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Current Resolve Workstation

PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2017 2:54 pm
by John Richard
New Resolve beast workstation advice:

BM specs from Aug '16 spec dual Xeons. But a respected turnkey builder's Resolve optimized workstation currently uses:
- Processor: Intel Corei7-6950X 3.0GHz (Turbo to 3.5GHz) 10 core 25meg cache
- Motherboard: Core i7 HW-E X99 WS - Xeon E5v4 support

Is this current motherboard/processor now a more powerful choice for Resolve over the dual Xeon's in the older BM Configuration Guide?

Second question - Graphics Cards:
- 2ea GeForce Titan X (Pascal) 12GB- 3584 Cuda Cores, 12GB GDDR5X, 1xDVI-D,1x HDMI 2.0, 3x DP
- 2ea GeForce GTX 1080 8GB- 2560 Cuda Cores, 8GB GDDR5X, 1xDVI-D,2x HDMI, 2x DP
- 3ea GeForce GTX 1080 8GB- 2560 Cuda Cores, 8GB GDDR5X, 1xDVI-D,2x HDMI, 2x DP

Are the 2ea Titans really that significant a boost for running resolve.

Usage - currently mostly 1080p 4-10 min corporate video and advertising but originating from 2k BM Cinema Cam raw DNG; but occasionally getting 4k material. Within 1 to 2 yrs will be moving to Ursa 4.6 acquisition and who knows the final deliverable required within a couple years - more future proofing. External raid of course.
Dwaine Maggart are you around - really would appreciate your knowledgeable input as I imagine many others are. Thank you all in advance.

Re: Current Resolve Workstation

PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2017 2:59 pm
by Andrew Kolakowski
In 2 years your machine will be getting old. Plan for today. PCs change to quickly to plan for 5 years. Buy "slower" machine for your HD work today and when you move to 4K change it.

Re: Current Resolve Workstation

PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2017 3:05 pm
by John Richard
We are moving from a MacPro 3,1 March 2008 that was a beast for the time and served us very well for almost 9 years. Admittedly we hung on waaaaaaaay too long and probably lost economic sense a couple years back. :oops:

But definitely want to start off with a strong config again - just want to make sure about the motherboard/processor being the best current choice.

Re: Current Resolve Workstation

PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2017 4:42 pm
by Andrew Kolakowski
Corei7-6950X, specially overclocked to e.g. 4GHz with some GTX 1080s is good compromise in my opinion.
There were some reports about speed difference between latest GPUs, so check it and decide if worth the money. Sometimes a lot of money needs to be added to get just 10% more speed. It all depends if you can finance investment, if you have constant amount of projects.

Re: Current Resolve Workstation

PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2017 7:56 pm
by Dan Sherman
I would say it depends a lot on you work flow. If you work with a lot of short clips, and transcoding with something like ffmpeg, then more cores is better than fewer high frequency ones, because you can transcode in parallel. If you work with long clips, fewer high frequency cores seem better.

Once in DR, the GPU is the most important thing. I was working with 4k60 DNxHR HQ footage last night, and I was limited by my 1070, not my 6850k.

If you get a new machine now, you will be future proofed for a little while. Intel isn't expecting 10nm architecture till late 2018 (won't be a significant step forward), and 7nm won't be out till 2021.

Re: Current Resolve Workstation

PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2017 11:29 pm
by John Richard
Thanks folks for the help. Very much appreciated.

Re: Current Resolve Workstation

PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 3:39 pm
by John Richard
As promised, here are the "Candle Test" benchmark results from our workstation replacement for our aging 2008 MacPro 3,1 Dual Xeon. As suspected, I was a total fool to have waited so long and cost us dearly in lost hours as well as limited our creativity due to budget time constraints. As many here advised, consider the cost of your labor when weighing monetary outlays for updated hardware.

The "Candle Test" seems to be the only widespread user disseminated benchmark available that I could find. This test is admittedly canted to test the GPU power of a system and since Resolve is constructed to make heavy use of the GPU, this benchmark is of value.

But as many here have pointed out in the discussions of topics such as Dual Xeons vs Single Faster CPU's, it's extremely important to consider the type and project size. And this Candle Test benchmark won't reveal needs for those considerations. The fine folks at BM are obviously the best resource for workstation configurations and have recently commented here that they are updating their much needed guide. Many here would urge them to consider configuration guidance based upon project size/type. The needs of 30 second spots are entirely different from those of feature length projects. PCIe slots needed for voluminous terabytes of storage in addition to multiple GPU's dictate an entirely different configuration from a short project producer who would benefit more from faster current CPU's instead of added PCIe slots.

Motherboard: Core i7 Asus X99 rev2 5ea PCIe 16x and 1ea 8 x slots
CPU: i76950x, 10 core, 3.0Hz overclocked to 4.0Hz
RAM: 128Gb Ram DDR4 2133 ECC registered
GPU: 2 ea GTX1080 nVidia
I/O: Decklink SDI 4k; SDI to HDMI4k out converter for Client Monitor/Projection
Storage (all internal to workstation):
OS: Samsung 850Pro 512GB SSD
Media Cache: 512Mb M.2 card
Project Source Storage: Raid 0 2 Tb SSD's
Reuse Media- 1Tb SSD
Resolve Set to Use GUI GPU for Compute

Candle Benchmarks:
09 Blur 24
18 ----- 24
30 ----- 24
66 ----- 13

1 TRN 24
2 ----- 24
4 ----- 15
6 ----- 11

Re: Current Resolve Workstation

PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 5:39 pm
by Jean Claude
Hi John,

Thanks for feedback.

Hmm ... I think that with an ASUS X99 A-II + 2 GTX1080 it should go faster.

Why have you taken ECC RAM => not necessary (No need on this mobo).
Why did you take the Ram 128GB Ram DDR4 2133 while the non-ECC 3200 would be cheaper and faster?

I am wrong or it would be necessary to refine the settings of the bios but it will be complicated at a distance.

Re: Current Resolve Workstation

PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 10:44 pm
by John Richard
Went with ECC Registered Memory because both workstation builders recommended it for better reliability over non-ECC memory.
Here is a quote from Puget Systems website regarding ECC vs non-ECC:
"At the cost of a little money and performance, ECC RAM is many times more reliable than non-ECC RAM. And when high-value data is involved, that increase in reliability is almost always going to be worth the small monetary and performance costs. In fact, anytime it is possible to do so, we would recommend using ECC RAM."
Since both the video workstation builders I trust were recommending the same ECC memory I went with it.

As for the memory speed, I keep reading that there is almost negligible gain between the speeds discussed here. Since a system memory failure could really be a costly failure, I stuck with most reliable memory.

As for the overall Candle Test results, from what I have seen, this workstation is in-line with similar machines. What are you thinking/seeing should be the FPS of the Candle Test?

And I will be the very first to admit to not being at any high level of workstation building and thus going with builders with a good reputations (ADK and Puget). They both were very close in their recommended configurations for our mostly 1080HD short commercial/corporate work with an eye to 4k soon.

Re: Current Resolve Workstation

PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 11:22 pm
by Andrew Kolakowski
Have you ever experienced documented error on PC due to non ECC RAM?
As far as I understand this will happen many times less likely than system crash due to any other possible error.

This is interesting: ... emory-520/

Funny enough this is by Puget.

How is your 10 core i7 performing? Tried some e.g. XAVC etc source? I assume it's great and did not cost a fortune.

Re: Current Resolve Workstation

PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 12:24 am
by John Richard
I've only personally experienced a ram stick failure 2 times ... once on a Sharp laptop and another maybe 13 years ago on a Standard Def Canopus Storm editing machine built by a company named DVLine. Wow that is some ancient history. How far we've come on what these beasts can do! That was a total disaster and cost me a lot of time. But on all the other workstations, biz computers and laptops, and the Apple MacPro3,1 no ram or hard drive failures including raids. Loved that Mac/Dulce external 8 drive raid - still works fine just too slow to keep up with today's software.

My thoughts are towards the cost of labor ... if it only costs a little to ensure any reliability against a high labor cost or, heaven forbid - lost footage, it's a no brainer IMO.

We shoot on BM Cinema Camera either Raw2k or ProRes/DNX, Pocket Cam, Canon XLH1-Convergent Design XDR or XHG1 Flash Drive, Canon 7D. So we haven't dealt with the codec you asked about.

As for the level of satisfaction with this machine ... no comparison - pure joy.
One quick example: power windows - if the subject required tracking heavy movement, I had to weigh the time/value against budget constraints. The way this thing tracks power windows is blazing fast. Couldn't believe what I was seeing... a "that just can't be!" moment.

Re: Current Resolve Workstation

PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 7:29 am
by Adam Simmons
The ECC RAM would have been worth it if you had a Xeon CPU on the X99 motherboard, but the Broadwell-E CPU's support ECC RAM in Non ECC mode, so they don't use the ECC side of them.

As to failures, been a system builder for over 16 years and only ever had to send around 14 sticks of RAM back for failure in that whole time, and most of those were DOA so never got as far as going out to customers.

Re: Current Resolve Workstation

PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 8:14 am
by Erik Wittbusch
I hope it's okay to chime in.

I'm on my way to upgrade from my iMac, which served me well with HD non-RAW footage.

As I also need/want FCPX there won't be a Win only system for me.
Instead I plan a dual boot Win/Hackintosh system, built from a quite experienced Hackintosh builder.

Here's the hardware:
Asus X99E-WS USB3.1
Intel 6850k 6-core
Samsung M2 for cache drive
Samsung 850 EVO for OS and progs
1x GTX980ti or Titan X to start with
Will probably upgrade to a 2. GPU
4x WD Red 6TB in RAID5 as internal media storage
Thunderbolt card
Decklink Mini Monitor 4k

What do you think?
Will this be also good for 4k XAVC/ProRes grading?
Old Titan X are rather expensive these days, that's why I opt for a 980ti and hope for GTX10XX family drivers for OS X.

Re: Current Resolve Workstation

PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 8:48 am
by Adam Simmons
Personally I would steer clear of that motherboard. It uses Plex chips to allow that many slots to go through the physical 40 bus lanes you get on the CPU and plex chips have been known to cause issues with BM cards. Go for a board that only allows for the actual physical lanes such as the Gigabyte X99P-SLI which also has TB 3 built in

Re: Current Resolve Workstation

PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 9:08 am
by Jean Claude
Adams is PRO gigabyte, I am PRO ASUS (also with TB 3 built in) but we agree: Plex chips => issues.

Otherwise for CPU 6850k with good ventilation: supports a light overclocking (~ 4.2 Ghz) without problems.

Re: Current Resolve Workstation

PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 10:23 am
by Erik Wittbusch
Thanks for bringing this up!

But TB3 has a lot if issues with Hackintosh builts as far as I know, right?

Re: Current Resolve Workstation

PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 10:31 am
by Jean Claude
Frankly, I do not know Hackintosh and TB3, I have not tried. It exists but not tested. Adams, yes, I understand. The best thing is to ask him.

Re: Current Resolve Workstation

PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 10:36 am
by Adam Simmons
Not tried it under Hackintosh either, only know on the Windows side that I have no issues using TB 3 to TB convertor for BM products on desktop PC's