View Full Version : need some render farm advice

11-24-2005, 06:35 AM
hi guys

can somebody tell me if its possible to use a dell poweredge server or 10,
to render out animations, i would be using f-prime, so i suppose i would have to launch lightwave on each rack and render out the animation in pieces.........

those poweredges are a fraction of the price of a standard workstation!!!


11-24-2005, 08:35 AM
I really shouldn't be answering this because I have so little experience with render farms.

BUT, These server blades should work fine as long as you aren't using the Linux OS. If you are going to invest in a farm I would say invest in a good software package to control the distribution (MULE, Butterfly Render, etc..)

Each Blade has an addressable IP and a Xeon processor (looks like even Dual Core is available), as long as you are running the Windows OS then you should meet all the requirements for Screamernet. The software doesn't care if all the processors are in one rack or spread accross an entire building.

Before I made the leap I would wait for someone with more experience to give you an okay.

11-24-2005, 09:55 AM
If it's a standard 1u unit it'll be fine but be careful of cpu temp' at full 100% load when rendering, needs a coolish room or rack cabinet. I'd be worried about those 'blade server' housings but haven't seen how they're cooled. 14 of those with dual cpu's at 100% rendering load is asking for trouble in such close proximity to one another.

11-24-2005, 08:58 PM
Heia Viking!

I think it if you already have the servers, I'd say there shouldn't be much of a problem, given they run windows. I think in not such a long time we will have network rendering with Fprime one way or the other, and meanwhile there are good (free) solutions like UltraVnc that will allow you to do what you suggested. It would be a little work setting up each render, but if it is big ones it should be ok.

I think though that you could get better price/performance going with dual core 939 opterons, having them built for you by norwegian netshops like komplett, ps data or maybe the danish shg.no. The 939 opterons are so cool and stable a platform that some people are reportedly running them at near twice their stated speed with standard cooling. Even buying rack cases, I think you could beat the prices at least I found at dell. I am looking into buying some nodes myself, For a dual core Xeon with 2 gig and just the minimum I got 14000 NOK while I can get a better specced dual core Opteron in a nice, quiet mATX desktop case that will stack, for 7000,-. And that is with the 6150 internal graphics, meaning it'll be useful as a secondary workstation as well.

Dell is also a controversial company, when it is currently getting sued for defrauding its customer it is not by accident. The Norwegian company may or may not be better. Resellerratings.com can give you some hint of what is normal customer satisfaction with dell.

11-25-2005, 02:37 AM
thanks for the advice guys............i figure these racks would be ok if i was running spider or some other net render app.

habanero, i am going to check out those retail sites..........sounds alot cheaper................. i must say though i've never had any problems with dell, they have always provided me with an outstanding service..................


11-25-2005, 08:44 AM
The Dell EdgeBlade will work fine. But, like <HD> mentioned about 1U servers, because they do put out alot of heat when mounted close to each other in a rack. We put 10 at work close together and checking after an hour later the heat was pouring like crazy. I couldn't keep my hand there too long, when a sense of extreme heat overhelming the palm. So, spacing and cooling system would be essential.

11-25-2005, 09:11 AM
Also bear in mind the cost of Windows if you set up a big renderfarm. XP Pro can only address nine other computers, after that you need to have a version of Windows Server, plus licences for every machine on your farm.

Alternatively, you can set up a Linux Server merely to act as a host for all the files on your farm, with which each Windows-based machine talks and ignores the other machines in the farm (effectively, each of the machines is only talking to one machine - the host).


11-25-2005, 10:00 AM
I recently set up a Linux server for my little farm. Wow, what a difference it made. I opted for this route first because I couldn't face the cost of licensing all those render machines with Windows Server. Having said that if you've never used Linux it certainly costs you in time tying to figure it all out.

I found Linux to be completely baffling and ended up reinstalling it several times. But in the end it works and using Samba to talk to the XP render machines and VNC viewer to control the whole thing remotely makes it reasonably painless. I've now made a CD backup of the Linux server so I can restore it in 10 minutes without having to remember how I did it ;)

There are some clever jokers who've gone the whole hog and installed WINE on Linux too, it's a windows emulator type thingy that allows you to use Linux machines as render nodes.....but on a quick calculation I didn't have enough life left to get that setup :jester: .