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View Full Version : The skinny on slowest machines in render farm



Animapper
07-16-2007, 07:41 AM
Oh wise ones:

I am building a small render farm with two quad 6600's and I have an amd fx-60 lying idle. According to a few users, the slowest machine will cause the whole farm to slow down? If this is true, doesn't a controller like deadline understand that and re-allocate frames to the first machine that finishes?

I also have a solo duo on a laptop that could be utilized and my son's p4 3.2 machine that is wireless. Anyone try a machine that has a 54g wireless connection instead of the wired one?

Any help appreciated,

Lightwolf
07-16-2007, 07:53 AM
Well, the slowest computer will only slow down the render in a sense that however long it takes to compute an image on that machine is basically the "extra" time you might need to wait for the complete render to finish after all other nodes have finished rendering.
I.e. all nodes render a frame in 5 minutes, but one needs 30 minutes. If all nodes save the slow one are done, you might need to wait for up to an additional 30 minutes (instead of 5 minutes if all nodes were the same).
I'm not sure if there is a render controller that actually aborts the rendering of a frame and re-allocates it (which is what would help in this situation). It depends on how the controller manages the frames.
For an optimal granularity, you'd distribute one frame at a time to the nodes, in some cases it may make sense to actually distribute small bunches of frames (i.e. 5-10 or so) to reduce the i/o to the server.
Loads of variables though, so I suggest you do your own testing.

Cheers,
Mike

Animapper
07-16-2007, 08:33 AM
Thanks Mike - that makes perfect sense. What about test renders and the farm? IOW, Does deadline( or other controllers) allow the other machines to assist the development machine when rendering a test frame? Can they be shared that way? I watched modo do it on a video preview of 301 and saw like 26 cores all attacking the same image. This would be great for experimentation. Of course, I have fPrime but this would be killer.

Regards,

Lightwolf
07-16-2007, 08:51 AM
Thanks Mike - that makes perfect sense. What about test renders and the farm? IOW, Does deadline( or other controllers) allow the other machines to assist the development machine when rendering a test frame? Can they be shared that way? I watched modo do it on a video preview of 301 and saw like 26 cores all attacking the same image. This would be great for experimentation. Of course, I have fPrime but this would be killer.
No. Especially not in the sense of pressing F9 and having a farm crunch away on your preview (this would require core changes to LW or a lot of third party hackery... and I mean a _lot_).
VirtualRender from Trueart allows you to render a single frame across nodes on a farm... but not to assist you with F9 preview renders (especially since it seems you need to set up the nodes in a special way to use it, nor render controller support) - it is designed for high res print renders (as are all "split frame" network rendering options that third party controllers support).

Cheers,
Mike

Animapper
07-16-2007, 09:39 AM
I do quite a bit of print work for 36"x 54" maps that could certainly benefit from split frame rendering. Any suggestions on the controller?

I'm just setting up the 64 bit boxes so I have time to learn more. I'm also getting infinimap pro for some of the large maps i use.

Thanks,

Lightwolf
07-16-2007, 10:08 AM
I do quite a bit of print work for 36"x 54" maps that could certainly benefit from split frame rendering. Any suggestions on the controller?
Nope, sorry, I've never used one for split frame rendering. I'd suggest taking a look at Butterfly... but I haven't actually used it in production yet (I have installed it once).
We use Spider here, but it isn't really being developed anymore ands can be a bit tricky to set up (it needs special user accounts).


I'm just setting up the 64 bit boxes so I have time to learn more. I'm also getting infinimap pro for some of the large maps i use.

Cool :D

Cheers,
Mike

BloodQuest
07-16-2007, 09:54 PM
Butterfl will do split frames.

Butterfly also has a "test frame" setting to do single frames (just to make sure you're happy with a scene before commiting the whole thing to render).

I'm sure with a bit of ingenuity you could map F9 to do that. If you can't let me know and I'll think about an lscript.

I have used my laptop on a wireless connection at home when testing stuff and it's perfectly fine.

I think one or two machines is fine, I wouldn't want a whole render farm on wireless though!

Simon