460 for an i5 (new!).
     
  17. the_pessimist

    the_pessimist Member

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    i wasn't :)

    if push comes to shove you could always keep on the look out for a 2nd hand e8400. they clock to 3.8ghz with ease and can be had for about $130-160.

    if i was in you position i would wait a bit considering all the fuss about foxconn sockets(usually the cheaper boards). i would also say i dont recommend overclocking on low end boards for any system.

    if its 450 with a decent motherboard then go for it. you'll get an all round peeperformance increase.:thumbup:
     
  18. OP
    OP
    soul

    soul Member

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    fuss?

    for 450 im looking at an intel board... add maybe 10-20 bucks more and ill get a gigabyte.

    i found some super pi scores for i5 750.... 1M in about 15 secs. my e6600 here is getting around 20 secs. so if im core locked (which im pretty sure i am) i shoudl be looking at ~25% performance kick without overclock.... and over 60% at a guess from the actual amd 920 i use as the current daily machine
     
  19. LostBenji

    LostBenji Member

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    There are issues with the Foxconn sockets having poor pin/pad contact and giving high resisitance leading to Vdrop and burning of pads. Only really an issue when pushing very hard, definate serious stuff though.

    The E6600 Vs. E8500:
    Twice the cache, 65nM Vs. 45Nm and more efficient stepping.
    The E6600 won't match a E8400 let alone the 8500 and 8600.


    X38/X48 have more than enough to push the CPU and do anything a P45 can, just do it better with more headroom for expansion later.
    I am not talking about getting new hardware, definately hunt through the trading post or the likes of flEaBAY for a bargin.

    Lower is better with those benchies.

    The only reason to waste money on the i5/17's is for future work that allows for multi-threaded, multi-core work. Useless for anything of the older single or limited type software. When you do need to step up then GPU acceleration is better option as well. Your OP question was for the "NOW" issues at hand, not in 6 months.
     
  20. 3Tone

    3Tone (Banned or Deleted)

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    e6600 = 4mb cache
    e8500 = 6mb cache

    how is that twice?

    clock for clock the 45nm is about 10-15% faster than the Conroe in CERTAIN applications. Hardly noticeable. What does more efficient stepping mean?
     

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