AMD, or Intel?

Time to upgrade again. Anyone running AMD with Solidworks anymore? Otherwise recommend a Core 2 ASUS P5 motherboard, or equivalent.
(Gigabit/Biostar?)
ca
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Go with an Intel Core i7 cpu if you want the best SW performance.
Cheers,
Anna
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Anna has done alot of work testing different set ups and CPU's. Odds are well in her favor that she is correct and you should do what she says.
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KMaren wrote:

I dunno. The top end i7 costs $1,000 at NewEgg. The top end AMD Phenom costs $229. The only benchmark that showed the top end i7 doubling the performance of the Phenom was in ray tracing. If you don't go with the fastest i7 the difference with the significantly less expensive Phenom is also less making the price/performance gain less attractive. By going with the less expensive upgrade you can plan to to retire the new system sooner when even faster chips come out in the future. Given that the top end i7 will be surpassed in a year or less the decision might be as much about cost as performance, especially with SW improving performance every year.
http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i512&p=4
Looks like Intel might be getting ready to throw a curve at SW.
http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/intel/showdoc.aspx?i513
They are going to integrate graphics and CPU effectively cutting out NVidia and every other graphics chip maker.
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I'll look at Annas site.
So back to the question. Is anyone running AMD Phenoms & SW? I am remarkably happy with an AMD dinosaur, but it is time to start over again. A 3x increase will be easy to accomplish.
manager wrote:

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Clay,
I have one person who has submitted results for an AMD Phenom system. It is for the Scooby-Doo surface model. It is well down the list for Crtl-Q rebuild performance of this particular model. All of the benchmarks are pretty consistent in their results, so I would expect the Phenom to perform the same in relation to the other cpu's on all the Ctrl-Q rebuild tests.
http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=pz7wTpIkC7LAuGJ0evMeWQw
Cheers,
Anna

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anna, thank you Looks like SW2009 is a shade faster than SW2008.
It would be nice to know what actual motherboard the top Core 2 duo machines had. (Dell & Xi)
You can also see that SW doesn't really take advantage of more than 2 cores. The higher speed top machines probably perform better due to the increased ram speed more than anything else.
Also really interesting to see the low cost, lower speed Dell XPS neck and neck with the top picks, even with the slower ram. Must be the FX3500 that pushed it to the top.
All the programing geeks (That use SW too) tell me that SW doesn't really take advantage of 64bit OS, so it is curious that the 64 bit OS is on all the top machines.....hhmmm....be interesting to see the exact same machine with OS comparison. (Not exactly a fun task)
ca
Anna Wood wrote:

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Anna Wood wrote:

Strangely the Phenom comes out just a tad bit faster than the other AMD, an FX60 chip which is quite old. I would think the Phenom would be considerably faster than a CPU that is at least 3yrs old which suggests that settings or setup are playing a part.
The comparison with the i7 is also with different graphics cards and the Scooby benchmark is heavy on graphics. Even so the FX570 is an entry level card. When comparing CPUs it is better to use a benchmark that is independent of the graphics card used. Typically when doing a graphics intensive benchmark there needs to be a standard set of options and screen resolutions.
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The Phenom that is listed is a 2.3 GHz part. It is a first generation Phenom X4. It performs about the same as a first-generation Core2 Duo running at 2.4GHz. The new Phenom II processors are supposed to be more competitive clock-for-clock and are available with up to 3.0 GHz clock speed. While not at the same performance level of the Core i7, the Phenom II *may* be competitive alternatives to the Core2 Unfortunately, there really aren't any published SolidWorks benchmarks to prove it out one way or the other.
If absolute top peformance is the goal, then the Core i7 is the only real choice. If price/performance is important to you, then the top end Core2 Duo 8500/8600/8700 are safe buys. The Core2 Quad Q9550 is a good choice for animators/analysts on a tight budget, too.
Also, the Scooby-Doo model is a surface model and does benefit *a little bit* from quad cores. (There is a greater delta in performance between the Core i7/quad Xeons and Core2 Duo processors on the Scooby- Doo benchmark than on the Punchholder benchmark.) Rendering and analyis apps DO benefit from quad cores.
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snipped-for-privacy@symsolutions.com wrote:

If absolute performance is the goal then wait a bit because Intel is going to speed up their CPU again shortly. For the price of the top end bleeding edge i7 CPU alone you can buy 2 1/2 AMD Phenom II x4 Deneb CPUs with motherboard.
To look at it another way, if you are building a balanced system and don't have infinite resources you take the $800 difference in CPU plus motherboard price for the i7 and put it into a better graphics card than you would normally purchase or buy more ram or both. The difference in speed between the top end Phenom and the top end i7 is nowhere near 2x to 3x needed to justify paying top dollar.
I hope Anna can dig up some benchmark results comparing the top end AMD chips to the top end Intel chips because from a price/performance standpoint the AMD appears to be on top. Unless somebody can show that having the bleeding edge fastest chip will provide a tangible time savings in real world performance (read: how much work can be done in a day).
Spec doesn't have any published results for SW since SW2007 took over the benchmarking. In addition I was unable to find any current AMD scores there. There is a distinct lack of competition.
One way to tell how much a fast CPU will help in day to day activities is to look at the CPU time used by the SolidWorks process in Task Manager. What you do is look at this number and compare it to how much real time has passed during a period of heavy SW use. For example, if you are using SW heavily for 2 hours and Task Manager says you have used 1/2 to 1 hour of CPU time you are probably limited by the CPU speed. If in the same 2 hours you have used 15minutes of CPU then you are probably not limited by CPU speed.
=====================================Current pricing from Google search =====================================Price of a top end AMD processor: AMD Phenom II X4 quad core 940 3.0ghz black ...    $236.50 - EWorldSale.com NewEgg: AMD Phenom II X4 940 3.0GHz Quad-Core Processor $260 shipped
CPU and mobo combo AMD Phenom II 940 3.0GHz Motherboad Combo (Asus M4A78 PRO) $384.20
=====================================================================Price of a top end i7 Intel Core i7 3.2 GHz Processor    $980 to $1,464 - 123 stores mobo runs around $300
Memory DD3 6Gb $250.
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I would be happy to add benchmark results to my Google spreaadsheets for current AMD Phenom II systems. If anyone has an AMD system run the benchmarks and send me the results.
Cheers,
Anna www.solidmuse.com
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I would agree that the Core i7 is somewhat overpriced and hard to justify for most users - at least at this time. A better comparison to the Phenom II would be the Core2 series, and here the pricing is very close.
Core2 Quad Q9650 3.0 GHz $324 Core2 Duo E8600 3.3 GHz $264
The Phenom II 3.0 GHz *might* offer comparable performance, but the Core2 has *proven* to be a terrific CPU for SolidWorks.
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snipped-for-privacy@symsolutions.com wrote:

Please be clear, I am not saying the Phenom II x4 is faster. What I am saying is that the majority of people wouldn't notice the difference in a days work and so it wouldn't make sense to spend all the extra money on the Intel item. Unless you are seeing more than 25% of your time waiting on the cpu the 1.5x speed increase of an i7 probably isn't worth it because it will only buy you 5-10 minutes a day.
Both the i7 and the Core2 are overpriced when it comes to performance. At the price differential we see Paul Salvador's 2x-3x speed increase recommendation is in play. As the quotes show below, it isn't just the cpu price, but the cpu + mobo + memory = system price that is important.
While you may cast aspersions on AMD running SW reliably, we have heard that one before. There is just nothing to justify that anymore than saying the i7 cannot run SW reliably. AMD historically has had a very good (*proven*) track record with SW.
Anandtech covered the performance price aspect:
http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i492

i7-920 a 40% more expensive purchase. For the difference in platform cost you could purchase a faster graphics card, bigger hard drive, or even put money towards an SSD. Core i7's total cost of ownership keeps it from being Phenom II's direct competition; instead Phenom II is really competing with Intel's 45nm Core 2 Quad processors.> Architecturally, Phenom II is what the original Phenom should have been. It's not cache starved, and while not as balanced as Core i7, it's a step in the right direction.

pick. While it's not faster across the board, more often than not the 940 is equal to or faster than the Q9400. If Intel can drop the price of the Core 2 Quad Q9550 to the same price as the Phenom II X4 940 then the recommendation goes back to Intel. The Q9550 is generally faster than the 940, more overclockable at lower voltages, and a high enough default clock speed to keep you happy in the long run.

comparison at the same price point. Compared to the Q9400, the Phenom II X4 920 falls behind. The Q9400 is the better buy of the two, but only if Intel does come through with rumored price cuts. We'll know for sure by the end of the month.

samples. The fact that we weren't able to overclock too high without increasing the core voltage is a testament to the early nature of AMD's 45nm process. Core i7, on the other hand, was basically able to reach maximum clock speed without so much as touching the voltage dials. Remember that Core i7 is Intel's second 45nm processor while Phenom II is AMD's first; it will only get better with time.
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Hey Paul,
I guess I'm not getting where you guys are with this on price/ performance because at Newegg I can get a i7 920 / Asus P6T mobo / 6gigs triple channel corsair,.. for under $800. And for a Phenom II 940 black.. with a good asus mobo which supports the latest and latest memory with 6 gigs,.. it's about $650 so.... I don't get the big cost/performance thing you guys are talking about? I'm pro - AMD and I think the Phenom II's are nice (finally) but what was originally asked was who and what were the findings on performance/ stability for AMD using SW. And, I agree, that AMD is worth it (at a risk). But, it really was issue of what works now,.. what is more stable or what are the relative known overall,.. and how does that weigh in for overall cost/ performance/stability... which cpu/mobo/memory.... get's that sweet spot award?
I think clay was last at a E8500/Asus P5Q/memory?,... so,.. he's is (imho) pretty much in the sweet spot?
Personally,.. if you build it yourself,.. the i7 920 is the better overall deal,... but that is me. (also less hair pulled out,.. more changes... fewer weekends lost,...)
I don't know, it's not easy for most people too justify the cost now and it well may not pay itself off within the estimated lifetime and use?
Conservatively,.. the E8500 is probably the safest balance within most SW use right now?
Who knows,.. maybe there are some closet Phenom II 920/940 users reading right now??
..

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snipped-for-privacy@zxys.com wrote:

the i7-920 a 40% more expensive purchase. For the difference in platform cost you could purchase a faster graphics card, bigger hard drive, or even put money towards an SSD. Core i7's total cost of ownership keeps it from being Phenom II's direct competition; instead Phenom II is really competing with Intel's 45nm Core 2 Quad processors.

It's not cache starved, and while not as balanced as Core i7, it's a step in the right direction.

better pick. While it's not faster across the board, more often than not the 940 is equal to or faster than the Q9400. If Intel can drop the price of the Core 2 Quad Q9550 to the same price as the Phenom II X4 940 then the recommendation goes back to Intel. The Q9550 is generally faster than the 940, more overclockable at lower voltages, and a high enough default clock speed to keep you happy in the long run.

comparison at the same price point. Compared to the Q9400, the Phenom II X4 920 falls behind. The Q9400 is the better buy of the two, but only if Intel does come through with rumored price cuts. We'll know for sure by the end of the month.

samples. The fact that we weren't able to overclock too high without increasing the core voltage is a testament to the early nature of AMD's 45nm process. Core i7, on the other hand, was basically able to reach maximum clock speed without so much as touching the voltage dials. Remember that Core i7 is Intel's second 45nm processor while Phenom II is AMD's first; it will only get better with time.

Paul,
I'm just providing an opposing viewpoint. Inoculation against herd instinct if you will.
And I will say that either AMD dropped the ball or Intel just decided after years of messing with the old Pentiums that they had to move forward. The whole industry is seems to work on one or the other dropping the ball in alternate succession. The danger comes when one or the other becomes a monopoly.
Prices go up and down so the article I quoted could also be out of date. With price it is, "true at the time of writing". I think Intel is probably taking the route of charging every dime they can get for the high performance models until price becomes an issue. We all know that they just select those chips that run fastest out of the whole batch to sell at a higher price point (or alternately, they lock down the majority of chips to a lower speed). This means they can drop the price if they need to compete. So competition is a good thing.
Prices also come down shortly before the next leap in performance takes place. So if you buy an i7 today and in 3 months it's successor comes out and puts it in the place the Phenom 940 is in today that price difference won't look so good.
I am not sure where the "what works" argument comes from. Does anybody seriously believe that there has been or will be an issue with a processor from either manufacturer with SW? Given that SW is so dependent on the underlying MSoft layers to run and that there is nothing out there about Phenom's having any problems I don't get the FUD argument. I don't recall seeing similar fears expressed when Intel came out with the Core 2 or the i7 which were huge departures by Intel toward the way AMD had been doing things. Prior to the Core 2 (actually the Centrino was first) AMD ruled the roost in performance. I would tend to think that SW tests their product on AMD and Intel as well since they don't have hardware restrictions on CPU like they do on graphics. In fact the only time I have ever seen a CPU problem with SW was back around 2003/2004 when there was a compiler issue with Intel that caused terrible performance.
From the SW open web site on System Requirements.

It is interesting that they don't support SW on Intel based Mac's. (They also can't spell Macintosh.)
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I read up on the reviews of the Phenom II on various hardware websites. Overall, the 3.0 GHz Phenom II 940 performs about the same as the 2.66 GHz Intel Core2 Quad Q9400.
Then I went to Xi Computer and configured otherwise identical systems with the Phenom II 940 and the C2Q 9400 (4GB RAM, 160GB Velociraptor HDD, Quadro FX570). The Intel system was $81 (or 6.9%) more expensive than the AMD system. So, for someone looking for an entry level system for SolidWorks, the AMD is a marginally better value.
BUT, that is the top of the line for AMD and middle of the pack for Intel. The Intel system could be configured with a 3.0 GHz quad core or 3.33 GHz dual core CPU for an additional $209 or $149 respectively. Is the time that you'd save on a system that is 12-28% faster worth $200? I think most engineers would answer with a resounding "YES".
OTOH, a system with a Core i7 940 2.93 GHz would be about 10% faster than the 3.0 GHz C2Q 9650 on most operations and nearly 20% faster on renderings - but it would cost $609 or 45.6% more. Is that worth the extra cost? Personally, I find it hard to justify for most users, but for some, it will be worth every penny.
So, back to the original question: AMD or Intel? For those on a tight budget looking for a system that costs less than $1200, AMD is a viable alternative to Intel. Anyone looking for higher performance at a still reasonable cost, should look at the higher end Intel Core2 processors. If price is not object, then the Core i7 is the top performer, albeit at a premium price.
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sure,.. in this economy,.. it's a balance of what you can justify for your return. I think for most,.. the performance upgrades with be in the 1.5X factor range. And, not to forget,.. the overhead of moving to a new OS,.... Vista, which is on nearly every new system. By the end of the year,.. Vista with be OUT and Windoze 7 will be IN.
btw,... I've trialed Windoze 7 and yes,.. it's better than Vista, imho, but... it's still Vista!?!? More like,.. Vista 2.X. Now,.. I personally believe the whole hype on Windoze 7 is because of the economy and these writers (shaking in their boots) are all have their pom-poms out with full force! Can you blame them,... no. Nothing wrong with positive thoughts and guess what,... there ain't now other option.
..
On Feb 24, 7:47am, snipped-for-privacy@symsolutions.com wrote:

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snipped-for-privacy@zxys.com wrote:

Paul,
I'm just getting tired of the constant need to upgrade everything. PTC and UG don't make demands on new hardware nearly as often as SW does imho. I reviewed my box today because of some 2009 issues. Although 2009 runs acceptably for what I do, SW doesn't cert the graphics card and what used to be a lot of memory now isn't. No doubt 2010 will change the picture again.
I was happy running SW on W95 and did so for a long, long time. There was no performance difference with NT 4.0 and the whole deal would run on a machine with 128Mb Ram and a 1Gb hard drive. Many young'ns here won't even know how that is possible. Then I played the upgrade game for a while and have a whole box of mobos to show for it. And with all the hardware upgrades SW is still slower than it was on that W95 box for much of the work I do.
90% of the improvement SW makes do not affect what I do and the improvements I have always needed badly have never come.
<flame off>
So I am contemplating building an AMD box just to see what can be done. I think I have found some playing field levelers, but like I mentioned, it is time to upgrade because SW won't run on approved (in the past) hardware any more.
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snipped-for-privacy@symsolutions.com wrote:

Jim,
I went on Xi's site and configured 3 1/2 machines identical as can be. I quoted the lowest cost components other than CPU, memory, graphics and mobo. No OS or hids just to make the difference in price a CPU can bring obvious. Clearly there is a big difference even for comparable performance. This is not an $81 difference and if you factor in the effect of a hotter graphics card the AMD wins over the Intel at the Q9550 or Q9650 level. I would put the Phenom up with the Q9550 or Q9650 Intel chips on average, not the Q9400. With Intel having so many choices you can pretty much ask how much do you want to spend and find a processor for that.
AMD Phenom II X4 940, 4Gb DDR2, Asus mobo, NVidia FX1700, 160gb hdd, no OS, no monitor, mouse or keyboard. $1,379 AMD Phenom II X4 940, 4Gb DDR2, Asus mobo, NVidia FX1700, 160gb hdd, no OS, no monitor, mouse or keyboard. $1,729
Intel i7 965 on Asus mobo, everything else the same. $2,559 Intel C2 Q9650, ditto. $1,719.
For the difference in comparable CPU if I go with AMD I can get the higher end video card giving a boost to the system on large assembly rendering for $10 more.
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Hello Paul,
Yeah,... I hear what you're say'n,.. most systems today will work as is and points taken about new technology (i7) and not giving the Phenon II a fair shake.
So, to be fair,... core i7 is new technology which needs a whole new motherboard (and memory). and it should be scrutinized over,...
Phenon II,.. which is a cpu upgrade or better cpu Phenon.version can be used as relatively simple upgrade on many later AMD motherboards. So,.. for those needing a quick inexpensive performance fix,.. Phenon II is a very good option!
And,.. I hear you on the Mac stuff,... whatz wit dat!?!?! Obviously SW does not want to test it so, it's a CYA notice.
It is important for the users too be aware and use their buying power (vote) as a way to support and drive the computing industry to be healthy and competitive,.. we all win.
..

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