[Sidefx-houdini-list] hardware innovations
malexander at sidefx.com
Wed Dec 14 11:20:33 EST 2005
I have an AthlonX2 4400 system (dual core 2.2Ghz, 2x1Mb cache) and I'm
quite happy with it. It's much more reasonably priced than the
Opteron-equivalent CPUs (especially if you want to put 2 dual-core CPUs
in your system, for a quad) and it fits in a motherboard designed for
any socket 939 CPU. Luckily, AMD's memory controller is so good that
there is little difference between a dual core CPU and dual CPUs in most
cases (the usual performance hit is the sharing of memory bandwidth).
Other than that, I'd say spend your money on memory (2Gb, professional
mem like Kingston, Crucial or OCX; not cheap value stuff - you can
increase performance by around 5% with good memory), and a fast, large
drive. Almost any card from Nvidia within the past 3 years is more than
sufficient for Houdini (from the FX series up). ATI cards are a little
dicier, as their OpenGL support hasn't been as good as Nvidia's.
Having two CPUs means that you can fire off test renders on your machine
with impunity and continue to work in Houdini while they render. On a
single CPU, you can really tell when the OS is doing two things at once.
Also, both NVidia and ATI are threading their graphics drivers, so
there's one more reason to dual :)
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