In part 1 of this we will be covering what we believe is the “Ultimate” Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve on Linux setup. If you like in part 2 we will show you how to configure your own setup in an in depth guide covering all the CLI commands needed for you to get the system up and running.
Blackmagic not to long ago announced that DaVinci Resolve will be available to everyone now and not just the Advanced Panel purchasers, We have configured around 10 system so far for Advanced Panel users and since the announced plan to release it to the Studio dongle we thought we would open our configuration for others. Do note that on Linux under any licence you DO require a Decklink card for audio output, has always been the case and will not change, Although a simple Decklink 4K mini monitor will do the job and comes in at under $300.
All in one Storage & Compute unit is the main goal for this system.
2x Intel Xeon E5-2699 v4 (44 Core – 88 Threads)
128Gb DDR4 2400P
2x Intel DC S3610 Enterprise 400Gb Boot Drives (Mirror)
2x Intel DC P3600 Enterprise 1.6TB NVMe SSD
6x 4TB NL-SAS 12Gb/s 7.2k
1x GTX 1080 ti 11Gb GDDR5X (GUI + Compute)
3x GTX 1070 8Gb GDDR5 (Compute)
Decklink 4K Mini Monitor
The system configuration for this is for RED 6k & 8K footage. We know for a fact this system can handle RED 6K Stereo with quite a complex node tree in Resolve.
GPU wise we still feel the GTX 1070 offers the best price to performance of them all, Anything higher offers a diminishing return on investment to compute power, This goes for most applications and not just DaVinci Resolve. So we recommend on a multi GPU system to use the GTX 1070’s we have 2 units in production handling 8K RED footage with a similar configuration as above.
We won’t be covering chassis’ in depth, As with every user this can be different and wouldn’t change the configuration at all. You could go with a Rack or Tower all would equal the same end result. Some chassis configuration that could be used and the 3 we have used are:
Tower / Rack: Supermicro 7048GR-TR
Where’s the RAID card?
Glad you asked, RAID cards are dead. Its 2017 when RAID was conceived we didnt have the compute power to do it internally and so they created a RAID card with a mini CPU and a little RAM to help the system operate the RAID (Just like FC, RAID cards will enviably be fazed out). On a Linux system one of the BEST file systems is available at your disposal in ZFS so why wouldn’t you use it?
ZFS is as stable as a rock, Its used in most production environments and offers some of the greatest features a file system can offer. One great advantage to running ZFS is the ability to run your Cache disks inside your array something that no raid card can offer. So instead of having separate cache disks for Davicnci Resolve you set the P3700 above as your Read Cache inside the array, Below is how we configure ZFS on Linux for Resolve.
- 6x 4TB = 24TB Raw
- RaidZ2 = 16TB Usable with 2 Drive Parity
- ARC Drive = 2x 1.6TB P3700
This gives us
- Read: 5.3Gb/s (5300Mb/s) and IOPS is 860,000
- Write: 0.7Gb/s (700Mb/s) and IOPS is 600
The write performance is more than adequate for Resolve and for the most part read is the most important factor, Especially when working with large format footage.
Lets be clear here this is not a back up, Its to store your Rushes and files of your current projects, A workstation is not a back up unit and should never be treated as one.
We have obviously given you a system configuration that for most users is overkill, But we stick by the fact that any DaVinci Resolve user on Linux should be using ZFS as there file system and this post is to help you understand that a RAID card isn’t always the only option. If you would like to see an in-depth configuration on how you would set this up under CentOS 7 please let us know in the comments.
Author: Phillip Lakis
Phillip is the main man behind Ideabox Computers, Having spent time at one of the largest I.T firms in Sydney he started Ideabox Computers to fill a void.