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ivoschouten2000
06-18-2012, 01:28 PM
I am currently updating our hardware at the office and need to make an educated choice;

We are planning to expand our render farm as to meet our needs. Currently our workstations are also chipping in with the render farm at night and are both dual proccesor 6 core Xeon machines.

We work with pretty hefty projects, 500mb + 5 milion polygons, thousands of objects and lots of complicated rigging. Furthermore I also have to import and export a lot of large 3D CAD files and use the workstation for AE work. Because of the shear size of the animation projects I am already suffering from a bit of laggy display performance.

When I upgrade our renderfarm do I still need the proccesor power in the workstations? It would be good to safe a few bucks on the workstation but it shouldn't comprimise the speed of the workflow.

Could anybody give me some solid advice on this?

I use cinema 4D and the workstation is fitted with a Quadro 4000 and 24bg of mem

(any tips on speeding up the display performance would also be more than welcome)

Thnx

Ivo Schouten

olson
06-18-2012, 02:28 PM
When I upgrade our renderfarm do I still need the proccesor power in the workstations? It would be good to safe a few bucks on the workstation but it shouldn't comprimise the speed of the workflow.


Typically the workstation should have the highest performance components since it affects what the user is doing in realtime. Render nodes can have lower performance processors and other components which are more cost effective and don't affect the user the same way as it would on a workstation.


(any tips on speeding up the display performance would also be more than welcome)


This could be related to how the software is drawing the information, for example using a period from a font to show a vertex instead of a OpenGL point. The hardware could be a limitation too, faster the processor cores the better and there are definitely faster graphics cards out there.

Srek
06-18-2012, 02:54 PM
Viewport speed depends on both, CPU and GPU speed. Multiple cores don't speed up the display mutch, what counts is clockrate. For a workstation i would prefer a core i7 CPU with the highest clockrate (in the most current line of CPUs) you can lay your hands on. For rendering multiple cores are usually the fastest solution.
Cheers
Björn

ivoschouten2000
06-18-2012, 04:00 PM
Thnx guys foor the quick and usefull advice. Any tips on a faster graphic card? We have a Nvidia Tesla card lying around at the office that is not being used, would that work with Cinema 4d?

olson
06-18-2012, 04:06 PM
Thnx guys foor the quick and usefull advice. Any tips on a faster graphic card? We have a Nvidia Tesla card lying around at the office that is not being used, would that work with Cinema 4d?

Tesla cards are for general purpose computing (with CUDA or OpenCL). It will not change viewport performance. A higher end Quadro card will improve the viewport performance or perhaps a modern gaming card depending on the specifics of the applications being used. Not sure how well Cinema works with gaming cards but I'm sure someone has experience with that and can share.

ivoschouten2000
06-18-2012, 04:12 PM
Thnx Olsen,

I guess the tesla will be lying around collecting dust for a while. I'll start looking around for an upgrade on that Quadro 4000. Nice work on your site btw!

cheers Ivo

ivoschouten2000
06-18-2012, 07:03 PM
Does sli or crossfire give good results with cinema 4d?

Srek
06-19-2012, 07:20 AM
Neither crossfire nor SLI will give you any advantage in any of the 3D apps. Only games realy benefit from those.
CINEMA 4D works well with pro and gaming cards. Pro cards have a slight advantage in that the drivers are better maintained regarding stability. From a performance pov the gaming cards often are a bit better.

BabsDoProd
06-25-2012, 07:45 AM
I've looked into this for my own renderfarm research online and at trade shows like NAB. Here's some tips:

GPU

- Keep Quadro with Quadro and Geforce with Geforce. So, if you're set for Quadro, use only Quadro for best compatibility and results.

- Tesla is great for GPGPU rendering purposes whether through CUDA or OpenCL but isn't a replacement for a Quadro for main workstation use.

- Multiple GPUs won't help anything as of yet, GPGPU is still being worked on and the main issue isn't the number of processing cores, it's the limited amounts of RAM. Dream solution is to tie GPU cores with main system RAM or add-in card (think Fusion-io) rather than rely on GPU RAM.


CPU

- Faster is always better and more cores for rendering.

- If Intel, stay Intel and, like GPUs, try to keep everything all Xeon. If AMD, stick with AMD.

- Multiple AMD cores versus Intel virtual cores is apples and oranges in the grand scheme of things. A lot of software still isn't ideally optimized for multiple cores let alone trying to match different CPU techniques.

- For rendering, CPU speed vs. core count is your main budgetary battle.

Now with that announcement of the Xeon Phi cards, I'm almost wondering if that will be a better solution for rendering in the long run. It all depends on price and whether the cards are actually capable of such work. It'll probably be a while before we hear anything about that though since they've just been announced.

mirkoj
06-25-2012, 09:01 PM
you may tryout radeon hd7970 it showed to be way better than even some quadro cards. on some tests it outperformed quadro 5000.

in softimage and maya it showed amazing performances and price tag is good one.

ivoschouten2000
06-26-2012, 01:58 PM
Thnx BabsDoProd for sharing your extensive research, helps a lot! And mirkoj I will look into that Radeon, maybe get one and try if it does the job. I'll post any result..... :beer:

ivoschouten2000
06-29-2012, 01:04 PM
Would Solid state drives make a big difference in a workstation or render farm?

Srek
06-29-2012, 01:22 PM
Only when it comes to startup times. Rendering will not be affected.

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