Subscribe via: ( Email / RSS )

FUMEFX Workstation + Render Node Hardware Shopping List

fumelogo

So below, is an actual purchase order for my main PC workstation that I work on. There definitely ARE faster machines out there. However, I wanted to get a machine within a certain budget range that essentially would be the fastest of every item, within the most optimal price range. Ie. I didn’t just fork over my credit card and say “go buy the most expensive of every peripheral”. I spent the time working with one of my IT friends over at Blur Studio, who handles speccing, purchasing AND assembling PC’s for use day to day at Blur. So, he seemed like an ideal candidate to team up with on this expedition – to pick the best hardware, but still fall into a realistic budget that myself, or anybody could afford.

Also, these system specs, are the EXACT machines that I worked on for God of War, Star Trek 2, Witches of East End, Metallica, Flight etc.

Most of the time, New = More expensive. And when it comes to hardware, you’re usually paying an additional 40% on let’s say “The Latest CPU” over one slightly less recent, with maybe 10% less decrease of power of the newer item. But somehow nearly half the price. Obviously, as soon as the next CPU/Whatever come’s out – the price of this will do that drastic shift in price too. You’re always paying for a premium when it comes to the latest and greatest.

So, with all of this hardware, I wanted to pay for the absolute best of everything (at the time, obviously hardware specs change very fast!) but I wanted to pinpoint the best of each of my parts available that was at their peak before they went into the ‘ridiculously priced zone’.

Obviously hardware changes rapidly, so I can guarantee there is better specs out there now. But this is probably a good baseline to look at and begin to look for similar but better priced.

Honestly, 20 years ago – you would pay ‘crazy’ amounts of money for your systems. But the desktop era came in and wiped SGI out. They tried to compete with their Octane SGI’s running Windows NT but with Maya available for the PC, Digital Fusion, Max, Lightwave and other tools all readily available – you could successfully compete as a studio on this hardware for a 10th the price.

Nowadays (wow.. I’m surprised spell check let me use that word!) you’re probably better of looking at what the latest video game hardware is that’s available. Taking into consideration thing’s like SLI (dual video cards) isn’t going to help you at all, but everything else will definitely be the latest and greatest for pushing around everything we want to use. There has been tech that has come in like Phys-x cards and some other cool tech I’ve been seeing at SIGGRAPH, but none that I can singularly point out as being something that for FX is going to change your life “right now”.

The more RAM the better, but I rarely go over 48gb during my simulations, but I’ve broken systems that have 64gb on a few recent projects that were very different to the standard “insert ‘splosion here” type shots I usually get. So.. If you think you’re going to be taking on some much more ambitious jobs, get more RAM! BUT if you don’t think you’ll need it, maybe put that money aside and slowly start a piggy bank for buying an additional computer.

I have listed the specs for two machines I bought recently for my render farm. These came in around $2,500 each. So if you later decide to skimp out on a few Friday night’s at ‘tha club’ then you can probably put that money towards getting an additional PC. Which, believe me – when you can suddenly fire off sims in the background and keep working RATHER than have to wait til night time to do something, and the next morning with crust still in your eye getting to see what you actually rendered – it’s worth it!

Few notes:

- Solid State Drive definitely helps

- Video card isn’t going to speed your simulations up “yet”

- Run diagnostics on your network – make sure you’re getting good speeds. Hit it hard and make sure of this! It doesn’t matter how fast your machines are; if they are taking 5 minutes to write a 3gb .FXD file to your network.

  • Fume takes full advantage of Hyper-Threading, so use it!

 

Allan’s Primary Workstation Specs

1 x Cooler Master Blade Master 120 – Sleeve Bearing 120mm PWM Cooling Fan for Computer Cases, CPU Coolers, and Radiators $10.99

1 x SUPERMICRO CSE-732D4-865B Black Pedestal Server Chassis $219.99

2 x SUPERMICRO SNK-P0050AP4 Heatsink for Supermicro X9DR3-F Motherboard $39.99

1 x EVGA 04G-P4-3687-KR GeForce GTX 680 FTW+ w/Backplate 4GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card $549.99

1 x SUPERMICRO MBD-X9DAi-O Extended ATX Server Motherboard Dual LGA 2011 DDR3 1600/1333/1066/800 $489.99

2 x Intel Xeon E5-2620 Sandy Bridge-EP 2.0GHz (2.5GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 2011 95W Six-Core Server Processor BX80621E52620 $419.99

1 x  LG CD/DVD Burner Black SATA Model GH24NS72 – OEM $17.99

1 x Western Digital WD Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5″ Internal Hard Drive Bare Drive $109.99

1 x Kingston SSDNow V+200 KR-S3120-3H 2.5″ 120GB SATA III Internal 7mm Solid State Drive (SSD) (Upgrade Bundle Kit) $104.99

 

Total $2,563.88

 

Render Node Specs

2 x Intel Xeon E5645 Westmere-EP 2.4GHz LGA 1366 80W Six-Core Server Processor BX80614E5645 $549.99

1 x EVGA 01G-P4-2650-KR GeForce GTX 650 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card $99.99

2 x SUPERMICRO SNK-P0040AP4 CPU Heatsink & Cooling Fan for Xeon Processor 5500/5600 Series $29.99

1 x Mushkin Enhanced MKNSSDBRKT2535 2.5″ to 3.5″ drive adapter bracket $6.99

1 x OCZ Vertex Plus R2 VTXPLR2-25SAT2-240GB 2.5″ 240GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) $161.99

4 x Kingston 16GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 ECC Registered Server Memory DR x4 1.35V w/TS Server Hynix M Model KVR13LR9D4/16HM $156.99

1 x LITE-ON DVD Burner – Bulk Black SATA Model iHAS124-04 – OEM $33.98

1 x SUPERMICRO MBD-X8DAL-i-O Dual LGA 1366 Intel 5500 ATX Dual Intel Xeon 5500 and 5600 Series Server Motherboard $259.99

1 x SUPERMICRO CSE-732i-500B Black Mid-tower Server Chassis $139.99

 

Total $2,473.86

 

So both came in reasonably the same price wise. I ended up initially buying my workstation, and two render nodes, and then not too long after I bought an additional two, and then another additional two. It seemed right to tack a few extra nodes on as more projects came in that I thought I might need them. But at the same time, I didn’t want to go overboard and decide to buy an unrealistically big render farm. I would gauge how long my renders were taking, and if I was really going to be waiting nervously for frames to come off the farm – then it’s a sign I might need more.

BUT in terms of simulations, really, it’s a matter of “How many simulations am I going to be doing at any given time”. Buying more PC’s and then realizing that really I’m just doing one big massive individual simulation, over and over and over – isn’t going to justify buying more hardware. Sure, rendering wise it will speed it up. But simulating won’t. I _CAN_ simulate multiple variations and take full advantage of these nodes, but then you’re just creating more work to justify having the hardware. DON’T BE GREEDY! Buy what you need, and save your money. Having a killer farm, doesn’t make you a bad ass!

I say this, because I’ve recently observed a colleague of mine spend a lot of money buying a farm with his savings – for really no reason that I can realistically think of. And we all have those friends, who go and buy a new RED camera and loads of film equipment for their new “film company” without having clients or anything yet actually booked. Take your time, and tack on those extra PC’s when you actually need them. And then, for the exact same price, you will be able to afford much much faster hardware rather than it being old and outdated when you finally are ready to put them to use. Hardware changes fast fellas, so buy it when you need it!

That’s all for now, bon appetite!

 You can download this list as a PDF here

- Allan

fumelogo

 

AMCKAY@AllanMcKay.com     http://www.AllanMcKay.com FACEBOOK | TWITTER

Posted on March 1st, 2014
Comment Rules: Feel free to leave comments, ideally I would like everyone to be mature and responsible for their actions, there will be a 0 tolerance to spam or rude comments by anyone posting. Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation!
'Ideally' it would be great to have people who are vising to post relevant comments or links to things that might be interesting and related to the articles they are commenting about.
I'm sure there are dozens of people who visit this page that are far smarter or talented than I am, so I encourage everyone to share knowledge, add and contribute to these threads wherever they can!

Rock on guys!

-Allan McKay

1,373 Responses to "FUMEFX Workstation + Render Node Hardware Shopping List"

  1. stay clear says:

    hair reviews

    I’ve got some ongoing projects and I wanted all these students assist me with it.

  2. Pearle Rizer

    Great blog!

  3. tommys real estate

    [...]we prefer to honor a lot of other net sites around the net, even though they aren?t linked to us, by linking to them. Under are some webpages really worth checking out[...]

  4. stripper denver

    [...]one of our visitors recently advised the following website[...]

  5. nuclear energy

    I want to get across my passion for your kindness in support of visitors who really need guidance on this important issue. Your real dedication to getting the solution all through has been incredibly invaluable and have continually allowed regular peop…

  6. survive desert

    I wish to show my love for your kindness supporting folks who need help on in this idea. Your very own dedication to getting the solution up and down turned out to be extremely effective and have continually allowed regular people like me to realize th…

  7. denver bachelor party

    [...]we prefer to honor several other net websites around the internet, even though they aren?t linked to us, by linking to them. Underneath are some webpages really worth checking out[...]

  8. Barcelona says:

    Barcelona

    [...]that would be the end of this article. Here you will find some web sites that we consider you will value, just click the links over[...]

  9. degree says:

    to become a better blog post writer.keep

    an eye on what is happening howthe beauty of blogging is that blogs as usual focus on news or events happening in the whole world. the first very important tip for every blog article writer is to write about currently discussed

  10. big bang

    I have to convey my passion for your kind-heartedness in support of persons that need guidance on the situation. Your very own commitment to getting the solution all around has been remarkably functional and has in every case made ladies like me to rea…

  11. nuclear energy

    I have to get across my respect for your generosity supporting visitors who need help with in this concept. Your special dedication to getting the solution along appeared to be exceptionally functional and have continuously made folks much like me to a…

  12. stuffing as offense and in no time

    bans the website that go ahead with such unethical practices. if experts are to be believed, there is no great way to enhance your online presence in the stiff competitive market place.if you use an informative, precisely written and concise and

  13. students says:

    niche. doing research will allow you to

    get fresh information that will surely make your articles more effective. if needed, interview other people particularly those that are considered authority in your chosen niche. plan ahead. you need to keep your articles short. it will really help if…

  14. Souls in the Waves

    Superior Morning, I just stopped in to go to your site and thought I would say I enjoyed myself.

  15. girlsgogames says:

    Violetta

    Hello there! I know this is kinda off topic however , I’d figured I’d ask. Would you be interested in exchanging links or maybe guest authoring a blog post or vice-versa? My website covers a lot of the same topics as yours and I think we could greatly…

  16. to is highly literate, it is still

    a good idea to choose simple words over the showy words. not because the reader will not understand the writer but because conversational writing is livelier and more interesting.in addition, many employees write letters, memos and emails that are a go…

  17. space chimp

    I want to express my respect for your generosity for all those that really need help on that concern. Your very own dedication to passing the solution up and down became wonderfully important and have really made women like me to get to their pursuits.…

  18. foxpro impresion

    lewno firemans drepturi websiteuntuk heritage wesen singeryou.

  19. video says:

    various posts

    Your kindness will probably be tremendously appreciated.

  20. alkaline water dangers

    [...]that will be the finish of this write-up. Here you will come across some internet sites that we consider you will value, just click the hyperlinks over[...]

  21. click here to get paydaytermloans

    [...]although internet sites we backlink to below are considerably not related to ours, we feel they are truly worth a go by, so have a look[...]

  22. crorkservice says:

    liberty statue

    I have to convey my respect for your generosity for those individuals that have the need for help on this important niche. Your real dedication to passing the solution throughout ended up being particularly insightful and have usually allowed guys and…

  23. mediterranian diet

    [...]one of our visitors not too long ago advised the following website[...]

Leave a Reply


5 × one =

Get Adobe Flash playerPlugin by wpburn.com wordpress themes