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£2,000 for a rendering machine, what would you choose?

Last response: in Overclocking
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November 8, 2009 10:11:00 AM

Hi all

I have around 2,000 uk pounds to buy a new 3dsmax rendering machine and can't decide between the cheaper i7 clocked to 3.8Ghz or a dual xeon 5520 setup.

If I go for the i7 then I can get the latest ATI HD 5870 Gfx card (single cpu with DX 11 support so realtime viewport plugins should really benefit) I don't need a Quadro, use them at work and they are just overpriced imo. Its also for real time development too so I need a decent gamer card to test things out on. I can also get 3 x £200 monitors using EyeInfinity so lots of desktop space or something like a 24" Dell Ultrasharp but thats not as sexy as a 3 monitor setup :) 

If I go for the Dual Xeon setup then I get faster rendering from the additional cores but no monitor (will have to use my old 22" one) and a cheaper graphics card like a GT250 or something.

It will also be a main machine for all my other general stuff like encoding, gaming etc.

Any help, advice?

Thanks
Anim

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November 8, 2009 11:21:20 AM

I would go with the i7 box since you can then afford a decent card and monitors. The dual xeon is rather juicy but over priced for what you get plus you can always over clock to help close the gap but that is far as it goes. In the end you are better off with the i7 box.
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November 8, 2009 2:00:29 PM

Basic set up for 2000GBP (~3320 USD according to Google):

i7 920

ASUS P6T Deluxe v2

ATI 5770/5850/5870 or better/similer

Intel X25-M G2 or Kingston M series (which use the Intel controller and usually cheaper) SSD for OS

Samsung F3s possibly in RAID 01/5 for storage

2x decent 22"+ LCDs if you want and if budget allows

A good cooler like a Megahelmus or Core Contact Freezer to OC the i7. Or a WCing loop if you want (Warning: You WILL need to do a lot of research if planing to do WCing for the first time, it cost ~$250-350 (USD) to cool just the CPU)


A quick notes: I recommend you sticking to the LGA1366 platform as you'll be able to upgrade to the i9s (6 cores) down the road, which should benefit 3DS. Also, which real time view port plug in do you plan to use, IIRC there are like 4-5 available?

@Mods/OP: I believe this should be moved to the "Home Build" section?
November 8, 2009 4:04:44 PM

Great advice all, thanks very much. I posted in CPU forum because it was mostly (but not all) about Xeon vs i7 for rendering but if it should be moved then so be it.

Thanks again all

Anim



November 8, 2009 4:09:37 PM

richardscott said:
an overclocked i7 can nearly be as fast as two slow xenons, plus what program can use 16 cores :p , the 5870 with 3 monitors is a def plus but you dont need to spend £200 on each of them, http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/22-Viewsonic-VX2260W-Bla...



I am pretty sure that 3ds max's mental ray render engine will use all cores available (and uses hyper threading) and assign them as buckets when rendering.
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