Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question
Solved

Workstation build for 3D Rendering,Lighting, VFX and Simulation/Fur and Editing purposes.

Tags:
  • Systems
  • 3D
Last response: in Systems
Share
April 30, 2014 6:24:41 AM

Hello All,

First of all my greetings and regards to all you fine people who provide help, knowledge, info and guidance to each other and to all the technology enthusiasts.

I seek some expert advice and guidance in building my own system which I will primarily be using for 3D lighting, Rendering and simulation purposes. I am
a 3D artist working in the industry and seek something more stable, robust and a system I also intend to use in future for freelance assignments too.

Before posting this new thread here I did some homework and went through multiple threads users posted here and I diligently read as much as I could.
That helped me shape my opinion and added to my knowledge base too. So I have a fair idea what I want. I will keep this request for info organised and posting queries
section-wise.


I would like to mention that the replies and answers of the member here called bambiboom were in particular very helpful and informative and helped me do my research for this build.

The keywords are:

Intel Xeon E5 - 1650 / LGA 2011/ Quadro GFX card / ECC Ram.

The idea is to build a system for CG-VFX-Lighting-Rendering and MARI painting.


CPU
Intel® Xeon® Prozessor E5-1650 V2, CPU (FC-LGA4, "Ivy Bridge EP")

My first question is which CPU to go for. "Ivy Bridge EP" or "Sandy Bridge EP"

Q1. What is the difference betweent these two?

Q2. Which one is better/faster?

Q3. What does EP means?

Q4. I also saw some CPUs with just "E" as well.

Q5. And I also see E5-1650 and then E5-1650 V2.

CPU Cooler/fan

Noctua NH-U12S 120x120x25 ( NF-F12 PWM) SSO2-Bearing ( Self-stabilizing oil-pressure bearing ) CPU Cooler $70

Casing

LIAN LI PC-A75 Black Aluminum ATX Full Tower Computer Case $182

Motherboard:
ASUS P9X79 WS, Mainboard or ASUS P9X79-E WS, Mainboard

I chose this as after going through several threads I saw this one was recommneded the most and choice of most of the people who opt for a E5 Xeon CPU.
Plus this mainboard has lot of room for the future to upgrade. If there is another better Motherboard in this price-feature ratio range then please suggest.


Q1. Which one is better? I see one of them (P9X79-E) has one extra PCI-E slot. Is it worth it to spend some extra cash on this extra slot? What will it change
or make anything better or faster?


Memory (RAM)

ECC or NON-ECC Ram. I have no clue about this issue. I can handle few crashes here and then as its for home and i would use
this system to upgrade my skill set, to learn new tools and software. Stability is important but not very crucial. But would like to
know the advantage of ECC Ram over Non ECC. Which one is better in terms of price-performance ratio.

16GB (2X 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 ECC Unbuffered Server Memory


SSD
SAMSUNG 840 Pro Series MZ-7PD128BW 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)


VideoCard/ Graphics Card

2Choices:

Quadro K4000 3GB Graphics Card

NVIDIA Quadro K2000 (D) VCQK2000-PB 2GB GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 Workstation Video Card


Storage/Hard Disk drives
2TB - (2 x Western Digital WD Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive $94.99 (Files, Backup, System Image))

Power Supply
SeaSonic X Series X650 Gold ((SS-650KM Active PFC F3)) 650W ATX12V V2.3/EPS 12V V2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Full Modular Active PFC Power Supply $120


ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk

Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit (Full Version) - OEM $140

More about : workstation build rendering lighting vfx simulation fur editing purposes

April 30, 2014 8:36:29 AM

digitalworkshop,

CPU : The Xeon E5-1650 v2 has about the best cost / performance ratio for the uses mentioned. the next step would be to consider a pair of quad or hex-core Xeon E5-2600 series. The differences between the E5-1650 and the v2 version >

http://ark.intel.com/products/64601/intel-xeon-processo...

http://ark.intel.com/products/75780/Intel-Xeon-Processo...

As you can see, both are LGA2011 with the principle differences are that the E5-1650 is 3.2 / 3.8 GHz and uses 1600 speed RAM. the E5-1650 v2 is 3.5 /3.9 and can use 1866 speed RAM. As the prices are mysteriously similar, the obvious choice is the faster v2.

CPU Cooler: Air cooling is adequate for the 130W E5-1650 and I suggest researching the noise levels of the contenders. Because rendering uses all the cores and renderings may run for a very long time, my tendency would be to consider liquid cooling, again with noise in mind.

RAM: ECC RAM is error correcting and I believe nearly essential for both CPU and GPU rendering to avoid artifacts, bizarre shadows, inaccurate shadows, reflections, and particles. It is possibly an extreme example, but on a dual Xeon system with ECC RAM, I tried a GTX 285 graphics card- without ECC and I never produced a single usable rendering.

I especially like Samsung RAM. Importantly, when ordering RAM, research carefully the exact model according to the approved vendors' list of RAM that has been tested with that particular motherboard. And take care that the RAM you order and receive is exactly correct- one letter or number difference may cause troubles frustrating to diagnose. I added RAM to an older Dell Precision and had to buy it three times even though I thought I was buying RAM with the exact brand and model number of the original on the first two tries.

GPU: In considering the GPU, it is best to work backwards from the exact applications used and consult multiple workstation GPU comparisons with benchmarks. There are two very good ones on this site by Igor Woolensak and a recent one on X-bit Labs.

Summarizing consideration of a number of these methodical, technical reviews, I believe the best all-round card for your use is the Quadro K5000. A little clarification:

I am currently using a Quadro 4000 (2GB) with very good results, except that the time I ran a rendering, the temperature reached 100C. In 3D modeling use it runs up to no more than 55-60C. This has made me a bit shy of the single-height Quadros for rendering use. I am now looking at changing to a Quadro 5000- double height, higher clock speed, 2.5GB instead of 2GB. The Quadro K4000 is quite good, but is single height, and while it is lower powered and does not have the reputation for the hot-running of the 4000, I feel that the performance is not sufficiently better than the Quadro 5000.

The Quadro K2000 is quite good , and and actually, in my view, a better value than the K4000. the perofrmance apparently can almost equal the K4000 in some applications. Still, The performance in quite a number of applications is not as good as the 5000 and I would prefer a used 5000 to a new K2000. Again, this is a bit generic a suggestion- research the performance of any card in the exact application.

I might mention in that context that I have purchased used Quadros for about the lest 12 years- FX 550, FX 570, FX580, FX1700, FX4800, and Quadro 4000, sometimes paying only 10% of the original purchase price and never had a failure.. All these cards except the FX550 are currently installed in systems and functioning. There are no guarantees, but if you feel confident in shopping, used Quadro K5000's have been selling for as little as $1,000. Another very good choice these days is the Quadro 6000 (6GB), which are superb for 3D modeling, rendering, animation, and video editing, selling for as little as $1,200.

Storage : Have a close look at the space requirements of the OS and applications. I have a Samsung 840, 250GB in which 188GB is used. consider a larger-250GB+ capacity SSD and making a partition for active projects. I have a 10GB partition on the SSD for large projects and the opening and saving time is substantially reduced.

The WD Black is a good one, quite good performance for a mech'l drive. I asume having a pair mean using RAID 1 mirroring, which is the configuration I'd like to have. I prefer enterprise drives overall and you might consider the Seagate ES.3 Constellation series, which are enterprise quality and also have 128MB of cache instead of the 64MB of WD Black.

Power Supply : In my view, Seasonic and Corsair are my first and second choices. For your system, you might consider a 750W or 850W, especially if choosing a Quadro K5000 or 6000 both of which can also be used in SLI if the motherboard is configured for it.

Here's a recent system idea that is not far off what might work well for your uses :

BambiBoom PixelCannon Cadarendercompugrapharific iWork TurboBlast Extreme SuperModel XVI ®©$$™®£™©™_ 3.24.14

1. Intel Xeon E5-1650 v2 Six-Core Processor 3.5GHz 0GT/s 12MB LGA 2011 CPU, OEM $579.99

2. Cooler Master Seidon 120XL RL-S12X-24PK-R1 120mm CPU Liquid Cooling System FAN-RLS12X $75.99

3. Asus P9X79-E WS LGA2011/ Intel X79/ DDR3/ 4-Way CrossFireX & 4-Way SLI/ SATA3&USB3.0/ A&2GbE/ CEB Motherboard MB-P9X79ES > $469.99

4. 32GB (4) Samsung DDR3-1866 8GB/1Gx72 ECC/REG CL13 Samsung Chip Server Memory $375.96 ($93.99 ea)

5. PNY NVIDIA Quadro K4000 3GB GDDR5 DVI/2DisplayPorts PCI-Express Video Card PNY-K4000>755.99

5A. OPT"L > PNY VCQK5000-PB NVIDIA Quadro K5000 4GB256-bit PCI Express 2.0 x 16 HDCP Ready Workstation video card > used, about $1,000- 1,300

6. Samsung 840 Pro Series 256GB 2.5 inch SATA3 / SATA 6.0 GB/s Solid State Drive, Retail (MLC) MZ-7PD256B$ > $209.99

7. Western Digital 2 TB SATA III 7200 RPM 64 MB Cache Bulk/OEM Desktop Hard Drive, Black, WD2003FZEX (RAID 1) > $168 (Files, Backup, System Image)

8. Seasonic X-750 750W 80 PLUS Gold ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply PS-SS750KM > $148.99

9. Samsung SH-224DB/BEBE 24X SATA DVD±RW Internal Drive w/o Software (Black) SH-224DB > $17.99

10. LIAN LI PC-A75X No Power Supply ATX Full Tower Case (Black) CA-A75 > $179.99

11. Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit w/ SP1 (1-Pack, DVD), OEM MSFQC04649 > $138.99


TOTAL = $3,121.86


It appears you're taking a good approach to your project.

Cheers,

BambiBoom
m
1
l

Best solution

May 3, 2014 9:08:07 AM

A big thanks to you Sir. I was hoping and waiting that you answer and you did! I have been able to have this approach thanks to the feedback and the posts you have been answering to and providing solution. So before I ask any queries i tried my best to prepare well and ask the right questions. I was also looking for and I am open to buying even a used but in good condition branded Workstation such as a DELL or a HP z420 or a z820 and I found this at this site. this is in Germany and its the Craigslist version of Germany for local sellers reaching out to local buyers. Please take a look and let me know what you think of this offer. This one is a z820 I found and its with 64GB RAM and upgradeable to 512MB RAM. I will only have to buy the Graphics card and Video monitor/s. The standard comee with 32 GB RAM and costs 2400 Euros. I could bargain and bring down the price to 2000 Euros. What is your take on it? It is still under warranty until 2015.

You think it is a good buy?

http://kleinanzeigen.ebay.de/anzeigen/s-anzeige/hp-z820...


Thanks again for your patience and time and information you shared.. It will be of great help and value to me.

Best regards.
Share
Related resources
May 5, 2014 3:20:54 AM

A big thanks to you Sir. I was hoping and waiting that you answer and you did! I have been able to have this approach thanks to the feedback and the posts you have been answering to and providing solution. So before I ask any queries i tried my best to prepare well and ask the right questions. I was also looking for and I am open to buying even a used but in good condition branded Workstation such as a DELL or a HP z420 or a z820 and I found this at this site. this is in Germany and its the Craigslist version of Germany for local sellers reaching out to local buyers. Please take a look and let me know what you think of this offer. This one is a z820 I found and its with 64GB RAM and upgradeable to 512MB RAM. I will only have to buy the Graphics card and Video monitor/s. The standard comee with 32 GB RAM and costs 2400 Euros. I could bargain and bring down the price to 2000 Euros. What is your take on it? It is still under warranty until 2015.

You think it is a good buy?

http://kleinanzeigen.ebay.de/anzeigen/s-anzeige/hp-z820...


Thanks again for your patience and time and information you shared.. It will be of great help and value to me.

Best regards.
m
0
l
May 5, 2014 4:16:20 AM

I've *never* seen a difference in renders between ECC and non-ECC memory. Any single-bit errors in memory are just that- single bits. There may be a difference in the calculation of a single pixel, even then it would be rarely seen. Most television visual effects (and quite a bit of film VFX) are done on and rendered on a mish-mosh of machines with both ECC and non-ECC RAM and if there were problems like he described caused by not having ECC RAM everything would end up being re-rendered just to fix render errors caused by the RAM.


That said, my current actual workstation is a off-lease HP z600 that i put a better graphics card, new drives and more RAM into. It has ECC RAM (but not ECC Registered RAM) because that is what came in the machine.
m
0
l
May 5, 2014 5:26:42 AM

Draven35 said:
I've *never* seen a difference in renders between ECC and non-ECC memory. Any single-bit errors in memory are just that- single bits. There may be a difference in the calculation of a single pixel, even then it would be rarely seen. Most television visual effects (and quite a bit of film VFX) are done on and rendered on a mish-mosh of machines with both ECC and non-ECC RAM and if there were problems like he described caused by not having ECC RAM everything would end up being re-rendered just to fix render errors caused by the RAM.


That said, my current actual workstation is a off-lease HP z600 that i put a better graphics card, new drives and more RAM into. It has ECC RAM (but not ECC Registered RAM) because that is what came in the machine.



Thanks Draven35,

I see. And what is your view/advice on the used z820 Ad posting that is for sale for 2000 Euros. considering its already beefed up with 64GB RAM!

m
0
l
May 5, 2014 5:33:45 AM

the link isn't working here, i think its being cut off
m
0
l
May 5, 2014 6:30:52 AM

First, it is only 2.0 Ghz. Alot of UI stuff is single threaded.

Second, i can't read the model of the GPU, and the ad only says 'business graphics'

MARI requires a pretty current card (at least a Fermi, IIRC) with lots of RAM. (btw, I am actively looking to benchmarking Mari in the future)
m
0
l
May 5, 2014 6:52:51 AM

digitalworkshop,

In general, I believe the HP z820 is a very good system. However, the system in the Kleinanzeigen has two 2GHz CPU's. The 12 cores are useful, but in my opinion, the 2GHz speed may be zu langsam for simulation, 3D modeling and CPU rendering. Of course, renderings may be done more slowly and left to themselves, but I believe that 3D modeling /simulation, animation, and so on would be frustrating at 2GHz. In my work, I am rendering only 5% of the time and use a quad core z420 at 3.6 / 3.8GHz for 3D modeling and that is a good speed- but faster would still be better! My tactic is to use the fast Xeon E5 system with fewer cores for modeling and then run renderings on a 2008 Dell Precision T5400 with two Xeon 4-core x5460 CPU's running at 3.16GHz.

Cheers,

BambiBoom

N.S.: Meiner Meinung nach ECC RAM ist wichtig und vielleicht sehr wichtig. In meinen Dell Precision T5400, die 16 GB ECC-667 hat, habe ich versucht, einen GTX 285 Grafikkarte. Ich glaube, dass, weil die Karte nicht ueber ECC-RAM, gab es bizarre Artefakte (kleine vertikale Linien) alle ueber die Renderings und Folien, Reflexionen und Schatten waren nicht korrekt. Ich versuchte spaeter eine weitere GeForce-Karte (GTX 460) mit dem gleichen Ergebnis. Ich war nie in der Lage, eine einzige akzeptable Rendering von beiden GeForce haben. Dann kaufte ich einen Quadro FX4800 mit ECC-RAM und es gibt nicht mehr solche Fehler. Alle professionellen Bueros die ich besuche CAD, Modellierung, wissenschaftliche, Animation tun, und Renderings Verwendung Xeon> ECC> Quadro-Systeme.
m
0
l
May 5, 2014 7:20:58 AM

Yes, I understand. In this system I will have to invest money in buying a Pro GFX card and also monitors and all. So indeed the budget will go up to 3000 Euros. the build Bambiboom mentioned above is for 3000 USD which is 2100 Euros approx. But that is in the US and I have no means to get it from there. So in a nutshell it is better to go for a new build system with Xeon E5-1650 v2 rather than going for this old workstation? Is that the final word of advice? I have to decide soon else this will be gone.
m
0
l
May 5, 2014 7:43:21 AM

Most simulation is fully multithreaded and when you dial up a simulation to its full resolution before rendering, you usually leave it alone to run the simulation as they can take hours. Fluid sims , even using things like Maya's built-in fluids, will eat every processor core you have.... I really wish i could cite a not-yet-published article to show you these things.

And all the 'professional offices' I visit and have worked in use a mix of pro cards and game cards. The higher end the studio, the more likely they will use pro cards. The Quadro K4000 that you recommended to him? Does not have ECC memory. Neither does the K2000. On the K5000, you have to specifically enable ECC and it is recommended only for mission-critical applications like finite element analysis. (One reason for this is that turning on ECC lowers the cards' available memory) The glitches you describe? I have seen when there has been problems with the driver or the card in general- I don't get that problem with my GTX 460, or the 9600 GT that preceded it- and were not because it was a 'game card'. (This is on my 'game machine' which also periodically serves as my work PC... it was my 'workstation' as well before i got the HP last year. I've used Lightwave, Maya, 3ds Max, Modo, 3d Coat, and other applications on this machine for years, using 'game cards'.) Many freelance animators I know as well as guys working in shops (hint, when a guy doesn't have an active gig in a shop, he's a freelance animator) have used 'game cards' just fine, for decades without experiencing performance glitches- as long as they avoided ATI/AMD cards.

A lot of the time the only reason a machine will have ECC memory in it is if it absolutely requires it, or requires it in order to achieve a certain memory capacity.

To OP: I would recommend that you go with the K4000, and if at all possible, 32 GB of memory. Mari, specifically, can be very memory-hungry, as can particle and hair/fur simulations. Or, plan on having enough empty space in the machine to upgrade. By the way: the machines you're looking at use quad-channel memory, you're going to need to put four sticks in, not two. (So if you go 16 GB, you need 4x4)
m
0
l
May 5, 2014 7:46:34 AM

This particular used z820 Workstation is being sold with 64GB RAM. That should be enough in my opinion. Please advice me in a nutshell wheteher to buy this one or not. I am not going to run an office or a studio. major reason is to upgrde and have a serious work related machine to mainly learn and update my CG/3D skills. for that purpose is this Not a good enough machine?
m
0
l
May 5, 2014 7:20:25 PM

We still don't know what graphics card is in it, that is my major question.
m
0
l
May 6, 2014 12:46:38 AM

The graphic card is not a PRO or not even a good gaming card i found. its just some basic min. they have put. I will have to buy my own new GFX card. A GTX or a K2000 or a K4000 Quadro.
m
0
l
May 6, 2014 12:49:24 AM

ok, and is it still under warranty? (it is possible...) But if you're ok with buying a new GPU for it, i think it might be ok.
m
0
l
May 6, 2014 12:58:59 AM

Its under warranty from the reseller and also from HP until september 2015
m
0
l
May 6, 2014 1:41:35 AM

Nice. I'd grab it and get a Quadro K4000 for it, then.
m
0
l
May 6, 2014 4:54:24 AM

I am waiting to hear from Bambiboom and his final word of advice.
m
0
l
May 7, 2014 3:09:27 AM

I think I will NOT be buying this system. i looked around and compared and i think its oerpriced as in this case i i buy it i will have to invest another 800 Euros for a K4000 Quadro card plus another 400 or more for monitors and the actual cost will go a lot more.
m
0
l
May 7, 2014 3:10:43 AM

ok...
m
0
l
!