Hardware recommendations

Started by embeh, August 05, 2016, 09:10:52 am

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embeh

What is the best hardware to use for TG3 (or rather TG4)? I have a decent budget for a new machine and wonder about how well TG scales on today's multi-CPU multi-core systems

I only found some old hardware recommendations from 2008 with references to 32bit, XP and VIsta, which obviously isn't up to date anymore.

Any advise much appreciated!

bobbystahr

Yes please, I'd like some too as I'm on the edge of an upgrade.
something borrowed,
something Blue.
Ring out the Old.
Bring in the New
Bobby Stahr, Paracosmologist

Oshyan

Terragen relies primarily on CPU and memory. The GPU is not currently used at all for rendering and is only important when using the "old"/standard OpenGL 3D Preview (as opposed to the newer RTP, Ray-Traced (or Real-Time) Preview, which is CPU-only). In the future we may take advantage of the GPU for the RTP, but it is not likely to be used for final rendering any time soon, so CPU is most important.

CPU has the greatest effect on rendering speed by far. Multi-core CPUs are taken advantage of and Terragen scales well up to about 32 cores/threads, after which it can be better to render without Hyperthreading enabled, or to run 2 or more parallel instances to take best advantage of available hardware. We are constantly working to optimize and improve multithreading performance as well.

Memory is important for dealing with complex and detailed scenes, and higher quality renders. Having more memory is increasingly important with Terragen 4 as the newer rendering algorithms, as well as the RTP, both require more memory to work well. Terragen 4 can render quite a bit faster than Terragen 3 when objects are involved in the scene, but to do so it requires more memory. If you are buying a new machine I would recommend 16GB at a minimum. Memory is relatively cheap so get 32GB if you can. You may not need more than that for now, but leave room to upgrade, or splurge on 64GB if you're getting a multi-CPU system with lots of cores/threads because you also need more memory per-thread, and more powerful systems are likely to be rendering more complex scenes and thus require more memory as well.

If you're looking to buy something off-the-shelf that's fast and reasonably priced, consider any 6-core Intel CPU, or potentially an 8 core AMD (not as fast but cheaper). If you are willing to DIY a little, then here's some info on an *amazing* deal for a really high performance workstation build:
http://www.techspot.com/review/1155-affordable-dual-xeon-pc/
The deal on used Xeon CPUs is really pretty incredible right now...

- Oshyan

bobbystahr

Great DIY article Oshyan, thanks...gonna have a geeky pal have a look at it and cost it out in Canada.
something borrowed,
something Blue.
Ring out the Old.
Bring in the New
Bobby Stahr, Paracosmologist

embeh

OK, so the premium machine would have 32 threads and 64GB RAM, right?

mhall

Actually, if you're willing to spend a bit more, the same outfit just posted a build with 2 CPUs, 10 cores, 20 threads. So 20 cores, 40 threads. About $700 for the motherboard, cpus, coolers and 64GB of memory. If you already have everything else ... damn if that isn't a heck of a price! Oh, and it runs about 80 watts lower than the other build.

http://www.techspot.com/review/1218-affordable-40-thread-xeon-monster-pc/

Oshyan

Yeah, I saw they posted an updated one  *just* after I posted the older one, hah. Even better!

- Oshyan