Originally Posted by darknight670;14625479
Sure CPU is quite important but RAM is in my opinion a lot more important with ZFS. But a Quad Core should be enough to reach 1Go/s with ZFS.
Honestly, CPUs are so cheap these days if you're just looking for a single socket machine. For $300 I can throw a 3.4GHz quad core Sandy Bridge at this thing and not have to worry about having enough CPU power for a few years I bet.
I've been getting into Mari lately as well which is an extremely capable tool set (it's also extremely capable of generating 20+ GB texture directories) so bandwidth might start to get even more important down the road. Mari allows you to paint 3D geometry with full floating point HDR textures and the memory overhead starts to get crazy.
So with all this having been said and let's say my end goal is a setup along these lines:
1 completely badass workstation; dual overclocked SB-E 8 core Xeons + Quad SLI GTX780 (those cards will probably be out in the next year or so).
10 or so render boxes (likely also all dual overclocked 8 core Xeons).
Do I really NEED a server? Can I buy an amazing 10Gbps NIC for the workstation that will pump out data very quickly to a 1Gbps switch to feed the render nodes? Actually...would the switch also need to be 10Gbps if all I care about is a 1Gb connection to each render node?
I'm not even adverse to an SSD RAID setup in the workstation or buying one of those enterprise level SSD cards.
I put a 2TB HDD into each render node considering how cheap they are these days, so backups and file STORING isn't an issue at all as I basically have a collective 20TB of disk space on the nodes alone. File SPEED on the other hand could be optimized a ton on the main workstation.
Is a server a waste of money for me when all is said and done? Is it better spent on the main machine that I work on? For the $2-$3K to build the server, I could have an entry level enterprise SSD in the workstation instead and then get the benefit of working directly off that.
I've recently gone from an i7 975EE to an i7 980 in my main PC and I think even just adding those extra 2 cores has already made a decent difference for I/O speeds to my render nodes. They no longer choke for lengthy (upwards of 20 secs or so previously) periods of time upon completion of renders while my main PC (also @ 100% CPU load) tries to save the file.
Another important question actually is in terms of Windows licenses. I've been outfitting the render nodes with simple cuts of Win 7 Home Premium...but I believe that the main drawback of that OS is you can't have a network with more than 10 other PCs.
If my main workstation is running Windows Pro or Ultimate or whatever, can I connect with more than 10 other computers even if they can't connect with each other? Would that work out at all or do all machines need Win Pro?
Does my main machine possibly need to be running a variant of Windows Server and if so...can I get away with running WHS or would I need one of those $700+ copies of Windows?
Also how scalable would this all be? What if I want to go to 20 render nodes some day?
Thanks again guys, the server forum here is amazing. I know I'm asking a ton of questions, but I really want to learn about all this stuff.Edited by kweechy - 8/19/11 at 10:33pm