Wanting to build a small render farm

Started by newbhat, June 13, 2011, 02:22:39 pm

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newbhat

I don't quite understand what you mean, Cadmium :s The whole purpose of this project is for me to build it and learn along side the way. I do understand that if I was working more on just specifically rendering something, but I'm really wanting to do both. I've been thinking lately that this might be a little bit more difficult than when I first imagined, but I just need to do something with all these pc's I have.

GenTerra, could you give me a little info on what exactly / how you did it? I'm just really lost in terms of where to go after I have everything hooked up.

Dune

QuoteGenTerra, could you give me a little info on what exactly / how you did it? I'm just really lost in terms of where to go after I have everything hooked up.

Yes, that would be very interesting to see as well  ;)

newbhat

Hmm... I've been rethinking this project a bit.. and I just wanted to ask how much of an advantage I'd get if I did go through with it. My machines will be p4's / athlon xp 2000's and up (not very far though), I'll have about 4-5 of them. I've got a 10/100 switch for my network, and all the other little bits, but, would this really be worth it in the longrun? Would I really save that much render time? I've got to figure out for sure what my project will be in the next coming weeks, and how difficult this will be.

I'm just starting to think that this may be a lot of work for just a tinnny bit of time saved while rendering, but I'm really not sure. Any info at all would be awesome. :)

Oshyan

Unfortunately it will be something of a headache to manage a farm and the render time improvements vs. a single modern system will be questionable. For example a single P4 with 1 core at 3Ghz is roughly equivalent to a single core (out of 4) for a modern Intel Core i7 at 2.2-2.4Ghz. You can get an i7 2600 system for about $800 these days, which is at 3.4Ghz and has 4 cores *plus* hyperthreading. That single machine would probably be faster than the whole farm you're describing, if not in absolute raw terms, then at least in terms of being able to just click *render* and get the maximum output. So sadly this is just a novelty project. Even if you think of it from a cost savings perspective you only save money up-front. The i7 will save you a lot in power bills over the course of a year of rendering vs. a farm of 4-5 machines (especially P4s which use a lot more power). So it really just makes sense to get a single new i7 machine if speed is what you're trying to achieve. Again that's true even if cost is an issue because although you can probably setup your farm for relatively little money up-front, the power costs over time may make cost you as much as an i7 anyway.

- Oshyan

newbhat

Well, I'm glad you told it to me upfront at least. These last few weeks I've been starting to doubt the feasibility of this, but, I'd still like to see if there's anything i can do with all this hardware. I know this is a bit unrelated, but since you all seem like really knowledgeable folks, is there any other sort cluster I could build? Something not terribly difficult to build, that could show there is still usability out of old, outdated hardware.

Oshyan

I haven't really played with that sort of thing myself, efficiency tends to be more my focus so I have a couple of i7's here fortunately. ;) But there are definitely enthusiast communities for that kind of "cluster computing" stuff. I'm afraid I don't have any links off the top of my head, but I would think an Internet search with appropriate keywords could turn up some starting points at least. Good luck, it seems like a novel project.

- Oshyan