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Server & Descrete Graphics Build

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August 28, 2011 2:27:18 AM

Hello all,

I am looking for input on a rendering machine:

I have a pc (i7 2600K@ 4.5GHz, 300GbSSD Max IOPS, Mirrored 600GB Raptors for Storage, 16GB RAM, P9P67 & Calibre GTX480) which works fine for general use, SolidWorks and is ok at rendering (72fps in Keyshot with camera.bip bench test). I have noticed that server based cpus get much better render times then desktop based cpus at the same GHz. I believe more fps power means less render time. So I wonder if it is possible to merge server power with ease of use & graphics power (PCI 2.0 x16 ) of a desktop pc? Use dual server class cpus and descrete graphics that is. This way one can use the pc as any other pc but when its time to render the dual server cpus go to work.
I know I could build a seperate rendering platform but I would like to build an all in one solution. I work form home so a single pc would be nice.

After a quick web search I didnt see much evidence of such a machine. Most workstation builds my contacts have are just like mine but using a workstation card rather than a gaming card. To be honest the gaming card can handle large Solidworks assemblies (8000 parts plus so far) just fine is less costly. Little tip, this applies to NVIDIA cards only (have used 4 different ones now) as I have tried this with ATI gaming cards with horrible results. Not to mention desktop gpus allow for those extracurricular gpu based programs.

Seeing as Keyshot relies on cpu power for rendering I am back to the root of this topic...

Is combining server cpu power and desktop graphics possible?
If so, what is recommended?

Let the discussion begin & thanks in advance all.

More about : server descrete graphics build

August 28, 2011 2:40:10 AM

I think you should build a separate render machine

Finding a server board with a pci-e x 16 slot ????????
August 28, 2011 2:41:31 AM

So I dont understand why the two arent available together?
Server power+graphics power...

Doesnt sound crazy to me. Fast cpus paired with gaming/workstation gpus.

Anyone got some advice or build suggestions?
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August 28, 2011 5:30:19 AM

Xeons are server cpus and are also used in workstations. Xeons and their consumer counterparts get the same performance, the only big difference is ecc ram. However, SB xeons do not support multi cpu setups. If you want a big boost in performance, I'd suggest waiting for SBE, socket 2011.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/xeon-e3-c206-workst...
August 28, 2011 10:11:18 AM

I have seen muti-CPU/Multi-core (6 plus) platforms posted online getting high rendering rates. So do these setups must not have discrete graphics right? From what I think was said, am I to understand that Intel put out server CPUs that cannot be utilized in the same system? If so that sounds wrong. Servers like cores. I like cores. How can servers with their multi cpu setups exist and yet there has been no marriage with the gpu market for one powerful setup?

Maybe I am missing a fundamental here. Maybe there is a good reason for servers with all their cores to remain a distinct animal from desktop workstation build. Better yet maybe I just dont see that this division no longer exists and there is a hybrid solution now. There are two primary needs (CPU cores for rendering and discrete gpu power for SolidWorks). So to make this an easier topic:

What system could one build that has the most CPUs and/or CPU cores and discrete graphics?

Thanks for any input.
August 28, 2011 4:17:01 PM

You must get the old 1366 platform for mult cpu setups. There are plenty of boards. This only supports dual socket. http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

There is also socket 1567 (same architecture as 1366) that support up to 8 cpu configurations but I know nothing about these or where to get them.

I was just commenting that SB can't have mutli cpu which doesn't make too much sense but I guess you'd want SBE since that is the high end stuff, which will support multi cpus. You can even look on newegg, all the 1155 server/workstation boards are only single slot and you can look on the intel site too; the SB xeons will say this limitation.

Just a note, pretty much any computer parts website has server/workstation parts so make sure you look around for the best price if you are going to buy.

I should have mentioned all of this before. I hope I cleared this up.

Edit: Off topic, just a bit: Xeons/server cpus/multi socket setups have been in workstations and rendering since nearly the beginning of this type of work. And gpu acceleration/rendering is gaining ground quickly; current supercomputer are paired with gpus since they offer many more cores (like the 580 has 512 cores and the 6970 has 1536 stream procs) although not the same as cpu cores they are more efficient but can't handle as complex computations. Many rendering engines are now beginning to use both the cpu and gpu together to render much much faster for the same reason. In most rendering situations, it's more cost efficient for a separate render farm although there are people with plenty of money to push the envelope of a single rig. Here are my favorite vids of demos of a 80 thread rig (4cpus, 10c/20t each) and a 64 thread rig.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbokPe4_-mY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ianMNs12ITc
August 28, 2011 7:51:18 PM

Thank you very much.

So why is this such a tall order? Multi-CPU + discrete GPU that is. I can't believe that I'm the first to want this.
Just to be clear, SB-E will support Multi-CPU setups right? If so can a discrete GPU be added to that very setup too?

Anyone got suggestions for high end build that would satisfy these two requirements?

As many cores/CPUs as possible and discrete GPU power all on one system.
August 28, 2011 11:56:24 PM

If you were to take a look at the newegg link I posted, every motherboard has a pcie slot or else you'd have no video since none of these come with integrated.

Yes SBE will support multicpu, it's the replacement for the high end.
August 29, 2011 7:53:48 PM

Thank you again.

Im totaly new to server builds. Think I will wait for SB-E and through a Quadro or GTX in it for a workstation build.

Sound good?
!