Carrara not using all of my render nodes! Solved!

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  • I gather the maximum you can get with the B3 revision is 24GB (6x4), which in my opinion is more than plenty for a main workstation. With the C2 revision you'd get a max of 48GB (6x8), all of which would need to be registered RAM (I don't think you can mix registered and unregistered RAM). I'm not sure if non-registered unbuffered 8GB sticks are supported on the C2 board - reading the brochure it seems they are not.

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 16,502

    Yup. 24GB would be plenty for my needs, that's for sure. Do you think that both of them support the six-core Xeons?

    Also, how are you two getting along with your Z600s? Having fun yet?

    We'll see how things go. I'd love to grab two of them. One as the primary, the other as the node. Upgrade both to the six-core Xeons and the primary with 24GB RAM, even if it has 48GB capability. Other tweaks will come as well as time goes on. I'll definitely be looking at my compositing software to see what it likes best beyond large, fast hard drives ;)  Speaking of which, do you think these things can take internal SSDs?

    My current eight core can then get reformatted and turned into a dedicated music workstation.

    I currently have a great midi controller keyboard, and I'm planning on adding to that a really nice digital drum kit - so I can jam out much better guitar (and other instrument) solos, as I'm a lot better on drums than I am on keys. My singer uses ProTools, I just have MusicMaker Platinum so far, but Magix offers nice side-grades to Samplitude Pro, which may come eventually. MusicMaker is probably plenty DAW for my needs.

  • Over the moon, Dart :-) Best investment I've ever made into hardware. I've always been buying new before the Z600, and while having a warranty for mission critical stuff is nice, this setup is the most bang for my buck I've ever gotten. It helps so much cranking out test and promo renders.

    Don't know about the hex core upgrade, but standard SSD drives slot in perfectly - I'm running mine with a Samsung EVO. There's room for two of those, plus room for another SATA or IDE drive.

  • MystiarraMystiarra Posts: 35,594
    edited October 2016

    Two 22 Core Xeon CPUs

     

    36 Cores

    Post edited by Mystiarra on
  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 16,502

    Over the moon, Dart :-) Best investment I've ever made into hardware. I've always been buying new before the Z600, and while having a warranty for mission critical stuff is nice, this setup is the most bang for my buck I've ever gotten. It helps so much cranking out test and promo renders.

    Don't know about the hex core upgrade, but standard SSD drives slot in perfectly - I'm running mine with a Samsung EVO. There's room for two of those, plus room for another SATA or IDE drive.

    Awesome! I've never owned an SSD yet. When you say "Standard", which interface is that? I always considered IDE and then SATA as standard! LOL

  • Good point! Well back in the day, desktops had 3.5" hard disks, and laptops had 2.5" hard disks. But with SSDs being so tiny, there are only 2.5" SSDs (as far as I know), and they only come with a SATA interface (as far as I know). Those will fit both desktops and laptops alike, and considering how cheap they've become, you can replace one in an aging laptop and see it become 5x faster just like that. It's THAT awesome, seriously. Old (spinning) laptop drives were the slowest on the planet.

    With IDE drives, you had a separate power connector and a data connector, but with SATA drives (especially on laptops), those usually come merged into one, so that the SSD can slot right in. The same principle is employed in the Z600, and a standard SSD slots right in there too. Mine came without drive bays, which I assume would have the drives screwed onto them and then those bays slot in and out. My SSD just "hangs" there on the connector. This would usually be an issue, but because an SSD is so light, it doesn't seem to matter. 

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 16,502

    When I went looking at SSD's they have all manner of interface choices - some I don't recall hearing of before. There's PCI_xxx versions and other things. Glad to hear that SATA is a norm still.

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 16,502

    Mine came without drive bays, which I assume would have the drives screwed onto them and then those bays slot in and out. My SSD just "hangs" there on the connector. This would usually be an issue, but because an SSD is so light, it doesn't seem to matter. 

    Yeah... that wouldn't really bother me either. I'd just rig something to help stabilize it. Still would be cool if all that cool jazz came with it - but I certainly wouldn't let that hold me back from getting one! :)

  • chickenmanchickenman Posts: 1,174
    edited October 2016

    With SSD's there is now the M2 version that is just a chip really but transfer speads up to 10Gb/s in stead of 6 Gb/s on SATA.

    Post edited by chickenman on
  • JonstarkJonstark Posts: 2,402

    Yup. 24GB would be plenty for my needs, that's for sure. Do you think that both of them support the six-core Xeons?

    Also, how are you two getting along with your Z600s? Having fun yet?

     

    I'm still waiting on my 2nd z600 to arrive, also still waiting for the hex core X5670's I ordered to arrive (both should come in sometime next week) but so far no troubles or worries with my 1st z600 at all, and in fact I'm very serious about switching up and making it my main Carrara machine, and relegating my main desktop into a render node instead (I'll still use it to play games with the Oculus Rift, and perhaps to render using Octane for Carrara as it has a GTX 1070 in it, but I think for most Carrara work the z600 will be the better choice).  That 1st z600 came with 12 GB ram, so it's got plenty enough for most Carrara work, and those 16 cores (soon to be 24 cores) will make quick work of any test rendering I need to do as I'm refining scenes.  I bought a 500 GB solid state drive that I originally was going to put into my main desktop purely to ensure I had my entire Carrara/Poser/Studio library of content readily available for use and read/write, but never installed it, and my plan has shifted to put that into my z600 instead.  I may upgrade the ram to 24 GB in it if I feel constrained, but the truth is my main desktop came with 8 GB ram and I ended up adding more to bring it up to 32 GB ram... but I don't really see much (or any) difference from when it was only 8 GB ram, which suggests for the vast majority of my Carrara scenes the 12 GB my z600 has should be plenty and enough (also, fun tidbit:  Howie scenes seem to make even my 32 GB ram desktop pause/stutter when moving around the scene.  An easy problem to solve simply by making certain scene elements invisible when doing set up and movement, but it made me wonder how much ram I would need to actually navigate around a Howie scene with no noticeable delay).

    I'll post on this thread when the new hex cores come in, and any problems I might have installing/using them.  I'm a little nervous about it, but also tentatively confident.  I believe it will involve only doing a bios update to the motherboard to allow it to accept and use the X5670 Xeons, but we'll see.  Oh, sidenote on that,  The most powerful hex core Xeons available that would work with the z600 would be the X5690, which are at 3.33 Ghz of power, but even used on ebay a pair of those suckers is probably going to run nearly $300.  Nearly the same price for the next step down, the X5680s, which is 3.03 Ghz.  But I was able to pick up the pair of X5670s for only $116, and since it's 2.93 Ghz that can be max-turbo to 3.33 Ghz, it didn't seem like much of a step down in power but it sure was a giant step down in price.  So I couldn't justify going with the biggest/baddest hex core that would fit this socket type, but who knows, in a few yearss if prices keep falling, maybe I'll be able to upgrade the z600 again... 

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 16,502
    Jonstark said:

    Yup. 24GB would be plenty for my needs, that's for sure. Do you think that both of them support the six-core Xeons?

    Also, how are you two getting along with your Z600s? Having fun yet?

     

     (also, fun tidbit:  Howie scenes seem to make even my 32 GB ram desktop pause/stutter when moving around the scene.  An easy problem to solve simply by making certain scene elements invisible when doing set up and movement, but it made me wonder how much ram I would need to actually navigate around a Howie scene with no noticeable delay).

    That's where I'm wondering if the nVidia Quadro workstation graphics might make a difference. A   l o n g   time ago I've read that this is what those are best at - high calculation OpenGL processing.

    I'll post on this thread when the new hex cores come in, and any problems I might have installing/using them.  I'm a little nervous about it, but also tentatively confident.  I believe it will involve only doing a bios update to the motherboard to allow it to accept and use the X5670 Xeons, but we'll see.  Oh, sidenote on that,  The most powerful hex core Xeons available that would work with the z600 would be the X5690, which are at 3.33 Ghz of power, but even used on ebay a pair of those suckers is probably going to run nearly $300.  Nearly the same price for the next step down, the X5680s, which is 3.03 Ghz.  But I was able to pick up the pair of X5670s for only $116, and since it's 2.93 Ghz that can be max-turbo to 3.33 Ghz, it didn't seem like much of a step down in power but it sure was a giant step down in price.  So I couldn't justify going with the biggest/baddest hex core that would fit this socket type, but who knows, in a few yearss if prices keep falling, maybe I'll be able to upgrade the z600 again... 

    Right. I feel the same way - I'm a bit more interested in getting the high number of high-end cores, not neccessarily the highest-end of those - especially if the higher ones raise the price to a lack of my availability.

    Hey, thanks for trying those six-core cpus for us! I appreciate the report. In truth, if it doesn't work, I know that I'll still be fine with 16 Xeon cores.

    I bet you're right about the RAM too. I have 16GB and it just rocks for me. I'm always trying to keep my workbench efficient... but there's a HUGE noticeable difference with my eight core over any other machine I've ever tried Carrara on.

    Spheric Labs just released a new copy of the LuxusCore beta, but this one has no time release. So I started messing around with it - not much, I have that animation group thing going on. But I was pretty thriled with its speed - only to find out that I had it configured to be using my cpu instead of my Graphics card! My laptop (low-end) barely gets it to work. My ATI graphics on my 8-core runs it pretty well though. Pretty cool. Even Iray in cpu mode works pretty well on that eight-core though. I've been really happy with my build from 2012!

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 16,502

    With SSD's there is now the M2 version that is just a chip really but transfer speads up to 10Gb/s in stead of 6 Gb/s on SATA.

    Sweet! But I doubt that these older motherboards have such an interface, right? Still... it's cool how fast technology is speeding up our intense computations. Not long ago the stuff I do now would light my older machine on fire, I'm sure! Drag it down to a locked up crawl... then the flames would errupt from within!!! LOL

  • JonstarkJonstark Posts: 2,402

    By the way, quick update as my X5670 Xeons came in.  I should have updated the bios from HP's site first, in fact I downloaded the latest bios version but didn't run/install it, I just figured 'what the heck?', I'll give it a try and see whether I need to update the bios or not.  I pulled off the heatsinks, took out the old E5620s (which I'm planning on using in the 2nd z600 once it comes in) and put in the X5670s, put on some heat paste and put back on the fans.  Turned it on and it works great, now I have  24 core render machine  smiley  And dayum!  It really renders fast, I loaded up one of Howie's scenes as a test. It took a little time once I hit the render button before it started (maybe a minute, which is probably since it was still pulling info from my other computer for the scene, since I still have put the new hard drive with all my Carrara content into the z600 yet) but once it started, it rendered a very complex Howie scene in less than 2 minutes.  These things are hex cores and set at 2.93 Ghz, but I'm convinced that they are actually nearly as fast as my 6th generation i7, maybe faster, even though they are older tech and lower power.  I think the way the Xeons are designed just works perfectly with the way Carrara renders.  Oh, and I did notice that the X5670s have 12mb cache, whereas my i7 6700 only has 8mb cache, don't know if that plays into it or not.

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 16,502

    Fantastic!!! I think that some of the initial calculations at the start of a render are only done using a single cpu core - hence a possible reason for initial hesitation - but that's all fine, right? :)

  • JonstarkJonstark Posts: 2,402

    Well, the 2nd z600 came in, but I'm running into troubles.  I swapped out the E5504 Xeons for a pair of E5620 Xeons, but it won't start up.  I'm pretty sure I have the older motherboard, and even though I flashed the bios to the latest version (which I thought would solve this) it still wouldn't start up.  It's late so I'm putting aside for tonight and will pick it back up later n the week, but I fear maybe the older motherboard won't work with the slightly newer Xeons, even with the bios update.  I'm definitely not sticking with the weak E5504 Xeons, they are only 2.0 Ghz and not even multi-threaded, so if I can't figure out a way to make the motherboard work with the E5620 Xeons, I've got to figure out what the best of the older Xeons types will work with this board. I suspect perhaps it will be the Xeons that start with '55' instead of '56' but I don't know how to confirm that, and I don't want to buy more Xeons from eBay and then have them show up and not work.

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 16,502

    Bummer. But don't get too bummed just yet, perhaps a good ol' Google session wil help resolve it for the newer Xeons?

    Trying to be optimistic for ya... this has been quite the Quest for you, and I, for one, am soaking this stuff up like a sponge!

    Thanks a million... I really appreciate all of your notes!

  • GreymomGreymom Posts: 980

    Here's I thread I had found earlier which addresses the Z600 upgrade issue.  Looks like they got it to work with a version 1 MB.    I ended up with similar Supermicro motherboards instead, and upgraded from E5520 to X5660 with no issues so far (but needed bigger heat sinks for cooling!).

    http://h30434.www3.hp.com/t5/Business-PCs-Workstations-and-Point-of-Sale-Systems/Z600-CPU-upgrade/td-p/5053635

    Hope this helps!

     

  • You can always try the X5670's in your 2nd Z600, perhaps those work there. And maybe the 5620's work with your first Z600? Worth a try. 

  • I've been comparing render speeds between my GTX 970 GPU and my Z600's dual X5560 Xeons.

    Both Blender and DAZ Studio confirm that the render times between CPU and GPU are more or less the same, which I thought was interesting. So without a capable graphics card, the X5560 Xeons are as fast as 1664 CUDA cores.

    So with Jon's new hex core Xeons, it stands to reason that they'll be at least 30% faster with CPU power alone, which would make as fast as a GTX 980 GPU. That's fast!!!

  • JonstarkJonstark Posts: 2,402

    I bought a pair of X5570s from eBay pretty inexpensively, should be better than the E5620s anyway.  They should arrive by next week and hopefully I'll be able to get that 2nd z600 up and running with 16 render cores like I originally intended.

  • JonstarkJonstark Posts: 2,402

    I bought a pair of X5570s from eBay pretty inexpensively, should be better than the E5620s anyway.  They should arrive by next week and hopefully I'll be able to get that 2nd z600 up and running with 16 render cores like I originally intended.

    Greymom said:

    Here's I thread I had found earlier which addresses the Z600 upgrade issue.  Looks like they got it to work with a version 1 MB.    I ended up with similar Supermicro motherboards instead, and upgraded from E5520 to X5660 with no issues so far (but needed bigger heat sinks for cooling!).

    http://h30434.www3.hp.com/t5/Business-PCs-Workstations-and-Point-of-Sale-Systems/Z600-CPU-upgrade/td-p/5053635

    Hope this helps!

     

    I also found that thread when googling, looks like the person in the discussion was able to solve the problem by flashing the bios to the latest version, but I had already flashed the bios on mine to the latest and the problem still remained, sadly.  I saw another discussion where it was mentioned by a HP employee that flashing bios could resolve this but it wasn't guaranteed and wouldn't always work, guess I just got 'lucky' lol.

  • GreymomGreymom Posts: 980
    Jonstark said:

    I bought a pair of X5570s from eBay pretty inexpensively, should be better than the E5620s anyway.  They should arrive by next week and hopefully I'll be able to get that 2nd z600 up and running with 16 render cores like I originally intended.

    Greymom said:

    Here's I thread I had found earlier which addresses the Z600 upgrade issue.  Looks like they got it to work with a version 1 MB.    I ended up with similar Supermicro motherboards instead, and upgraded from E5520 to X5660 with no issues so far (but needed bigger heat sinks for cooling!).

    http://h30434.www3.hp.com/t5/Business-PCs-Workstations-and-Point-of-Sale-Systems/Z600-CPU-upgrade/td-p/5053635

    Hope this helps!

     

    I also found that thread when googling, looks like the person in the discussion was able to solve the problem by flashing the bios to the latest version, but I had already flashed the bios on mine to the latest and the problem still remained, sadly.  I saw another discussion where it was mentioned by a HP employee that flashing bios could resolve this but it wasn't guaranteed and wouldn't always work, guess I just got 'lucky' lol.

    Just a thought - if you decide you want to get rid of the X5670's, I will buy them from you for whatever you paid for them.  I have a X8 server blade MB they will work in (part of my ongoing LuxRender project).   I hate getting stuck with parts I later find out I can't use (anyone need a half-dozen socket 771 server boards : )    ?).

     

     

  • GreymomGreymom Posts: 980

    Oh, and a caution to anyone tempted by the amazing prices on surplus SuperMicro X8D series LGA 1366 server boards, keep in mind that

    1) they will not fit in any desktop case without serious case modifications

    2) they need a proprietary power supply AND a very-hard-to-find power distribution board.   

    3) You willl probably need different CPU heat sinks and fans, and you will need a fan for the North Bridge chip too.

    You do get a lot of power for the price if you like to tinker and relish a challenge.

     

  • GreymomGreymom Posts: 980

    Good point! Well back in the day, desktops had 3.5" hard disks, and laptops had 2.5" hard disks. But with SSDs being so tiny, there are only 2.5" SSDs (as far as I know), and they only come with a SATA interface (as far as I know). Those will fit both desktops and laptops alike, and considering how cheap they've become, you can replace one in an aging laptop and see it become 5x faster just like that. It's THAT awesome, seriously. Old (spinning) laptop drives were the slowest on the planet.

    With IDE drives, you had a separate power connector and a data connector, but with SATA drives (especially on laptops), those usually come merged into one, so that the SSD can slot right in. The same principle is employed in the Z600, and a standard SSD slots right in there too. Mine came without drive bays, which I assume would have the drives screwed onto them and then those bays slot in and out. My SSD just "hangs" there on the connector. This would usually be an issue, but because an SSD is so light, it doesn't seem to matter. 

    I picked up some 2.5" to 3.5" adapter trays for about $3 each.   They worked with my SSD's just fine, and allowed me to mount them in the 3.5" bays.

     

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 16,502

    This thread just keeps getting better - more and more interesting, educational, and fun!

    My retired Thermaltake tower came with a bunch of tool-less parts that I'm finding can be handy for such things as stabilizing drives in places.

    My newer (not new model, by any means - I think they're retired by the company) Antec 300 two is wonderful. First case I've had that has not only a slow, large fane 'behind' the motherboard, but that panel is also removable - tool-free! Make building and wire-routing a real breeze!

    The Z600 and Z800s look like awesome cases as well. 

    So what's with Z800s? Are they great too?

  • Re: Z800 - I believe they're great too, Dart. From what I understand it's the "bigger brother" of the Z600. The Z800 is almost two inches fatter than the Z600 and has room for more RAM sticks and space for more PCI-E cards. It also has a higher power supply (1100W instead of 650W in the Z600) to power all those extra cards. The rest looks pretty much the same. 

    The Z600 also has a "little brother", the Z400. Its case appears to be the same size as the Z600, but it only has room for a single CPU. They all came out around the same time, 2009/2010.

    A few years later, HP introduced the Z620. Those can take the newer Xeon processors (2x octacore for 32 thread). Depending on the configuration, they were $10k and more when they were released. I guess we'll snap those up in a couple of years for $200 ;-)

    You know, I saw a listing yesterday for 15 Z600's, for $1300 plus shipping. Thye were all single CPU configurations, but I was THIS close to doing it. When I got home in the evening, it had sold (it was you by any chance, was it, @Jonstark...?)

  • chickenmanchickenman Posts: 1,174

    Funny you are mentioning the Z800's my boss wants me to bring home 4 Z800/Z820's to work on at home to figure out issues at work as we have a few that they were getting ready to get rid of and I indicated that they would be better the the really old server he was going to give me.

    So with the grid license it it 100 Threads or cores or CPU's? I know the documentation indicates CPU's but back then they only had single cores.

     

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 16,502
    edited November 2016

    That woulld be a question for Daz3d Support. But I think that, according to jonstark's tests, it appears to be 100 cores - and he's even been having a trying time getting to that.

     

    Re: Z800 - I believe they're great too, Dart. From what I understand it's the "bigger brother" of the Z600. The Z800 is almost two inches fatter than the Z600 and has room for more RAM sticks and space for more PCI-E cards. It also has a higher power supply (1100W instead of 650W in the Z600) to power all those extra cards. The rest looks pretty much the same. 

    The Z600 also has a "little brother", the Z400. Its case appears to be the same size as the Z600, but it only has room for a single CPU. They all came out around the same time, 2009/2010.

    A few years later, HP introduced the Z620. Those can take the newer Xeon processors (2x octacore for 32 thread). Depending on the configuration, they were $10k and more when they were released. I guess we'll snap those up in a couple of years for $200 ;-)

    Thanks! I'll likely shift gears for getting the Z800 (edit - or perhaps Z620?) then. I'll look at both when the time comes - but I've already been seeing some incredible deals for the Z800, and though I think that the Z600 has plenty of RAM Max already, I do like having the option to go higher. The biggest thing is that I've already seen some good deals on Z800 with dual six-core Xeons.

    I guess we'll see when the time comes.

    Thanks for the info!

    Post edited by Dartanbeck on
  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 16,502

    You know, I saw a listing yesterday for 15 Z600's, for $1300 plus shipping. Thye were all single CPU configurations, but I was THIS close to doing it. When I got home in the evening, it had sold (it was you by any chance, was it, @Jonstark...?)

    LOL!!! Yeah jonstark! Are you buying up stores of Z600s?

  • JonstarkJonstark Posts: 2,402
    Greymom said:
    Jonstark said:

     

    Just a thought - if you decide you want to get rid of the X5670's, I will buy them from you for whatever you paid for them.  I have a X8 server blade MB they will work in (part of my ongoing LuxRender project).   I hate getting stuck with parts I later find out I can't use (anyone need a half-dozen socket 771 server boards : )    ?).

     

     

    I appreciate the offer, but I actually have 2 z600's and the 1st z600 was the one that I bought the X5670s for, and they worked fine, so I have that one up and running with 24 cores.  The X5570s that I bought came in today, and later tonight I'm going to try switching them into the 2nd z600 (I don't anticipate any problems, but I'm possibly jinxing myself by stating that ahead of time...)

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