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Simple Hardware Questions

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I'm looking at buying a new workhorse due to my large increase in animations and internal radiosity requirements.

I can't afford a top of the range box but know I have to spend some money so I want to spend it wisely.

Should I be looking at the highest CPU with multi-threading or aim for a Dual precessor motherboard and save up for the second CPU?

Does RAM help greatly with rendering times or is 1Gig OK?

Any good dual monitor Graphics cards available?


I'm using ArchiCad 8.1 and C4D 7.3



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first of all

how much can u spend for the total cpu? do u wanna buy screens or not?


are u an intel freak or do u accept to buy AMD stuff?


cause with amd u got more power for da same price....


from less to more ( expensive and powerfull)


p4 3ghz HT

Dual MP2800+ (almost same price as p4ht....)

Dual Opteron

Dual Xeon HT

Athlon FX51


If i had to invest today

i would buy

dual opteron with Gc quadro fx1000, 500w power supply

(can getl that around 2000$ maybe less)

ther u'll have a powerfull machine opened to future technologies

64 bnit amd are the best 32 bit proc for now....)

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Something to remember is that not all rendering engines react the same way on a processor. Heres the lowdown on the Cinema engine:




As you can see, the top of the heap in render speed are dual Xeons, followed by dual Opterons and G5s. There are new G5s expected very soon which should land around 760 cinebench units for raytracing - keep in mind that Cinema isnt yet fully ready to use the G5. Prices on these machines are all very similar.


Dual Athlons, tho older technology, do very well in rendering and can be built quite inexpensively. HT P4s can also be built for a low cost but cannot render as quickly as a dual CPU machine.


However, rendering is only one factor to consider a machine fast. Dynamics and particle simulations require high cpu clock speed. Additionally, animating a high poly model in shaded view will require a powerful GPU. Depending on your workload you may decide to spend money on these features.


Another scenario to consider is the creation of a render farm. Cinema 4D XL ship with a3 client render farm. It may be a wiser choice to build 3 low cost P4s to be clients on the farm and a medium power work station to create content rather than building a high cost single work station. This is my personal choice. I have a dual 1800 athlon (2 years old) for content creation and 8 X 2.6GHZ HT P4s on a render farm. Running full steam with this setup, I am in the area of 3000 CB units - well above a dual Xeon :D


Good luck on your choice.

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Thanks for the info guys!

I'm on a PC and stuck with it.

kingeldar, I don't need screens etc, just the box and I don't care about the processor as long as it performs.

Frosty, can you explain what the configuration is for the render farm? Are we talking 8 box's sitting on a shelf with their own power/motherboard/CPU/HD and that is all? (would the price include air conditioning?:)

My work is all architectural so I don't use particles etc (yet)

Basically I need renders in minutes rather than over night (don't we all?)


Thanks again

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Ya, my situation is basically a bunch of computures running headless on a shelf.


I run a server (Athlon 2000) and 7 P4s in the basement, 1 P4 in the living room (does iTunes and Mame on the side), my main work station, PowerBook, and girlfriends laptop when available.


The slaves were cheap to build and Net Render is super easy to configure and use. I used mainly old reclaimed HDs, 512MB ram and the board is an Asus P4800VM I believe. The board does HT, has onboard everything and comes in around $150 CDN. Unfortunatly Maxon hasnt released a Linux version of the render client, so you need windows on each slave as well. I believe I paid about $600 CDN for each slave system.

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