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PC Render Farm


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#1 Paul Bruening

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 06:07 PM

If you've got Excel, here's a breakdown for a 4 unit render farm in PC that I crunched from current, TigerDirect numbers and inventory. The idea is to run a hotrod workstation and dump the hard work onto the render farm. You can run Adobe's free render engine on them to crunch all your really big AE files. Same approach goes for Maya.

Enjoy.
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#2 Paul Bruening

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 06:16 PM

I can't get the attachments to load. Sorry.
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#3 Paul Bruening

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 06:22 PM

Maybe this will work:

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#4 Paul Bruening

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 06:25 PM

That's no better. How do I load a PDF or Excel attachment?
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#5 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 06:29 PM

Paul, if you wanna e mail it to me, i can stick it on my website and provide a link in 'bout 3 hours (when i get home)
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#6 Paul Bruening

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 06:35 PM

Paul, if you wanna e mail it to me, i can stick it on my website and provide a link in 'bout 3 hours (when i get home)


You're not going to believe this, but, Yahoo is goofing up on my computer. I can't get into my mail. Give me a day or so and maybe we can do your suggestion. Thanks for the help.
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#7 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 06:36 PM

Anytime. My e mail is on my profile here and I'm happy to help.
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#8 Paul Bruening

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 11:17 PM

Okay, Adrian. I sent them to your Yahoo email. Thanks for the help.
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#9 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 11:56 PM

Alright, here they are:
http://www.adriansie.../renderfarm.pdf (.pdf file)
http://www.adriansie...erfarmplans.xls (Excel document)

I'll leave it to Paul to explain what it all means ;)
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#10 Kevin Zanit

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 12:33 AM

Interesting, I would go with rack mount cases. If you go with 3-unit cases normal hardware will fit into them, 1 or 2u cases are obviously more space efficient, but the hardware is a little tricky.

Also, depending on the type of material you are rendering, I don't really see the need for so much system storage. In fact, I don't really see the need to even separate your OS drives from your cache drives in your render nodes.

On our render farm, we are using the "dumbest" computers possible for our nodes (except for a good possessor and enough RAM). We feed the nodes on the farm from a fast RAID, because reading and writing from multiple nodes on the render farm is pretty intensive. This RAID could exist on a beefier computer or, traditionally a SAN.

A problem one starts to run into as you grow your render farm, and one we are dealing with right now is that you start to max out the performance of gigabit and need to move up to a more expensive interface (such as Fibre).

Kevin Zanit
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#11 Paul Bruening

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 12:46 AM

Interesting, I would go with rack mount cases. If you go with 3-unit cases normal hardware will fit into them, 1 or 2u cases are obviously more space efficient, but the hardware is a little tricky.

Also, depending on the type of material you are rendering, I don't really see the need for so much system storage. In fact, I don't really see the need to even separate your OS drives from your cache drives in your render nodes.

On our render farm, we are using the "dumbest" computers possible for our nodes (except for a good possessor and enough RAM). We feed the nodes on the farm from a fast RAID, because reading and writing from multiple nodes on the render farm is pretty intensive. This RAID could exist on a beefier computer or, traditionally a SAN.

A problem one starts to run into as you grow your render farm, and one we are dealing with right now is that you start to max out the performance of gigabit and need to move up to a more expensive interface (such as Fibre).

Kevin Zanit


As you mentioned, GBLAN is a noticeable bottleneck. In some cases, it's faster to manually pull and move drives from render units to workstation and vice versa. That's why I keep my OS drives separate. That, and the fact that you may do work for others and need to ship them off.

This is not supposed to be the best design. It's mostly about being the cheapest route to getting a home editing system capable of handling larger files.
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#12 Kevin Zanit

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 01:05 AM

No doubt, and that's why its important to design your system based on the type of work you are doing. If you are rendering single large video clips, then the storage on each node becomes more of a factor. Farming out large video clips is a lot harder to get good network and single drive performance when compared to sequential images.

In practice, most low to mid range 7200rpm SATA drives are good for 75-100 megabytes a second with gigabit good for 125 megabytes max, so your right, the bottleneck when dealing with large video clips is pretty serious.

The nice thing about single video clips is they move around from drive to drive a lot faster than sequential images. For example, using a 5 drive array running RAID5 turbo over 2gigabit fibre, moving tons of sequential images we get around 100 megabytes /sec (which is really slow), but when moving around fewer large video clips we get around 230 megabytes /sec (approaching our 2Gbit fibre limit). These speeds are around the same in NTFS and XFS file systems.

I guess the point is, with all these systems, lots of experimenting is needed to get the best performance, though it can be fun!

Kevin Zanit
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#13 Paul Bruening

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 02:09 PM

I left off case fans in the breakdown. Add $20.00 to the total to put a couple of these in the case:

http://www.tigerdire...e...4&CatId=802
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#14 Paul Bruening

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 03:18 PM

An updated and better explained Excel file of this breakdown is on the way to Adrian. He'll instruct you on how to get it.
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#15 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 03:27 PM

putting it up now, give it a few minutes:

http://www.adriansie...farmplans02.xls
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Visual Products

Technodolly

Rig Wheels Passport

Willys Widgets

New Pro Video - New and Used Equipment

CineLab

Paralinx LLC

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Wooden Camera

Metropolis Post

Aerial Filmworks