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AMD Versus Intel for video editing workstation

Discussion in 'CPUs' started by Evil-I, Jul 12, 2017.

  1. Evil-I

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Apr 20, 2003

    Posts: 1,223

    Location: Gloucestershire

    Hi All,

    I'm specifying a workstation for a friend, I've specified and built a LOT of machines for graphics or video over the years so know exactly what he needs as far as general specs go. The only thing that is a bit of a fly in the ointment is a the price of the high end Intel CPUs versus concerns about stability and performance of the AMD offerings...

    My temptation is just to go X99 with the Asus X99-e-10g Motherboard and either 6900k or 6950x (X99 is stable and mature as he wants to do this soon and this board has dual built in 10G LAN for fast access to storage NAS). I'm always very dubious about being an early adopter especially when it come to video editing and compositing, so I'd be very cagey about X299 for a few months still... Dual socket boards and Xeons don't really make sense for the adobe suite, the multi threading just doesn't scale well enough to take advantage of lots of cores and the typically lower clock speed of the Xeon actually means reduced performance. Also the price of the big boys Xeon's are eye watering.

    AMD Ryzen could be really interesting, but having read some comparative benchmarks on after effects and premiere by a specialist US system builder (I won't post a link as I'd guess they could be considered an OCUK competitor, but they specialise in high end dedicated workstations for specific tasks such as video editing or 3d work so really know their stuff) the results are pretty disappointing and suggests you'd almost be better with i7 7700k or i7 7740x on the budget side rather than Ryzen 7 or go intel 6900k or 6950x on the high end (obviously or i7 7900 or i9 once matured/released). It seems that single thread performance and ultimate clock speed often has more worth with the Adobe applications than more cores and that Intel is still winning here.

    I just really struggle with the ridiculous CPU prices from intel... £900 for 8 cores £1400 for 10! This is a business purchase for him, so investing in the best available for his purposes is the way we have to go...

    I also realise that Threadripper is just round the corner, but unless they improve the single thread performance significantly, then the extra cores won't have a lot of benefit in most use cases. And again... Not a fan of early adoption for workstations, just not a good plan... I found that out the hard way many years ago with intel's i840 chipset (what a pile of crap that was...).

    So I guess I'd just like some other opinions here, I think it's probably going to have to be high end Intel and X99, but I'd love to be persuaded otherwise. But please do keep in mind this is his livelihood and will need to be both rock solid right from the start, powerful and last a good couple of years.

    Thanks!

    E-I
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2017
  2. Chuk_Chuk

    Hitman

    Joined: May 12, 2014

    Posts: 774

    If you want stability and no faffing about then your only option is the previous generation (A.K.A X99 or even older). There were some people on the forums who mentioned that they where still having trouble with X99, so that is something worth being aware of.
    I'm assuming you won't be overclocking in which case Ryzen has been said to be quite stable when running stock. (Could someone please confirm this)
    Not sure about the current stability of kabylake.
    Reading the review it seems that Adobe has switched to GPU acceleration; would this be beneficial to your friend? If it is you may want to to focus more of the cash in that direction, depending on your budget (I'm assuming it isn't unlimited)

    Edit: Also you technically shouldn't name the company
     
  3. Harlequin

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Jun 17, 2004

    Posts: 2,275

    Location: Eastbourne , East Sussex.

    AMD are rolling out very very frequent microcode updates - Jayztwocents has an article about them since he built an 1800X video editing machine.
     
  4. humbug

    Capodecina

    Joined: Mar 17, 2012

    Posts: 23,354

    Its worth you watching this....

     
  5. FredFlint

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Feb 1, 2006

    Posts: 1,676

    My Ryzen PC has been very stable overall, most of the problem come when overclocking and that the same for any platform. The only downside to the AM4 platform is lack of PCI-E lanes, adding a 10G nic would drop the GPU to 8x, this will most likely not be a problem but it’s something to consider.
     
  6. Evil-I

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Apr 20, 2003

    Posts: 1,223

    Location: Gloucestershire

    Thanks all!

    Graphics card wise we've already got a GTX1070 for this machine. That seems to be the sweet spot for CUDA with the Adobe suite (short of going Titan or Quadro). Some functions are accelerated by the graphics card, but not all, so decent CPU grunt is also very important. It also depends to a certain extent what video formats you work with and whether you use a mezzanine format when editing as to how much GPU is utilised.

    I do overclock workstations, just to a fairly conservative level, but then I also over specify on the cooling. I think we'll be going AIO for the CPU on this, probably the corsair hydro 115i extreme. I think the other reason I'm leaning towards x99 is I built 3 graphics workstations about 18 months ago for our studio here based on x99 and they have been very reliable and fast so far. These machines are predominantly used with Photoshop, illustrator and in-design, but they do have the occasional foray into the video side of things too and handle it well.

    On the Ryzen stability front, it's not just its general stability that I'm concerned with, but its stability specifically with the Adobe suite when doing high end video editing. In some ways the fact there are still frequent microcode updates is pretty firm evidence it's not a mature platform yet. I had actually already seen Jay's video as above, but not for a while, I'll re-watch that when I get a moment to remind myself.

    Lack of PCI-E lanes is actually an extremely good point! This box will almost certainly be running 10Gb LAN as we're likely to be using a high speed NAS box for the storage all connected by 10Gb LAN. Throw in a m.2 drive as the OS drive and does that mean even less available PCI-E lanes? (can't remember if Ryzen m.2 used pci-e lanes from CPU or not?)

    The other thing I also noticed is that all the AM4 boards I've looked at only have 4 ram slots. After Effects in particular loves loads or RAM so we were thinking a minimum of 32Gb but preferably 64 as our starting point. With the X99 boards and 8 slots it gives both more options for what memory we can purchase in the first place and also potentially means we can have 32GB to start then upgrade in the future, or even start with 64Gb with option of going up to 128Gb (hopefully when RAM prices have come down a little).

    So I'm still thinking my first thought of X99 and the Asus WS board with the dual 10Gb on board is probably the best bet. Just a bit of a shame he wants to hit go imminently as the next couple of months could broaden the options somewhat...

    Thanks again all, your thoughts are appreciated!

    E-I

    P.S. I have edited my OP to remove reference to the companies name that posted the performance results. I had thought given they were a US company it would probably be okay, but in the global marketplace probably better to be safe than sorry :)
     
  7. Harlequin

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Jun 17, 2004

    Posts: 2,275

    Location: Eastbourne , East Sussex.

    If you are determined to go Intel, then maybe look at X299 - the cost difference for the cpu vs X99 is quite a lot for the same core count. Ryzen is a desktop platform, it just happenes to have a lot of croes and is really quite good at HEDT work, whereas Threadripper and EPYC are the AMD HEDT, with 64 threads and the 8 ram slots (with , from early accounts , mission critical ECC as well)

    https://www.kitguru.net/components/...first-x399-motherboard-for-amds-threadripper/
     
  8. jigger

    Soldato

    Joined: May 28, 2007

    Posts: 6,277

    Depends on what level of CPU threading the applications use. I have a couple systems and in anything optimised core count is the way to go. If you need IPC then a top end Xeon E3 or 6600K/6700K or 7600/7700K is the better choice. For a proper VE workstation I would recommend a Greenlow system based on a C236 or C232 chipset.

    You can always add a 10GB NIC (£150/200) so I wouldn't focus too much on what kind of networking a board offers. I'd focus more on getting an industrial grade board if the system is for more than just casual home use.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2017
  9. Evil-I

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Apr 20, 2003

    Posts: 1,223

    Location: Gloucestershire

    Thanks all!

    Helps to have these kind of chats to clarify what's important.

    I'm probably going intel, just not worth the chance with ryzen. Also not had great experience with dual socket systems with the adobe suite, it just doesn't seem to scale well to lots of cores so the price/ performance of dual socket xeons just doesn't stack up in this use. If it was 3D rendering then it's a no brainer.
     
  10. Harlequin

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Jun 17, 2004

    Posts: 2,275

    Location: Eastbourne , East Sussex.

  11. humbug

    Capodecina

    Joined: Mar 17, 2012

    Posts: 23,354

  12. Panos

    Suspended

    Joined: Nov 22, 2009

    Posts: 4,050

    Location: NE Lincolnshire

    Don't compare HEDT (X99/299) with mainstream. Ryzen 7 is good for what it is, but is still mainstream platform.
    Wait until August 10th, for the AMD HEDT platform. It will be very well competitively priced, with good performance also. (especially the entry 10 core part).

    I am waiting the 1950X it to replace my X99 workstation, since X299 is downgrade (PCI-E lanes castrated) and doesn't provide good perf/value.
     
  13. Evil-I

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Apr 20, 2003

    Posts: 1,223

    Location: Gloucestershire

    That's a good point on Ryzen 7 being mainstream not HEDT.

    I guess given my friend was wanting to hit go on this build imminently when I first posted, it was very much about what was the best and currently available (and mature/ stable). He's now decided to wait on confirmation of a particularly large job that's come his way as that could mean some additional purchase/ spec changes (a new high speed NAS as his edit storage for instance). So maybe he would consider holding out for Threadripper...? My only concern is typically I'd still want to give a new platform at least 6 months before hitting the buy button... If this were my system I'd probably go Threadripper and deal with any techy challenges along the way, it's different when advising and building for someone else though, especially when its their livelihood...

    Thanks again all!

    E-I
     
  14. d_brennen

    Capodecina

    Joined: Jan 30, 2009

    Posts: 13,206

    Location: Aquilonem Londinensi

    The likes of Dell with have Threadripper workstations to buy off the (digital) shelf, obviously at a price point somewhat higher than buying the bits and DIY. No faff, no tweaking. I just can't see the value Intel are offering in HEDT, when TR is available en mass most of the Intel product stack is pointless and overpriced
     
  15. Harlequin

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Jun 17, 2004

    Posts: 2,275

    Location: Eastbourne , East Sussex.

    Dell coming back to AMD as a brand oO
     
  16. N19h7m4r3

    Sgarrista

    Joined: Mar 13, 2008

    Posts: 8,759

    Location: Ireland

  17. Harlequin

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Jun 17, 2004

    Posts: 2,275

    Location: Eastbourne , East Sussex.

    I knew about alienware - the implication is regular business desktops
     
  18. bloodiedathame

    Soldato

    Joined: May 11, 2007

    Posts: 6,051

    Location: Surrey

    7820x is recommended for most Adobe products currently.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2017
  19. N19h7m4r3

    Sgarrista

    Joined: Mar 13, 2008

    Posts: 8,759

    Location: Ireland

    Its coming, as they already have Ryzen laptops lined up, and Epyc servers as well. With all current AMD CPUs able to support ECC for workstations if the motherboard also does.
     
  20. d_brennen

    Capodecina

    Joined: Jan 30, 2009

    Posts: 13,206

    Location: Aquilonem Londinensi

    Won't be long before Dell have a Precision workstation sporting a TR or even Epyc (dual socket, 1TB RAM? o.0)
     


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