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starbase1
05-23-2008, 03:33 AM
Hi All,
I was wondering what people thought of the higher end pre built PC's, (for use with lightwave and graphics, naturally).

In the past I have tended to start by looking for the best bang per buck CPU, then looking for a good deal online for something using it, with plenty of memory.

The last time, I did something broadly similar but got case, motherborad and CPU based on recommendations from Custom PC, and got someone else to put it together for me, later adding some big HD's and lots of cheap memory.

I think I am getting quite a lot of horsepower for my money, and in general I can use the money saved for more storage, software or so forth.

But I was wondering about some of the higher end custom builders, in this case Vadim computers as they crop up a lot in mags when people look at pricy kit. http://www.vadim.co.uk, but any system builder is OK for the purpose of discussion.

I like the look of a lot of the custom options, but the price does seem very high for the spec to me. In particular, they are spending a LOT more on the motherboard, and going for very expensive memory.

Some parts of the spec make a lot of sense (small fast HD for programs, big less flashy one for storage), but...

I suppose my question comes down to, I could put together a box with the same processor and amount of memory for a LOT less. Do people here feel that the top end deliver value for money, in terms of effective computing power, or something. Or am I effectively paying a lot of money for a relatively small performance boost?

Because while I have been disappointed by build quality from the big names in the past, for 2k pounds I could build one *!$% of a system with maybe 32 Gb of DDR2 memory and a couple of terrabytes on onboard storage!

Nick

AbnRanger
05-23-2008, 08:04 AM
Of course one of the reasons it costs more is the service/support aspect. Building your own means you are it...then the convenience of having one ready to go (although by the time they ship it to you, you could already have built one the same day and start using it right away...that's why I've never bought a DELL).
You know these things, so it's nothing more than "what's most important to you?"...not having to fool with building it and shopping for parts (actually that's kind of fun...like a kid in a candy store :D), and not having to worry about having to troubleshoot hardware problems yourself if they occur, etc....or is the cash staying in your pocket more valuable than all of that. That's really what it all boils down to.

starbase1
05-23-2008, 08:20 AM
I know what you mean, but it's not really what I am getting at...

Putting it another way, does a £2000 PC deliver twice (or nearly twice) what a £1000 PC does, or am a paying significantly more to push closer to the bleeding edge? Does anyone on these forums have experience of using a higher end lower volume PC company?

Surrealist.
05-23-2008, 09:41 AM
I would definitely say not. I don't see anything in the specs that tells me they are doing anything special but slapping together machines and over clocking them.

If you are talking about a small company that builds their own motherboards? Do those companies even exist anymore in today's market?

In the days of the Dec Alpha there was a market for a workstation, but I have kind of fell out of touch with that market , since I have been building intel and AMD machines for the last 15 years.

If there is such a market - and please forgive my ignorance if there is - then I would think it you would be paying a lot more than double.

Seems there was this sort of in-between market for a while where companies where boasting optimized machines but I never bought into it any more than hype.


I kind of think that with the chip races of today, at the consumer level you can just pick and choose stuff of the shelf much more efficiently.

Then you get into the server market but that is something else. I think to your question though you are just paying for their office space and salaries with the extra money not performance.

starbase1
05-23-2008, 10:08 AM
:agree:
Makes sense to me...

What about higher speed / quality memory, has anyone experience of using that? My own feeling is strongly along the lines of "more is better than faster", for our line of work, unless the price difference is small.

Hopper
05-23-2008, 10:08 AM
A few random thoughts:

I researched new gear for over a month. I compared pre-builts vs. the same parts assembled myself. Choosing to build on my own saved me a ton. But AbnRanger makes a solid point; If you build it - it's yours to keep. You have only the manufacturers warranty to cry to if it doesn't work.

Prebuilts -
The only reason I even visited the idea of a pre-built is simply because I'm lazy and I can afford it. If I have to pay a few extra dollars because it comes in an "all-in-one" packaging, sobeit. It saves me the pain and suffering of worrying about compatability, warranties, support, matching components, etc I've been dealing with PC hardware since '84 so it no longer holds any special interest or "cool factor" to build my own. It would simply be a chore.

Homebuilt -
Most of the gear these days is definately NOT like it used to be. Rarely do you get DOA equipment, most of it is dummy proof now as far as configuration goes (gone are the days of mobo jumpers and manually setting IRQ's and I/O addresses). It took me less than 20 minutes to hook everything up for a test run (without putting it in the case).

The equivalent prebuilt PC would have cost me almost $900 more had I simply ordered it.

Being able to pick and choose your hardware is also an advantage. I got EXACTLY what I wanted and nothing I didn't need.

Hopper
05-23-2008, 10:19 AM
What about higher speed / quality memory, has anyone experience of using that? My own feeling is strongly along the lines of "more is better than faster", for our line of work, unless the price difference is small.
I was hoping that someone would bring that up... :)

I've seen several posts on this forum about not bothering to go with the faster RAM because you get more "bang for your buck" with just standard DDR2 RAM. This is simply not true. And if you haven't actually tested the theory, you shouldn't be qualified to make such statements.

Running on 4 completely different spec'd systems that are DDR2/DDR3compatable, using the DDR3 (1066 - 2000MHz) was consistently 27.5% faster or more in all drystone tests. If you are working with a quad-core or a nice dual, 27% more performance out of an overclocked system is a TON of time processing.

So you have to ask yourself... How much is 27% more render time worth to me? I'd say your return on investment is worth well over a couple of hundred bucks don't you think?

So "quantity wise" - yes, DDR2 is better because you get the same amount for less than half the cost of DDR3.

But if your "bang for the buck" is related to performance - no. Don't bother with DDR2. You will not be happy with the results after you have seen what DDR3 can do for you. And if you plan on doing any serious overclocking you will be severely limited by the inferior CAS and tRAS timing of the DDR2 memory.

Surrealist.
05-23-2008, 02:05 PM
Well, I'd agree to that to a certain extent. I would like to see LW benchmarks tested rather than drystone tests, because to me that is still theoretical as far as LightWave goes. But I have not compared the drystone results myself I just think it is pretty standard in the LW community to use the LW benchmark test scenes rather than industry benchmarks. It would be interesting to see them side by side and see how they compare. But aside from that, in theory I agree.

But I think why people are saying more bang for the buck really is because these days, where the rubber hits the road with LightWave, is that your real bottleneck production-wise is not the extra percent of speed you are getting out of one machine. It is the ceiling of RAM that adds more time to a production. It can add as much time to a production as the number of passes you have to make because you cannot render a scene full of all of the elements you want in the shot in one pass.

So if you have to make three passes you have just tippled your time. Faster RAM won't help here.

To do anything serious with animation you need to go 64 bit and pack as much RAM onto the motherboard that you can find that will accept the most.

And LightWave does not have instancing so that is another RAM issue.

So if your job is to do small product-shot scenes for an add agency rendering realistic materials on one or two objects with a static background then the 27 percent can be worth it - if that actually translates well to LW rendering.

But if you are into large architectural work or film or TV animation, many buildings and characters becomes a problem and the extra RAM is the bang for the buck there.

Hopper
05-23-2008, 03:51 PM
Very good points to consider.

Maybe we should have another "specs vs. render time" thread and post some results as generic benchmarks. Have 3 still shot scenes (small, medium, large) using several shaders, lights, GI settings etc. - something that will force a well rounded set of calculations. Then do the same thing with some animations. Maybe even some numbers for those with render farms available (as long as all the remote render stations are approximately the same that is).

Then post them as a "Sticky" in General Support forum for those looking for "I'm building a new system" type info.

...just a thought.

JonW
05-23-2008, 06:09 PM
I have used a local local “Chinese” computer store for a decade, the service had been second to none. The last computer I purchased, I priced the parts separately from various sources and was going to build the computer myself. But I could buy the built computer at almost to the dollar with a two year warranty, a good 10 year history of support and no ripping off, it was supplied in three days, I could have got it sooner if it was urgent. The computer was build from more Intel and name brand parts than “Branded” computers using “No name” parts.

Intel Xeon 5335 Dual CPU ( 2 x 5335 CPU)
Intel S5000XVN SATA Motherboard
48G DDR II Kingston* ECC* Reg* 667Mhz
256Mb Geforce* 8600GTS* PCI Express with Dual DVI Port
Intel SC5299WS* Case with Intel 650W Power
320G HDD Seagate* SATA* II with 16Mb Cache
Logitech Ps II Keyboard and Ps II Wheel Mouse Optical
20 Speed* DVD RW LG Dual Layer
Windows XP Pro 64 Bit
Built in Gigabit LAN** Dual* and USB 2.0
*
Total price is AU$3,600.00 including GST (tax)
and the Au$1.00 was roughly about US$0.80.
*
I have added a few thing since. These are Sept./Oct. 2007 prices and now you can get twice the computer for the same money. I priced some of the Named brand computers at that time and prices were approaching double the price, if one has money to throw away, lucky them.

Hopper
05-23-2008, 06:35 PM
We used to have quite a few of those shops around. The big companies have all but swallowed them up. Of course it doesn't help that I've got Dell in my backyard either. Most of the Dell headquarters complex is about two miles from my house. Just can't escape it I guess.

It's awesome you have a place like that. Thumbs up to them.

AbnRanger
05-23-2008, 08:36 PM
We used to have quite a few of those shops around. The big companies have all but swallowed them up. Of course it doesn't help that I've got Dell in my backyard either. Most of the Dell headquarters complex is about two miles from my house. Just can't escape it I guess.

It's awesome you have a place like that. Thumbs up to them.So, you're in Austin, TX or Nashville, TN (both have Dell plants and HQ's)?

mattclary
05-23-2008, 08:40 PM
I've built every machine I have ever owned, and I build machines for people who pay me money. If you buy good parts and take reasonable caution in handling said parts, you just shouldn't have any problems.

Build it. :devil:

Hopper
05-23-2008, 08:46 PM
So, you're in Austin, TX or Nashville, TN (both have Dell plants and HQ's)?
Austin.

I used to live off of Parmer and I-35 next to a small private airport. Then one day, POOF!!! The airport was leveled in one day (which didn't take much though - only a few buildings). It was just strange to go to work, pass the airport, come home and it was missing. Even the bulldozers and heavy equipment had already been packed up and gone.

One week later, they had already putting in the giant cement walls. Now I'm in Round Rock (just north of Austin) and those bastards keep following me. There's another new set of giant buildings just down the road.

Hopper
05-23-2008, 08:47 PM
I've built every machine I have ever owned, and I build machines for people who pay me money. If you buy good parts and take reasonable caution in handling said parts, you just shouldn't have any problems.

Build it. :devil:
:agree:

starbase1
05-24-2008, 04:59 AM
Well, I am the most clumsy person I know and I seem to generate more static than a randy kangaroo wearing nylon knickers. Last time I got all the bits and asked the guy with the pc repair place in the local covered market to put them together for me, it was great.

I have been very disappointed over the years with the build quality from the big names, so I won't go that route again.

But getting back to the build. I am think in terms of getting a seriously powerful machine towards the end of the year, and really am unsure about the way forward.

I accept what people are saying about ddr3, and clearly prices could change by then. But I am sure I want a minimum of 16 Gb memory, and with it 3 times the price it simply not affordable.

I'm also thinking of something I will be able to keep current for some time, so I figure a motherboard that supports pretty much anything is a good place to spend money.

Surrealist.
05-24-2008, 09:12 AM
In that case, a little research into the development of Intel's and AMD's chips should get you there. You can usually predict which line of processors they are going to stay with for a while and then decide which MB to go with. On the AMD side I think the AM2+ is probably good for a little while but I would look into the current status of that first. On the Intel side, they are getting ready to change the way they make the quad core chips and I don't remember when that is going to happen and what that is going to mean as far as a MB is concerned.

What I try to do is buy a MB that has some life in it based on the planned release of chips. The 949 board I bought turned out to be an excellent choice because you could upgrade to the Dual core. I got it about a year before the dual core came out and upgrading to a Dual core chip when I decided to do that 3 years later was only a few hundred bucks. I bought this MB because I knew they were going to keep developing on that chipset and they did for a while.

A little reading will get you up to snuff on things. Then buy based on that.

AbnRanger
05-24-2008, 09:51 AM
He's looking at server/workstation MB's and CPU's...not desktop (AMD's AM2).
Desktop MB's are still limited to only 4 DIMM slots, whereas server boards have 6-8. Plus, he's also probably looking to run a dual-quad setup. No good options for that on a desktop PC platform...yet.

Surrealist.
05-24-2008, 10:50 AM
Yeah I wasn't even considering the RAM issue for the moment. Good point.

Something I have looked into a bit for that very reason. The good news is that as far as I understand it, usually each manufacture has a line of chips for one socket.


AMD is banking on its design philosophy behind the Phenom chips and their server counterparts, code-named Barcelona, as a way of making up for Intel's lead in the quad-core processor generation.

From everything I have been reading the way I understand it, the servers and the consumer chips all run on the same socket. From there it is a matter or finding a board that is configured for a desktop scenario like an ATX. Then you can put the chips in it that you want.

Intel makes a few server boards that run off of the 775 chip that are worth looking into. You can put quad cores in those and lots of RAM. I am not sure where you'll find them but I had may eye on one about a year ago that you could put into an ATX box for only about 300 US.

There are also entry-level server boards for the common AMD chipset as well.
Abit has made one in the past I am not sure where to look now, but I do know that they are available.

I would try looking at the manufactures sites for info.

Jim_C
05-24-2008, 01:17 PM
I accept what people are saying about ddr3, and clearly prices could change by then. But I am sure I want a minimum of 16 Gb memory, and with it 3 times the price it simply not affordable..

You could get a board that supports both and upgrade to 3 when prices come down...

starbase1
05-24-2008, 05:31 PM
He's looking at server/workstation MB's and CPU's...not desktop (AMD's AM2).
Desktop MB's are still limited to only 4 DIMM slots, whereas server boards have 6-8. Plus, he's also probably looking to run a dual-quad setup. No good options for that on a desktop PC platform...yet.

I hadn't really thought that through, but it does sound right. Put simply, I can buy 4 Gb of memory for £50, and at those prices 16 Gb seems very reasonable, and 32 Gb worth considering. And if that means a server motherboard...

Multiple processors I'm not so sure - I feel historically they have been bad value, working out as much more than double the cost, (and under Windows multiple CPU's do not scale at all well - though I don't know if Vista does better in this regard).

But if I am being pushed towards a server motherboard anyway, it could well be worth considering.

And as Jim said this has some interesting future upgrade options, if I could eventually move to DDR3, and plop in a couple of more powerful processors when the price comes down, it could have a long life as a serious bit of hardware...

Surrealist.
05-24-2008, 06:37 PM
Actually I think I may have given the wrong information above. There were both ATX and other larger pedestal config boards. I could swear I had found one that was ATX that used larger 4 and 8 gig DIMMS but I could be wrong on that.

Here's a link to some motherboards (http://shop4.frys.com/search?query_string=&cat=-54032&pType=pDisplay&resultpage=0&from=0&to=24). ASUS makes a few pedestal server boards worth taking a look at.

JonW
05-24-2008, 09:07 PM
The type of 3D I do are architectural renders. In general I supply an A3 300dpi image, Windows Task Manage shows that the computer is using about 3 to 4 mb of ram on most scenes.

I have 8gb of ram, having any more ram will not help to speed up my render times as WTM is showing 100% CPU usage on all 8 CPUs, More processing power will speed things up.

I think one needs to try to get an idea how much ram is required for the majority of their work. It would seem to me that putting the money towards faster/more CPUs would be more beneficial than having 32gb of ram sitting there, if the ram is actually being used then that's a different story.

starbase1
05-25-2008, 04:58 AM
The type of 3D I do are architectural renders. In general I supply an A3 300dpi image, Windows Task Manage shows that the computer is using about 3 to 4 mb of ram on most scenes.

I have 8gb of ram, having any more ram will not help to speed up my render times as WTM is showing 100% CPU usage on all 8 CPUs, More processing power will speed things up.

I think one needs to try to get an idea how much ram is required for the majority of their work. It would seem to me that putting the money towards faster/more CPUs would be more beneficial than having 32gb of ram sitting there, if the ram is actually being used then that's a different story.

Good point - but I am currently hitting limits with 4 Gb under 32 bit OS. And I'd like a box that can take anything I can throw at it. (And I keep coming back to just how cheap DDR2 is...)

Nick

meshpig
05-25-2008, 05:49 AM
deez thread iz guud.
__________________
ASUS P5WDG2 WS Pro, Core2Duo [email protected], 4Gb XMS2 DDR2-1066 RAM, GeForce 8800GTS 640Mb, 10k WD Raptor RAID 0, Vista Ultimate x86/x64

Jim_C
05-25-2008, 08:49 AM
You could get a board that supports both and upgrade to 3 when prices come down...

Not that Newegg is the tell-all must buy place, but this is what came up in a DDR 2 & 3 search:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=Property&Subcategory=280&Description=&Type=&N=2010200280&srchInDesc=&MinPrice=&MaxPrice=&PropertyCodeValue=3879%3A36148&PropertyCodeValue=3879%3A34675&PropertyCodeValue=3879%3A36246&PropertyCodeValue=3879%3A34428


What stinks is that the max RAM seems to hit 8GB when you have a board that holds both.

Hopper
05-25-2008, 09:35 AM
Not that Newegg is the tell-all must buy place, but this is what came up in a DDR 2 & 3 search:

That's where I got mine. It was cheaper than any place local. I bought my entire system from there (minus case and cooler - they were out of stock). No problems with any of the equipment so far and they answered my email about their broken rebate page in about 10 minutes.

Jim_C
05-25-2008, 09:58 AM
That's where I got mine. It was cheaper than any place local. I bought my entire system from there (minus case and cooler - they were out of stock). No problems with any of the equipment so far and they answered my email about their broken rebate page in about 10 minutes.



Yes. Agree agree agree... Between myself and the 2 companies I buy for we have bought tens of thousands of dollars worth of hard drives and components from Newegg over the last 3 years.

Only ONCE did I have a problem other than returning an item due to DOA or warranty, just last week as a matter of fact, and of course it had to happen when I was on a schedule to get the pieces.
They lost a laptop between the warehouse shelves and the back of the UPS truck and the first 2 help reps I spoke to (English accents) put the blame on UPS and started a UPS inqusition, saying I would not be reimbursed until the inqusition was done. It took the third help rep(Valley Girl accent) to recognize that the item was never even given a tracking number which means it never left the warehouse.
She ordered an immediate refund on the original unit, and gave me a shipping credit so I could get the new item shipped overnight for the cost of 3 day shipping.

mattclary
05-25-2008, 10:16 AM
I am think in terms of getting a seriously powerful machine towards the end of the year, and really am unsure about the way forward.


Hold out for Intel's Nehalem architecture

http://arstechnica.com/articles/paedia/cpu/what-you-need-to-know-about-nehalem.ars

http://www.intel.com/technology/architecture-silicon/next-gen/index.htm?iid=tech_tt+info_nehalem

Due in the last quarter of this year. It's the tock of their "tick tock" release cycle.

http://www.intel.com/technology/tick-tock/

AbnRanger
05-25-2008, 10:26 AM
Hold out for Intel's Nehalem architecture

http://arstechnica.com/articles/paedia/cpu/what-you-need-to-know-about-nehalem.ars

http://www.intel.com/technology/architecture-silicon/next-gen/index.htm?iid=tech_tt+info_nehalem

Due in the last quarter of this year. It's the tock of their "tick tock" release cycle.

http://www.intel.com/technology/tick-tock/

I was about to say this, myself...6-8 cores, on a dual XEON...man, that's nasty! Sure hope AMD has something good up it's sleeve, cause they are going to get crushed if they keep continue at the rate they have.

mattclary
05-25-2008, 12:14 PM
Sure hope AMD has something good up it's sleeve, cause they are going to get crushed if they keep continue at the rate they have.

Yes, AMD woke a sleeping giant when they caught Intel with it's pants around it's ankles with the AMD64X2 processors. Intel had the cr4p scared out of them by that, and I am pretty sure they will not relax again. At least not until AMD is history, at which point we will be able to once again look forward to 200mhz speed bumps every 18 months.

starbase1
05-25-2008, 02:20 PM
US based sites are not an option for me buying, being UK based...

But are there any with decent search / selection facilities to identify motherboards with he required features, such as maximum memory supported?

last time I looked seriously at multiple processors it didn't make economic sense, but looking at some of those server motherboard prices, and the cost of a quad core duo, it could be very different now.

Are there any special factors I need to be aware of in looking at buying a server motherboard for a desktop machine? I'm guessing that on board audiophile sound processing is not going to happen! But (for example) is it a problem to fit a reasonable graphics card?

Nick

Surrealist.
05-25-2008, 09:41 PM
Nick, I know you are in the UK. I was not giving you that link to by but to research. If you click on those links and scroll down you can see the full specs on those boards. And yes, these boards support standard graphics cards and so on. And as far as I understand it you don't have to run dual chips. These boards are compatible with the 775 socket Quad core chips. So if I am not mistaken since those chips are not designed to run in tandem you can only install one. I could be very very wrong on that so I appologize in advance if I am. But it is something to look into.

Basically if you get an ATX board, chances are it is limited to 8 gigs. The larger boards will fit in a larger case and I saw one that went as high as 32 gigs.

If you want to research the MD boards yo can use that site as well.

ALso go to these manufactures:

ASUS
ABIT

They both make server boards that you can install into a Pedistal - basically a desktop case and run all other standard components such as graphics cards and have also I think some of them even have sound cards. But you can look into it.

Surrealist.
05-25-2008, 11:18 PM
I meant to say:


If you want to research the AMD boards yo can use that site as well.

starbase1
05-26-2008, 06:49 AM
Nick, I know you are in the UK. I was not giving you that link to by but to research. If you click on those links and scroll down you can see the full specs on those boards. And yes, these boards support standard graphics cards and so on. And as far as I understand it you don't have to run dual chips. These boards are compatible with the 775 socket Quad core chips. So if I am not mistaken since those chips are not designed to run in tandem you can only install one. I could be very very wrong on that so I appologize in advance if I am. But it is something to look into.

Basically if you get an ATX board, chances are it is limited to 8 gigs. The larger boards will fit in a larger case and I saw one that went as high as 32 gigs.

If you want to research the MD boards yo can use that site as well.

ALso go to these manufactures:

ASUS
ABIT

They both make server boards that you can install into a Pedistal - basically a desktop case and run all other standard components such as graphics cards and have also I think some of them even have sound cards. But you can look into it.

Sure, and it is appreciated - it's just nicer if I am looking at a real place I could buy from.
:thumbsup:

What are people's experiences of two processor boards? Is it effectively the same performance as doubling the number of cores? Are there any popular graphics packages that will expect me to buy a second copy?

Nick

Jim_C
05-26-2008, 07:31 AM
US based sites are not an option for me buying, being UK based...

But are there any with decent search / selection facilities to identify motherboards with he required features, such as maximum memory supported?


My bad with the Newegg link then...BUT....
Newegg does have an excellent sorting feature and search selection process that may allow you to easily spec up items then buy over there. (?)

Anytime you pick a main category ie 'Motherboards' hit the 'Power Search' button on the left and you can really narrow down what you are looking for.

mattclary
05-26-2008, 07:49 AM
US based sites are not an option for me buying, being UK based...

But are there any with decent search / selection facilities to identify motherboards with he required features, such as maximum memory supported?


newegg.com is GREAT for doing research. They take pictures of every item from multiple views, have good specification breakdowns, and lots of user reviews.

Anandtech.com is one of the best sites for general research.

mattclary
05-26-2008, 07:55 AM
Newegg also has some very powerful and well laid out search features:



Power search:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/PowerSearch.aspx?N=2010200302&SubCategory=302&GASearch=3

ATX server boards that support 16GB or more memory:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=Property&Subcategory=302&Description=&Type=&N=2010200302&srchInDesc=&MinPrice=&MaxPrice=&OEMMark=0&PropertyCodeValue=727%3A10689&PropertyCodeValue=727%3A19237&PropertyCodeValue=727%3A20581&PropertyCodeValue=727%3A34404&PropertyCodeValue=727%3A11340&PropertyCodeValue=727%3A28042&PropertyCodeValue=757%3A7618

Personally, I would shoot for 8GB max memory. Lets you get a workstation board which usually have better feature sets. HUGE selection too.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=Property&Subcategory=280&Description=&Type=&N=2010200280&srchInDesc=&MinPrice=&MaxPrice=&PropertyCodeValue=727%3A10630

Surrealist.
05-26-2008, 09:12 AM
Great links Matt. Thanks. Going to save me a ton of time as I am in a similar need here pretty soon.

AbnRanger
05-26-2008, 09:24 AM
There is a good case to make for a dual socket, mega-RAM workstation (very fast test renders), but you will probably find better overall performance by purchasing the best Desktop PC class that you can and then buy stripped down (barebones system) render nodes as you need them, with no frills, just a Quad-core CPU and at least 4GB of RAM.

The reason I say this is because, while server class MB's offer 2 sockets and more RAM, you notice that RAM speeds are much lower than their desktop counterparts...plus, as you stated, no onboard audio.
When it comes to raw rendering power, 2machines (each with a quad-core cpu and 8GB's+RAM) will outperform one machine with 2 quads and 16GBRAM. Why? No bottlenecks.
They are perfoming totally independent of one another, and therefore you will get literally twice the performance.
The other reason is that server boards are NOT designed for overclocking, yet most desktop versions ARE.

That's no small thing. Two OC'ed desktops will smoke a server with dual sockets any day of the week. Intel chips are engineered to comfortably OC way above their standard clock settings. Now, since most of the newest PC MB's are incorporating onboard video, you'll never need to buy a video card for your render nodes...only one HD (used one or super cheap model).
A server class machine probably won't give you any real day to day benefits over a single quad desktop, other than the rendering side...but we just hashed that out.

The only thing that I can see as a real advantage is less counterspace used, and faster test renders. However, there's a way to surmount even that last advantage. Sensei's Virtual Renderer has a "Distributed Rendering" feature...piggy-backing off of LW's native renderer or KRay. http://www.trueart.pl/?URIType=Directory&URI=Products/Plug-Ins/VirtualRender

I think BNR has some sort of distributed rendering too. In each case, it minimizes any real advantage of having a server class machine, IMHO.

Surrealist.
05-26-2008, 10:30 AM
I think the issue is RAM really.

That is the real bottleneck if you are going to to any serious animation production work.

If it is just a workstation for modeling or for specific tasks that is another thing.

I'd rather have a single chip solution myself but I need more RAM than a board like that can handle.

Surrealist.
05-26-2008, 08:16 PM
Yes. Large scenes with a lot of geometry and characters. It is going to be either multiple passes or RAM. And this is based on my calculation of what I had so far.

starbase1
05-27-2008, 02:54 AM
Thanks to all who contributed to the discussions, lots to think on here.

Personally I am already hitting the end stoped on 4 Gb with a model of Earth, and lots of hi res textures, and as I want a system that will last, to me it seems sensible to work to a minimum of 4x as much for the next box.

Which sort of leads me to...


Good news! Just upgraded my faster machine to 8 Gb RAM!
Bad news! I am still running XP 32 bit!
Good news! It's dual boot to Ubuntu 64!
Bad news! Lightwave does not run under Ubuntu 64!
Good news! Blender does, and thats loads of memory for Blender!
Bad news! I don't have a net connection working under Ubuntu to install it!
Good news! You can download the repositories as a set of DVDs, and point at them!
Bad news! That's a 20+ gigabyte download!

starbase1
05-27-2008, 07:40 AM
One other thing that might be worth mentioning - one other reason I want a lot of memory is that I am likely to be doing a LOT of stuff with virtual machines. So whatever the main OS, I am likely to be running a couple of others, maybe at the same time.

Nick

sadkkf
05-27-2008, 11:15 AM
FWIW, I just bought all my new parts from Tiger:

http://www.tigerdirect.com

Fast shipping. I ordered at 2:30 Thursday afternoon, it arrived less than 24 hours later. This was a complicated order I ended calling and changing after I placed it online. They sometimes offer better prices and exclusive rebates so it's a good alternative to the Egg. ;)

mattclary
05-28-2008, 10:40 AM
They sometimes offer better prices and exclusive rebates so it's a good alternative to the Egg. ;)

Seems like I heard Tiger Direct had some issues with filling rebates a while back, but could be mistaken. I'm a big newegg fanboy, spent over $20k with them in the last 6 years or so and have never had any problem with them. I like "no problems" so stick with what works even if it costs a few more dollars.

You should also check out www.resellerratings.com

Newegg has a 9.7 lifetime rating, Tiger Direct has a 6.93

Stooch
05-28-2008, 11:30 AM
yes you really should do your research before you are qualified to make statements.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ram-speed-tests,1807-12.html

drystone tests mean nothing compared to actual application performance. especially 3d rendering. its all cpu. read the entire article.

buy the cheapest ram and buy lots of it. I recommend crucial memory.


I was hoping that someone would bring that up... :)

I've seen several posts on this forum about not bothering to go with the faster RAM because you get more "bang for your buck" with just standard DDR2 RAM. This is simply not true. And if you haven't actually tested the theory, you shouldn't be qualified to make such statements.

Running on 4 completely different spec'd systems that are DDR2/DDR3compatable, using the DDR3 (1066 - 2000MHz) was consistently 27.5% faster or more in all drystone tests. If you are working with a quad-core or a nice dual, 27% more performance out of an overclocked system is a TON of time processing.

So you have to ask yourself... How much is 27% more render time worth to me? I'd say your return on investment is worth well over a couple of hundred bucks don't you think?

So "quantity wise" - yes, DDR2 is better because you get the same amount for less than half the cost of DDR3.

But if your "bang for the buck" is related to performance - no. Don't bother with DDR2. You will not be happy with the results after you have seen what DDR3 can do for you. And if you plan on doing any serious overclocking you will be severely limited by the inferior CAS and tRAS timing of the DDR2 memory.

sadkkf
05-28-2008, 12:23 PM
Seems like I heard Tiger Direct had some issues with filling rebates a while back, but could be mistaken. I'm a big newegg fanboy, spent over $20k with them in the last 6 years or so and have never had any problem with them. I like "no problems" so stick with what works even if it costs a few more dollars.

You should also check out www.resellerratings.com

Newegg has a 9.7 lifetime rating, Tiger Direct has a 6.93


I hadn't heard that and haven't had any problems with rebates. I like NewEgg, too, but since I'm so close to Tiger I get my orders next day with ground shipping. :)

mattclary
05-28-2008, 01:53 PM
I hadn't heard that and haven't had any problems with rebates. I like NewEgg, too, but since I'm so close to Tiger I get my orders next day with ground shipping. :)

Yeah, they're in Memphis right? Freaking Fedex hub on their doorstep.

Check this out though...

http://www.anandtech.com/tradeshows/showdoc.aspx?i=3315

sadkkf
05-28-2008, 02:18 PM
Their site has a Miami address, but I think they've got a warehouse north of Chicago. I'm in Wisconsin. That's an interesting link about NewEgg, too. I didn't realize they were that big.

Jim_C
05-29-2008, 08:44 AM
TigerDirect is our second reseller after Newegg. I buy from whichever of the two has the lowest price. I would say 80% of the time it's Newegg.

But we have bought a few turn-key systems from TD and a ton of components over the years. Never a problem.

sadkkf
05-29-2008, 08:52 AM
Yeah, I'm loyal to whoever has the lowest price, but I prefer TD because it feels more local. And I prefer to buy from local businesses first. :)

starbase1
05-29-2008, 09:24 AM
Any specific suggestions for a good motherboard that will take 16 Gb plus?

Nick

mattclary
05-29-2008, 10:07 AM
Any specific suggestions for a good motherboard that will take 16 Gb plus?

Nick

Tyan has a long history of server boards. I think Tyan and Supermicro are about the only choice. I used to swear by Tyan boards, but Newegg only seems to carry their server boards, and I usually prefer standard desktop boards.

starbase1
05-29-2008, 11:31 AM
Tyan has a long history of server boards. I think Tyan and Supermicro are about the only choice. I used to swear by Tyan boards, but Newegg only seems to carry their server boards, and I usually prefer standard desktop boards.

I was thinking of specific boards!
(The other thing that really upsets me, looking at US sites is the way you pay about half what we do for hardware here in the UK! :thumbsdow )

mattclary
05-29-2008, 12:19 PM
I was thinking of specific boards!
(The other thing that really upsets me, looking at US sites is the way you pay about half what we do for hardware here in the UK! :thumbsdow )

Yeah, never got that either. Even Australia... Is it really that much out of the way to send a container ship to Oz instead of California? Makes more sense for the UK to be expensive than Oz, but neither should really be more than the U.S, IMO.

As to specific boards, you need to research what features you want/need then pick based on feature set. Same as with a desktop board.

sadkkf
05-29-2008, 12:35 PM
Start with a good brand. EVGA, TYAN, ASUS, ABIT...all good ones.

Do you know if you want Intel or AMD?

I just bought some parts and spent some time researching. I knew I wanted a Quad Core and learned there's not much benefit to the 790i/x48 chipsets so I went back a generation and got a 780i.

You'll need to weight the costs/benefits, too. I'm still not convinced DDR3 is worth the money. At least not my money. :) sounds like you're looking for some serious horsepower so maybe it's worth it for you.

sadkkf
05-29-2008, 12:50 PM
Hm...I love my nVidia. Works great! What kind of probs have you had?

mattclary
05-29-2008, 12:52 PM
When I do Intel, I REALLY do Intel. Prefer Intel mobos for Intel chips. Things are almost indestructible. Last build was an AMD 64X2, next one will be Intel, probably quad core.

sadkkf
05-29-2008, 02:37 PM
I see. Yeah, one bad experience will really throw you off.

I had one bad Tyan mobo and will probably never use one again, but still recommend them because I know many people have good luck with them.

Hopper
05-29-2008, 11:59 PM
yes you really should do your research before you are qualified to make statements.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ram-speed-tests,1807-12.html
I'm sorry, but that just shows your ignorance of current hardware and naivety of consumer reviews performed by @ss-clowns that wouldn't know performance from a hole in the ground. That, and the fact that the tests used in the article did not take into consideration any MCP or SPP calibrations, thus limiting RAM performance by static bus speeds - however he did mention OC'ing at the beginning of the article so I'll count that as his disclaimer.

But just to give it a fair shot, I put your article to the test using LW.

Base Mark System: Q6600 (base 2.4GHz) on nVidia 790i
Test Application: Lightwave Layout 9.3.1
Test Process: Single frame render

Testing:
A) 1 Set 4GB (1x4)Crucial DDR2 1066 (4-4-4-12)
B) 1 Set 4GB (2x2)Corsair DDR2 1066 (6-6-6-15)
C) 1 Set 4GB (1x4)Crucial DDR3 1333 (8-8-8-20)
D) 1 Set 4GB (2x2)Crucial DDR3 2000 (7-7-7-24)


Base bench: (FSB: 1066)
(A) 34 minutes 1 second (0%)
(B) 33 minutes 48 seconds (+0.64%)
(C) 31 minutes 17 seconds (+8.0%)
(D) 29 minutes 5 seconds (+14.5%)


Test 1: Same setup, but CPU OC'd to 3.0GHz (FSB: 1066)
(A) 29 minutes 22 second (0%)
(B) 29 minutes 14 seconds (+0.45%)
(C) 26 minutes 50 seconds (+8.6%)
(D) 24 minutes 44 seconds (+15.7%)

Test 2: Same setup as Test 1, but FSB timed to 1333 for DDR3
(A) 29 minutes 17 second (0%)
(B) unavailable - no boot
(C) 24 minutes 8 seconds (+17.6%)
(D) 22 minutes 31 seconds (+23.1%)

Test 3: Same setup as Test 1, but FSB timed to 1600 for DDR3
(A) unavailable
(B) unavailable
(C) unavailable (system unstable - multiple crashes)
(D) 20 minutes 58 seconds (+28.6%) (compared to Test 1 (A))
---* Timing had to be set for profile 2

Test 4: Bonus Round - CPU OC'd to 3.4GHz (FSB: 1066 for DDR2 / 1600 for DDR3)
(A) 26 minutes 6 seconds (0%)
(D) 18 minutes 39 seconds (+28.5%)
---* Timing had to be set for profile 2

Note that I didn't even push the system to its limits as far as bus speed goes.

A 28.5% difference sounds a whole lot like 27.5% to me. Excuse me for being off a few points, but you had a point; Drhystone tests are a bit different than application processing.

And it really bothers me that you made such an assenine statement and you don't even know me. Do you get a kick out of trying to belittle people? That was just uncalled for. I made the original statement and backed it up with actual test results and you brought some [email protected]*** article to the table?
Next time you feel like taking a swipe at someone, you might not want to bring a knife to a gun fight. Maybe next time you can bring your Masters degrees in both Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and 20+ years in the IT hardware industry with you. But until then, you stick to your expertise and I'll stick to mine.

Hopper
05-30-2008, 12:06 AM
...and one other thing... Haven't seen you post in a while - welcome back.

Surrealist.
05-30-2008, 12:56 AM
Hopper,

What scene did you use for that?

And are you aware of this site? (http://www.blanos.com/benchmark/) I don't know if it has been updated recently or not. And unfortunately does not let you choose ram.

But in the LightWave Scene drop down there you can see the scenes that people use. They should all be included in the Benchmark folder of your content directory.

This is the best way to compare from system to system in LW because of the variations in things that are actually calculated from scene to scene and it allows people to remotely make comparisons.

So if you make a test and post the results always list the scene or if you have come up with a scene for a benchmark, make it available for others if you can.

This is a great help.

Thanks for doing those tests. :)

starbase1
05-30-2008, 04:09 AM
I haven't had any problems personally, as I wouldn't use an nForce solution. Issues range from minor stability flakiness to various issues with the drivers supplied by nVidia for all the various parts, but it's mostly disk boot problems (windows hangs on startup) and stuff like that. But let it be said that the last couple of systems I've had to salvage for friends have been older nForce4 based systems and much can and probably has happened since those. I've always managed to get them running in the end, but I've had to install all the parts from the driver packages manually and use the standard disk drivers in Windows (XP) instead of the nVidia chipset ones. Basically a lot of fiddling that shouldn't have been necessary.

I can't generalize as they obviously work for a lot of people, I can only share my experience. And we're probably all coloured by our own experiences much more so than by anything else. If I buy something that doesn't live up to expectations, it will be quite a while before I try another similar product from the same company (I sure love the nVidia graphics cards :) ). Too bad if it was just a freak incident.

I think video cards have given me more grief than any other component, by a very considerable margin... (ATI and nVidia).

starbase1
05-30-2008, 04:17 AM
When I do Intel, I REALLY do Intel. Prefer Intel mobos for Intel chips. Things are almost indestructible. Last build was an AMD 64X2, next one will be Intel, probably quad core.

Quad core intel does seem to be highly rated by all the magazines. And that is going to get a lot more extreme, very fast - last year I was at an IBM presentation, where they said that over 50 cores on one chip was already operational, and the number of cores possible was rising fast. It's much more challenging to get desktop software and operating systems that can effectively use that many...

It's hard for me to say why, but I was impressed with the Asus motherboard I got. Thinking about it, I found the documentation clear and easy to understand, it seemed well laid out and easy to access all the bits I needed. The Bios options also seemed clear.

My current one does not have this, but I also must say that I REALLY like the idea of their 'splashtop', (daft name), which gives the option of booting into a cut down linux system direct from the motherboard. Not for regular use, as it's clearly not up to that, but I really like the idea of still being able to boot and get at my data even in the event major corruption of windows or whatever.

Nick

Stooch
05-30-2008, 12:07 PM
the second you mentioned drystone as a measuring stick for performance I knew that you were are a joke. I dont care about your electrical engineering, i know you are just crying over spilled milk. also I used exactly the same terminology when addressing you as you did to another poster. you are a hypocrite who cant take what he dishes out. this is about pre building pcs not getting the best overclock. its obvious to anyone that you should use the best ram when OCing. I dont come back here often because this forum is full of hypocritical whiners just like you.

p.s. you trying to insult tomshardware guys knowledge without knowing anything about them is the clincher. lol they are 10x the OC experts you are and i would take their word on it over yours any day. but its funny how you go on to insult them anyway. im sure you know them very well right?



And it really bothers me that you made such an assenine statement and you don't even know me. Do you get a kick out of trying to belittle people? That was just uncalled for. I made the original statement and backed it up with actual test results and you brought some [email protected]*** article to the table?
Next time you feel like taking a swipe at someone, you might not want to bring a knife to a gun fight. Maybe next time you can bring your Masters degrees in both Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and 20+ years in the IT hardware industry with you. But until then, you stick to your expertise and I'll stick to mine.

Stooch
05-30-2008, 12:20 PM
one more thing. the ram that i recommend is 2GB modules of DDR2 - 800 CL4 "Ballistix" by Crucial technologies. feel free to look it up. you will find that its one of the most overclockable modules on the market and is extremely cheap so you can slap quite a bit of it into your machine. Although generally I dont even bother significantly OCing any more, having one failed render because of an overheating system will nullify your 25% boost in speed, especially if you let it render unattended, or increase the already common occurence of crashes. Good, quiet and stable is the name of the game for me. aggressive OCing is for computer game geeks, not 3d professionals.

starbase1
05-30-2008, 03:00 PM
Now now, play nicely in my thread, or I'll come round and install Vista Home Basic on your computer. Then you'll be sorry!
:D

Hopper
05-30-2008, 06:09 PM
the second you mentioned drystone as a measuring stick for performance I knew that you were are a joke. I dont care about your electrical engineering, i know you are just crying over spilled milk. also I used exactly the same terminology when addressing you as you did to another poster. you are a hypocrite who cant take what he dishes out. this is about pre building pcs not getting the best overclock. its obvious to anyone that you should use the best ram when OCing. I dont come back here often because this forum is full of hypocritical whiners just like you.

p.s. you trying to insult tomshardware guys knowledge without knowing anything about them is the clincher. lol they are 10x the OC experts you are and i would take their word on it over yours any day. but its funny how you go on to insult them anyway. im sure you know them very well right?
Ahhh I obviously struck a nerve. Sucks to be wrong doesn't it.

1. I wasn't using the Dryhstone test as "the" measuring stick. We do performance testing in our lab and that's just one of the tests we perform as a base against control products. I didn't have any "hard" numbers, but that seemed to be a good indicator at the moment. And obviously, since I have hard numbers and you don't, it proves my point even more.

2. Considering my original post was being helpful and you decided to attack with your "I'm better than everyone" babble like you usually do, to consider my response as "whining" is pretty childish.

3. I wasn't insulting the "Tom's hardware guys", considering "Tom" is a media group, not a person. I referred to the article as lame because, well .. it was. I'm not saying the tests were biased or leaning towards a particular product. I'm saying the validity of the tests were lame because the comparison made no sense in a real-world application.

4. And they are 10x the OC expert I am? Really? You know this? That's pretty psychic of you to make such an completely clueless statement. Lashing out like a child gains you no credibility here.

5. "And insulting them without even knowing them". That made me laugh so hard I nearly spit all over my monitor. If you only knew. Do you ever go to any manufacturer's conferences? Doubt it. Well I do. And to answer your question, YES - I know quite a few of their techs. I even talked to Eric Florand at the Interop Expo in March of last year.

My original statement stands - backed by numbers I might add.

So what do you have? not much. So if you'd like to keep it up and dig a deeper hole, be my guest. You're just making a bigger fool of yourself as usual.

But since you're obviously an acredited expert and I'm "just a joke", come bring some meaningful numbers to the table. It's time to stop talking and start walking my friend.

Stooch
05-30-2008, 07:06 PM
yes you really struck a chord. with your drystone benchmarks and 20 years of experience. i hope i can sleep tonight from all that widsom you unleashed. and im glad you know toms hardware crew, i guess you are justified to insult them afterall. you overclocking stud you.


Lashing out like a child gains you no credibility here.


lol sure doesnt.

you are too easy.

Hopper
05-30-2008, 07:08 PM
one more thing. the ram that i recommend is 2GB modules of DDR2 - 800 CL4 "Ballistix" by Crucial technologies. feel free to look it up.
Yeah, thanks. Memory brands are so new to me I had never heard of that brand before. I guess actually "reading" my previous post was too much.

OCing is for computer game geeks, not 3d professionals.
Again, showing your ignorance.

Dell OC's all of their internal systems that are now dual core and greater.
IBM OC's all of their development systems (Inetl based servers and workstations). I know this because we test them. And considering IBM employs over 300,000 people worldwide, that sure is a lot of game geeks.

This is actually a common practice nowadays. OC'ing is not as much voodoo magic as it used to be. Because the yields are better, OC'ing is much more stable and companies are realizing they can get a better ROI on price vs. computing power.

Stooch
05-30-2008, 07:11 PM
are you done yet?

so after saying all that, do you feel better? feel like you taught me a lesson there buddy? proved something? anyway dont have too much fun with that drystone of yours. i hope you get the highest score possible :)

LOL.

Hopper
05-30-2008, 07:12 PM
Just addressing the points. I'm done if you are.

Stooch
05-30-2008, 07:15 PM
so if you have 20 years of experience in the IT field, why are you acting like you are 16?

Hopper
05-30-2008, 07:18 PM
No thanks. I'll leave that bait for someone else.

Stooch
05-30-2008, 07:25 PM
lol. aww. looks you just upgraded yourself to 18.

Titus
05-30-2008, 07:46 PM
Hi All,
I was wondering what people thought of the higher end pre built PC's, (for use with lightwave and graphics, naturally).

The last (kind of) pre built highend PC I bought was a supermicro dual xeon for my Toaster. I was happy at first but then discovered how noisy is, clients being annoyed aswell. Since then I'm trying to buy brand computers because most are tested before by their engineers (I hope), considering many factors you can't get when building from different parts. I'm very happy with the HP 9060, the only downside is Vista. I'm not completely decided to do the downgrade because all the software and components play nice together being OEM.

In the case I marry a rich widow or win the lotto, no doubt my choice will be a Boxx. Today I built a new quad with 8 GB, but the case is one of those ultra quiet Thermal Take. Lets see how it works.

Hopper
05-30-2008, 07:50 PM
Today I built a new quad with 8 GB, but the case is one of those ultra quiet Thermal Take. Lets see how it works.
Might I ask which model of ThermalTake you purchased? I've been trying to get a particular model and it's backordered through everyone I've tried. Amazingly enough Amazon had it listed but for some reason the shipping said $155 and 3-6 weeks. :(

Stooch
05-30-2008, 07:59 PM
Abit IP35 Pro Mobo
q6600 Cpu
4gigs of Crucial Ballistics 800mhz 4ns ram (runs at 1066mhz at 5-5-5-12)
120gig raptor system drive
500gig seagate storage drive
pioneer combo burner drive
seasonic 500W power supply
passively cooled radeon x800
Lian Li aluminum case with 2 120mm fans.

I OCed the system to 3.2ghz on air cooling but got tired of the noise so now its back to stock speed and I cant even heard it. I spent around 1k on all the components (reused some stuff from last build)

Runs rock solid. Love the small Lian Li case. I have never bought a boxed computer in my life, its too much fun to build these.

if anyone buys into hopers B.S. about overpriced ram, I have 2 Gigs of Corsair CM2X1024-8500C5D ram for sale. Im sure it could do much more than 1066 at decent timings if you dont mind a computer that sounds like a jet engine or plumbing water in your case.

Surrealist.
05-30-2008, 08:30 PM
Hey, Hopper about that LW Benchmark scene? What did you use BTW?

Thanks.

Hopper
05-30-2008, 09:40 PM
Hey, Hopper about that LW Benchmark scene? What did you use BTW?
Since I'm not creative enough to come up with my own cool scene on short notice, I used Matt's "Push To Render" scene that he posted a while back. I cranked the res down a bit (and moved the AA down to 6) so I could get a solid run but not wait 3 hours just to get numbers.

TripD
05-30-2008, 11:29 PM
Hold out for Intel's Nehalem architecture

http://arstechnica.com/articles/paedia/cpu/what-you-need-to-know-about-nehalem.ars

http://www.intel.com/technology/architecture-silicon/next-gen/index.htm?iid=tech_tt+info_nehalem

Due in the last quarter of this year. It's the tock of their "tick tock" release cycle.

http://www.intel.com/technology/tick-tock/

Ugh... cr*p! Just as I was getting used to the idea of buying a Core2duo 8200.

With all this great info flowing..... any thoughts on duo vs. quad?

It looks to me like the duo will suit me just fine. Are quads much faster with LW?

TripD
05-30-2008, 11:45 PM
Ugh... cr*p! Just as I was getting used to the idea of buying a Core2duo 8200.

With all this great info flowing..... any thoughts on duo vs. quad?

It looks to me like the duo will suit me just fine. Are quads much faster with LW?


Doh!..... ignore the post above!

starbase1
05-31-2008, 04:52 AM
Ugh... cr*p! Just as I was getting used to the idea of buying a Core2duo 8200.

With all this great info flowing..... any thoughts on duo vs. quad?

It looks to me like the duo will suit me just fine. Are quads much faster with LW?

I'm currently duo - Lightwave goes really well - but it is surprising the number of programs which are not multi threaded and hit 50% busy and stick there...

One thing I don't understand is why the LW image is split into chunks for cores vertically - my scenes are a LOT more likely to be similar left - right than top to bottom. Often I have a simple sky at the top and complicated stuff at the bottom!

But in general I'd say double the cores is not far off double the render speed for LW.

Nick

PS - Thanks to all for getting back on topic!

bobakabob
05-31-2008, 05:07 AM
I think video cards have given me more grief than any other component, by a very considerable margin... (ATI and nVidia).

Agree... to compound my own problems I recently had a Quadro blow after 1.5 years.

Neverko's points about dodgy nVidea MBs are interesting... my chipset finally gave up the ghost after 2 years of use. Warning signs were USB issues and ages booting up. I'm avoiding in future.

Re: Pre built machines... anyone here in the UK had any experience with XWorks ? They're always highly rated in 3D world and use quality components. You have to mail them for quotes and they seem good value. http://www.xworksinteractive.com/

Surrealist.
05-31-2008, 08:07 AM
Since I'm not creative enough to come up with my own cool scene on short notice, I used Matt's "Push To Render" scene that he posted a while back. I cranked the res down a bit (and moved the AA down to 6) so I could get a solid run but not wait 3 hours just to get numbers.

That's in the 9.5 open beta forum! :D

At least I know where it is. Thanks, for myself anyway and any other beta folks. But If you ever feel up to doing anymore testing for the sake of the broader community, I would love to see one of those benchmark scenes tested. :)