Thread: New Workstation for Scratch Help

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  1. #1 New Workstation for Scratch Help 
    Senior Member Derek Morrison's Avatar
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    Hey everyone. I'm looking to build a custom windows workstation. Based on these specs. Does anyone have any input on performance for 5-6K R3D's, ARRIRAW Opengate, Sony F55/65 files RAW Files. I know I need a 1GB-2GB/s storage solution but as far as processing and creating dailies will the system I have work in realtime or how far short am I. I'd prefer to stay AMD.

    Planned to buy:

    Supermicro Dual G34 AMD Mobo w/ 3 pcie 2.0 x16
    Dual AMD Opteron 6344 Abu Dhabi 12-core 2.6Ghz
    32GB Kingston Memory (plans to upgrade to 64 or more as needed)

    Currently Own:

    Dual 256SSD RAID0 (boot drive)
    4x 7200rpm 1TB 2.5" WD Red's RAID 5 (with plans to add more as needed)
    R9 290x 4Gb GFX Card
    BM Decklink 4K Extreme 12G

    Also possibly an AMD W7100 or W9100 Card.

    Any input is very welcome. And thanks ahead of time.
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  2. #2  
    Member Daniel Esperanssa's Avatar
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    Hi Derek,
    When it comes to dealing with raw material, get the most you can.
    Reason is that raw files like RED are compressed files which need to be first decompressed by the CPU before being sent to the GPU for debayer. Scratch can use multiple GPUs for RED debayering (there was such a setup on the AMD booth last year running Epic 5K full size in real time) but CPUs are generally the bottleneck, so do not expect 6K full size in real time for now.
    On the top of that, keep in mind the encoding (to MXF or QT) is a CPU task as well.
    All this being said, you should still get pretty decent results in exporting HD dailies (as it doesn't require full size debayer) but 4x7200 in raid 5 sounds too "light" for getting 1Gb/s. If you have no choice, then get 8 similar or smaller drives. Otherwise go SSD or FusionIO.

    Cheers
    D.
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  3. #3  
    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Morrison View Post
    Hey everyone. I'm looking to build a custom windows workstation. Based on these specs. Does anyone have any input on performance for 5-6K R3D's, ARRIRAW Opengate, Sony F55/65 files RAW Files. I know I need a 1GB-2GB/s storage solution but as far as processing and creating dailies will the system I have work in realtime or how far short am I. I'd prefer to stay AMD.
    Why the desire to stay AMD? I realize there are political preferences at times and that's fine and all, but you're going to get more CPU horsepower with Intel.

    Planned to buy:

    Supermicro Dual G34 AMD Mobo w/ 3 pcie 2.0 x16
    Dual AMD Opteron 6344 Abu Dhabi 12-core 2.6Ghz
    32GB Kingston Memory (plans to upgrade to 64 or more as needed)
    With 24 cores, you will need a lot more than 32GB of RAM to make good use of them. With 64bit software, a general rule of thumb is a *MINIMUM* of 4GB per core, for serious rendering or computational tasks with high resolution images or large data sets, 4 to 8 GB *PER THREAD* is often desirable. I would really recommend 128GB for the dual 12-core setup, even 256GB if you can. 32GB is going to be a choking point and you will not be able to leverage 24+ threads to do anything truly meaningful with only 32GB of memory. That's less than 1GB per thread process. I would actually recommend fewer cores at higher GHz, especially if you need to keep RAM quantities lower to fit a budget.

    Currently Own:

    Dual 256SSD RAID0 (boot drive)
    4x 7200rpm 1TB 2.5" WD Red's RAID 5 (with plans to add more as needed)
    R9 290x 4Gb GFX Card
    BM Decklink 4K Extreme 12G
    The R9 290x is a bit dated at this point and limited with 4GB for doing work in Scratch/ Resolve or similar GPU accelerated apps. You really want a couple GPUs if you can and something more current. The W7100 and W9100 provide more memory, but not really better computational performance. Similar with what we see in the nVidia GPU space with GeForce vs. Quadro models. I'm not completely up to date as to which GPUs work best with Scratch, but I do know that 4GB on a GPU is crippling if you're working with 5K+ footage.

    4x 7200rpm HDDs, especially 1TB models, are also going to be somewhat limiting. The WD Red models are built for NAS boxes and not performance RAIDs too. So that's also something to consider. For mechanical HDDs, you'll get much better performance from newer, larger capacity drives. Also the WD RE series or Seagate Enterprise class drives are more oriented for performance RAID use. WD Reds come in two types -- Red and Red Pro. The former being limited in their intra-drive communication abilities to only 6 drives or so -- if your RAID host supports that feature -- and they have differently tuned firmware, lesser warranties, and a cheaper price tag. The Red Pros are built to scale within larger systems, but are designed for NAS systems and online hosting applications, database and backhaul servers. Not as well optimized for local or near-line performance media RAIDs. They will work, but the Red Pro drives are the same price as the WD RE's.

    These are all things to keep in mind moving forward as you upgrade or optimize this system. I'm not trying to be highly critical, just pointing out bottlenecks and things to consider. When putting together a new system, it's best to find a balance that eliminates bottlenecks and maintains a selection of hardware where the various components will complement one another. If you spend too much money on CPUs and not enough on RAM and storage to bring it in to balance with massive CPU power, then you're almost throwing money away when you can't take advantage of that CPU power.
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