Next workstation a PC?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by adamfilip, Feb 16, 2012.

  1. adamfilip macrumors 6502a

    adamfilip

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2003
    Location:
    burlington, Ontario canada
    #1
    Currently I run a Mac Pro 2x4core 2.9ghz
    its pretty good.. but rendering a 1000 frame animation In Cinema 4d (C4D) R12 can take me all day.
    So im looking for a new machine to cut this in half or less hopefully
    Also im looking to Run Autodesk Inventor on PC Side

    Option 1)

    New PC Workstation
    Dual 3.1 Ghz Xeon E5-2687W (16 Cores, 32 Threads)
    ATI FireGL 7900
    24Gb ECC memory
    240GB SSD
    Windows 7 64bit
    Switch OSX R12 license to Windows
    Existing Mac pro used on Network Render Duty
    $7500 (Ouch)

    Option 2)

    New Mac Pro
    Dual 2.93ghz 6-Core Xeon (12 Cores, 24 Threads)
    ATi Radeon HD 5870 1GB
    24GB ECC memory
    1TB 7200 RPM Drive
    OSX and Win7 64bit (bootcamp)
    Keep C4D in OSX, install inventor on windows side
    Existing Mac pro used on Network Render Duty

    $7789 (Ouch)

    Option 3)
    Small Renderfarm
    Keep existing Mac Pro
    Buy 4 - i7 6 core cheap desktops (24 cores, 48 threads)
    Network Render
    8GB Ram each

    $6000

    Option 4)

    Keep existing Mac pro
    Pay for renderfarm service $1000 for 3 months access

    What would you do?
     
  2. Ishmumrhmn macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2012
    #2
    I would choose the PC option, yes its not wallet friendly but It'll last you a great while
     
  3. FrankHahn macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 17, 2011
    #3
    Go for Option 2)

    New Mac Pro
    Dual 2.93ghz 6-Core Xeon (12 Cores, 24 Threads)
    ATi Radeon HD 5870 1GB
    24GB ECC memory
    1TB 7200 RPM Drive
    OSX and Win7 64bit (bootcamp)
    Keep C4D in OSX, install inventor on windows side
    Existing Mac pro used on Network Render Duty

    $7789 (Ouch)
     
  4. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2006
    Location:
    England
    #4
    Maybe you should wait and see what Apple offer next instead of choosing between an unreleased workstation and one that is 18 months old using 2 year old processors on a 3 year old platform.
     
  5. KingJosh macrumors 6502

    KingJosh

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2012
    Location:
    Australia
    #5
    I'd go for the PC option since it seems you are comfortable working in both OSs. You get cheaper price, SSD, GPU upgrades for cinema viewport

    ----------

    Sounds like he doesn't have time to wait. Probably got clients tapping their watches for the animations. You wouldn't shell out $1000 for 3 months of render farm if you were not getting paid for your stuff.
     
  6. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2006
    Location:
    England
    #6
    Right, but the PC won't be available for another 3-4 weeks either. I understand he may be able to order it now, but we've no idea if Apple will ship very early or not. It is entirely possible Apple will have systems for sale and shipping the first week of March.
     
  7. adamfilip thread starter macrumors 6502a

    adamfilip

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2003
    Location:
    burlington, Ontario canada
    #7
    Apple has been taking its sweet time.. updating the Mac Pro
    I need to make a decision within a month..

    Hopefully within that time.. the new Mac pro is released and the New Xeons are aswell
     
  8. Umbongo, Feb 17, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2012

    Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2006
    Location:
    England
    #8
    Yeah they have and while it isn't their fault that Intel have taken 2 years, they are to blame for not giving professional users any sort of timeline or guidance. Perhaps their differing behaviour in the past is more to blame as other vendors don't put a lot out to the public, but are pretty regular with their new products on Intel's schedule. Where Apple has done things like waiting so long in 2010 for Westmere, not updating to clovertown right away in 2006, limiting options, no updates to existing releases, launching a month before others in 2009 - the list goes on.

    I don't envy you being tied to OS X.

    Best we can hope for is it has been so long and the parts - Radeon 7000 series, SB-EP processors, patsburg chipset etc - having been available to Apple for a long time mean a quick launch.
     
  9. iNeedAMacPro macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2012
    #9
    Not sure if you saw my "Waiting for day 600" discussion but I am in the same situation. I am going to wait another month or so and then go ahead and buy parts and build my own pc. I would say at least wait for Sandy Bridge EP to come out so you have something new to use in your Pc.

    The thing that makes me sad is that I'll have to switch to Windows but if Apple really cared about all their customers they wouldn't let thousands of people stay like this..meaning, without dropping the price of the old Mac Pros, and/or without giving us news on when/if the new Mac Pros will be released in the future.
     
  10. -hh macrumors 68020

    -hh

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2001
    Location:
    NJ Highlands, Earth
    #10
    Hopefully, one can procrastinate for a month and hope that some of the CPU questions start to resolve themselves ... but I'm not necessarily sure that even that will really provide a clear path forward.

    I think what I'd probably do today is to look at your four options in a bit more detail to try to estimate what each one's rendering turnaround time is going to be, and compare that with your business workflow demand.

    For a very notional example, if Option 4's offload to a rendering service has each job coming back in ~2 hours (figuratively), and your workflow can benefit from this by getting significantly more jobs through (revenue stream), then this may very well be the best business case. On the other hand, if you don't have that much work, such a speedy turnaround is overkill.

    FWIW, another possible option ... although I don't necessarily think it is a great one ... would be a local render farm using a stack of Mac mini's similar to Option 3. True, they don't have as great of a bang:buck ratio, but their physically quite small form factor which may have some value that hasn't necessarily been considered yet in terms of management of finite office space, etc.


    -hh
     
  11. YESimBLUNTED macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2011
    Location:
    In my cubicle somewhere in this rat maze
    #11
    I have the same set-up as your number 2 option and I can say it is a beast and renders fly on it.

    Another option would be to purchase some mac minis and turn those into a render farm, which will most likely be the cheapest option other than using a third parties farm (which IMO never sound like a good idea).
     
  12. Bear macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Sol III - Terra
    #12
    The only problem with your Mini suggestion is that the processors are dual core, so it would take a lot more of them. If they were quad core I could see it as an option.

    If adamfilip can hold out for a little bit (I expect that's why one of the options is rent rendering time) we might actually see new Mac Pros.
     
  13. ActionableMango macrumors G3

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #13
    I believe the Mini Servers are quad core i7.
     
  14. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #14
    There may be another thing to consider with the PC version, which is to use multiple GPU's for GPGPU processing (R12 for Windows supports this IIRC), which will faster than R12 for Mac as a result (not possible with AutoDesk's products under OS X due to SLI/Crossfire). You'd have to check Cinema4D as well, but I suspect if it is, like R12, it's available under the Windows version, but not the OS X package.

    And check AutoDesk's page on this to see what cards are compatible (Cinema4D's too, if they support it). In the end, it will cost more than an equivalent SB based MP, but the performance gain is noticeable (FPUs in GPUs are much faster than those in CPUs), and may be a better financial decision than Option 4 (where I agree with -hh- that even though it's expensive on the front-end, may be the best way to go, particularly if this is for a specially large job).
     
  15. derbothaus macrumors 601

    derbothaus

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    #15
    Shouldn't you point out that option 1) isn't available right now either? The new Mac Pro is usually fairly price competitive in the first 6-8 Months of release with standard high performance dual socket workstations. At least with Westmere. At launch the Mac's were cheaper than most custom HP's and the like. I shopped around. I fthey never update the Pro's, get the PC. Don't get the 12-core Mac Pro, it is too old and you appear to need too much processing power to skimp anywhere.
    How fast can the render farm turn around and get you your files back?
     
  16. MJL macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2011
    #16
    Although I have no experience with the Mac Pro I like to offer my thoughts.

    1) I do not see the Mac Mini as a "wrok horse" unlike the Mac Pro. It is like comparing an xxx horsepower of a Ferrari against the xxx horsepower of a Big Mack truck. I am not impressed how quickly the temprature on the Mac Mini shoots up.

    2) On the other hand the mac Mini can be a good interim solution - disposing of the Mac Mini will see you recoup most of the purchase price.

    3) Windows machines depreciate rather quickly, I get the impression far faster than a Apple machine.

    4) How about getting some other "grunt" machine from a bankrupted business (not necessarily a PC) and run the software under VMware?

    5) If the Mac Pro gets indeed discontinued then you might well find the current machine retaining its value for a long time.

    6) A new Mac Pro may not have an OS compatible with your existing software - already it has been stated that OS X and iOS will merge at some stage. (I do not know what the impact that will have on the professional software that you are using.)

    7) Apple is clearly going after the iOS / consumer market seeing the sales of the different lines. The writing is clearly on the wall and at some stage you'll have to switch.

    8) How about leasing a grunty PC for a year or so?
     
  17. Tutor, Feb 18, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2012

    Tutor macrumors 65816

    Tutor

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2009
    Location:
    Home of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
    #17

    If you don't mind strapping on a anti-static wrist strap and getting some thermal paste on your hands, roll your own, using Sandy Bridge i7 3930Ks: 3.2 GHz Base; 3.8 GHz Turbo; 12 MB L3 Cache; easy overclockable to 4.6 GHz; $583 retail; currently out of stock (for sole sales, but available with lousy combo's) at Newegg. When all is said and done, three of these will cost less than and out run a dual 2687w overclocked system in Cinema 4d. Depending on your resourcefulness, you can enhance the compatability with your Mac Pro - Gigabyte and EVGA motherboards are the easiest to use with multiple OSes. But if you're like me and you can't shake the urge for a pair of those 2687w's, then roll your own when they and the EVGA SR-X goes on sale. It appears that these CPUs will be able to be overclocked safely to 4.0 - 4.1 GHz [They have a high (150W) TDP]. I use an EVGA SR-2 with dual X5680s for Cinema 4d renders. My highest Cinebench score is 24.7 with significant underclocking [1.73 to 2.48 GHz] and high turbo ratio biasing [13-14 bins]). It rendered HD frames in the blink of an eye. I also use a host of Mac Pros and self-rolled i7 turbo ratio biased [7-11 bins] systems as render slaves.
     
  18. adamfilip thread starter macrumors 6502a

    adamfilip

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2003
    Location:
    burlington, Ontario canada
    #18

    When will they release a 4 Chip motherboard.. Daddy needs 48 threads :)

    ----------

    Thats very interesting, I would not have thought that would improve render times., doesnt the turbo only affect the speed when running single threaded tasks?
     
  19. Tutor, Feb 20, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2012

    Tutor macrumors 65816

    Tutor

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2009
    Location:
    Home of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
    #19

    ----------


    4 chip motherboards for AMD run about $810 w/o CPUs [ http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813151219 ](and for slow quad Westmere Intels over $9.5+k and over $23.8+k with the much faster ones [ http://www.pogolinux.com/quotes/editsys?sys_id=178286 , but no fast quad CPU Sandy Bee's yet for the general public - but I would expect the prices to also be higher when they do arrive). Ouch! Also, you'll sacrifice the ability to over or under clock for increased (but not for decreased, in some cases) performance. Moreover, some of those quad E7s can't match my dual 5680's in Geekbench2 ( See http://browse.geekbench.ca/geekbench2/top?page=1 [All of the OSX Geekbench 2 scores above 33,066 on pages 1 of the top scores, even the unattributed ones, are mine; only my mentor d00d has cracked 33,000 with OSX with his score of 33,066).


    It renders multithreaded HD 3d animations and HD Final Cut X videos in record times. Also, it renders single threaded frames very, very fast [highest single threaded CPU score is 1.78 using Cinebench 11.5]. Turbo kicks in on single threaded, low multithreaded and high multithreaded operations. Because I've underclocked it, at my favorite settings my turbo ratio is DDDDEE (or 13,13,13,13,14,14) for each 5680, going from a frequency ratio of 13 (at idle - about 2.34 GHz) to 27 (about 4.86 GHz) at max turbo (+14 bins at turbo stage 2) for 2 cores per CPU and at lesser turbo (about 4.68 GHz) (+13 bins at turbo stage 1) for 4 cores per CPU. Thus, with two xeon 5680's there are 4 cores that can kick in to max turbo at turbo stage 2 and 8 at lesser turbo at turbo stage 1. Underclocking also allows me to maximize the turbo opportunities because the chip/cores stay cooler than would otherwise be the case and the power draw and watts (because of the lower Vcore requirement; my Vcore is fixed 1 or 2 steps below Spec VID of 3.5v) are always such that the environment in which turbo kicks in, almost constantly exists when the load demands that extra push. Overclocking would require in excess of 5.0v Vcore, and I will never take my WolfPack1 there or near it.
     

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