Author Topic: New build advice saught  (Read 310 times)

Offline cyphyr

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New build advice saught
« on: June 13, 2019, 09:50:19 PM »
It's coming round to the time I talk myself into building a new workstation. (or pay someone else to do it)
My ground rule is to not bother unless I can double my render speed/output.
Looking at the current benchmark page it certainly looks very possible. The i9-9900K is nearly twice as fast as my current rig and the Thread rippers are looking very good as well.
I have not used AMD in a very long time and I am concerned about their true viability under prolonged stress (WEEKS at a time!)

I am very interested in the newly announced i9-9900KS which is supposed to have ALL CORES running at 5Ghz at boost (which basically will be what Terragen is doing when it's rendering).
This is obviously way better than only 1 core running at 5Ghz. How much better is, of course, the question. Also we have no real release date for the KS variant yet except a vague Q4 (so October maybe?)

So the totally hypothetical and ultimate answerless questions are:

Is it worth waiting till Later this year for a i9-9900KS?
Would a threadripper be just as good? Which one?
How viable would a dual Xeon setup be in comparison.

Whatever system I build will have 64Gb ram (128Gb if I can talk myself into it), a reasonable but not too fancy graphics card and a couple of PCI SSD's for the operating system and whatever I am currently working on plus a couple of large Storage drives.

Thoughts?
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Offline Oshyan

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Re: New build advice saught
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2019, 11:05:35 PM »
Don't wait for the i9900KS, it will likely be a gimmick, i.e. not in quantity, low availability since they'll need to really cherry pick from their yields in order to consistently hit 5ghz on all cores. I see it as another desperate gambit by Intel to match up to AMD that is kicking their ass in multi-core. Also the new Ryzen 9s will be out before then anyway. And in fact I'd recommend looking at Ryzen 9 *instead* of Threadripper at this point, unless you really need Threadripper as a platform for some reason (or you really want 32+ cores). In particular consider this:
https://www.tomshardware.com/news/amd-ryzen-3950x-vs-intel-i9-9980xe-geekbench,39640.html

That should be a $750USD CPU. Motherboards are said to be expensive for X570 (new AMD boards for Zen 2/Ryzen 9, etc.), but no more so than a board for the i9900KS. Figure $250 for that. The rest will be GPU, storage, etc. A ~$2k build with the Ryzen 9 3950X would likely put you at the top of the benchmark list. Going dual Xeon will dramatically increase your cost and power usage, not worth it IMO. If this is meant to just be a workstation that you're using for work-from-home, then yeah I'd say Ryzen 9.

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Offline Oshyan

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Re: New build advice saught
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2019, 11:19:40 PM »
And just to elaborate on my reasoning, Threadripper and Ryzen have proven themselves well by now I believe. They have lower power envelopes than equivalent Intel CPUs and don't run as hot (as far as I understand). And as long as you have a decent cooling solution the boost clock will remain at reasonable levels during long-term rendering (it's driven by thermals). Their GPUs are another matter (hotter than Nvidia). And AMD has a longer-term commitment to their platforms than Intel. Buying into the 9900KS could be a dead-end motherboard-wise. Whereas even people with 1st generation AM4 (AMD Ryzen) boards can use newer "Zen 2" Ryzen CPUs, albeit without some features like PCI 4.0.

And as far as 32 core Threadripper, it seems like there are still scheduler and other efficiency issues in Windows that somewhat hobble performance on higher core-count AMD CPUs. It's not an inherent limitation of the hardware architecture, but the OS and/or drivers still need to catch up (you can see 20% better performance or more under Linux vs. Windows in some cases, for example). I don't think Ryzen 9 will have those issues. So it'll be better from a price perspective and an efficiency perspective.

- Oshyan

Offline cyphyr

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Re: New build advice saught
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2019, 08:20:57 AM »
Thanks for the logical breakdown.
I have been with Intel sooo long now that flipping over to AMD seems like a betrayal lol

I get somewhat floored by the clock speeds only being measured on core zero. Has it always been thus?! Well that's screwy!!

Also I would assume that in the HEDT market if they are cherry picking i9-9900K's to get i9-9900KS's with fully unlocked cores that that option will be available across the i9-99xx range so 12, 14, and 16 cores will also be available (at a whopping price!).
There comes a point where it would be cheaper to just buy a second PC than to go for yet more cores.

I shall continue to scratch my head on this but AMD is certainly looking tempting.
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Offline Dune

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Re: New build advice saught
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2019, 10:37:50 AM »
Let us know what you'll do. I'm following this with interest!

Offline WASasquatch

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Re: New build advice saught
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2019, 01:24:11 PM »
It's coming round to the time I talk myself into building a new workstation. (or pay someone else to do it)
My ground rule is to not bother unless I can double my render speed/output.
Looking at the current benchmark page it certainly looks very possible. The i9-9900K is nearly twice as fast as my current rig and the Thread rippers are looking very good as well.
I have not used AMD in a very long time and I am concerned about their true viability under prolonged stress (WEEKS at a time!)

I am very interested in the newly announced i9-9900KS which is supposed to have ALL CORES running at 5Ghz at boost (which basically will be what Terragen is doing when it's rendering).
This is obviously way better than only 1 core running at 5Ghz. How much better is, of course, the question. Also we have no real release date for the KS variant yet except a vague Q4 (so October maybe?)

So the totally hypothetical and ultimate answerless questions are:

Is it worth waiting till Later this year for a i9-9900KS?
Would a threadripper be just as good? Which one?
How viable would a dual Xeon setup be in comparison.

Whatever system I build will have 64Gb ram (128Gb if I can talk myself into it), a reasonable but not too fancy graphics card and a couple of PCI SSD's for the operating system and whatever I am currently working on plus a couple of large Storage drives.

Thoughts?

Gonna just add my two cents, I have only ever had Intel CPUs die from prolonged stress or TJ Maxes. I haven't had a AMD fail since AM64 FX series. Mind you I use second hand too, so these CPUs have had use prior but AMDs never quit. I've gone through an i7, two xeons, core2duo and couple atoms in last decade. No AMDs. Also only seem to ever get BSOD and crashes on Intel ironically considering their "reliability".

Likely only reason I saw my AM64 die is cause it was one of the last chipsets manufactured by Nvidia.

My issues all seem to be TG oriented and burning off thermal paste on cheap builds so definitely go liquid metal or high grade.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2019, 01:29:20 PM by WASasquatch »

Offline digitalguru

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Re: New build advice saught
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2019, 03:24:41 PM »
I upgraded from my old Intel Core i7 960 to a Threadripper 1950X and saw about an x4.5 increase in performance - admittedly my old PC was about 8 years old but definitely worth the investment, though Blinn's Law is beginning to kick in ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Blinn ) and my render times are creeping up again  :)

If you're going AMD I'd definitely go for a 1950X - I second Oshyans opinion on the 32 Core AMD's, there may be a limit on how current software can efficiently use that many cores.

One thing I wouldn't skimp on is cooling, I initially got a single fan AIO cooler and had to upgrade, they do run quite hot. I think I've found a good balance between temps and overclock now (had to reduce it a bit).

Also, same as you, I started with 64GB in the machine - I'd recommend going a bit higher. I added an extra 32GB and baked out a MASH simulation in Maya which gobbled up 64GB, so it paid for itself in the first couple of days!

Offline Oshyan

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Re: New build advice saught
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2019, 05:34:00 PM »
I just read that the newer Threadrippers (and Ryzens as well) use AMDs new "infinity fabric" which should fix some of the memory controller/routing issues that slowed down the higher-end Threadrippers unnecessarily on Windows. There are still possibly scheduler issues, but I know Microsoft is working to fix those too. So taking full advantage of Threadripper and 32+ cores will probably be easier moving forward.

I just noticed how expensive 128GB of RAM is, yow! ($1000+USD). I thought memory was at a low price point at the moment, relatively speaking, but it'd be worth looking at news articles and trends there to see whether it's on the way down or up. I know the market oversupplied at some point recently, but not sure when the impact of that will or has hit (yet). So timing your memory purchase can save you a decent amount. If memory is high when you buy the rest of the machine, get 64GB, but in big enough modules that you can upgrade later (i.e. 16GB modules if you have an 8 slot board).

- Oshyan

Offline cyphyr

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Re: New build advice saught
« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2019, 05:54:59 PM »
Yes, future proofing the motherboard is an important concern. Especially as the top end chips will hopefully drop in price.

However, if I did manage to convince myself that 32 cores were worthwhile I would have thought though that if I had "enough" memory (ie 128Gb) then even if 32 cores was prooving inefficient I should be able to launch two instances of Terragen limited to 16 cores each.
Would that work?
Or would windows still try to bork it all up?

The 32 Core chips do come in on the pricey side. SO I will need some convincing to quite that far at this stage ...
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Offline penboack

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Re: New build advice saught
« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2019, 09:31:54 PM »
I built an AMD 2950X Workstation last month.
I am very pleased with this build, the 5 times increase in CPU Rendering performance compared to my 6 year old Window 10 computer is great.
The computer runs very cool and quiet thanks to the sound proofing in the case and dual 140mm front and single 140mm rear fans.

Here is the PCPartPicker link for that build.
https://pcpartpicker.com/user/penboa/saved/#view=Vt2yXL

I took the CINEBENCH and Corona 1.3 Render Benchmark scores and used these to make a price performance calculation.

If you put in 8 16GB RAM sticks you will likely have to run the memory at a lower speed, so unless you really need 128GB it would be better to go for 64GB.

AMD seem to be on a roll and Intel are getting desperate having had it all their own way for a number of years.
My last AMD CPU was an AMD Athlon 200MHz CPU!

I also purchased a 32" Samsung LU32H850UQUXEN Monitor which I'm really pleased with.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2019, 01:05:54 AM by penboack »

Offline Dune

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Re: New build advice saught
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2019, 06:56:44 AM »
Penboack: did you run the TG benchmark yet?

Offline penboack

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Re: New build advice saught
« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2019, 05:22:20 PM »
I'm still on TG version 4.1.25, as I'm out of maintenance, so no not yet.
I would expect the result to be within +-2% of those for similar systems based on the results I get for CINEBENCH and Corona 1.3 compared to the test results in the anandtech reviews.

Looking at the Terragen Benchmark scores there seems to be little advantage in having the 2990WX over the 2950X as you only improve render performance by around 25%. For some benchmarks you get an improvement of around 70% on Windows 10.

It would be interesting to see Terragen Benchmark results for the AMD 2920X / 2950X / 2970WX / 2990WX on Linux.

Offline cyphyr

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Re: New build advice saught
« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2019, 06:17:28 PM »
...
Looking at the Terragen Benchmark scores there seems to be little advantage in having the 2990WX over the 2950X as you only improve render performance by around 25%.
...

Personally, I would say that 25% is a significant amount of speed difference but I guess one would also have to factor in the price difference
(which yikes! is considerable!  2990WX approx 1500, 2990X approx 300)
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Offline PabloMack

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Re: New build advice saught
« Reply #13 on: June 17, 2019, 08:00:34 PM »
The 2990WX has four chiplets on a carrier and only two of them have direct access to RAM. They can only share access to cache. The 2950X has only two chiplets and they both have direct separate access to RAM. Also, the heat produced by the 2990WX will probably mean that they will not all run at full speed. So I don't think the 2990WX is worth the expense. It's single-thread performance is not as good as 2950X.  Also, you might wait for the 3950X because it is due out in the next month or two. Also the 2950X will drop in price when that happens.

Offline WASasquatch

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Re: New build advice saught
« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2019, 01:45:50 AM »
The 2990WX has four chiplets on a carrier and only two of them have direct access to RAM. They can only share access to cache. The 2950X has only two chiplets and they both have direct separate access to RAM. Also, the heat produced by the 2990WX will probably mean that they will not all run at full speed. So I don't think the 2990WX is worth the expense. It's single-thread performance is not as good as 2950X.  Also, you might wait for the 3950X because it is due out in the next month or two. Also the 2950X will drop in price when that happens.

At-face clock speeds really don't mean much. The 2990WX outperforms the 2950X in single-threaded performance, and is only at a loss of 4% to Intel's i9-7980XE in single threaded performance. Additionally, the 80MB L2/L3 specifically addresses the issue you spoke of over the 2990WX's 40MB.  Has anyone tested the  2970WX considering it's suppose to allow 24 cores to work simultaneously with 48 thrads, and a better price per core over the 2950X.

Heat management should be a concern on 250w or 180w with use in TG or other workstation tasks, so there is no real "one over the other" it's just about adequate cooling systems for either. Like always, considering ambient temps of houses, and cycling rates, I do not suggest going water cooled for TG. You will be heat spiking your CPU and it is not recommended. Fans will always be smoother and a more responsive heat curve when it comes to random heat speaks under full load. This is why water cooling is not as popular in commercial scene like data-centers and render farms. Just get A/C for your office or create a custom heat curve for your fans.

I've attached a image which shows you the heat spikes I've spoke of time and time again. They will cause hiccups in computation and slow things down momentarily, and they're harder for water cooling to manage. Same system, different cooling systems. Same CPU stress test, ran several times accounting for variables. Almost down the line, the liquid cooled system obtains higher temps, and more aggressive peaks than fan which had substantially fewer, with more controlled response time.

Water/liquid cooling is a gimmick outside of gaming. For moderate CPU tasking it's great, you won't see anything but performance, but not for heavy tasks.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2019, 05:18:38 PM by WASasquatch »