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CIM
02-20-2008, 12:28 AM
http://gizmodo.com/358335/eight+core-intel-skulltrail-motherboard-gets-official-is-the-biggest-baddest-gaming-motherboard-around

Before you buy: most software only uses one core still. ;)

jcbray
02-20-2008, 01:34 AM
but the big programs used by people on this board can make use of multiple processors - rendering and encoding are two areas where this would speed things up. Dual socket motherboards have been around for a long time though - this is just a move to push it to the more mainstream I guess.

AMD did it a while ago - it was two dual cores though (this was before quad cores were available though).

SoLiTuDe
02-20-2008, 02:17 AM
We've been using 8 core machines for quite a few months now... and I've got to say it's still not enough! :)

Julius
02-20-2008, 02:43 AM
http://gizmodo.com/358335/eight+core-intel-skulltrail-motherboard-gets-official-is-the-biggest-baddest-gaming-motherboard-around

Before you buy: most software only uses one core still. ;)

I think 90% of people on here are aware of that. Those that have them are most likely doing rendering of some sort like myself.

mummey
02-20-2008, 03:01 AM
We've been using 8 core machines for quite a few months now... and I've got to say it's still not enough! :)

With regard to number of CPU cores, there comes a point where adding cores will no longer contribute to performance gains. At this point, the speed of I/O devices and/or the bandwidth between the system memory, CPU, and I/O devices become the bottleneck.

SoLiTuDe
02-20-2008, 04:43 AM
With regard to number of CPU cores, there comes a point where adding cores will no longer contribute to performance gains. At this point, the speed of I/O devices and/or the bandwidth between the system memory, CPU, and I/O devices become the bottleneck.

True. There does come a point where that happens... but 8 cores definetly isn't it. :)

guitarmunkee
02-20-2008, 05:29 AM
Ya I've been using an 8-core since october.....I'll tell you one thing....its fast. It sure beats the PC I have at home.

Srek
02-20-2008, 06:35 AM
http://gizmodo.com/358335/eight+core-intel-skulltrail-motherboard-gets-official-is-the-biggest-baddest-gaming-motherboard-around

Before you buy: most software only uses one core still. ;)
The biggest german computer magazin c´t tested the skulltrail system. The only app (from all they used in that test) that was able to utilize all eight cores at 100% was CINEBENCH (http://www.maxon.net/pages/download/cinebench_e.html)
What i found interesting was that even a multithreaded H264 encoder working on 1080p footage left enough power to play Unreal Tournament on 30" (2560x1600) fluently with maximum details at the same time ;)
Cheers
Björn

BigPixolin
02-20-2008, 01:23 PM
Ya I've been using an 8-core since october.....I'll tell you one thing....its fast. It sure beats the PC I have at home.

Same here and like others have said it is nowhere near enough.

Szos
02-20-2008, 03:50 PM
Remember - it's not about the hardware anymore.

Software is disgustingly behind the curve. The hardware guys have made enormous advances in the last few years... but the software guys are no where near fully utilizing it. And that's on almost all levels - OS down to individual apps and even drivers. Yea, you can throw more and more hardware at the problem, but it will eventially come to diminishing return if that hardware isn't gonna fully be used. What SREK posted is the perfect example of this.

Steve Green
02-20-2008, 04:40 PM
Absolutely - multi-threaded renderers are one thing, but more multi-threading where possible in the general application would be a godsend now that multiple cores are becoming commonplace.

- Steve

Sonk
02-20-2008, 04:49 PM
The biggest german computer magazin c´t tested the skulltrail system. The only app (from all they used in that test) that was able to utilize all eight cores at 100% was CINEBENCH (http://www.maxon.net/pages/download/cinebench_e.html)
What i found interesting was that even a multithreaded H264 encoder working on 1080p footage left enough power to play Unreal Tournament on 30" (2560x1600) fluently with maximum details at the same time ;)
Cheers
Björn

I would love to see them use Modo for that..i think it can use all 8 cores for rendering. Would love to see what kind of performance gain compare to yesterday quad core.

We've been using 8 core machines for quite a few months now... and I've got to say it's still not enough! :)

Yup, i'm still waiting for Nehalem to built a new dual socket system( 16 core total ).

aglick
02-20-2008, 05:22 PM
"...Boxx Technologies Inc., a company that specializes in workstations used to make visual effects in movies, is developing Skulltrail-based systems..."

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120336133720575121.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

I have a few Skulltrail prototypes in my lab and the things absolutely RIP!

Adam
(grinning alot)

whtnoise
02-20-2008, 05:30 PM
adam - i'm curious about this skulltrail business, it says on intel's site that they only support the extreme whatever whatever 45nm quad core - can you put regular old xeon's in there too?

Steve Green
02-20-2008, 05:51 PM
I was hoping they might run with some of the cheaper quad-cores, as it stands I'm not sure whether they'd be much cheaper than a dual quad Xeon.

- Steve

aglick
02-20-2008, 06:03 PM
So, these systems use the standard 5400 chipset -the same one used for Xeon 5400-series.

And, yes, you can put Xeon CPUs in the skulltrail mainboard. But you can't overclock them.

The only CPU currently overclockable on this platform is the "Core2Extreme QX9775" which is basically a Xeon 5482 in disguise. It has been "unlocked" and uses the same socket 771 architecture as Xeon. There are some other minor modifications to the chip's internals which allow for cache coherency and stable operation @ higher frequency, voltage & current regimes.


Adam
BOXXlabs

aglick
02-20-2008, 06:06 PM
PS - a "Skulltrail"-based system will be more expensive to purchase than a Xeon-based system - not less.

whtnoise
02-20-2008, 06:08 PM
so... the only advantage to these boards is the increased overclocking ability? seems they're going to be just as expensive if not more in some cases as a good tyan or supermicro dual 771 mobo, still gotta buy the fbdimms, and a rediculous amount more on a glorified xeon proc to really see the speed increases?

maybe good for the gamers, but for the 3d/compositing guys, stability is key...

Steve Green
02-20-2008, 06:16 PM
I don't really see the point to be honest - I'd rather have 8 cores at 2.4GHz at a reasonable price rather than pay through the nose for the privilege.

- Steve

biliousfrog
02-20-2008, 09:57 PM
The way I see it, prices are dropping constantly, speeds are increasing constantly...

buy a stable, solid Xeon system and upgrade the processors and RAM when needed, keeping that core stable setup.

or spend over the odds on an overclocked machine that will be worthless within a year and probably have a much shorter life due to the stress's of overclocking.

bit like petrol vs diesel, one's a workhorse, one's for showing off to your mates

aglick
02-20-2008, 10:44 PM
Some of these are certianly valid concerns.

However, I can say with certainty that BOXX would never release a workstation to the market that was not 100% stable (and warranteed) for 24-hour production useage.

We belive that there will always be a market for artists and companies who need the absolute highest levels of performance, reliability & support. There are many folks who make a good arguement that such systems pay for themselves multiple times over during the course of their lifespan.

If one's workflow doesn't require the fastest PC platform available -or for whatever reason, one decides to put their money in other places, that is certianly a vaild decision. Highend Xeon or Skulltrail-based systems may not be the right choice. There are lot's of options.

For others, Skulltrail will, i beleive, provide a extra margin of performance that many artists can put to use immediately to the benefit of their clients and their growing business.

Steve Green
02-21-2008, 04:14 PM
I just had a look at the prices of the CPUs - over here in the UK at over a grand a pop, I could buy 2 stock 2.4 quad core systems for rendering for the price of a 3.2 quad CPU alone.

Or I could get an overclocked to 3.2GHz quad system for about the same price as that CPU.

Until the applications get more multi-threaded, it makes more sense to me to put the money into render boxes - at least that way if a machine goes down it's not a major problem.

I'm sure there might be some markets that would spend that kind of money on a pimped up machine, but I'm not one of them.

Cheers,

Steve

aglick
02-21-2008, 04:22 PM
right - for rendernodes, there are probably more cost-effective options...I agree 100%.

Potemkyn
02-21-2008, 06:30 PM
I've been looking at upgrading for awhile and am considering using a box or two just as rendernodes. I use 3D Max 8.3 (waiting for the upgrade to be funded still) and only have a P4 2.8HT at home.

Would it be better to go with? Aa couple of quad core (with Intel Q6600) PCs working as two nodes, or a dual socket PC with two quad cores (Xeon/Opteron) as single node? What do y'all use?

Does anybody use anything other than BackBurner for the node rendering manger?


Po~

Steve Green
02-21-2008, 06:44 PM
Personally I'd go for a couple of cheap quads - it depends on the type of work you want to render out - if memory is an issue, it would be wise to get a motherboard which will take a fair bit of RAM so you can go 64bit - I wouldn't worry too much about the graphics card.

I use backburner - it's OK for a small farm, I'd find it hard to justify spending more on something like deadline (although when BB was having 'issues' a while back, I was sorely tempted)

- Steve

Potemkyn
02-22-2008, 01:48 PM
Personally I'd go for a couple of cheap quads - it depends on the type of work you want to render out - if memory is an issue, it would be wise to get a motherboard which will take a fair bit of RAM so you can go 64bit - I wouldn't worry too much about the graphics card.

That's kind of what I thought. Just get some sort of Quad core system up and running as a node with around 8GB of RAM. I'll have to find a copy of Windows XP 64, but that shouldn't be too much of a problem.

I use backburner - it's OK for a small farm, I'd find it hard to justify spending more on something like deadline (although when BB was having 'issues' a while back, I was sorely tempted)

- Steve

Once the node is built (say late March or early April) and I'll get Max and BackBurner running on it, I'll post how it's working. I might even attempt to use one of my other Profile 4s as a render node. :eek:

Thanks for your help!


Mike
~Po

Steve Green
02-22-2008, 01:51 PM
No probs, there's also mental ray's satellite rendering for distributed rendering of still images - that works pretty well if you need to do high-res with lots of glossy surfaces.

- Steve

tecton3d
02-24-2008, 01:07 AM
with all this talk of skulltrail, i thought i'd plug that Asus has now (as expected) entered the fray:
http://www.hothardware.com/News/Asus_Z7S_WS_Skulltrail_Motherboard_Sneak_Peek/

...reminds me of their old PC-DL that would clock to just south of the moon. I just hope it holds more than 8gb's of ram and will take socket 775 coolers by the time it's released.

prost:beer:

bunker
02-24-2008, 07:33 PM
??? You obviously don't do any 3D rendering at all :)

What about Maya, Houdini, 3Dsmax, Lightwave, XSI, Renderman, Mental Ray, and others ???

Steve Green
02-24-2008, 07:51 PM
Sorry, is that referring to me?

If so, what I am saying is that generally the rendering side is the most multi-threaded side of, for example 3DS Max - I can't comment on other apps.

PFlow for example, doesn't currently use more than one thread - so the extra CPUs are not used. So for the money, you could get a lot more rendering power by buying cheap quad-core workstations, and using distributed rendering or network rendering.

There's also the advantage that you're not putting all your eggs in one basket - if that machine fails, you lose a big chunk of you rendering ability - if you have render nodes, it's not such a problem.

I could see it being useful in some very specific tasks, like fluid simulation - but for the average 3D spod, you would be better off spending your money on separate machines.

- Steve

bunker
02-24-2008, 09:04 PM
not you Steve :) just CIM ... didn't mean to offend but I think that was a pretty weird thread - I've seen that 8 core Mobo ages ago ... Also, pretty much everyone here is aware of the whole multi-core situation and that not many apps supports it yet.
The best use of this kind of hardware is 3D rendering, but it can also be very handy if you do a lot of multi-tasking ( 3d rendering / video editing / internet / flash animation / photoshop ... ) I use

Anyway, for the price of one 8 Core Xeon system, you can probably get 3 or 4 cheap Q6600 overclocked PC's - That 8 core thing Seems like a big waste of money to me...

Steve Green
02-24-2008, 09:14 PM
No worries, cheers for clearing that up.

- Steve

Potemkyn
02-25-2008, 05:12 PM
No probs, there's also mental ray's satellite rendering for distributed rendering of still images - that works pretty well if you need to do high-res with lots of glossy surfaces.

- Steve

I've taken to rendering each image and then using the render - er, gads. What is that thing called now? Anyway, it takes all the rendered images and makes an AVI file out of them. Seems like a goo idea using it since you can render the portion you adjusted without having to render the entire animation.

I'll have to look in mental ray's satellite rendering and see how that works one of these days. Thanks for the tip!

Mike

noizFACTORY
02-25-2008, 08:04 PM
Hey, am on the verge of buying new workstations and this thread has been really helpful in putting things perspective.
I'm wondering if for a few bucks more, is 9550 a really better option than 6600 (i hope i got these quad core numbers right)? It does have more cache memory and processor speed but any other benefits?
Also, is ddr3 ram a good way to go? I've been stuck with a rdram machine from the initial hype during the early p4 days and don't want to make that mistake again. DDR2 should be more than enough right? (i freelance and mostly do sfx, lighting and rendering)
Hope someone can answer these, may be you Steve? Didn't want to start another thread.
-sachin

Steve Green
02-25-2008, 08:26 PM
Hi,

I can do a test on a scene using a stock 2.4 6600, if there's anyone else wants to try it on the faster quad cores.

Cheers

Steve

noizFACTORY
02-25-2008, 09:15 PM
Hi,

I can do a test on a scene using a stock 2.4 6600, if there's anyone else wants to try it on the faster quad cores.

Cheers

Steve
hey, thanks for replying. Thats a neat idea. Could anybody volunteer please? Btw, found some other great threads too so sifting too a lot of information right now.

bunker
02-27-2008, 04:23 PM
I would be happy to do some tests too, with a Q6600 ( overclocked at 3.2 GHz )
I could run it at 2.4 too if you need :)

enian82
02-28-2008, 02:44 AM
Hi all

1. I am just wondering what is the difference between the skulltrail mother board which holds two processors ( 2 quad) and ordinary Mother boards who can hold 2 quad processors ( not sure if they exist)..the only thing i can think of is...the skull trail can hold two Intel® Core™2 Extreme Processor were as the others hold Intel® Core™2 Quad Processor


2. Are these two motherboards both skulltrail....DX5400 and DX38BT

3. I see both the processors are prity close in the 45nm tecnhnology the difference is not much so why not they support only specific mother boards

4. Is this gonna come soon or jus a rumor

Intel Planning 6-Core "Dunnington" Microprocessor
http://gizmodo.com/359995/intel-planning-6+core-dunnington-microprocessor

thanks in advance...
cheers

cherrick
03-01-2008, 12:23 AM
I'm under the impression that you want the most cores possible for the money, in other words that a 9 x 1Ghz configuration will render faster than a 3 x 3ghz config. Am I right?

aglick
03-01-2008, 01:07 AM
If you just want a little extra horsepower for multithreaded, distributed rendering and can build and maintain a couple extra machines, there is alot to be said for just putting together a couple of cheap Core 2 Quads...

But this approach is not as feasible if you are trying to build a scaleable commerical renderarm for your business.

For a dedicated, commercial render farm, maximum cores per "node" is clearly a better choice.

This is true because:

-it yeids better overall rendering efficiency (performance)

There is computational overhead (extra calculations) required for "distributing" rendering jobs to multiple rendernodes. And moving data across a network is hundreds of times slower than moving it around within the confines of a single motherboard.

Assuming the same speed "cores", rendering on a single quadcore node would be more efficient (faster) than rendering the same thing using two dual-core nodes. Likewise, it's more eficient to render on an 8-core system than two quad-core systems of the same clock speed.


-takes up a smaller "footprint" of floorspace.
This speaks for itself


-it's much easier (cheaper) to maintain and administrate fewer machines.
every new machine = another OS to license and/or maintain and another chasis full of of hardware that can fail. And when it comes time to troubleshoot issues and make software changes to the systems, double the machines = double the time spent.

There is also often software licensing costs for rendering engines, plugins and queue management apps, etc. -These are often sold per node.



All this comes down to a business decision in the end... In the end, it's more cost-effective to use rendernodes built on a dual quadcore xeon platform.

my $.02

Adam

cherrick
03-01-2008, 01:17 AM
Some of that makes sense but I guess I got that idea from this rather famous article:

http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,1697,1847532,00.asp

"First, the number of CPUs on a render farm impacts performance more than the combined clock speed of the CPUs. Nine 1-GHz machines chained together will render much faster than three 3-GHz systems, so don't rule out a find on the basis of its wimpy-sounding processor speed."

I'm attempting to start freelancing and I'd like to start off with a two machine render farm with 8 cores on each machine rather than a single 8 core machine with faster clock speed.

aglick
03-01-2008, 01:48 AM
They have some really good info there -but some of their assertions, such as the one above, are simply false.

And I do have to point out that it's on a hardware "enthusiast" site that is dedicated to "fiddling around" with PC's for fun.

While that's great and all...it's an extra expense that most growing businesses will want
to minimize. (hell, I fiddle around with PCs ALL DAY LONG -but I get pay to do that...I doub't you do...)


My daddy always told me to use the right tools for the job. I'm not saying you can't cut the grass with a big weed-eater in both hands...but I'm just saying...wouldn't you rather use a lawnmover?

;)

noizFACTORY
03-01-2008, 02:10 AM
And this is where multicore technology comes in I guess (i'm no technocrat but from whatever i've followed this s what it seems like to me). Imagine managing all those single processor multiple systems. Its definitely not the case of the more the merrier.
I just might stretch my budget a lil more to stay a lil more flexible and future proof. And whats awesome is 2 dual xeon quadcore systems will eventually end up as my micro render farm. More power to the desktop user!

cherrick
03-01-2008, 07:02 AM
ok I just bought this 8 core machine:

https://secure.newegg.com/NewVersion/Wishlist/PublicWishDetail.asp?WishListNumber=8569848&WishListTitle=Workstation

for about $1250

Any critiques now that its too late? Hehe, hopefully it works out!

Srek
03-01-2008, 09:06 AM
Hi all

1. I am just wondering what is the difference between the skulltrail mother board which holds two processors ( 2 quad) and ordinary Mother boards who can hold 2 quad processors ( not sure if they exist)..the only thing i can think of is...the skull trail can hold two Intel® Core™2 Extreme Processor were as the others hold Intel® Core™2 Quad Processor
The Skulltrail motherboard is enabled for overclocking, the usualy dual Xeons boards are not.


2. Are these two motherboards both skulltrail....DX5400 and DX38BT
No, only the DV5400 supports two processors, the DX38BT is a single processor board

3. I see both the processors are prity close in the 45nm tecnhnology the difference is not much so why not they support only specific mother boards
They use different sockets. Socket 775 is for single processor setups, 771 for duals.

4. Is this gonna come soon or jus a rumor

Intel Planning 6-Core "Dunnington" Microprocessor
http://gizmodo.com/359995/intel-planning-6+core-dunnington-microprocessor

Very likely imo, the basic technology is identical to the current quad core chips from Intel. It's pretty easy to juice this up to 6 cores.

Cheers
Björn

enian82
03-01-2008, 12:10 PM
Hello
Thank you Björn for ur valuble inputs....
jus wondering if its 6 cores and 8 cores on a single processor is going to comee soon.. ihope :P
cheers
yeshwanth

Srek
03-01-2008, 01:19 PM
According to what i read about this it's likely that 6 core CPUs will pop up within this year.
Cheers
Björn

aglick
03-01-2008, 02:01 PM
ok I just bought this 8 core machine:

https://secure.newegg.com/NewVersion/Wishlist/PublicWishDetail.asp?WishListNumber=8569848&WishListTitle=Workstation

for about $1250

Any critiques now that its too late? Hehe, hopefully it works out!



Yikes! The motherboard you bought only has PCI-E 8X slots - your graphics card will only work in a mainboard with PCI-E 16X slots. This won't work.

Also, this motherboard will only accept the last generation of Xeons (53xx) it won't accept the newer generation of faster 54xx Xeons if you ever wanted to upgrade the CPUs.

cherrick
03-01-2008, 06:23 PM
oops ok I fixed it. these server mobos are tricky. thanks!

lmagnavox
03-23-2008, 04:52 AM
guys i have 8 gigs too with (xp64/max64/vray64)
the problem i have is; i try to test render evermotion interior scene and the Ram wont go more than 4 gigs all the time.
I switch boot.ini with \8GB ; it said available in task manager but max64 just wont take it.
It cant be because of the process doesnt require ammount of 8 gig of ram; because I tried to render in 20.000 x 10.000 resolution and still just take less than 4GB

Is it possible that RAM speed or Graphic Card affecting this?
all I can see is that 8 processor always runs in 100% mode (task manager)

how much affecting the speed of ram (fully buffered/ecc) from 533/667/800mhz for rendering purposes (max+vray)

my processor is 2x quad xeon 3ghz 1333fsb
and the test renders mostly done around 30 minutes in 1200x600 resolution
weirdly, max32 in the same system is 5 minutes faster

thanks alot

tecton3d
03-23-2008, 01:18 PM
I switch boot.ini with \8GB ; it said available in task manager but max64 just wont take it.
i'm not 100% sure, but i don't think you need to mess with the boot.ini if you are running a 64 bit OS. Perhaps the tinkering itself has caused error within your system.

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