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New workstation build: slow dual Xeon vs fast i7

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Hi everyone,


I am building a new workstation for MAYA, After Effects, RealFlow, Houdini and various particle physics simulations. I have 4x Titan X for GPU rendering but for CPU tasks I wanted to know what would be better


Option 1 build a work station and a render node.


Workstation: ASUS X99-E WS with the i7 5960x (8 cores) overclocked to around 4.5Ghz with 64gb ram.

I would put the 4x Titan X on this board and use as my work station.




Render node: ASUS Z10PE-D8 WS with dual Xeon E5-2697 (14 cores each) at 2.6Ghz and 128gb ram.

I would use this primarily as a render node for CPU based tasks.



Or Option 2 just build 1 computer: skip the X99 build altogether and just put the 4x Titan X on the Z10PE and use as both a work station and for rendering. Either way I am planning to build the dual Xeon, I just wanted to know if the slower speed of the Xeons would seriously impair my viewport performance thus requiring a separate workstation.



Thank you all for your input.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I would go for the first option, (its a safer bet incase your system goes down you can still function) but I think both Workstation and Render Node are a bit of an overkill.


If you've got the budget, the workstation works...! personally, I am a huge fan of the Apexx 2 or Apexx 4 by Boxx Technologies for a workstation if you can back the system with some real horsepower.


As for the node - Consider a change to the processor


(2) E5-2697v3 will drain some serious Electricity, I've tested a few of these and they get in around the range of 370W supply during render. The issue of electricity isn't a big deal if this is the only node your thinking of having its when you scale up but its when you have a 10A/15A 110/120V. On a 10A breaker you might flip the breaker at two of these on a hot day or maybe three at best. Also, these are super expensive processors running at around $2600 each..


Instead I would do two nodes (instead of 1) and use DR, Use either the E5-2660v3 or the E5-2680v3 as alternatives. The 2680's will get you in around 78.2% of the horsepower when compared to the 2697 but only 63% of the price (im using Newegg for pricing and using Cinebench for benchmark analysis - we find cinebench is fairly accurate to test computers but it has some tolerances so its not an exact benchmark to make a good study).


I'd love to hear what you end up with, do share and post pics when you put your system together.

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I just built a new rig around the i7 Extreme 8-core chip and the Asus x99 Pro Board in a Corsair case, power supply and cooler.

I'm extremely happy with it. The only overclocking I've done is to hit the idiot proof tuning in Bios and let it do its thing. It clocks in at 1556 using Cinebench 15. I haven't even flipped the jumper one the motherboard that will take it even higher. It's running right how at ~4ghz using the stock voltage. I'll give it a go at 4.5 ghz, but right now just getting all the other software setup.


I have a GTX 760 as the gpu right now, but will swap it out down the road for probably a 980ti or two. (I'm doing mostly CPU rendering with Vray LM/LC) The 760 is more than capable for using as a workstation.


Watch out for the 2011 sockets. They are very delicate. The first two motherboards I was shipped from Amazon had the protective cap off and rolling around inside the packaging. The sockets were mangled. I suspect these were re-boxed boards that were resold. I ordered a 3rd from Newegg and it arrived in fine condition.


Memory is the G Skill Ripsaw 2400 at 32 gig.

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