[Sidefx-houdini-list] Re: New computer not fast

Mark Alexander malexander at sidefx.com
Wed Jan 4 21:30:55 EST 2006

> Is there a further recommendation of a different proc. I could put into this
> motherboard to get more?  I did look at the faster clocked AMD cpu's but
> they certainly get up there in price.

I went with an AthlonX2 4400. It's a 2.2Ghz model with 1Mb of cache per 
CPU (instead of 512Mb/CPU), which *may* help in rendering (though I 
don't have anything to compare it to). It was the last CPU in the linear 
price range before it went exponential :)

I had almost an identical computer to you - an Athlon 1.6Ghz machine. In 
a COPs test, I found it to run about 2.5x faster. This is slightly less 
than my rough theoretical calc of (2x2.2)/(1x1.6) = 2.75x. The Athlon 
architecture didn't change much between the XP and the 64 in basic 32bit 
operation, so it's a somewhat reasonable comparison.

Also, the Athlon64 has a built-in memory controller which supports 
dual-channel memory access. Make sure you have the memory installed 
correctly in the motherboard and your BIOS setup properly to take 
advantage of it! It'll give you faster mem accesses + more mem 
bandwidth. The DIMMs should be paired so that the pair are identical in 
size, speed & timing, and in the correct slots (see your MB manual; the 
slots are sometimes color-coded as well). If you are buying new memory, 
make sure you pair your new DIMMs together and your old DIMMs together 
if you buy a different kind.

Use caution with drive striping. It's fast, but if 1 drive goes down out 
of the 3, you've lost all your data. You would be better off with RAID 
1+0 (mirrored/striped) for a slight performance hit, but much improved 
data security. If you do use striping, keep 1 drive as your system drive 
(unstriped) and strip the other two - but don't keep anything long term 
on those drives (apps, projects, etc). Perhaps it's a little too late 
for this, as you seem to have everything installed & running, but I 
thought I'd mention it. So backup regularly!


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