Computers & Electronics

Help Spec'ing a Rendering Machine?

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  • Jul 19th, 2017 10:35 pm
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[OP]
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Aug 29, 2007
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Help Spec'ing a Rendering Machine?

Hey everyone,

I'm looking to build a machine to handle Cinema 4D 3d modelling and rendering of still images (not video or animation) as well as handle the Adobe suite. I'm looking for a machine that will render as quick as possible and am probably looking at a max budget of ~$6000. Not sure if anyone could help me put something together, but I'd appreciate it! It doesn't need to be Intel if any of the new AMD chips would work well, including the un-released threadripper.
52 replies
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Feb 29, 2008
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What I've seen of thread ripper is at least 800$ usd for the cheapest model. And it uses its own socket.

A ryzen 7 is an option since they have excellent multi threaded performance in cinebench or pov ray tracing.

If you won't do multi gpu gaming you can get a b350 board, but should consider x370 if you need more sata ports.

Throw is 16 gigs of RAM or even 32 if you can afford it.

I would get a quality Nvme drive for the OS and 1 or 2 high capacity HDD drives.

Is your software gpu accelerated?
[OP]
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Aug 29, 2007
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It is GPU based rendering, but I also use some older software that only uses the CPU.

What I'm running right now is a Dell workstation with:
Core i7-4910MQ @ 2.9GHz
32GB RAM
Quadro K5100M - 8GB DDR5
and a 1GB Crucial SSD

Looking for something to make this machine seem old and slow.

Would two 1080 or 1080ti cards in SLI give a good boost?
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orbitdesign wrote:
Jul 14th, 2017 2:29 pm
It is GPU based rendering, but I also use some older software that only uses the CPU.

What I'm running right now is a Dell workstation with:
Core i7-4910MQ @ 2.9GHz
32GB RAM
Quadro K5100M - 8GB DDR5
and a 1GB Crucial SSD

Looking for something to make this machine seem old and slow.

Would two 1080 or 1080ti cards in SLI give a good boost?
That's pretty high end already.

You need to see how your software benches on 6 and 8 cores, with 16 threads and Pascal gpus. I'm assuming it uses CUDA?
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orbitdesign wrote:
Jul 14th, 2017 2:29 pm
It is GPU based rendering, but I also use some older software that only uses the CPU.

What I'm running right now is a Dell workstation with:
Core i7-4910MQ @ 2.9GHz
32GB RAM
Quadro K5100M - 8GB DDR5
and a 1GB Crucial SSD

Looking for something to make this machine seem old and slow.

Would two 1080 or 1080ti cards in SLI give a good boost?
That Quadro is a Kepler part, so yes two 1080Ti's will make it seem very old and slow in GPU-based rendering. You're also using a notebook CPU, so while it is a decent quad with hyperthreading you're going to be limited in thermal headroom and clockspeed. A Ryzen 7 will make it seem old and slow too.
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I would spring for a quality Nvme drive like Samsung 960 Evo ( or pro if you can).

I have a 512gb my digital BPX and it's night and day.
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orbitdesign wrote:
Jul 14th, 2017 2:29 pm
It is GPU based rendering, but I also use some older software that only uses the CPU.

What I'm running right now is a Dell workstation with:
Core i7-4910MQ @ 2.9GHz
32GB RAM
Quadro K5100M - 8GB DDR5
and a 1GB Crucial SSD

Looking for something to make this machine seem old and slow.

Would two 1080 or 1080ti cards in SLI give a good boost?
Your existing components are all laptop parts, so they're pretty slow (by desktop standards) straight away. And that Quadro is slow compared to a 1050, let alone two 1080/ti; you'd definitely notice a large processing time benefit from this. I'd look into ensuring your software can properly utilize SLI cards; I would imagine this should be a given, but I'd check anyways.

Your existing CPU is quite gimp as well (for your purposes, anyways); a Ryzen/Threadripper CPU wouldn't be an insane single-threaded upgrade (probably something like 10%-20%, depending on which chip you pick), but for your tasks, it will likely be an IMMENSE upgrade in processing power, since rendering tends to be very multi threaded.

If you wanted, you could scoot over that SSD to your new system (I presume you meant 1TB SSD), and re-install the original drive in that old machine to sell it; it's probably plenty fast, if you're looking to save a few bucks. Then you'd only "need" an NVMe drive, if you chose to go this route (I would, but I wouldn't splurge for "Pro" drives; the cost-benefit isn't there).

If you're considering Threadripper parts, then maybe you should be potentially looking at AMD Vega videocard parts; Threadripper is launching the same-ish time, I believe, so if you're able to wait for that, you might want to wait for AMDs video parts as well (FWIW: current leaks aren't promising, but who knows).

$2k in videocards, $2.5k in Threadripper/Mobo/RAM (appx), then you've got $1.5k for PSU/case/drives ... seems pretty doable to me in your $6k budget.
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Just remember, if you're going with GTX 1080 Ti SLI, they put out a ton of heat. Either get two "blower" reference type cards, or else water cool the top card.

Other than that I would go with 8c/16t Ryzen and 32gb of RAM if you can afford it.
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I'm surprised nobody's asked this, but are we talking about DirectX rendering or OpenGL rendering here? If it's the latter, the K5100M will blow 2x 1080 Ti out of the water, thanks to the gimped Geforce consumer drivers.
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Raident wrote:
Jul 16th, 2017 12:46 am
I'm surprised nobody's asked this, but are we talking about DirectX rendering or OpenGL rendering here? If it's the latter, the K5100M will blow 2x 1080 Ti out of the water, thanks to the gimped Geforce consumer drivers.
In general, this is untrue; OpenGL rendering on the 1080ti would be immensely faster than the K5100M in most modern software. Now, if it uses FP64 extensively for some reason (which, as is evidenced by the fact this performance is being reduced across the board as newer and newer Quadros come out, doesn't really matter for most), then that Quadro MIGHT be faster, but it has relatively gimped FP64 (1/24) as well. For this, I think AMD are the kings of this metric anyhow.

I'll definitely admit that I'm wrong, but it seems the general consensus among people who scrutinize performance is that the GTXs are generally the best choice vs their Quadro counterparts overall, unless you need 10 bit color, or ECC RAM. Or your software is designed specifically to lower performance on a consumer card (in which case, the much-faster GTX probably still wins).
One who is offended by truth, has no place among those who seek wisdom.
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https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/artic ... -2016-751/

Of course, the 1080 Ti is significantly faster than Maxwell was, but given the size of the gulf to begin with, I doubt the gap has closed, much less gone in the other direction.

That said, SolidWorks is an OpenGL application. Again, if the OP is using DirectX-accelerated applications then there's no problem whatsoever, and yes, a pair of 1080 Ti's will blow any Quadros short of a pair of P6000's out of the water.
[OP]
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Aug 29, 2007
450 posts
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Thanks for all of the info everyone! I'm still up in the air over GTX vs Quadro but I'm leaning towards the GTX line... though I also can't seem to figure out if they'd work better in SLI or not.

I'm currently outputting to two 28" 4K displays, plus the laptop display and I'll still be using these two monitors in the future.

I've been following the VEGA cards for a while now and I'm a bit concerned about their performance, and also most of these applications seem to be optimized for CUDA.

I think it's now down to Ryzen7 or Threadripper... I'm not really seeing a reason to go with Intel this round.

Would anyone make any changes to a build like this? One thing I'm not the best with is knowing which parts/brand/sub-brand is best for each.
https://ca.pcpartpicker.com/list/krj3D8
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orbitdesign wrote:
Jul 17th, 2017 8:49 am
Thanks for all of the info everyone! I'm still up in the air over GTX vs Quadro but I'm leaning towards the GTX line... though I also can't seem to figure out if they'd work better in SLI or not.

I'm currently outputting to two 28" 4K displays, plus the laptop display and I'll still be using these two monitors in the future.

I've been following the VEGA cards for a while now and I'm a bit concerned about their performance, and also most of these applications seem to be optimized for CUDA.

I think it's now down to Ryzen7 or Threadripper... I'm not really seeing a reason to go with Intel this round.

Would anyone make any changes to a build like this? One thing I'm not the best with is knowing which parts/brand/sub-brand is best for each.
https://ca.pcpartpicker.com/list/krj3D8
I would personally get the Ryzen 1700 CPU instead and save over $200. It will give you similar performance; you will just have to overclock it a bit. Ryzen 1700 has been on sale for $349CAD lately. Also you are overpaying big time on the motherboard and the RAM. I would look around a bit for better deals. You are definitely on the right track in terms of the components, I would just do some work finding deals and bringing the cost down.

You found a decent deal on the GTX 1080 Ti cards. You might want to check Amazon for those, they have a better return policy and you can get Ebates. I have seen them on there for around the same price.
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Dayum, you got cash!

Seriously:

1. The 1700x is has almost the same clock speed as the 1800x, but it's a 100$ cheaper. For Ryzen, look at the BASE speed. The turbo speed is only reached under very specific workloads.
http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=10361139478


2. You don't need watercooling. Even a gamers and OCers use a good air cooler. As always, the CM 212 series is good bang for buck. I would replace teh stock CM fan with a nice quiet Noctua. Plus when a watercooler fails, it's not pretty.

3.Be very, very, careful with RAM. Ryzen is very finicky, and very few people can run their sticks at ddr4-3000. With four sticks, you may only get 2400 speeds. Looks at the RAM speed chart below. Anything above that is luck of the draw. Make sure your RAM is on the QVL list for your motherboard, and has been tested at THAT speed.

4. Mobo is a bit expensive. There are cheaper x370s out there. But OK I guess

5. I don't like tempered glass cases. Heavy for no reason. Fractal Design or Obsidian make quality steel cases that ventilate well for much cheaper.

6. Carefully research your GPU purchase and your software. You can start with one 1080ti and see how it goes. SLI configs are a headache. In general, I feel GPU prices are unreasonably high these days.

7. After your done, can I come to your house and fondle your rig :lol


FYI i have a Ryzen 1700x, CM 212 evo, GTX 970 in Corsair Carbide case. I'm using a NVME drive also

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Here is an MSI GTX 1080 Ti Founder's Edition for $929:

https://www.amazon.ca/MSI-GTX-1080-Ti-F ... tx+1080+ti

The nice thing about MSI is they have a local RMA depot in Markham, ON, if that's convenient for you.

I also found this motherboard:

http://www.pc-canada.com/item/X370%20GA ... partpicker

It looks nice to me and it will save you another $100+.

As for the RAM, I would go more this route:

https://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.a ... -_-Product

Or if you're ok with a lesser know brand, this looks like a pretty good deal:

https://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.a ... -_-Product

The advantage of going with a 2x16gb kit instead of 4x8gb is that it will leave two of your slots open for future upgrades. Also, most motherboards become somewhat unstable and more finicky once you populate all four RAM slots. For a similar price I would definitely go with two sticks if I were you.
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