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Rendering Workstation/ Supercomputer

Last response: in Systems
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April 10, 2010 6:12:46 PM

Hello All,

I was just trying to reach out to the forum members for suggestions. I'm currently looking for components to build a Render Workstation for Autodesk products. I don't really have a budget but I would like to keep it around $8,000 or so. I've also been playing with the idea of having two NVIDIA Tesla C1060 so that would already be minus roughly $2400. I don't mind leaving room for upgrades, meaning I'm willing to settle instead of having the best of the best right now and I am mainly directing this towards the graphics card. Eventually I will put a Quadro FX 5800 which is rather expensive.

I have priced several pre-built Supercomputers/Workstations and the median price seems to be around $10,000. So I would like to see if building it myself could reduce the cost a bit. I think 24gbs of DDR3 ram will suffice for now and I can always upgrade later. I don't necessarily have a preference for AMD or Intel server motherboards/processors, but I would like to get the most out of it (ie cores/performance to price). I am rather partial to Lian-Li and the Corsair case is very nice as well =D.

Give me some ideas please! Thanks!
April 10, 2010 6:46:48 PM

1. Tesla will NOT accelerate your rendering times significantly unless you use a rendering engine that has CUDA acceleration or plug ins that have CUDA acceleration. (IIRC, Ruins,FurryBall are a few of the things that benefit from CUDA acceleration).

2. What you probably need is an Nahelem based 2P set up.

3. If this is mission critical, I HIGHLY recommend you get one built by Dell, HP, IBM, SGI,etc.

4. If not, we can put together a set up assuming you understand what you're getting your self in to by going DIY.
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April 10, 2010 10:48:47 PM

Is Cuda the same as OpenGL? This is my first time hearing about this so the more details the better.
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April 10, 2010 11:20:26 PM


With more cores coming down the pike and with wild overclocking potential, why not investigate what a maxed out 1P 1366 GulfTown rig might be able to offer and, at what cost?

The same graphics cards plug into it and you can stick 24GB of fast memory in it.

Then you can get one of these to plug into it ...


PNY Technologies nVIDIA Quadro Plex 2200 D2 Multi-GPU Visual Computing System
Dual Quadro FX 5800 GPUs Quadro G-Sync Board 4x Dual-Link DVI-D 2x DisplayPort PCI Express x16 Host Adapter 6.6' (2 m) Interface Cable 3U Rackmount Option

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/638191-REG/PNY_Te...


= Alvin =
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April 11, 2010 12:34:19 AM

^ True that. Not to mention AMD's 6 core offerings which should be significantly cheaper for about the same performance.
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April 11, 2010 4:19:59 AM

Sorry for the late reply.

Thanks for the input though, it is well appreciated. Softimage 2011 does tap into Cuda for accelerated rendering. To what extent I do not know. So first I must find out if Tesla cards will significantly improve renders or not before I jump into a $10k rig.

@Shadow I've looked at those companies and they do offer good workstations.

@Alvin I've never been really big on overclocking but I will look into this as well. I understand your logic with a 1P setup. I currently have the i7 980x ( X 000 =D ) running in a Sager 9280 rig. The nVidia Quadro Plex seems like another option as well especially for future projects.

Ahh Decisions, Decisions. Hopefully I get time to research and figure out exactly what I need today. Basically I'm just trying to get a rendering and 3D Application beast so to speak. I know ideally one would export scenes to a render farm ie rack mounted server to hand off jobs to, but I really don't have the space for that right now (in Iraq contract work).

Keep the ideas coming. Thanks!
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April 11, 2010 4:32:49 AM

@Shadow Thanks for the link to the Cinebench Render test. They mentioned how a CPU with the highest single threaded performance will win for small, less complex scenes, but I was under the impression the more cores the better. I thought most rendering engines use the bucket rendering theory which is why render farms are used so frequently in the industry because it splits up each frame/image. So am I wrong in thinking that I need to have the fastest cpu and the most cores to obtain good render speeds?
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April 11, 2010 4:49:02 AM


Yeah, I was partially hoping just to "entertain", there ...

... That 1P Plex rig would be something like a Guerilla riding a tricycle.

= Luck =
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April 11, 2010 5:32:04 AM

Quote:
That 1P Plex rig would be something like a Guerilla riding a tricycle.


I couldn't have said it better myself...Just got into work so I will browse around to see what kind of rig best suits my needs for now. I'll keep the thread updated.
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April 11, 2010 6:18:19 AM

I was thinking....isn't the entire concept of CUDA to offload rendering jobs from the CPU to the GPU? If a render application utilizes CUDA, having a graphics card with an insane amout of CUDA cores would be the equivalent to having the top of the line multi core processors?

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April 11, 2010 3:06:13 PM

^ That is correct, however, programming things to be massively parallal is REALLY HARD. Hence why you don't see many programs like that. Only a very few programs max out at 32 cores/threads or so.

Quote:
They mentioned how a CPU with the highest single threaded performance will win for small, less complex scenes, but I was under the impression the more cores the better. I thought most rendering engines use the bucket rendering theory which is why render farms are used so frequently in the industry because it splits up each frame/image. So am I wrong in thinking that I need to have the fastest cpu and the most cores to obtain good render speeds?

Despite popular belief, most of the small scale model renderings are quite serial and not parallel. Understand, by meaning "simple" models, Anand means renderings with only a little textures, little detail,and little complexity (in CAD this would be like a 10-15 part assembly, not sure how this relates to the "parts" of a rendering). As for rendering farms, they split up things in to frames,etc and realize that they render their models in a HUGE resolution or the models are extremely complex/detailed.
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April 11, 2010 9:37:12 PM


PONDER THIS . . .

Did you guys take notice of WHO was selling that crazy outboard CUDA rig ??

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/prod [...] _2200.html

I don't expect you spent much time wondering *WHY* B&H would be selling this ??

There ARE applications (vertical) which totally justify monster CUDA rigs.

Scalable rendering ... on a tight schedule ... Hollywood CGI . . . Render Farms.

= Al =
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April 11, 2010 10:22:45 PM

^ Indeed, hence why I asked if OP's using CUDA accelerated plug-ins,etc.
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July 16, 2010 10:01:08 AM

Hey guys,

I am also thinking to build my own rendering workstation. I am thinking at a

Tyan server motherboard with 8 quad core cpu, 32 gb RAM

I found something on e-bay at around 5000 usd

Any thougts?
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July 16, 2010 10:21:01 AM

My thots are that you are very much going to need to find some person who is using the same toolsets that you intend and who also is operating hardware of commensurate performance to your own requirements.

It is a very big world and there is whole bunches of rendering going on, at all scales so, the trick is, "Where can you find your COMPADRES ?".

(nobody here but happy gamers and some prosumer CS5 neophytes)

= Al =
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July 16, 2010 10:43:31 AM

A few other thots.

Some folks on the AVID PRO forums build their own ws and TYANS have been popular, in the past.

You may want to go to the VideoGuys website and check out their DIY advice ... they start talking about ws in the first paragraph.

Most folks who are going to spend in excess of $5K on a pro ws are "operator specialists" and their time is too valuable to spend building rigs ... additionally, with a rig that is pushing into the beyond $10K price range, most buyers would consider absolute toolset certification, onsite hw support, and insurance so, most folks in that "tier" will go for a turnkey solution with a beefy warranty. ... Do you think I might be mostly correct?

Too big of an investment to leave to chance ... that is for sure. "Probably" just doesn't cut it, at that price/performance level and most pro apps and suites get darned picky about their certified parts lists.

nVidia ... Without a doubt ... FERMI ? ... Quadro ? ... Someone who is currently using that would know.

I just got an Athlon-II x4Core @2.8GHz(+OC) and 4GB DDR3 and a GeForce 240GT

... for what? ... To edit VEGAS 10 HDV and DV-25 for MP4/H.264 out. (LoL!)

= So ... consider carefully who you take your advice from ...

... go to the source. =

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July 16, 2010 12:18:59 PM

Thank You very much Alvin,
You are correct about warranty but to buy a new tyan would cost around 16 k +

I'll go to the video guys as you said

Thanks again

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July 16, 2010 6:46:42 PM

Go to the pro forum for your toolset/suite of choice, as well.
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May 16, 2012 3:42:55 PM

Hey, Im looking to build a server for rendering. I am an graduate Architecture student, using Maya, 3ds, Rhino and Revit.. Any Suggestions?? I will be looking to purchase all the parts in the next 3 months or so and could spend anywhere from 3000 to 5000 possibly on it. Im looking for school but then also to be able to work as a consultant eventually since the job market is a little rough right now... in case anyone didnt know..

I currenty have a desktop as well as multiple laptops, so i wont need, mouse, keyboard, monitors, network drives, KVM switch.

Thanks
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June 21, 2012 1:25:55 PM

Shadow703793 said:
1. Tesla will NOT accelerate your rendering times significantly unless you use a rendering engine that has CUDA acceleration or plug ins that have CUDA acceleration. (IIRC, Ruins,FurryBall are a few of the things that benefit from CUDA acceleration).

2. What you probably need is an Nahelem based 2P set up.

3. If this is mission critical, I HIGHLY recommend you get one built by Dell, HP, IBM, SGI,etc.

4. If not, we can put together a set up assuming you understand what you're getting your self in to by going DIY.


Can a server board be used as a graphics workstation? I keep seeing those Supermicro 4 CPU boards with 32 DIMM slots and all I can think is, Hmmmmmmm?
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