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Help with sub $7,000 3D workstation build

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April 17, 2012 11:00:00 PM

Hello everyone I'm obviously new here and was hoping you could provide me with some feedback/help with a build I'm trying to put together mainly for use in 3D graphics.

First off let me explain my situation, I work as a 3D generalist for a company in LA and until recently was perfectly content to use the workstation that they have provided me as it is a very well specced computer. More recently however I have begun to work on more personal/freelance projects and have realized that my personal computer is far from sufficient to handle the kind of work I need to do (i7 iMac quad). At first I was planning to get a Mac Pro as prefer OSX to Windows (I use a Windows at work) after doing I bit of research however I discovered that the current Mac Pro's are rather outdated hardware-wise and also significantly overpriced compared to many Windows based solutions. After lots of reading I came to the conclusion that my best option would probably be to build a Windows based machine as it will be the most bang for buck option as well as very functional for my specific needs. I've built computers before but not for some time and am therefore somewhat outdated interms of my knowledge of current hardware (although I still understand all the principles to building a machine). I've set aside a budget of $7,000 which I hope will be sufficient to make a very very fast machine! To give a better idea of what I will be using it for here is some of the software I use:

3D suite: Maya, 3DS Max, Cinema 4D
Renderer: Vray, Mental Ray, Octane
Sculpting: Zbrush, Mudbox
Texturing: Mari, Zbrush
Simulations: Realflow, Maya Sim
Game Dev: Unity

As I'm sure you can tell I use a very wide array of software as I tend to work many very different projects, I also do some video editing from time to time with the possibility of editing some 4k/5k in the future so a machine that could handle that as well would be a bonus! My main priority is rendering I need a machine that will spit out renders as fast as possible (mostly in Vray), second to that is graphics performance Zbrush and Mari are very intensive graphics-wise and I need a machine that can handle very very high resolution models as well as very large texture maps. I've done some research and put together what I think will be a decent machine and would like your feedback:

CPU: Dual Intel E5-2670

GRAPHICS: 1. 2x Nvidia Quadro 4000
2. 2x AMD Firepro V7900
3. 1x Nvidia Quadro 5000

HDD/SSD: 1TB Western Digital Caviar Black (File Storage) + 120GB Kingston Hyper X (Operating System+Applications)

DVD/Blueray: LG Black 12X Blueray R=RW

CASE/CHASSIS: Need some help on this as it appears there aren't many options for HPTX sized motherboards

MOTHERBOARD: 1. EVGA SR-X
2. ASUS Z9PE

CPU COOLER's: 1. Thermaltake Frio (Will 2 of these fit without covering the DIMM's?)
2. I was hoping to stay away from Liquid Cooling as it seems to be rather unnecessary unless you plan to significantly overclock (E5's are locked) but if you guys think that would a better option then I can go with that instead.

MEMORY: 64GB GSkill Ripjaws 2X(4x8)

PSU/POWER: Enermax 85+ 1020W

TOTAL: $5873-$6,921 (Roughly)

I think thats everything, I apologize for the rather long post and I appreciate any advice you can give me!

More about : 000 workstation build

April 17, 2012 11:14:03 PM

Quote:

CPU COOLER's: 1. Thermaltake Frio (Will 2 of these fit without covering the DIMM's?)
2. I was hoping to stay away from Liquid Cooling as it seems to be rather unnecessary unless you plan to significantly overclock (E5's are locked) but if you guys think that would a better option then I can go with that instead.


Cooling on the SR-X is incredibly difficult - you almost have to have a liquid radiator on this thing. Before on its' predecessor - the SR-2, everything was spaced out accordingly. But the SR-X compacts it a bit more making your choices difficult. Two Frios will not fit as the Frio is a *HUGE* cooler.

I'd recommend something like this:

Case: Cooler Master Cosmos II - $349.99
PSU: Silverstone Strider ST1500 - $399.99
Motherboard: EVGA Classified SR-X - $689.99
CPU: 2 x Intel Xeon E5-2650 - $1099.99 each
RAM: GeIL EVO CORSA Series 64GB (8 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 - $494.99
SSD: 128GB Crucial M4 - $159.99
HD: 3TB Seagate Barracuda ST - $169.99
Optical: LG BD-R Burner - $79.99
Video Card: 2 x ATI Fire Pro V7800 - $699.99 each
OS: Windows 7 Pro - $249.99

Total: $6,164.89
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April 18, 2012 1:48:14 AM

Will I really notice any difference using higher speed RAM? Also what should I do about CPU cooling since the Frio's wont fit on the SR-X?
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April 18, 2012 6:10:40 AM

ColeHarris said:
Will I really notice any difference using higher speed RAM? Also what should I do about CPU cooling since the Frio's wont fit on the SR-X?


I didn't include cooling because this is one of the rare instances where you'll most likely need a custom loop. Yeah I'd normally be against it but with the positioning of the CPUs on the SR-X being so close together there's no combination of air fans you can get that would serve as a viable option.

Quote:
Nice, but 1600MHz isn't sufficient for rendering. Here's better RAM


You're not going to notice any difference between 1600 and 2133 even on a rendering build. Your motherboard usually defaults to the lowest speeds it can handle. And $800 for RAM is quite ridiculous. :ouch: 
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April 18, 2012 6:15:27 AM

g-unit1111 said:
I didn't include cooling because this is one of the rare instances where you'll most likely need a custom loop. Yeah I'd normally be against it but with the positioning of the CPUs on the SR-X being so close together there's no combination of air fans you can get that would serve as a viable option.

Quote:
Nice, but 1600MHz isn't sufficient for rendering. Here's better RAM


You're not going to notice any difference between 1600 and 2133 even on a rendering build. Your motherboard usually defaults to the lowest speeds it can handle. And $800 for RAM is quite ridiculous. :ouch: 

Darn! Well can you recommend a good Liquid system?

Yeah I thought that sounded a little crazy, thanks for confirming that for me! Also why did you recommend the AMD V7800 when its the same price as the V7900?
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April 18, 2012 7:58:21 AM

illusiongamer12 said:
dude I recommend built a 2000$ main computer with the LGA 2011,
and built a render farm with the other 4000$

try to read this first
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/render-farm-node,23...


I wish that were possible but given the specs I need for my main workstation it would still be easily over $2,000 not leaving enough left over for the farm. Some day though.... some day...
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April 18, 2012 12:24:15 PM

Actually I'm against water cooling for your usage, a cooler master hyper 212 evo/plus shouldnot be that packed unless your ok with those cheaper smaller cooler.

go with 2133 ram speed. and how about a quadro 6000? I'm thinking of grabbing one too. or get a 5000 one.

I 2nd demotion the G.skill ram ripjaws Z it's an awesome ram, I used them on all my lga2011 system and some ripjaws x and sniper and corsair vengeance on others. I won't recommend a cosmos II for this one, how about tj11? if your going watercooling. but a cosmos II is nice as you can see my sig I use one.

128gb crucial m4 or any higher if you want
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April 18, 2012 4:10:14 PM

Quote:
Actually I'm against water cooling for your usage, a cooler master hyper 212 evo/plus shouldnot be that packed unless your ok with those cheaper smaller cooler.


Look at the SR-X and then tell me that a pair of 212 Evos will work:



The CPUs are so close together that one 212 would block the other and then you'd risk overheating issues - and you don't want to risk a $1K CPU to that, do you?

Quote:
go with 2133 ram speed. and how about a quadro 6000? I'm thinking of grabbing one too. or get a 5000 one.


A Quaddro 6000 will be like 1/2 the budget - you're looking at a $3K video card and I'd rather get a pair of Fire Pros and run 4 - 5 monitors than a single $3K Quaddro.
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April 18, 2012 7:04:55 PM

g-unit1111 said:
Quote:

CPU COOLER's: 1. Thermaltake Frio (Will 2 of these fit without covering the DIMM's?)
2. I was hoping to stay away from Liquid Cooling as it seems to be rather unnecessary unless you plan to significantly overclock (E5's are locked) but if you guys think that would a better option then I can go with that instead.


Cooling on the SR-X is incredibly difficult - you almost have to have a liquid radiator on this thing. Before on its' predecessor - the SR-2, everything was spaced out accordingly. But the SR-X compacts it a bit more making your choices difficult. Two Frios will not fit as the Frio is a *HUGE* cooler.

I'd recommend something like this:

Case: Cooler Master Cosmos II - $349.99
PSU: Silverstone Strider ST1500 - $399.99
Motherboard: EVGA Classified SR-X - $689.99
CPU: 2 x Intel Xeon E5-2650 - $1099.99 each
RAM: GeIL EVO CORSA Series 64GB (8 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 - $494.99
SSD: 128GB Crucial M4 - $159.99
HD: 3TB Seagate Barracuda ST - $169.99
Optical: LG BD-R Burner - $79.99
Video Card: 2 x ATI Fire Pro V7800 - $699.99 each
OS: Windows 7 Pro - $249.99

Total: $6,164.89


Do you think I'll notice much difference between the 2650 and the 2670, now that I'm going to have to water cool this thing I'm going to need to make some cut backs.
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April 18, 2012 8:30:39 PM

Liquid cooling that in a Cosmo II would be easy, You'd want to use Tygon I think... at least between the first CPU out and second CPU in as that bend looks a little sharp... also some clamps wouldn't hurt. to bad your not local or I'd help you out with it =)
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April 18, 2012 11:39:54 PM

ColeHarris said:
Do you think I'll notice much difference between the 2650 and the 2670, now that I'm going to have to water cool this thing I'm going to need to make some cut backs.


Well not really - if you get a really crafty overclocker - you can clock the 2650 to the same speed as the 2670 and you'll save about $500 on each CPU. They're the exact same CPU but one has a higher clock than the other. The Xeons are a bit trickier to OC from what I've been reading but it can be done.
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April 19, 2012 12:02:10 AM

What about exhausting two single fan Hyper 212+'s upwards? You'd have to check the measurements on that, but it might work just fine.

Obviously, you can water cool as well. Two H80's would be the simplest thing, but not the best.
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April 19, 2012 6:05:33 AM

dalauder said:
What about exhausting two single fan Hyper 212+'s upwards? You'd have to check the measurements on that, but it might work just fine.

Obviously, you can water cool as well. Two H80's would be the simplest thing, but not the best.


Can you mount 2 H80s in one case? I didn't think that was possible.
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April 19, 2012 7:47:06 AM

g-unit1111 said:
Can you mount 2 H80s in one case? I didn't think that was possible.
I know two H100's is pretty much impossible (obviously). I guess I was assuming an H80 would fit in a 140mm fan slot. That is, it uses 120mm fans, but the radiator is oversized. I don't know if you could fit two on the back (would pretty much need two 140mm slots), but plenty of cases would let you fit one on top and one in back.
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April 19, 2012 11:11:40 AM

cosmos ii does not support HPTX motherboards i.e. sr-x wont fit in the case.

for that monstorious motherboard you will need a really big case like

corsair 800D or the lanli cases or those ufo ones.

my recommendation is to stick with corsair 800D or the lan li cases.



for the cooling it seems that hypers are gonna block each other or their will be a great air turbulance.

for that use 2 h80 to cool it . it is the best bet you have for the price or use custom wc or the pre configured one. :D 



for the pc build gunit1111 always has an advantage while suggesting gaming pcs but not for workstation.

it seems like you are suggesting him a workstation just replacing mobo and cpu for workstation.

obviously not even 2 quadro 6000 would need more that 1000w even after oc.

and ati gpu always energy efficient . and by the ways pro gpus are always underclocked so consumes less power.



my suggestion

http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx...

EVGA SR-X motherboard

2 x intel E-5 2650
evga srx
2 x gskill ripjaws 4x8gb 1600mhz ddr3 ram
pny quadro 5000 2.5gb
seasonic x-1050 1050w 80+ gold psu
samsung 830 128gb ssd (for os and programs)
2 x wd carvier black 1 tb 7200rpm hdd in RAID0 (for work files and some important files)
seagate baracuda 3tb 7200rpm hdd(for storage)
lg 12x blue ray burner.

corsair h80 liquid cooler x 2


for cases its just personal preference.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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April 19, 2012 3:11:57 PM

I've begun to put together what I think will be a decent Liquid system, heres what I have so far:

2x EK-VGA Supreme HF Acetal (AMD V7900's)

EK-VGA Supreme HF Bridge Acetal

2x EK Supreme HF Acetal LGA 2011

TNK-501 5.25" Reservoir

Koolance 4x120mm Radiator (Bottom)

Switech 3x120mm MCR-320 Radiator (Top)

Danger Den DD-CPX 12v Pump

7x Aerocool 120mm Fans

Various tubing and compression fittings

Also I've found a couple of cases that look rather decent:

LD PC-V8
Xilence Interceptor Pro

Both seem to have plenty of room for the SR-X as well as a Liquid system so if you have any experience with either of these let me know.
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April 19, 2012 6:16:54 PM

ColeHarris said:
I've begun to put together what I think will be a decent Liquid system, heres what I have so far:

2x EK-VGA Supreme HF Acetal (AMD V7900's)

EK-VGA Supreme HF Bridge Acetal

2x EK Supreme HF Acetal LGA 2011

TNK-501 5.25" Reservoir

Koolance 4x120mm Radiator (Bottom)

Switech 3x120mm MCR-320 Radiator (Top)

Danger Den DD-CPX 12v Pump

7x Aerocool 120mm Fans

Various tubing and compression fittings

Also I've found a couple of cases that look rather decent:

LD PC-V8
Xilence Interceptor Pro

Both seem to have plenty of room for the SR-X as well as a Liquid system so if you have any experience with either of these let me know.


If you want a case that can accommodate an XL-ATX motherboard and a good liquid setup go for the NZXT Switch 810: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It can house the Swiftech radiator with no problems whatsoever.
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April 19, 2012 8:27:50 PM

g-unit1111 said:
Well not really - if you get a really crafty overclocker - you can clock the 2650 to the same speed as the 2670 and you'll save about $500 on each CPU. They're the exact same CPU but one has a higher clock than the other. The Xeons are a bit trickier to OC from what I've been reading but it can be done.


So how exactly would I go about overclocking the 2650?
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April 19, 2012 8:51:47 PM

ColeHarris said:
So how exactly would I go about overclocking the 2650?


The problem with overclocking is that no two systems are alike. That's usually why the hardcore overclockers will not give system-specific information out - what's good for one system will have damaging consequences to the next. Once you get your system up and running there's plenty of guides and forums that can help you - there's one here and try overclockers.net as well - they usually have some good information.
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April 20, 2012 1:08:16 AM

If you're seriously worried about rendering, then drop it down to a single Quadro 4000 and build a render node. As I've said many times on this forum, I don't trust ATI's Pro drivers... the trouble I had with the HP z400 was just too much. Yes, I realize the render node article needs to be updated. For about $1k you can buiild a render node that will add half again to your render power, whereas unless you're doing architectural rendering using iray or VrayRT, the second Quadro 4000 will do *nothing* for your render times.

Also note that Mari does not support ATI cards...
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April 20, 2012 2:47:24 AM

Draven35 said:
If you're seriously worried about rendering, then drop it down to a single Quadro 4000 and build a render node. As I've said many times on this forum, I don't trust ATI's Pro drivers... the trouble I had with the HP z400 was just too much. Yes, I realize the render node article needs to be updated. For about $1k you can buiild a render node that will add half again to your render power, whereas unless you're doing architectural rendering using iray or VrayRT, the second Quadro 4000 will do *nothing* for your render times.

Also note that Mari does not support ATI cards...


Thats a shame the Firepro cards to seem to have excellent geometry rendering performance.

So if I were to spend a thousand dollars on a render node what kind of hardware would you recommend? I've set up render farms using multiple computers but I've never built or managed individual node systems so I really have no idea were to begin as far as building one.

The main reason I was going with 2 cards was so that I could run multiple monitors off of one without taxing the other.
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April 20, 2012 3:42:46 AM

Ok let's do this:

ASRock P67 PRO3 SE $95
Intel Core i7-2600K 3.4GHz $310
Rosewill FBM-01 MicroATX Mini Tower $30
Rosewill Green Series RG630-S12 630 W $60
Seagate Barracuda ST500DM002 500 GB SATA 6Gb/s $80
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 32GB (4 x 8GB) $210
LG 22x DVD Burner SATA Model GH22NS90B-OEM $22
COOLER MASTER Hyper TX3 $28
Windows 7 Professional x64 $140

Total $975

If your renderers don't respond well to hyperthreading then you can cut the CPU down to an i5-2400 and shave $120 from the price. Unless you're using GPU-based rendering, then the system doesn't need a graphics card the onboard graphics will work fine. If you put it in a 1U case instead of the small desktop case, you're going to need a different cooler. Component choices come from the $650 gaming system and the $1250 enthusiast PC, the RAM is the same RAM you specified for the workstation. All prices are from NewEgg or the appropriate previous article.

Note that you can drop another hundred or so from the price by only having 16 GB in the node. Not only is it going to be half the RAM, but you also can use a motherboard which has only two memory slots... all depends on what you need out of the node. You'd need to evaluate if your scenes really take up 32 GB (they likely do not)
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April 20, 2012 4:17:54 AM

serialkiller said:
for the pc build gunit1111 always has an advantage while suggesting gaming pcs but not for workstation.

it seems like you are suggesting him a workstation just replacing mobo and cpu for workstation.

obviously not even 2 quadro 6000 would need more that 1000w even after oc.

and ati gpu always energy efficient . and by the ways pro gpus are always underclocked so consumes less power.


That's because I've mostly built workstations with gaming hardware since my company is too cheap to spring for the higher-end workstation stuff. :lol: 

I've built a few 4U servers but server hardware doesn't always make the best workstation hardware.
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April 20, 2012 6:21:28 AM

Draven35 said:
Ok let's do this:

ASRock P67 PRO3 SE $95
Intel Core i7-2600K 3.4GHz $310
Rosewill FBM-01 MicroATX Mini Tower $30
Rosewill Green Series RG630-S12 630 W $60
Seagate Barracuda ST500DM002 500 GB SATA 6Gb/s $80
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 32GB (4 x 8GB) $210
LG 22x DVD Burner SATA Model GH22NS90B-OEM $22
COOLER MASTER Hyper TX3 $28
Windows 7 Professional x64 $140

Total $975

If your renderers don't respond well to hyperthreading then you can cut the CPU down to an i5-2400 and shave $120 from the price. Unless you're using GPU-based rendering, then the system doesn't need a graphics card the onboard graphics will work fine. If you put it in a 1U case instead of the small desktop case, you're going to need a different cooler. Component choices come from the $650 gaming system and the $1250 enthusiast PC, the RAM is the same RAM you specified for the workstation. All prices are from NewEgg or the appropriate previous article.

Note that you can drop another hundred or so from the price by only having 16 GB in the node. Not only is it going to be half the RAM, but you also can use a motherboard which has only two memory slots... all depends on what you need out of the node. You'd need to evaluate if your scenes really take up 32 GB (they likely do not)


Thanks! So if I am to begin building a render farm I think I would prefer to go with something more expandable instead building inside of a standard computer case, what do you think of this server rack-mount case:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

At least that way I'll have more room to expand my farm as more funds become available. So with that in mind I've made some adjustments to the configuration that you outlined:

ASRock H61M-VS Micro ATX Intel Motherboard $55
Intel Core i7-2600K 3.4GHz $310
ARK 4U-500-CA Black 4U Rackmount Case $85
Rosewill Green Series RG630-S12 630 W $60
Seagate Barracuda ST500DM002 500 GB SATA 6Gb/s $80
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) $105
LG 22x DVD Burner SATA Model GH22NS90B-OEM $22
Titan DC-155A915Z/RPW 95mm Z-AXIS CPU Cooler $17
Windows 7 Professional x64 $140

Total $874

Let me know if you think that would be an adequate configuration.

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April 20, 2012 7:44:02 AM

Sure, but generally 'expansion' with a render node is a matter of buying another node... Maybe in a year or two you'll want to add a graphics card to the box if you're going to be using GPU-based rendering... a render node really is just for rendering and so you want it to be as low footprint as possible. It doesn't need lots of onboard storage, because it should be reading the project files from a central location (whether the workstation or a seperate fileserver)

Also you should plan to use wired networking. wi-fi isn't great for moving large files to and from nodes.

You should alsp be ready to bootcamp your mac so you can use it for rendering as well, or run a windows 'box' under parallels...
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April 20, 2012 7:49:17 AM

Draven35 said:
Sure, but generally 'expansion' with a render node is a matter of buying another node... Maybe in a year or two you'll want to add a graphics card to the box if you're going to be using GPU-based rendering... a render node really is just for rendering and so you want it to be as low footprint as possible. It doesn't need lots of onboard storage, because it should be reading the project files from a central location (whether the workstation or a seperate fileserver)

Also you should plan to use wired networking. wi-fi isn't great for moving large files to and from nodes.

You should alsp be ready to bootcamp your mac so you can use it for rendering as well, or run a windows 'box' under parallels...


Yeah thats what I meant by being able to expand. I was planning to setup a NAS for file storage that way I dont need to transfer project files when I'm ready to render. Luckily I already have network render software on my Mac's that will communicate between both OSX and Windows so hopefully there will be no need for a Windows install.
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April 20, 2012 7:53:35 AM

you shouldn't need to transfer project files anyway, just share the project directory from the workstation and map it to the other systems as a drive, thats how we did it before we built a server.
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April 20, 2012 8:02:42 AM

Draven35 said:
you shouldn't need to transfer project files anyway, just share the project directory from the workstation and map it to the other systems as a drive, thats how we did it before we built a server.


I thought I read somewhere that sharing locally can be very taxing on your workstation especially for very large renders, either way I'd still feel more comfortable about having my files somewhere other than my desktop where things have a higher probability of going wrong.
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April 20, 2012 9:57:46 AM

It isn't very taxing if you're only sharing with a few nodes. But sure, an NAS or a drobo or a small linux box would be better... but you still shouldn't be 'transferring' the files to and from your NAS, you should be working with them on the network, especially since you'd be the only person generating the heavy network traffic.
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April 20, 2012 2:04:00 PM

Draven35 said:
It isn't very taxing if you're only sharing with a few nodes. But sure, an NAS or a drobo or a small linux box would be better... but you still shouldn't be 'transferring' the files to and from your NAS, you should be working with them on the network, especially since you'd be the only person generating the heavy network traffic.


Yeah I guess what I meant was that if I have a networked storage device then I'll be able to work with the files during the entire project and therefore have no need to transfer files at render time, I must not have explained properly.

So would it be possible to overclock individual nodes or would that generate to much heat given the smaller enclosure/s? Also how does licensing windows work across multiple nodes, I thought read that you can just install to your first drive and then make a clone of that drive for every following node? Or do you need a network license?
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April 20, 2012 4:41:48 PM

ColeHarris said:
Thanks! So if I am to begin building a render farm I think I would prefer to go with something more expandable instead building inside of a standard computer case, what do you think of this server rack-mount case:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

At least that way I'll have more room to expand my farm as more funds become available. So with that in mind I've made some adjustments to the configuration that you outlined:

ASRock H61M-VS Micro ATX Intel Motherboard $55
Intel Core i7-2600K 3.4GHz $310
ARK 4U-500-CA Black 4U Rackmount Case $85
Rosewill Green Series RG630-S12 630 W $60
Seagate Barracuda ST500DM002 500 GB SATA 6Gb/s $80
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) $105
LG 22x DVD Burner SATA Model GH22NS90B-OEM $22
Titan DC-155A915Z/RPW 95mm Z-AXIS CPU Cooler $17
Windows 7 Professional x64 $140

Total $874

Let me know if you think that would be an adequate configuration.


That won't if you plan to do any sort of rendering - with H61 you forfeit access to the multiplier on your CPU which makes overclocking useless. You also forfeit RAM slots and SATA ports for drive expansion. And that extra CPU cooler is no better than the stock fan.
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April 20, 2012 6:08:49 PM

g-unit1111 said:
That won't if you plan to do any sort of rendering - with H61 you forfeit access to the multiplier on your CPU which makes overclocking useless. You also forfeit RAM slots and SATA ports for drive expansion. And that extra CPU cooler is no better than the stock fan.


Ok hmmm... Thanks. It looks like maybe I'm better off waiting to invest in a render farm until I can afford to really do it properly, or maybe not I don't know. I'm simply trying to get the most bang for my buck so to speak and I'm still unsure as to how to do that. Should I spend the extra thousand dollars on my workstation or am I really better off building a render node? So many choices....
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April 20, 2012 6:20:58 PM

ColeHarris said:
Ok hmmm... Thanks. It looks like maybe I'm better off waiting to invest in a render farm until I can afford to really do it properly, or maybe not I don't know. I'm simply trying to get the most bang for my buck so to speak and I'm still unsure as to how to do that. Should I spend the extra thousand dollars on my workstation or am I really better off building a render node? So many choices....


I'd personally spend it on the main workstation - that's the computer you'll use the most and it helps to get the most out of it - some people will try to convince you otherwise and I wouldn't bother 4U until you can get proper workstation / server hardware to go with it.
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April 20, 2012 6:34:23 PM

g-unit1111 said:
I'd personally spend it on the main workstation - that's the computer you'll use the most and it helps to get the most out of it - some people will try to convince you otherwise and I wouldn't bother 4U until you can get proper workstation / server hardware to go with it.


So what should I spend that extra $1000 on? I was thinking of maybe going with a Quadro 4000 in addition to the Firepro v7900 that way I could run my monitors off the Firepro leaving the Quadro for more taxing things like Mari and Zbrush, or would I be better off upgrading the CPU or RAM?
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April 20, 2012 11:18:08 PM

g-unit1111 said:
I'd personally spend it on the main workstation - that's the computer you'll use the most and it helps to get the most out of it - some people will try to convince you otherwise and I wouldn't bother 4U until you can get proper workstation / server hardware to go with it.


Serving files to a single render node off of his workstation isn't going to cause that much of a system load. Three nodes, maybe. Five nodes, sure, ten nodes, definitely. One? No, especially if the render times are long. 3d rendering doesn't depend on disk access once the scene is loaded it depends on CPU power. Unless he overclocks the system into the stratosphere, there isn't anything he can do to the workstation at this point to increase rendering speed that wouldn't be surpassed by buying a single render node, especially if he moderately overclocks the node.

Having a render node also means he can be working on something else while one thing is rendering. The ability to build a render queue cannot be understated. Put things in the queue while you work on the next shot in the sequence, when you lay off for the night, throw the workstation into the queue (any decent render queue manager will support dynamically taking systems in and out of the queue) then pull the workstation back out when you need to use it... you can even schedule the workstation to be released from the queue before you need it with some network render managers. He could likely even set it to use one processor (or a certain number of cores) on the workstation so he can still work while rendering in the background (serious crunch time CPU usage).

(Or you could save the $1000 and use it to buy time on a commercial renderfarm as you need it, but that's a lot of uploading/downloading...)
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April 21, 2012 12:08:40 AM

ColeHarris said:
So what should I spend that extra $1000 on? I was thinking of maybe going with a Quadro 4000 in addition to the Firepro v7900 that way I could run my monitors off the Firepro leaving the Quadro for more taxing things like Mari and Zbrush, or would I be better off upgrading the CPU or RAM?


Well you can't run a Quaddro and a Fire Pro simultaneously. You will need either 2 x Fire Pro or 2 x Quaddro in order to utilize the full power of the GPUs. That's where I would recommend spending the money.
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April 21, 2012 12:48:10 AM

g-unit1111 said:
Well you can't run a Quaddro and a Fire Pro simultaneously. You will need either 2 x Fire Pro or 2 x Quaddro in order to utilize the full power of the GPUs. That's where I would recommend spending the money.


Really I thought I read somewhere that Windows 7 supported multiple cards and multiple drivers.

I guess I have a bit of a decision to make, I really wish there was some way other than water cooling to cool CPU's on the SR-X, that would save me a fair bit of money which I could use to invest in a render node as well as afford 2 GPU's.
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April 21, 2012 3:19:33 AM

Just want to make sure you all understand, two GPUs will NOT accelerate rendering unless you use iray or VRayRT, and both have pretty severe limitations (in iray: photometric lights only, materials are limited to a restricted list, and your scene must fit into the GPU memory)
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April 21, 2012 4:08:05 AM

Draven35 said:
Just want to make sure you all understand, two GPUs will NOT accelerate rendering unless you use iray or VRayRT, and both have pretty severe limitations (in iray: photometric lights only, materials are limited to a restricted list, and your scene must fit into the GPU memory)


I was more thinking along the lines of high polygon modeling and very large texturing painting as well as very detailed sculpts in Mudbox or Zbrush (500 million+ polys). My machine has a rather decent(ish) GPU and yet it still has trouble handle anything upwards of 400,000 polygons.
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April 21, 2012 4:39:27 AM

Also depends on how well your app of choice handles polygons. Are we talking straight polygons, or subdivided normal-mapped stuff like out of zbrush?
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April 21, 2012 5:05:18 AM

Draven35 said:
Also depends on how well your app of choice handles polygons. Are we talking straight polygons, or subdivided normal-mapped stuff like out of zbrush?


Both, I due the majority of my Polygonal modeling in 3DS Max or Maya and if sculpting is required on those meshes I send them over to either ZBrush or Mudbox. I also do a bit of Nurbs modeling which can also be rather demanding.
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April 21, 2012 5:12:24 AM

ColeHarris said:
Both, I due the majority of my Polygonal modeling in 3DS Max or Maya and if sculpting is required on those meshes I send them over to either ZBrush or Mudbox. I also do a bit of Nurbs modeling which can also be rather demanding.


What about subdivision surfaces? those too?
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April 21, 2012 5:22:36 AM

Draven35 said:
What about subdivision surfaces? those too?


Sometimes, more often though I just end up modeling with Polys and then adding a smooth modifier (turbo smooth in Max) prior to rendering.
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April 21, 2012 5:59:25 AM

Ah, the turbo smooth modifier is close to how SDS act anyway, that causes a massive hike in poly count. Are you talking about the poly count before or after that modifier?
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