Best Workstation For Redshift
So you are interested in finding the Holy Grail that is a workstation solution capable 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 are going to need plenty of GPU power. But first, you will need a well-rounded, optimised solution that is capable of supporting all these GPU’s. 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 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 be able to achieve in Redshift.
With this in mind, an Intel Dual Xeon solution is a solid choice. The two processors working together generally provide plenty of expandability capable of supporting multiple graphics cards.
Another option is to use an Intel Core i9 based workstation. However, you must be careful as this solution does not have the capabilities to support more than 2x graphics cards at full speed on its own. When combined with the right kind of motherboard containing additional technologies, it can stretch the processor’s capabilities to support 4x graphics cards at full speed. This technique is well tried and tested and is how we achieve such high GPU performance from our Frequency Enhanced quad GPU workstations.
Redshift only uses a few CPU cores in the rendering process and as a result, requires high clockspeeds (frequency) to perform at its best. High clockspeeds will ensure that the system is very responsive with low loading times, and users will experience snappy viewports. Additionally, we have found via extensive testing that CPU clockspeed has a direct effect on GPU performance. Therefore we advise you to select a Xeon processor with a high clockspeed or an Intel Core i9 professionally overclocked solution from our Frequency Enhanced Workstation range.
Which Graphics Cards Are Best For Redshift?
Once you have a system configuration in mind with strong foundations, you can now consider GPU configurations to get the most out of your application 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 high-end card for GPU rendering. Make sure that your Redshift projects will fit on a single graphics cards memory (VRAM) else; unfortunately, your renders will not work. At the time of writing Redshift says, 2GB VRAM as the minimum required, and the recommended is 8GB+ VRAM.
NVIDIA Quadro Or NVIDIA Geforce Graphics for Redshift?
Both these solutions will work just fine for Redshift. If Redshift is your primary application, then we recommend NVIDIA Geforce graphics cards because they are generally higher performing at a lower cost. If you are likely to use other professional applications such as Autodesk 3D Studio Max OR Maya, then Quadro is definitely recommended for performance and stability.
Alternatively, you could opt for a mixed configuration such as NVIDIA Quadro for the Display and some additional NVIDIA GeForce cards dedicated to GPU Rendering tasks. 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. You must find a balance to the amount of memory you need because not having enough RAM will severely reduce the performance of your system. Having more than required, however, will cost you a lot of money and will not improve the performance of your Workstation at all. We generally recommend 32GB for most Redshift users because this should offer plenty of capacity to render even very complex scenes. You should also consider that other software applications you run may 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 to comfortably fit 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 an SSD, but 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 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.
Intel Dual Xeon and Intel Core i9 based Workstations that contain four graphics cards are perfect for Redshift. Workstation Specialists Quad GPU solutions have been 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. See our rackmount GPU-server options for more details.