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Question Xeon-style Workstation CPUs - obsolete for non-enterprise?

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Markfw

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Do you have any data to show a single HEDT is faster that comparable dual xeons?

You can get a Xeon that is 28 core (56 threads) that can boost to 4.4ghz. I'm not sure where you are getting this "slower performance" from. You need to prove that before asking us why that is.

Workstation has a meaning the same that HEDT has a meaning. Use Google as instead of having us explain everything to you. There is a wealth of information available. I'm sure Intel has Xeon product pages that explain how they are used and why to use them.
A 3970x is faster than anything Intel has. Why are you trolling and insulting this user ?

And DUAL Xeons don't boost all core the 4.4. And that is server, not HEDT. So then we could compare the the world record setting dual 7742 EPYC chips....

Stop trolling.
 
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LikeLinus

Lifer
Jul 25, 2001
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What are you talking about? I didn't troll or insult him.

I'm not sure why you are bringing up a consumer CPU when we are trying to help him understand the need for workstations and multiple CPUs.
 

serpretetsky

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Jan 7, 2012
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I’m confused, ECC can cause long term data corruption? I thought it would just cause crashes with active memory corruptions, but you’re saying it can corrupt files saved to the HDD/SSD?
Lack of ECC can cause long term data corruption. Everything that's written to your disk had to go through your memory. If a file got corrupted in memory then it will get transfered to your drive corrupted. Maybe you got lucky. Memory errors are either extremely rare, or occur in some very particular work load like in NTMBK's example. Maybe you didn't get lucky and got some sort of data corruption but never noticed.

Corrupted compressed video data could be as simple as a block or a pixel color slightly off. It could be an entire frame/series of frames that look like garbage. It could be the header information was written incorrectly and your player refused to play it.
 
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Lifer
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A 3970x is faster than anything Intel has. Why are you trolling and insulting this user ?

And DUAL Xeons don't boost all core the 4.4. And that is server, not HEDT. So then we could compare the the world record setting dual 7742 EPYC chips....

Stop trolling.
MacPro comes with that exact Xeon CPU for new Editing machines. I know because I just priced out two of them. It is used in Workstations as well.
 

Markfw

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What are you talking about? I didn't troll or insult him.

I'm not sure why you are bringing up a consumer CPU when we are trying to help him understand the need for workstations and multiple CPUs.
If he needs a single CPU, the 3970x Threadripper is unquestionably the fastest there is, and its HEDT, exactly what we are talking about, If he wants more, then he is into multiple CPU's which means the server world, and the 7742 EPYC chips are then unquestionably the fastest there are. You have been around here, you know this. So why are you bringing up the 28 core Xeons, that are totally outclassed and outperformed ?

The only reason I can think of is trolling.

The insulting is this: "Use Google as instead of having us explain everything to you. "

He does not need to google anything more than he has, and we are giving advice. Don't insult him.
 
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dsc106

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What are you talking about? I didn't troll or insult him.

I'm not sure why you are bringing up a consumer CPU when we are trying to help him understand the need for workstations and multiple CPUs.
As my first post makes clear I have read up and am aware of what workstations are intended for and the historical need for them. My question pertains to in light of modern developments, how relevant and pertinent this actually is today - marketing aside.

Benchmarks show for example a multi core score on a 28 core Xeon around 10k, nearly 17k on a 32 core threadripper. High single core. Faster base and boost clocks. ECC memory support. etc.

Others here are helping me understand the limited scenarios in which there may be an actual benefit or scenario these days. I am speaking of in practice of course, not theoretical. I am enjoying this discussion so much thanks to all those providing helpful and pragmatic insights! It is appreciated.
 

dsc106

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One thing no one has mentioned yet is actual longevity. Supposedly a Xeon will run full load 24/7 longer than a HEDT. But is this actually true in practice now? Are HEDT CPU’s more likely to die?

my speculation, perhaps incorrect, is that this claim may pertain more to the cooling solutions used VS actual longevity. With proper cooling and no OCing I haven’t head much of anything of HEDT Processors dying?
 

LikeLinus

Lifer
Jul 25, 2001
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If he needs a single CPU, the 3970x Threadripper is unquestionably the fastest there is, and its HEDT, exactly what we are talking about, If he wants more, then he is into multiple CPU's which means the server world, and the 7742 EPYC chips are then unquestionably the fastest there are. You have been around here, you know this. So why are you bringing up the 28 core Xeons, that are totally outclassed and outperformed ?

The only reason I can think of is trolling.

The insulting is this: "Use Google as instead of having us explain everything to you. "

He does not need to google anything more than he has, and we are giving advice. Don't insult him.
Man, I don't know what you are talking about. This thread isn't asking for advice on what CPU to purchase. The entire point of this thread is him asking if workstations are still viable in the market place. Many people explained to him about ECC, multi-cpu and more.
 
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dsc106

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Linus, I explained ECC multi CPU and more in my first post. However that’s not the question. The question is where and when does that actually matter in practice these days. That’s a critical nuance and a very different question.

This was sparked by my recent deep dive into why Apple would choose a Xeon CPU for its MacPro which has a huge market in content creation. It seems like an awful choice with virtually no benefit over HEDT offerings for this audience, but at exhorbitant cost.

perhaps I am missing something but from all I have read so far, doesn’t seem so.
 

VirtualLarry

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I am not aware of specifics, but my understanding is that modern Xeon CPUs, have "RAS" features, that ThreadRipper (even 3rd-gen) may not quite have, as it is HEDT, and not Server.

As far as EPYC goes, though, I would assume that it could meet or beat Intel's RAS features. Or should. Again, I don't know specifics, so I probably shouldn't even comment on this, other than, buying a Xeon over an HEDT TR3 might not be the worst idea, IFF someone needed some of those RAS features. But then, why wouldn't they just go EPYC? That's another question entirely, I guess.
 
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Lifer
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Linus, I explained ECC multi CPU and more in my first post. However that’s not the question. The question is where and when does that actually matter in practice these days. That’s a critical nuance and a very different question.

This was sparked by my recent deep dive into why Apple would choose a Xeon CPU for its MacPro which has a huge market in content creation. It seems like an awful choice with virtually no benefit over HEDT offerings for this audience, but at exhorbitant cost.

perhaps I am missing something but from all I have read so far, doesn’t seem so.
The comment wasn't meant to be specific to the brand of CPU. It was more about that you mentioned the workstation CPUs weren't fast compared to HEDT. I simply mentioned the MacPro CPU because I just priced out two of them. They run up to 4.4ghz on turbo. That was my only point.
 
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LikeLinus

Lifer
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One thing no one has mentioned yet is actual longevity. Supposedly a Xeon will run full load 24/7 longer than a HEDT. But is this actually true in practice now? Are HEDT CPU’s more likely to die?
According to manufactures, yes, the server grade CPUs have a longer life span and are built to run 24/7 with heavy workloads.

Same as the HDD makers make enterprise disk and consumer grade. They are rated for a certain life and usage.
 

Markfw

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This is all getting OT. workstation = HEDT. Their life span is equal to the server world in todays CPU's. Example, if your cooling solution is not adequate, the CPU clocks down until temps are acceptable. So for todays CPUs lifespan is all equal. Naming consumer/workstation/HEDT/server in a class in todays world, the lines are fuzzy, but Threadripper and EPYC are both in the workstation/HEDT class, as well as Xeon.

Its all about how much you want to spend, and what your needs are.
 

Zucker2k

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Feb 15, 2006
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@Markfw
Why don't you go back and read the first sentence of the OP and stop with this nonsense about HEDT?

As far as it reads, the OP is calling into question the viability of the entire xeon line. Notice he specifically mentioned "xeon."? The whole thread has been about people providing the uses/advantages of xeon over AMD HEDT, until you came and wanted to make it all about AMD HEDT. And stop being so quick to label opposing views as trolling; it's getting quite tiresome, and you're more guilty than most with your anti-Intel posts. Case in point.
 

Markfw

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@Markfw
Why don't you go back and read the first sentence of the OP and stop with this nonsense about HEDT?

As far as it reads, the OP is calling into question the viability of the entire xeon line. Notice he specifically mentioned "xeon."? The whole thread has been about people providing the uses/advantages of xeon over AMD HEDT, until you came and wanted to make it all about AMD HEDT. And stop being so quick to label opposing views as trolling; it's getting quite tiresome, and you're more guilty than most with your anti-Intel posts. Case in point.
Workstation and HEDT are the same thing, what don't you get about that ? We had a perfect discussion going about ECC until we got derailed. "Xeon-style" <> Xeon.

YOU need to read.
 

dsc106

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According to manufactures, yes, the server grade CPUs have a longer life span and are built to run 24/7 with heavy workloads.
Right - according to manufacturers. Mark may have answered this, but is this actually the case? I don't trust these claims, as manufacturers also need to have marketing reasons to charge so much more $$$ for a workstation CPU.

modern Xeon CPUs, have "RAS" features, that ThreadRipper (even 3rd-gen) may not quite have, as it is HEDT, and not Server
Right - and, in non enterprise situations (say a single user or small team looking to build an editing rig) this is of moot importance, yeah?

|||

So, is the Mac Pro using Xeons a terrible choice? Apple users who edit in FCP X seem to protest "it's a workstation class CPU, of course it costs more, there's a reason its used, its better for "work" and "more reliable".

But what I'm seeing is that it's slower than a Threadripper (and sometimes even a Ryzen, or Intel extreme). It's dramatically more expensive. It's no more reliable or durable long term. The benefits of ECC for most of these users is completely irrelevant (and not exclusive to Xeon anyway, it's available on Threadripper). RAS features and other such features are pretty specific to large scale enterprise operations and servers. Basically, it's completely pointless.

And, is there any evidence anywhere that Premiere Pro, FCP X, Resolve, Logic, ProTools, After Effects, or otherwise would benefit from a dual core Xeon vs a 24-core or 32-core Threadripper?

And as for "more I/O".. sure, ok... storage, etc. But you can plug in a TON of storage through a 10gb ethernet port and daisy chain QNAPs together, and run a ton of bandwith through USB 3.0 ports, etc. I don't know anyone outside of enterprise that would ever max out what you could do on Threadripper or an i9 series?

It seems the last benefit is > 256gb of RAM, which is valid but a pretty niche thing.

For non-server, non-enterprise use cases I am struggling to see *ANYTHING* the Xeon does better... but a lot of things it does worse. And most of the potential benefits seem highly theoretical in nature and not actually pragmatic or translating into real world results.
 
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Zucker2k

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Workstation and HEDT are the same thing, what don't you get about that ? We had a perfect discussion going about ECC until we got derailed. "Xeon-style" <> Xeon.

YOU need to read.
No, you need to read. Why do you think ECC support came up in the first place? Someone tried to use it as a differentiator between Xeon and TR3.
Edit:
First sentence of OP:
I understand why multi million dollar enterprises may opt for Xeons for certain certifications and familiarity. I am wondering if from a performance and reliability perspective if these types of CPUs are even relevant anymore for most of us? And, even for enterprise, how much merit there *actually* is to them over HEDT processors?
 
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Markfw

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Right - according to manufacturers. Mark may have answered this, but is this actually the case? I don't trust these claims, as manufacturers also need to have marketing reasons to charge so much more $$$ for a workstation CPU.



Right - and, in non enterprise situations (say a single user or small team looking to build an editing rig) this is of moot importance, yeah?

|||

So, is the Mac Pro using Xeons a terrible choice? Apple users who edit in FCP X seem to protest "it's a workstation class CPU, of course it costs more, there's a reason its used, its better for "work" and "more reliable".

But what I'm seeing is that it's slower than a Threadripper (and sometimes even a Ryzen, or Intel extreme). It's dramatically more expensive. It's no more reliable or durable long term. The benefits of ECC for most of these users is completely irrelevant (and not exclusive to Xeon anyway, it's available on Threadripper). RAS features and other such features are pretty specific to large scale enterprise operations and servers. Basically, it's completely pointless.

And, is there any evidence anywhere that Premiere Pro, FCP X, Resolve, Logic, ProTools, After Effects, or otherwise would benefit from a dual core Xeon vs a 24-core or 32-core Threadripper?

And as for "more I/O".. sure, ok... storage, etc. But you can plug in a TON of storage through a 10gb ethernet port and daisy chain QNAPs together, and run a ton of bandwith through USB 3.0 ports, etc. I don't know anyone outside of enterprise that would ever max out what you could do on Threadripper or an i9 series?

It seems the last benefit is > 256gb of RAM, which is valid but a pretty niche thing.

For non-server, non-enterprise use cases I am struggling to see *ANYTHING* the Xeon does better... but a lot of things it does worse. And most of the potential benefits seem highly theoretical in nature and not actually pragmatic or translating into real world results.
I think this sums up my posts and reasoning pretty well.
 

Markfw

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No, you need to read. Why do you think ECC support came up in the first place? Someone tried to use it as a differentiator between Xeon and TR3.
Edit:
First sentence of OP:
YOU need to read. The entire ECC discussion was very on-topic. And Xeon and TR3 both require it. But TR4 and TR4x do NOT.

Again, its about workstation/HEDT. In todays world those are synonymous.
 

dsc106

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its about workstation/HEDT. In todays world those are synonymous.
For clarification, are they really considered Synonymous today or is that something that some people think they should be? I don’t think I see manufactures using them synonymously?
 

Atari2600

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Ok so if it's just live data being corrupted in rare instances, for most content creators this is sort of a moot issue yeah? And those who want ECC can still get it on a non-Xeon board. So that's not a Xeon/workstation advantage anymore if my understanding is correct.
Yeah, content creators are not important in the grand scheme of things. Of course, in their own world they are - but a video with a glitch in one or two frames isn't a big deal.


Say a multi-day CFD simulation of the cooling convection within a nuclear reactor - bit more important that a flipped bit or two doesn't steer your simulation off in the wrong direction.
 

Atari2600

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Ok so on this, some of my questions on the possible obsolence for most:

- More RAM - programs that make meaningful use of more than 256gb of RAM (especially in this era of extreme speed SSDs) seems to make this sort of a non-issue but for all of the most extreme/rare/niche use cases?

- Multi CPU - 32 and now 64 cores in a single chip, which hardly anything can take advantage of, seem to make the hassles of multi CPU even more niche (and frankly, unneccessary for most) than they already work?

I agree entirely that the number of users that need
(i) more memory than existing HEDTs can support is becoming ever smaller
(ii) more cores/threads than existing single socket HEDT CPUS is becoming ever smaller

Really - at this point if a HEDT solution is not suitable - the ideal solution is a farm which does the heavy lifting and users submit jobs - rather than Xeons or EPYCs parked under desks in workstation boxes.

But of course, there are workloads which eat up GB and CPU - see below:






So going from 24 to 96 cores (on 4 separate blades) shows efficiency factors of ~95%.

~85 hrs on 24 cores reduced to ~22.5 hrs on 96 cores.
 

Atari2600

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Do you have any data to show a single HEDT is faster that comparable dual xeons?

You can get a Xeon that is 28 core (56 threads) that can boost to 4.4ghz. I'm not sure where you are getting this "slower performance" from. You need to prove that before asking us why that is.
In non memory bandwidth sensitive applications, a good start would be:


C-ray would be one such example. In that, an EYPC 7502P (which should be a good baseline for the 32C TR3 - the TR3 should be faster due to higher clocks) - the EYPC is faster than dual Gold 6242 (which are comparable in per CPU price).


edit: Typo (none >> non)
 
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claudiusraphaelpaeth

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Maybe i missed it, but i think i don't;

What makes a WorkStation a WorkStation is not the generic power (CPU, RAM) for calculations it delivers, but that you can predict almost exact windows in time it will take to workout and finish a task.

ECC-RAM was mentioned as bringing live correction of errors into the game.

This is true, due to it constantly calculating checksums, which if wrong execute a resubmission, it can 'heal' the malformed data. What was not mentioned is that it does so, by actively diagnosting the RAM-chips on the modules and the circumstance it has the ability to red-out regions of the RAM, which are physically corrupted. Asides that, using ECC Fully-Buffered DIMMs allows (if the chipset supports it) to make use of a RAID-1 mode.
Meaning your memory-banks will be used mirrored. This allows to go on with the calculation at full speed even if one of the mirrored modules completely fails, not just a region that would be identified and closed out for future use by the ECC-module.

In the end this allows to hot-swap out a physically degenerated memory-module, without interrupting the ongoing operations at all. So the task will remain in the afore calculated time-window and it is guaranteed to finish if you swap the defect module.

Some WorkStations/Servers do also offer splitting the designation of memory banks, meaning you can choose part of the RAM exclusively for the main/host Operating-System, whereas the rest is designated as application memory, so there effectively is a physical separation of RAM modules for OS and Apps. also when splitting it allows to use RAID, too - not for all of the memory but specifically for the App-memoryspace. The latter because for the Operating System running on ECC means live-correction is available and that is enough as such an event simply triggers the OS to redo the operation, whereas in the meanwhile the module tests, analyzes and if necessary singles out the defect registers.

Also some chipsets allow you to use dedicated parity, comparable to RAID 2, 3, 4 and 5. So some modules are reserved to backup the operations on bit- byte- or word- -level.

To sum up the use of ECC FB-DIMMs with WorkStation/Server-chipsets, it offers:
- RAID-configurations of the RAM
- live diagnostic and circumvention of reuse of faulty segments of RAM
- Hot-Swap of defect modules independent of the RAID-configuration and without interrupting the running processes
- delivers performance that can be calculated to a guaranteed outcome

The most prominent use-case of the aforementioned is the Hot-Swap of Memory-Modules. As this can be done by a technician at the data-center, in your business, or by yourself; To perform this you do not need an administrator that pauses and halts the running processes, freezes the databases and so on.

This benefit of "Hot-Swap", as well as being able to calculate the time it will take until the guaranteed outcome of a task is also the main reason why WorkStations are WorkStations, meaning they always have (if they are workstations) at minimum two sockets for CPU's. But why?

Because the CPU can be Hot-Swapped as well. And this works because, the Cores are used CPU-specific, meaning in case of failing cores and if there are not enough cores unused on the current CPU the whole (multi-core) task is mirrored in operation to the other CPU, so it allows to hot-swap the faulty one.

Another benefit is the ability to dedicate a whole CPU to a virtualization manager, not only some cores, that are almost always virtualized virtualization cores already (NUMA). This is for example used for High Performance Databases that run in a cluster of three and more, or for example for rendering jobs, where you need to use specific CPU Instruction sets at a fixed rate, so you can either guarantee performance necessary for live-usage such as in sport-events, where replays have to be available immediately including separate handling of all overlays, or for example when editing streams synced at different physical locations, or for some calculation for whatever that needs to be done in a specific amount of time.

Asides CPU and RAM, being hot-swap-able and necessarily therefore allow for parity and them being far more controllable when it comes to rendering and virtualization, there are other benefits.

WorkStations do offer more banks of PCI-e for WorkStation-class GPU's, which aren't more efficient or faster, but they deliver as well as workstation-class CPU and RAM steady performance - as in ROCK-STEADY. So you do not have your one or two PCI-e 16x mounts, but for example four of them or via expansion boards even more than that. And none of these share their lanes or power supply.

Which leads us to exactly those, the power supplies. A WorkStation has "intelligent" power supplies. Yes, plural. While that is not always the case when they are in actual use, because some people just don't care about it in Freelance or private use-cases, they offer the same hot-swap-ability, as well as being attached to a remote-access-card, allowing for immediate notification of any warning or error that arises. Meaning independent of the running Operating System, you always have the possibility to get email-notification and direct access to the hardware-configuration of the running system.

There is more to it, like possibility to encrypt outgoing data streams, but in hardware not through the operating system, which could be already running malicious programs that intercept and transform your streams.

Et cetera.

Hopefully this might give you a better understanding of how a WorkStation differs from a standard PC. It is not about the power but about the ability to keep the system running under any circumstance to guarantee the job keeps running and about those jobs being done in a precisely calculated amount of time. They are not faster, actually they are never faster in performance compared to a PC for the same sum, it's like Formula-1 vs. GT. The former needs near perfect race conditions, the latter can be set out in the himalaya or the sahara and still races to the finish line.

Have fun!
 

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