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Need Help on Render Farm
show user profile  TurboRudi
Hi all, I've decided to build a render farm to start a small rendering bussiness, now I wll have my main PC and then about 10-20 other PC's on the network my budget is around $15000 . so here is my question:

Regarding specs, my main PC will basically have the specs of a gaming PC. LGA2011, i7, GTX690, 64GB ram etc. but then to my knowladge the only thing a render farm uses are cores, more cores=more speed. is that true? so do I focus on building 20 cheap PC's with huge CPU's or do I need to give them all graphics cards and loads of RAM aswell.

I have this in mind for my Slaves

LGA1055 Mother B
4GB RAM DDR3 1600mhz
i7 3.6 Ghz 6 core/12 thread
No GPU
250GB HDD 6400rpm sata3

My main PC is all sorted out and will cost me around $5000 then I have the rest for the slaves so if someone could give me some guideline to work around with that budget and also things to keep in mind there's someone who already have experience wil render farms


read 1480 times
7/22/2013 7:31:51 AM (last edit: 7/22/2013 7:31:51 AM)
show user profile  Westcoast13
You'll need enough RAM on your slaves to handle the size of the scenes that your main PC can cope with. If you use 8gb to render on your main PC, a slave with only 4GB won't render that scene.

Our render farm has one cheap GFX card that is switched from machine to machine when installing software etc.


My Turbosquid Area

read 1474 times
7/22/2013 8:46:08 AM (last edit: 7/22/2013 8:46:08 AM)
show user profile  soth3d
As said previously, your scenes will need as much RAM as they need, it does not matter if it is on your workstation or render farm. Actually - very often - you might have to use GI cache files so you will need even more RAM to render scene on the farm than on one PC.

Another thing to remember is that there is 32GB RAM limit for all LGA1055 CPUs. But 32GB should be enough if you will use some proxy systems, 64GB is really as much as you need for workstation maybe (e.g.. you might want to run multiple 3Ds Max instances etc).

To keep your farm cheap but very good (bast in terms of the stability) you might want to consider Xeon processors. For few systems i7 might be good option and you might have some additional fun and benefits from overclocking, but with 10+ systems having processors, memory and wholes systems that are designed for stability is VERY good idea.

Personally (keeping 32GB limitation in mind) I would recommend SuperServer 5037MC-H8TRF or even SYS-5038ML-H12TRF, bare bone with onboard VGA will cost you <$5500 fr 8/12 systems, then you need to top up with memory and E3-1230V3 processors (best price/buck ratio), and you have very nice and stable farm in the box.

Other way (I had to plug it here, sorry :) ) would be to use the cash as prepayment for some online solution, like ours. Yeas you will run out of the invested cash eventually (not very soon with us :) ), but you will be able to render your customer scenes on 300s+ computers not 15 and you will get free technical support etc. It will be definitely bit time saver, but probably money saver too. All depends on your average project size and your customer deadlines. (99% of the on-line render farms you can try or free, and have some heavy testing for few $100s, it might be good idea to do it before you will make up your mind)

Whatever option you will choose best luck and if you have any additional questions, I will be more than happy to help, just ask here.

PS Remember that you will need windows7 licenses for all computers and you might consider using some external render controller as bot Blackburner and V-Ray Spawner (Chaos Group Render Farm rendering tool) are free but considerably simple tools.
--
Cheers
Tomek
http://GarageFarm.NET
The Cheapest Farm - 260 nodes and growing!

Skype: GarageFarm.NET
read 1429 times
7/24/2013 3:50:05 PM (last edit: 7/24/2013 3:50:05 PM)
show user profile  TurboRudi
Thanks so much for the replies they have aided me a lot in my research so far... I have indeed decided to go for a Xeon Processor since it has reduced cost due to no integrated graphics (which I don't need anyway of course) Now I just need to read up on remotely controlling my slaves from the main PC and I'm still struggling to find online stores that have mini stackable chassis in stock

I'm buying my Main PC in a week or so. I still need to finalize the specs I want on my slaves before I'm ordering them, Although I'm ecstatically excited I still really really want to make the best possible purchases with my budget, Thank goodness I didn't decide on the i7 for my slaves that would have wasted a lot of cash.

So I really need to buy a separate copy of windows 8 for every single slave?

oh and another question. with a renderfarm setup will the main PC also be rendering?


read 1382 times
7/28/2013 8:27:57 AM (last edit: 7/28/2013 12:27:32 PM)
show user profile  TurboRudi
I have another question... I have been looking at blade servers and they all have huge amounts of RAM for instance 256GB or 768GB so does that mean if I want to build a desktop render farm that the RAM combined from all the slaves has to be the same as my main PC so that the scene will render or should every individual slave have the same amount of RAM as the main PC?
read 1330 times
8/2/2013 6:01:23 AM (last edit: 8/2/2013 6:01:23 AM)
show user profile  soth3d
hi,

Sorry for late reply - so many questions. :)

Yes, you do. You can get some OEM deal with computers or try to find cheaper boxes on eBay, but beware of illegal copies. I would go for windows 7 as you will have to do some small modifications on each machine (like disabling firewall) and its easier to get on-line help for windows 7 than 8.

Yes, main PC can do rendering as well, that is not a problem. Every individual slave need to have same memory amount, as every individual slave have to fit whole scene while rendering.

Keep in mind that setting your own farm will take a while and trouble shooting the problems might take a while too. I have our farm 4 years and I have learned a lot during this time. But don't get discouraged, few computers is very much easier to handle than 100s. :)

Best luck!
--
Cheers
Tomek
http://GarageFarm.NET
The Cheapest Farm - 260 nodes and growing!

Skype: GarageFarm.NET
read 1286 times
8/2/2013 4:20:39 PM (last edit: 8/2/2013 4:20:39 PM)
show user profile  alexqueba1
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read 1246 times
8/7/2013 1:34:50 PM (last edit: 8/7/2013 1:34:50 PM)
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