RTX GPU for 2x Xeon E5-2667 v4 - please advise!

Hey there,

just trying not to waste money :sweat_smile: :

System specs:
I recently got a refurbished Dell workstation with dual Xeon E5-2667 v4 CPUs, but only an elderly Quadro M5000 with 8 GB.

Primary use atm:
I mainly render Archviz, a lot of it with large scale satellite landscape and GeoScatter systems (Alpha Trees, Vegetation/Forestation etc and MaxTrees/Archmodels grass biomes for close range) which I can all render with CPU - within hours.

Projected use:
I need to render animations with GPU for very obvious reasons. Interiors, exteriors. I render exclusively with E-Cycles RTX Pro, but, obviously don’t have an RTX card yet.
ATM, I can render one halfway decent interior still on GPU in about 4 minutes, but I know, E-Cycles is capable of much, much more, seconds, actually.

What RTX card would make sense for me to get? In respect to my current setup.
I only have 1 free PciE 3.0 x16 slot (double slot), the other one is filled with M2 SSDs in a “carrier” card, which I understand I could move out of the way with a riser cable to make room for a triple or quad slot card.

I think getting anything below 16 GB would be a waste, so I’m looking at a 3090 TI, or is that already going overboard?

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I’m sorry to tell you, you already wasted money on this (too) old Dell workstation. Now you’re tied with many limitations. The first thing you should be considered with is whether a huge gpu like the 3090ti would fit inside the Dell case, and 2nd if the power supply is adequate for a 450W monster. My guess is no in both fields. Why did you go for a WS like this in the first place? And I’m curious how much did you spend on it?

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As the other member pointed out, the first thing you should investigate is the power supply. That is the part which will settle your GPU options. If it is 1000-1200W and you only have one PCIE slot, go for the 3090. Another thing to check, is if the power supply supports enough power cables required by the model of GPU you are thinking to purchase. These Dells have proprietary, non modular PSUs and that is the main limiting factor for the upgrade path.

Also, a PCIE riser cable for the GPU will allow you to work around the space limitation of the chassis. Rig it outside the chassis if possible as that will greatly help with the temperatures of the GPU and all the other parts. Usually the air flow in these boxes is not great as components are packed very tightly.

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Another thing to consider, if you are into rendering animations, I would explore the option to have a two GPU set up. Perhaps it is worth sacrificing the M.2 drive for the regular SATA if you can free a second PCIE slot. Two GPUs would allow you to render different frames in parallel. This means you would cut your BVH portion of rendering time in half, which can add up to a massive saving, if your scenes are heavy.

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Well, I spent nothing and it’s sure better than my 12 year old AMD FX machine, comparing certain operations it’s more than 1200% faster. That’s OK for now :sweat_smile: I believe it costs around € 1700 otherwise.

The case has special fixtures for long GPUs and the machin itself. accoring to the manual, handles 2 GPUs at 225W each, 860W PSU.

2 GPUs: depends on the price vs. Render Farm… I just need 180 frames most of the time, and persistent data works with certain projects, for animated trees not so much, of course. I’m faierly new to animation, since I was never able to even think about that, sometimes not even single frames :joy:

In that case, I rest my case…

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One more thing to add, especially for a computer that is so old is that the PSU will degrade over time, so be careful about pushing it too hard.

Another thing to consider for your next gpu is to physically measure how much space you have in your case. These new cards are big and they simply may not fit in your case.

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I can - (theoretically) get a 1300W PSU (original Dell, old new stock for 80-200 bucks) for cheap and, alternatively, get 1-2 used 2080 TI Turbo or FE. I believe that would already make a difference against the Quadro M5000 (a glorified 980GTX).One of those would work with no extra cost, for 2 I should get the 1300W PSU, but then that would amount to approximately 1200 € that could go into a better system later on.

So, as an excuse (since I can reus eit in my other old computers later on), the 2080 would make some sense without too much facepalming on your side? I know it’s SOME wasted money, but I’ll have to spend € 12000 to be eligible for state subsidiaries and that’s gonna take a while :sweat_smile: I’d like to make use of this gift, and at least for Photoshop it’s definitely gonna be good enough later on. Not for Win 11, but I don’t care atm.

@Chuk_Chuk it has metal latches on the opposite side of the case for long GPUs, but of course I’ll measure. I always used tha largest tower available previously for my huge CPU cooler, and that thing is half that size… The PSU (I checked now) has 825 W, should handle an older unit with ease, still, correct?

Why’s that?

Those latches will only be useful if you are buying a custom Dell version of a GPU that is built for that case. Otherwise they are totally useless. I would recommend that at best you ignore them, at worst (depending on how they are located) you treat them as a hindrance to installing your new GPUs

Because the government says it - lowest investment limit. That, of course, would also entail new monitors, mine are 16 years old.

@Chuk_Chuk I believe it’s a standard Quadro atm, but I had to mod the entire thing heavily already. Add fans (external…), make way for SSDs & HDDs, a pain! I, personally, would never buy a ready made WS, that’s like buying Apple

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Buying components with consideration of the future use case is certainly a smart move. Keeping this WS on used parts may be a good idea. Without setting you back too much, it can be a good carry over machine and can be a capable render node for many years to come, once you finally move onto the brand new computer.

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That’s what I’ve been doing since 2005 - always sort of regretting, but this WS does indeed have enough juice at least to stay in service. Plus a 10 bit NVidia card for a 10 bit monitor.

I used to work in sales for many years on the side, always trying to prevent people from making the mistakes I’m now afraid to make, so please bear with me, guys!

May I ask the budgets you’re working to and how you quantify return on investment?

Can you use blender b much mark for example to guide your GPU decision? That coupled with price, PSU and space requirements may answer all you need?