[Beowulf] Movie Editing Requirements

Mark Hahn hahn at physics.mcmaster.ca
Sat Feb 21 20:50:54 EST 2004

> My client uses Adobe After Effects, 3D Max, Maya etc on his PIV HT
> system with 512 DDRAM and a 128 MB Graphic Card.

I would guess that none of this work is done by the graphics card,
so that his performance is strictly dependent on the P4 and the fairly
modest amount of ram he has.

I would guess that most of these applications are fairly memory-intensive,
and not particularly cache-friendly.  I doubt HT would matter in this case,
except that IIRC all HT CPUs are the 'c' model, and thus run with 6.4 GB/s
of dram bandwidth.  I'm sure you already know that 512M probably too low.

> But when he perform some rendering operations, it takes nearly 10-15
> minutes to complete.

if this was linux, I'd advise you to use tools like oprofile, vmstat, etc
to find out where it's spending its time.  since it's only windows, you'll
probably have to resort to watching the disk light, and running that nasty
little windows accessory that tells you about cpu/memory usage.

> He wishes to upgrade his system to dual XEON with more RAM to minimize
> this time delay.

sure.  though he'd almost certainly run faster with a dual-opteron,
since such systems deliver noticably more memory bandwidth and lower latency.

a dual-xeon can actually be slower than a uni P4c system.  it would probably
make sense to talk to him about how his machine and apps are configured first.
for instance, is he actually using HT, and does he notice any performance 
difference if he turns it off?  is his ram dual-bank-PC3200?  any sense of 
how much time is spent on disk IO?

> I want to know whether this will suit his requirments or a cluster is
> just what he needs.

clusters are clearly more scalable, and are widely used in the render/effects
industry.  comparing a pair of P4c's to a single dual-opteron, though,
I have no idea.  I think it would depend on his applications, mainly.

there's no clear answer to price/performance when it comes to clusters of 
duals vs unis.  unis tend to be too large, and in most cases wind up
replicating too many components, especially moving parts, to compete.
I believe most clusters, in any industry, are not unis.

> Please tell me which cluster can suit his requirements i.e.
> Windows/Linux.

windows is the right choice in exactly one situation: when the exact
configuration you need is available off-the-shelf, and you already know how
to use it.

linux (unix in general) is far more robust, easy-to-manage, flexible,
scalable, cheap, etc.  all those TCO studies sponsored by msft consist
of the following astonishing conclusion: if you have windows-only users
and a supply of cheap msce's and are comfortable with the crappy level of 
support that the ms world provides, then indeed windows is cheaper.

> Also are the softwares used by him also available for Linux or not. (If
> the solution suggested is in Linux)

only he can decide that.

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