View Full Version : IRIX/UNIX render modules?

11-30-2003, 12:36 PM
I would love to see just the renderer appearing on IRIX... The main reason for this is that old multi-CPU SGI machines are now very cheap - far cheaper than INTEL.

An old QUAD intel will still set you back over 1,000 on ebay, but SGI 2 CPU machines (R10000's) are very cheap. Theres even a 64 cpu R12000 machine on just now. ( ebay 64 cpu machine (http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=1486&item=3061502053) )

This brings in serious power and a cheap way to get a great renderfarm in a single cool machine.

I have an 8 CPU machine...something INTEL just cant offer, and at a price they you would NEVER get... and it would be great to use it to pump out renders...

Anyway.... A free "render module" or opensource thing or something would be fantastic. Screamer Net for IRIX/UNIX?

11-30-2003, 05:50 PM
You could ask Newtek for a copy of the old lw 5.6 for SGI ... it's worth a shot. It may not be 7.5 but it's something ...

12-01-2003, 01:11 AM
Well, I still use 7.5 to model... which means I couldn't use 5.6 to render...And I did an upgrade from 5.6... compared to 7.5...its horrible!! :)

I would think its fairly simple to get the renderer over to IRIX again, or indeed any other platform, and as something that would be very handy.... Stacks of Linux boxes rendering... or a big IRIX box...very neat...

12-01-2003, 02:50 AM
Hmm ... I guess since they have a Linux render node an Irix render node would just be a re-compile as they don't have to worry about the UI or system specific stuff too much ...

12-01-2003, 01:14 PM
Well, thats what I hope.... Id hate to have to put linux on... and even linux has limits on the number of CPU's... 8's the MAX just now I think..

IRIX rocks :)

12-01-2003, 10:59 PM
There's only a Linux x86 render node anyway, so even if you put it on your sgi it wouldn't work :(

12-02-2003, 01:40 AM
Yes, thats true........ MIPS is much nicer :-)

Do they evern read these? Or is it just users "wishing" away thier time?

12-02-2003, 02:14 AM
Yeah they read them. Then I think they take them to their meetings and say "a heap of users want X". Then everyone discusses how useful X would be, how X fits into their current plans, how many people want X, and how hard and how much time will X take to add.

So I tihnk the problem with something like an SGI render node is that you're the first and only person to ask for it (as far as I know), so to make something that only one person will use is a waste of time for them, even though it's basically just a recompile. Ofcourse once they release something like this then they have to support it, which is why I think they don't have LW in Linux, because the support is too much in their eyes.

I'd like to see Newtek release unsupported software, such as rendernodes for different OSs. To compile the linux screamernet node for different platforms shouldn't be too hard, so if they did that and released them as unsupported it might be ok ... but I doubt they'd do that :(

12-02-2003, 04:09 AM
And then there's money...no money in it for Newtek...why would they do it?
Perhaps there's a group of IRIX nutters who'd be interested in doing it for just the challenge. But I agree that support is a big issue. What's worse? Not having an IRIX render node for your 8 CPU machine...or having one sitting on it that just isn't working...and there's no one to help.

12-02-2003, 12:45 PM
I understand the money issue... But to allow render nodes for most platforms would only help sell thier product.

I also realise Im probably the first to ask... as I said, this is really due to the relative cheapness of old SGI equipment. This has on reicently happened.... so I expect Im one of the first to get one. They are only gonna get cheaper (and faster) though... and even though Intel's are faster per CPU... and may be catching up on my machine, its gonna take a long time to out perform 16,32 or 64 CPU systems.

If the rendernode was opensource or something... Id probably try and build it myself.... but since its closed, I have no chance... it HAS to be newtek.

Newer Intel machines are fast enough.... but they cost if you want any sort of render farm. Old multi-cpu SGI/SUN machines are 64bit, quick and cheap.

Besides.... it would help them get the code running on 64bit systems, something they will have to do soon with the new AMD chips appearing !! :D

12-03-2003, 12:11 AM
Whats quicker?:

dual 2ghz g5 vs sgi system mentioned above?

same question replace g5 with dual 3ghz xeon

12-03-2003, 03:15 PM
Ade: exactly what I was thinking as I read this thread.

I know you can't compare mhz to mhz for different CPUs, but an 8 cpu 300mhz SGI is only 2.4Ghz. A single CPU Intel would be cheaper and use less RAM and it's more compatible with other software. There is a reason why places like Pixar and ILM are dumping their SGI and Sun systems and going x86 and PPC.

12-03-2003, 03:28 PM
Well, a duel P4 2Ghz will cost around 1,5000-2,0000 I would think...

Mine was much cheaper.... and will still be slightly faster overall.

The 64 CPU machine will be more expensive (Id guess around 5000 - but Ive no idea really)... but will easilly outperform several dual 2Gig machines - and its in a single machine.

one R10000 - 195Mhz performs like a P3-500. But its 64bit, allowing for faster FPU operation. Mine is an 8CPU R10000.

The 64CPU one on ebay, are 300Mhz R12000's... Im guessing they'll be around 700Mhz to 1Gig speed. MIPS aren't Mhz comparable. Intel cant be bothered making good chips.... so they just up the frequency. Ive no idea about SUN's - I think they are similar to MIP's

On ebay, a duel P3-1Gig machine will still set you back around 300-400 quid at least. You are cheaper getting dual SGI's just now. My 8 CPU machine wasnt much more.... And SGI's will just get cheaper.




12-03-2003, 03:34 PM
Ive no idea on Multi CPU PPC chips... they are better designed than Intels.... but its still the cost.

Im not saying that a company with money to burn should ditch intel/PPC and get SGI machines.... but I AM saying that for an individual, its probably far cheaper for them to get old multi-cpu SGI machine as a render slave(s) than a blisteringly quick dual or quad intel.........

Although I would say...... If I was going to spend 10,000 on a render farm...Id far rather have one big machine to handle, than 10-20 small ones :)

How much does Linux lose in thread/CPU swapping - we all know windows loses loads... but linux?

12-03-2003, 03:39 PM
Pixar etc are going to PC's because they are cheaper to buy new, Big boy means second hand he can get some SGI machines that are cheaper and faster than PC's he can buy.

12-03-2003, 07:17 PM
TRouble is this all seems nice, I too would love an octuplet cpu sgi but the factor remains:

LW5 is needed and is hard to come by.... Unless Newtek released older versions of their apps for free online for dicontinued systems that would be mad...

Also how comapitible would running an older LW be with newer scenes done in lw8?

12-03-2003, 09:26 PM
Pixar and ILM aren't getting them because they're cheaper, they're getting them because they're cheaperand faster. Neither of those companies worries about buying expensive hardware.

For a cheap renderfarm, you're better off getting a bunch of cheap single cpu Intel/AMD systems. They are much more cost effective than multi-CPU systems.

I'm also pretty sure that Screamernet only supports 1 CPU per node. So if you run 8 nodes on one machine to make use of all 8 processors, it will require 8x the RAM, and that just adds to the cost.

Comparing it to used P3 systems is a waste, they aren't cost effective at all. A new P4 or Athlon will cost less and outperform it.

Looking at that eBay link, there is a Origin 200 dual 270mhz R12k 1GB RAM starting at 750.00. I converted that to US currency, and it came out to $1,292.55 USD. I can buy two brand new single CPU systems with 1GB RAM, 80GB HD, DVD, AthlonXP 2400, for $554 each, with free shipping. This is DIY systems, but even if you paid someone to put it together it would come out at about the same price as the starting bid for the Origin 200. And *one* of these systems is faster than that Origin. These are also stackable small form factor cases, nice for small renderfarms.

12-04-2003, 02:02 PM
Thats overpriced.... ebay's like most other places.... you have to pick the machines... Heres a dual R10K for 225.


and a Sgi Octane Dual R10K 250


Both very reasonable.... On top of that, SGI machines are very reliable - and aside from the cool factor - very nice to use.

I would also say, machines in the US are a little cheaper than over here.... but then, so are ebay SGI's.... when you look... there are still some morons trying to sell them for a fortune.. :)

But.... heres one from the US... 12 min to go(at posting)

SGI Origin 200 *Dual 180 CPU* 512M 11G Server.


In fact... there appears to be a few of them - wish I lived in the U.S.!

If these are R12000... then this is nice too... bit expensive... but still a current SGI machine (once they still sell I believe)


Im also sure screamer net supports multi-cpu... there was a CPU thing in there.... and it'd be nuts to do that if it only ever used one!

Anyway.... All Im saying is, GOOD multi CPU machines (over 2) are now getting cheap...INTEL QUAD machines are still VERY, VERY expensive... (and rare to find second hand), it would be nice to be able to get an up to date renderer and use THEM for rendering.


Actually.... that 16 CPU one isn't that expensie... its only $300(ish) per CPU at the buy it now price... bloody good value - yummy :)

12-04-2003, 02:05 PM
Actually.... Im baffled by the price of the one you found...


1 day left... $100!!! You wont find an intel for that price :)

12-04-2003, 02:11 PM

I guess they've upped the number of CPU's for linix :)

I wonder how much this would be on ebay? :D

12-04-2003, 05:09 PM
The ones you've listed are still not as cost effective as getting new single CPU machines.

For the current price of the 16 CPU Origin ($4,650) I could get 8 or 9 of those computers I mentioned earlier, and together they're faster. And if that machine is using R10k CPU's then it's just a total ripoff.

The R10k systems are just worthless for rendering, they're much slower than a P3. Why bother with such an insanely slow machine? The price/performance just isn't there.

Here is a dual P3 733 for $127.50 that will knock the socks off that $175 Origin you listed; still a day and a half for the price to rise, but even if it doubles it's still a better deal than the dual Origin.

But again, why waste time with such a slow machine? They just are not cost effective.

12-04-2003, 05:16 PM
Back to screamerne; I know screamernet supports multi CPU, I'm just not sure it support multi-threading. I'm pretty sure that you need a seperate screamernet node running for each CPU, and that requires more RAM as you're loading the scene multiple times to render.

12-05-2003, 03:51 AM
ScreamerNet: Okay I see what you mean... if you have to run 8 versions at once... you lose all the benifits.

If its multi-threading, then the scene can be shared between 8 cpus, saving on loading and allowing faster "frame" output.

It would be interesting to know if it is or isnt...Id kinda hope for "IS" :)

12-05-2003, 03:59 AM
Well, in the US, your machines ARE cheaper.... and you have a wider selection. We dont. Dual processor machines here aren't as cheap or quick for the price you get in the US. Over here...SG machines are cheaper for what your getting. Not everyone lives in the US you know.

Id far rather have a good SG than another x86 that falls over every few days, and Im sure Im not alone.

12-06-2003, 11:43 AM
I know not everyone is in the US, but single processor systems are still more cost effective.

That 64 processor system sold for 13,600 not including VAT, and from Dell's UK site I priced a 2.4ghz P4, 1GB RAM system for 478, so it's still more cost effective to get the single CPU P4. And that's from Dell, without the option to drop the monitor. I'm sure there are some UK online sellers or local resellers that are cheaper and won't force you to buy a monitor and a Windows license; an AMD system would be even cheaper.

And the comment about x86 machines falling over every couple days is just ignorant. x86 chips are not unstable. You can put unstable software on it, but that doesn't make the chip unstable. If x86 was so terrible then ILM and Pixar wouldn't have dumped their Sun and SGI systems for P4's. I have a small renderfarm made up of old P3/P4 systems and the only time they need to be rebooted is when I update the OS. And most importantly, they actually run Lightwave.

12-06-2003, 04:06 PM
My, arent we snippy..... :)

Perhaps you should realise that "some" people actually like machines other than x86 ones... and "some" people dont like having 10-20 machines to maintain. And every now and then, some people use these machines for things "other" than rendering.... I obviously didnt buy my SGI for rendering since there isnt a render node for it... BUT now I have a single machine that does have 8 CPU's in it... it would be "nice" to use it to render when Im actually rendering.

I also STILL maintain that over here....SOME multi CPU machines are cheaper....I know...MINE was... and so were many others on ebay. As for x86 machines being unstable.... thanks to cheap parts (the common ones in these cheap machines)...this IS true... as a company, we have had to send lots of RAM back, because it fails to run 24h a day, 7 days a week. Most suppliers tests for a single day, if it runs, its fine... I (and Im sure many others..) dont agree with that... but thats what they do over here. The result is, "normal" RAM for PC's are a bit flaky. I have the feeling that PC makers are now cutting corners on making chips, and we are starting to feel that in our machines. How many times have we been doing nothing, and the machines just crashes with a memory error. I test these chips using a great Linux MEMTEST for around 3 days... every now and then... a chip fails. In the eyes of the suppliers... this is okay - not to me. So.... as I said... I dont like x86 machines, they are unstable, mostly due to windows.... but on Linux systems, this is due to cheap parts. ILM/Pixar can afford more expensive, quality parts- parhaps you can too. I cant.

So...."I" and Im sure some others.... would "like" a renderer for non-x86 machine, its IS cheaper in some places.

As to your little comment on the 13,000 machine... that still comes out at around 210 pounds a CPU... all in one very neat machine - still good in my book, obviously not in yours. Im not saying its cheap... very few of us could afford that! but it is value for money. For the record...mine was around 81 a CPU.