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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What kind of computer do you need if you're using Revit and want to do renderings.

After my recent post about our new advanced Revit rendering class (found here) I've gotten some emails from folks wanting to know what kind of computer requirements are needed to do the renderings we posted. Here are Mark's comments on the computer he's using and what he recommends

This is my current Revit Rendering Box..(by Mark Rothman)

Since Revit is capable of using up to 4 cores for rendering, I went with a mid/high end Quad Core, Intel Core2Quad Q9450 that runs at 2.66Ghz per core although if you’re planning to use 3DS Max for final renderings, the use of a Dual Processor Quad-Core Xeon system is suggested..

In terms of memory, I currently am using a 32bit operating system (XP) that gives me a limit of 4GB (using the 3G switch to take advantage of all 4GB), however if this will be used in a 64bit operating system (Vista 64), the use of 8GB of memory is recommended.

As for a video card, The Nvidia Quadro FX3700 512MB card is the high-end card of choice for both Revit as well as 3DS Max (The Quadro FX1700 is more than enough video card if you’re only going to be using Revit and not 3DS Max)

Some FAQ’s

SLI video: Even on the high-end systems, it’s not really the performance increase you’d want from spending double the price on your already expensive video card choice.. You’ll be better off purchasing the higher-end processor or one step-up in video card for the price savings..

Windows 32bit vs’ 64bit: This is a tough question because it directly relates, not to Revit, but to the other software that you’ll be using on the computer as well.. From 3rd party plug-ins to accounting software, if it’s going to be used on the system, you must make sure that the other software is compatible with the operating system you’ll be installing..

Dual Core or Quad Core processor or Multi-processor dual/quad core Xeon’s: Revit uses “one” processor thread, meaning a dual core 3Ghz processor that runs less than $200 will run Revit’s day-2-day duties will run faster than the Quad-processor, Quad-core Xeon @2.66Ghz that together will run you over $5k.. Now when it comes to renderings, like stated above, Revit does have the ability to access up to 4 cores/threads at a time, meaning the Quad Core 2.6Ghz Q9450 will get through renderings faster than that Dual Core 3Ghz.. Simple answer is this.. If you’re planning to do renderings, Fastest Core2Quad wins.. if you’re using it as a production box, Fastest Core2Duo wins.. Only those people that will be using this rendering box as a dual purpose Revit/3DS Max rendering should even look into the Dual Xeon processor boxes..

Greg's Note: When the 64 bit version of Revit is released, we will readdress this. We're hoping they'll release it soon, so you may want to factor that into your future hardware purchase.


Chris Needham,  July 31, 2008 at 3:32 AM  

It might we worth qualifying the difference in limitations between versions - multi-threading rendering is supported in Revit 2008 (with Accurender), but not in Revit 2009. While Mental Ray is (considered by many) a superior rendering engine, the current state of the way it has been integrated still leaves a little bit on the Autodesk to-do list - including multi-core support, and general speed...

Also note that on a 32-bit OS, even with the 3Gb switch, you can't access all 4Gb - it varies slightly but is usually about 3.25Gb.

If anyone can refute any of the above, please do so!

Pracownia Architektoniczna July 31, 2008 at 11:24 AM  

i am pretty sure that multi-threading rendering is supported in Revit 2009. I am owner of dual quadcore Xeon (2x2,5Ghz). During rendering proces all cores (8) work together. Unfortunately according to Modo 302 rendering engine, mental ray in Revit 2009 seams very, very slow. Best regards

Gregory Arkin August 1, 2008 at 7:30 AM  

2009 is able to handle 4 cores for renderings only...

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