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Hello, I am looking to buy a new setup. Currently what I have is a hp z640 with dual xeon e5-2630  v4 processors @2.2GHZ (max turbo frequency @3.1GHZ) as you can imagine it's very fast at rendering but in terms of houdini simulations and it's single core performance it is very poor. I am hoping to get rid of this setup and purchase good balance in multi core and single core performance (the dream would be to have the most cpu's at the highest clock speeds but unfortunately I think the price tag would give me a heart attack). Can anyone suggest a good setup that gives very good simulation and render times. It doesn't have to be classified as a workstation because I know those are expensive for whatever reason. 

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There's a few things to keep in mind. I am not saying that any of this will or will not have an impact, but things you should be researching. First of all, what exactly are your expectations here? If you want some kind a massive improvement, you'll likely be disappointed. Second, you should probably be researching how Houdini uses multithreading, if you haven't already. From what I can tell, it's a very complex topic with hundreds of posts that discuss a variety of nuances.

There are some quad core i7 chips with crazy high clock speeds, like 4.2ghz. However, many desktop processors also lack the cache size that Xeon users are accustom. I have *no idea* how much this actually impacts Houdini performance.

I think your best bet would be to start here https://browser.primatelabs.com/

Though it's important to recognize that these sort of benchmarks do not tell the whole story, and are less valuable for application-specific performance. Take it with a grain of salt and only as a place to get your bearings. These sites are probably more useful for zit-faced kids looking for bragging rights.

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Somewhere, I remember Twod addressing this subject, since many parts of Houdini benefit from multi-threading, while there is a whole lot still single-threaded. Anything that can turbo (i.e. single-core) close to or above 4Ghz was great for the single threaded parts, and as many cores as possible.

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I have had experience using 32+ core Xeon machines vs. using a hexacore core i7 that is overclocked and from what I've experienced the overclocked i7 was better for workng with large data sets in real time and keeping things interactive, however when you look at tasks such as long renders especially when using tiled rendering, the ability to delegate to 32+ cores is very helpful. The other thing that a high core count xeon will do is allow you to be able to run multiple background tasks without much noticeable affect on your open scene. Personally I enjoyed the realtime horsepower and data chewing capability of a single overclocked processor, but if you need to do lots of tasks at once while also working the multi processor xeon's will do a better job. 

 

Another difference I have experienced is high end gaming ram vs ECC server ram. Almost any mobo for xeons will want the ECC ram which is stable and a good work horse, however holy crap when I put in 64GB of Quad Buffered 2400 I was able to work extremely fast with huge geometry. It really depends on what other resources you have I think.

 

Just my two cents :)

 

-Nathan

Edited by narbuckl

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2 hours ago, narbuckl said:

Another difference I have experienced is high end gaming ram vs ECC server ram. Almost any mobo for xeons will want the ECC ram which is stable and a good work horse, however holy crap when I put in 64GB of Quad Buffered 2400 I was able to work extremely fast with huge geometry. It really depends on what other resources you have I think.

 

Very interesting! I'm wondering if there any good utilities around to see if memory speed is the bottleneck of the computer/Houdini?

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