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Author Topic: Fast Render Machine  (Read 316 times)

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Offline EricofAZ

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Fast Render Machine
« on: May 05, 2015, 11:52:00 PM »
I thought I'd ask about what you recommend for a fast render machines and tell you a story about what I stumbled across.  Warning... long and geeky.

I learned render machines and gaming machines are different.

Looked at BOXX and looked at render farms and the price was beyond my reach so I turned to a local builder and he got busy researching.

Most of the software we use like Poser, Vue, Terragen 2 and above, DS, Autodesk, Modo, ... want cpu cores for render time. Some rare software like Octane uses gpu cores and some older stuff like terragen classic and Bryce have their own quirks.

So after research, here is a formula he came up with for the cpu hogs.  Number of processor chips x number of cores x number of virtual cores (intel only, not AMD) x speed = Render Index.  His research showed that the higher the number, the faster the render should be.

So we built it.  Asus Z9 motherboard and two E5-2630 cpu's.  We went with the "E5" because they have true crosstalk.  If you use dual "I7" chips, I am told they won't work right because the apps will only access one at a time, not both, so for multi tasking, yeah, but slamming all the cores by one program for render may be disappointing (and I did not test this configuration of dual "I7" cpu's so if anyone has and knows this to be incorrect, please sing out!)

So for the E5-2630 - 6 cores each, times 2 cpu's times 2 for the virtual threads x 2.8ghz on turbo speed and that = 67.2.  My old duo core at 3 ghz = 12.  So he estimated that the new machine would be 10 times faster.  We built it with a cheesy video card and gave it 65g ram.  (Which was overkill, I have never seen the resource monitor beyond 11g and not during render, was when importing models or using modeling apps.) So a benchmark render in Poser went from 3 hours 10 minutes to 2 minutes 42 seconds. 

I went with the E5-2630's also because of price.  The bigger and faster E chips went to the moon on price for very little more on the render speed index number.

Then I did a lot of testing with resmon and Argus and gpu shark.  During render, the ram is pretty dormant.  So is the gpu.

The apps I mention above slammed the 24 cores to the max and I was able to still do other things on the machine because of the service core.  I did not notice any bogging down in other apps, but the cpu fans were at max and sounded like jet engines.

Bryce can see only one cpu.  It can use only a max of 8 cores if you turn the render priority to high.  It will use those cores to about 80 percent if they are actual cores and 10-20 percent if they are virtual cores.  So the high speed AMD chips actually outperform intel for Bryce.

Terragen classic uses one core.  :(

Octane is entirely gpu.  It wants cuda cores.  So I finally got the gtx 780 that has 2300 cuda cores.  It does my benchmark render in about 30 seconds.  I have been told that more v-ram will help Octane but after watching some others test the 780 with the Titan (same number of cuda cores but double the v-ram at double the price) I was not impressed.  Maybe a 5 or 10 percent increase.  Octane can see multiple video cards so I'd rather buy two 780's than one Titan and double the cuda cores.

There is some inefficiency with multiple cpu's or multiple gpu's so don't think that doubling will cut your speed in half. 

I went to a website for benchmarking.  Not the best to know if a machine will render faster, but better than nothing.  https://www.cpubenchmark.net/

The passmark for a single E5-2630 is around 9000 so I would hope 18000 for two cpu's and did the test but it was not 18,000, it was 14,000.

Still, it is a fast machine that can be expanded.  For about $500 less, the high end I7 machines get to about the same, but that's the top of that line and there is no ability to buy a faster cpu later.  I do want to expand this beastie when the faster E5 cpu's come down in price.

Oh, about turbo speed.... Intel says "up to" and that means two things that I learned.  Ya need a patch software from intel to get there and the software you use has to use those special math functions.  CAD apps tend to do that.  I installed the patch and my "up to 2.8ghz" never got over 2.6 (same as before the patch) with the render engines we typically use.  I did see it with one of the CAD apps.  So I had to revise my speed to 2.6 and that is a render index of 62.

Ok, kinda geeky.  I tossed this out there because I see people buy gaming machines with not so good cpu's and medium to fast video cards and they pay big money and they don't render very fast.  One friend of mine got an 8 core AMD 4ghz (32 on the render index!) for $750 new.  That was incredible because it cost me 5 times that to double the speed and BOXX wants 17 times the price to double the render speed.

Go figure.  Love to hear your story and what you built or bought and what your experiences are with render machines or render farms.  If you are in the market for a new machine and want the best for the money, I hope this helps.  It is an easy formula and I appreciate the research that the builder put in to figure this out.

Offline thelufias

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Re: Fast Render Machine
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2015, 07:38:56 AM »
Gadzooooks.   What a load of info and very interesting.   I'm sure others will agree.   
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Online Jherrith

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Re: Fast Render Machine
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2015, 05:14:35 AM »
Most assuredly helpful granted I don't do a whole lot of high end work, but I do like the idea of not having to wait over an hour for just the figure with no background or window dressing.
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Offline FrahHawk

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Re: Fast Render Machine
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2015, 04:23:23 PM »
Thanks for the info... I will get it over to my "go-to-Tech" guy when I want to upgrade or get a new render computer. Something to think about.
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