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Hello to everyone - noob at building with a major project underway - Page 3

post #21 of 27
Thread Starter 
For optical design I use TracePro from Lambda research. When it does a ray trace it has to calculate light paths based on refraction, reflection and diffraction. There are even calculations for thin film effects (layers thinner than the wavelength of light). All of that is very CPU intensive.

The software also saves information on the entire ray set (paths and intersections) which takes all the RAM. I will sort through all 20+ million rays to look for stray rays and look irradiance profiles and emission and/or reflection patterns off different surfaces. You can also run a voxel analysis to look at light density in different parts of the system. Right now I can't even think about saving a ray set for later analysis. My laptop just can't handle it all . . .

Monte Carlo modeling requires brute force number crunching. Some of the simulation studies can require over 3,000 trillion floating operations. The problem I have here is that I need to scale up some of the models by at least an order of magnitude, so they will keep a stock 5960X running at 100% on all cores for about 10 hours.

By next year, I might need to upgrade to a work class station (dual Xeons and 128GB RAM). I'm not going to do it though unless I can get a system that will crunch through over 1 trillion floating operations/sec. That means >$4,000 just for the pair of Xeons . . .
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post #22 of 27
thats similar to 3D modeling applications like Maya and Max which are GPU and Ram intensive for renderings. they calculate culling, raytracing, fall shadow, cast shadow, shadow intensity,z-depth, PBR, various camera lenses, transparency, anti-aliasing, particle effects, reflections, refractions, light interpolations and more... we use render farms for our animations and compositing since it takes days to render a 1 min or less animation sequence.
post #23 of 27
Thread Starter 
That pretty much sums it up, except that I'm not rendering animation. It is the same type of work though. In principle I could use the same software to produce animations, but my software is more designed to look specific light patterns and determine optical efficiencies. It has a really lousy interface for animation though. I have to enter in all the bulk optical and surface properties.

I wish I only wish I had access to a render farm. My software includes optimization routines which mean that I set targets/performance metrics, tell the software what limits I will allow for shifting surfaces/profiles and it takes off on its own. I can't let run enough rays to get a really good optimization. If I let it, it will run 10 million ray sets, make adjustments and run again, tracking the results all the time. If I let it, it will run hundreds of variations chasing the optimum . . .
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A Touch of Gray
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post #24 of 27
Just a thought, you say a render farm, instead of going x99, how would a few z97 systems compare? You can most likely get 3 4790k systems with that budget use those as a render farm and build a "cheaper" pc for working on since it won't be doing the actual work.

I have no idea if that is even possible, but if so, it MIGHT be faster.

in price, 1x 5960x = about 4 4790k and you'd get twice the cores and threads. For the ram, you could get ddr3-2400 kits (4x 16Gb or 32Gb kits).


Just a thought.

example :

3 or 4 times this would get 12 to 16 cores with 24 to 32 threads instead of 8 cores 16 threads of the 5960x. 48 to 64 GB of ram and upgradable to twice that along with 3 gtx 980s that you can also double up if you ever want, your power supplies could handle it too.

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/6vJ7dC
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/6vJ7dC/by_merchant/

CPU: Intel Core i7-4790K 4.0GHz Quad-Core Processor ($318.75 @ OutletPC)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Glacer 240L 86.2 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler ($128.99 @ Directron)
Motherboard: Asus GRYPHON Z97 Micro ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($155.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Memory: G.Skill Trident X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-2400 Memory ($139.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 980 4GB FTW ACX 2.0 Video Card ($549.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Corsair 350D Window MicroATX Mid Tower Case ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: EVGA 750W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply ($108.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Total: $1502.69
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2015-01-10 10:50 EST-0500
post #25 of 27
Thread Starter 
I like the way you think. I really wish it was possible (though I might go for an X79 system for extra RAM). Any such setup would need to recognize all the cores available in a single operating system.

Sadly although my software will use all the cores in a system, it is written for windows, so I think I would be limited to a Xeon system and the only boards I have seen that would work have sockets for 2 CPUs (Xeons). The software is also based on a seat license. The cost for another seat for another box is far more than the cost of the hardware.

I use a combination of SolidWorks and TracePro for my optical modeling/design. Initial seat license cost was about $28,000. Annual maintenance fees for the software is in the range of $4-5k. That might explain why I am spending so much for a system . . .

If anyone can figure out how I can build a windows system with multiple 4790k's (single or multiple mobos) I am all ears. Otherwise next year's upgrade might end up being an ASUS Z10PE-D8-WS with a pair of Xeon E5 v3 CPUs. "Sadly" they would have to be 2680's or higher in order to make it worth my while (speed improvement). That would put me at almost $5k just for the Xeons and the mobo.
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post #26 of 27
post #27 of 27
Thread Starter 
I will openly admit that is beyond my skill set.


I wish my software was designed to take advantage of the CUDA cores in my GPUs. Each of the 980 HOFs I am putting into my system have about 3x the processing power of an overclocked 5960X. Accessing that horsepower would give me a system that ran at about 3,500 GFLOPS (double precision). Sadly I am old enough to remember when the Cray 1 was the faster supercomputer in the world at 0.1 GLFOPS.

If I switched to Nvidia quadros, SolidWorks would take advantage of the GPU cores, but I don't do a lot of rendering in SolidWorks. It just doesn't cut it for what I do. I need to know illuminance or irradiance levels at various surfaces as well as angular distributions of light . . .
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