Sandy Bridge .... anyone yet?

HinaB wrote on 1/24/2011, 4:06 PM
I am ready to build (a value based workstation) and was planning prior to Sandy Bridge reviews and availability to go down this path ....Intel Core i7 930 / Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R / GTX470 Graphic Card.

However reading the price / performance of Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz or i7 2600K with a 1155 motherboard it appears the build needs to be revisited. Given the new graphics related features of Sandy Bridge I don't quite understand the performance outcome of matching sandy bridge with a reasonably capable CUDA supporting card.

My needs will be Windows 7/64, Vegas 10/64, BCC7 (within Vegas - not sure how this combo will affect OFX / BCC OFX support / playback / rendering) and occasionally AE CS5 with CUDA support.

My questions are (1) has anyone built a Sandy Bridge base workstation?; (2) how is it performing as regards timeline framerate playback and as regards encoding including Sony AVC with GPU acceleration?

Thanks in advance .... Graham


mekelly wrote on 1/24/2011, 4:51 PM
Well of course, my timing is always impeccable!

I waited about 18 months to build a new i7 X58 system. Finished buying and building an i7 950 Gigabyte X58-UD3R system about two weeks before the new Sandy Bridge processors were released.

I am extremely happy with the system, but would have definitely gone with Sandy Bridge if I'd waited another month!
Tattoo wrote on 1/24/2011, 8:40 PM
Haven't built yet, but it sounds like a major step up in performance and the 2500K/2600K aren't very expensive at all (for the performance gain). Sandy Bridge will initially release with two chipsets, one that enables the embedded graphics (G67) and one that allows for over-clocking (P67). If you're buying a discrete graphics card anyway, then you'll want the latter. I don't need awesome graphics or CUDA, so I'll wait a couple months for the third chipset that enables the embedded graphics & allows for over-clocking.
Hulk wrote on 1/24/2011, 9:28 PM
2 Sandybridge motherboards chipsets are available now.

P67 will allow overclocking but not use of CPU integrated GPU or Intel Quicksync video encoding.

H67 will not allow overclocking but will allow the other two features.

In a few months Z67 will arrive which will allow overclocking, integrated graphics, and Quicksync. That's the one I'm going to get as a 4GHz overclock looks to be easy to achieve even at default voltage.

The "k" series CPU's are the ones that are fully unlocked and also include a graphics unit that is basically twice as powerful as the non "k" CPU's.

amendegw wrote on 1/25/2011, 2:35 AM
"P67 will allow overclocking but not use of CPU integrated GPU or Intel Quicksync video encoding.I'm not ready to go for a rebuild right now, but this statement has piqued my curiosity.

Is the CPU Integrated GPU processing invoked automatically, or does the application (i.e. Vegas) need special code, akin to the Sony AVC / Nvidia GPU rendering option?

So, depending on the answer to this question (and future directions of Vegas), Is it better for the Vegas user to purchase the P67 or H67?


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Hulk wrote on 1/25/2011, 6:57 AM
Well here's what I think I know.

Sandybridge has a significantly improved GPU from the previous Intel integrated GPU's. The fixed function video decoder (like AMD and nVidia's discrete solutions) has been tested to be able to simultaneously decode 5 1080p video streams as opposed to 1 for AMD's top graphics unit, and 3 for nVidia's. I assume this test was done with the "k" series SB CPU which as the more powerful 3000 series on-die GPU (12 cores vs. 6 for lesser models).

Quicksync transcode is currently only supported by Cyberlink's Media Expresso 6 and Arcsoft's Media Converter 7. The best format it transcodes to currently is main profile H.264. Intel claims these limitations are currently software and not hardware based. Testing shows the Quicksync transcode faster and with better quality than Cuda or AMD solutions. Quality still isn't as good as with x86 encoding (using the CPU).

In order to access the GPU features currently it seems you need the H67 chipset motherboard using the on-CPU graphics, which by the way seems to be as fast as a lower end discrete card. The P motherboards cannot access the GPU. As I posted above supposedly the upcoming Z series motherboards will allow overclocking, integrated (on CPU) graphics, and Quicksync/video decode features. If these features will be available with a discrete graphics card in Z67 is to be seen.

Will Vegas Pro be coded for the SB GPU's? Who knows? We can only hope. Being the 800lb gorilla Sony probably realizes that many, many people will be having SB CPU's in the months and years to come and Ivybridge (successor to Sandy) will also have GPU on die. So it makes sense that Sony would take this GPU seriously and try to tap into it's power as they did with Cuda.

I'm waiting for Z67 simply because I don't need a discrete GPU, the SB integrated will do fine, and I want to overclock to give Vegas Pro a definite performance bump. As I said above 4GHz seems to be an easy overclock with many people getting 4.4GHz on relatively save Vcores (CPU voltages). I'd be happy with 4 physical cores and 4 logical Sandybridge cores chugging along at 4GHz.

So to try and answer your question, the GPU must be specifically coded for by Vegas Pro. And it looks like if this does happen a H or Z series motherboard will probably be needed. But as always things could change, that's just the impression I'm getting from what I've read thus far.

- Mark
HinaB wrote on 1/25/2011, 5:58 PM
Thanks Mark ... I guess you are doing your best to answer my question in light of the current knowledge of Sony's intensions as regards exploiting Quicksync (both in terms of timeline playback frame rates and encoding), and how a 'Z' series SB M/B would function with a discrete CUDA capable card on board as well.
Say, while using Vegas 10 with a complex BCC7 effect (which requires an OFX compliant card to render the effect) would the SB board be able to concurrently utilise both the on-CPU graphics and the discrete GPU??
Similarly, if I shift to say, AE CS5 and need CUDA for preview / playback would this work transparently?
Undoubtedly it will be mid year before we know this!
megabit wrote on 1/26/2011, 2:15 AM
I feel your pain - my timing has been equally wrong; the Sandy Bridge mobile i7 CPUs have been announced just a couple of days after I purchased my i7 Dell laptop :(

Not saying I'm not happy with it, but it bites me I could have a much better performance with less heat , and fan noise...


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