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View Full Version : Found some great render farm CPUs for CHEAP!!!



cyclopse
01-11-2017, 08:34 PM
I was browsing around (wife said I could spend up to $1k) on a computer for rendering. So I thought... why not get two?!

Since rendering computers don't give a **** about video cards, or even monitors, I found Dell PowerEdge r610 servers with the following specs on ServerMonkey for only $450 (each... picked up 2)

Dual Xeon Hexacore 3.0 Ghz
32GB RAM
8 laptop-style drive bays (I only put 1 512GB drive on each machine because they're pulling the files directly off my creation machine)
4 ethernet ports (they work in parallel to give you a net 4Gb/S on a gigabit network)

And yes, I can confirm that I installed Windows 10 Pro on both servers with absolutely no issues, and no need to add additional drivers. Installed my software and... BAMO! I was rendering.

They each render as fast as my creation machine which has the following specs:

X99a chipset
Intel i7 5960x (overclocked to 3.9Ghz and water cooled) 8-core
32 GB Corsair Dominator RAM @ 3 GHz
nVidia Titan X video card
32 TB RAID 0 SATA III (for production)
64 TB RAID 1 SATA III (for nearline backup)
1TB SSD (boot drive)

So, the $450 machines keep up with (and actually slightly outperform) the $4000 machine (when it comes to renders)

Just thought I'd help ya'll out. And NO... I don't work for ServerMonkey.

I even picked up the dual rack monitors on amazon for $300 for them. Picture attached (I think I'm rendering on After Effects in the picture)...

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Every4thPixel
01-12-2017, 07:09 AM
Wow That's a nice deal you got there. For that amount of money I would have purchased more of them.

ActionBob
01-12-2017, 07:54 AM
I am privy to the excess and waste of certain entities who do hardware refreshes every few years. The hardware that goes to the auction sites is "kick you in the head until stupid" cheap. I am talking fractions of pennies on the base monetary value unit. I will not comment further on this except to say, if you look (and it is not hard to find), the amount of computational power available for purchase (legitimately) for next to nothing is absolutely dumbfounding. Granted, the hardware won't be cutting edge, but it is completely viable and useful.

Also consider the favor you are doing the planet - hardware gets further use and doesn't end up in a landfill.

:-)

Every4thPixel
01-12-2017, 08:33 AM
I am privy to the excess and waste of certain entities who do hardware refreshes every few years. The hardware that goes to the auction sites is "kick you in the head until stupid" cheap. I am talking fractions of pennies on the base monetary value unit. I will not comment further on this except to say, if you look (and it is not hard to find), the amount of computational power available for purchase (legitimately) for next to nothing is absolutely dumbfounding. Granted, the hardware won't be cutting edge, but it is completely viable and useful.

Also consider the favor you are doing the planet - hardware gets further use and doesn't end up in a landfill.

:-)

So your name should be AuctionBob instead? ;)

Spinland
01-12-2017, 08:56 AM
I am privy to the excess and waste of certain entities who do hardware refreshes every few years.

I was just this week clued in to a local university that does a full refresh of their Mac lab every three years. I was promised an advance notice of the next cycle in case I want to pick over the offerings. Should be interesting.

Schwyhart
01-12-2017, 09:46 AM
I was just this week clued in to a local university that does a full refresh of their Mac lab every three years. I was promised an advance notice of the next cycle in case I want to pick over the offerings. Should be interesting.

I work at a Communtiy College and it's the same here. Our mac labs, which have around 20+ macs, are refreshed every 3 years. Although, we can't sell or give them to anyone. I believe they're taken to the city auction which happens once a year.

Spinland
01-12-2017, 09:56 AM
I work at a Communtiy College and it's the same here. Our mac labs, which have around 20+ macs, are refreshed every 3 years. Although, we can't sell or give them to anyone. I believe they're taken to the city auction which happens once a year.

Cool! This is a private college so they can do what they want. Looking forward to checking out the menu!

cosbovfx
01-12-2017, 01:33 PM
Every 6 months penn state has a massive technology auction. Hundreds of computers and related equipment is sold. Last auction they had r710's. I don't recall what they went for, but it was quite cheap.

nemac4
01-18-2017, 06:35 PM
I was browsing around (wife said I could spend up to $1k) on a computer for rendering. So I thought... why not get two?!

Since rendering computers don't give a **** about video cards, or even monitors, I found Dell PowerEdge r610 servers with the following specs on ServerMonkey for only $450 (each... picked up 2)

Dual Xeon Hexacore 3.0 Ghz
32GB RAM
8 laptop-style drive bays (I only put 1 512GB drive on each machine because they're pulling the files directly off my creation machine)
4 ethernet ports (they work in parallel to give you a net 4Gb/S on a gigabit network)



Have you benched the systems with Cinebench R15 yet? I'm curious how they perform vs some other options.

vonpietro
01-18-2017, 06:56 PM
z800 with 12 cores or even 16 cores are availble for about $100o to 1500 with 128gigs of ram.

vonpietro
01-19-2017, 01:41 PM
got a question- whats the difference between win 10 and win 10 pro - do you need something in the pro to make the farm work?

also how loud are the servers? PSU size?
thanks

my configuration runs $600 bucks. but i opted for 96 gigs of ram =)
good deal

ebay is even cheaper

nemac4
01-19-2017, 03:22 PM
I've been building a budget minded render farm based on Dell C6100 style servers ( SX 23-SC ). These systems are interesting due to their very low cost, power requirements and small footprint. They are configured with Dual 4 core L5420 Xeons ( 50 Watt TDP CPUs ) with 96GB in each unit / 24GB per node.
They run from $200-250 with shipping for a 4 node unit.
Each 2U unit holds 4 Dual Xeon Systems. I have 16 Dual Xeon servers, 32 CPUs, 384 GBs of Ram and 320 Ghz of processing power. It cost me less than $1000 to get setup and rendering. With only 962 Watts / 8 Amp max on each unit, it all runs on two 20 Amp circuits with room to spare. These are not workstation machines but only for rendering.

The Cinebench R15 score is 517 per node, 2068 per unit, and 8272 for four units. The performance of each node is comparable to an intel i7-2600 at 3.4Ghz. The performance of two units is comparable to one dual Xeon E5-2696v3 server. Actual power consumption per unit is about 294 watts while idle and about 619 watts under full load during rendering.

I use butterflynetrender for render management.
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vonpietro
01-19-2017, 10:18 PM
where did you buy them ffrom - why butterflynet? instead of say anything else. =)
do you have to run a nas drive for all of them to draw from?
I'm getting closer to putting something like this together. maybe in a few months - so i'm looking into all the different options.

nemac4
01-19-2017, 10:57 PM
where did you buy them ffrom - why butterflynet? instead of say anything else. =)
do you have to run a nas drive for all of them to draw from?
I'm getting closer to putting something like this together. maybe in a few months - so i'm looking into all the different options.

I bought them on ebay. There is a guy that sells them regularly and has a large stock. Just search on c6100 style. I've had great support from him as well. For example.. After 4 months of use 1 of the 12 motherboards went out and he sent me a new one for free.
I've used butterfly for years and it is reliable, well maintained and Paul is always quick with support. I actually just spoke to him today. :)

NAS.. Yes. I have a dedicated NAS and I work from it as well. This allows me to work on the same project from any system. I just follow the recommended setup for butterflynet.

I'm pretty happy with these. Hard beat the value, power and performance.

I also have two C24-SC systems which are like single nodes from the c6100 but they are a full 1u blade. There are some higher end models of the c6100 that cost more if you want faster cpus but the c6100 Style (L5420) system is just such a good value.

vonpietro
01-19-2017, 11:41 PM
thank you- i need a render farm =)

Spinland
01-20-2017, 07:09 AM
I've been building a budget minded render farm based on Dell C6100 style servers ( SX 23-SC ). These systems are interesting due to their very low cost, power requirements and small footprint. They are configured with Dual 4 core L5420 Xeons ( 50 Watt TDP CPUs ) with 96GB in each unit / 24GB per node.
They run from $200-250 with shipping for a 4 node unit.

Interesting. I have questions about, for example, does each node need a boot drive with its own OS (I presume Windows) installation, or does one four-node blade run from a single boot drive? I'm seriously considering picking up a couple of those four-node units as a test case, but not sure how many drives and OS licenses I'd need to get them into my farm.

Spinland
01-20-2017, 07:23 AM
FWIW I just contacted Kruse with a laundry list of my questions. :)

nemac4
01-20-2017, 11:08 AM
Interesting. I have questions about, for example, does each node need a boot drive with its own OS (I presume Windows) installation, or does one four-node blade run from a single boot drive? I'm seriously considering picking up a couple of those four-node units as a test case, but not sure how many drives and OS licenses I'd need to get them into my farm.

Each node is it's own server. The only shared elements are the case and cooling, power switch and power supplies. There are two power supplies. Each powers two nodes.
Each node has 3 dedicated 3.5" hard drive bays though you may only get a tray for one bay.

They can boot from a local drive or from Network Booting with PXE from either of the network cards on each node. You can use iSCSI if you need a "local" storage drive other than the boot drive. I was originally running linux with wine but I had trouble with the split frame rendering in butterflynetrender not working so I've switched to Windows. I have so many hard drives sitting around it was not an issue but if you want to save some money and have a server you can configure, then pxe (pixie) is your friend. I may look into switching to PXE if I get tired of maintaining the 18 render servers. These are designed to run in VM environments. You could set them up that way but there would be some performance loss. VMs are just another way to get around the OS problem if you really need to save some money.
If you go with a local drive then a 250GB or even a 128GB drive should be enough. You can get 128GB thumb drives for $25 or one of the many $20 250GB drives on ebay.

KruseCom is the guy I use on ebay though there are other sellers too.

Spinland
01-20-2017, 11:18 AM
Cool, thanks. I have a pile of smaller unused 3.5" drives that were actually headed to the recycler but now looks like I'll keep them around. As a Mac guy who sometimes needs Windows specific apps I use VMs quite a bit so that's easily done, and I have a Synology NAS for storage.

This is extremely cool and I think I'm going to be picking up a couple of these soon to experiment with. I may or may not be picking up primary CGI/VFX work on a feature film that could keep me busy for up to three years and if this happens I have to up my render farm game in a big way. Thanks for the tips!

nemac4
01-20-2017, 11:21 AM
No problem. Let me know if you have any setup issues and I'll do what I can to help.

Spinland
01-20-2017, 11:22 AM
:thumbsup: :beerchug:

jeric_synergy
01-20-2017, 01:04 PM
Great nuts-and-bolts-and-dollars information, THANKS CYCLOPS!