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Building a New XP System

I'm putting together a new PC and debating whether to get a dual core Athlon.  This system won't be used much for gaming.  It's primary purpose will be video and audio encoding.  In particular I do a lot of audio transcoding of ape>flac, flac>wav, wav>flac, wav>mp3, wav>ogg, etc., etc. and would like to assemble the fastest possible machine for the task that I can afford.

The machine will have XP Pro installed, 2GB ram, a 10kRPM Raptor for the system drive.

I'd like to know whether anyone has any thoughts as to the benefits of a dual core system.  I realize that probably none of the encoder/decoders that I run can take advantage of the multiple CPUs, but I need to be able to use the machine without noticing much if any degradation during the transcoding process.  My current P4 3.0 Northwood with 1GB of ram gets fairly swamped during most large encoding/decoding tasks.

Also, thoughts and advice on the benefits of larger L2 CPU caches (say 1MB vs. 512kB), and thoughts on optimizing the hard disk subsystem for extensive large file processing operations are more than welcome.

Building a New XP System

Reply #1
Quote
I'm putting together a new PC and debating whether to get a dual core Athlon.  This system won't be used much for gaming.  It's primary purpose will be video and audio encoding.  In particular I do a lot of audio transcoding of ape>flac, flac>wav, wav>flac, wav>mp3, wav>ogg, etc., etc. and would like to assemble the fastest possible machine for the task that I can afford.

The machine will have XP Pro installed, 2GB ram, a 10kRPM Raptor for the system drive.

I'd like to know whether anyone has any thoughts as to the benefits of a dual core system.  I realize that probably none of the encoder/decoders that I run can take advantage of the multiple CPUs, but I need to be able to use the machine without noticing much if any degradation during the transcoding process.  My current P4 3.0 Northwood with 1GB of ram gets fairly swamped during most large encoding/decoding tasks.

Also, thoughts and advice on the benefits of larger L2 CPU caches (say 1MB vs. 512kB), and thoughts on optimizing the hard disk subsystem for extensive large file processing operations are more than welcome.
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Did this get moved?

Building a New XP System

Reply #2
Yes. This has nothing to do with the "CD Hardware/Software" section, where you originally started this thread.

Building a New XP System

Reply #3
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Yes. This has nothing to do with the "CD Hardware/Software" section, where you originally started this thread.
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Is this the best forum for a question regarding optimizing a computer system for the purpose of audio encoding and decoding?

If so, then I guess I've wasted my time by posting to totally the wrong web site.  I thought that HydrogenAudio would be the best place to ask the opinion of the many users who are performing exactly the same task with their systems.

Building a New XP System

Reply #4
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CD Hardware/Software
Discussion about CD-ROM/-r/-rw/DVD-hardware, copying, burning and ripping of CD-media, etc. How to use ripping software like EAC and CDex.


The Off-Topic forum is still a part of HA, and the perfect place for this thread.

Building a New XP System

Reply #5
Dual-core system is certainly a good idea. You'll probably benefit more in video stuff, but it will be useful in audio too. I'm not aware of audio encoders that take adventage of dual-core, but for example fb2k has some support for it, and you can always launch 2 encoding batches at once. Getting 2 Raptors for RAID, or just one serving as source drive and the other one as destination, would be a great thing too. As for cache size, audio processing is usually done in relatively small portions, so you won't get much from big caches, but again it will be helpful in video processing. I also think that you don't need that much RAM, unless you process the same files (which fit in RAM) over and over, then it can serve as file buffer.
If you have money to spend, dual-core is the way to go IMO.

Building a New XP System

Reply #6
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Dual-core system is certainly a good idea. You'll probably benefit more in video stuff, but it will be useful in audio too. I'm not aware of audio encoders that take adventage of dual-core, but for example fb2k has some support for it, and you can always launch 2 encoding batches at once. Getting 2 Raptors for RAID, or just one serving as source drive and the other one as destination, would be a great thing too. As for cache size, audio processing is usually done in relatively small portions, so you won't get much from big caches, but again it will be helpful in video processing. I also think that you don't need that much RAM, unless you process the same files (which fit in RAM) over and over, then it can serve as file buffer.
If you have money to spend, dual-core is the way to go IMO.
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If your budget is tight and you don't plan on upgrading for awhile consider an AMD Athlon 64 (venice) 3200+

They overclock from the 2000mhz stock, to 2800-3000mhz, 24/7 100% CPU Load.

The saved money will allow you to buy a WD RaptorX 150gb Sata 10,000rpm Hard drive which would probably benefit you more, Or maybe some soundcard/speakers upgrade.. I dunno.

You'd have to spend a HELL of a lot of money on a dual core setup to get the same amount of single-core app usage on a severly high clocked A64 Single.

Building a New XP System

Reply #7
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You'd have to spend a HELL of a lot of money on a dual core setup to get the same amount of single-core app usage on a severly high clocked A64 Single.
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I have no plans to do any overclocking of the CPU.  Of course, spending a comparable amount on a single core CPU at a higher clock speed is the other option.  My thinking with the dual core is that almost no matter what I do, a big file-processing operation is going to max out the CPU unless I can throttle it.  Differences in CPU speeds just dictate whether that peak will be last (say) 60 seconds or 30 seconds.  I'm hoping the second core means that I can perform other tasks during this time period with minimal slowdown.

For drive space, beside the 10k RPM Raptor as system disk, I'm debating the possiblity of a pair of 7200 RPM, 8MB cache (I already have a pair of 200MB Western Digital SATA drives) in RAID 0 for working space, or the possibility of picking up a small 15k RPM SCSI drive on eBay.  I figure a 36GB working drive will be more than enough.  I also have several terrabytes of storage space on a file server on my network, so I don't need much on my workstation.

Building a New XP System

Reply #8
I had no plans of overclocking either, the reason I suggested it, is because the venice amd64's are worldly known for their ability to overclock with the same temp and life duration as if they were at stock speeds. I have a 3000+ 1800mhz running at 2700mhz and its been perfect and liquid smooth since I got it, just so you know there is no dangers or disadvantages to running this way. I mean, my 3000+ which was 150$ effectivly  runs at the speed of a 4000+ (even faster).
   
I am not sure but i always thought dual  core would allow for one cpu to be fully utilized whilist the other was given the task of maintaining system smoothness for other apps, processes, etc. I belive that is how it is programmed. I do breathtaking amounts of multitasking that would make most computers die...yet my single core 2700mhz a64 does everything so awesome that I have no desire to fulfill any possible need of dual core, in fact, I will probably use this cpu until the quad cores and better multithreading (vista) comes around.

If you want a logn term system go with the best you can buy.. but if your buying a 4000+ or something the only advantage it has towards an overclocked 3000+ of the same model and stepping, is the extra 512k cache. Something to think about if you wanna pick up quad core a year ish from now.

as far as storage goes it sounds like you have it covered, and belive me, a 36gb wd raptor is well beyond suited for an OS drive + programs and games.

I run a 36gb model of it myself, coupled with a seagate 200gb, 300gb, and 400gb all sata.

If your all about encoding etc, if i recall I think intel has always had an edge in tha tdepartment but  I havnt looked into how well the a64 compares. Id assume if it  were running in a 64bit enviro it would be a bit faster... who knows.

I like my a64 very much but if your into hardcore encoding and 3 seconds makes a big diff go for the fastest intel money can buy
tha twill cost you an arm and a leg
or you can buy a a64 top end single core for half the price with almost the same encode times. Your gonna want the highest mhz possisble, as well as the fastest lowest latency memory possible - I think rite now, thats the most benefit you can have with the lack of dual thread encoding being used in today s programs.

eitehr way I think dual core should logically run like this

CPU #1 is assigned a process which maintains 100% usage
CPU #2 takes over other processes, but does not assist running CPU1's math at all.

I guess this would mean you could encode and decode at the same time while downloading from 60 different ip address's, as well as listening to lossless music and still have smooth windows preformance (but I can do that anyway single core)... i dunno, if its not programmed to operate this way then whoever has designed the way 2 cpus are utaliozed shoul be sentenced to 3d rendering on a 486 for all eternity

maybe you'd be best off with a pair of seinheiser hd650's and a cheap  headphone amp isnted of a dual core cpu  (if you dont already have, they are great for work and h ome... can hear phoine rign and people talk, makes work more enjo yable in a cubacle office setting.

Building a New XP System

Reply #9
I just got an X2 4200+ (it should have been a 4400+, but they sent the wrong one so I have to send it back now  ) and I'm absolutely convinced that dual-core is the way to go.  I just compiled Firefox while playing CounterStrike Source... let's see a single-core do that!

Building a New XP System

Reply #10
Multithreaded XviD - official thread:
http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?t=107783

which x2 is the most cost/effective right now?
PANIC: CPU 1: Cache Error (unrecoverable - dcache data) Eframe = 0x90000000208cf3b8
NOTICE - cpu 0 didn't dump TLB, may be hung

 

Building a New XP System

Reply #11
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Multithreaded XviD - official thread:
http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?t=107783

which x2 is the most cost/effective right now?
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The X2 3800+ currently has the best price/performance and also the lowest power consumption/performance of the X2 range (see [a href="http://www.lostcircuits.com/cpu/amd_x2-3800+/calwsec.gif]this graph[/url], Manchester 2000 is X2 3800+).

 
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