Overclocking in Business PC's (drafting)

Discussion in 'Business & Enterprise Computing' started by NSanity, Apr 30, 2012.

  1. NSanity

    NSanity Member

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    Wait, wait, wait - hear me out.

    So once upon a time our wonderful friends at Autodesk created a program called Inventor. Inventor is a pretty sweet program, lots of Drafties *really* like it (or their drafting house/clientele is all in bed with Inventor already - thus no real choice to leave). The problem is, its a pretty resource hungry program.

    * It will whore through memory on large assemblies - I've seen to chew through 32GB ram Sandy Bridge 2600K based systems. Currently building a 64gb x79 setup for a client, will report in on performance and utilization later.

    * Because its a component based modeling system (each component in a project is a single file) - it loves IOPS. SSD('s) are a must. I also plan on comparing to an OCZ Revo 3 X2 Maxiops - just for good measure.

    * Graphics wise, its not bad. Some people are saying no real differences between say a GTX 260 and a GTX 560. And being that in 2005 they moved to DirectX from OpenGL - there is no real reason to use Quadro's anymore.

    Now it comes to CPU.

    Despite being this an all encompassing, resource destroying application - its single threaded for the most part (Finite Element Analysis and Drawing creation will load up a multi-core system)

    Yes. Single threaded. With Decent, notable performance gains every .2ghz.

    So I've noticed that Intel will now warrant Overclocked CPU's (roughly $35 gives you a once off CPU replacement warranty if you blow by intel's design spec's).

    Well what do you think? Experience for Inventor specs is also welcome.

    Background for people - Autodesk Inventor - Support for Multicore Systems

     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2012
  2. koma_white

    koma_white Member

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    If it's a minor OC i see no harm, but if it's a minor OC then is it really worth the effort?
    If it's a major OC, then think of the potential cost to the company if the machine becomes unstable. If you can trust auto-saves then go for it, but in my opinion, heavy overclocking to the point of compromising stability isn't welcome in a commercial environment.
     
  3. KriiV

    KriiV Member

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    This.

    Overclocking does shorten the life span of components. A minor overclock would definitely do no harm though but of course time and care should be taken to do it properly.
     
  4. gords

    gords Oh deer!

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    I'd be surprised if you can actually overclock OEM workstations!
     
  5. bsbozzy

    bsbozzy Member

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    Plenty of OCAUers run overclocked machines for years without issues, i know of some Q6600's running as servers 24/7 @~4Ghz that have been running for years without issues. If you keep them cool they should be ok.

    From the original post it doesn't seem they are OEM builds.
     
  6. chunksoul

    chunksoul Member

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    the problem is getting them stable.

    Personally i think in a good airconditioned office and tonnes of stability testing first i think it's fine.

    however you need good circulation around the case etc.
     
  7. admiralranga

    admiralranga Member

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    Not entirely on topic but depending on file size, spare ram and the users is it worth setting up ramdisks to store the projects?
     
  8. koma_white

    koma_white Member

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    The longevity side of overclocking i personally think isn't an issue. When the average usable life cycle of a CPU or GPU is 2-3 years, then silicon migration really doesn't factor into the equation. Thermal failure is a far more real and immediate problem and with contemporary multicore overclocked chips, the difference between a happy workstation and a dead one can be 2 months worth of dust build-up in an un-maintained system.
    Just like with engines, you can push them as hard as you want, but if you don't maintain them based on the level of performance you are demanding then they will become unreliable and eventually fail.

    Instability in a business PC simply isn't acceptable.

    Look at the cost v. benefit v. risk/potential loss. Is the additional productivity of a marginally faster system going to outweigh the costs associated with equipment failure causing a staff member to be without a system for at least the rest of the working day. Lets say 6 billable hours @ $120/hr = $720. For less than that amount of money you could up-spec a workstation from a run of the mill $200 i5-2500 to an $600 i7-3930K which would easily match even a moderately overclocked i5-2500k.

    I will now admit that my previous business workstation was an overclocked AMD 1090T. I did use it for CAD/rendering/Ps/video editing and the additional 20-30% performance boost meant a usable increase in productivity. The reason i did overclock it is because i was the sole IT provider in the company and as such i would be the one maintaining the systems, cleaning out the dusk bunnies and fixing it if/when it went wrong. ;)
     
  9. OP
    OP
    NSanity

    NSanity Member

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    They aren't and haven't for years. Its not a question of reliability of a Xeon/ECC/Quadro setup, its sheer performance.

    When a $14k HP z800 machine gets trounced by a $3k Sandy Bridge PC, its not really a problem having a few spares lying around and still coming out on top - both in reliability and lost drafting hours. Quadro's still die, and having a $3k card sitting on the shelf that is slower than a $250 one isn't good business. Not to mention its still a 3 week wait on a Quadro unless you pay an even greater premium to Dell/HP

    Checking out the Autodesk forums, pretty much all the top contributors are using X58, Z68 and now X79 setups - a lot of them are overclocking to get performance.

    Agreed. I'm thinking mild stuff - pegging a 2600K at 4.5-4.8ghz under a good aftermarket all in one cooler (H100 or similar).

    Problem is these guys draft 8-11 hours a day and between about 8 of them, kill a video card a month.

    Can't get enough ram into a Box to cover Inventor *AND* a ram disk.

    Inventor pretty much crams everything into ram (and has a delightful memory leak to boot) as it is. That said it's probably worth quoting a Xeon Workstation board that will support > 64GB VS X79 with a MAXIOPS PCIE SSD if there is advantage to even greater io than an SSD.

    A $2000 Xeon E5-2690 2.9GHz will not have a scratch on the 2500k at stock. On clockspeed alone its behind, let alone the additional burden of ECC ram.

    Read the OP, this is a *single* threaded app for about 80% of their workload. Producing drawings and FEA can be done on a spare machine that no-one is drafting on (which they currently do). MOAR CORES is not the answer here. Turbo Boost helps but that taps out around 3.9ghz.

    Yes, downtime is costly - but we have spares of everything sitting there waiting to go in.

    To make it clearer, these guys spend far more on licensing per seat than they do on a PC. They've done the whole "buy an Autodesk approved workstation thing" and they choke - harder than the $2400 SB systems they have and reliability is roughly the same. These aren't office workstations surfing the web and driving Outlook.

    Overclocking obviously throws another volatile variable into the mix, but we've got plenty of people on here folding (both CPU/GPU) with heavily overclocked machines for long extended periods of time - so it clearly can be done.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2012
  10. Alfonzo

    Alfonzo Member

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    I honestly wouldn't bother in a business environment. The extra support that you might be bringing on the IT dept...

    I'd push for better specs versus tinkering with stable clocks.
     
  11. OP
    OP
    NSanity

    NSanity Member

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    Better spec's don't exist.
     
  12. Alfonzo

    Alfonzo Member

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    I'm curious now, what specs are you running? :) I read earlier they aren't OEM builds, how did you justify going down that path?
     
  13. damo13579

    damo13579 Member

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    if overclocking increases productivity enough then it should make up for any downtime anyway :thumbup:
     
  14. OP
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    NSanity

    NSanity Member

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    2011-era Machines are SB 2600's, Z68, 32GB ram, GTX 560's. Someone convinced them that a pair of 7200rpm drives in Raid0 would help :confused::rolleyes::thumbdn:. I've demo'd SSD's and they are retrofitting all the 2011 machines with those.

    2012 Machine spec at this stage is SB-E 3930K, X79, 64GB Ram, GTX 560's - I'll have one built for wednesday to bench against the 2011 machines. Really the move for this is ram though, as stated they've already bumped into the 32GB limits before.

    I'll also be demoing high-end Revo Drives vs SSD's. Anywhere we can get performance for these guys, they will pay for it.

    I'm not responsible for getting them on consumer hardware - and whilst i'm the biggest advocate of T1 vendor hardware for high $/hr workloads (servers, etc) particularly when it comes to warranties etc.

    However the big thing with Servers is that its just not practical to keep spares onsite, on the shelf. These guys are already doing that. The project these guys have jumped on is pretty massive.

    I've asked their software vendor for assistance in looking into Inventor performance bottlenecks, their answer is to buy Xeon workstations - but the Autodesk forums say its a good way to piss upto $10k up the wall for worse performance.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2012
  15. chunksoul

    chunksoul Member

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    the problem is getting them stable.

    Personally i think in a good airconditioned office and tonnes of stability testing first i think it's fine.

    however you need good circulation around the case etc.
     
  16. cbb1935

    cbb1935 Guest

    Is there a reason why you aren't using Xeon processors for Inventor??

    We've got a client running 3D fire simulations on multistory buildings (it's crazy sh*t).

    They've only got 1 machine running it, and it was NOT cheap. Circa $25k build.

    Running dual Xeon 5690's on the ASUS Z8PE-D18 board, with 48GB of RAM (24GB to each processor). Optioned up with the ASUS SAS controller running 4 x Constellations in RAID 10

    Sure it does the job, but cost vs performance is not great.

    ......

    For smaller stuff in Revit/Inventor you can get away with the i7 2600's cranked up with RAM, but anything where it starts really pushing the boundaries or there are multiple components, the Xeons leave the i7's for dead.

    Can't wait to get my hands on the new i7 Series 3 / E7 Xeon processors. Haven't seen them out here yet but on paper damn they look impressive.

    =================

    As for overclocking, I really wouldn't bother. If you are pushing the machine and memory hard as it is, last thing you need is a device already on the edge being pushed even harder.
     
  17. OP
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    NSanity

    NSanity Member

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    Because Inventor for drafting doesn't give a shit how many cores you have.

    Autodesk Inventor - Support for Multicore Systems

    What software is *actually* doing the lifting? Because its probably not inventor.

    If you are using Inventor - 11 cores are doing nothing, the 1 Core that is, can only touch 24GB of that ram, and a single SATA2 ssd will kick the shit out of that IO System.

    Did you think you actually got any performance for dollars there?

    Revit is Multi-threaded. Inventor is not.

    The CPU is doing nothing really besides maxing out turbo boost. Yeah, the memory is maxed out, but I need to do more testing to see if its actually being thrashed.

    A pair of E5-2690's with ~200+GB of ram will probably make you all moist (and smoke the shit out of your 5690's IF they are actually are doing something), IF you have the application capable of using 16 real cores. If your application only uses ONE core, then it probably doesn't excite you in the slightest.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2012
  18. dr_deathy

    dr_deathy Member

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    so really the only advantage of going 2011 is quad channel memory, may as well get the cheaper 3820 quadcore if its not going to use the cores.

    I would also get a push down cooler, you really need to keep the VRM cool a massive mistake a lot of OCers make and its esp important with socket 2011.
     
  19. cbb1935

    cbb1935 Guest

    Shit eh? I'm suprised by that because I always thought Inventor would be multi-threaded.

    The big beast only does Revit processing with a few fluid and fire dynamic programs on it. It also acts as Revit Server for a few other workstations.

    One thing though, if you are saying it's maxing out ram, it won't make a difference overclocking the machine. Whats the pagefile doing when they are crunching RAM? They aren't maxxing that out are they?

    I'm not as au fait with Inventor as Revit, can you (like Revit) run it from a Server and have it do the brunt of the work for you (and therefore lessen the load on the workstations) ?


    The problem is the software then. I'm *really* surprised about the fact it won't fully use multicores. Massive oversight.
     
  20. OP
    OP
    NSanity

    NSanity Member

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    I'm not even sure the bandwidth helps, I know the capacity does though.

    3820 removes the ability to overclock doesn't it? Locked multi.
     

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