Dual processor advice

Discussion in 'Asus' started by Tony Gilchrist, Aug 20, 2004.

  1. Hi;

    I am building / upgrading a 2-proc. box, and I need some advice. I like the
    asus line, and want to use it, but am not clear on which mobo I would be
    best off with. I need two processors, and it should be reasonably fast, but
    that's the only major criteria. I will use a seperate scsi card, so don't
    want the onboard scsi (or onboard anything extra, really). The system will
    be used for 3D animation and graphics dev.

    There seem to beseveral choices: (PCH-DL, PCH-DLW, PU-DL, maybe others?)




    I am wading through the specs, but if anyone has advice or suggestions, they
    would be welcome.

    Tony Gilchrist, Aug 20, 2004
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  2. Tony Gilchrist

    Leythos Guest

    I've built and installed more than a Dozen PC-DL Deluxe systems with
    3ghz Xeon CPU's and been very happy with them. We use the Promise SX6000
    IDE RAID5 Controller with 6x250GB IDE drives in a hot-swap config and
    get 1.3TB of space - then use Dual 250GB drives on the OS/logs
    partitions (database stuff).

    If you purchase this config you can do it all for under $5,000 with
    Windows 2003 Standard Server.

    If you want to make use of the Xeon CPU you are going to want to run XP
    Prof or even better, use Windows 2003 Standard Server. The Server
    version is better optimized to run with Xeon CPU's than XP Prof is.
    Leythos, Aug 20, 2004
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  3. Tony Gilchrist

    Paul Guest

    Take a look on forums.2cpu.com .

    There is mention of Xeon processors with FSB800. These could
    possibly give more memory bandwidth. The two boards mentioned
    are very recent (bleeding edge :) so buying these would make
    you an early adopter. (The PC-DL Leythos suggested, is a
    mature product, so less likely to create problems for you.
    Whether you would be interested in these, depends on how soon
    you need it to work.)


    A quick glance at the manual, shows NCCH-DL is ATX form factor,
    uses the same 875 Northbridge used by P4C800 boards, and uses
    ordinary unbuffered PC3200 (with ECC or without ECC, your choice).
    In a sense, it is like a P4C800 with two processors instead of one.
    The Southbridge is different, and I don't know anything about its
    track record. The NCCH-DL looks to be the successor to the PC-DL
    that Leythos mentioned, only supports FSB800, whereas PC-DL
    does FSB400 and FSB533 processors (officially). Note that although
    you stuff 4x1GB modules in it, you get to use only 3.2 to 3.5GB of
    the memory, due to the PCI/AGP needing some address space. And it
    takes an AGP 8X graphics card, so you can use the board for
    visualization as well as computing. (Play Doom3 on one processor,
    while the other one is grinding out some work. :)

    The NCT-D appears to be ATX form factor too. It is 12 x 9.8 inches.
    It can have up to 8 GB of registered ECC DDR2 memory (I wonder where
    you buy that ?). I expect the NCCH-DL might have the better memory
    bandwidth of the two, but you may have to wait for a review site
    to bench it to be sure. The NCT-D has a slot for PCI Express x16,
    for the successor to AGP video cards.

    If you look at Asus web sites, you might notice that the motherboard
    models listed, differ from site to site. Not all boards are sold
    in all markets (like model numbers for microATX boards for example,
    sometimes differ from one part of the world to another). This makes
    it difficult to see stuff like the two boards mentioned above.

    http://usa.asus.com/products/mb/mbindex.htm (6 boards listed)
    http://www.asus.com.tw/products/mb/mbindex.htm (26 boards listed)

    On the forums.2cpu.com, you may see some mention of Tyan boards
    as well. Tyan has some dual and quad Opteron boards, which are
    fun to look at, just for the sheer amount of stuff on the board.
    Note that some boards take video cards, while other boards are
    true server boards with ATI Rage XL build-in graphics only, which
    wouldn't be very practical for visualization. (Useful benchmarks
    comparing Xeon desktops to Opteron desktops are hard to find, so
    I have no idea which is a better fit for you.)

    (A Quad to drool over...)

    Things to watch out for - finding a chassis to house your purchase,
    finding the right power supply, with the connectors needed and
    power rating, and the all important cooling solution for the
    processor. I don't know if the FSB800 Xeons will need something
    special for cooling or not (as they are 90nm, expect a bit of
    extra heat). Failure to cool these properly, means they'll
    run in thermal throttle mode all the time, and they won't
    benchmark well as a result. Perhaps forums.2cpu.som will
    have some suggestions.

    The bottom of this page, lists the Xeons available for sale:

    Have fun,
    Paul, Aug 20, 2004
  4. Tony Gilchrist

    Tim Guest

    Tim, Aug 20, 2004
  5. Thanks to all (Leythos, Paul, Tim, anybody else whose reply has not yet made
    it to my news server) for the input! Maybe the PC-DL would e a safer
    route -- never pays to rush in... Anyway, all the help and links is greatly
    appreciated; I'll keep digging!

    Tony Gilchrist, Aug 20, 2004
  6. Tony Gilchrist

    Leythos Guest

    Not a problem - as a matter of fact, I have three PC-DL servers that
    were just delivered today. One of them has 9 drives and totals more than
    1.3TB of data space, and more than 200GB for the OS and Log files.

    I've found that these PC-DL Deluxe boards with fast memory and matching
    Xeon CPU's can outperform servers costing more than 4 times as much -
    Compaq, Dell, etc..

    The main difference between a PC-DL server board and the others is the
    lack of on-board SCSI.
    Leythos, Aug 20, 2004
  7. Tony Gilchrist

    Doug Ramage Guest

    I am using dual Xeons in a PC-DL mobo and Windows XP Pro. Is it worth
    upgrading to Windows 2003 Standard Server? My machine is only used as a
    work-station not a server.
    Doug Ramage, Aug 22, 2004
  8. Tony Gilchrist

    Rob Stow Guest

    XP Pro, W2K Pro, Linux, and NT Workstation will
    all do you just fine as a non-server OS.

    And the server versions are *not* better optimized
    for Xeons than the non-server versions. This is
    a myth that is ask-and-repudiated frequently in the
    MicroSoft newsgroups. Xeons are a common workstation
    CPU and MicroSoft coded the non-server versions
    of their OSes accordingly. MicroSoft is not about to
    reduce the performance of non-OS versions of Windows
    in any way that gives Linux yet another advantage.
    Rob Stow, Aug 22, 2004
  9. Tony Gilchrist

    Leythos Guest

    MS didn't reduce the performance, they check the CPU and enable specific
    features that are available depending on Xeon or not. The same is true
    for hyper-threading, there are optimizations that can better use it when
    the system detects it.
    Leythos, Aug 22, 2004
  10. But a Xeon is 100% identical to a Pentium 4, except it has a different
    socket, and it can operate in a dual system. Some (but not all!) also
    additionally have a L3 cache.

    Roland Scheidegger, Aug 22, 2004
  11. Tony Gilchrist

    MFHult Guest

    I have a PC-DL with dual 2.8 Xeons. ASUS makes no recommendation on their
    web site for 1GB or ECC memory but state that the MB can use them. And
    their response to my emailed question was that I should 'experiment' --
    not helpful.

    Any suggests for 1GB or ECC ( or fast/good/well-prices 512MB for that
    matter ) ?

    TIA ... Marc
    MFHult, Aug 23, 2004
  12. Tony Gilchrist

    Doug Ramage Guest

    I am using non ECC RAM, as I have several spare sticks, and it's cheaper.

    Current spec is 1.5 GB, comprising :

    2 x 512Mb KingMaxPC4000
    2 x 256Mb TwinMOS Pc3200

    Timings are 6,3,3,3 in dual channel mode. I shall be swapping the 256Mb
    sticks for either more 512Mb or 1Gb sticks.
    Doug Ramage, Aug 23, 2004
  13. Tony Gilchrist

    Leythos Guest

    I put 2GB of 4 x 512 generic memory in the board, didn't even bother
    with ECC. I just looked for www.crucial.com and select the PC2100 DDR (I
    think that was the speed, look in the user manual to be sure) and it all
    worked. Got the first one installed in Dec 2003 and it's been perfect.
    Leythos, Aug 23, 2004
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