# [PD] Buying PCs for PD: Quantity or Quality

Andrew (Andy) W. Schmeder andy at a2hd.com
Wed Mar 31 23:36:26 CEST 2004

On Wed, 2004-03-31 at 07:13, Ian Smith-Heisters wrote:
> Does having several computers give any actual power benefit over one behemoth.

In general I would say yes (assuming the work can be distributed
evenly). Multiple systems means you have duplication of more system
components such as L1/L2 cache, FSB, drive controllers. However, you pay
for the extra hardware.

Resource contention for L1/L2 cache can be a significant bottleneck.
Unfortunately its not easy to analyze... Proper use of SSE can mitigate
the problem with streaming media applications by explicitly handling
transient data. Not sure how well PD/Gem/etc will handle this.

> Performance wise, how would it compare to run GEM doing (for example) two 3D animations, one using video
> capture from a webcam on an AMD Barton 2.2GHz (XP3200+) with a gig of ram and an ATI 9800...

Also I would consider the relevance of graphics acceleration to the
task. Some things benefit greatly from the GPU, others do not, such as
particle systems.

> What situations have you found noise to be a big problem in, and in what situations has it been more important
> to have small form factor (as the two seem to be mutually exclusive).

Here is a system which I have used which is small, reasonably quiet and
reasonably priced:

http://www.emaxasp.com/CBS/details.asp?item=SAMBA1845

I don't think its any louder than my laptop and is small enough to fit
in a backpack.

--
Andrew (Andy) W. Schmeder
<andy \at a2hd \dot com>
http://www.a2hd.com/