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For 3D Designing, Should i upgrade my PROCESSOR or GPU?

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June 4, 2013 6:16:10 AM

i want to upgrade my system, right now i have i7 3770, gtx 650, 16 gb ram. and i think it is slow when i am rendering using vray, 3dmax. maya. if i upgrade my gpu to nvidia qudro k2000 will it help shorten my rendering time? or no effect at all? or do i need to upgrade to xeon processor to achieve what i need?
June 4, 2013 7:23:52 AM

Rendering is huge on the CPU, what kinda budget you looking at?
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June 4, 2013 7:30:08 AM

You are almost always better off with a workstation GPU over the gaming GPU, but the GTX 650 should be OK (..not great). The i7 is a great CPU and overclocking would show you some benefits, but nothing huge. No need to spend the money on the Xeon... I would drop in the Quadro and also a premium SSD to alleviate any disk bottleneck (the Samsung 840 Pro 256GB is a good choice).
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June 5, 2013 2:17:39 AM

sadams04 said:
You are almost always better off with a workstation GPU over the gaming GPU, but the GTX 650 should be OK (..not great). The i7 is a great CPU and overclocking would show you some benefits, but nothing huge. No need to spend the money on the Xeon... I would drop in the Quadro and also a premium SSD to alleviate any disk bottleneck (the Samsung 840 Pro 256GB is a good choice).


hi, are you saying that SSD is a big player in rendering? realy i lack the knowledge in rendering process, some say gpu has got to do with it. but most people say CPU is the main core when rendering. so i am gathering info based on experts experiences if in where area do i need to focus. my company don't want to spend so much so i can't pursue my dream of buying a double xeon system. some more info pls......
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June 5, 2013 4:56:33 AM

peshbon said:
i want to upgrade my system, right now i have i7 3770, gtx 650, 16 gb ram. and i think it is slow when i am rendering using vray, 3dmax. maya. if i upgrade my gpu to nvidia qudro k2000 will it help shorten my rendering time? or no effect at all? or do i need to upgrade to xeon processor to achieve what i need?


peshbon,

Rendering performance is CPU-based and to some degree GPU quality based. As you know in many rendering applications, it's possible to manually assign the number of CPU cores used in the rendering such that a complex, large file can address the system's full attention.

I had only been doing quite small industrial design renderings (Solidworks-based) until I needed to do about 40 large architectural ones, and those were using all 4 cores of a Xeon X5460 and then crashing after 25 minutes. Smaller size files that did run were also taking a very long time to do as I always like to use the maximum quality settings. These renderings were often presenting bizarre artifacts (it was raining short lines off of complex polygons) and distorted shadows, I had problems openings Solidworks viewports, plus I was often not satisfied with the level of image aliasing. After research, I first changed the GTX 285 (1GB) to a Quadro FX 4800 (1.5GB) and the artifacts/shadows/viewport problems disappeared, but the crashing on large renderings remained. More research and the next upgrade was to add a second X5460 and increase RAM from 12 to 16 GB. The second processor added needed cores and the RAM turned out to be causing memory constrictions as I often run several large applications simultaneously, e.g., AutoCad, Solidworks, Kerkythea / Maxwell, Sketchup, Adobe CS4, WordPerfect, Firefox.

As the central solution is to increase the number of CPU cores, one direction for improvement would be to change the i7-3770 to an i7-3930K (6-core 3.2 / 3.8 $570) but that also means changing the motherboard to an LGA 2011 socket. My current favorites - based on specification and benchmarks and not use- are the ASUS P9X79-E WS ($500) or on a budget, the ASRock X79 Extreme3 ($190).

But if the motherboard is being changed, a much better approach would be to use a Xeon E5-1650 (6-core 3.2 / 3.8 $600) on either of those motherboards and change to ECC RAM, which will improve any images having complex polygons, particles, fluids, reflections, shadows, and multiple lighting sources. That should cover about all of them! The Xeon is important as it provides double precision calculation of all those Maya polygons, particles, fluids, and etc. placements - which some applications can enhance to a kind of extended precision, and can use the error-correcting RAM. With the Xeon / ECC combination, shadows, reflections, and color gradients are all very significantly improved.

A Quadro K2000 (D) (2GB, $430) or better yet the K4000 (3GB, $800) will also release a torrent of image quality benefits in all the applications you mentioned. One of my digital obsessions is aliasing and with the right partnered drivers, these can run 128X anti-aliasing.

An alternative approach would be to buy one or more used Dell Precisions (T5500 or T7500) with dual 4 or 6 core Xeons, ECC, and a moderate level Quadro and then set it /them in a corner and send them rendering jobs off the server- and they can slog away 24 hours a day while everybody else is using their current system for the content creation. That would make employee time much more efficient- not waiting for renderings. An example of this kind of system is the one I use (though it's one generation older), listed at the bottom of this post, and which today would cost a total of only about $900-1000. The advantage to a TX500 system is that these can have 2X 6-cores and uses the much cheaper and much faster DDR3-1333 RAM instead of the expensive and very hot DDR2-667.

To answer your query, the most important component to improve rendering times is to add more CPU cores, but in my view, given your applications and professional demands, a Xeon > ECC > Quadro system is the optimal solution. Of course, changing the CPU, RAM, and GPU is changing all the important and expensive pieces (=$1,500), but that is a small percentage of the software investment that might pay for itself quickly in reduced rendering times, enhanced quality, and fewer repeat runs.

A question for you. I'm interested in changing rendering programs- I've tried several- and vray is top of my list. Would you recommend it? -Thanks!

Cheers,

BambiBoom


[Dell Precision T5400 > 2X Xeon X5460 quad core @ 3.16GHz, 16 GB ECC , Quadro FX 4800 (1.5GB), WD RE4 / Segt Barcd 500GB > Windows 7 Ult > AutoCad, Revit, Solidworks, Sketchup, Adobe CS MC, Corel Technical Designer, WP Office, MS Office]
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June 5, 2013 8:42:10 AM

@bambiboom, yeah vray 2.0 is great as per my experience. i would recommend it. and thanks for your info, i appreciate it.
that is what i told my boss, to build one system with dual xeon and a quadro k600 and ssd, but when he saw the costing he was coughing so hard... so, probably i will settle with a processor upgrade to single xeon E5-1660 and a quadro k600. i hope i will be fine with this.
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June 5, 2013 3:48:57 PM

peshbon,

Yes, the E5-1660 (3.3 / 3.9) for $1,100 US is an excellent choice, and with ECC RAM and a Quadro should be very good, accurate, fast, and reliable. The 6 cores will be perfect for rendering. You can also consider the E5-1650 (3.2 / 3.8 ) for $600- not too much slower but quite a bit less expensive. Remember that you will need to change the motherboard as the E5-1660 (and E5-1650) uses an LGA 2011 socket instead of LGA 1155 (i7-3770K). The K600 is excellent for 2D but not the the best for 3D modeling. If you can purchase from Ebay US, I would suggest finding a good price on a new Quadro 2000. The Quadro 2000 has as good 2D and much (+50%) better benchmarks in 3D. Here is one >

http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-PNY-NVIDIA-Quadro-2000-1-GB...

> a completed listing 28.5.13 for a new one for $152. plus shipping. That's a bit less than you would pay for a Quadro K600 at Newegg. If a budget of $250-300 is possible, then you can have a used Quadro 4000 (2GB) and that is a card that would be fantastic for years.

Thank you for your comments on vray!

Cheers,

Bambiboom
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