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FORUMS General Gear Talk Computers 
Thread started 25 Feb 2018 (Sunday) 01:22
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Looking for a new workstation for photo and video editing...

 
butterfly2937
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Feb 25, 2018 01:22 |  #1

I have used Dell and Lenovo in the past. Does anyone have a company they have been happy dealing with? I have no desire to build it myself. Do you have any opinions about choosing dual Xeon processors or maybe an intel i9 instead. I want lots of internal drive bays and the ability to easily upgrade the system so I can get allot of years out of it. I looked at Boxx too but they seem so much more expensive than others for the same build.


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Feb 25, 2018 12:29 |  #2

My first reaction was "why would you want a Xeon?". Xeon is no faster than i7, they cost more, and there's less motherboard choice. Their advantage is they can use ECC RAM. I might actually consider a Xeon next time I refresh my system - which is a 2600K working just fine.

Rather than pay a lot of money for a system now I suggest you buy upper midrange now and save money for an upgrade later. Tends to give you better overall performance.

Sounds like you want a mini tower case, 16GB - 32GB RAM, an SSD for the OS and for your caches (I use two SSDs). Not sure which manufacturer is best, but I know the Dell website is incredibly difficult to navigate now so I tend not to bother.


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davesrose
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Feb 25, 2018 14:37 |  #3

Well dual or quad Xeon systems still offer more cores for intensive rendering tasks (I use them for 3D animation rendering). Besides Dell, HP, and Boxx....I’ve used a small company based in CA called Xi Computer. They do offer good prices on workstations (and sometimes I notice come out with newer Nvidia Quadro cards before Dell or HP). With my latest dual Xeon workstation, I built myself with parts from New Egg: but Xi seemed to have the most comparable price for a high end workstation. Xeon systems also tend to use server motherboards, and full sized towers. So you can easily fit quite a few swappable platter drives in RAID.


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tim
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Feb 25, 2018 15:08 |  #4

Xeon are really designed for high end workstations or servers. Not many people need more cores than a typical i7 / i9, and those that do probably have big enough budgets to just go to a decent vendor and order what they need.


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davesrose
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Feb 25, 2018 15:32 |  #5

Depends on application. As stated, for my needs with 3D animation, there is noticeable difference in rendering with multiple Xeon cores. Also like having RAID setup in my workstation (now have system disk as SSD and mirrored RAID for data). I built my workstation for around $6500, while Dell or HP equivalents were $8000. Xi seemed the cheapest for high end 3D workstations.

Now for video rendering software, I’ve noticed Adobe software is pretty good with GPU cores (3D animation software seems better optimized for processor cores). 3D software also displays better with with Quadro cards (so you are well served with a high end workstation). But for a video workstation with Adobe software, I’d say you can get good results if you want to save money with a 6+ core i7/i9 if that let’s you spend more money on video card.


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tim
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Feb 25, 2018 18:55 |  #6

davesrose wrote in post #18572098 (external link)
Depends on application. As stated, for my needs with 3D animation, there is noticeable difference in rendering with multiple Xeon cores. Also like having RAID setup in my workstation (now have system disk as SSD and mirrored RAID for data). I built my workstation for around $6500, while Dell or HP equivalents were $8000. Xi seemed the cheapest for high end 3D workstations.

Now for video rendering software, I’ve noticed Adobe software is pretty good with GPU cores (3D animation software seems better optimized for processor cores). 3D software also displays better with with Quadro cards (so you are well served with a high end workstation). But for a video workstation with Adobe software, I’d say you can get good results if you want to save money with a 6+ core i7/i9 if that let’s you spend more money on video card.

I'm not sure a high end video card is particularly helpful for photography stuff, and in my experience is limited for video editing. Depends on the software you use and how much of a hurry you're in


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davesrose
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Feb 25, 2018 21:01 as a reply to  @ tim's post |  #7

Well I've found video card does improve video rendering times with Adobe software...


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butterfly2937
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Feb 25, 2018 22:41 |  #8

The only real reason I a considering a Xeon versus i7 or i9 is really based on the configurations that are available from various companies. So far HP seems to be giving me the most for my dollars and in their Z6 or Z8 workstations I can only configure them with Xeon. From what I am reading Adobe Premier does not take advantage of multiple processors so the recommendation is higher clock speed and more cores. So far I think I like the Xeon 6132 with 14 cores. I am working with a salesman now that is willing to discount the price so it will beat any other system I can configure. We will see where that goes when I get his final quote. I hate setting up new machines so I need one that I can easily upgrade and also provides allot of storage space. I really like the Z8 workstation if I can get one at a good price. Unfortunately my former workstation died yesterday and so I will have Acronis do a restore once I get the new system. I guess it knew I was going to replace it! LOL I am thinking of getting 64G of RAM and using two SSD m.2 drives in RAID 0 for my boot drive. I can then just put the old data drives from my old workstation into the new one. If I could have used an Intel i9 I would have but that is not possible in these workstations. So far HP seems to be giving me the best deal. Does anyone have any experience with these workstations? How is HP support?


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davesrose
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Feb 25, 2018 23:04 as a reply to  @ butterfly2937's post |  #9

If you’re doing h.264 or h.265 encoding with Adobe Premiere/Media Encoder/After Effects, then those are encoders that take advantage of more cores (and OpenGL sees multiprocessors just as more cores).

If you want to shop around for an i7 workstation, then I would recommend Xi Computer: they offer i7/i9 workstations with Nvidia Quadro cards. I don’t have direct experience with the HP workstations you’re looking at, but I did have a mobile workstation from them. Their support seemed good. I do know film/FX houses use the workstations you are looking at, so they are well regarded. The only company I’ve had terrible experience from is Alienware.


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butterfly2937
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Feb 25, 2018 23:29 |  #10

davesrose wrote in post #18572331 (external link)
If you’re doing h.264 or h.265 encoding with Adobe Premiere/Media Encoder/After Effects, then those are encoders that take advantage of more cores (and OpenGL sees multiprocessors just as more cores).

If you want to shop around for an i7 workstation, then I would recommend Xi Computer: they offer i7/i9 workstations with Nvidia Quadro cards. I don’t have direct experience with the HP workstations you’re looking at, but I did have a mobile workstation from them. Their support seemed good. I do know film/FX houses use the workstations you are looking at, so they are well regarded. The only company I’ve had terrible experience from is Alienware.

So is it better to have 2 Intel® Xeon® Silver 4114 Processor (2.2 GHz, up to 3 GHz w/Turbo Boost, 13.75 MB cache, 2400MHz, 10 core) or one Intel® Xeon® Gold 6132 Processor (2.6 GHz, up to 3.7 GHz w/Turbo Boost, 19.25 MB cache, 2666MHz, 14 core)?


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Feb 26, 2018 00:15 |  #11

butterfly2937 wrote in post #18572325 (external link)
Unfortunately my former workstation died yesterday and so I will have Acronis do a restore once I get the new system.

I would install a fresh OS, they tend to be more reliable.


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butterfly2937
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Feb 26, 2018 07:10 |  #12

tim wrote in post #18572353 (external link)
I would install a fresh OS, they tend to be more reliable.

That was my original plan but I have no access to the old workstation and setup from scratch is going to take forever.


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davesrose
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Feb 26, 2018 08:43 as a reply to  @ butterfly2937's post |  #13

Comparing 2 Silver 4114s vs 1 Gold 6132 may be splitting hairs for Adobe software (20 physical cores vs more cache and frequency). If it were for 3D, I’d go for more cores, while Adobe software may have more diminishing returns. It also utilizes graphics card cores. If you’re ordering a system with the option of 2, you also have the option of having the one Gold 6142 now. Then later down the road, when the processor drops in price, you can buy another to add and upgrade.


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Feb 26, 2018 11:23 |  #14

Have you checked out companies like Studiocat or ADK pro video/audio? Both these guys have been in the industry for years and build great custom PCs. They even do custom laptops. When I got my last build from Studiocat it wasnt much more expensive than building it myself. And everything just worked. In fact the first issue I am having in five and a half years is a ram stick died. They also offer lifetime support. When I took into account the time I would have to spend researching parts, assembling it, testing components and installing software it was way cheaper than off the shelf or making it myself.


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tim
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Feb 26, 2018 12:37 |  #15

butterfly2937 wrote in post #18572467 (external link)
That was my original plan but I have no access to the old workstation and setup from scratch is going to take forever.

Installing the OS takes at most a couple of hours on modern hardware with a decent internet connection, including updates. Installing key software generally takes another hour or so. You can install a lot of basics in one go with Ninite (external link). Then it takes as long as it takes to tweak everything and set up as you like.

Yes, it does take time, but instead of a system that's been installed and patched 50 times you get only what you need, and it's more stable. Also, restoring to completely different hardware could be problematic in terms of drivers and windows activation, though I think both aren't too difficult.


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