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Architectural Firm Workstation

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by samh_cargo, Apr 23, 2014.

  1. samh_cargo New Member

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    Hi there, first post here.

    Here is the workstation we want to buy :

    Power Workstation (Intel® Xeon E5)
    1 x Intel Xeon E5-2630 v2 2.6GHz LGA2011 6-Core 15MB CPU BX80635E52630V2
    1 x Asus Z9PA-U8 Xeon LGA2011 E5-1600/2600 DDR3 Motherboard ATX
    1 x Crucial 32GB ( 2 x 16GB ) DDR3 1866MHz ECC Registered Memory CT2K16G3ERSDD4186D
    1 x Western Digital VelociRaptor 300GB 3.5" SATA 6.0 HDD WD3000HLHX
    1 x PNY Quadro K600 1GB DDR3 Video Card VCQK600-PB
    1 x Integrated 7.1 Channel Audio
    1 x Asus DRW-24B1ST 24x SATA Optical Drive DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B
    1 x Corsair Hydro Series H60 Intel/AMD High Performance Liquid CPU Cooler CW-9060007-WW
    1 x Corsair RM RM750 750W Fully Modular Power Supply CP-9020055-NA
    1 x Fractal Design DEFINE XL R2 BLACK PEARL Full Tower Case FD-CA-DEF-XL-R2-BL
    1 x Professional assembly and testing of your configuration [Included 1 year warranty] Workstation
    1 x Microsoft Windows 7 PRO 64-bit English 1PK DVD OEM (FQC-00765)

    This workstation is around 2600 CAN$.
    We run Autodesk softwares (autocad and revit) and do 3d renderings. (SketchUp +VRAY, 3d max).

    We want to upgrade either the number of cores or the graphic card. We want to chose one of these upgrades :
    1 x Intel Xeon E5-2640 v2 2.0GHz LGA2011 8-Core 20MB CPU BX80635E52640V2
    OR
    1 x PNY Quadro K2000 2GB DDR5 Video Card VCQK2000-PB.

    This will get us a little bit under 3000 CAN$. So witch one would be better for us ? Upgrading the number of cores (lesser clock speed) or graphic card (medium range over entry level) ?

    Thanks guys ! Any comments will help !

    Samuel
     
  2. Red_Machine

    Red_Machine

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    I, personally, would go for the better GPU. The software you use is very GPU-intensive, so upgrading the CPU and using an entry-level GPU would be kinda pointless.
     
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  3. buildzoid

    buildzoid

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    The CPU upgrade will result in 2.5% speed boost in processes that can run on 16 threads. The GPU upgrade is gonna result in a 100+% increase in GPU compute power.
     
  4. Sasqui

    Sasqui

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    Particularly for rendering in 3DS Max If you're not overclocking, good aircooling will work just fine (and be one less thing to break)

    Rest looks good.
     
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  5. HalfAHertz

    HalfAHertz

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    My suggestion may sound counter intuitive, but from my experience I'd go for a mediocre workstation card (if possible with 3~4gig of Vram for when using a lot of textures) and the fastest single threaded performance CPU you can get your hands on plus a ton of ram. Most of autodesk's software is notoriously single threaded (rendering is the only multi-threaded activity and you'd be far better served by getting a dedicated 24h rendering box or linking networked computers together in a render farm). I'd prefer a faster quad-core(think 3,5-4GHz) than a 2-2,5GHz hexa/octa core.

    AutoCad and Revit do not benefit that much from a high-performance graphics card unless your model has a ton of polygons. A fast CPU and a SSD is a much better investment.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2014
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  6. samh_cargo New Member

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    I would have to go with a Intel Ivy Bridge i7 then... isnt' that more for gaming ?
    My PC builder site is cleary refering to a Intel Xeon Workstation for Autodesk, Adobe, Solidworks, etc. for 3D modelling and rendering. But I understand that multi-thread only helps for render time ?
    Also, please note that we are a small firm so, no render farm and linked computers.
     
  7. HalfAHertz

    HalfAHertz

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    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-workstation-graphics-card,3493-3.html

    ^ some tests on workstation cards. As it seems, you might be much better served by a cheaper nvidia GTX card than an expensive quadro. Tho again keep in mind that the professional card will come with more stable drivers.

    To be honest, the i7s are pretty good next to the xeons performance wise but all enthusiast/gaming motherboards are kind of crappy stability wise compared to even a mediocre workstation mobo and being able to run ECC memory is a plus as well.

    There's nothing more frustrating than losing work due to a crash. We're a big office with 100+ people and the IT were experimenting with a few i7 systems and almost all of them blue screen randomly from time to time. My guess is due to some compatability issues between the ram/hdd and the mobo. Enthusiast boards do not go through the vigorous testing that workstation mobos go through.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2014
  8. Sasqui

    Sasqui

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    We have quite a few DELL i7 workstations running AutoCAD, I've got a precision M6700 with an i7m, running AutoCAD 2011 and 2013. Never heard of anything like that happening... wonder what sort of QA/QC process a DELL systems goes through.
     
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  9. samh_cargo New Member

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    Thanks for your inputs guys. However you lost me a bit there.
    I want a real stable and professionnal workstation. Even though we don't use rigs or networked computers, Xeon is still more reliable right ?
    I don't see how an i7 (enthusiast/gamer machine, as I understood it) is the right choice for a company. We work minimum 9hrs/day and sometimes I run renders during the night.

    Also, our budget went up I bit, so I was think we could add this instead :
    1 x Intel Xeon E5-2650 v2 2.6GHz LGA2011 8-Core 20MB CPU BX80635E52650V2
    1 x PNY Quadro K2000D 2GB DDR5 Video Card VCQK2000D-PB

    Would that be a good compromise, great GPU and great CPU ?
     
  10. Beertintedgoggles

    Beertintedgoggles

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    Your best bet would be to email the companies whose software you are using, explain how you are using it, then ask them which would benefit you better (faster GPU or CPU).
     
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  11. samh_cargo New Member

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    Maybe I'm in the wrong track, I've read on another forum that Xeon are only best for larger servers or render farms... I think I will call Autodesk.
     
  12. Vario

    Vario

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    If you can, skip the velociraptor, they aren't as reliable as a regular drive, try a western digital blue or black (avoid green).
    WD BLACK SERIES WD1003FZEX- $85
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822236625


    You are right on with a Xeon, its more power efficient and designed for reliability. You can run ECC memory with a Xeon. You can't do this with an i7.

    Adding more cores won't make the Xeon any faster for what you are doing, a higher clock speed would, I'd go for a Xeon with atleast 3.0 ghz.

    Intel Xeon E5-1660v2
    http://ark.intel.com/products/75781/Intel-Xeon-Processor-E5-1660-v2-15M-Cache-3_70-GHz

    6 cores, 3.7 ghz, ivy bridge, $1100, turbo up to 4.0ghz

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/con...Onq8OW8970CFa47OgodPwIAXw&Q=&is=REG&A=details

    edit: looks like the downside is no QPI link so you can't run two of them at once on a single mobo

    if you want to run two,
    the sandy version has qpi
    http://ark.intel.com/products/64620...-E5-1660-15M-Cache-3_30-GHz-0_0-GTs-Intel-QPI

    comparison
    http://cpuboss.com/cpus/Intel-Xeon-E5-1660-v2-vs-Intel-Xeon-E5-1660
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2014
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  13. bencrutz

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    if you happen to use V-Ray RT, go with the faster quadro, otherwise go with the faster CPU
     
  14. samh_cargo New Member

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    Thanks for these hints.
    I want to go for the Xeon but I'm wondering if it's too much for the job. Plus we got a budget of around 3000 CAN$.
    I'm the only one in the office doing 3D rendering. We are a small firm of 4. No servers, no render farms, so no 300 000 sq foot projects on Revit. Do we really need a workstation ? Maybe a desktop PC would do, should I go for a strong i7 ? or is the Xeon (can't afford a dual) still the right choice when we talk about daily 3D tasks (modelling, rendering) ?

    I spent the day reading forums, can't seem to decide, i7 or Xeon, everybody have a different point of view.
     
  15. Kaynar

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    The only sure thing is that if you take a 6-core i7 4930K (3.9ghz stock speed) or 4960k and overclock it to at least 4.4ghz (easy with a simple Corsair AIO watercooler) you will have a faster processor than the Xeons you are mentioning. Personally I have used both my older i7 930 and my current 4930k for university projects doing fabric based structures in 3dsmax and revvit. I found 3dsmax to be generally buggy when TONS of elements are loaded on the screen, probably because my AMD gaming GPU was not for fit for this job.

    I'm not even sure what is the meaning of existence of these entry Xeons when it is known that they are rebranded i7s. Support for ECC memory? maybe?
     
  16. HalfAHertz

    HalfAHertz

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    The problem was that they hired a system builder who used cheaper off the shelf enthusiast stuff without making sure that it all works together instead of a professionally built and tested system. And now at least 3 of the 10 systems are experiencing some stability issues and have to be sent back.

    To the op as I said earlier if you're going to use this system to make a living and you have the budget for it right now, it makes more sense to go for the professional system built and tested more rigorously. The e5-1660 v2 sounds really good if it's in your budget. Alternatively maybe an e3-1280 v2(something Ivy Bridge or Haswell based with at least 3.4-3.5 GHz base clock) or similar might serve you well.

    Have you tried calling some of the local resellers of the bigger workstation providers like HP/Dell and Lenovo just to see what they'll come up with? The i7 dells don't look bad either it doesn't have to necessarily be a Xeon system as long as it's from a trusty source.

    Again the main troublemaker will be Revit because even tho its a powerful software, it's coded badly and runs like a pile of poo on everything.

    The main things that help with revit are:
    - a ton of ram, think 16+( even small projects need at least 8GB once you go into the documentation phase)
    -fast single threaded performance( I don't do any rendering, so I've actually turned off my HT so that I can lower temps and force higher turbo bins; every MHz helps)
    -low seek times (think SSD, doesn't have to be enterprise class. A decent Intel or Samsung one will do just fine)

    Revit doesn't benefit that much from a good graphics card. As long as you're not running it on an integrated card, you should be good.

    I do not have any experience with rendering engines that use the GPU but if you use those, you should see if they run on CUDA or OpenCL.

    If you're rendering through a Sketchup plug-in, then most likely it's an entirely CPU based engine and more cores will help with that but as you have said it yourself, you can always leave it to render overnight so rendering shouldn't be your main concern.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2014
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  17. qu4k3r

    qu4k3r

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    My brother works doing renders at architectural dept of a building company. I saw him once doing renders with sketchup+vray. I think those apps, sketchup and vray (which is a render engine plugin), don't use gpu acceleration for rendering. They render using cpu only if I'm not mistaken. In that case you'll need a powerfull cpu more than gfx card. About 3dmax, well I dont know. My suggestion is check the software you'll use to see if they support gpu acceleration to render. If yes then you'll get benefit from a faster gfx card. ;)
     
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  18. remixedcat

    remixedcat

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    Go for a good nvidia GPU for accelleration.
     
  19. HalfAHertz

    HalfAHertz

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    I'm using a previous generation HP z400 workstation with 16GB ram, 3.2GHz Nehalem and quadro 4000. This is my CPU and GPU usage of a fairly complicated and large model:

    [​IMG]

    Here I had the model opened up for just 5~10 mins and I haven't loaded all the linked in files, usually when I load those and work for a few hours, RAM usage jumps up to 10-12GB. GPU usage was really low at just 12%, video memory usage got a bit over 1GB (that's while rotating the full 3d view) and as you can see it's mostly core 0 that's loaded. I think I could definitely do with a nice little CPU upgrade :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2014
  20. samh_cargo New Member

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    Thanks guys, really appreciated.

    I think we will go with this CPU : Intel Xeon E5-1650 v2 Six-Core Processor 3.5/ 3.9GHz. It fits well for our budget vs What we want to achieve.
    32 GB of RAM of course, with a SSD 256 GB.

    Last thing : I was given a fair price with the PNY Quadro 2000... But should I go with the Quadro 4000 or it's an overkill ?
    Still talking about 3D modelling and Rendering, Autodesk and Adobe Suites.
     
  21. eidairaman1

    eidairaman1

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    Drivers for Workstation cards are tuned more for such programs compared to the Gaming cards
     

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