Planning Out a DaVinci Resolve Job Server, Storage Array, and Editing Machine

Trying to map out a cost effective 4k editing machine with some storage and a job/project server that I can scale up long term to a collection of boxes as necessary. Right now, physical footprint and noise are a major concern, but long-term I’ll have space to move things to a rack.

My initial thought was that I’d use a linux host and stick a collection of VMs on it so that long-term, the VMs can be turned into real boxes when we need additional capacity and have space to grow.

I figured I’d use a pretty beefy 32 or 64 core Threadripper or Epyc.

Assuming a 64 core and 256 GB of RAM,

  • One VM to run as a NAS for a file server and a project database host with a ZFS vdev or two across a stack of 16x16TB harddrives. (32 threads, 192GB of RAM)

  • One VM would run Windows with GPU passthrough, acting as our DaVinci Studio station so that the editor using the machine is comfortable. (64 threads, 32 GB of RAM)

  • One more VM to be a render job server, with a pair of RAID-0’d SSDs and a little bit of bash to auto-shuffle the finished renders onto the NAS. (32 threads, 32GB of RAM)

I’m hoping to be able to jam it all in one full-tower case, initially, with the NAS and render server accessible over a local VPN.

Are we there yet with Threadripper or single-socket EPYC? Do you think that it’s possible to squish into one box without making performance garbage? Is this idea totally insane?


Just decided to try this myself and figured I’d see how chopped down I can make a comfortable editing station VM first. Using these parts:

A handful of minor complaints for that config after putting it together.

  1. The 24pin cable with the Corsair HX 1000 is massive, and doesn’t fit well through the cable routing hole in the case without removing the rubber grommet

  2. The Noctua NH-U14S TR4-SP3 is ever so slightly too large for that particular GPU, the backplate is too thick and it can’t quite fit in the top slot

  3. Moving the GPU down to the second x16 slot covers the 7seg display, so I can’t read the BIOS POST codes

  4. Had to remove one of the drive bays under the power supply shroud to comfortably fit the HX 1000 and associated cables.

When I’ve got some actual performance numbers for our workflow I’ll have a better idea if this ends up just being an editing station, or if it can be a magical renderfarm compressor for us.

So, I’m totally blown away by the performance of the 3970x. It really is a magical bag of computer horsepower holding.

I did a 4k 60fps youtube preset render on the free version of Davinci Resolve at 90 fps while playing Control at max settings comfortably at the same time. (Using Big Buck Bunny 4k60fps as a source and making a couple of audio and effects edits as a quick sniff test)

I think this will be more than suitable for our needs. Also gives me a good sense of perspective on what a decent editor build looks like in the future. The 3950x would be plenty. I think I can comfortably fit all three in the same box. I am running a little short on PCIe slots though. Might need to get an eATX board for a proper build-out.

I’ve heard rumor that the paid version of Resolve performs better and utilizes the hardware more. That’ll have to be the next test.

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nice. i would probably choose 10-12TB drives across two 16x bays arrays or more and build from there instead of what you’ve done here, 3970X is overkill for 4K youtube videos.

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