Author Topic: Buying a second hand Xeon for Corona. Does it worth it?  (Read 445 times)

2022-09-16, 23:23:29

Basshunter

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Hi!

I have a friend who is willing to build/buy a PC for Max and Corona. Since I've been a Corona user for some time now, he asked me about Xeon CPUS. He thinks it would be possible to get one from former servers at a good price. Unfortunately, I couldn't give him any advice since I have not a expert in this topic. So I told him I would ask in the forum.

What do you think? Does it worth it to look for a second-hand Xeon from an old server? What would the pros and cons?

2022-09-16, 23:59:02
Reply #1

TomG

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I think the only real factor is how well it performs, so you can look up a potential purchase on the benchmark at https://corona-renderer.com/benchmark/results and see, in particular comparing the cost of the CPU to other options that might get you more performance. Other than that, it's much the same as buying any processor or system used, which is how much life it may have left in it depending on how hard it has been used and how old it is.

Dual Xeons used to be "the way to go" before Threadrippers, so there is that :) My older machines prior to the TR were second hand dual xeon systems (bought as complete systems, regular towers), for what it's worth.
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2022-09-17, 00:19:08
Reply #2

Basshunter

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Thanks for your answer Tom. Checking the Benchmark site I can see there's a number (x16, x8) at the end of some processors. Does it mean that those specific tests where made using distributed rendering?

2022-09-17, 15:30:57
Reply #3

Juraj

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Answer to this is complicated. There are some great deals still available on eBay for multi-threaded performance, but there was such a technological leap in single-threaded performance over past 2 years (and particularly right now with 12th-gen Intels, and 7xxx AMDs) that I would not go that route right now anymore. At least for 'workstation'. Purely rendering 'node' would be different matter.

Majority of time spent working is creating the scene not rendering a final and faster single-threaded workstation will beat everything.
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2022-09-18, 08:03:36
Reply #4

danio1011

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Answer to this is complicated. There are some great deals still available on eBay for multi-threaded performance, but there was such a technological leap in single-threaded performance over past 2 years (and particularly right now with 12th-gen Intels, and 7xxx AMDs) that I would not go that route right now anymore. At least for 'workstation'. Purely rendering 'node' would be different matter.

Majority of time spent working is creating the scene not rendering a final and faster single-threaded workstation will beat everything.

Have you experienced doing workstation tasks (single threaded 3ds max etc) on a 12th gen yet?  On your new laptop, for example.  Just curious if they are leaps and bounds better than working on a 3xxx threadripper as a workstation.

Cheers,
Daniel

2022-09-18, 10:05:05
Reply #5

Juraj

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I still don't have it :- ) Dell has months long delay, the Precision line was supposed to come out in June.. and it's end of September soon :- ).
I think my delivery is around next week... unless something happens again.

I'll test the 12th gen against my 3990X with SMT turned off. Wish I could test 7950X as well, but I am not buying anything myself I don't really need and I am no longer in hurry to upgrade anything whatsover in terms of hardware.
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2022-09-18, 20:29:59
Reply #6

Basshunter

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Hey Jurarj,

I'm trying to better understand what you said.

there was such a technological leap in single-threaded performance over past 2 years (and particularly right now with 12th-gen Intels, and 7xxx AMDs) that I would not go that route right now anymore. At least for 'workstation'.
What route do you exactly mean? Going for workstations where the number of cores is the most important thing (e.g. 3990x)?

faster single-threaded workstation will beat everything.
Is it because of the high base clock? As I understand, Max viewport and some modifiers are single-core and single-threaded, right?

If this is the case, what do you think would be the ideal scenario here? Having a faster single-threaded workstation for creating the scenes and a separate render node (e.g. 3990x) just for rendering final images?

« Last Edit: 2022-09-18, 20:34:25 by Basshunter »

2022-09-19, 06:21:52
Reply #7

danio1011

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I still don't have it :- ) Dell has months long delay, the Precision line was supposed to come out in June.. and it's end of September soon :- ).
I think my delivery is around next week... unless something happens again.

I'll test the 12th gen against my 3990X with SMT turned off. Wish I could test 7950X as well, but I am not buying anything myself I don't really need and I am no longer in hurry to upgrade anything whatsover in terms of hardware.

Thanks for the response.  Yeah I'm in the same boat...my personal modeling\texturing\coordination time is my biggest hold up, not my machines' rendering times.  That said, I'd love a snappier work environment with a faster single threaded speed.  I also always have these little memory glitches on my threadrippers where I get 'blinking windows' upon exiting 3ds max, etc. which causes me heartburn and frustration.  Even with Control Flow Gaurd disabled.  I wonder if Intel would be better in the memory regard.

BTW, do you disable SMT on your threadripper workstation?  I go back and forth but it does make sense...

2022-09-19, 10:42:33
Reply #8

Juraj

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@Danio:

I didn't disable SMT until this day. So not sure if it will improve things. It doesn't for most things, but maybe 3dsMax/Corona is different.. worth giving a shot.
Also, I never experienced any such issue you mention though. I have no glitches of any sort.

@Basshunter:

Yes, strong single-core performance machine makes better workstation even if the multi-threaded performance is just fractional, at least that is now my current position.
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2022-09-19, 19:45:12
Reply #9

danio1011

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I have noticed a difference with GrowFX meta mesh building being faster with SMT off long ago.  Today I decided to test again, and tried opening max, opening a max file, and starting IR and noticed essentially no difference between SMT on and off.  In one case SMT off was 2 seconds faster (out of 36 seconds.)  I don't think it's worth turning off in other words...curious if you find similar results today though.

Interesting you've never had the 'blinking windows' issue with your threadrippers.  Numerous builds have suffered from it with me.  I'd get it while Max is running if Control Flow G was enabled.  With CFG globally disabled I only get it when closing max sometimes.  If I kill the process in windows process explorer it doesn't happen, but if I exit Max properly it happens maybe every 10th time.  Takes about 3 minutes for Windows to stop flashing and me to be able to use the computer again.

2022-09-19, 21:25:59
Reply #10

Juraj

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I wonder if my rather issue-less 3dsMax life is down to not using plugins :- ) I don't have ForestPack (seems to solve 90perc. of issues), GrowFx, anything at all..

I never even heard of flashing/blinking windows, odd.
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2022-09-19, 23:02:16
Reply #11

danio1011

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It may be that!  Or something else to do with they way you setup your machines…wish I knew.  There are a few threads around but this is one (see below).  My issue is solved (mine are the last two posts) except, like I said, when I close Max properly, and only sometimes:

https://forum.corona-renderer.com/index.php?topic=19806.0