View Full Version : Wanting to build a renderfarm...

12-30-2005, 01:31 PM
I'm thinking of building a renderfarm in the not so distant future. Would a bunch of pii 166 or 266s be powerful enough to serve as renderfarm nodes for Lightwave 7.5d? There's this place that sells ancient computers not so far away from me. They sell 166s at 5.00 a piece without any OS and 266s for 50.00 with OS. Both types are sold with 64 mb ram... I'd upgrade that probably, but am wondering if these are good prices and good machines to do the renderfarm job? I know that the faster, the better, but when you are on a budget, and there's old cheap computers, is it an option?

I found out about this place from someone that responded to a local freecycle group when I asked if anyone has computers out there to give away, etc.

12-30-2005, 02:21 PM
Not sure, but we build a renderfarm with self build computers (do a search on the forum)

It was build with nothing but decent (A quality/brand) components :
Pentium4 530J at 3GHz
2GB Kingston 3200 memory
Asus P5P500 mobo
Maxtor 80GB 7200RPM HDD
Coolermaster Cavalier 4 with 350Watt PSU

700 euro's per machine

I'm guessing if you buy those machines, the amount of money it costs to upgrade the machines (old memory is very very expensive as the market for it is very small) is not worth the rendering power you get back.
I could be wrong on this though, i'm just guessing here.

12-30-2005, 08:07 PM
Honestly, I wouldn't bother with the computers at those specs at all.
Do some searching here


and you can see just how slow it would be..

IE: raytrace benchmark..

500 some odd seconds for a 500 mhz Pentium 2

48 seconds for a AMD Athlon 64 at 2200 mhz

Multiply that difference by the number of frames...

12-30-2005, 08:29 PM
You may not be able to get enough ram in those oldies to do you any good - and then if you do it may cost more than a house!

I am very happy with a 10 box set up made from shuttle XPCS all have a 2.8, 3.0 or 3.2 P4 and two gigs of ram and that with built in GIGabit networking. All then if on a small wire shelving unit all with the KVM, switch, four 750watt UPSs..

You will need to make sure you have enough AMPS on the out lets you use and make it its own so no one plugs in a vacum and trips the thing!

01-01-2006, 03:32 PM
The power thing happened to us :)
We run the farm inside our small studio (room is expensive and we're not that big) and it got really hot, so we decided to plug in a 800Watt airco but forgot to check group it belonged to...needless to say, we killed the power on the entire floor of the building we reside (not just our office :D )

So, i suggest getting a couple UPSs, it'g gonna cost ya, but it'll make sure your farm stays up and running (atleast until you fix the power again)