In the studio we have a variety of systems: Maqina Xeon workstations, Dell Xeon blades, off the shelf Intel I7’s, older workstations from Big Buck Bunny and our Justa-Cluster i7 render nodes so we thought it would be interesting to compare render times.
The tests below are not as comprehensive as they might be, but since we also use these systems on the farm and as artists workstations we decided to keep it simple.
Here is a complete scene from the movie bundled up so you may test blender on your own systems and compare render times with our studio systems.
Being a final shot this includes everything: sintel, bamboo environment, animation, textures, compositing etc.
Open 5.2b_comp.blend and press render.
Or on the command line…
blender --background ./scene_05.2b_bundle/05.2b_comp.blend --render-frame 65
This blend file will only render correctly in the render branch of blender which can be found on graphicall, these tests were made with svn revision 29834 of blender.
Included times for one of our test renders. This file is not available for download.
The Scene shows a checken flying: 1024×4380, Full simples (5), raytracing, environment lighting & compositing.
We are using 64bit Linux – Debian Squeeze for the Justa-Cluster & Ubuntu 10.04 for everything else. I like to keep configurations similar to avoid glitches & incompatibilities.
I did some quick tests with clang (llvm based C/C++ compiler) and found if anything it’s slightly slower then GCC, however my tests were only with ~3 different test renders and roughly equivalent compiler flags.
I attempted to install Intel C++ compiler but didn’t manage to get the redhat packages installed on Ubuntu (needed 32bit stdc++ libs for 64bit compiler at which point I gave up).
Typically Blender developers discourage using any optimization known to be risky. For Big Buck Bunny we were more conservative because we wanted blender to run with minimal problems but for Durian Brecht and I agreed to try more aggressive optimization flags. There have been some occasions when we hit bugs in the optimized builds that were not in debug build but often these are caused by very very big numbers or NAN’s where the result isn’t useful anyway.
Here are the flags we use to build blender.
-O2 -mtune=native -fomit-frame-pointer -msse -msse2 -msse3 -ftree-vectorize -finline-functions -funswitch-loops -pipe --fast-math
I have to admit to being a bit of a ricer when it comes to setting up the compiler flags, Ideally we’d test how each flag effects performance however this is time consuming to set up.
Maqina X5550QC 3D Workstation (2x Quad Xeon’s X5550 @ 2.67GHz, 8 cores total, 24gig ram)
Render Time 16 threads (hyper thread): 27min, 03sec
Quick Render: Render Time 16 threads (hyper thread): 2min, 4sec
Dell Power Edge r410 (2x Quad Xeon’s L5520 @ 2.27GHz, 8 cores total, 24gig ram)
Render Time 16 threads (hyper thread) 27min, 47sec
Render Time 2 Blender’s running at once, 16 threads each 44min, 32sec, (amounts to 22min, 16sec per frame)
Render Time 2 Blender’s running at once, 8 threads each 41min, 10sec, (amounts to 20min, 35sec per frame)
Quick Render: Render Time 16 threads (hyper thread): 2min, 45sec
Justa-Cluster (1x Intel i7 930 2.80GHz, 4 cores total, 6gig ram)
Render Time 8 threads (hyper thread): 33min, 36sec
Quick Render: Render Time 8 threads (hyper thread): 2min, 24sec
No-Brand System (1x Intel i7 920 @ 2.67GHz, 4 cores total, 12gig ram)
Render Time 8 threads (hyper thread): 34min, 35sec
Render Time 4 threads: 42min, 12sec
Quick Render: Render Time 8 threads (hyper thread) 2min, 35sec
Maqina C6850DC 3D Workstation (Quad Core2 Q6700 @ 2.66GHz, 8gig ram)
Render Time 4 threads: 54min, 03sec
Quick Render: Render Time 4 threads: 3min, 35sec
older system used for Big Buck Bunny
- for the test file you might not be able to render with less then 4 gig of ram.
- the render farm software is not currently released but it will be released with all the other scripts and utilities with the production files.
- Ton was interested in seeing times for quick test renders so I ran one of our fastest test files on all the systems so I have included times above.