Hmmmm, I know this is a long shot, but here goes anyway...
I am currently running a render farm with machines made up of dual PIII 1.4Ghz Tualatin CPU's and 1Gb of some very high-end SDRAM.
The machines run on W2k and the O/S is tweaked to get the most out of the hardware. I have read the mammoth CPU comparison chart(http://www6.tomshardware.com/cpu/20030217/index.html) and I am wondering just how fast my DUAL systems are likely to be when compared to the fastest P4 out there? 3D rendering is massivly processor intensive (often running at 100% CPU usage for hours/days at a time) but is it worth an upgrade just yet or are the benefits likely to be marginal?
Experience/Comments from any dual CPU owners who have upgraded would be appreciated (or anyone else who knows a thing or two for that matter).
Hm... These dual PIII 1.4Ghz are probably good at rendering. I'd say that, unless their performance is bothering you a lot, they're quite acceptable.
That being said, a 3.0Ghz P4C with HT will probably render quite a bit faster, and a dual Xeon setup will render MUCH faster... Exact numerical comparison is difficult to do, though, mainly because there are not many benchmarks of those 1.4Ghz Tualatin beasties. They're quite good processors, anyway, and should kill the 1.4Ghz P4 by a ridiculous margin.
Well, you sure as hell are not going to throw those tuallies away, so whatever you'd buy, you could just add them to the farm and keep those tuallies. So the more important question would be what is the best platform for your rendering now ? There are plenty of dual xeon, dual opteron, P4 and Athlon (64/fx) reviews floating around that should help you make up your mind, unless you use some 3D package that is not covered by any of those reviews..
= The views stated herein are my personal views, and not necessarily the views of my wife. =
Those are nice processors, the main thing holding back the piii's is memory bandwith, if you are running good quality ram you may be able to overclock those beasties just a bit to about 140-145mhz fsb, the added fsb and mem bandwith may help your system out.
I personally own a tualatin core celeron at 1.6ghz (145mhz fsb) it is very fast.
If it isn't a P6 then it isn't a procesor
110% BX fanboy
It's more a case of 'keeping my eye on the ball' and knowing when it's time to upgrade. I very seldom chase the latest, fastest kit but it doesn't hurt to know where you might be in the scheme of things - just in case you are near the back.
There is so much CPU twaddle talked these days and the 'which-manufacturer-can-put-the-biggest-Ghz-rating-on-their-CPU' race has just got out of hand. I am mystified by just how Intel got away with releasing a P4 that was initially slower in performance than the PIII...
...hang on a tick, I can feel a 'soap box' moment coming on. I'll stop right here and get back on subject.
I would go down the Xeon route, but costs are a little high for render-farm use. I don't actually trust P4 to deliver the goods as quick as Intel would have you believe and AMD is a viable option but not a great performer when battered by 3d Studio Max and Maya.
You guys have answered my question and saved my money - I'm happy with the Tualatins for the time being and I'll either wait until something really worth while comes out or just write 8Ghz on my Tualatins in biro and call them P5's...
Some rendering programs are better at taking advantage of dual CPU's than others, chances are your system might be up there with current top-end single processor systems, depending on how well the program makes use of dual CPUs.
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