GPU rendering has become extremely popular over the last few years. And this is no surprise, thanks to the dramatic advancement of GPU capabilities. A well-optimised Workstation tailored for a GPU-accelerated render engine such as Redshift can produce highly detailed renders in real-time.
Maxon Redshift integrates perfectly with many industry leading 3D design applications making it an ideal choice for Architects, Product Designers and Animators to bring their projects to life. One of the main benefits of GPU rendering over CPU rendering is the potential for incredible render times.
To achieve the best render times possible, it requires the right computing hardware. So how do you optimise a computer Workstation to get the most from Maxon Redshift?
Best Graphics Cards For Redshift?
Because Redshift is a GPU renderer, unsurprisingly, your systems graphics card configuration has the most significant impact on performance in Redshift. By choosing the right graphics cards, you will be well on your way to getting the render times you desire.
There are currently few options available to Redshift users today, which can make things confusing. NVIDIA GeForce RTX, which is their consumer option and professional NVIDIA Workstation graphics cards. Generally, NVIDIA GeForce RTX offers users a bit more bang for your buck. Still, the professional options are ideal when compatibility and driver optimisations within professional applications are crucial to you.
Furthermore, the amount of VRAM the card has is also important because it determines how big the scene you want to render can be. If your scene is larger than the amount of memory available on the graphics card, Redshift supports using the systems RAM to compensate; however, this negatively impacts performance. Professional NVIDIA Graphics cards often have more VRAM than their consumer alternatives, so they will benefit you if you plan to render extensive scenes.
Redshift is also very good at utilising multiple GPUs simultaneously, so installing many graphics cards into your system is a great way to boost performance further. When doing so, sufficiently cooling your system becomes very important. NVIDIA GeForce RTX cards are often not designed well to work with other cards. Cards with a single fan that expel the heat directly out the back of the system, known as blower cards, are the best choice for this. They stack nicely and work very comfortably in multi GPU Workstations. Professional NVIDIA Graphics cards are all designed with this cooler, but there are also some NVIDIA GeForce RTX options.
Unfortunately, if you wanted to use AMD graphics cards in your Redshift Workstation, this is currently not possible except for some Apple Macs. Maxon has stated, however, that they have started development to support AMD GPUs, and hopefully, we should see this in the future.
Processors for Redshift
When selecting a processor for your application, usually the two key factors to consider are frequency and the number of cores the processor has. In the case of Redshift, there is also a 3rd—the number of PCIe lanes your processor can support. PCIe lanes will directly affect the amount of graphics cards you can put in your system. The more graphics cards you have, the better render times you will achieve in Redshift.
With this in mind, AMD Ryzen Threadripper Workstation is a solid choice. These Workstations offer a great balance of multi-threaded performance and single-threaded performance, making them a safe option for any other applications you may use. But more importantly, regarding Redshift, they allow you to install up to 4 graphics cards.
Another option is to use an Intel Core X-Series based workstation. This Intel-based alternative also offers the user a very flexible platform with support for up to 4 GPUs. If users wish to keep the price a little lower and only desire to use a single GPU, AMD Ryzen and Intel Core Workstations are ideal.
Redshift only uses a few CPU cores in the rendering process and, as a result, requires high clock speeds (frequency) to perform at its best. High clock speeds will ensure that the system is very responsive with low loading times, and users will experience snappy viewports. Additionally, our testing has shown that a CPU clock speed can directly affect GPU performance. Therefore we advise you to select a processor that delivers fast clock speeds.
It is also critical that when choosing any Workstation hardware, you consider the requirements of all the professional applications you plan on using. To help with this, we have many helpful guides on our website. Alternatively, contact one of our representatives who will be happy to assist you.
How Much Memory Does Redshift Need?
The amount of RAM needed will vary from user to user, depending on your project size. Finding a balance is necessary because not having enough RAM will severely reduce the performance of your system. However, having more than you require is unnecessary and costly without improving the performance of your Workstation.
We generally recommend 32GB for most Redshift users because this should offer plenty of capacity to render even very complex scenes. It is also essential to consider any other software applications you run to meet their requirements as well. If you require more than 32GB, rest assured that our systems can support enough memory to meet your needs.
Which Storage Drive Should You Get?
The highest performance drives available today are M.2 NVMe based Solid State Drives (SSDs). We recommend to our customers that they are to be used as the primary storage device and are ideal for installing your Operating System and Applications. SSD’s ensure your system will boot as quickly as possible, keeps your system as responsive as possible, and reduces your application/project loading times.
You may choose to install a mechanical Hard Disk Drive (HDD) alongside the SSD as a long term storage drive. HDD’s are much slower than SSD, but they provide users with much higher storage capacities at a lower price.
Recommended Workstation Specialists Solutions for Redshift
At Workstation Specialists, we have developed multiple tower workstations specifically optimised and configured for GPU rendering workflows. You are guaranteed to experience maximum performance for your budget in applications such as Redshift when using one of these systems.
AMD Ryzen Threadripper and Intel Core X-Series based Workstations that contain multiple graphics cards are perfect for Redshift. Workstation Specialists Quad GPU solutions are developed specifically to cope with the stresses GPU rendering workflows put on your system. Our Redshift Workstations are designed to handle the high power demands and have 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.