3DSMax 9 Backburner Rendering

A Supermicro Twin 1U could also be used as part of a rendering farm. We tested with 3D Studio Max version 9, which has been improved to work better with multi-core systems (compared to version 7 and 8) . We used the "architecture" scene of the SPEC APC test (3DS Max 7), which has been our favorite benchmarking scene for years.

All tests are done with 3dsmax's default scanline renderer, SSE is enabled, and we render at HD 720p resolution. We measure the time it takes to render frames 20 to 29, exactly 10 frames. But this time we installed the "Backburn" server on each node. The Backburn server allows us to send our renderings via the network to each node. Both nodes are still connected via our Gigabit D-link DGS-1224T switch. Then we make use of "net render". Below you can see the Backburn server in action.


Notice how the first node renders the even frames. Below you can see how this looks on the 3DSMax client. The Backburn monitor gives us an overview of the current rendering. Also note that one node is acting as both a rendering node and a Backburner client.


That does not hamper performance however. "2N" means that Backburner used both nodes of the 1U twin. So the orange bar represents the 3dsmax performance we get from rendering at two nodes, with one dual core Xeon 5160 ("Woodcrest") in each node. In each node, one socket was not used. Dual Xeon 5160 3 GHz means that we only use one node with the two sockets occupied by Xeon 5160 CPUs.


We notice a 98% speedup going from one node (941s) to a second node (475s). Of course, with only two nodes, the network overhead is minimal but this is superb scaling!

Also notice that two Xeons 5160 in one node is a little slower - about 6% - than one Xeon 5160 in each node. The mostly likely explanation is that the "setup" (before rendering) of the frame is adding overhead, as this process is not multithreaded. With two nodes, two frames are set up in parallel, using one core per node. Only two cores are idle at that time. On a single node, three cores are idle and only one core will be busy processing this pre-rendering code.

Network Load Balancing Electricity Bill
POST A COMMENT

28 Comments

View All Comments

  • SurJector - Tuesday, June 05, 2007 - link

    I've just reread your article. I'm a little bit surprised by the power:
    idle load
    1 node : 160 213
    2 nodes: 271 330
    increase: 111 117
    There is something wrong: the second node adds only 6W (5.5W counting efficiency) of power consumption ?

    Could it be that some power-saving options are not set on the second node (speedstep, or similar) ?

    Nice article though, I bet I'd love to have a rack of them for my computing farm. Either that or wait (forever ?) for the Barcelona equivalents (they should have better memory throughput).
    Reply
  • Super Nade - Saturday, June 02, 2007 - link

    Hi,

    The PSU is built by Lite-On. I owned the PWS-0056 and it was built like a tank. Truely server grade build quality.

    Regards,

    Super Nade, OCForums.
    Reply
  • VooDooAddict - Tuesday, May 29, 2007 - link

    Here are the VMWare ESX issues I see. ... They basically compound the problem.

    - No Local SAS controller. (Already mentioned)
    - No Local SAS requires booting from a SAN. This means you will use your only PCIe slot for a SAN Hardware HBA as ESX can't boot with a software iSCSI.
    - Only Dual NICs on board and with the only expansion slot taken up by the SAN HBA (Fiber Channel or iSCSI) you already have a less then ideal ESX solution. --- ESX works best with a dedicated VMotion port, Dedicated Console Port, and at least one dedicated VM port. Using this setup you'll be limited to a dedicated VMotion and a Shared Console and VM Port.

    The other issue is of coarse the non redundant power supply. While yes ESX has a High Availability mode where it restarts VMs from downed hardware. It restarts VMs on other hardware, doesn't preserve them. You could very easily loose data.

    Then probably the biggest issue ... support. Most companies dropping the coin on ESX server are only going to run it on a supported platform. With supported platforms from the Dell, HP and IBM being comparatively priced and the above issues, I don't see them winning ANY of the ESX server crowd with this unit.



    I could however see this as a nice setup for the VMWare (free) Virtual Server crowd using it for virtualized Dev and/or QA environments where low cost is a larger factor then production level uptime.
    Reply
  • JohanAnandtech - Wednesday, May 30, 2007 - link

    Superb feedback. I feel however that you are a bit too strict on the dedicated ports. A dedicated console port seems a bit exagerated, and as you indicate a shared Console/vmotion seems acceptable to me. Reply
  • DeepThought86 - Monday, May 28, 2007 - link

    I thought it interesting to note how poor the scaling was on the web server benchmark when going from 1S to 2S 5345 (107 URL's/s to 164). However the response times scaled quite well.

    Going from 307 ms to 815 ms (2.65) with only a clockspeed difference of 2.33 cs 1.86 (1.25) is completely unexpected. Since the architecture is the same, how can a 1.25 factor in clock lead to a 2.65 factor in performance? Then I remembered you're varying TWO factors at once making it impossible to compare the numbers.... how dumb is that in benchmark testing??

    Honestly, it seems you guys know how to hook up boxes but lack the intelligence to actually select test cases that make sense, not to mention analyse your results in a meaningful way

    It's also a pity you guys didn't test with the AMD servers to see how they scaled. But I guess the article is meant to pimp Supermicro and not point out how deficient the Intel system design is when going from 4-cores to 8
    Reply
  • JohanAnandtech - Tuesday, May 29, 2007 - link

    quote:

    Since the architecture is the same, how can a 1.25 factor in clock lead to a 2.65 factor in performance? Then I remembered you're varying TWO factors at once making it impossible to compare the numbers.... how dumb is that in benchmark testing??


    I would ask you to read my comments again. Webserver performance can not be measured by one single metric unless you can keep response time exactly the same. In that case you could measure throughput. However in the realworld, response time is never the same, and our test simulates real users. The reason for this "superscaling" of responstimes is that the slower configurations have to work with a backlog. Like it or not, but that is what you see on a webserver.

    quote:

    It's also a pity you guys didn't test with the AMD servers to see how they scaled


    We have done that already here for a number of workloads:
    http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/intel/showdoc...">http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/intel/showdoc...

    This article was about introducing our new benches, and investigating the possibilities of this new supermicro server. Not every article can be an AMD vs Intel article.

    And I am sure that 99.9% of the people who will actually buy a supermicro Twin after reading this review, will be very pleased with it as it is an excellent server for it's INTENDED market. So there is nothing wrong with giving it positive comments as long as I show the limitations.



    Reply
  • TA152H - Tuesday, May 29, 2007 - link

    Johan,

    I think it's even better than you didn't bring into the AMD/Intel nonsense, because it tends to take focus away from important companies like Supermicro. A lot of people aren't even aware of this company, and it's an extremely important company that makes extraordinary products. Their quality is unmatched, and although they are more expensive, it is excellent to have the option of buying a top quality piece. It's almost laughable, and a bit sad, when people call Asus top quality, or a premium brand. So, if nothing else, you brought an often ignore company into people's minds. Sadly, on a site like this where performance is what is generally measured, if you guys reviewed the motherboards, it would appear to be a mediocre, at best product. So, your type of review helps put things in their proper perspective; they are a very high quality, reliable, innovative company that is often overlooked, but has a very important role in the industry.

    Now, having said that (you didn't think I could be exclusively complimentary, did you?), when are you guys going to evaluate Eizo monitors??? I mean, how often can we read articles on junk from Dell and Samsung, et al, wondering what the truly best monitors are like? Most people will buy mid-range to low-end (heck, I still buy Samsung monitors and Epox motherboards sometimes because of price), but I also think most people are curious about how the best is performing anyway. But, let's give you credit where it's due, it was nice seeing Supermicro finally get some attention.
    Reply
  • DeepThought86 - Monday, May 28, 2007 - link

    Also, looking at your second benchmark I'm baffled how you didn't include a comparison of 1xE5340 vs 2x5340 or 1x5320 vs 2x5320 so we could see scaling. You just have a comparison of Dual vs 2N, where (duh!) the results are similar.

    Sure, there's 1x5160 vs 2x5160 but since the number of cores is half we can't see if memory performance is a bottleneck. Frankly, if Intel had given you instruction on how to explicitly avoid showing FSB limitations in server application they couldn't have done a better job.

    Oh wait, looks like 2 Intel staffers helped on the project! BIG SURPRISE!
    Reply
  • yacoub - Monday, May 28, 2007 - link

    http://images.anandtech.com/reviews/it/2007/superm...">http://images.anandtech.com/reviews/it/2007/superm...
    Looks like the top DIMM is not fully seated? :D
    Reply
  • MrSpadge - Monday, May 28, 2007 - link

    Nice one.. not everyone would catch such a fault :)

    MrS
    Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now