Dual CPU render rig

Hi Guys,

I'm looking to upgrade my PC to get a serious render machine. I shoot timelapse on a regular basis and rendering several hundred (some times thousands) 24mp raw files to 4k jpegs with postprocessing from Lightroom takes some hours. Since the rendering is done purely on CPU, I was thinking about building a dual CPU rig. But I have no experience with dual CPU setups, but I hope some one around here has?! :)

I was thinking about the Intel Xeon E5-1650, a six core with 3.2GHz for around 545€. This seems the one with the most bang for the buck. But what mainboard should I use? There is a ASUS one and some Intel version... The boards I saw all have SSI size and are too big for most cases and I was looking for a "media case", such the Fractal Design Node 605, so I would need a ATX mainboard with dual CPU socket 2011 support...

Do you have any ideas, recommendations or general tips for building and running a dual cpu rig?

Thank you and regards from Deutschland,

ur not going to find an atx mobo with a dual socket, i'll put something together....

Is there no way to do that Via GPU? I'd think it would be faster, and probably cheaper, if you could. I have no idea about this, but, hey who knows.

you NEED an atx super tower for a dual cpu mobo,

case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811147157

mobo: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813188119 (this is really the only one that will work)

cpu: what you said

gpu: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161407

ram: 2x http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820233331

psu: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817151109 (only need one atm)

ssd's (working drive): raid 10 4x http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820211598

(lightroom and boot drive): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820239045

storage hdd's: raid 10 4x http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136874

it'spricey, but if you really want a fast render rig, this is pretty much what you need....

lightroom is stupid, it's cpu only.....

yeah, the Lightroom team from Adobe is pretty stupid about that issue, they shut down every inquiry about that with stuff like "is there an area in Lightroom that is slower then in version before the newest one?" well no duh! but there are ways to make it a lot faster... So no GPU support from that direction in the near future and thats why someone like me thinks about shelling out horrendous amounts of money for a rig like this to get "some" pictures rendered in a reasonable amount of time...

Thank you for the list :) I hoped there was a way around such a big tower... But it's understandable, that two CPUs needs that much space on a board. Asus produced one ATX dual CPU board for the older Xeons, but I sure want one of the new ones, so no ATX for me ^^

For longtime storage, I already have 14TB in a small debian server in my network and for the PC itself I already have several 2TB and 1.5TB drives. Also a 120GB SSD is running in my PC, so another pice I dont have to pay for ;)

For the working drive(s), I think a RAID0 should cut it, cause I always sync my work to the server afterwards...  

GPU wise, I have a 560TI and it's enough for the moment, there will be a bigger card somewhere in the future of course, but for now the 560 is ok.

Why the EVGA mobo? There is the ASUS Z9PE-D8 WS with E-ATX standard, so it would fit in a smaller case and it's a little cheaper.

My ongoing list for this project is for now here http://geizhals.de/eu/?cat=WL-278220 but maybe I will set up a google doc for future research and stuff ;)

I already have one for my server (in german) with general parts, but also my experience with different OS and a little bit of benchmarking and some scripts to make life easier https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ZowFRfXXta_G_EWBQCl41vK4rlVQ3JLy9I9L5IXic-U/edit but I think I will rewrite it in english, clean it up a little bit and put it in his own thread, maybe it will help someone :)

If hes going to use more then lightroom somewhere in the near future, he might want to go Nvidia. Also id swap the PSU out for the corsiar 1200i, i dont really trust seasonic but that might just be me...

That's just silly, several of the Corsair models are made by Seasonic.

I run a Seasonic in my current pc for over 2 years without any problems, so I would probably take another one or a bequiet one, or a corsair... It depends on my mood and the price point that day.

I would stick to NVIDIA in the future, I had too many problems with my last two ATI cards and the build in support in Photoshop and Premiere/After Effects/Media Encoder is very handy.

I already use more then lightroom, cause a single timelapse is just boring ;) So I have to use something to stick them together ;)

it was the only one with a more... desktop-like assortment of i/o ports.... and pcie sots as well

i guess that's not a bad idea....

Seasonic is actually one of the few PSU companies that actually make their own PSU's I beleive, and I've seen their build quality; it's quite astounding. 

If you really want performance with the SSDs, plus the storage, and you do not care about price, i'd seriously reccommend z-drive 3.2 tb ....2.5 gbps through pcie

z-drives are nice, but too expensive. And I don't need that much fast storage, my projects rarely exceed 400GB, so a 512GB RAID0 is more than enough for a working storage. And even with the normal SSDs, I think the CPUs will be the bottleneck of the system.

Currently I work on the images over a file share with gbit network and the bottleneck is not the network speed, its my hexacore AMD 1055T... I tried the same with images on my SSD, and it was not really faster. For rendering 100 images maybe 30 seconds difference. The CPU is running on 100% on all cores regardless the storage (network/ssd/hdd). Hence I need a massive upgrade in CPU power...

Only when working with premiere (or video files in general), network shares are not really an option and there is a distinct difference between ssd and hdd storage. Rendering images is way more computing intensive, since there is only one file with maybe 60MB at a time with way more postprocessing on it, than you normally would have on one video frame. 

i looked at your build, and it looks fairly good, main difference is that the evga has more ram slots....

and your gonna need an aftermarket cooler, I don't think xeon's come with them.... probably just go with a pair on hyper212 evo's.

one of the reasons I suggested the blackhawk is it's massive cooling... but  the fractal should be fine....


oh, and the Form Factor that site lists is wrong, it's ssi eeb, not eatx....

Oh oke, i thought seasonics reputation wasnt that good, thanks for the correction.

Oh oke, i didnt know. Thanks for the correction.

Haha oke. ill take that into account next time i post something, thanks for the correction.

Thats right, I forgot the coolers, thanks :) And for RAM, I think 64GB should suffice ;) All my application servers at work run with 64GB (and only 40% used), only my big oracle db servers have 128GB, so I think I will "survive" with 64GB :P

ssi eeb has the same specs in size as eatx, bot are 30.5 cm x 33 cm only the screw holes may be a different... But I will try, because I just love the fractal cases, already have one at home and recommended several to friends of mine and they all run smooth. Plus they have sound damping :)

I had my Fractal Design Define R3 full with 10x HDDs and no heat problems. Five case coolers, turned down to approx. 60%