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AromaKat

Homemade Render Farm

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Ya, your net render computer.... while i'm going to use my workstation, sometimes i will need to render at home or need to use my computer for other things. So i was thinking of getting a separate render server to send files to. Although, I think i'm going to hold off for a bit.

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I'll probably get flak for such a simple question, but can't a render node also be the server? Its been a while since I've used Net Render.

 

Yup, you can run both on one machine. Another option is to use a cheap low-end machine as the server. As long as it's got a decent network card and a big harddrive it should be fine.

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I'll probably get flak for such a simple question, but can't a render node also be the server? Its been a while since I've used Net Render.

Technically it's no problem, but if the client runs into virtual memory the whole server comes to a screeching halt.

I would prefer to keep the server seperate.

Cheers

Björn

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Just ordered 2 machines with these specs:

 

 

Intel 1U rackserver, 2x E5645 Xeon 6 core 2.4 GHz 12 mb cache, 24 GB

DDR3 ECCram 1333MHz, 500 GB SATA, USB, DVD-RW, 2x Intel 10/100/1000 netcard.

 

This I calculated and compared to be the best price for a lot of muscle per "pizzabox". In all I´ll get the power of a Mac Pro for half the money. They all come rackmounted and ready to render. √

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Just ordered 2 machines with these specs:

 

 

Intel 1U rackserver, 2x E5645 Xeon 6 core 2.4 GHz 12 mb cache, 24 GB

DDR3 ECCram 1333MHz, 500 GB SATA, USB, DVD-RW, 2x Intel 10/100/1000 netcard.

 

This I calculated and compared to be the best price for a lot of muscle per "pizzabox". In all I´ll get the power of a Mac Pro for half the money. They all come rackmounted and ready to render. √

 

God damn! I need that pipeline!

 

Sweet man. Sounds like you got that pipeline.

 

If you have the rack and only two blades, you should have plenty of room to expand as time goes on.

Edited by AromaKat

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Sweet man. Sounds like you got that pipeline.

 

If you have the rack and only two blades, you should have plenty of room to expand as time goes on.

 

 

So far I have 5 regular macPro´s running on a NET render. So I´ll add "pizzaboxes" 2 at a time. Hopefully it will add sufficient power, but once you go down that road you can never get enough power. My friend have 422 cpu´s in his farm and he is still short.... I have a long way to go i guess.

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Aroma - when you get this done could you post the specs of the machine you build your scenes in including OS, specs, then also that of the render farm and pictures? I researched this about a year ago and am currently about to be in the process of computer shopping and I would like to build myself a little render farm just like this. Currently I run a mac pro which obviously would have issues matching with a project like this.

 

I was really considering looking into purchasing something that Boxx makes (http://www.boxxtech.com/products/renderPRO/pro4.asp?prodid=pro4) but the prices are too high when I could just make it on my own.

 

What are your guys' thoughts on building something like this compatible with Mac OSX? I know it can be done but money doesn't grow on trees. Is it better to just switch over? :/

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Parts are starting to flow in. I bought the case and put it together, and found a bundle of 5 120w power supplies on ebay for $45. Also found a batch of 5 80gb laptop hard drives for $145 on ebay. The helmer case was more expensive than anticipated (listed at $35) because of the shipping fees (wasn't available in the store). The case ended up running $65. NOW the AMD 8 core 3.6Ghz chips are out. I think I will go with those, but it looks like they are around $270 a piece and I will have to buy them from multiple retailers since nobody is selling more than one or two per person. I am still waiting on a good deal for 5 am3+ mini/micro atx motherboards.

 

 

What I am looking for now, is the distributed rendering solution. I was looking at the free Dr Queue, but it sounds like its dying and only supports Mental Ray in regard to C4D. Today I re-discovered Smedge, which I used years ago briefly and not really first-hand. Looks like Smedge supports C4D but not mental ray for C4D nor Vray for C4d, although it mentions Vray and Mental ray for Maya.

 

Does anyone have recommendations for a distributed network rendering software?

 

 

 

 

@seth_eckert,

 

Absolutely, I will post photos, specs, all the goods once I have everything done. I'll start from when the dremel to cut holes in the casing comes out.

 

You wouldn't have to worry about cross-platform compatibility, either.

Edited by AromaKat

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Everything is ordered. Parts are in the mail :D . Everything totaled out to be $3,260 but I still need a monitor. It will have 5 machines, each with an 8 core 4.2ghz (overclocked) processor and 16gb of ram. The core cost was more like $2000 for the motherboards, processors, hard drives and ram, but the cost of the kvm, supplies from home depot, wires, etc drove the total investment up.

 

I spent the weekend preparing the helmer case. I cut the vents for the power supplies, made a door, and cut the plexiglass shelving. I still need to cut holes for the fans, but am waiting on the fans to come in the mail so I can best determine where / how they are placed.

 

Here is where it stands now. I'm pretty excited, and will post more as parts come in.

 

2012-02-20120327.jpg

2012-02-20120400.jpg

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Just a word of caution.

I'd not over-clock the CPUs until you have everything running stable and cool at the standard clock speeds.

 

A good case is designed to make air flow around the components. With a home-made case you will almost definitely have to go through a few test/tweak cycles before you get the moving air to all the places it need to go.

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For sure.

 

I was going to get water cooling for the CPUs, but in hopes of saving some money I am going to see if I can get away with good ol' air cooling. Since heat in my tiny office is already an issue, that may as well be a factor.

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No drawers. Well, I am using the fronts / faces. I flipped them over and slid them in to support those heavy power supplies. The rest is plexiglass. Can't rest the motherboards atop of grounded metal, and drilling through the metal costs a lot more in dremel bits than plexiglass does. Also, you can't use just the floor of the drawer. Its not wide enough on its own - you need the sides, which would restrict airflow.

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For sure. I was going to get water cooling for the CPUs, but in hopes of saving some money I am going to see if I can get away with good ol' air cooling. Since heat in my tiny office is already an issue, that may as well be a factor.

 

Oh man. The thought of a render farm like this, but also quiet? Swoon.

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i like the idea of the plexi glass. but i think im just going to line mine draws with something.... you got any ideas of something to line the draws with? i know that others have just used the cushion form the motherboard packaging... but id like to find something a little better.

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So after researching standoffs and other insulators for the motherboard, i actually just bought some extra 'fish paper' which is the insulation that comes with the motherboard to begin with. i'm just going to line the whole inside with it, and add small stand offs to the mother board, just to insure that no metal on metal action will be happening. it was pretty cheap, i found it locally for like 2 bucks for a 10 by 24 roll.

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Great thread -- figured I'd share my farm as well :P

 

6 Shuttle's boxes running 3.07 Ghz quad cores + 8gigs of ram (this seems to be plenty of ram for what I've thrown at it). Bought 'em off of Newegg.com and assembled at home -- super easy.

 

Cheap and kinda dependable Acer Windows Home server with VPN connection (I can grab my licenses through my U-Verse modem gateway when I'm on the road). I definitely would recommend a central storageserver with some sort of server software. I use CrashPlan offsite backup on this baby, which is great for peace of mind.

 

I use one of the servers as my license server and render mananger. That way if your main workstation goes down everything is still running. I would not recommend using your main workstation as anything except a production station. If it fails or whatever you can get back up and running fairly quickly.

 

Oh ya -- don't skimp on a good APC power backup unit and electrician. I started frying servers when I maxed out my electrical.

 

blaque-farm.jpg

Edited by etown

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So here's a question about render farms. How does it work with having a Mac Pro workstation and PC render farms? How do you deal with software licenses and more importantly what kind of technical issues are there if any relative to the renders with having mixed systems? Transferring projects back and forth seems like it would be a PITA. I'm debating whether or not to dump my Mac Pro in favor of a potent Xeon workstation ( 4 cores used to seem so fast....) or to build a rocking farm with the same funds.

 

I rue having to switch my workstation to a PC but my MP just isn't cutting it any more and it seems like Apple isn't supporting the Mac Pro's like they used to. But that's a subject for a different thread.....

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I can only talk about CINEMA 4D here and it isn't much of a problem to mix operating systems here. The only thing you realy have to take care of is that you don't use any codecs that are only available on one OS. Preferably you should use only image sequences.

From a licensing pov it isn't a problem either since for many years now a CINEMA 4D license is plattform independent.

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From my experience After Effects isn't too much hassle either. Same things, stick to crossplatform codecs, avoid old Type 1 fonts, and make sure you have your plug-ins installed on all systems.

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