best TG system but reasonably prized?

Started by Dune, June 20, 2015, 03:20:41 am

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Dune

I'd like some recommendations from you guys. I'll be assembling a new system for rendering and Photoshop/TG work. No games.
So I want a fast render machine and a decent but not an overly expensive and fast gaming videocard that can handle TG preview. Mobowise thinking of Intel i7 but don't know if higher than 2600k (4790 or 5820) has much benefit. I prefer Asus mobo's, but open to suggestions. I now have an P8Z68-V, but also see Z97 and loads of others. So?
And a decent videocard?
Most of all, I want it quiet.
Any ideas are welcome.

archonforest

I think an Core i7 4790K sounds very cool. 4Ghz 4 cores.
For 3D prew you do not need a gaming card. Like a fanless GT 730 with 1G ram would be enough. It is not for gaming for sure but could handle anything for TG.
Dell T5500 with Dual Hexa Xeon CPU 3Ghz, 32Gb ram, GTX 1080
Amiga 1200 8Mb ram, 8Gb ssd

archonforest

Ohh forgot to mention that an SSD instead of a HDD will contribute to the silence of your room :D
Dell T5500 with Dual Hexa Xeon CPU 3Ghz, 32Gb ram, GTX 1080
Amiga 1200 8Mb ram, 8Gb ssd

Dune


zaxxon

It's always exciting to plan the next 'Big Box'. I'd go with Intel and six cores for rendering, and at least 32 gigs of ram. The 6 core 5820 lists under $400 and is unlocked if you ever want to boost the clock speed. The six cores are not necessary for PS and ordinary tasks, but for rendering in TG the extra cores make a huge difference (based on my i7 4 core machine vs. my i7 6 core machine). I highly recommend a liquid cooler, leaving the cpu in constant 100% usage mode for extended render times creates some brutal heat. And if you ever do over-clock, the extra cooling capacity is a good idea. Render times being what they are, every ounce of extra speed is precious and any money 'saved' at purchase has consequences. I've had Asus motherboards for years but recently switched to MSI after my builder ran thru 4 Asus Rampage boards out of inventory that were defective, happens. Quiet, well I guess that's in the ear of the beholder  ;). The lower db fans will add some expense for sure; I guess it depends on where the machine is, and how acute your wife's hearing is (true in my case  :)). I use nVidia cards exclusively, and currently have GTX 750ti's with 2 gigs of GDDR5 in each of my primary boxes. They go for under $200 these days. Not sure if 'Brand' names mean all that much, both of mine are made by EVGA. Don't know how much VAT affects prices near you, so that may dictate some decisions. Good luck Ulco, it will be great to have a faster set-up!

archonforest

Quote from: Dune on June 20, 2015, 12:15:55 pm
But they are quite pricey  :(


Well yeah they are a bit higher than usual. Then take a hybrid HDD. It is a mixture of 8G of SDD and half terra normal disc. SSD automatically will copy the most used files like Windows and your boot time will decrease 50 percent or in some cases more.
Dell T5500 with Dual Hexa Xeon CPU 3Ghz, 32Gb ram, GTX 1080
Amiga 1200 8Mb ram, 8Gb ssd

Tangled-Universe

Given that you already have a 2600K I suppose your new system must at least exceed its performance. Otherwise, why buy a new system?
I only buy a system when it's at least twice as fast as the one I'm owning.
Considering your 2600K and a reasonable budget, that's already very very difficult!

I agree with Zaxxon: 6 cores and 32GB RAM, the bare minimum. GFX card is "useless". Water-cooling is not always more silent and not always more efficient. It also depends on what one considers a loud noise.
I highly recommend an SSD as well, but yes, they don't come cheap, but they make your system so fast and responsive! I'd never ever want a HDD as system drive anymore.

Skylake platform will be released later this year and maybe very maybe this will result in a slight drop of prices of CPU's, but I'm not counting chickens yet.

Oshyan

T-U has some particularly good, practical feedback here (e.g. liquid cooling is *not* always quieter, and if you're not overclocking it's generally unnecessary), and likewise Zaxxon with the 6 core, 32+GB recommendation. As far as I understand Skylake is not going to bring any major speed improvements any time soon (not until next year, I think, more cores, etc.), and while it may drive prices on older CPUs down, it may not be worth waiting for, especially if you've got paying work coming in steadily on which you could really use a faster machine.

SSDs are more expensive than HDs, but not crazy expensive in general, and regular, large HDs are insanely cheap these days. So the best thing to do, generally speaking, is get an SSD of say 256GB and then a larger "data" drive to stick all your work files on. This will make OS boot times and application start-up very fast, without making your system cost too much. Crucial, Samsung, Intel, or Sandisk SSDs are my recommendation. http://www.techspot.com/review/999-consumer-ssd-roundup-2015/page6.html

Also don't forget to check out the TG3 benchmark results to get an idea of the performance of your planned hardware upgrade. The results don't include price of the CPU, but you can look that up for CPUs that look promising. Something that might be useful and instructive given T-U's approach (aiming for twice the speed) is to run the benchmark on your current machine and then look for a result that is half the time:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1eX9Ltn3_9BjsamA0Pxeflv5AKrjkgViEY8VuetB8e3k/edit#gid=1964613224

In my case, with an i7 2600k at stock speed, I have a render time of about 10 minutes. Half that time looks like it could just about be achieved with a single i7-5930K, or certainly with a i7-5960X. The 5930k is about $580, a bit pricey, but since it's the heart of your system, the absolutely most important part for best TG performance, it is probably worth it. The 5960x is more like $1000, not really justifying nearly twice the price for maybe 10-15% better performance. If $580 is still a bit too much, the 5820k is only about $390, about $50 more than the 4790k and with a respectable performance margin (again, reference the benchmark results), not too much slower than the 5930. All this changes if you overclock, which is actually surprisingly easy these and not very risky these days, especially for mild overclocks.

As you know the graphics card doesn't affect TG render time. It helps with being able to view complex objects and large populations in the 3D preview, but it's generally not worth spending a ton of money on.

- Oshyan

Dune

Thanks very much for your deep analysis and advice, guys. Really helpful. Martin, the reason I want another machine is that I still work on a core 2 due, but have an extra i7 as dedicated render machine (and sometimes to work on, as the core 2 duo will crash on heavy work). The core 2 duo is from 2007, HD getting submerged, so I can't even defrag anymore, working in Lightwave and Photoshop is sometimes slow with large files or calculating stuff like cloth dynamics, etc.
It's also buggy; showing my partitions in Partition Magic with strange signs, showing my C on second place (instead of D) whenever I reboot to a second OS (switching between win 7 online and XP offline).... So I'd have to reinstall everything anyway if I were to buy another HD, so I 'might as well' buy a complete new system. VAT is 21% here, but deductable, as it's business.
So I want a fast machine to work on plus a dedicated render machine, which I can leave alone rendering tests and finals.
Seems like it's slightly more expensive here. A i7 5820 costs around €400.

Dune

What do you think of this? Plus an ssd+hd, and maybe some other stuff.

archonforest

Dell T5500 with Dual Hexa Xeon CPU 3Ghz, 32Gb ram, GTX 1080
Amiga 1200 8Mb ram, 8Gb ssd

Dune

Between 1100 and 1300 euro's, depending on what I do extra.
Thinking of a graphics card Asus GeForce Fanless GT730 2GB DDR3, what do you think, good enough? They adviced a twice as expensive Gigabyte GV-N750OC-1GI, so I'm confused. I think the latter makes more noise and I am not a gamer.
SSD Samsung 840Pro 128GB and a WD Black WD2003FZEX (2TB) HD seem like a nice marriage to me.
And 4x4GB Crucial memory. Since the mobo has 8 DIMM slots, I can always expand with another set.

Any more advice before I empty my savings account?

N-drju

While we're at it...

Do you know any issues with Terragen running on lap tops? Many lap tops that go beyond 12 GB RAM boast to be specifically designed to handle "most demanding games and programs" but still, I wonder...

I simply love working on lap tops, I like their flexibility but I am very afraid that there might be some issues. Heating for example. :( What do you think?

I am also planning to buy new computer soon. I am aiming for hybrid drive, 4-core processor and at least 12 GB RAM. Memory size is not that relevant to me tough.
"This year - a factory of semiconductors. Next year - a factory of whole conductors!"

archonforest

June 23, 2015, 07:56:33 am #13 Last Edit: June 23, 2015, 08:00:56 am by archonforest
Quote from: Dune on June 23, 2015, 04:06:15 am
Between 1100 and 1300 euro's, depending on what I do extra.
Thinking of a graphics card Asus GeForce Fanless GT730 2GB DDR3, what do you think, good enough? They adviced a twice as expensive Gigabyte GV-N750OC-1GI, so I'm confused. I think the latter makes more noise and I am not a gamer.
SSD Samsung 840Pro 128GB and a WD Black WD2003FZEX (2TB) HD seem like a nice marriage to me.
And 4x4GB Crucial memory. Since the mobo has 8 DIMM slots, I can always expand with another set.

Any more advice before I empty my savings account?

That card should be enough to display TGs preview but nothing else. But since u are not a gamer u are set. Looking your renders I would recommend more memory for you. If you decide to put more and your new PC is supporting quad channel RAM set up best to fill up all 8 slots. Actually not sure if TG can take advantage of quad channel but maybe Matt can say something about that...
Dell T5500 with Dual Hexa Xeon CPU 3Ghz, 32Gb ram, GTX 1080
Amiga 1200 8Mb ram, 8Gb ssd

Dune

June 23, 2015, 09:36:40 am #14 Last Edit: June 23, 2015, 09:40:42 am by Dune
You may be right about the card, the vendor also says it's on the light side. So perhaps go for the other one. If TG can't handle that 4-channel memory, its no use for me', but I can't imagine it can't. Matt?
Regarding hybrid drives; if your ssd goes down, the hd part is also worthless, I'd say. So I'd rather go for 2 separate items.
I've got a 2008, but brandnew system for sale: asus P5Q iP45, asus videocard GeForce 8500GT silent 512MB, 4GB DDR2 memory, Core 2duo E8600 3.33GHz. Stood there as backup for my current machine, but hardly ever used. Hope to get some bucks for it still.