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symko
09-05-2011, 04:32 PM
Hey All,
I'm thinking of getting two 12 core MacPros to use on a render farm. I'm using SnubLauncher to assist in the setup. I'll also be using the 64bit of LW. Before I drop big change on two Macs, does anyone see anything wrong with this setup or know of any issues? Thanks.

3DGFXStudios
09-06-2011, 04:28 AM
Buy windows pc's instead. You'll get more power for less money.

rsfd
09-06-2011, 09:18 AM
pretty old prejudice.
If you compare with a similar Win-PC (e.g. HP Z-800), you'll find it's pretty much the same.
And on the Mac, you could additionally install Windows. It depends on one's working environment, imo.

3dworks
09-06-2011, 03:45 PM
OMG why does nearly EVERY request for mac hardware advices on this forum get that platform war twist? because some people always know it better.
3DGFXStudios (and all others with similar attitudes), in case you didn't notice: this is the forum

NewTek Discussions > LightWave 3D Support > LW - Mac

in short: 'mac support'. not 'mac bashing'. helpful posts from users trying to solve other's issues. got it?
so, instead of posting old stereotypes over and over again, stay away from here or post something useful...

ok, now that had to be said, once. :D

cheers

markus

wesleycorgi
09-07-2011, 06:51 AM
Not a Mac bash (I am prinarily a Mac user with two MB Pros and about a half dozen Mac minis) but if you are going to use Mac Pros purely for rendering, I would opt for a wintel server. On the WinPC side everything is commoditized, whereas you pay a premium with Apple.

For a trade show demo, we recently put together from scratch a 64-core server (in one box) with 32gb of ram for under $4k. This was for a high-end networking test, but I'll be turning it into my render server, including for LW.

3DGFXStudios
09-07-2011, 06:57 AM
OMG why does nearly EVERY request for mac hardware advices on this forum get that platform war twist? because some people always know it better.
3DGFXStudios (and all others with similar attitudes), in case you didn't notice: this is the forum

NewTek Discussions > LightWave 3D Support > LW - Mac

in short: 'mac support'. not 'mac bashing'. helpful posts from users trying to solve other's issues. got it?
so, instead of posting old stereotypes over and over again, stay away from here or post something useful...

ok, now that had to be said, once. :D

cheers

markus

Dude calm down. It's just advise. We are running our workstations on mac's but the renderfarm runs on windows because you can fit those things in 1u cases. It saves a lot of space and if you build the systems yourself I found out that you can save 1000eu per system (was for a workstation). So it not bashing at all.

Hieron
09-10-2011, 06:41 AM
For a trade show demo, we recently put together from scratch a 64-core server (in one box) with 32gb of ram for under $4k. This was for a high-end networking test, but I'll be turning it into my render server, including for LW.

Care to elaborate a bit on that? Did you run any benchmarks etc so it can be compared a bit.. Quite interesting matter.

wesleycorgi
09-10-2011, 07:10 AM
I haven't had a chance to benchmark (it's trade show season, so both me and the box are on the road for the next month and a half).

I made a mistake on the 64-core spec; it is actually only 32-core (4 CPUs with 8 cores on one motherboard and 8GB dedicated to each CPU). My colleague who built it decided that the 32-core had enough "muscle" for our demo.

I have a scene that uses hypervoxels, radiosity, etc. that took about 2 hours per frame on my MacBook Pro i7. I want to run the same scene on our "Frankenserver" as a test, but right now it is a Linux box (although it does have a Win VM).

I am thinking of imaging my PC laptop to a separate drive and just plugging it in to the server (so not disrupt any of our dedicated trade show demo).

It's funny, our engineering team saw our Frankenserver and they immediately wanted to co-opt it for their development needs. And at trade shows it attracts all the geeks, because we decked it out with LED lights on the fans, interesting fan grills, etc. It's almost better than "booth babes."

3dworks
09-10-2011, 07:58 AM
Dude calm down. It's just advise. We are running our workstations on mac's but the renderfarm runs on windows because you can fit those things in 1u cases. It saves a lot of space and if you build the systems yourself I found out that you can save 1000eu per system (was for a workstation). So it not bashing at all.

ok, sorry if it was a bit harsh and maybe i hit the wrong one, i'm simply p***ed off by that general anti-mac tone here around - and honestly, your first post it wasn't really looking like a constructive message.

as for the original request: imo, the high end mac pro's are still rather good priced, when considering quality, reliability and reselling value and also considering 'smart' option check when buying them (RAM and HD from third party, etc). because of their excellent and sturdy design they are also easy to upgrade in nearly no time, and you add the advantage to run multiple OS's on them natively. add the fact that they remain nearly totally silent at full load, means that they don't need any special insulated server room.

if you are building a farm with lower specs, then probably a windows only solution might be cheaper from a hardware point of view. it must also be said that for LW there are by far more windows based network render tools than mac compatible ones. btw. the new squidnet seems to be rather promising, they announced a totally compatible software for the near future.

also, i'm using my little mac pro farm mostly with maxwellrender and sometimes modo, both of which are providing an excellent native network rendering support out of the box on macs. i wish LW 10 already had a similar flexible and easy to setup system...

cheers

markus

Hieron
09-10-2011, 08:50 AM
"only 32-core"
..
"It's almost better than "booth babes.""

Hehe, nice.
Is it an intel or AMD box? Do you know the CPU spec?

Good luck with the tradeshows.. it's tough not to benchmark a machine like that, but I guess not messing around with a working and crucial part makes better sense.

ps: sorry for being off topic. Besides the usual comment "omg mac's, expensive" I have not much to say. Then again, what can you say about "buying Mac Pro's for renderfarm" other than making the Windows comment?

wesleycorgi
09-11-2011, 05:31 PM
Is it an intel or AMD box? Do you know the CPU spec?

We got AMD Opteron 6128's (2.0GHz 8 x 512KB L2 Cache 12MB L3 Cache Socket G34 115W 8-Core Server Processor).

wesleycorgi
09-11-2011, 05:40 PM
ps: sorry for being off topic. Besides the usual comment "omg mac's, expensive" I have not much to say. Then again, what can you say about "buying Mac Pro's for renderfarm" other than making the Windows comment?

As a user, I prefer to use OSX (even when there isn't parity between Mac apps vs. the Windows version, which is pretty much every cross platform program). However, you can't beat the performance/cost of Windows-based systems. Even more so, Linux based systems.

Heck, don't cry for Apple (I'm a stockholder) with their billions of dollars in the bank. I wish I could "roll my own" Mac servers like you can on the Windows/Linux side, but it's not going to happen.

Hieron
09-12-2011, 03:16 AM
wish I was a stockholder, but not sure if this is the right time to start :P

thanks for the info guys!

Mr Rid
09-12-2011, 03:35 AM
Buy windows pc's instead. You'll get more power for less money.

Yep. Its not personal bias.

4dartist
11-23-2013, 09:49 AM
I'm rendering on 4 Mac Mini machines. I have used various LWSN renders about a dozen times in the past, but for some reason I just end up just opening up scenes and rendering them locally. I wish setting up a small farm was easier.

I think I would have built or just purchased a windows machine with much more processor if I was a little more motivated to put up with the cross platform issues. Plugins worry me some. Networking Mac > PC < Mac worries me. I wish apple would make a mini type box with nothing but as much processor as possible.

On a side note, I'm sad the new Mac Pro is going to be so video card beefy and not processor beefy. It's like computer designers have heard how awesome GPUs are and didn't realize some people see no advantage there...

dsol
11-28-2013, 09:12 AM
On a side note, I'm sad the new Mac Pro is going to be so video card beefy and not processor beefy. It's like computer designers have heard how awesome GPUs are and didn't realize some people see no advantage there...

Yeah, it really sucks. But I get the feeling this is Apple trying to force the hand of the market (I'm pretty sure this is the main reason they went with AMD cpus as well!). It's a killer OpenCL box, and knowing Apple's clout I predict a lot of content creation apps offering OpenCL support in the aftermath of the hardware finally getting released. I think I heard that Octane were exploring the possibility of an OpenCL version.

Of course I don't think the new Pro does anything radical to solve any of the inherent problems or limitations with GPGPU (lack of memory, and the relatively slow connection to system RAM being the main one)

D

Dexter2999
11-28-2013, 10:47 AM
To the original post, IF YOU BUILD YOUR OWN SYSTEM you can get better price to performance ratio. This would indicate building a PC system, because Apple doesn't really condone "Hackintosh" systems.

I am planning on building a somewhat beefy system myself and I spec'ed it out 1-to-1 with a high end Mac Pro system and it was about 1/3 cheaper to build. Apple makes good machines but (IMO) are intended for people who don't want to be computer technicians. They are meant for people who want to be able to just turn on the computer and it does what they want with high degree of stability and reliability. Pretty much like everyone who buys a car doesn't want to be a mechanic.

Dexter2999
11-28-2013, 10:51 AM
But I get the feeling this is Apple trying to force the hand of the market (I'm pretty sure this is the main reason they went with AMD cpus as well!). It's a killer OpenCL box, and knowing Apple's clout I predict a lot of content creation apps offering OpenCL support in the aftermath of the hardware finally getting released. I think I heard that Octane were exploring the possibility of an OpenCL version.

Of course I don't think the new Pro does anything radical to solve any of the inherent problems or limitations with GPGPU (lack of memory, and the relatively slow connection to system RAM being the main one)

D

The one good thing I can say about the new Mac Pro is that it should be a really nice Cloud computing client. As long as the heavy lifting is being done elsewhere, your interactions could be fairly transparent and you wouldn't know that your terminal wasn't doing the work itself.

derker
11-28-2013, 12:29 PM
That's exactly what I did last year, I've been a Mac man since it started, but I've watched Apple hiking up their prices and glitzing up their marketing. So I decided to make up my own PC using a AMD 8 core and a solid mainframe. It performs great, and I've never looked back, all 8 cores are used in rendering at ten times the speed of my previous Mac.

JonW
11-28-2013, 02:59 PM
Pretty much like everyone who buys a car doesn't want to be a mechanic.

A lot want a Holden Sedan SS V8. But most of us need the Ute version "Holden SS 270kW 6.0 litre V8 ute"

People don't want to do their own oil changes on either car, but only one of them is for heavy lifting.

You would think if cars fit for purpose can be built, companies could build a lousy computer!

dsol
12-05-2013, 06:11 AM
I'm rendering on 4 Mac Mini machines. I have used various LWSN renders about a dozen times in the past, but for some reason I just end up just opening up scenes and rendering them locally. I wish setting up a small farm was easier.

I think I would have built or just purchased a windows machine with much more processor if I was a little more motivated to put up with the cross platform issues. Plugins worry me some. Networking Mac > PC < Mac worries me. I wish apple would make a mini type box with nothing but as much processor as possible.

The new Mac Pros really don't provide much bang for the buck for render farms. For the reasons you pointed out (plugin and network/drive mapping issues) I'd prefer to have an all-mac setup too, so I had a look at the mac mini. I'm in the UK, so doing this in GB£ (and including VAT which adds 20%!)

Base system: Quad core i7 + CPU upgrade to 2.6Ghz ( + £80) = £759.00
16GB RAM upgrade/replacement from Crucial - 2 x 8GB kit DDR3 = £117.59
SSD to replace 1TB HD - 120GB Crucial - £81.59

So a total of £958.18. Not cheap, but you could sell the 2x2GB RAM modules and the 1TB HD to get back some of it. Or turn the leftover HDs into a RAID-5 setup ;) Of course, for only about £200 more, you could get the base 21" iMac with a faster CPU and 8GB RAM (which might be enough if you're not rendering memory-intensive scenes). Which would also double as an extra workstation, though obviously takes up a lot more space.

If I was just working in 3D (Lightwave and Zbrush) all the time, I'd probably switch to Windows, just because of the cheap hardware and the wider range of apps/plugins. But OSX is a much nicer, better designed OS (both aesthetically and functionally) - and I don't mind admitting that I'm too snobbish to tolerate Microsoft's appallingly lack of taste in their products. I wish I could be more pragmatic and just suck it up, but such is my nature ;)

JonW
12-05-2013, 06:36 AM
Everything I do is on a Mac other than LW! I originally had the Mac only dongle but updated it for PC. It simply boiled down to GHz per dollar. You could put a dual CPU PC together for $8k & render the Benchmark Marbles in 22 minutes for example! Or in other words $2941 / per frame / per hour.

dsol
12-05-2013, 06:42 AM
Everything I do is on a Mac other than LW! I originally had the Mac only dongle but updated it for PC. It simply boiled down to GHz per dollar. You could put a dual CPU PC together for $8k & render the Benchmark Marbles in 22 minutes for example! Or in other words $2941 / per frame / per hour.

Of course if LW3DG make a Linux version of LW, it'll be even cheaper to build render farms. I'd really like to see this happen. I'm still planning on upgrading my old Athlon64 system to a new CPU/mobo/GPU, just need to work out the cheapest way to upgrade to win7 (though 8.1 looks like it might be tolerable now)

hdace
12-13-2013, 08:21 AM
There's always Hackintoshes. I've built five now and they all run beautifully. My latest has an 8-core Xeon E-5 2690 and it renders nice and fast. Hey, maybe I should do the marbles thing. Forgot about that.

Anyway, I have Windows on it but I almost never go there. The Mac side is rock solid. I just can't put up with Apple hardware anymore and I can't put up with Windows. I just can't compromise on either issue.

eadnams
01-03-2014, 03:23 PM
I've Ordered a 12 core as my new primary LW/Video/Work machine-- Since we've been using a Quad-core 2013 rMBP, this will certainly be a step up :)