If you want secure and rather fast x86, look at Opterons 62xx and 63xx. They are still pretty fast and not vulnerable to many CVE’s. Coupled with Coreboot, they make for a nice desktop or a server.
If you want something faster, more secure and are not limited to x86, POWER9 with Talos II motherboard is a great choice.
It looks like a new single CPU Talos board is still $2500. I mean, that’s far cheaper than they were last time I looked, but still not entirely practical for many enthusiasts.
One biggest issue with other architecture is video deciding. A lot of decoders are written in x86_64 specific assembly. Itanium never had a lot of codecs ported to EPIC, making it useless in the video editing space. There are hardware decoders on a lot of amd/nvidia GPUs, but then it comes down to drivers (amdgpu is open source and you have a better shot there on power, but it’d be interesting to see if anyone has gotten that working).
You can hardware decode but you generally don’t want to hardware encode for editing. HW encoders have worse quality at the same bitrate vs. software.
Mesa support for decode on AMD is good, encode is starting to work but it’s pretty bad right now (compared to windows drivers).
Decoding isn’t the problem. All modern lossy codecs ate strongly biased towards decode performance, and once you’re at reasonable data rates, CPUs handle it fine. Encoding would be misery, because all software encoders are laboriously hand tuned for their target platform, and you really don’t want to use a hardware encoder unless you absolutely have to.
The only reason you’d be stuck with x86 is if you’re running proprietary software and then chip backdoors are the least of your concerns.
The only reason you’d be stuck with x86
The only reason you’d be stuck with x86
When I last saw it debated, everyone agreed x86 stumped all competitors on price/performance, mainly single-threaded. Especially important if you’re doing something CPU-bound that you can’t just throw cores at. One of the reasons is only companies bringing in piles of money can afford a full-custom, multi-GHz, more-work-per-cycle design like Intel, AMD, and IBM. Although Raptor is selling IBM’s, Intel and AMD are still much cheaper.
Actually, POWER9 is MUCH cheaper. You can get 18-core CPU for a way better price and it has 72 threads instead of 36 threads (like Intel).
That sounds pretty high end. Is that true for regular desktop CPU’s? Ex: I built a friend a rig a year or so ago that could do everything up to the best games of the time. It cost around $600. Can I get a gaming or multimedia-class POWER9 box for $600 new?
No, certainly not. But you can look at it otherwise - the PC you assemble will be enough for you for 10-15 years, if you have enough money to pay now :)
$600 PC will not make it for that long.
“But you can look at it otherwise - the PC you assemble will be enough for you for 10-15 years, if you have enough money to pay now :)”
The local dealership called me back. They said whoever wrote the comment I showed them should put in an application to the sales department. They might have nice commissions waiting for them if they can keep up that smooth combo of truth and BS. ;)
“$600 PC will not make it for that long.”
Back to being serious, maybe and maybe not. The PC’s that work for about everything now get worse every year. What they get worse at depends on the year, though. The $600-700 rig was expected to get behind on high-end games in a few years, play lots of performance stuff acceptably for a few years more, and do basic stuff fast enough for years more than that. As an example (IIRC), both tedu and I each had a Core Duo 2 laptop for seven or more years with them performing acceptably on about everything we did. I paid $800 for that laptop barely-used on eBay. I’m using a Celeron right now since I’m doing maintenance on that one. It was a cheaper barter, it sucks in a lot of ways, and still gets by. I can’t say I’d have a steady stream of such bargains with long-term usability on POWER9. Maybe we’ll get it after a few years.
One other thing to note is that the Talos stuff is beta based on a review I read where they had issues with some stuff. Maybe the hardware could have similar issues that would require a replacement. That’s before considering hackers focusing on hardware now: I’m just talking vanilla problems. Until their combined HW/SW offering matures, I can’t be sure anything they sell me will last a year much less 10-15.
Even though I’d swap my KGPE-D16 for Talos any minute, I simply can’t afford it. So I’m stuck with x86, but it’s not because of proprietary software.
I fished out my C7 based box recently to play with. For many years it lived life as my gateway stuffed full of interfaces. When I powered it on, it was last running OpenBSD 5.1-current.
With a change of OS, It still beats on today :)
My favorite feature was their security engine with both a TRNG and accelerators. Very useful in a network appliance.