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Best performance rig for UE4?

Hi, looking for help with my new hardware choices.

Basically I want a high performance PC just for UE4 with very large scenes (increased memory for hi-res textures everywhere that the level geometry is). I want a far draw distance which means an immense amount of geometry including a grid of all those terrain vertices = giant GPU memory AND system memory use. So basically a complete beast of a PC, extremely fast. Right now I can’t even run UE4 at 1920x1080 on my current last gen rig. I imagine dual monitors doesn’t make much of a dent in this - not sure I can have a separate GPU for the second desktop. I also want to move to a higher resolution but not 4K, it just doesn’t seem likely for more than a year (I think most people run 1920x1080 still, from a quick reading I’m satisfied with just going a bit over 1920x1080 for now).

As for GPU choice, some might wait for a new AMD/Radeon card. I was thinking either a Titan Z (12GB for large game scenes) or a 980 or dual (maybe 3) 980 cards in SLI. However what I read about SLI (and know about software dev) is worrying:

EDIT: I searched for SLI in UE4
https://answers.unrealengine.com/questions/21746/does-the-ue4-engine-support-sli.html

EDIT: changed specs. See below.

While this is a great setup and will last you a long time, it is also way overkill imho.

UE4 does not have SLI support at this time, I have a single 980 and it runs incredibly well.

If you have that much money to blow, go for it. But as mentioned it is not necessary to get such a beast for UE4 development, that is a higher spec than Epic itself uses in their offices. :wink:

EDIT: Also make sure to get 2 monitors, being able to work on one screen and see the game world on the other is a huge time saver, you can plug in up to 3 monitors at once with a single 980 card.

Yeah, IPS monitors, it’s gonna be fun. Coding on one screen. Well currently I also run Sysinternals Desktops to give me 4 virtual desktops to switch to, so I don’t really need 2 monitors (Coding, reading, music, UE4). But yeah it would be very different to drag stuff across 2 screens… definitely worth the money. I’ve had it before and it was just so amazing compared, it feels much better to work with. I could just switch back and forth (I can run fullscreen videos and switch desktops instantly), so I might not buy another monitor yet actually. But it’s a bit more “frictionless” mentally, yeah… easier…

Alright… I think I’m set on the i7-5960X/DDR4 setup anyway… 8 CPU cores and it’s generally top of high-end tier performance regardless of the lower 3GHz clock speed (not that important). GPU - the R9 295X2 seems superior to most (even Titan Z). And still has an impressive 8GB gpu RAM, while designed for gaming. No SLI needed. Only thing is it gets really hot, and might have other problems in which case I might have to buy a GTX 980. All of this comes at around £3600/$5500 USD total.

I don’t really think it’s overkill for a serious developer - it’s always been an uphill battle trying to get anywhere near realtime responsive graphics, so I’d be extremely glad to be on the right side of the fence there. Dev rigs have to be in front of gaming rigs because of handling all the odds and ends of development, months ahead of game release, with all the debug/hi res geometry before optimization! Being ahead and getting more done with a responsive PC has to be worth the investment - as long as you know what you’re doing with it. And I am really trying to push the limits of what’s possible in current gen games on top of all that. That’s where the 8 cores will come in. I’m thinking of a sort of RTS/simulation game with lots of detail/CPU cost. I’ve tried throwing basic terrain at my current hardware and it’s slow, so I need much more.

Most importantly, from this seller I get 2 years collect & return free for any faulty parts - and I’m allowed to modify it during that time. So I’m not worried about wasting money.
Probably my final rig, but I want the watercooled version of the GPU :
http://i.imgur.com/kh8QbVA.png
Admittedly I should have looked into the actual workings of RAM to be sure… same with TFLOPS ratings on the GPUs and what else is available right now. But I’m satisfied with thinking this is the best possible pc I can buy.

Just want to note this before you go buying a $1500 video card…

When I said SLI isn’t supported, that goes for multiple GPU Radeon cards as well (such as the 295x2), you will not be able to run the second video processor. Look for the best single card (gtx980 currently) and add in SLI with those if you need it in the future. And remember, because the 295x2 has two GPU’s, you only have 4gb of memory usable for the card (4gb memory per gpu, each gpu needs the same data loaded into each memory partition, therefore it only has 4gb usable memory)

Spending $5000 on a development PC is overkill. Don’t know how else to say it. Unless you are running a 4k setup, there is no need for such a beast.

I have a Z97 i5-4670k (overclocked to 4.2ghz) and an ASUS Strix GTX980 4gb and 8gb ddr3-1600 ram, with this setup I never go below 100fps in my dev work, usually it is maxed out at 120fps.

You need to also think of your target audience, if you build a game that works perfectly for you, no one else will be able to play it with the intended settings.

If you are building this as your game machine as well and insane performance is something you crave, then go for it! But in all honesty, you could build two very powerful PC’s for the same price (or lower)

So again, it’s up to you and how much money you have to blow on a pc. :slight_smile:

Thanks for telling me. Well, it looks like and 8GB GTX 980 is coming out this month from what people are saying, so that sounds perfect.

Great, it’s a huge relief to hear that. But I’ll still be on the safe side this time because, well… I’ve always been able to slow down every graphics card I’ve had up until now.

Ah, no, the point is being able to comfortably develop it so that in, say, 1 year… others will have caught up (or I optimize assets to close the gap). Seeing as this takes a lot of time. There’s actually many different ways to “bake down” assets and code functionality into simpler forms later, where the release build picks it up with minimal CPU… a dev PC allows maximum flexibility, detail, memory/CPU which is critical to the design phase. It’s all about the resource use, (for me,) and being able to throw in large textures for every model (and hi poly meshes) is a workflow lifesaver. It’s not overkill if it lets me add everything I need and I’m still at 100FPS - that’s the most ideal scenario actually (saved time is extremely important). Better to be on the safe side if I have the money (tech is always the #1 investment item for game dev, I think, apart from manpower, especially because UE4 is so affordable).

Yeah, I’d definitely go for the speed on your development machine. But consider later putting together a system with the specs of your minimum hardware requirements that you want to target and then you can run tests on that system so that you make sure it runs on the low-end. Should be pretty cheap to put together something like that.

Maybe he’s saying it’s overkill as in… by going so far up in price, I’m not actually getting that much more in performance upgrades at all. And in that case yeah, it doesn’t make much sense actually to upgrade and it’s a thorough waste of money (better to just keep up to date with the gpu). Hence the difference in DDR3 and DDR4 right now, and for the chipset/CPU/motherboards: the graphics card seems to be the place right now where all the better performance can really be gained.

I could just buy the graphics card and see if that’s enough. I’m not going to run out of 8GB RAM right now. But then there’s air flow and needing a big case, I think.

Sure. Level geometry can be finalized, simplified and heavily modified later. Same for textures. This is what I’m talking about having extra speed for while it’s all unoptimized. That’s the difference. But the amount of effects and general high settings would always limit the end user anyway, there’s nothing I could do there apart from optimize geometry and how many things are displayed at once, and then it falls in the realm of general game design. So, as for scaling the final game up to different hardware, it might be as simple as changing the draw distance.

Yes, sorry if I wasn’t all that clear before, but the price was what I was trying to get at. The performance per dollar gains above a certain point don’t really add up in your favor. :slight_smile:

The only issue with RAM is that building lighting (for a game that doesn’t use fully Dynamic Lighting) can take up quite a bit of memory, I am planning to add another 16gb kit to bump it up to 24gb mainly for this reason. As an example, trying to build the lighting for the “LandscapeDemo” prior to version 4.5.1 used 30gb of ram, Epic has machines with 32gb so they never noticed. The latest versions have shrunk this number down to roughly 15gb so it is less of an issue now, but still would cause problems if you have 16gb and other applications running.

Aside from the above noted memory requirements, I have not run into any other issues with my current setup. Hope that helps!