System Setup and Software Used
Our array of "in-house" test systems has now been fully completed as over the forthcoming months, many exciting things will be happening here. We worked with Supermicro and Intel to set up excellent parts which in turn means we can now demonstrate the best possible results for upcoming computer components. This in turn will demonstrate to you the end user just what to fully expect when you purchase systems of the like we have here in situ.
With the supplied parts on show today these main parts now form part of our "mainstay in house" test systems supplied courteously by AMD, Akasa, Intel, Crucial Memory, NVIDIA and Supermicro; which could be found in most high-end studios and enthusiast workstation scenarios. These are very reliable and sound workstation platforms which have an abundance of scope for upgrading, which we have voiced on many occasion.
For SPECapc for 3ds Max 2011, after much deliberation we decided to move forward with our ultimate workstation builds: Supermicro's X8DAI Rev2 motherboard armed with a pair of the superb Intel Westmere 3.33GHz CPUs. Thrown into the mix as these new boards are just hitting the streets, we put into place Supermicro's new X9SCA board that support both Intel's Sandy Bridge Xeon E3-1280 (3.5GHz) processors for workstations encompassing the Intel® C204 PCH chipset. Interestingly enough both surpassed themselves providing exemplarily results. At times we could not tell the difference when they were stacked up side by side.
From the professional graphics cards front, taking into account the actual brief given we took to the fore the most up to date professional graphics cards from each company listed below.Test System - Single Processor
- Intel Xeon E3-1280, 3.5GHz, 8MB Shared Cache, 5GB/s QPI
- Supermicro X9SCA
- Akasa Nero 2 1155 HSF
- 16GB (4x4GB) Crucial DDR3-1333MHz Unbuffered ECC
- 250GB Intel 510 Series Solid State Drive (6GB/s)
Test System - Dual Processor
- Supermicro X8DAi Rev2
- 2 X 3.33GHz Intel Xeon X5680 Nehalem-EP, 12MB Shared Cache, 6.4GB/s QPI
- 2 X Noctua NH-U9DX
- 24GB (12x2GB) Crucial DDR3-1333MHz Unbuffered ECC
- 300GB Intel 320 Series Solid State Drive (3GB/s)
These formulized builds used will mean that the results shown within will be extremely clear to the reader.
On a side note and very important one. Many self-build corporate and studio users maintain the philosophy to utilize one motherboard which provides them with an effective cost performance solution. Time is money as too are extra peripherals needed to supplement a motherboard. Once the motherboard has reached end of life in the usage, motherboards of this nature then find them stripped down and placed into a 2U chassis as a dedicated server or render node. Therefore the life span of these motherboards and supporting processors is extremely good, which brings us back once more to exceptional value for money.
From the professional graphics cards front, taking into account the actual brief given we took to the fore the most up to date professional graphics cards from each company listed below.
Tested Graphics Cards
- AMD FirePro V8800 2GB GDDR5
- AMD FirePro V9800 4GB GDDR5
- NVIDIA Quadro 4000 2GB GDDR5
- NVIDIA Quadro 5000 2.5GB GDDR5
- NVIDIA Quadro 6000 6GB GDDR5
Overall, six graphics cards feature 18.5GB of ultra-fast GDDR5 memory, or an average of 3.1GB per card. All cards used the same memory standard - GDDR5 which de facto is the standard for high performing graphics processors.
Benchmarks and Software Used 64-bit Mode
- Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
- Autodesk 3ds Max 2011 64-bit
- SPECapc for 3ds Max 2011 64-bit Professional Edition
Each set of tests has been applied on the clean system hard drives shown above to ensure that no residue drivers were left installed with all updates/patches applied. A test/render has been completed many times over different periods of the system uptime. Maintaining the fair play rules of SPEC Hyper-Threading and Turbo Boost have been enabled, with the memory being left in its default status of Auto. Tests have been conducted in accordance with the resolutions stipulated within the test run rules of 1920x1080 @ 59Hz / 60Hz in 32-bit color. Results that have been shown within this article are from the application/benchmarks first run in accordance with the SPECapc fair play rules.
To maintain completely unbiased attitude we have given a complete dedicated page to each companies professional cards throughout the test procedure and therefore remain neutral by not stacking up the cards side by side.
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