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jazzman121
01-23-2003, 01:17 PM
OK i wanted to know is there anyyyy motherboard out there that can have 3 or 4 processors? and

HOw can u conect 2 dual processor motherboards .. together?

Thalaxis
01-23-2003, 02:52 PM
There are, but they are mostly marketed into server markets, and therefore rather expensive; most machines built around them run $20,000-$50,000 before you start tacking on stuff like piles of memory and disk arrays and such.

So don't expect such a beast in a workstation anytime soon... but I suspect that it will happen eventually.

The best way to connect two motherboards together, and I'm assuming that your intention is to improve rendertimes, is to simply build two machines and put fast or gigabit ethernet cards in them.

GregHess
01-23-2003, 04:27 PM
There are some cases which support dual motherboards, but their extremely large, extremely heavy, and EXTREMELY expensive. I think mr zaon due himself has one :). Their also alot harder to get a hold of now...mushkin used to sell them, but not any longer.

Quad boards are extremely deceptive in their pricing. It will appear sometimes that a Quad board might cost around 300-400 USD...but then you'll note that its missing the ram riser, and some other mission critical components, when added together can drastically increase the cost. (300-400 USD for a Quad PII Xeon...hehe)

Don't forget that quad systems are even more finiky when it comes to power supplies, memory types, etc etc. A very expensive system if built correctly.

Thalaxis
01-23-2003, 04:46 PM
For a current dual Xeon motherboard, you can expect to pay close to $600... I imagine that quad boards would be even pricier than that.

dmeyer
01-23-2003, 05:23 PM
Supermicro makes some quads, but they all (i believe) are in server configs and usually don't have AGP.

elvis
01-23-2003, 10:39 PM
if you want a quad these days, it's usually easier to buy one from someone like Dell, HP/Compaq etc. the only downside is that these are typically server systems, and as such you pay "server prices". most of them are designed for large-scale database number crunching and the like.

the other downside is that if you run more than 2 processors, you'll need windows 2000 server (or advanced server for 4 processors with HT turned on). that alone can cost you $3k or more just for the OS!

Thalaxis
01-24-2003, 02:20 PM
Originally posted by elvis

the other downside is that if you run more than 2 processors, you'll need windows 2000 server (or advanced server for 4 processors with HT turned on). that alone can cost you $3k or more just for the OS!

That's also a good reason to use Linux on one of those :applause:

elvis
01-25-2003, 07:31 AM
Originally posted by Thalaxis
That's also a good reason to use Linux on one of those :applause:

if you can find software that works with linux! :(

there are a few renderers that will work with linux, which you can then have as a single "render-farm" node, or possibly something like blender. otherwise if you want your 2D art you're limited to the GIMP.

you could use WINE and the like, but the performance loss on the port would be just as much as if you used a dual processor with native windows.

Goon
01-25-2003, 02:31 PM
Lightwave renders on linux and with pixar and ILM shifting to linux Renderman and MR probably will too, if they don't already.

kyphur
01-26-2003, 01:11 AM
Yeah, both MR (maya release) and Pixar Renderman work for Intel and Linux.

Kyph

elvis
01-26-2003, 05:10 AM
Originally posted by kyphur
Yeah, both MR (maya release) and Pixar Renderman work for Intel and Linux.

Kyph

ITYM "windows and linux".

beaker
01-26-2003, 06:40 AM
>>if you can find software that works with linux! :(

very little software that runs on linux? Where do you get that at, there is plenty, especially in the 3d arena. Maya, Softimage3d, XSI, Houdini, Lightwave(soon), wings3d, etc...


>>there are a few renderers that will work with linux, which you can then have as a single "render-farm" node, or possibly something like blender.

Very few? again, there are plenty:
Maya, MR, Prman, Bmrt, Entropy, Aquis, Air, 3delite, Render dot c, Mantra, VMantra, LW, Radiance.
Most of these are the professional ones, there are many hobbiest ones(Blender, POV ray, etc..)

>>otherwise if you want your 2D art you're limited to the GIMP.

Again, not true, there are many professional 2d image editing apps. Ifx Amazon paint, Idruna Photogenics and Photogenics HDR, Corel Draw/Photopaint. Also FilmGimp is used by many film houses for their paint software(R&H, sony, etc..).

elvis
01-26-2003, 07:08 AM
firstly, my comment was "a few", not "very few". this was not intended as a limiting statement, so my apologies if it came out the wrong way.

what i was intending to get across was for content creation, rather than actual final rendering, the options for high-end tools are more limiting on linux (and mac for that matter) than they are on the windows paltform. no, that is not to say there are NO packages (because of course there are, there's no doubting that). only that if you thrive on a variety of tools, you are going to limit your choice of OS.

unfortunately most of the tools you list are either not modelling packages, out of production or merely an interface to some other bigger package.

and in the same breath, i am not trying to advocate windows. indeed i am the first to say i sincerely hope that companies like adobe, disreet and autodesk take their research into linux seriously, and don't dump it as a "geeks only" operating system. there were plenty of rumours 12 months ago about adobe investigating photoshop and acrobat having linux ports, which would make me as a distributor to small business users very happy.

it's true also my personal experience with linux-based content creation tools is limited, so i'll apologise again for coming across a little uneducated on the matter. my personal background with linux is one of large scale server and storage solutions rather than visual content creation tools.

the architectural firm i work for do all of their visualisation in bentley microstation (no longer supporting linux as of V8), autocad architectural desktop, 3dsmax, 3ds VIZ and a wide range of adobe products. as you can clearly see, this means a linux-free environment for our desktop users. most of the small business CAD people i consult to also use autocad and 3dsmax, which limits them to windows (and typically at a greater cost per license than what large corporations pay, which is extrememly unfair IMHO).

anyways, long story short: i didn't mean to write linux off. i'm just pointing out that the majority of users in these forums use software that requires windows in some form or another, and that a quad processor system (especially one with HT enabled) means that you'd have to shell out mega-bucks to find software that could make the most of your system.

to jump back to the original topic for a moment: my solution would be that two dual-processor systems would most likely serve you better in terms of cost and performance over a quad (or more) processor system, both in initial hardware costs and ongoing software licensing (excluding the linux issues above).

Gyan
01-26-2003, 08:37 AM
Originally posted by elvis
the options for high-end tools are more limiting on linux.


Although that's true, you can still have a more or less complete suite of packages used in the 3D workflow. What you don't have is the flexibility to switch apps. But then again, how many artists change 3D apps every 3 months ? Most 3D artists I have known have dedicated knowledge of one 3D app and a general knowledge of the rest. If your chosen app is on Linux, you can switch to it. Of course, what you may be lamenting about is the lack of all those helpful utilities/specialized packages(standalone or plugin). In that case, you may be right.


indeed i am the first to say i sincerely hope that companies like adobe, disreet and autodesk take their research into linux seriously, and don't dump it as a "geeks only" operating system.


Isn't discreet a division of Autodesk now ? But they're probably independent management, but I digress.

I think the lack of support for linux is as much a political discussion as a research/logistical one. Like I said elsewhere, products like Photoshop or Oracle create a market. I'm sure Adobe or discreet don't think of linux as "geeks only". They know that Avid, sgi among others have ported their software to linux. And those software are the big guns of 3D. Also, I don't remember the specifics now, but some big studio (ILM, I think) announced they were switching a lot of their desktops(not render nodes) to linux. So, I don't think its a matter of perception as "geeks OS" anymore. It is more to do with Adobe/MS/Apple strategy than "linux is not worth it".

That said, general users won't think linux is worth it until Adobe, Macromedia & discreet port products. So, its a vicious cycle which only the companies can break.

MCronin
01-26-2003, 09:35 AM
Originally posted by elvis
firstly, my comment was "a few", not "very few". this was not intended as a limiting statement, so my apologies if it came out the wrong way.

what i was intending to get across was for content creation, rather than actual final rendering, the options for high-end tools are more limiting on linux (and mac for that matter) than they are on the windows paltform. no, that is not to say there are NO packages (because of course there are, there's no doubting that). only that if you thrive on a variety of tools, you are going to limit your choice of OS.

unfortunately most of the tools you list are either not modelling packages, out of production or merely an interface to some other bigger package.

I understand you are coming from the point of view of a designer who focuses on CAD and Solid modeling, and the pickings are pretty slim on Linux in that area, but as far as most 3D modelers and animators who do film and video are concerned, they just use the modeling tools of Maya, XSI, or Houdini. For high end 3D animation production,
Windows has nothing on Linux. The three major 3D packages are there, Maya, XSI, Houdini. For paint, GIMP is good, Film GIMP lets you work on floating point images, and Amazon Paint is pretty much the mother of all paint programs, sporting more features for production work than any Windows Paint app can approach. For compositing you've got Shake, Halo, and NUKE and for rendering you've got PRMan, Mental Ray, Mantra, and a boatload of Renderman compliant or based renderers. Every tool you need is there, except a really good editing solution. For that though, most houses will go to Discreet's products on Irix, or dedicated Macs. For hobbyists and home users there a plenty of freeware editors that can get the job done on Linux. For audio, let's face facts, Macs still completely dominate that arena.

In production, every major commercial tool that a studio would use is available on Linux, and the areas where Linux is lacking are easily made up with much better solutions than anything Windows offers on SGI and Mac. Because OSX and Irix are Unix operating systems they fit much more nicely into a pipeline that centers around Linux than Windows. The end result is also that it's probably much more cost efficient to put together a production house based around Linux with Irix and OSX support than it is to build a pipeline that's purely Windows.

So, yeah, don't write off Linux. There's more to the world of 3D animation than Max, Adobe Premiere, Photoshop, After Effects and Combustion, and the tools people are putting out on Linux are better in some cases.

anyways, long story short: i didn't mean to write linux off. i'm just pointing out that the majority of users in these forums use software that requires windows in some form or another

The sad thing is most people around here don't realize they can use something else, and work much cheaper. I've been happily using Linux almost exclusively for several months now. Beleive me, I never thought anything would pry me from Windows, but the more I looked into it, the more I found that Linux can do what I need. Right now I'm using legal software and didn't pay a dime for any of it. Houdini for modeling, animation and compositing, Cinelerra for editing and some compositing, and Gimp and Film Gimp for 2D. Sure Cinelerra and Gimp aren't as "professional" as Photoshop and Premiere or Combustion or whatever, but they are just fine for my puropses (and probably the purposes of most of the people on these boards) and they actually do have a number of great features that you won't find in Windows products that cost hundreds or thousands of dollars.

The even greater thing is that I have become proficient with Unix based operating systems as a side effect. Last week, I took a gamble and I bought an old SGI Octane IP30 for 250 dollars. It's a 250 Mhz R10k SSI with 640 megs of RAM. It runs about as quick as a PIII 733 with a Quadro 2 Pro, but it's rock solid, the Open GL support is flawless, and works great with my two Linux PCs. It even has some handy built in Audio and Video hardware (inclucing optical in and out) and a set of simple no nonsense editing tools for audio and video. It runs Houdini great as well as Gimp, and works with my old serial Wacom tablet. A complete, reliable, professional 3D production studio ready to make content for a demo reel or the web that fits perfectly with my existsing systems, and I only paid 250 dollars for it. You can't come across a deal like that if you are relying on Windows.

I really recommend people who aren't relying on Windows because their job demands it, take a look at Linux or take advantage of the glut of old SGI iron that's flooding the second hand market. You might be suprised at what you can find.

Gyan
01-26-2003, 06:48 PM
Originally posted by MCronin

Right now I'm using legal software and didn't pay a dime for any of it. Houdini for modeling, animation and compositing,

Are we talking about the same Houdini here ? Are you sure it's not the Apprentice (learning version) ?

MCronin
01-27-2003, 02:02 AM
Yes, I'm talking about Apprentice. I was referring to the majority of users in this forum comment. The majority of the users in this forum are not professionals. The majority of the users in this forum only think they need to use Windows. The majority of the users in this forum think they need to spend 2-4,000 dollars on hardware and 1-20,000 on software or steal software to learn 3D. The majority of the users in this forum dream of working in film, and using Apprentice would better serve that end than using Max or Lightwave or Cinema 4D or Hash or pretty much any other piece of software. The fact is Houdini Apprentice is great. You can do pretty much anything with it you could do with Houdini Master except output to PRMan or Mental Ray, and it's more than capable of being used for a professional looking demo reel or online protfolio.

People think they need to spend tons of money on all this crap to get a decent environment set up for 3D. I was just giving an example of how anyone can get an environment set up at home, that is very much like what would be used by pros in big Hollywood studios for about what a copy of Hash Animation Master would cost. 200-500 dollars for a decent used workstation, 100 dollars for an old serial Wacom, free software, and you are good to go.

Northchild
01-27-2003, 03:22 PM
What I remember about Linux is that I tried to set up a version of Mandrake, (possibly 8.0 but I'm not 100% sure of the version number), a year ago before setting up Windows XP on my current PC (AMD/Nvidia). This wasn't an old version of Linux or anything - it was the most recent deluxe package available at CompUSA with documentation and technical support... the whole nine. I had built the computer myself out of name-brand standard stuff and had all hardware documentation available.

I sat down with it for three days and tried to install Mandrake a bunch of different ways. I don't believe that I was ever able to get this OS to recognize my video card plus some other basic things. The sound was screwed up somehow, don't even talk to me about getting any networking running.

Once I did get it running and it stopped crashing, everything looked like garbage (to be fair - this was in part due to the lower resolution, but the visuals weren't very sexy to begin with). Plus I had installed everything and had a gajillion programs on the desktop and had no idea of what they all did. I suspect that there were office suites and paint programs and the like, but they all had names that I never heard before and half of them didn't do anything at all when I double-clicked on them or tried to load them.

I could have spent more time on this and have learned more and possibly found something truly special, but I had had enough for the moment. I installed Windows XP Home the next day. It took me a couple of hours, everything worked flawlessly and looked great. Things were easy to customize.

Yes - I could have educated myself a little more about what was going on with Linux and given a day or a week on the phone with tech support and some downloads I could have probably set up a decent system and learned more about the names of the software. Someday I will attempt this on a second, inexpensive PC that I have built just for Linux - but I will have a Windows system ready to come home to if things go south.

Thalaxis
01-27-2003, 04:17 PM
Originally posted by Gyan
Also, I don't remember the specifics now, but some big studio (ILM, I think) announced they were switching a lot of their desktops(not render nodes) to linux. So, I don't think its a matter of perception as "geeks OS" anymore. It is more to do with Adobe/MS/Apple strategy than "linux is not worth it".


WETA Digital runs most of their stuff with Linux, for 3D content creation, compositing, and rendering. I don't remember what platform their content mangement stuff is running in, though.

beaker
01-27-2003, 08:10 PM
Originally posted by Gyan

Also, I don't remember the specifics now, but some big studio (ILM, I think) announced they were switching a lot of their desktops(not render nodes) to linux. So, I don't think its a matter of perception as "geeks OS" anymore. It is more to do with Adobe/MS/Apple strategy than "linux is not worth it".


I was at sony a couple months ago and 50% of their farm were dell linux rack mount boxes. They had about 500 linux boxes and 250 dual processor origin 200's which they said they would be replacing with linux boxes within the year(which had allready replaced another 250 origins that they swapped out for spiderman).

DD started using linux for renderfarm on titanic back in 95-96. PDI/dreamworks, disney and warner all moved to mostly linux for desktop and renderfarm. I worked at a studio called simex and we had a 250 processor renderfarm, again all linux. I could go on and on listing studios using linux for render nodes.

Thalaxis
01-27-2003, 08:15 PM
The last I heard, BlueSky was porting their proprietary rendering software to Linux -- on Itanium, building the first Itanium renderfram. (Must have had quite an AC unit, if you think Athlons run hot, just wait until you see the specs for Itanium and Itanium2.)

ILM bought a hefty cluster of Athlon/Linux boxes... PIXAR bought a bunch of P4/Linux boxes to run Maya... yes, indeed the list continues to grow. :bounce:

Joel Hooks
01-27-2003, 09:17 PM
Isn't there a siginificant performance drop off when you use SMP even at the 2 cpu level, and then every CPU after decreases in performance ?

I'd think you be better off getting a stack of those shuttles instead.

Thalaxis
01-27-2003, 09:31 PM
Originally posted by lowdown
Isn't there a siginificant performance drop off when you use SMP even at the 2 cpu level, and then every CPU after decreases in performance ?

I'd think you be better off getting a stack of those shuttles instead.

The absolute best case SMP scaling is basically 95%. That is to say that in a perfect world, every time you double the processor count, you show 1.95x as much performance as you had before.

So going from one CPU to two is good, cost wise. Beyond that and you're getting into middle ground. 4 to 8 is in the diminishing returns arena.

The reason that cluster computing is so popular is exactly that. It's because in general, you really are better off with a pile of Shuttle SFF boxes than you are with a big-ass 4 CPU monster box that would probably cost you 2x as much as 4 complete Shuttle nForce2 boxes with the fastest available Athlon.

Too bad that right now you can only put 2 GB ram in them; until we can get 2 GB DIMMs, that won't be circumventible.

Actully, there is a supercomputer (that I think is in the top 500 in the world) that is a Beowulf cluster built with Shuttle Athlon boxes (all running Linux) with MyriNet interfaces in them.
:bounce:

Joel Hooks
01-27-2003, 09:36 PM
The shuttles are cool because you can make a bookshelf renderfarm. No need for the heavy markup on Racks and rackmount cases. I think the term rackmount really means 3x price.

Thalaxis
01-27-2003, 10:01 PM
Can't argue with you there :)

The price difference in rack and blade severs is a shame when it comes to building renderfarms, because they allow for even more compute density than Shuttle's boxes.

Of course, you can use Shuttle nForce2 box as a workstation, a gaming rig with Dolby Digital encoding, AND as a render node, which makes it a better buy all around ;)

beaker
01-27-2003, 10:55 PM
>>The last I heard, BlueSky was porting their proprietary rendering software to Linux -- on Itanium, building the first Itanium renderfram. (Must have had quite an AC unit, if you think Athlons run hot, just wait until you see the specs for Itanium and Itanium2.)

Blue sky used a farm of 2000 alpha's on Ice Age(can't remember if they were using Tru64 or linux in the first place), so like any company in the industry, porting from one unix to another is no big deal(which is why many companies like ILM tried to skip windows all together). The linux port of prman from irix/sun/alpha took 1 day.

elvis
01-27-2003, 11:37 PM
Originally posted by Thalaxis
WETA Digital runs most of their stuff with Linux, for 3D content creation, compositing, and rendering. I don't remember what platform their content mangement stuff is running in, though.
WETA use custom software built in-house. i believe they do some of their modelling in Maya also, but not the majority of it. their battle scenes were done with a piece of software called "massive".

this is another reason i don't like quoting names of large companies using linux for 3d. yes their stuff runs on linux, but it's typically proprietry or hellishly expensive (and too difficult for the average user to set up for a one-off system).

Thalaxis
01-28-2003, 03:02 PM
Originally posted by elvis
WETA use custom software built in-house. i believe they do some of their modelling in Maya also, but not the majority of it. their battle scenes were done with a piece of software called "massive".


Well, they did model Gollum (and tune the mocap data, if I remember correctly) in Maya.

I don't think Massive includes modelling tools. It has a very sophisticated behavior system (that's the fuzzy logic part), and apparently a pretty good renderer, but I think the models are external.

elvis
01-29-2003, 12:32 AM
IIRC most of the models in LotR were all done in Maya. animation of the models vaired depending on the complexity and variability needed. most of the animation was all done using the balls-on-actors method (mind blank as to it's proper name).

massive was quite impressive. the coordination it used for the battle scenes took quite a while from what i understand. (2 weeks to plan around 2 hours of battle scenes, not including rendering time). still, impressive for something that was written in-house for one movie.

jazzman121
01-29-2003, 02:02 PM
ok this post has gone way out of topic.....

heres... a question...

is it better to buy two comps and hook em together... or to build a quad??? which would be better??? and if i have too hook up two dual motherboards... together or two comps with dual Mother boards in em... how do i doo it? can u refer me some cards?

thanks

GregHess
01-29-2003, 02:39 PM
Better to buy two dual cpu systems and hook them together. Some 3d apps (3dsmax) are horrendously bad at scaling, and get a pathetically small benefit from the addition of the second two cpu's (for 4 total).

Not to mention of course, that you could easily build an entire FARM of machines for the cost of a single quad cpu system. (Especially if the Quad system is up to date).

Ex. A Dell Quad 2.0 Xeon (Fastest avail is 2.0 for Xeon-MP) costs a BASE of $30,472 USD. [With 1 Gig of Ram per Proc]

http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx?c=us&cs=555&l=en&oc=pet6600pad

[You'll have to add the 4 gigs of ram, the 2.0 Xeon MP's, and all 4 processors to see the price I just quoted]

Thats without factoring in the cost of a win2k advanced server license (need support for 8 cpu's because of hyperthreading).

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