View Full Version : Hardware requirements

01-15-2007, 08:00 PM
I am unclear on wether more ram in the render nodes is beneficial for screamernet functions. I know the cpu has a large part in play. Does more ram in the render nodes help, or is the minimum adequate? The reason i ask is i am slowly acquiring machines from people who are upgrading, and most have the usual average user configs. If upgrading them to the most up to date hardware will help the process then so be it. I'm not going to replace cpu's as that would be rather pointless as the idea is to use legacy machines, but ram is relatively cheap enough to add in and isn't really replacing but upgrading, if you catch my meaning.
Can anyone clarify this for me?

01-16-2007, 02:05 AM
If you only have 128MB RAM on one of your nodes, then you will be limited to the size of scene you can create on your monster 4GB main workstation... For a renderfarm it's always a good idea to have the same amount of ram and the same processor type (Intel, AMD, PowerPC - because they all have different ways of generating random numbers) throughout.


01-16-2007, 04:41 AM
Thank you for your reply, Ben. Although i would love to have a render farm of all identical machines (who doesn't?), that isn't going to happen for numerous reasons, all more dreary than the next.
So, does that mean because i'm going to be running a p4 2.8ghz machine, athlon board with an intel cpu, radeon 9250 and 2 gigs of ram, a p4 3ghz machine with intel on intel, radeon x850, and 2gigs of ram, and a 1.8 intel on intel, radeon 9250 and 512 mb of ram as my "garden" (not big enough to call it a farm, imho), with the intention of adding probably more diverse machinery, the smaller machines are actually detrimental, instead of adding into the mix?
I was under the impression screamernet was for rendering over a network, which in my experience, rarely have even close to identical machines.If this is not the case,then that's a real b***h, because i have a line on several machines in the 2-2.4 range that i wanted to add.

01-16-2007, 04:55 AM
Actually, the random number generation only happens in software. The precision of the FPU may be different depending on the CPU model, and _may_ cause problems.
Having said that, we use a mixed render farm (Athlon MP, Athlon X2 64, intel Xeon, intel Core Duo) and I've yet to see an issue (there might be cases where there are issues, but I haven't stumbled across one yet).

As for memory: lwsn uses less than LW (no OpenGL overhead) - and you tend to run a trimmed down OS as well as no other apps on a render farm box, so you can get away with 1/2 of the memory of the workstations. We have 1GB boxes in the farm, and have rendered up to 2K images on it. The more complex the scenes, the more memory you'd want. Make sure you have some memory slots free to expand later on.


01-16-2007, 04:58 AM
Right...the graphics cards on these machine wont matter.

Its all about CPU speed and RAM.

Ideally i would want at least 1gb per box so i would get another 512 stick off ebay or something...prob 15 bucks

You can easily hook all those up with screamernet and get pretty good results. 3 machines (even at those speedss) will be better than 1.

ASAIK screamernet just assigns a frame render to a box and when its done it gives it another one. So the differences in speed shouldnt cause too much of a problem

01-16-2007, 09:23 PM
Thanks guys, that was the information i was looking for.Price isn't the issue, for more ram anyway, i just can't justify shelling out 6-700 a piece for render nodes. I'm an independent "farmer", not a company man(yet). Hence the legacy arrangement. Plus, it is a good way to keep these used machines out of the landfill.