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Rendering Speed

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I am thinking of upgrading my PC to a graphics rendering beast!

 

This PC is not for games but for my work.

 

So can anyone recommend what I should concentrate my money on?

 

I know loadsa memory is a must but at what level do you go overboard. I've seen motherboards with upto 4gb memory. Surely going to this level is a little excessive!

 

As for processors, would it be worth going down the dual processors route? Will going to the very top-end processor worth it?

 

Finally graphics cards. Any recommendations? What is the deal with memory in your graphics card compared to standard motherboard memory? Which has more influence on rendering times?

 

Loads of questions - I know. Any answers would be appreciated.

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Guest rockguy

You will definately want to look at dual core or a dual processor machine.

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I know loadsa memory is a must but at what level do you go overboard. I've seen motherboards with upto 4gb memory. Surely going to this level is a little excessive!

 

 

---2 Gigs can be had for under $150 and provides a good baseline if you need to upgrade later.

 

As for processors, would it be worth going down the dual processors route? Will going to the very top-end processor worth it?

 

 

---Invest in a dual core processor. I upgraded from an AMD 64 3000+ (2.0Ghz) to a Dual Core 4200+ (2x2.2ghz). The same rendering which took 9.5 hrs in Maya now takes 4.

 

Finally graphics cards. Any recommendations? What is the deal with memory in your graphics card compared to standard motherboard memory? Which has more influence on rendering times?

 

 

---Graphics cards have NO impact on rendering time. The only thing your graphics card effects is realtime rendering (IE what you see in your viewport). Unless you're dealing with movie-animation like sets of data, a baseline Nvidia card like a 6600GT should handle all of your monitors and video work just fine. A 128 meg card should be acceptable unless you're doing a lot of work with high res textures. It would be more advisable to buy a cheap (Sub $150) card now and if it presents problems you can easily sell it and upgrade and be no worse for wear.

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Guest nate

this somthing i was looking at as well !!

 

my computer just crashed - and have been searching forums etc for answers some thing aren't compatible with other things etc

 

from what i've seen :

 

:: asus or tyran are the best or most reilable motherboards

:: 2gig of ram is fine - no less tho

:: x2 dual core opterons 246 - only runs with ecc registed ram tho!!

:: graphic cards - fire GL3200, nvidia 6600GT or 6800GT or any of the nvidia Quadro range ,1400 etc

:: hard drive - better to get 2>3 2 small 10,000RPM raptors and one large say 160gb sata drive 7,200rpm.

 

also saw on dells sight they have designed computers for industrial designers, animators etc - but still cheaper i think to go to your local computer fair !!!

 

i'm in the same situation as you - don't really know that much about whats the best etc with computers!!

can anyone else shed some light on this situation??

 

whats a good system set up - specs??

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Guest designer darrin

weve had this same debate at my school, really you want a IBM or DELL workstation. These are set up for graphics etc, they run quadro and ati fire cards.

 

As for dual threading processors thats very debatable as alot of software is not designed to run this way thus gaining no speed.

 

So realistically you need a good fast hard drive, processor and ram with the processor being one of the most critical.

 

I would be interested to hear from anyone who has used both the nvidia 6800 and quadro cards for graphics as they are similar cards in construction. The quadro is alot more expensive................

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weve had this same debate at my school, really you want a IBM or DELL workstation. These are set up for graphics etc, they run quadro and ati fire cards.

 

As for dual threading processors thats very debatable as alot of software is not designed to run this way thus gaining no speed.

 

So realistically you need a good fast hard drive, processor and ram with the processor being one of the most critical.

 

I would be interested to hear from anyone who has used both the nvidia 6800 and quadro cards for graphics as they are similar cards in construction. The quadro is alot more expensive................

 

Almost every 3d package right now takes advantage of dual core processors. If you could gain speed with having a 2 CPU system in the past (which I know includes every package and renderer I currently run) a dual core CPU will make a HUGE boost in speed. Even if your app can't take advantage 2 CPU's, your PC still can unload all your BS CPU usage (Windows, All your other open apps like AIM or Winamp) onto the 2nd CPU.

 

Fast hard drives frankly won't make as huge of an impact until you start getting into huge data sets. Two 7200 RPM drives in RAID is cheaper than a Raptor or SCSI solution and nearly as fast in most benchmarks.

 

As far as Quadros vs Geforce cards, I still say buy a Geforce, if it doesn't perform how you expect then sell it and upgrade. Very simple. I guarantee for 80% of the work we do as designers you simply won't push the limits of a modern GPU. Even when doing some fairly detailed work like this image:

 

alfafall2.jpg

 

Which in Maya is roughly 1.5 million polygons + the nurbs surfaces. It handles that just fine, and I'm powering 2 monitors at 1680x1050. The framerate counter stays fairly consist around 15fps when in textured viewing and I'm using an Nvidia Geforce 7800 GT (though IMO the 6600GT handled it nearly as good).

 

If you're doing a lot of serious animation where framerate is critical, and with very large sets of data, and you just have lots of money to spend, then certainly go for the Quadro, it's made specifically for you.

 

But for the rest of the population, gaming segment cards offer nearly identical performance for a fraction of the price. Quadro cards do not cost more to produce and use the same hardware as their gaming counterparts. You pay for the name and some firmware optimizations, not for the power of the GPU core.

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Guest designer darrin

nice render! you obviously know yer stuff, quadro fx1100's can be picked up from 150usd. geforce cards from what i have seen are around 100usd more as the gamers go for them. thanks for the heads up though cyberdemon, you have answered alot of questions I and fellow students have had.

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Guest RobMay
So can anyone recommend what I should concentrate my money on?

 

Largely depends on the work you will be doing and the software you use. I can say from personal experience DON'T GET A DELL!! We used Dell workstations at uni and my old Pentium 3 with geforce 4 graphics card was more reliable and just as quick.

 

If you can afford it definitely get dual core - the better you get the quicker ur rendering times will be - and i would recommend a Quadro graphics card above any games specific card as they are designed purely for 3D apps and as such are more reliable and stable. Also you will NEED a minimum of 2 gigs ram - If ur running windows XP then there's no point in any more than 3 gig ram as it isn't designed to handle more than that.

 

To Cyberdemon - Is it possible to set symmetry when modelling in Maya? I primarily use StudioTools but want to improve my Maya skills especially for car modelling. Your alpha looks really good.

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Dell workstations from my experience are great machines, but they're super expensive when compared to any homebuilt system. Dells are great if you buy a laptop or desktop from one of their super sales that they have going on daily, but those aren't high end systems.

 

As far as I know Maya has no real symmetry setting like StudioTools has. I suppose it'd be possible to write a script, but typically what I do is just set the axes (insert) to be along the X axis, and then leave a duplicate option in my shelf that will duplicate and scale on the -X axis. Mirrors the part quickly and i can either delete it and try again or stitch the surfaces together once I like them.

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what about ATI graphic cards? noone seems to mention about them? How do they compare to Nvida? i am using a ATI X1600 card.

 

JooL

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I wouldn't be worried using a FireGL card, but a lot of people have had problems using ATI graphics cards in CAD apps. I ran a 9800 Pro for a while without too many problems, but in Rhino and Maya I would get some small graphical corruption at times (usually using tools that I never used like PaintFX).

 

Nvidia cards typically seem to be more stable, but then again my current 7800GT likes to cause the screen to spaz out for a couple seconds in Maya until I change my viewport. Minor nuisance mostly, but it could probably be remedied by a driver upgrade or rollback.

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Guest nate

hey

 

so what do you guys think of these specs :

 

Motherboard: ASUS - A8N-E nvidia nforce ultra AMD

CPU: AMD Athlon 64 3800+ socket 939 or a Dual core Athlon 64 3800+

Graphics card: Nvidia Geforce 6600 or 6800gt

HD: 2 x 74gb 7,200 RPM

RAM: Crossair 2gb ram DDR2 533

 

case: ??? coolermaster centurion

DVD burner???

Cooling ??? Zalman

 

 

also whats RAID (0,1,2) ETC ??????

 

cheers

nate

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Guest RobMay
Motherboard: ASUS - A8N-E nvidia nforce ultra AMD

 

This motherboard doesn't support ddr2 RAM, supports a maximum of DDR400 - typical of current AMD64 mobos. See this website:

 

http://uk.asus.com/products4.aspx?modelmen...l1=3&l2=15&l3=0

 

I would also recommend using Crucial RAM as I know from experience it works very well with Asus mobos.

 

also whats RAID (0,1,2) ETC ??????

 

RAID setups let you run 2 hard drives in sync, so one of the drives acts as an automatic backup disk to the other - so if one of your HDs fails you can simply switch to the other. The main downside of this is that despite having 2 hard drives u only get half the capacity when running in RAID - so if u get 2 74gig hard drives you would only get 74gigs worth of storage as apposed to 148gig.

I do not know exactly what the different numbers actually correspond to though.

 

Graphics card: Nvidia Geforce 6600 or 6800gt

 

If you can afford it i would recommend the GeForce 7800GT or an nVidia Quadro - bearing in mind it has to be PCI-E and not AGP - with minimum of 256mb.

 

As for the specs overall, that would be a killer machine, especially if you go the dual core route.

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also whats RAID (0,1,2) ETC ??????

 

RAID setups let you run 2 hard drives in sync, so one of the drives acts as an automatic backup disk to the other - so if one of your HDs fails you can simply switch to the other. The main downside of this is that despite having 2 hard drives u only get half the capacity when running in RAID - so if u get 2 74gig hard drives you would only get 74gigs worth of storage as apposed to 148gig.

I do not know exactly what the different numbers actually correspond to though.

 

There are different raid setups with 0 and 1 being the most common. You are thinking of Raid 1 which mirrors your data onto two drives. Everything you write to drive A gets written to drive B, and thus if one drive dies you still have all your data.

 

Raid 0 is striping. With 2 equal sized drives you would recieve double the space as the data is "striped" across each disk. Performance is increased as well. However if 1 drive in the array fails, you lose all of the data on both drives.

 

Personally, unless you know for a FACT that you will be doing a lot of work with serious amounts of data, a regular 160 gig 7200 RPM drive is probably more then adequate. Thats what I run in my system along with an external firewire drive. It handles DV video editing and all my 3d work just fine.

 

Again, my suggestion is to always start small and work your way up until you know the level of hardware you need. In our line of work typically you know when you need a specific upgrade. (IE if you're photoshopping 600 meg files, chances are you know you need another gig of ram).

 

It's ALWAYS cheaper to buy mid range hardware and then upgrade once the high end stuff drops in price.

 

As far as the processor choice, get a dual core without any doubt or hesitation. That is the one component that makes or breaks this whole machine. I would take a 7200 RPM drive, 6600 video card, and only a gig of ram to get a dual core CPU vs a single core CPU with a raptor drive, 4 gigs of ram, and a Quadro 6 million. If rendering time is where you struggle the CPU is the #1 priority.

 

As far as motherboards, most brands are fairly solid now. I got the low end DFI socket 939 board and aside from having to flash the bios to support the dual core CPU it works great for $80.

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Guest nate

cheers for that Cyberdemon, RobMay

 

whats the difference between DDR2 and DDR 400?

 

i think i would need 2 hard drives - one small one for work etc and the other for videos music and photos etc

 

74 and a 160 for example

 

is there a big difference between 6800GT ($300) and the 7800GT ($560aus) is it worth the price difference???

 

is it worth upgrading the ASUS motherboard so it has SLI - for a futre upgrade if i have the money to add an extra card??

 

why are there so many versions of the 6800 card nVidia GeForce 6800 XT, GS, GT etc???

 

cheers

nate ;)

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