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Johnny
01-27-2005, 09:38 AM
Maxed out, the Mac Mini isn't exactly cheap, but maybe with 512MB of RAM, it's a reasonably affordable, good render node?

Any thoughts on this? To me, it looks like the kind of inexpensive render node solution that has been discussed here before.


Johnny

Darth Mole
01-27-2005, 10:08 AM
If you bought Apple Remote Desktop, you could administer each one from your workstation - so you wouldn't even need to buy additional monitors and keyboards/mice.

ingo
01-27-2005, 10:09 AM
I think this could work for animations, but 1GB is way better. Just look at what your scenes consume when rendering, the tool "MenuMeters" is a big help for this, just get it from VersionTracker.

Johnny
01-27-2005, 10:12 AM
I think this could work for animations, but 1GB is way better. Just look at what your scenes consume when rendering, the tool "MenuMeters" is a big help for this, just get it from VersionTracker.



yeah..very true. I do use MM, and can vouch for the memory usage..so, maybe a Mac Mini, RAM-maxed, ceases to be a great deal, except in a headless configuration that Darth Mole describes?

It comes out to a bit over $1000/US with that RAM and with AppleCare...

Ryhnio
01-27-2005, 12:22 PM
remote desktop is an extremely impressive tool and i would highly recommend it.

here is a thread comparing xserve versus mac mini

http://vbulletin.newtek.com/showthread.php?t=32165&highlight=farm

(ingo I'm dieing to know- releated to Woz?)


-Ryhnio

ingo
01-27-2005, 12:27 PM
Good eye, yes this is indeed Woz. But the only thing we have in common is that we have the same birthday, and the hair in the face ;)

And thanks for the tip with ARA, i already have to Macs on one monitor, and the monitor has only two connectors. So ARA will be a nice help. The MiniMac is a bit expensive if you buy the additional RAM from Apple, so it seems its cheaper to add it yourself with some special tools ;)

lw_nova
01-27-2005, 08:30 PM
Hi,

The Mini is probably an excellent candidate for making up a farm. Especially if you consider the following:

1. Don't add the RAM as a BTO option, places like memorysolutions.com and ramjet.com will charge much less for 1GB sticks and you'll only void Apple's warranty if you damage something during installation.

2. There are several free shareware solutions for accomplishing what Apple Remote Desktop does. Just search under VNC on versiontracker and you see several VNC servers (which install on the node) and viewers (which you use to log into said nodes).

3. Once you're talking 4 or more Mac Mini's you'll actually be getting more single-thread (i.e. ScreamerNet) processor effort-per-doller than if you went with G5 hardware!

I hope this helps.

Regards,
lw_nova

Ade
01-27-2005, 09:23 PM
Cant wait to see benchmarks from mac mini renderfarms when they ship.

cresshead
01-30-2005, 07:00 PM
hi i'm looking at a mini mac...but i'm "on hold" until i get an all clear that there's no display problems for the ati video card used in the mini mac...if there is then i'll need to look at a imac [costs much more though] as my first apple mac system...

if there's anyone getting the mini can you email or post on the forum to say how it fairs with lightwave 8.0?


cheers

steve g

riki
01-30-2005, 08:00 PM
If you bought Apple Remote Desktop, you could administer each one from your workstation - so you wouldn't even need to buy additional monitors and keyboards/mice.

Sounds like something I need to hook my G4 up to my G5.

Johnny
01-31-2005, 05:50 AM
hi i'm looking at a mini mac...but i'm "on hold" until i get an all clear that there's no display problems for the ati video card used in the mini mac...if there is then i'll need to look at a imac [costs much more though] as my first apple mac system...

I balked when I read about the slow harddrive bottleneck. I know that as a render node, a machine doesn't really need a fast drive — it's all about the chip..

Then again, that machine *may* be needed for something else in a pinch, and I don't like the idea of a "fast G4 Chip" just sitting in traffic, so to speak, with disk intensive chores going on.

Captain Obvious
01-31-2005, 10:49 AM
I balked when I read about the slow harddrive bottleneck. I know that as a render node, a machine doesn't really need a fast drive — it's all about the chip..

Then again, that machine *may* be needed for something else in a pinch, and I don't like the idea of a "fast G4 Chip" just sitting in traffic, so to speak, with disk intensive chores going on.

They come with, I think, 5400RPM drives, and they can be replaced. It's not really a huge bottleneck unless you're doing very disk intensive things (iMovie exporting or something such). But such tasks are often not something you'd use a cluster like that for... Well, a server cluster, I guess, but they're not really ideal for that anyway.


Oh, and I've never heard of anyone having any kinds of issues with the Radeon 9200, in LightWave or anything else, aside from the fact that it's not the fastest chip on the market, and the 32 megs of VRAM is somewhat limiting.

Johnny
02-15-2005, 12:43 PM
3. Once you're talking 4 or more Mac Mini's you'll actually be getting more single-thread (i.e. ScreamerNet) processor effort-per-doller than if you went with G5 hardware!


Here's a quick workup of this: 4 1.25Ghz Minis x $499 = $1996
4 1GB sticks x $200= $800

4 units of AppleCare x $149 = $596

Total cost of 4 mini's is about: $3392; $2796 sans Apple Care.

Is that about what you were thinking? To me, the dollar figure with or without Apple Care is higher than for a Dual 2ghz G5 with 1GB user-installed RAM, and my figures assume that you get a deal on Mini RAM and install that yourself, too.

To me, it looks like the Dual 2ghz is a better value, just from the dollar figures. Throw in the fact that the Dual 2Ghz G5 will be faster at things the Mini couldn't even do, and to me, the Mini looks extravagant.

True that 4 x 1.25 = 5Ghz, but the Mini's 167 Mhz bus is a bottleneck..maybe inconsequential as a render node?

My calcs are in USD..

Opinions?

J

cresshead
02-15-2005, 02:06 PM
if i were making a render node cluster i'd go for the 1.42gighz mac mini's and only have 512 ram in them..and ditch the apple care option as they're so cheap just buy a new one with the money you would spend on apple care if/when one breaks and use the spares in the broken one as a pool or other units in the future...make more sense to me personally

so 4 x 1.42 gives you...5.68 gighz
for....$674 x 4 = $2696

Johnny
02-15-2005, 02:13 PM
if i were making a render node cluster i'd go for the 1.42gighz mac mini's and only have 512 ram in them..and ditch the apple care option as they're so cheap just buy a new one with the money you would spend on apple care if/when one breaks and use the spares in the broken one as a pool or other units in the future...make more sense to me personally

so 4 x 1.42 gives you...5.68 gighz
for....$674 x 4 = $2696


OK...those numbers look good... heh..good point about the apple care, too.

thanks!

J

cresshead
02-15-2005, 02:22 PM
as a comparison a dual g5 2.5 gig which gives you 5gighz of G5 based render power against 5.6gighz g4 render power with 512 ram sells for $2999 but i would def get apple care for that as if that folds your done for!...no pc anymore!
..so need to add in apple care at:-$249 so make the total price

a grand total of £3248
compared to 4 mac minis....at $2696...some $552 cheaper....which means in essence you could get a mac mini 1.25 gighz as well with 512 ram! for....$574
just...$22 dollars more and a render power of

4x 1.42 + 1.25 = 6.93 gighz render power!

...nice! :D

Johnny
02-15-2005, 02:58 PM
anyone have a preference among the free VNC servers to help keep a mini-based farm cheap? Apple's ware is...about as much as a mini!

J

cresshead
02-15-2005, 03:25 PM
as an alternative you could get 4 dell intel pentium 4 pc's at $859 but you also get a rebate of $150 off each one so that's $700 per pc...so making it $2800 and the spec of the 4 pc's are:-

P4 3gighz
512 ram
...on board graphics...you could add a ATI 128mb pci express Gfx card @ $70 each...making the total cost $770 each x 4 = $3080 but this includes 4 17" flat panel monitors in that price....i kept them in as you only save $50 each by NOT having them...so you could save $200 with no monitors....

this in the end gives you 12 gigz render power...not usre how that compares to a g4 mhz to mhz...and you will be in BLUE SCREEN land and hating uncle bob's o's!

oh also add that would include mouse and keyboards but doesn't include fire wire you'll need to add this at about $30 per pc...and remember the dell pc's....4 of them will take up a chunk of space and also heat your house for you!....intel radiators anyone!

... :o

Alliante
02-15-2005, 03:59 PM
this in the end gives you 12 gigz render power...not usre how that compares to a g4 mhz to mhz...and you will be in BLUE SCREEN land and hating uncle bob's o's!

I know you're joking and it's a humous post, but some people may not realize that the Switch™ campaign gripes were mainly geared at older 95 and 98 Windows operating systems.

The only time one will get a Blue Screen of Death with XP is if you have a pretty bad driver or hardware issue.

Just wanted to keep the Record Straight™ (I use both platforms)

cresshead
02-15-2005, 04:35 PM
yeah sorry!....


rad ref things test render:-

1.a p4 3000mhz doing that spits a render out in about 50 seconds

2.a g4 1500mhz spits out the same render in about 75 seconds...which looking at the mhz difference is pretty darn good!...

3.a g5 1.8gig kicks out the same render in 64 seconds

with the same ram in each...pc
to get the same render capability you'll need 3 mac mini's for every 2 x P4 3 gig machines...

if my calc is right and only using the rad reflect scene as a baseline measurment.

plus we're using a 1500gighz not a 1.42...but it's the nearest in the list on blanos.com


the big deal here though is that were talking about mac's not pc's....plus there's the consideration of how much space intel or G5 towers take up in comparison to a mac mini...you shouod be able to fit 10 mac mini's in the space a typical dell mini tower takes up....somthing to think about there for sure!....and no doubt apple would do some deal if you bought a stack of them say 5 or 10 of them with 512 ram in them.

Captain Obvious
02-15-2005, 04:58 PM
Let's say the Dells use about 200 watts during render, which is probably a conservative estimate (it will only stress system controller, RAM and CPU, but the Prescott uses a lot). With four Dells, that's 800 watts total. The Mac mini has an 85 watt power supply, so maybe it will use about 60 watts during rendering. How much does electricity cost? ;)
The size must also be factored in. You can fit, what, four minis and their PSUs in the same room as a miditower.

Johnny
02-16-2005, 11:05 AM
as an alternative you could get 4 dell intel pentium 4 pc's at $859 but you also get a rebate of $150 off each one so that's $700 per pc...his in the end gives you 12 gigz render power

Yeah, that's an option I have considered, but I've also heard loads of stories about the realities of Windows from PC-using friends and colleagues - enough stories to know that I don't want to take on the malarkey that seems to accompany PC usage - even the new machines with XP and goo-gobs of RAM.

I think that's why Mac-based LW users are so jazzed about the Mini, as it represents the first serious AND affordable render node machine.

Let's assume for a moment that PCs are the fastest, bestest, cheapest, most goodest 3D machines from here to Rigel 7. I just don't want the headaches they bring. I know that I can get work done on a Mac with few and rare techical explosions and I want to keep my workflow this way. And I think this is a shared sentiment implicit in the fact that there IS a Mac-based LW community to begin with.

J

cresshead
02-21-2005, 06:03 PM
hi just want to a that i've now ordered my mac mini...a 1.42 ghz with 512 ram and a superdrive...it'll be my first ever mac so they'll be plenty to learn!...i tried out a mac mini in the apple store with lightwve de 7.5 and it looked to work just fine in layout and modeler except the mouse bug...so i switched to tablet mode...this is fixed now i believe in later versions of lightwave yes?

steveg

marinello2003
02-28-2005, 01:47 PM
OK...those numbers look good... heh..good point about the apple care, too.

thanks!

J

I think it is a better value would be to get a Dual 2.5 GHZ G5. I just upgraded to a Dual 2.5 G5 from a G4 1.4GHZ mac with 768MB ram, and my dual G5 is between 3-5 times faster than the G4 at most tasks. So if you do the math, it would take 3-5 Mac Mini's to equal a single Dual G5 2.5. A G5 2.5 currently goes for $2500. 3-5 Mac Minis with 768MB of ram would cost you a lot more (probably twice as much). 1GB ram is ideal for OSX so you are really looking at $1000/unit for the Mini. So 3-5 units would cost $3-5k. That about equals 1 Dual 2.5 G5.

Let me give you an example in real world terms. This weekend I was rendering on both my G5 and my G4. My G4 was doing nothing but rendering. My G5 on the other hand was rendering an animation in Terragen and was pumping out 640X480 frames at 1 a minute, while rendering an animation in Lightwave, while ripping a DVD and encoding another DVD, and while I was listening to iTunes and browsing the web. I was doing all that on the G5 with no noticable slow down. And by the way, the G5 was rendering the same animation on the G4 at roughly two frames for every one of the G4 even while I was doing all that other stuff. So it really depends on how you work. Personally I would recommend getting the G5.

-Brent

cresshead
02-28-2005, 04:20 PM
one thing to remember is that if a dual g5 2.5gig folds or has a problem you lose your entire render farm...if a mac mii has a problem you have three left..all working fine!.........think about it!ohh n here's my latest model...a mac mini of course!...seeing as i'm waiting for mine to arrive i thought i'd make one myself!

Captain Obvious
02-28-2005, 05:25 PM
Nice! But the Lightwave on the screen is the Windows version! Look at the widgets in the left and right corner of the window bar! ;)

Oh, what you should do... Take a screen shot of your computer while modelling it, and apply that screen shot to the monitor texture. Then repeat the procedure a few times! Recursion is always fun! :D

Johnny
02-28-2005, 05:31 PM
Let me give you an example in real world terms...I was doing all that on the G5 with no noticable slow down.
-Brent


All of use who use the G5 experience that. The message here isn't "the mini is faster than a G5," rather, it's 4 mini's allow you to apply more rendering megahertz to your animations <b>PER DOLLAR</b> than does a Dual G5.

It's that "per dollar" part that's key to using minis as render nodes.

J

Captain Obvious
02-28-2005, 05:52 PM
Especially if you consider that it takes quite a few Minis to make as much noise, take up as much space and consume as much electricity as a PowerMac G5... The minis can be easily tucked away inside a closet or something.

Johnny
02-28-2005, 05:57 PM
yeah...I am really looking forward to THAT angle..low sound, all tucked out of the way, blasting away all during their little lives, whipping out the pictures...

J