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robcat2075

Render box spec challenge

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About every year we speculate on the most powerful renderbox one could make for the money.

 

One thing I find hard in scoping this out is that it's difficult to find up to date benchmarks of CPUs that test single core performance.

 

That would be useful for judging Netrender usefulness since each Netrender node is a single-threaded process.

 

At the consumer level it seems like the best AMD cores take about 50% longer to do something than the best Intel cores. Hard to find comparisons of server-lever CPUs like Xeon and Opterons that can work on multi-CPU motherboards.

 

 

Anyone want to spec out a box for 2013?

 

Lets say under $1000 for a box (or boxes) that can run Netrender nodes and be networked with your regular A:M computer. Overclocking is fair if that is easy for the user to do.

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About every year we speculate on the most powerful renderbox one could make for the money.

 

One thing I find hard in scoping this out is that it's difficult to find up to date benchmarks of CPUs that test single core performance.

 

That would be useful for judging Netrender usefulness since each Netrender node is a single-threaded process.

 

At the consumer level it seems like the best AMD cores take about 50% longer to do something than the best Intel cores. Hard to find comparisons of server-lever CPUs like Xeon and Opterons that can work on multi-CPU motherboards.

 

 

Anyone want to spec out a box for 2013?

 

Lets say under $1000 for a box (or boxes) that can run Netrender nodes and be networked with your regular A:M computer. Overclocking is fair if that is easy for the user to do.

 

Take in mind that the most expensive intel cores are more than 5x more expensive than the most expensive once from AMD:

- Intel Core i7-3970X Extreme Edition (a real monster) = about 933 Euro in my favourite online store.

- AMD FX-8350 Prozessor, Boxed, Sockel AM3+ = about 180 Euro in my favourite online store.

 

However I have to say, that this is not the ideal time to put together a new computer. Intel will release a new CPU generation in the 4th quater of this year and AMD plans on expanding their portfolio too. That means: Buying now will not give you a huge saving (because it is too early in he year that the prices of the "older" generation would drop massively) and you can not get the fastest CPUs neighter.

 

Comparing server-cpus is about the same... intel is faster, AMD is cheaper. (on core base)

 

See you

*Fuchur*

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got a project for me to test with?

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There's always going to be something new in the future, we hope, but what about now? What if we need to make a box NOW?

 

Here's my initial try

 

Intel:

 

i7-3770K four/eight core CPU + CPU fan + ASRock Z77 Pro3 Motherboard combo $390

16GB DDR3 RAM $100

ATX Case w/ 500watt PS $60

Video included on MB $0

500GB HDD $30

Windows 8 OEM $100

 

total: $680

 

 

AMD:

 

FX 8350 8 core CPU + CPU Fan + ASRock 970 Extreme4 Motherboard combo $319

16GB DDR3 RAM $100

ATX Case w/ 500watt PS $60

Basic video card $50

500GB HDD $30

Windows 8 OEM $100

 

total: $659

 

 

In both cases I'm presuming a DVD drive, mouse, keyboard and monitor will be borrowed from another computer long enough to install the OS and other software.

 

i figure the rendering throughput would be similar between the two boxes because four intel cores can do about what six AMD cores can do. If hyper threading (8 logical cores) were used with the intel CPU that would probably bring it up to what 8 AMD cores do.

 

The intel CPU has the advantage of being about 70 watts while the AMD is 125 watts

 

Both these motherboards have room for an additional 16Gb RAM beyond what is spec'd above.

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Thanks for posting that Robert. I've been itching to purchase a new computer (a desktop) for quite awhile now.

If I could find the right setup I might spend some money.

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Looking more closely at this chart and comparing the single core performance of the i7-3770K to the FX-8150 (chart doesn't include an FX-8350)...

 

(Cinebench tests a CPU's ability to render an image in the 3D program C4D, probably about as similar to A:M rendering as a common benchmark will be)

 

cinebench.jpg

 

For our single-core Netrender purposes the i7-3770K ($300) looks to be quite a deal compared to the i7-3960X ($1000).

 

We can regard these numbers as a comparison of frames rendered per unit of time. If the FX-8150 core can output .97 frames per minute then we could expect the i7-3770K core to output 1.66 per minute of the same scene.

 

I could extrapolate the FX-8350 score to possibly be 1.07 based simply on the increase in clock speed.

 

 

 

8 AMD cores x 1.07 = a NetRender total of 8.56 (frames per unit of time)

4 intel cores x 1.66 = a Netrender total of 6.64

 

turning on hyperthreading in an intel CPU gets about a 25% increase in throughput for 8 logical cores over just four physical cores based on one forum member's benchmark results.

 

4 intel cores x 1.66 x 1.25 = a Netrender total of 8.3

 

So it's getting close to a draw between the Intel box and the AMD box

 

However, if I were building a computer for me to work on (model, animate, test render) with A:M, I would go with the intel CPU since it would be about 50% faster for the single A:M process.

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Looking more closely at this chart and comparing the single core performance of the i7-3770K to the FX-8150 (chart doesn't include an FX-8350)...

 

(Cinebench tests a CPU's ability to render an image in the 3D program C4D, probably about as similar to A:M rendering as a common benchmark will be)

 

cinebench.jpg

 

For our single-core Netrender purposes the i7-3770K ($300) looks to be quite a deal compared to the i7-3960X ($1000).

 

We can regard these numbers as a comparison of frames rendered per unit of time. If the FX-8150 core can output .97 frames per minute then we could expect the i7-3770K core to output 1.66 per minute of the same scene.

 

I could extrapolate the FX-8350 score to possibly be 1.07 based simply on the increase in clock speed.

 

 

 

8 AMD cores x 1.07 = a NetRender total of 8.56 (frames per unit of time)

4 intel cores x 1.66 = a Netrender total of 6.64

 

turning on hyperthreading in an intel CPU gets about a 25% increase in throughput for 8 logical cores over just four physical cores based on one forum member's benchmark results.

 

4 intel cores x 1.66 x 1.25 = a Netrender total of 8.3

 

So it's getting close to a draw between the Intel box and the AMD box

 

However, if I were building a computer for me to work on (model, animate, test render) with A:M, I would go with the intel CPU since it would be about 50% faster for the single A:M process.

 

8150 was a bad one. It is said that 8350 is about 8-16% faster at the same clockspeed. (Depending on the benchmarks)

(Cinebench test 10-16%). But if u r after faster singlecore performance intels are much faster.

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Love it. This info is terrific. Thanks.

 

Every now & then...I get the computer upgrade shakes & willies...then I lie down.

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Both of those CPUs have some overclocking potential. I don't know how much one might surpass the other with that.

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Both of those CPUs have some overclocking potential. I don't know how much one might surpass the other with that.

 

From what I have read both have quite nice overclocking potentials. The best overclocking scores can be found with FX-CPUs from AMD which slightly surpasses Intel's potential. (4,8 GHz x 8 on AMD does not seem to be that hard to archieve, if you believe the forums out there)

The big but is, that it will have a quite high power consumption. (much higher than the Intel once)

 

See you

*Fuchur*

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This is an interesting topic and very usefull especially to me as I kno very little about the workings of a pc

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My own thumbnail spec for overclocking is that it has to be fairly plug and play in implementation.

 

The intel quad core Q6600 I have now can be overclocked from 2.4 to 3.0 GHz with just an app from the desktop and still uses standard fan. That's easy enough for almost any user to do.

 

Do i need to bolt on a different cooler? OK I can manage that, but maybe not most users. Still, I'd consider it but needing to do a lot of experimentation with voltages and other parameters... then it's getting a little bit less likely for me because I don't really know how all that interacts

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i have the AMD phenom II X6 1100T (4.1Ghz) now and i can tell you its lightning fast.

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i have the AMD phenom II X6 1100T (4.1Ghz) now and i can tell you its lightning fast.

 

 

You're overclocking that, right?

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yes orginally 3.75ghz

 

Can you tell us a bit about what you are doing to overclock it? Hardware? Software?

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yes orginally 3.75ghz

 

Can you tell us a bit about what you are doing to overclock it? Hardware? Software?

 

i am using an MSI 890FXA-GD70 motherboard with auto OC

what it does is assesses how fast the ram is with how much FSB you specify on the board and it adjusts the CPU to appropriate speed without it cooking the processor.

you need a really hefty heatsink and Fan to go any higher than it is at now. the only way to get any more speed out of it would be to use water cooling or maybe encase it in ice?

right now i got 8GB of ram running at 1600mhz (1544 actual) and bus speed is running at 320mhz (307 actual)

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Article with suggestions for best PC build (not necessarily render box build) at $300, $600 and $1200...

 

http://lifehacker.com/5840963/the-best-pcs...or-600-and-1200

 

Here is another nice info on the AMD FX 8350 someone posted at your link:

http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=AM...ore&id=1780

 

For rendering this is very likely a very cool processor... I am playing with the notion of getting one...

But anyway: Nice systems and a good help for anyone who needs to built something like that without having too much insides about CPUs / MBs / RAM.

 

See you

*Fuchur*

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Article with suggestions for best PC build (not necessarily render box build) at $300, $600 and $1200...

 

http://lifehacker.com/5840963/the-best-pcs...or-600-and-1200

 

I think the $600 box would be a decent A:M workstation (more than what i work on now) if you changed out their 2-core CPU for a four-core CPU and upped the RAM to 8 GB at least.

 

Of course it wouldn't be $600 anymore :lol:

 

I like their idea of making a cheap Hometheater PC. Something with more CPU oomph and RAM could make a plausible NetRender box when you weren't watching movies on it.

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In this day and age, I think people are relying more on portable computing. I only have 1 desktop system left (an old 27" iMac). My animation machine, a Toshiba Qosmio (18") laptop, is old (2+ years) and dying so will be looking for a replacement system. I'm looking at a Dell Alienware machine, 18", i7 3.7ghz with 32gb RAM to see me through the next 2+years. Obviously more expensive but built for hard processing anywhere I go.

 

Cheers

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In this day and age, I think people are relying more on portable computing. I only have 1 desktop system left (an old 27" iMac). My animation machine, a Toshiba Qosmio (18") laptop, is old (2+ years) and dying so will be looking for a replacement system. I'm looking at a Dell Alienware machine, 18", i7 3.7ghz with 32gb RAM to see me through the next 2+years. Obviously more expensive but built for hard processing anywhere I go.

 

Cheers

 

It is quite easy: Laptops are less powerful for the same price as normal systems.

There are many people using laptops and it is reasonable. I on the other hand have left laptops behind for the lag of power.

An Alienware tends to be fast, but it cant compare to a high end workstation OR if it would be the battery time would be that low that it would not be a laptop anymore ;). And of course the laptop would run quite hot, because there is not the same space for cooling.

 

Especially for graphic works I need a real mouse, a real keyboard and a big, good display.

Yes you can use a laptop with that, but if you get all that together including the speed in a laptop, you more or less have a workstation.

 

If you need the flexibility to use it anywere you want, you will have to make compromises on the other stuff... The good thing today:

A:M itself does not need that much of power. But rendering is something different and it is likely, that you will notice the difference...

 

See you

*Fuchur*

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I do my animation anywhere - anytime. A bit difficult carting around a desktop system :)

 

I don't use my laptops on battery only - ever. (My Qosmio lasts just long enough on battery to stop what I am doing, save stuff and shut down). Yes, they run hot but no hotter than a desktop - you just don't happen to be sitting with the desktop box in front of you!

 

If one were to put together a desktop system with the same spec and these gaming laptops, there is not a great deal of difference in the price (don't forget to include the cost of the screen, keyboard, sound system etc) Of course I am comparing prices here in Australia. Different markets may vary.

 

Cheers

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For me I find I can't do real animation without being glued to my seat for many hours straight so I might as well be home on a desktop to do it.

 

Is there any laptop that you can actually see outdoors? I always fantasize about living the café life.

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I do my animation anywhere - anytime. A bit difficult carting around a desktop system :)

 

I don't use my laptops on battery only - ever. (My Qosmio lasts just long enough on battery to stop what I am doing, save stuff and shut down). Yes, they run hot but no hotter than a desktop - you just don't happen to be sitting with the desktop box in front of you!

 

If one were to put together a desktop system with the same spec and these gaming laptops, there is not a great deal of difference in the price (don't forget to include the cost of the screen, keyboard, sound system etc) Of course I am comparing prices here in Australia. Different markets may vary.

 

Cheers

 

From a logical point of view this is very unlikely. Building something smaller with less space, less power consumption, less ability to cool it and optimised for being taken away (for instance being resistent against movement, shaking, etc.) just needs to be payed with something. It just has to be slower or more expensive (if both are on the same technology level), otherwise desktop components are overpriced in Australia. Have a look at the highend graphic cards today... none of these can be put into a laptop because of the lagg of space. In addition: You can built a desktop computer by yourself while you have to buy a laptop prebuilt by a manufacturer (at least I am not aware of laptop-cases which can be put together by yourself).

 

This means (in most cases) that you will pay more for the components since the manufacturer has work with it and will charge you for that (including the win they want to earn). The only exception from that could be that the discount the manufacturer can get is that high that it would include the work and win he likes to get and he is willing to give that discount to you.

 

But as I said before: If you need a laptop because you are travelling or you just want to be able to work in the garden or where ever, a laptop is a good choice.

 

See you

*Fuchur*

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For me I find I can't do real animation without being glued to my seat for many hours straight so I might as well be home on a desktop to do it.

 

Is there any laptop that you can actually see outdoors? I always fantasize about living the café life.

 

there´s stuff like that...

 

http://www.amazon.com/Hoodman-HOODPC-14-In..._sim_sbs_misc_1

 

i have one, and it´s not doing much. a little, but not much. if you are sitting in direct sunlight you still can´t see anything properly. other than that it looks ridiculous. i only use it on my balcony sometimes, where no one can see me. :D

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My own thumbnail spec for overclocking is that it has to be fairly plug and play in implementation.

 

The intel quad core Q6600 I have now can be overclocked from 2.4 to 3.0 GHz with just an app from the desktop and still uses standard fan. That's easy enough for almost any user to do.

 

Do i need to bolt on a different cooler? OK I can manage that, but maybe not most users. Still, I'd consider it but needing to do a lot of experimentation with voltages and other parameters... then it's getting a little bit less likely for me because I don't really know how all that interacts

 

There is a lot of trial and error involved. You bump up the bus speed a bit, see if it is stable. If not, back it off. Bump up the voltage, see if it is stable, etc. You can get higher overclocks (or is it more stable? If forget) by increasing the voltage, but increasing the voltage increases the heat and means you'll need a better/more efficient heatsink. You have to be careful with upping the voltage, though, because you can fry your CPU.

 

Used to be way back in the day when all CPUs were unlocked, you could play around with both the bus speed and the multiplier. You could get a 300mhz celeron and get 400 or 450mhz out of it, easy. That's an ancient example, though.

 

These days they usually lock the multiplier on the CPU (unless you pay extra for one that allows overclocking) so you are limited to FSB overclocking.

 

Some boards have auto OC settings, I think the ASUS ROG boards have something like that. You can usually get a pretty good speed bump with the middle setting (there are low, medium, high OC settings).

 

You want to goose things much higher than 25% over spec, you have to fiddle around a lot or invest in more exotic cooling solutions.

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I like the old Hash mantra - kitchen table animation. I animate where ever I am - at work, at home on the dining room table, at the in-laws. I do not animate outside though. I could do it in my study behind a desktop system but my wife prefers my presence so I sit at the dining room table (she will not have a desktop computer at the dining room table - been there already :) )

 

Yes, desktop components are very expensive here in Australia, at least 2-3 times what you guys pay in the states. Laptops are actually cheaper than desktop systems here and stores do not actually sell desktop systems anymore - only laptops. To find a desktop you either have to go to a big electical store or a specialist computer store (the latter being very few and far between these days). My last visit to a major electronics outlet store and there were over 100 different configurations of laptops on offer and 2 desktop systems!

 

Cheers

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I like the old Hash mantra - kitchen table animation. I animate where ever I am - at work, at home on the dining room table, at the in-laws. I do not animate outside though. I could do it in my study behind a desktop system but my wife prefers my presence so I sit at the dining room table (she will not have a desktop computer at the dining room table - been there already :) )

 

Yes, desktop components are very expensive here in Australia, at least 2-3 times what you guys pay in the states. Laptops are actually cheaper than desktop systems here and stores do not actually sell desktop systems anymore - only laptops. To find a desktop you either have to go to a big electical store or a specialist computer store (the latter being very few and far between these days). My last visit to a major electronics outlet store and there were over 100 different configurations of laptops on offer and 2 desktop systems!

 

Cheers

 

Good to know, thanks David. Maybe Australians just don't buy desktops and because of that the demand is just not high enough and like that economic scarcity is coming into that calculation. (which is bad, if you ask me... it will increase the prices massively without a good reason other than that it is not cost-effective for sellers to buy those components in larger amounts but only on a specific question base).

 

Anyway: A laptop is a good choice too today and it should be fast enough to run A:M on it... only rendering-speed may suffer a little...

 

See you

*Fuchur*

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Just paid a visit to the only 'build your own computer' store in town. A basic i3 with 4Gb RAM (onboard graphics) - $599AU. An equivalent AMD without the monitor - $419. Box with Gigabyte G1.Sniper-M3 Motherboard, 16Gb DDR3 RAM, 2Tb SATAIII HD, DVD/Blu-Ray Player, GeForce GTX-670 Video (plus a 27" monitor) - $2,000AU. (they don't discount for removing the monitor keyboard, mouse and speakers)

 

My Qosmio has just died so I have put it in for a service and fix up and hopefully resurrect it before having to buy a new one (I have been told the Toshiba Satellite P70 is a good replacement for the Qosmio and a reasonable price at under $2000 with a Gen 4 i7 processor, 16Gb RAM, conventional and SD HD's)

 

Cheers

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Intel:

 

i7-3770K four/eight core CPU + CPU fan + ASRock Z77 Pro3 Motherboard combo $390

16GB DDR3 RAM $100

ATX Case w/ 500watt PS $60

Video included on MB $0

500GB HDD $30

Windows 8 OEM $100

 

total: $680

 

 

Australian $ Comparison

 

Intel:

 

i7-3770K four/eight core CPU + CPU fan + Gigabyte Intel Motherboard $590

16GB DDR3 RAM $159 ($270 for 16GB of 1866Mhz RAM)

ATX Case w/ 500watt PS $139

Video included on MB $0 (? don't know the spec's of their mother boards - I assume so)

500GB HDD $79

Windows 8 OEM $119

 

total: $1086

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I had a look at this online store in Australia and did a (complete) built:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

AMD FX-8350 Black Edition 8-Core Processor $225.00 (I assumed this is the boxed version, since the image looks like that... I could not get info on that so... if it is the tray-version you would need a CPU-cooler too)

Antec Three Hundred U3 Mid Tower Case $75.00

Samsung SH-224DB(BB)/BEBS 24x Internal SATA DVD OEM Burner Drive $19.99

Western Digital WD Blue WD10EZEX 3.5" 1TB SATA 6.0Gb/s Hard Drive $65.00

Samsung 840 Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Drive/SSD $105.00

ASRock 980DE3-U3S3 AM3+ ATX Motherboard $65.00

Cooler Master Thunder 600W Power Supply $75.00

ASUS Radeon HD 7790 1GB DirectCUII Overclock Video Card $159.00

Kingston HyperX Black 16GB (2x 8GB) DDR3-1600 KHX16C10B1BK2/16X - $145.00

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

> $933.99

 

That looks pricy too, but be aware that there is a real graphiccard included (a quite good one), a good case (I really think it is important to have a steady and good one in terms of air flow, etc. and I always get that case because it just rocks in that aspects), be aware that in general the case/power-supply combinations offer not that good power supplies and that is really bad for a computer, a SSD and a normal HDD and a DVD-Burner. I would not recommend a on board graphic solution (at least if you play from time to time or do some GPU-calculations it will hit you heavily afterwards if you do not get a real one.)

 

If you do not want to go with AMD, change the CPU and the motherboard and you are good to go.

 

See you

*Fuchur*

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Late to the party :-)

I have built in the last week my new develop machine and I can say only wow , Haswell cpu's are rocking .....

The only disadvantage , the price for this machine is not cheap , ~ $2900

(i7-4770, 32 gb memory, gtx660, 1x250gb SSD, 2x500gb SSD, and the small components (case , power supply and so one ...))

 

Have a look at my benchmark results .

Benchresults.pdf

the first benchmark project is the teapot from robcat (only with another name ), the others I'm using for tests.

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Late to the party :-)

I have built in the last week my new develop machine and I can say only wow , Haswell cpu's are rocking .....

The only disadvantage , the price for this machine is not cheap , ~ $2900

(i7-4770, 32 gb memory, gtx660, 1x250gb SSD, 2x500gb SSD, and the small components (case , power supply and so one ...))

 

Have a look at my benchmark results .

Benchresults.pdf

the first benchmark project is the teapot from robcat (only with another name ), the others I'm using for tests.

 

 

For English-speakers I'll note that the comma in a number such as "95,7047" is like a decimal point. I think. :)

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