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Xeon vs. i7

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#1 DaltonRandall


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Posted 21 March 2016 - 05:25 PM

I'm in the middle of building a system for a specialized video application and was told a Xeon processor is strongly recommended.  In doing research, however, I am left scratching my head as to the differences between similarly spec'd CPUs.


Take the i7-5930K and the E5-1630 v3, for example.


Both have 40 PCI-e lanes.

Both have 15MB of cache.

Both are 64-bit.

Both have the same number of cores (6).

Both consume the same amount of power.

Both support identical memory types (up to 2133 MHz DDR4).


In fact, just about the only difference I see is that the Xeon supports more ram, but I wasn't planning on pushing past the limits of the i7 (64 GB) anyway.


The i7 is about $40 cheaper, but not enough to sway me heavily in one direction.


I do not plan to do any overclocking in this system, so that "feature" is irrelevant.


What am I missing?  Is there anything that the Xeon brings to the table that the i7 fundamentally does not?  What's the major difference between these two chips?

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#2 Demonslay335


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Posted 21 March 2016 - 05:33 PM

Typically a Xeon will be used more in a server due to the extra L3 cache (adds speed), ECC RAM support (adds stability), option for multiple CPUs on the same board, and better support for virtualization (Hyper-V, etc.). From what I'm looking up, it does look like the Xeon might be recommended for video editing, since the L3 cache and ECC RAM would help with compression, and reducing memory corruption.


Just be aware that which CPU you choose will obviously have an impact on what type of motherboard and RAM you get, which can also alter the price on you slightly (especially the ECC RAM).


This quick article I pulled up pretty much gave good pros/cons on the two CPUs (over a year old, but still relevant).




Edit: oh, one extra thing to note. Don't know if you are going with a dedicated GPU - Xeon doesn't have integrated graphics, so that's a factor if you were planning on not buying a graphics card.

Edited by Demonslay335, 21 March 2016 - 05:35 PM.

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#3 jonuk76


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Posted 21 March 2016 - 05:41 PM

The E5-1630 V3 will be outperformed significantly by the i7-5930K.  The Xeon has 4 cores to the i7's 6 cores, while they both run at essentially the same speed.  http://ark.intel.com/compare/82764,82931,82932


In general, there are some other differences, the Xeon supports ECC memory for example, and has versions certain features aimed at servers which are lacking in the desktop chips (Intel V-pro for example).  Performance wise, there is no inherent advantage to it being a Xeon.  They share the same core architecture.  A Xeon with the same number of cores, threads, cache memory and clock speed will to all intents and purposes perform the same as an i7 of the same generation.


#4 DaltonRandall

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Posted 21 March 2016 - 07:52 PM

Thanks for the insight.  I meant the 6-core version of that chip, the 1650 (my error).  But, yeah, they seemed very similar.


As far as I know, the L3 cache is the same between the two, but the ECC ram might be nice.  I was trying to use a micro ATX board, however, and I'm having difficulty finding one that supports ECC and is LGA2011 v3.  The price isn't a huge consideration, but I am trying to keep the system compact.

#5 ScathEnfys


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Posted 21 March 2016 - 09:14 PM

If you do choose to go with ECC RAM, be aware that it tends to be somewhat slower and significantly higher priced than non-ECC.

Edited by ScathEnfys, 21 March 2016 - 09:14 PM.

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#6 Drillingmachine


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Posted 22 March 2016 - 10:35 AM

In case those extra PCI Express lanes have no use, i7-5820K is much cheaper and only marginally slower.

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