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max_rockatansky

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I'm looking into getting a new workstation for renders. Anyone have any experience with Podium and dual CPU's? Do all cores/threads get used during renders in Podium?
JustinSlick

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Short answer is yes, Podium will use all of the cores and threads up to a certain point.  At the extreme high end.... something was limiting efficiency after 32 cores; I'm not sure it was ever solved, or still a valid concern.

Something else to keep in mind if you're looking at Xeons....

We found that the 10 core i7 Extreme line with faster clock speeds would occasionally outperform the 32 core Xeon with more threads but a slower clock.   Overall I think the conclusion was that even if the i7 Extreme line wasn't necessarily better, it was probably more cost effective.

Of course, everything depends on your budget--just get the fastest cpu and most cores you can budget for.  If you are considering the high-end workstation class CPUs and have questions about Xeon vs. i7 performance, let me know and I'll get Dave to look here.

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max_rockatansky

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Quote:
Originally Posted by JustinSlick
Short answer is yes, Podium will use 100% of the cores and threads up to a certain point.  At the extreme high end.... there was a hard limit at 32 cores, and I'm not sure it was ever solved. 

Something else to keep in mind if you're looking at Xeons....

Dave found that the 10 core i7 Extreme line with faster clock speeds would occasionally outperform the 32 core Xeon with more threads but a slower clock.   Overall I think the conclusion was that the i7 Extreme line was more cost effective for Podium.

Of course, everything depends on your budget--just get the fastest clock speed and most cores you can budget for.  If you are looking way high end and have questions about Xeon vs. i7 performance, let me know and I'll get Dave to look here.


If I can get budget approval I'm toying with the idea of a HP Z840. Dual Xenon's with 44-core / 88-threads total. There are options for single CPU's and fewer core/threads if there is a limit for what Podium can take advantage of. It would be fun to see 88 threads lit up in a resource monitor though.
JustinSlick

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Oh nice, you mean business! OK I may actually have been mistaken on 32 cores as a hard cutoff.  I found this in support from late last year:

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Hi,  Yes. Podium will use up to 32 cores.  After 32 cores/ 64 threads, the rendering is less efficient per thread because of the way Windows distributes CPU into two groups.


So it may just be a point of diminishing returns.  I just did a quick test on a dual CPU Xeon machine (with 18 cores per CPU).  It did look like the load was distributed on all 36 cores in the resource monitor, but the load per core was indeed lower than I would have expected.  I don't honestly know whether that's normal behavior or whether it's due to the loss of efficiency as you scale.

So if Podium will use 36 cores, I don't see why it wouldn't use 44--it just might not use them as efficiently as you'd hope for.

I am a bit out of my depth here, so let me send an email and see if I'm on the right track with all this.

Justin

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davew

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The problem is this.  With Windows 7 and above, MicroSoft decided that once there are more than 32 cores on a machine, the operating system would divide the cores into two groups of equal numbers.  So if you have 36 cores, there are two groups of 18 cores.  Currently most raytracing programs do not understand how to deal with more than two windows processing groups.  This includes SU Podium V2.x.
But this will change in V3 and we may have a version beta of V3 that will solve the issue very soon.  But right now, I strongly recommend not buying a Xeon that has more than 32 cores.  Imagine my own disappointment of buying a 36 core Xi killer computer but to find that Podium would only use 18 of the 36 cores.
max_rockatansky

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Originally Posted by davew
The problem is this.  With Windows 7 and above, MicroSoft decided that once there are more than 32 cores on a machine, the operating system would divide the cores into two groups of equal numbers.  So if you have 36 cores, there are two groups of 18 cores.  Currently most raytracing programs do not understand how to deal with more than two windows processing groups.  This includes SU Podium V2.x.
But this will change in V3 and we may have a version beta of V3 that will solve the issue very soon.  But right now, I strongly recommend not buying a Xeon that has more than 32 cores.  Imagine my own disappointment of buying a 36 core Xi killer computer but to find that Podium would only use 18 of the 36 cores.


Wow - that is a disappointment for your 36 core machine. Thanks for helping me out here to avoid that issue. So when you mention not buying a Xenon with more than 32 cores are you talking 32 physical cores or 32 hyper threaded cores? Would you recommend sticking with a single Xenon or would duals have a benefit at this time? Maybe the best option would be for me to get a dual CPU machine with only one Xenon and then when V3 is able to take advantage of more cores I could add a second Xenon to it.
arwat23

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Ever consider a Ryzen CPU? 16 threads more powerful than a Xeon and about as powerful as a i7 for $350 (1/4 the cost of the i7 16 thread chip) isn't that bad.

Speaking of which, does anyone know if a ryzen CPU would be better than my current i7 4790k? Hypothetically it should be, but I haven't seen anyone test it yet.
JustinSlick

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For your purposes -- I'd say the Ryzen 7 series (Maybe even some of the 5 series?) would definitely outperform your current i7 4790, although I haven't looked through all the specs.  But everything I've seen says they're competitive with Intel in the range you're looking; shouldn't be any different with Podium.

Passmark should be able to give you a good idea where Ryzen fits compared to the current intel options: https://www.cpubenchmark.net/high_end_cpus.html

For the OP's purposes though, even the top of the Ryzen line falls a bit short of the i7 Extremes for single CPU performance, and nothing in the Ryzen line will scale like Xeons.


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