I will soon be getting a new computer, and resources to work with Reality are high on my list.
I have been thinking about dual processors on a single motherboard, as the CPU is more important for Reality/LUX.
I know Intel i7 processor is effective, but I have also been looking at the Intel Xenon CPUs, and have yet to finally decide on that.
I know that if one is looking at a render farm it is the number of CPUs that matters most, and not so much the clock speed of the CPU. So in a similar way, would a slower 8 core Xenon 2.2 Ghz be more effective than, for example, a 6 or 4 core i7 ?
Also, am I correct in thinking that some Nivedia cards are now using OpenCL and so can be used with Reality/LUX ?
A significantly faster 6 core will outperform an 8…but we are talking more than 500 MHz differences…in other words a 3.0 GHz 6 will beat a 2.5 GHz 8 or lower…both will beat a 4, unless the 4 is extremely OC’d or something. But that’s on the speed end of things…‘work’ done…especially for something like rendering, more real cores are better, regardless of the speed (to a point). If you have 8 real cores churning away at a render, more is actually getting done at a time. (virtual cores still use some sort of ‘switching’ so with things that take a long time to do…like a render…those brief fractions of a second will add up…so a somewhat slower, but more ‘real’ cored CPU would be ‘faster’...most benchmarks are done on things that take seconds or minutes to accomplish…not hours).
What it really boils down to is price…there isn’t all that much difference as to be that noticeable at the 6 vs 8 core in the mid 2 to 3 GHz range…but with a dual CPU board, where you can drop in another 8 core processor at some point, then you are talking REAL differences.
Personally, I’m leaning toward a dual 12 core Opteron setup…
As to video cards…yes, Nvidia does OpenCL and has for awhile now…I got a ‘cheap’ GT 430 that works well with Lux (yeah it’s not a powerhouse, but I can do hybrid or GPU rendering with it (only 96 cores for that…but that’s 96 more OpenCL/CUDA cores than my last card had)). The key thing, though…get the card with the most memory…a 2 or more GB card is very desirable.