New render server build

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  02 February 2013
New render server build

I need to build a new barebones PC for raw CPU power. My only purpose for it is rendering animations in C4D. I'm torn between getting a couple of low-powered PCs or getting a single, faster one.

My budget is only $2000, but that's probably all I'll need to take care of what I'm doing. I'll add a cheap graphics card and everything else to it since I've got those things laying around already. If I could get some advice on which CPU(s) and motherboard to get that would fit into about a $2000 budget that would be great.
  02 February 2013
I'd pick up some 2500k or 2600k i7's - depending on if hyperthreading helps cinema4d or not- I'm not sure

get a low end, but decent Asus motherboard with integrated video, 32 gig USB sticks to load the OS onto instead of hard drives, 4, 8, or 16 gigs of ram depending on your needs, get a CM 212 CPU cooler, get cheap cases, maybe some extra high CFM fans, pick up some basic 500 watt decent quality power supplies, copies of Windows for each machine, and call it a day.

You could probably get 3-5 of those systems depending on their config. You could overclock them a little, to maybe 4-4.4ghz.

Having recently just built my dept's renderfarm, these are the systems I would have gone with (with linux) if we weren't saddled with having to pay for maya render licenses for each machine. We ended up finding our happy medium with 3930k i7's, but I still wish we had been able to go with what I mentioned above because it would have netted us 50% more rendering power for the same money, though we'd have 3x as many computers to maintain.

Last edited by sentry66 : 02 February 2013 at 07:59 PM.
  02 February 2013
I think us consumer folks cant run Cinema4D on Linux, so you'll need to grab a few windows copies. You used to be able to just make a clone of a single XP licence and continue to run it, but I'm not sure if Win7 or 8 will allow that.

If your going to build up to 5 of these things, you might want to look at building them in 2U server cases, and then getting a small rack to put them in.

You should be fine with any PSU around 250W if your just running a single quad core. The new ones pull less than 100w under full load.

HT seems to increase cinebench scores by around 30%.

  02 February 2013
You should be able to spec out two i7 3770K or 3820 based systems for 2K. Thats what i would be looking for. The 3770K can be overclocked, but the 3820 uses the 2011 socket so later on you could exchange the CPUs with a more modern ones.
HT should deliver up to 20% more power, everything above is unrealistic in real life situations.
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The views expressed on this post are my personal opinions and do not represent the views of my employer.
  02 February 2013
I ruled the 3770k out from my renderfarm consideration because of the lack of options for motherboards. At this moment a lot of motherboards are transitioning to new chipsets which means there'll be bugs. There's relatively few boards out there for the 1156 platform compared to the 1155 because of all the old boards being discontinued as companies migrate to the new ones.

Also 1156 boards tend to be more expensive, often don't have onboard video, and as a whole is still a relatively new platform that's not as mature as the 1155 platform.

That and I'm still not sold on the idea of the 3770k using thermal paste instead of solder to connect the CPU core to the heatspreader for long term 24/7 heavy use. Both the 2500k and 2600k have a lot more overclocking headroom than the 3770k which quickly hits a wall because of the internal thermal paste. It would probably be an overclocking beast of a chip if it used solder.

Here's some cinebench and temp comparisons of 3770k@4.59ghz and 2600k @5.2ghz /index9.html /index11.html

Last edited by sentry66 : 02 February 2013 at 10:31 PM.
  02 February 2013
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