View Poll Results: i7 or Xeon Processor

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Thread: i7 vs Xeon Processors

  1. #1
    Member JaredRegister's Avatar
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    Default i7 vs Xeon Processors

    So, my office will be upgrading computers in the next year or so, and we are trying to decide which route to go with processors and running Revit MEP. We run the newest version as soon as each comes out, and we also use the newest AutoCAD. Our current machines run with Xeon, but if the i7's are just as good or better, for much less money, we would like to go with those. Any thoughts?

  2. #2
    AUGI Addict cdatechguy's Avatar
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    Default Re: i7 vs Xeon Processors

    The i7 would work just fine for Revit and AutoCAD... Unless your doing a lot of rendering or want to take advantage of a dual CPU motherboard, then Xeon is your choice. But personally, I would go with an i7, and use the money you would have spent on a xeon to max out your RAM...I'd go 16gb+..
    Michael "MP" Patrick
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  3. #3
    I could stop if I wanted to
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    Default Re: i7 vs Xeon Processors

    It's a little more complicated than just Xeon vs i7. If you have identical Xeon's and i7 chips (speed, cores, cache, etc) they are practically identical. In some cases, the Xeon's are actually cheaper depending on what i7 you are trying to match. With a Xeon, you can go above and beyond what an i7 can do as far as cores and cache. That's where it's hard to compare. The only way you will get an advantage in that case is when you are using a program that takes advantages of multiple cores using multithreading. The Revit wiki page has a great list of functions that are multithreaded. I'll paste them here but you can also go look it up:

    The following tools in Revit (all disciplines) take advantage of muliple processors and multiple core processors for calculations which increases the performance of the tool in Revit.

    Vector printing
    2D Vector Export such as DWG and DWF
    Rendering (4 Core Limitation lifted in Revit 2011)
    Wall Joins representation in plans and sections
    Element Loading. Loading elements into memory is multi-threaded, reducing view open times when elements are displayed for the first time in the session.
    Parallel computation of silhouette edges (outlines of a curved surfaces) in perspective 3D views. Engaged when opening views, changing view properties, and navigating the view and will be more noticeable as the number and complexity of curved surfaces increases.
    Translation of high level graphical representation of model elements and annotations into display lists optimized for given videocard. Engaged when opening views, changing view properties and will be more noticeable as the number and complexity of model elements increases.
    File Loading
    Point Cloud Data Overlay

    So the main advantage Xeon's have over i7s is the number of cores (and cache). You can get a Xeon with twice as many cores as you can an i7. So if you are doing a lot of the above tasks then a Xeon might be the better choice but if you aren't, then the i7 might be faster in some cases (because a Xeon with more cores is actually clocked at a lower speed).

    Hopefully that makes sense. The Xeons with higher number of cores are incredibly expensive compared to an i7 and clocked somewhat slower. But like I said, if you match a Xeon with the respective i7 you can get a cheaper Xeon in some cases.

  4. #4
    Member MHarkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: i7 vs Xeon Processors

    Okay... So... Givens are:
    1. Xeons generally cost more than i7 all other things being equal.
    2. AutoCAD Architecture cannot take advantage of more than one "core" per session
    3. Machine has 16 GB and 8 Cores so 2 GB per Core - means 2 GB per session of AutoCAD Architecture

    Would it be safe to say it is better to have fewer cores so you increase the amount of memory per core and therefore more memory for AutoCAD Architecture - ie. 16 GB over 4 cores gives you 4 GB per session therefore better performance?

    Am I goofy?


  5. #5
    I could stop if I wanted to
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    Default Re: i7 vs Xeon Processors

    I just had my machine upgraded a month ago. For some reason IT always wants to just throw more RAM at the problem... If you take a look at the RFO benchmarks results (google) you'll notice they back up my points below.

    Here's how it breaks down:

    The single largest factor affecting Revit performance is processor speed. Meaning that a quad-core CPU with a higher maximum turboboost speed will be faster in Revit than a hexa-core or octa-core CPU with a lower maximum turboboost speed. It doesn't matter if it's an i7 or Xeon, although generally Xeons tend to be clocked a little lower. Also, if you choose a vendor that will overclock your processor even better. Overclocking is basically limited to i7 processors. The argument for Xeon is that it allows ECC memory and is rated for a professional environment. Meaning it will sacrifice some speed for the sake of better stability. That's a decision you'll have to make - speed vs stability.

    I went with the E5-1660 (Xeon) processor. It's very fast and I haven't had a single issue even with 5 sessions of Revit open at the same time, each with a 75-120MB file that also has ~300MB of links each. Just don't skimp on the RAM

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