Renderbox for Vray rendering - help with specs

Hi All, not sure if this is the right place to post, but I'm sure I'll find out if it isn't :)

I'd like to build a standard-sized workstation box for Vray rendering (via Sketchup 8).

My thinking is at a really simple level right now, but I'd like to quickly move to more a a more detailed spec.

I figure that I need:
* A decent CPU, such as Intel i7, but am unsure which one is a good cost/power balance. I'd say I'm in the mid-range when it comes to budget. Aware that it needs to be compatible with mobo, but a bit new to this area. Ditto cooling. I'm not sure I want to get too much into the whole cooling thing but not averse to getting some thermal paste and a suitable heatsink if that's going to help significantly.

* An SSD for boot/applications drive. I think 128GB would work.

* Conventional SATA3 7200 3.5-inch 1 or 2 TB drive for storage

* Mother board - totally unsure. Just getting my head around 1155 vs. 2011 socket boards ... not quite there yet :p

* Memory - at least 16GB of fast RAM I'm guessing, compatible with mobo of course, but which RAM and how much is a question.

* OS - thinking Win7 PRO 64-bit

* Graphics card - workstation is primarily for rendering, so unsure whether Vray is much affected by the GPU/VRAM but absolutely need to know whether a good card will help with the rendering or not, and if so, which card would be a good bet on balance.

* Case - mixture of 2.5/3.5-inch bays, but a well-cooled tower I imagine.

* Anything else?

Super-grateful to hear any thoughts, perspectives, ideas, etc. Specifics obviously of great help too!

Thanks!
7 answers Last reply
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  1. A mid range budget could be $600 to one person but $2000 to another so could you be more specific. Also what country are you from? Budget would really decide if you go with 1155 or 2011. Skethcup doesn't seem to have vray rt which is gpu accelerated, but just the normal vray which only uses the cpu.
  2. k1114 said:
    A mid range budget could be $600 to one person but $2000 to another so could you be more specific. Also what country are you from? Budget would really decide if you go with 1155 or 2011. Skethcup doesn't seem to have vray rt which is gpu accelerated, but just the normal vray which only uses the cpu.


    Excellent point, and something I should have added to the original post.

    I'd say US$1300-US$1500.

    Based in New Zealand, but US$ figure above.

    Thanks!
  3. Pcpartpicker does have new zealand option but is a very limited selection in parts so I will just put US. Since the renderer is just cpu you could go with 2011 and a 6 core cpu and lower the gpu.

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($319.99 @ NCIX US)
    CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.99 @ NCIX US)
    Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($134.99 @ Amazon)
    Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($93.50 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($64.99 @ NCIX US)
    Storage: Samsung 840 Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($89.99 @ NCIX US)
    Video Card: Asus GeForce GTX 660 2GB Video Card ($203.99 @ SuperBiiz)
    Case: Corsair 300R ATX Mid Tower Case ($59.99 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: XFX 550W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($54.99 @ Newegg)
    Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($134.99 @ NCIX US)
    Total: $1187.41
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-03-22 14:26 EDT-0400)
  4. k1114 said:
    Pcpartpicker does have new zealand option but is a very limited selection in parts so I will just put US. Since the renderer is just cpu you could go with 2011 and a 6 core cpu and lower the gpu.


    Video Card: Asus GeForce GTX 660 2GB Video Card ($203.99 @ SuperBiiz)


    Why such a GPU if its a work PC running CPU bound apps? Im sure a 7750 will do just fine for him. Also the MOBO you picked has Quad Channel ram. 4x4gb will be faster then 2x8gb. By how much? not a clue. but it is.
  5. I just want to add my agreement with the point about Vray using only the CPU to carry out the rendering, so you should consider spending most of your money on that. Also I shouldn't think you need anywhere near 16GB of RAM. Also I wouldn't think the SSD will speed up rendering, so that could be a part you would remove in order to get more CPU cores. Essentially in order to render you just want CPU cores and motherboards with a little RAM, so consider networking a few machines together to make a render farm. Multiple machines is also desireable because if you set one machine rendering, you will then be able to carry on working on the other. To my mind the best setup (within your budget) would be a machine setup for fast application access and GPU rendering, which you would use to do SketchUp work (SKetchUp uses GPU) and set up renders in Vray. Then you would have a second machine biaised toward CPU speed and as many cores as possible. I mention the multiple core thing because (by memory, but please check as things may have changed) when rendering an animation vray can use different cores to render a frame each, or split a large image up into segments to distribute to multiple cores. Sorry my answer's short on actual specs, but I'm out of my depth on that front ;)
  6. I put in the 660 for when vray rt is released or if you want to use a gpu renderer which I'd really recommend to speed up renders. But I also mentioned having the choice to change to a more cpu heavy rig. Also only 2011 has quad channel and will be next to no difference since the bottleneck would be cpu performance. Vray or any renderer for that matter renders 1 frame at a time so would never put 1 core per frame unless it's a split second render. To render multiple at once is inefficient. It is a block renderer but even scanline can be multithreaded.

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i7-3930K 3.2GHz 6-Core Processor ($563.98 @ SuperBiiz)
    CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.99 @ NCIX US)
    Motherboard: ASRock X79 Extreme6 ATX LGA2011 Motherboard ($219.99 @ Amazon)
    Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($93.50 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($64.99 @ NCIX US)
    Storage: Samsung 840 Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($89.99 @ NCIX US)
    Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 650 Ti 1GB Video Card ($114.99 @ Newegg)
    Case: Corsair 300R ATX Mid Tower Case ($59.99 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($19.99 @ Newegg)
    Total: $1257.41
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-03-22 21:59 EDT-0400)
  7. Thanks to all for the input and recommendations. That's fantastic. I will spend some time checking out your comments and suggested components.

    Apologies also for the late reply. I don't know why but forum notifications aren't getting through to my email address, and it was only visiting the forum that I discovered there had been some replies, so again, sorry about that.

    Regards

    pohutukawa
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