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View Full Version : (re) building a small farm - advice needed



Pavlov
01-04-2013, 08:44 AM
Hi all,
i want to rebuild my own small farm.
By now, eight I7 nodes + five I7 workstations.
I want to have more nodes, but im not sure if it's better to go for more PCs or to for a more evoluted system like rack/blade solution.
These seem to cost sooo much more... for same power i can spend 3x, but they are much more compact and concume less energy.
PCs take space, concume a lot of powe.
Probably going for some last gen dual Xeons is best thing, but i want to evaluate all possibilities.
My target power is the equivalent of twenty last gen I7 cpus.
For this famr size, which road would you pick ?
Plain I7 boxes, dual xeon systems, or blade/rack servers, Boxx, other ?
Beside the very high cost, all rack-blades are sold as *server* solution, which means a lot of complexity i cant and i dont want to manage (VMware + os+virtualization etcetc).
What i'd love is a solution made of very small but "common" PCs (with a common windows seven pro 64 OS).

thanks,
Paolo

Lewis
01-04-2013, 10:06 AM
Latest i5/i7 SandyBridge and Ivy Bridge consume very low energy and give very good perfrmance in rendering.

I have wattage metter and when i overclock one of my renderslaves i5 2500K (4 cores/4 threads i.e no HT) to 4.7 GHz it spends 75-85W at idle and 145-150W at 100% CPU usage (that's for complete machien not just CPU of course). Z77 MB, i5 2500K CPU, 24GB DDR3, 320GB S-ATA drive and cheap Nvidia 430GT 1GB GFX card. And that's Quad core older Sandy Bridge, new Ivy bridge consumes even less and it's about 5% more efficient in rendering at clock to clock ratios (although it's less overclock-able than SB so it's roughly like 4.5GHz IbyBridge = 4.7 GHz SandyBridge).

For comparison of speed:
- i5 [email protected] (4C/4T) gives = 7.1 Cinebench
- i7 [email protected] (4C/8T) = 6.5 Cinebench
- i7 [email protected] Ghz (6C/12T) = 9.4 Cinembenc
- i7 [email protected] 4.7 Ghz (4C/8T) = 9.1 Cinebench
- i7 [email protected] (6c/12T) = 13.9 Cinebench
- i7 [email protected] (6c/12T) = 12 Cinebench

I didn't measure 2600K consumption yet but CPU is rated 20W more than i5 SB so i guess it's still wellbelow 200W when renderign at full overclocked speed.

So if you can try to get i7 3770K, some cheap Z77 MB and you don't even have to get GFX card 'coz CPU has built in GFX card which is enough for renderslaves.

cheers

Pavlov
01-04-2013, 10:29 AM
nice infos, thanks :)
some questions: i5 2500K @7.1 cinebench is the overclocked one, right ? So far i7 970 seems best choice. But anyway we're always in PC-land, i wanted to look for more compact solutions... i'll get some info about dual xeon's cinebench and compare prices.
I didnt know i7 3770 didnt need GFX card... nice info too :)

thansk again,
Paolo

Hieron
01-04-2013, 10:37 AM
3770k is a good 4c, 3930k is a good 6core. Price per performance wise the difference is not big, with the 3930k's delivering more power per pc case/OS install. You can't go much wrong with either.

The 970 is almost 3 years old by now, I'd skip it.
Blades/servers etc are expensive and noisy, I'd skip 'em.

Lewis
01-04-2013, 10:38 AM
Sandy Bridge (2500K/2600K/2700K and all others lower Sandy bridge) and Ivy Bridge 3570K/3770Ketc have built in intel GFX card into CPU so you need only Z77 or similar Motherboard which have DVI/-D and Dsub connectors.

Yes all those CB results ar eat overclocked CPUs (I've fixed/edited first line :)). 2500K non overclicked is aobut 5.5 CBench.

I think 970 is still too much priced and consumes lot more Power so if oyu are concenred about power then IbyBridge 3770K might be best option. Just remember only "K" serios of SB/IB can be overclocked properly (they hav eunlocekd multiplier, other series as non-K and S/T aren't unlocked so you can only increase BLCK and get liek 200-300Mhz in total)

P.S i just tested 2600K overclocked on Wattage meter and it's 150-152W on Full machine usage while rendering so it' sjust few Watts more than 4Core 2500K.

Lewis
01-04-2013, 10:41 AM
3770k is a good 4c, 3930k is a good 6core. Price per performance wise the difference is not big, with the 3930k's delivering more power per pc case/OS install. You can't go much wrong with either.

The 970 is almost 3 years old by now, I'd skip it.
Blades/servers etc are expensive and noisy, I'd skip 'em.

3930K is great CPU but more for workstations than renderslaves if he looks at price/performance.

With 3930K you must get more expensive MBO and CPU is 30-40% more expensive than 3770K and you must buy GFX card 'coz that chip dpt' have GPU inside (or at least intel didn't enable it). so for 3930K it's more on MBO, more on CPU + mandatory GFX card and CPU spends more Watts.

BTW i've added Cinebench results from my 3930K at work machine (always overclocked :)).

Pavlov
01-04-2013, 10:50 AM
well.. if 3930 runs about 1.5x faster than 3770, it means 2 machines with first one are equal to 3 machines with second one... in the end, i save money i think. No ?
Anyway, would you skip dual xeon setups ? space and consumption wise, these should be best thing, or not ?

Paolo

Hieron
01-04-2013, 11:07 AM
3930K is great CPU but more for workstations than renderslaves if he looks at price/performance.

With 3930K you must get more expensive MBO and CPU is 30-40% more expensive than 3770K and you must buy GFX card 'coz that chip dpt' have GPU inside (or at least intel didn't enable it). so for 3930K it's more on MBO, more on CPU + mandatory GFX card and CPU spends more Watts.

BTW i've added Cinebench results from my 3930K at work machine (always overclocked :)).

There is hardly any difference in price/performance of 3770k vs 3930k if you factor in cost of OS, case, licenses etc right? Sure the CPU is 30-40% more expensive but on the total cost it may not matter much at all even with the mobo and gpu (I'd recommend the Nvidia GT 610 fanless). And with 2x 3930k vs 3x 3770k you save 1x installing OS, problem solving, floor space...

Either way, both are fine. This is details...

Hieron
01-04-2013, 11:10 AM
well.. if 3930 runs about 1.5x faster than 3770, it means 2 machines with first one are equal to 3 machines with second one... in the end, i save money i think. No ?
Anyway, would you skip dual xeon setups ? space and consumption wise, these should be best thing, or not ?

Paolo

Dual Xeons are more expensive price/performance wise, by a fair margin. You can't overclock them either (not since the EVGA SR-2). So if that is an option for you, the gap becomes quite large.

Now as a workstation with all the bells and whistles (monitors, OS, SSD's, good GPU, massive case etc etc) the price difference of CPU diminishes in relevance, then perhaps dual Xeon becomes more interesting. Or if you want the most performance/floor space.

Pavlov
01-04-2013, 11:23 AM
It's also about power/energy consumption ratio, which is the point where i supposed dual xeons were best option.
Honestly i used to overclock Q6600 time ago, but then i had some instability issues and i preferred to stitch to original clock... anyway i'll give next I7 i buy a try with it.

Paolo

Lewis
01-04-2013, 11:27 AM
well.. if 3930 runs about 1.5x faster than 3770, it means 2 machines with first one are equal to 3 machines with second one... in the end, i save money i think. No ?
Anyway, would you skip dual xeon setups ? space and consumption wise, these should be best thing, or not ?

Paolo

thing is that it's NOT 50% faster :).

Overclocked [email protected] will roughly give you cinebench of around 9.4-9.5 so to get 50% more out of 3930K you'd have to get to 14+ which is not even close on 4.5GHz sicne it's tad under 13 :).
3770K can even reach around 11.5 Cinebench if you manage to make it stable/cool at 4.8-4,9Ghz but 4.5 is doable for 99% of them without any effort and whit modest cooling system. Also 2*3930K systems would probably cost you same or even more than 3*3770K 'coz of GFX cards you'd still need to buy and more expensive MBos and CPU is like 50% more expensive than 3770K and there is no cheap 2011 socket MBs (needed for 3930K).

So:
2*3930 At 4.5GHz will roughly give you Cinebench 25.8 (2*12,9)
3*3770K at 4.5 Ghz is at 28,2 Cinebench in total (3*9,4)

So in total for renderslaves i still think 3770K is better option unless you want fastest single socket CPU per single machine (but pricey) :).

Pavlov
01-04-2013, 05:48 PM
mm interesting, considering the oveclock thing.
What's cinebench ratio if i leave them at original clock ? It happens i have machines calculating for 2-3 weeks without interruption, i fear overclocking would give me headaches... (reboots, errors, etc, like it happened with Q6600).

Paolo

Lewis
01-04-2013, 05:56 PM
Overclocking on these CPUs is much easier/safer than before, it's just changing one value (multiplyer) or in case of Asus MBoards and their AI overclockign oyu can go to safe route like 4.2-4.2 GHz by automatic one click from Windows :). It has Normal/Fast/Extreme modes. Normal is stock+Turbo boost when singlecore, Fast is tested by Asus per CPU so it's 4-4.3 GHz usually, Extreme is to whatever it reaches :).

I5 2500K Stock cinebench is abotu 5.5, 2600K is about 7.1 on stock, i don't know for 3770K (surely youtube has results for that too but it should be .2 or so faster than 2600K so let's say about 7.3). 3930K on stock is about 9 or so.

check this video about overclocking (it's official Asus video)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7jwCe0QXT0