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Thread: Growing into a Render Farm - Need HELP!

  1. #1
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    Default Growing into a Render Farm - Need HELP!

    I do residential architectural design work - exteriors with grass and a lot of trees, and interiors. I have a large task list of renderings ahead of me, justifying a hardware upgrade. I have a dual 6 core xeon system and I was going to let that become my render node and build a new i7 3930 or 3960 overclocked workstation for setting up the renderings and working in REVIT, etc. When the render is ready to run, I want to send it over to my node and keep working.
    Here are my questions:
    1) Would I ever need more than 32 gb memory in my V-Ray workstation. (I will let the workstation work along with the node for over night rendering.) I am considering 64gb memory.
    2) Should I consider a Tesla GPU to run RT while I am setting up my renders, to see in 'real time' what is coming together? I feel that a 3gb GTX card will not fit most of my scenes. I know some are using RT for production, but I feel like it has a lot of maturing to do. Is ANYONE in architecture using it to simply boost productivity?
    Thanks in advance for your suggestions/advice!

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    Veteran Member RyderSK's Avatar
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    Default Re: Growing into a Render Farm - Need HELP!

    I am building a i7 3930 machine right now. First, save your money and buy 3930 instead of 3960, half the price, 95perc. of the performance. As you said, you plan to overclock it, I am pretty sure they will run stable at 4,5 - 5 Ghz. My i7 2600k runs at 4,5Ghz for over a year, with unmatched stability and low temperatures.
    32 is way more than enough, 64 is oveboard. It's simple render node, not supercomputer.

    Currect generations Teslas are way too old and slow. Waste of money. If you really consider buying even 64gb, why would you think 6GB Tesla would fit your scene. It propably would, but compared to new i7e it won't provide faster preview at all.

    Save your money for something more useful ;- ) Choose efficiently
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    Default Re: Growing into a Render Farm - Need HELP!

    Thanks, Juraj, for your opinion, expressed with conviction! The i7 is actually going to be my workstation - and the dual xeon will be the render node. Juraj - are you using your CPU for Vray RT preview, while you work on your scene? Should I consider using my dual xeon to provide a preview? Your thought about the Teslas being 'old' technology is a valid point. It seems that we are ready for a new, higher memory offering from nVidia.
    Thanks again!

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    Veteran Member RyderSK's Avatar
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    Default Re: Growing into a Render Farm - Need HELP!

    I actually rarely use VrayRT as I never found it to provide the same result and always needed some tweaks. But if I do, it runs quite fast on i7 already and there is no memory bottleneck because of GPU.
    I had big fate in GPU rendering two years ago, when I purchased Octane. But since nVidia only delivered Teslas and Quadros for extreme price it never became a feasible solution for me. I will though, purchase the new 4GB Evga 680 gtx when it hits the market, and maybe use it for smaller interior or design stuff.

    The current Tesla 2050 for instance is slighly slower than gtx 470 for instance. It's definitely no monster when used alone in workstation.
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    Veteran Member dtolios's Avatar
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    Wink Re: Growing into a Render Farm - Need HELP!

    If you donít have a really old machine, I donít see the real benefits.
    A proper Sandy E system will set you back anywhere from $ 1700 for the Quad Core 3920, to $2100 upwards for the 6 core 3930. Including GTX 580 3GB and a peppy PSU to allow for some expandability.


    Both CPUs can overclock quite a bit, but I think the 3920 is locked and will cap @ 4.5GHz or so. I believe a 1155 i7 2600K will be a better choice if you think the 3930K is above your budget and you donít plan on 2x or more GPUs (the 2011 series has more PCIe lanes) and you project the performance increase including O/C speeds, as the 2600k overclocks a bit better and itís a bit . Otherwise the two quad processors are pretty much equal. And I really donít know how much faster those would be from what you have now.


    I do believe tho that a GTX580 3GB would be a nice addition to your arsenal (current system) if you donít have something serious already, and want to get into Vray RT GPU/iRay.


    Teslas and Quadros with more than 3GBs are simply out of reach IMHO. Donít think those worth the money ($4000 and upwards). Anything less than that, is actually slower or has less mem than the GTX 580 3GB. The C2050 is 3GB / 448 cores, vs. GTX 580ís 512 and retails for 4-5 times more than the Geforce. Thatís as much as the whole Sandy E system with the GTX included.


    Want a more aggressive ďideaĒ to spent $2100-2300 on that will probably help you workflow more? The "computer cluster farm in a IKEA Helmer" idea has been around for some time now.
    In modern internals:

    AMD FX-4100 Zambezi 3.6GHz 95W Quad - $110 (edit: the 6x core FX-6100 is actually $130)
    ASRock 880GM-LE FX AM3+ AMD 880G - $60
    Crucial 2x 4GB DDR3 1600 - $37
    Antec 450W - $40
    WD 160GB 7200rpm 2.5" - $65

    Each will be around $340 with tax. $2060 if you go for 6x nodes. LAN Cables, 8port switch, Helmer etc will be a bit more, but you get the picture.
    These Quads are not as powerful as an i7, but those do overclock up to 4.5-4.6 GHz with cheap aircoolers (pretty much the same with the 6100), and you get 24 cores (or 36). Now that's some raw power for rendering overnight...or over the hour

    EDIT: trying to get a workstation myself (working on i7 laptop since I've moved in the US for school), and browsing for 2600K/z68 or 3920-30/x79 configs with GTX gpu(s) for RT that easily break $1500-2200 just for the tower, it's impressive to see that I can buy 24-30 cores >4GHz for the same amount of money as a single i7/Geforce box. I would still get the i7 box as my actual workstation, but the AMD cluster can be build over time as a rendering farm.

    Cheap Quadros cannot justify their cost vs. AMD offerings imho if it is just for viewport acceleration, and for CUDA are not faster than the GTXs either. I'm also not "buying" the "gaming cards are not designed for vigorus usage, while Quadros are". It's the same piece of hardware, and I could bet that hi-end gaming cards are +)*!#$(_ stressed for amazing lengths of time by their users, being overclocked with uber settings for games etc...surely it's not @ 100% all the time, but neither are Quadros, and designs that are modified from the ref. boards for GTX usually have improved cooling - unlike Quadros that are 99.9% based on ref.

    So - the big question: does anybody have bench-marked / timed either of the Zambezi chips (quad or 6-core)? How far behind would those be vs. say an i5 2500 or equiv? Some food for our wet dreams . I did not find more than the xbitlabs review on it
    blender.png3dsmax-2.png
    The 6100 is not a big upgrade over the 4100, but still you see some improvement. Both are about 55-60% the speed of a i5 2500. That's actually pretty justifiable, as a similar node/cluster featuring i5 processors is about 40% more expensive (heavily dependant on the MoBo chosen for the i5, it's about $2800 with a pretty limited as far as RAM configuration H61 Asus mobo and 2500k, you are realistically looking at $3000 for a newer chipset mAtx - always for the 6-node-cluster). Or you can chose to build a 5-node cluster with i5s for similar cost. Still pretty peppy bang for your buck over any Xeon or i7 "Renderbox"...
    Last edited by dtolios; April 14th, 2012 at 01:37 PM.

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    Veteran Member RyderSK's Avatar
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    Default Re: Growing into a Render Farm - Need HELP!

    I don't see too much sense in 6 cheap render nodes in regular cases. Too much space/noise/heat/etc. And they still not really overcome single overclocked 3930.
    Why do you keep mentioning 3920 ? Is that a typo ? That is mobile processor. 3930 is NOT locked, and they overclock about the same as 2600k. I own both of those systems and both run stable at 4,5 under air, but not much higher, no real reason to go higher for rendering. The 3930 is almost twice as powerful in vray.

    Slow down.
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    Veteran Member dtolios's Avatar
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    Default Re: Growing into a Render Farm - Need HELP!

    Quote Originally Posted by RyderSK View Post
    I don't see too much sense in 6 cheap render nodes in regular cases. Too much space/noise/heat/etc. And they still not really overcome single overclocked 3930.
    Your actual workstation ofc has to be something powerful. Sandy bridge i7 LGA 1155 / 2011 or Xeon 2011, naturally paired with a proper GPU (even if it's not for GPU rendering). Proper case / PSU / HDD / SSD etc to support that, naturally leads to $1700-2500 tower prices.
    He already has something that is not completely obsolete though, and it could be upgraded to respectable performance for modeling and setting up the scenes.

    And I do believe that when you spent similar money for a cluster of "cheap" CPUs with a total of 20-36 cores, you do get performance WAY better than that of a 3930K or even 3960K, O/C or not. Remember, the "cheap" guys hit 4.5+ GHz themselves, and tho not nearly as "effective" as a Sandy-E, we are talking 4-6x the cores. With $2500 you can buy 5x i5 2500 Quads...no, you cannot match that even with dual CPU Xeon LGA 2011 systems. I also believe that even 5-6x AMD FX4100 Quads will easily outperform it.

    Quote Originally Posted by RyderSK View Post
    Why do you keep mentioning 3920 ? Is that a typo ? That is mobile processor. 3930 is NOT locked, and they overclock about the same as 2600k. I own both of those systems and both run stable at 4,5 under air, but not much higher, no real reason to go higher for rendering. The 3930 is almost twice as powerful in vray.
    The 3920 is not a K (unlocked) processor, and it's the LGA 2011 Sandy-E quad (not six core, unlike the 3930K and the 3960K).
    It's slightly faster than a 2600K (both overclocked and on stock speeds), but it's not a real upgrade over the 1155 platform if you don't get to utilize the extra PCIe bus lanes of the X79. So for single GPU configurations, the 3920 is not really better than the 2600K. It's half the price tha nthe 3930K tho, virtually the same price as the 1155 2600K, so if you want room to grow with a X79 mobo (8 dimms, quad channel ram, triple / quad SLI-crossfire with better PCIe bandwidth, and ofc 6 core CPUs in the future) it's not a bad choice.

    The 3930K is not twice as fast in VRay than the i7 Brian already has. It's about 30-40% faster than a i7 2600K for sure, and about 160% that of a i5 2500K. Surely powerful, but I do believe that if he is after shear power for production rendering, a cluster will be certainly faster.

    Upgrading to a better GPU to help him set his renders up faster, and then distributing rendering is a messier, yet easily faster solution.
    Last edited by dtolios; April 15th, 2012 at 08:35 PM.

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    Veteran Member RyderSK's Avatar
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    Default Re: Growing into a Render Farm - Need HELP!

    There is no 3920 processor atleast get your facts somewhere...you mean quad-core 3820 ? Yes, that one is hardly worth the price increase of chipset.

    Your problem is you're greatly undercutting the price of "cheap" system and demonizing 3930 solution. My second workstation came at 1400 euros, but it has lot of high end components, 32GB ram, 256GB SSD, nice case and coolers. Just low-end passive GPU until 680 FTW comes to market. And apart from 5 incredibly cheap and noisy render nodes, it's also usable as second good workstation.

    Buying cheap cluster really just sounds like poor teenager's dream. One will regret it quite soon for buying that.
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    Veteran Member RyderSK's Avatar
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    Default Re: Growing into a Render Farm - Need HELP!

    There is no 3920 processor atleast get your facts somewhere...you mean quad-core 3820 ? Yes, that one is hardly worth the price increase of chipset.

    Your problem is you're greatly undercutting the price of "cheap" system and demonizing 3930 solution. My second workstation came at 1400 euros, but it has lot of high end components, 32GB ram, 256GB SSD, nice case and coolers. Just low-end passive GPU until 680 FTW comes to market. And apart from 5 incredibly cheap and noisy render nodes, it's also usable as second good workstation.

    Buying cheap cluster really just sounds like poor teenager's dream. One will regret it quite soon for buying that.
    Last edited by RyderSK; April 16th, 2012 at 03:38 AM.
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    Veteran Member dtolios's Avatar
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    Default Re: Growing into a Render Farm - Need HELP!

    Yes, it's the 3820. Apparently i don't remember all "the facts" correctly.
    I don't demonize the 3930 - the contrary. I just rationalize upgrade paths differently.
    Also you keep mentioning noise - with stock or aftermarket low speed fans, it won't be noisy - at least not that worse than any system with a high end air-cooled GTX if anything (idling or not).

    The "incredibly cheap" render nodes are using decent components, all with 3 or so years warranty. Most of the have better reliability (user reported) record than most "hi-end" current hardware - especially the X79 mobos which people do have a lot of complains from. And those can be turned into "second workstations" quite easily. Till then the cluster of 5 i5s will cost as much as your second 3930 (Ä1400 is ~ $1800 and with the 680 it will be around $2300), it will be faster, it won't be that noisier (plus you can keep it in another room) and not really that more energy demanding - counting in that it is faster (less uptime), and the GPU-less systems idle way better.

    Till then, we agree that we disagree.
    Sorry that my "teenager" dreams are not up to your expectations. Try to take it less personally and answer accordingly next time - perhaps in ways to help the OP instead of demoralizing your arguers.
    Last edited by dtolios; April 16th, 2012 at 10:05 AM.

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