Build of the Week: i9 Revit Workstation

This week, we had a request come in for Revit workstations designed to handle large models yet be as cost-effective as possible. The budget we had to work with was around R28 000. As you can tell from the title, we were aiming for an i9 Revit machine at that price point… Challenge accepted! 🙂 

The client made it clear that they work predominantly in the MEP field, and they don’t use add-on programs for visualisation like Enscape. This would normally require spending more on the GPU than with just pure Revit modeling and rendering.

CPU

Revit is a program that scales with both CPU frequencies and cores. 

Frequencies

At the time of this build, Intel was in the lead when it came to multicore consumer CPUs. This is why we we chose to aim squarely for the 10900K.

Not only did we reach our i9 target, we overclocked it to 5Ghz. Overclocking is a process that involves fine tuning of cooling and voltage, to get the highest speeds possible. Many PC enthusiasts are familiar with this task, not quite as many have our level of expertise. Our lead technician, Pierre, is an ex-competitive overclocker. With hundreds of successful builds under his belt, he put the water cooling system in this build to good use. 

This speed gave us the balanced performance we were looking for in this 20-core i9 Revit workstation. Below is a simple comparison showing “before” and “after” overclocking benchmark results using PC Mark – a world renowned benchmarking software package which helps give you real-world performance numbers on your computer for comparative purposes (Download it for free and give it a try yourself – post your numbers and spec in the comments below!)

Benchmark: Stock

Benchmark: Overclocked

As can be seen, the above overclock not only increases the overall system score, but also reduces the amount of time programs take to open, the speed at which the computer boots up and the general functioning of the workstation.

Cores

We also did another quick test involving a basic, high quality Revit render. Despite what one might think, rendering in Revit is handled almost exclusively by the CPU, and can also scale according to the number of cores the CPU has. So in other words, when it comes to rendering in Revit, the more cores the better!

Although this particular CPU being used is advertised as “5Ghz” by Intel, what the majority of people don’t know is that in stock form, this is only achieved on only 1 of the 8 cores.

So when it comes to the standard, stock clock speeds of the Intel Core i9, this would be 3.6Ghz. It can bump one processor core to 5GHz as mentioned above, four cores to 4.8GHz, and all eight to 4.6GHz (if you are lucky!) – on 8 cores we normally only see 4.2Ghz in stock form at best). If a big task is running on one core, that one kicks up to 5GHz, while the others slow down to minimize the heat output. Rendering in Revit for example drops the total CPU speed all the way down to 4.1Ghz on all cores in stock form.

Our optimised and overclocked Vulcan CPU used in this build on the other hand, has the CPU cores in sync. This has you working on normal modeling single core tasks at 5Ghz and rendering at 4.7-4.8Ghz on all cores, all the time! This can be achieved safely and reliably thanks to many years of technical know-how as well as the latest in CPU cooling technologies used by Modena Computers.

Below is the before and after render times for the stock VS overclocked Vulcan workstation.

Revit Render: Stock

Total Render Time: 0:00:36:55

Revit Render: Overclocked

Total Render Time: 0:00:30:31

Remember that this was just 1 high quality still-image render. If you were rendering an animation at the same settings, your total time saved for a 30 second video animation clip at 25 frames per second for example would be a whopping 75 hours saved! That’s over 3 days less! It begs the question, how much is your time worth to you? This type of increase in time saved will easily help pay for your workstation in no time at all.

GPU

We find Revit predominantly “bottlenecked” by CPUs, and less-so on the GPU side of things. This makes the GTX1660Ti 6Gb a great card for Revit modeling purposes. Buy using a mid-range GPU like this, we perfectly optimised the budget for this i9 Revit build.

Keep in mind that you’ll still need a powerful GPU if you plan on using VR, or add-on programs like Enscape as mentioned. It worked out well for us that this was not part of the planned workflow for this machine.

RAM

To get the most out of this top-tier CPU, we installed a massive 64GB RAM. 

During our in-depth consultation process, we found that the projects our clients’ projects could get quite large. Large Revit models can consume a lot of RAM. 64GB was the safest option to handle these large models.

The CPU wasn’t the only part of the system that was overclocked either. As with all Vulcan and Hydra computers, the RAM was overclocked and optimised for peak performance. Naturally, this workstation is backed by our 3 year warranty and LIFETIME hardware support, which is standard for our machines. 

Conclusion

Considering the budget we had in place, we were very happy with our results. An i9 Revit machine under even R 30 000 was an ambitious goal, and we’re proud to have achieved it.

We would love to hear from you regarding your requirements. Please feel free to get in touch with us for a free consultation.

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