► How to Build Your Own Carrara Workstation is a short article that I wrote to help you on your way to building your own Carrara powerhouse without loosing the bank. It was written, however, under the compromise that Carrara doesn’t really require a top-notch graphics card. I built my whole 8 core (8 physical cores) rig for less than the price of these robust, killer graphics cards. I was planning on building another and using my current one as a Render node. But perhaps I’ll spend that coin on Octane instead. Then, when I can, upgrade my graphics card to some real Octane horsepower!
On that note, aside from the cost savings, I really enjoy building my own rigs. Since I’ve started doing that I’ve noticed that, shy of going to a company that specializes in building custom workstations, it’s really hard-to-impossible to find a tower that contains all of the hardware I really want. When it comes to custom workstations, it seems that we can get great value from these places. Furthermore, if you don’t like a bit of troubleshooting and the research that goes into building ones own, not enough good things can be said about a company that offers support for what they sell. Work Station Specialists is one place that I have found that offers flexible and super-powerful builds, many based upon having two multi-core cpu of the higher grade ‘server-class’ which automatically jumps the price up - even if you build your own. I started looking into server class components before I built this one. The thing is that I wouldn’t be able to afford it, even if I was still saving up for it. Additionally, as I started to compile a list of needed components, the quote that I got from Work Station Specialists was looking better and better as I completed my theoretical build.
All in all I ended up building a PC (as opposed to a server-class work station) for less than a grand that included a decent, but much lower cost graphics solution that should still pound out some Octane goodness, 16 GB fairly high end RAM with heat sinks, Eight core processor at 3.1GHz installed on a Military Spec motherboard (Better, higher end capacitors, much higher quality control, etc.,) built into a tower that I splurged a little extra on for supreme cooling without scaring myself half-to-death with liquid cooling. There were many more yummy things included, but these were the primary concern at the time - and it is a very nice Carrara machine! Very nice!
I can hardly wait to see how my out-dated Fermi-class graphics card holds up to it. The thing that I’ve always done with graphics, being always on a tighter-than-tight budget, is to get higher end stuff from yesterday. The current stuff has always been so freaking high priced and I remember how awesome the reports were on these older models when they were the new shiny goods! I’ve always wondered what makes those pro-grade, work station-class cards so much more expensive than the rest, and wanted to test them next to others to see if the cost difference is truly worthwhile. From some of the experiences I’ve read… they truly are.
This is great news! The fact that Carrara is part of their development cycle should speak fairly highly of Carrara all in itself.
Now to go read up on Octane a bit