Best Computer Workstation For RedShift

Recommended Computer Workstation for Redshift

So you are interested in finding the Holy Grail that is a workstation solution with the capabilities of producing stunning photorealistic GPU renders that don’t take an age to process. Don’t worry you are not alone and in this article I will be running you through all the hardware required to achieve this within Redshift.

To perform GPU rendering effectively you of course are going to need plenty GPU power but we aren’t going to start there. To achieve this you need a well-rounded, optimised solution that is capable of supporting a multi-GPU configuration. With this in mind let’s explore the options to find the perfect solution for you.

Processors for Redshift

When selecting a processor for your application usually the two key factors to consider are frequency and the amount of cores the processor has. In the case of Redshift there is also a 3rd. The amount of PCIe lanes the processor can support. This will directly affect the amount of Graphics cards you will be able to put in a system and the more graphics cards you can populate the higher GPU rendering performance you can achieve.

With this in mind an Intel Dual Xeon solution such as those in our WS-E2280G is a solid choice, as the 2 processors working together generally provide plenty of expandability to support at least 4 graphics cards. Beyond this your limitation becomes physical room in a tower chassis.

Another option is to use an Intel Core i9 however you must be careful as this solution as standard does not have the capabilities to support more than 2x graphics cards at full speed. However when combined with the right kind of motherboard such as an Asus WS X299 SAGE which contains additional technology, this can be stretched to support 4x graphics cards at full speed. This technique is well tried and tested and is exactly how we achieve such high GPU performance from our WS-X1181G workstation.

Redshift will not make use of many CPU cores in the rendering process and therefore the other key consideration should be a high clock speed (frequency). This will ensure that the system is very responsive with low loading times and snappy view ports. Additionally we have found via extensive testing that CPU clock speed has a direct effect on GPU performance. Therefore we advise you select a Xeon processor with a high clock speed such as the Intel Xeon Gold 6134 or an Intel Core i9 professionally overclocked from our frequency enhanced range.

How Much Power Does It Consume?

This will vary dramatically depending on the final specification you decide on. When considering the key items that will consume the power a single processor can run at up to 165W (core i9) or 205W (Xeon) and high performing graphics card can draw up to 250w each. This means a high power workstation with 4x GPUs could require at least a 1.5KW power supply leaving some headroom. Check the manufacturer tech specs of your components carefully to calculate the total power needed then select a power supply with a greater capacity to ensure your systems runs stably. Alternatively contact our consultancy team who can guide you through configuration that suits your needs.

Which Graphics Cards Are Best For Redshift?

Once you have a system configuration in mind with good foundations you can now consider GPU configuration to get the most out of your applications and budget. Redshift is only compatible with NVIDIA CUDA so sorry AMD fans this will not work for you (Check out AMD ProRender for a fantastic alternative).

As a general rule of thumb more graphics cards are better performing than a single higher end card and whilst GPU rendering. However, be careful that your scenes do not exceed the VRam (graphical memory) available on a single card else your renders unfortunately will not run. At the time of writing Redshift state 2GB VRAM is a minimum and 8GB or higher is recommended.

NVIDIA Quadro Or NVIDIA Geforce Graphics for Redshift?

Both these solutions will work just fine for Redshift. If this is your primary software being used on the system then we would recommend NVIDIA Geforce cards as you will receive higher performance for your money. If you are likely to be using other professional applications such as Autodesk 3D Studio Max OR Maya then Quadro is defiantly recommended for performance and stability.

Alternatively you could opt for a mixed configuration using the NVIDIA Quadro for the Display out and configuring your NVIDIA Geforce cards to do the compute side of GPU Rendering. Contact our consultancy team for more details.

How much System Memory Is Needed For Redshift?

The amount of RAM needed will vary from user to user depending on your project sizes. Not having enough will seriously impact on system performance however having far more than necessary will impact on your budget whilst not giving any performance gains. We generally recommend 32GB is correct for most Redshift users and should offer plenty of capacity to render even very complex scenes. You should also consider that other software applications you may be running require more memory. If this is the case rest assured our systems are capable of supporting enough memory to meet your needs.

Which Storage Drive Should You Get?

The highest performance drives available today are NVMe based Solid State Drives (SSDs) and these are generally all we recommend for primary drives. They are now very cost effective with high enough capacities for your Operating System and Applications. This ensures your system boots as quickly as possible, is as responsive as possible and your loading times are minimal.

You may choose to install a mechanical Hard Disk Drive (HDD) alongside the SSD as a longer term storage drive. Whilst much slower than a SSD they do provide users with much higher storage capacities at a lower price.

Recommended Workstation Specialists Solutions for Redshift

Here at Workstation Specialists we have developed 2x tower workstations specifically optimised and configured for GPU rendering workflows in applications such as Redshift guaranteeing you maximum performance for your budget. The WS-E2280G is an Intel Dual Xeon based workstation and the WS-X1180G workstation is an Intel Core i9 frequency enhanced workstation; both of which are capable of fitting 4x high performance graphics cards.

These solutions have been developed specifically to cope with the stresses that GPU rendering workflows put upon a solution, such as the high power requirements and having sufficient airflow to expel all excess heat from the system. Alternatively you may consider a networked GPU rendering approach, taking the strain away from your local workstation and outsourcing that to a remote dedicated GPU render farm. See our rackmount GPU-server options for more details.

Solutions For Redshift