I'm in the process of building a brand new (personal) workstation dedicated for Maya, and am trying to gather all the right information before I start ordering parts. I have years of experience building systems from scratch - but I haver never built a Workstation. I obviously have many questions and I hope using this thread I can gain the necassary knowledge to get the right components.
I have a budget of around $2,000 ~ $2,500. This does not include monitors & input peripherals; this budget is dedicated to the Workstation Tower.
I definitely do not want to stir up an AMD vs. Intel debate; because I have worked with both CPU's and I love them equally. However - that is the very first step where I'm stuck.
I'm trying to determine what is best for a Maya Workstation; most specifically for rendering speeds.
Is it better to have the most cores you can get?
Is it better to have faster cores BUT fewer cores or slower Cores BUT more cores?
Would a 6-core Westmere outperform an 8 or 12 core Magny-Cours?
These are just some questions. The reality is, just browsing on Newegg.Com, I can get an 8-Core or even 12-Core Magny-Cours for almost the same cost, if not less, then a 6-Core Westmere.
I'd like to get a decent dual-socket server motherboard, and preferably 2 CPU's (Westmere or Magny-Cours); add around 24GB DDR3 RAM and finish off with an nVidia Quadro 2000 1GB workstation graphics card. In terms of the Westmere vs. Magny-Cours indecision - it is also possible for me to get a single 12-Core Magny-Cour now and add another 12-Core Magny-Cours later down the road ... if this combination would be better then grabbing 2 X 6-Core Westmere's now. Considering the cost difference.
My understanding is, unless you use a GPU-Specific renderer, like Arion or FurryBall, most other renderers are CPU-Specific and the GPU only helps in Viewports. I primarily use Maxwell Renderer & Mental Ray, so for me it makes more sense to spend on CPU then GPU, which is why I'm restricting to a Quadro 2000. (Please correct me if I'm wrong).
Before I started to look at Magny-Cours, I had created an initial Intel-based list which was something like this ...
ASUS Z8NA-D6C Dual LGA 1366 Motherboard
2 * Intel Xeon E5645 Westmere-EP 2.4GHz LGA 1366 80W Six-Core Server Processor
PNY VCQ2000-PB Quadro 2000 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 Video Card
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 24GB (6 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333
But after looking at Magny-Cours, the pricing difference, and doing a bit of readng - I'm not so sure if I should go with Westmere or Magny-Cours.
Any suggestions, advice or help would be greatly appreciated.
I suspect as Interlagos/Valencia comes to market (soon), Magny-Cours/Lisbon processors will drop a good bit in price.
If you are considering AMD, though, a single Interlagos in a 2P G34 might be a good place to start (but AMD will most likely drop prices significantly on Magny-Cours).
By the end of the year SB-E will hit the market and s1366 stuff might drop in price - but Intel normally does not drop prices to the extent that AMD does when new stuff rolls ...
I didn't have much information on Interlagos/Valencia but looked it up after your post - definitely looks very promising.
I think my problem is that I'm not sure if I should go with Intel or AMD ... which means I'm not sure if I should be looking at Magny-Cours/Interlagos or Westmere/SB-E. I don't know which one performs better in terms of Rendering.
I prefer a 'dedicated' workstation that is separate from rendering/encoding box(es). Life revolves around the main rig, and instead of tying it up on an extended task, I let the 'drones' do their thing.
It depends upon your workflow and overall plan, and if this is a long-range proposition, distributed rendering/encoding is the way to go.
I'm not up-to-speed on current Mental Ray but I suspect those options still exist. Check out 'Backburner' and 'render farm' in your fav search engine and see what pops up.
Somewhere around here I have a Backburner white paper in PDF form that really simplifies the setup. If I recall correctly you may establish up to 10k nodes -- I've only got 9,996 nodes to go - LOL
You should also find case studies on low-budget render farms where folks have simply 'racked' a series of used dual-/quad-core computers they purchased on the cheap.
The point I'm trying to make, I guess, is you don't have to hit a $3,000-$4,000 or more home run right off the 'bat' when a $1,500 rig and a GLAN switch will will work just dandy, and allow you to pick and choose future 6-, 8- and 12-core render boxes (either from AMD or Intel) at a discount for your 'farm'