"OctaneRender is the world’s first and fastest GPU-accelerated, unbiased, physically correct renderer. What does that mean? It means that Octane uses the graphics card in your computer to render photo-realistic images super fast."
It's 2014 and i׳ve decided to make the move and start rendering with Octane completely (I was using Vray for my main render engine till now). to make this happen i had to build/buy really strong PC that will handle the multi GPU׳s & Octane properly. My first thought (inspired by Matt Frodsham) was to buy a regular PC, find four 780's and stick them in there, but then Tom Glimps posted this article about Sebastien (big shout out to you booth!) watercooled 4x780 rig and value based GPU in general. So i started to learn this area and i understood that there are a lot of variables in the equation of a strong PC for GPU rendering. like good airflow & case, vram, cpu lanes, etc etc... Eventually i׳ve contacted Sebastian and together we build a crazy machine for me and shipped it from Poland to Israel. Sebastian is a great guy that knows a lot (!) and with his help i now got a wonderful machine. In this short blog post i׳ll share with you the stuff that i׳ve learned during this process.
First of all let's talk about the most important thing, the GPU Cards - For better understanding of the technical & value side please read Tom׳s article i׳ve mentioned above. But as i see it now days we got 2 good options: GeForce GTX TITAN X or GeForce GTX 980 Ti, And the equation is pretty simple. Octanbench of both cards is kinda similar (titan scores a bit better), only titan got 12gb of vram and 980ti got 6gb. Now is extra 6gb of vram worth extra 300$-400$ for a card? If You need 12GB & looking for long term investment - go for X, if less vram is an option & you can make some optimisations - go for 980ti. simply evaluate your needs & don't blow the budget for things you don't need. I went for 2 Titans.
Next is the Case & GPU temperatures. Starting with a new case it׳s very important. Pretty big one with good airflow and good fans. I took the Phanteks Enthoo Primo. The Phanteks is a great value/WC performance and costs around 200EUR. Also with case like that & 2 GPU's - you can stay only with air cooling (literally because you have enough space between the cards to keep them cold) and with 3 GPU's and more you have to go with water-cooling and it adds another 1-1.5K to the budget. so it's also something to think of. I decided now to take 2 strong cards and save the water-cooling investment, Then when i׳ll decide that i need more power i can add 2 more titans.
There was even a way to make my computer very quiet (for night working, etc). I removed all the Phantex fans and added new be quite! fans. To control the spins i needed a fan controller with 30W per channel - only Lamptron produces them. Now i can manually adjust the RPM. 600-800 RPM instead of 1500 RPM and you'd hear absolutely nothing.
Did you heard about those NVMe drives connected through M.2 interface SSD׳s? Those SSD׳s are 5 times faster them standard SSD. My m.2 drive writes up to 2.2gb/s! that's crazy. listen to what JJ have to say.
CPU with at least 40 pcie lanes is important, i.e 5930k (Xeon is expensive and if are not going crazy with cpu rendering it׳s a waste of money). For that pcie lanes - you'll hardly notice any difference for now, but on the long run as optimisations will it will be useful. In theory i will be able to plug so much cards, that would give me nearly 1000points in OctaneBench.
And if you wonder, this is the final specification:
CASE: PHANTEKS Enthoo Primo Big-Tower white
MOBO: ASRock X99 WS
GPU: 2x EVGA GeForce GTX Titan X
CPU: Intel Core i7-5930K
COOLER: Enermax LiqTech 240
PSU: Super Flower Leadex 80 Plus Titanium 1600 Watt
RAM: DDR4-2400 32 GB (4x8GB)
SSD: 512GB Samsung SM951 SSD, PCIe M.2
HDD: 2x WD Red 2 TB
other: 12 extra fans, fire wire PCIe card
Future expansion options:
4x TITAN X
up to 10 HDDs/SSDs
2x480 +2x240 radiators
2xD5 pumps, reservoir, fittings and tubing
Next purchase is superwide monitor like the LG 34UM95 :) and i׳m done!
As your surely understand already this machine was bought almost exclusively for rendering in Octane so if you interested the Octane Bench score: 300 approximately (after some MSI AF Overclocking). In practical terms, it's really really fast: Most of my frames finish at 2-5 sec on full HD.
And last words about Octane in general - I just love the way this render engine works and especially the way it׳s integrated inside c4d. Ahmet, the developer of the c4d plugin did amazing job integrating the plugin into c4d interface. The material node editor is dope, live viewer works great, and plugin is very stable right now on Version 2.24.0. Only thing left is to wait for V.3.