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3D Workstation & renderhorse

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May 11, 2011 6:40:19 AM

Hi everyone, I'm new to the board, and have tried to read as much of the stickies as possible and have spent several days researching these components and am about to hit the buy button.

I was hoping to get some feedback before I do, though.

I need this system primarily as a renderhorse. The renderers I currently use are CPU based so that's why I'm doing the dual hex-core thing. I am looking into GPU rendering so I'm getting the 1350w supply because I might plunk in some Quadros or Teslas later. I currently have a single hex-core dual C2050 linux box (please don't ask me how much I spent on it) that I'm using for OpenCL development and testing GPU based rendering, but I'm a bit disappointed because desktop level GPU rendering isn't quite there yet ... except for a piece of software called Machstudio Pro that seems to be pretty full-featured and well integrated, and why I'm listing the ATI FirePro card: Machstudio Pro was written specifically for ATI's stream architecture, and they're bundling the v8800 which gets me about $500 off the retail price. I don't have much experience with ATI video cards, and if not for this software, I wouldn't really be considering one, preferring to spend my money on a Quadro 4000 or 5000.

I'm not sure I'll be overclocking, preferring stability over raw speed, but if I can get more cycles without fubarring my workflow, I'll be happy, too.

This will be my first build in a long, long ... LONG ... time. I used to dabble in the 486 days, so besides plugging things in, most of this is pretty new to me, but I'm tired of paying through the nose for turn-key systems that I could probably put together myself.

Please have a look at my configuration. Any words of wisdom from the community will be very much appreciated.

Mobo: eVGA 270-WS-W555-A2
CPUs: Intel Xeon DP X5690 3.46 GHz (x 2)
GPU: ATI FirePro V8800
RAM: 24GB Corsair DOMINATOR DDR3 1600 (PC312800) (6 x 4GB)
HDD: Seagate Barracuda XT ST32000641AS 2TB 7200 SATA III
SSD: OCZ Vertex 3 120GB
Case: Lian-Li PC-P80B
CPU Cooling: Corsair H70
PSU: ThermalTake Toughpower 1350w

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May 12, 2011 7:42:46 AM

well ... first off when do you need to buy this computer? In the next couple of months there should be a number of new processors coming out including the Sandy Bridge 6 and 8 core for the server market as well as the latest Opterons based on the Bulldozer architecture. If you can wait I'd take a look at the Bulldozers as the 3D rendering performance of the AMD Bulldozer looks very impressive.

The AMD bulldozer will be working with Quad Channel memory. So the best setup for RAM there will be 4 or 8 4GB sticks (for 16GB and 32GB total respectively. Also they are dual-die processors, so with two of those the performance should be wonderful. http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=amd_bulldozer_linux&num=2

I've also heard good things about the XFX power supplies. Take a look around and look at the PSU reviews to ensure that you get a good one
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May 12, 2011 8:14:21 AM

Thanx ukee! Good tip. I'm glad I posted here before buying. I was worried that 1355 is a little long in the tooth and have been eyeing the Sandy Bridge, but I haven't noticed any dual 2011 mobos yet, or even heard any speculation as to when they'll be available and how much they'll cost. I've never really considered AMDs, but have to admit I haven't done much in-depth research into them. All I know is that they seem to lag behind in the benches ... but I'm certainly not an expert. A 16-core renderhorse does sound appealing, tho. Am I mistaken to think that we won't be seeing octcore Xeons until Ivy Bridge?

With all this upheaval, I might take your advice and wait, but I'm thinking that the new silicon won't go for cheap.
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May 12, 2011 12:55:45 PM

tigakub said:
Thanx ukee! Good tip. I'm glad I posted here before buying. I was worried that 1355 is a little long in the tooth and have been eyeing the Sandy Bridge, but I haven't noticed any dual 2011 mobos yet, or even heard any speculation as to when they'll be available and how much they'll cost. I've never really considered AMDs, but have to admit I haven't done much in-depth research into them. All I know is that they seem to lag behind in the benches ... but I'm certainly not an expert. A 16-core renderhorse does sound appealing, tho. Am I mistaken to think that we won't be seeing octcore Xeons until Ivy Bridge?

With all this upheaval, I might take your advice and wait, but I'm thinking that the new silicon won't go for cheap.


I've been checking on the Wikipedia article on Intel Xeons. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Intel_Xeon_micropr... They actually go up to 10 cores at the moment. However you are probably better off going for the quad cored Sandy Bridge though anyway because the performance is better per core (what we have seen with the six core 980X vs the quad core 2600 in the Desktop market). The Socket 2011 is not out yet and is expected to be released next quarter. This should include the hex core Sandy Bridge and the Octo core Sandy Bridge.

The AMD Bulldozer range will not be cheap ... but AMD is usually cheaper than Intel for almost all offerings in the respective market. Generally you'll get more bang for your buck with AMD.

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May 22, 2011 6:21:07 AM

Best answer selected by tigakub.
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