WWDC setup


Since gWHIZ asked so nicely, here is a quick summery of the WWDC setup (list price as of today):

  •  9 MacPro, ATI x1900 XT, 4 GB, 2×2 2.66GHz: $31.023
  • 19 30-inch Cinema Display: $34.181
  • 18 Vesa Mounts: $522
  • Gigabit Switch and Cabling:  I don’t know what was used, but it’s cheap nowadays
  • Custom-built plywood wall: priceless!

The networking was probably the weakest link in the setup. All machines were on the same network. Optimisation is possible by putting the machines into two networks, both connected to the same frontend machine. Another optimisation can be implemented in Chromium by having a binary tree to submit the GL command stream.

Some money can be saved on the render nodes, since I don’t believe all the RAM is needed. Likewise, profiling might show that slower processors are sufficient. 

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2 Responses to “WWDC setup”

  1. gwhiz Says:

    How much of your performance comes from the CPU v. from the ATI x1900 cards?

    Just curious to know if this can be reduced in cost by using older (ie. less expensive) G5’s. I suspect it’s hitting the CPU… Maybe you’ll tell me I’m wrong.

  2. eile Says:

    gwhiz: We haven’t done any profiling on this setup due to time constraints. Extrapolating from the application behaviour I suspect the biggest bottleneck is the network. After that, it’s hard to tell if the CPU or GPU is the bottleneck. I suspect that for well-behaved applications (using VBO’s), the bottleneck is most likely the fillrate of the GPU, for network-heavy applications (immediate mode, lots of updates) the CPU unpack/dispatch might become a bottleneck. In any case, you should be able to use G5’s, since they are fine machines. We hardly use more than one core, so you don’t need all the multicore-ness of MacPro’s. Now, with Equalizer this might be different… 🙂

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