Renderfarm and workstation build

hi, i need to build a render farm and a work station for a friend. the budget is 2K. now i been reading forums for about a week now and i am all confused.
i did a bit or research and this is what i could come up with.
render farm:

AMD Athlon II X3 405e , AM3, 2.3GHz, 1.5MB Cache, 45W x 6 £493
Gigabyte GA-MA78LMT-S2, AMD 760G, AM3 matx x 6 £294
380W Antec EarthWatts x 6 £222
2GB (2x1GB) Corsair XMS3, DDR3 x 6 £335
WD 320 hd x 6 £00 already have
custom build case
( can the fourth core of the 405e be unlocked? )

work station:
as most of the renders will be done on the renderfarm there will be no need to use quad core for work station so i choose :

AMD Phenom II X2 555 Black Edition 3.2 Ghz x 1 £85
Asus M4A89GTD PRO, AMD 890GX, S AM3 x 1 £99
300GB Western Digital WD3000HLFS VelociRapto x 1 £158
8GB (4x2GB) Corsair Dominator DDR3 PC3-12800(1600) x 1 £253
Nvidia 8800 Gt x1 £00 already have

now power usage is important that is why i picked energy efficient cpu. but my question is, is the above hardware better that 3 core i7 920 or 4 AMD Phenom II X6 1055T, or with the same money i can get like 12 intel atom 510. which solution is better for rendering?

also the workstation is amd solution better performance to cost ration?

any help would be appreciated
14 answers Last reply
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  1. Indeed. Well, I know very little about render farms but obvious the more cores the better. Personally, I would purchase the Athlon IIx4 if I were you. Not only is it the least expensive quad core on the market, but it is also the best performance/price.

    Obviously, if you take an interest in unlocking cores, you would have no problem tinkering with your CPU in the bios. Therefore, do not bother with the "e" models. The "e" models are only undervolted regular models (I have done research before and found that there are no other differences). You could do the undervolting yourself in the bios.

    Unlocking is never guaranteed. In fact, probability is against you. AMD disable one core of a 4 core to make a 3 core. They do this because that one core in the 4 core is damaged or unstable. Sometimes, there is more demand for the 3-core. So to keep up with demand, they will disable one core of a perfectly good 4-core. Only then can you get a stable unlock.

    If power usage is important to you, consider high efficiency power supplies. Also note that the closer the full load the power supply is, the less efficient it tends to be. Higher efficiency would be into the 90%. This means 90% of the power drawn by the PSU from the wall would go to the system and not be wasted. Just in case you thought wattage had anything to do with how much the PSU will draw from the wall: it doesn't. It's all in the efficiency. You could have 1000W power supplies on your systems and your power usage would not increase.
    Also, the cache in the Phenom IIx2 increases power usage, and I doubt you will need it, even on your workstation. Even for a workstation these days, I would go for the Athlon IIx4. But if you wanted you could go for an Athlon IIx2.

    The velociraptor is good. But make sure you are getting the new one, not the old one. The old one is not much faster than the newer western digital black. I think that model is the older one.

    I see you are building 6 rendering computers.
    I like your builds in general and the power supplies are good, provided you never intend to add a GPU to any of them, but I cannot help with your specific uses so instead I have some questions for you to think about:
    -Do you really need the speed provided by the velociraptor? What for? Then why the velociraptor instead of a solid state drive?
    -Why the 8GB for your workstation?

    Alright, now onto your phenom II 1055t and i7 question.
    I would definitely take four of those over 3 core i7 920s or 6 Athlon IIx3s. I'd even take them over 6 athlon IIx4s.
    AMD made some leaps with power consumption with those models. The 1055t with 6 cores consumes as much power as their 4 core older phenom IIs. In fact, they intend to come out with a phenom IIx6 1055t at the same speed but with 95W TDP instead of 125W. You could achieve the same with the current model though by undervolting it. It would reduce both your total power consumption and cost. Not to mention the extra cache. Although, I don't know how much of a difference cache would make in your applications.
  2. What kind of rendering are we talking about here?

    I spent last summer doing grant work for a university...3D animation. We were using Maya and Mental Ray to render, and had a render farm of about 30 Core 2 Duo machines with 2GB of RAM. My workstation had the same specs, as did the laptop I was using for some of the work. (didn't have the rig in my sig yet, but that work paid for it!)

    I'd recommend more than 2GB of RAM--perhaps 4. Unless the scenes are very complex, I wouldn't use 8GB on the workstation. 4 GB would be sufficient. And, unless there's a clear need for it, ditch the Velociraptor. You want to shoot for CPU and memory.
    And, on memory, shoot for the least-expensive you can find without sacrificing too much performance. I don't know where you're pricing things, but I'm not sure that Corsair XMS represents the best value.

    I also think quad-cores would be better for the render farm. More cores = more threads = 33% faster rendering. It's probably worth a little extra power usage under load, as efficiency is based on not just the max power draw, but also how fast the task is completed.
  3. 8800gt on any computer cannot be called a workstation, should look at professional series of graphics cards.
  4. tnx guys for your clear answers.

    in terms of unlocking the 4th core of the amd your right (enzo matrix) i think i have more chance winning the lottery, beside these machines need to be stable so tampering with the bios not a good idea. would need these machines to be on for days or weeks.

    your also right ( tortnotes) about more cores are better, i think i ditch the X3, and get x4 at least. now for RAM type and prices i go to

    i personally think 3 or these (AMD Phenom II X6 1055T), would be better. a complete system will cost £1125 for the 3. now that is 18cores/18thread at 2.8Ghz which gives me 50.4Ghz of rendering power as these are actual cores and not like intel 4 cores 8 thread which are less efficient.

    now the power supply i picked is ( 80+ Bronze) for £37 but i can get (385w Enermax EPR385 Pro82+ II DXXI READY! 88% Efficiency) for £55 each if you think is more efficient.
    at the moment i got a 320GB hd on my system at home and the performance sux, so i picked the velociraptor cuz i heard it is fast that's all, i also heard that Samsung F1 are fast to. i guess if i choose the F1 i will save money for the PSU swap over.

    i picked the motherboard with built in GPUs as there will be no need for a separate one. they to power hungry and not beneficial at the moment.

    i picked 8GB ram cuz some of the scenes my friend been working on got lost and lost of polygons and the memory just gets eaten away like candy, he mainly uses Cinema 4D 64 Bit and sometimes when we bring task manager it says that program is using like 5GB ram in the complex scenes. so personally i think 8Gb is minimum. but as for the kind and the price i am not sure why i picked what i picked. i guess cuz it is fast. but if you think there will be not much performance difference i can pick a slower ones but more of it like 10Gb or even 12Gb. now does it matter for the renders farms to use Ecc or not, i am guessing ecc it more reliable cuz the farms will be on for long times there would not come up with errors, am i right?

    now for the cache is am not sure how much difference it make on the renderfarms , but i think it should make a difference in the workstation.

    as for the 8800Gt i think you are right (arterius2) but i used it for a while with cinema 4d and it is manageable, i could go with Fx or fire Gl but then i would have to reduce the nodes on the render farm and at the moment render time is more important than a faster GPU. if the budget was higher i would go for a ATI FireGl V5600.
  5. new series of ATI Firepro cards came out few weeks ago, they are V3800/4800/5800/7800/8800, I work primarily with Cinema4D as well. and i'm running FireGL V7700 at the moment, 2 days ago my coworker bought the new V4800 for a try, it was only $200, while my V7700 was $800 when i bought it, his OpenGL Cinebench scores @ 48.1 blew mine right out of the water, and his CPU is a Q6600, while im running OC'd 1090T @ 4.3ghz. this goes to show that how powerful the new Firepro series are, even the entry level ones.
  6. wow thats cool i will look in to that tnx. by the way how is your 1090T scalling in cinema 4d? also does it draw lots from the mains?
  7. ok after an early morning research this is what i came up with for system build:

    AMD Phenom II X6 1055T, x 3 £487
    Asus M4A89GTD PRO, x 3 £296
    3GB Hynix Server Memory, x 3 £ 291
    385w Enermax EPR385 Pro82+ x 4 £223
    intel q6600 x 1 £ already have
    asus p5n-D x 1 £ already have
    5Gb DDR2 6400 x 1 £ already have
    WD 320GB hd x 4 £ already have

    Asus M4A87TD/USB3, x 1 £88
    AMD Phenom II X2 555 Black Edition, x 1 £85
    4GB(2x2GB) Corsair XMS3 Dominator x 2 £221
    750w Silverstone SST-OP750 x1 £already have
    1.5TB Samsung HD154UI F2 (for backups-raid 5) x 3 £ 210
    1TB Samsung HD103SJ Spinpoint F3, x1 £57
    Nvidia 8800GT (512MB) x1 £already have
  8. vinniz said:
    wow thats cool i will look in to that tnx. by the way how is your 1090T scalling in cinema 4d? also does it draw lots from the mains?

    don't quite understand your question, but if you are asking how 1090T performs in cinema 4D, I'll tell you this, for AMD x4 955 to take 2 minutes to render a scene in Cinema4D, the same scene will take 1090T OC'd at 4.2ghz only 55 seconds.
  9. lol sorry was to early in the morning when i wrote that. yep that was what is was after. wow 55 sec that is fast. by the way which mother board you have?
  10. vinniz said:
    lol sorry was to early in the morning when i wrote that. yep that was what is was after. wow 55 sec that is fast. by the way which mother board you have?

    Asus Crosshair IV Formula
  11. sweet, that's one hell of a motherboard. i have heard lots of good reviews about it. tnx for the info and help.
  12. Someone correct me if I am wrong but I do believe that server memory (ECC) will not work in a desktop motherboard.
  13. enzo matrix said:
    Someone correct me if I am wrong but I do believe that server memory (ECC) will not work in a desktop motherboard.

    ECC memories do work in my motherboard (Asus Crosshair IV Formula), because I have an entire section dedicated to ECC memory in the BIOS. however I'm not sure whether or not my motherboard qualifies as a "server" board.
  14. you right but the Asus M4A89GTD PRO supports both Ecc and non Ecc. there are few asus boards that do support ECC. it is Ecc but not registered. it is unbuffered. so it is not completely
    server grade memory.
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