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Craig Williams
Advanced Member
Username: Craigwilliams

Post Number: 147
Registered: 04-2001


Posted on Wednesday, January 31, 2007 - 03:57 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Is anyone out there using 2 Nvidia QuadroFX 3400 cards with the SLI connection?

I will be getting a new workstation PC and I'm debating if I should just remove my current QuadroFX 3400 card from the machine I have now, purchase another 3400, and connect them via the SLI technology (SLI requires identical cards). For the "theoretical" performance increase, this is considerably cheaper than buying a new single 4500 or 5500 card.

I'd like to know if anyone is using this technology and if it works OK with Z.

Craig
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Jean-Luc DAUREIL
Intermediate Member
Username: Jean_luc

Post Number: 87
Registered: 07-2001


Posted on Thursday, February 01, 2007 - 11:42 am:   Edit Post Print Post

hi Craig,

I'm not using these cards nor Sli technology...
But you've posted exactly the question i want to put :-)

I'm interrested in any response...

Jean-Luc
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Silicon
New member
Username: Treebeard

Post Number: 14
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Thursday, February 08, 2007 - 12:59 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Craig & Jean-Luc,

This is a rather complex question to answer without specific tests from ADS because the benefits of SLI are quite variable between different applications and the types of scenes being displayed.

To get a feel for this go to SPEC.org and compare the SPECviewperf results for the Dell Precision 390 & 690 (The machines are essentially the same except the 690 has 2 Quadro 4500's in SLI mode instead of one)

Results page: http://www.spec.org/gpc/opc.static/vp9results.html

Benchmark explanation page: http://www.spec.org/gpc/opc.static/vp9info.html

Bring up the pages for the scene explanation and the results and you can see the results of various subtests can be quite variable. I believe the explanation for this is the fact that there are multiple ways to draw the same type of scene in Opengl. I would guess that applications that benefit the most from SLI like Maya and UGS-NX use more modern methods that are more amenable to parallel execution across two graphics cards. Specific application + driver optimizations may also play a roll as well.

Silicon Treebeard
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Craig Williams
Senior Member
Username: Craigwilliams

Post Number: 164
Registered: 04-2001


Posted on Friday, February 09, 2007 - 12:20 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Thanks Silicon,

We've ordered a new machine this week, so I will be able to determine if this technology performs well with Z.

Let's hope.

Craig
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Silicon
New member
Username: Treebeard

Post Number: 15
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Friday, February 09, 2007 - 12:39 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Craig,

Cool, let us know how it works, thou brave and worthy guinea pig.

Silicon Treebeard
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Jean-Luc DAUREIL
Advanced Member
Username: Jean_luc

Post Number: 143
Registered: 07-2001


Posted on Friday, February 09, 2007 - 03:05 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Nice! Craig,
I've found a new profile image for you...
..

What is your future computer?

jL

(Message edited by Jean_Luc on February 09, 2007)
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Craig Williams
Senior Member
Username: Craigwilliams

Post Number: 165
Registered: 04-2001


Posted on Friday, February 09, 2007 - 04:28 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Hey JL,

Nice image....Let's just hope I'm not rolling downhill into the cat's mouth...

We are Dell here, so I approved a Precision 690 with Windows XP64 and two 2.33ghz dualcore Xeons. Since Dell no longer carries the Nvidia QuadroFX 3400, we just ordered the cheapest graphics card they had. The 3400 was available at another vendor for about $800.

This isn't the best configuration Dell offers, but in the next month we will also be purchasing an additional 64bit dual quadcore blade server to add to our render network. Considering this, I was willing to compromise a little on my workstation.

(Message edited by craigwilliams on February 09, 2007)
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Jean-Luc DAUREIL
Advanced Member
Username: Jean_luc

Post Number: 146
Registered: 07-2001


Posted on Sunday, February 11, 2007 - 12:52 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Good...

I also work with Dell stations, but I've choosed to NOT going with Precisions...
So, Dimension 9150 (now 9200) are well for us.

Do you work in architecture?
Are you using Renderzone on the network or another rendering engine?

Where are come from the blade server dual quadcore 64bit your firm consider to buy next month.

I actually study an economic solution to run maxwell...

jL

Ps, I'm not worry about you nex station...:-)
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Craig Williams
Senior Member
Username: Craigwilliams

Post Number: 166
Registered: 04-2001


Posted on Sunday, February 11, 2007 - 02:36 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

JL,

Yes, I'm an architect and have been using Z for about 14 years.

I've been using Renderzone on a rendering network for about 3 years. Currently, we have 10 cores, but after the upgrade in the next couple months, we will have 22 cores. Our current strategy is to add about 8 cores a year to our network rendering capabilities. Unfortunately, our IT department didn't believe me when I advised them to get 64bit technology a couple years ago, so unfortunately the first 10 cores we currently have will be limited to 3gb max for Z.

The blade server will be coming from Dell. We purchased the 10U chassis and two blade servers last year. After purchasing the new one next month we'll still have seven more slots left. The IT department loves it.

But, just like you and a few others here on the forum, I need to get serious with Maxwell for production work. I agree with Ztech...there is definitely room for both Renderzone AND Maxwell in what I do here.

I do most "experimenting" and practice with new software on my Mac at home. Unfortunately, my old dual 800mhz G4 is getting to slow for this. This is especially noticeable because I use a high performance machine at work all day. Maybe someday soon I can upgrade to a new MacPro so I can begin studying up on Maxwell and the new animation tools.

Also, I miss doing the "fun" stuff I used to do on my own time like the robot to the left.

Craig

(Message edited by craigwilliams on February 11, 2007)
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daron pardine
New member
Username: Tecton3d

Post Number: 2
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Monday, February 12, 2007 - 12:20 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

just bumping this to the top to see what if there was a verdict for Z and SLI... or are you still awaiting your new machine Craig?

although I'm extremely interested in this topic myself, I wouldn't expece much of an improvement over a single video card as there are few programs that can use more than one graphics card in 3d... just like we'd all like to be able to use the multiple cores of our workstations when modeling... the software coding just isn't there yet [unfortunately... I know my scenes aren't getting any smaller]!
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Jean-Luc DAUREIL
Advanced Member
Username: Jean_luc

Post Number: 147
Registered: 07-2001


Posted on Monday, February 12, 2007 - 04:35 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Craig,
Thank you very much for all your infomations.
We are on the same way...
Just give us your advice about your future SLI system when you receive it :-)

jL
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Craig Williams
Senior Member
Username: Craigwilliams

Post Number: 187
Registered: 04-2001


Posted on Tuesday, March 06, 2007 - 09:10 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Even after all the support for venturing into uncharted territory, I unfortunately decided against using SLI.

After reading Silicon's links, coupled with the performance issues I've had with the 3400 card and Z, I decided to steer clear of SLI. I don't know if the problems I have with this card are on Autodessys' shoulders or Nvidia's, but I don't hold much hope for either company to develop SLI around Z anytime soon.

This led me to purchase NVidia's QuadroFX 5500 card. The performance is unbelievable on this card (considering the price, it should be). However, I still notice the long delay between first initiating Interactive Shaded and the screen render. Maybe someday all the kinks will be ironed out.

I guess some other brave soul out there will need to be the first to brave SLI.

Craig