Thinking about a new workstation

Started by sboerner, September 09, 2023, 05:18:39 PM

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Been a while since I've been here. Sorry for being AWOL . . . I've been up to my ears in research for the next canal scene. I'm also starting to get some small commissions for historical landscapes and have been spending some time with TG too.

I haven't been posting but have been popping in to look stuff up and lurk. Great stuff going on here, as usual, even though it may be a little quieter.

Anyway, per the title of this post: I'm looking to replacing my second workstation, an ancient 2012 Mac Pro, with a new Windows machine. My main workstation now is a Windows machine that I had custom built several years ago. It works great and I'd be happy to just clone it.

I'm sure there have been advances but I haven't kept up . . . I'm not too technically oriented these days, just want to turn the machine on and go. So I thought I ask the experts here for suggestions.

Here's my current Windows configuration:

Motherboard: Gigabyte X399 Aorus Gaming.
Processor: AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X.
Memory: 32GB DDR4 266.
SSD: 500GB.
HD: 1TB.
Video: 8GB GeForce RTX 2070 PCIe.

I'm sure I'd get a performance boost by increasing the memory to 64GB (or more). I may do that anyway. But if I can scrape together the $$$ I'll still want to get a second machine.

Open to suggestions.


Good to see you here again, Steve, and good to hear you're getting commissions. Great! I can't recommend anything here, I'll leave that to the real experts.
I've got a AMD Ryzen 9 5900X which I'm very happy with. On a Gigabyte X570 AORUS PRO. Noctua NH-U12A cooler, and 64 gigs of Patriot Viper Steel memory in 2 chunks of 32. I was able to take over a GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, when the stuff was scarce and expensive (traded it for some 3D objects 8)  ). I don't know how that is today.


Thanks, Ulco. Great to be posting again. It's been a pretty good year here -- I was fortunate to receive a small grant from NY State to help  finish the research. Almost done with that and will start on the landscape soon.

Thanks for the input on the new machine. Oshyan was a big help the last time, and I ended up just giving the people at the shop a list of the software that I needed to run. It all worked out.


I've done a little preliminary research before contacting the vendor. Based on the Terragen benchmark results table and the requirements of other software that I use it looks like this might be a good place to start:

AMD Ryzen 9 7900X or 7950X CPU.
Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 or 3080 GPU.
32/64 GB RAM.

Anyone? I'm a real newb when it comes to this stuff, so I would appreciate some input.


I would say that's pretty awesome (even better than mine), and I don't think the render time will get much better if you'd purchase something else.
I would go for 64 gigs of memory though, preferably in 2x32 (in one set). With 4 slots you can add more if needed (to 128). Don't fill them up immediately.


That's my "blue-sky" system, not taking cost into account yet. I checked some of the component prices and the CPUs seem reasonable. Not sure about the motherboard, cooling system, RAM, etc. I'll leave that to the vendor to recommend. They've been building my systems for about 20 years now, always been happy with their work. But we'll see what I can afford.

I still have two memory slots open on my current machine and may have them upgrade that, too. (Now 32, take it up to 64.) Allowing room for 128 GB on the new system is good advice, thanks.


The vendor is recommending an Intel processor, either the i5-13600K or (if I can spring for it) i7-13700K. Does anyone here have experience with either of these? Thoughts?

Motherboard would be an ASUS Pro Art Creator Z790.


My system is a few years old now, but I've been pretty happy with my Ryzen 7 3700X.  At least when I was looking before AMD gave more cores for the money, which is great for Terragen because you can render more buckets at once, really speeds things up.  Depends on what other software you use though, Intel often has better clock speeds.  I recently picked up an Nvidia 4070 now that prices finally came down a bit, and that's been great for more GPU heavy things.


I have this as my workmachine, which is really fast and working like a dream:
Ryzen 9 5900x 3.7 GHz 12 cores 64MB
Gigabyte x570 Aorus pro ATX mobo
Patriot viper steel DDR4 memory 2x32gigs
Noctua NH-U12A cooler
GeForce GTX 1080
Samsung 970 EVO plus 2TB SSD
I cant look into your wallet, but if you take into account that you're 'stuck' for quite some years with what you purchase, I'd try to get the best possible.


QuoteAt least when I was looking before AMD gave more cores for the money, which is great for Terragen because you can render more buckets at once, really speeds things up.
Is this because Terragen uses only the CPU for rendering? I may have to have a conversation with the vendor. I provided a list of applications that I will be using on the new system, but most people are not familiar with TG. I think he may be assuming that I will use Blender for rendering (which I almost never do), and afaik Blender utilizes both the CPU and GPU.

Is there a page somewhere on the Terragen Wiki that discusses this, that I can point him to? (Or a forum post?) I've already sent him the link to the benchmark table.

I believe the Intel processors are 16 core AND 16 thread, which would cut the number of buckets that I can render by half (my Ryzan now has 32 threads). (Please correct me if I am not using this terminology properly.)

He is recommending an Nvidia RTX 4080 or 4070 for the GPU.

QuoteI cant look into your wallet, but if you take into account that you're 'stuck' for quite some years with what you purchase, I'd try to get the best possible.
Yes, that's always been my philosophy, too. It can hurt at first but I've never had any regrets.

@Stormlord, would you care to weigh in? I see that your system uses an i9 (based on the benchmark table). I would like to more fully understand the difference between the Ryzan and Intel chips, and would appreciate your thoughts.


Late reply, but this old post from Oshyan on the subject is still pretty relevant, as Terragen hasn't changed too much in the last decade  ;)