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  1. #1
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    render farm

    Hi all
    I'm new to all this but I'm considering investing on a small render farm. So I thought I'd ask all of you about your ideas.
    Any brands I should consider? I'm looking at cubix as we speak and it looks interesting.
    Thanks

  2. #2
    Space Monkey 3DGFXStudios's Avatar
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    Isn't cubix a gpu rendering box? That would be useless for the lightwave render engine since it's a cpu renderer.
    Building your render nodes yourself is cheaper. You can get really cheap and fast amd cpu's. If money isn't a problem I would get me some dual xeon's in a 2U server box.

  3. #3
    Super Member inkpen3d's Avatar
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    You might find it more cost effective, in both terms of your time and money, to use GarageFarm (http://garagefarm.net/).

    Nowadays, I use GarageFarm for most of my medium to large render jobs and they have proven to be outstanding value for money and provide excellent customer support. A few years ago I put a lot of effort into setting up my own small render farm, but to be honest, its maintenance proved to be just not cost effective when GarageFarm are so cheap and have orders of magnitude more processing power than I'd ever hope to have!

    Regards,
    Peter
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    Thanks guys. Much appreciated :-)

  5. #5
    Super Member JonW's Avatar
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    Have you got 2 PCs?

    If so get those going first. The first 2 PCs are a pain in the neck but after that its relatively easy!

    Also_do_all_your_file-names-have-no-gaps-in_in_their_names_?

    If you have to buy another computer get a bare bone box with something along the line of 4770. You just need enough ram, forget everything else. Once set up & if you use remote desktop you can remove the graphics card to to reduce electricity consumption. Or go for a better box & relegate your old box to the farm.
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  6. #6
    Super Member inkpen3d's Avatar
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    If you do opt to set up a small render farm I highly recommend you to try out the FREE Amleto network rendering tool (http://virtualcoder.co.uk/amleto/). It's a front-end to LWSN and is dead easy to use - all you do is install the client software on each PC comprising your render farm and it pretty much does everything else for you - really! The server software that you install on your master PC (which, BTW, can also act as a render node if you so wish) detects the running nodes and sends across all the files needed for rendering. You then just add your scene file to the render queue in the server application and off it goes.

    I use Amleto for those small jobs that are suited to my mini render farm.

    Regards,
    Peter
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  7. #7
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    Thanks guys for the tips. did try setting up a home farm some years back in LW7 and never got it to work... Amleto seems cool though, I have two other PCs that could be put to use, but do they need LW installed on them ? All three are Win 7 64bit, except one which is 32bit, does that matter ?

    Thanx in advance

  8. #8
    Super Member inkpen3d's Avatar
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    No, you don't need to install LW on the node PCs - Amleto does all that work for you.

    First fire up the Amleto server app on your chosen master PC and then, in the Options panel, set up an entry in the "LW Configs" tab to point to the appropriate configurations folder for your LW installation (i.e. where your LW cfg files are stored).

    Then, once you've installed (and have running) the client app on each of your node PCs the server app it will "see" the nodes and transfer across to each one all the files it needs to carry out rendering (e.g. LWSN.exe, plugins, etc).

    Like I said, it really is very easy!

    You can only allocate render jobs to either 32-bit or 64-bit configurations, not a mix of the two (which makes sense if you think about it). What I've done in the past is to install both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of LW on my master PC and then set up two configs in Amleto - one pointing to the 32-bit install and the other to the 64-bit install. Then, if I have a scene that uses 32-bit plugins (for instance, because a 64-bit version of that plugin is not available) I set up an Amleto job that utilises 32-bit LW and make sure all my listed nodes are switched over to the 32-bit configuration. Otherwise, I just use the 64-bit configuration settings.

    What I am not 100% sure of without digging around in the manual, is whether having a mix of 32-bit and 64-bit nodes active at the same time whilst attempting to render a 64-bit job will be handled correctly by Amleto? I think the 32-bit node will be ignored. Anyone care to comment on whether Amleto will gracefully handle this situation?

    If you carefully read the user manual (http://virtualcoder.co.uk/wp-content...10/amleto3.pdf), it should address many of your questions!

    Regards,
    Peter
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    Thanks Peter, Best way forward being to turn that PC into a 64bit one, once done will give that soft a shot.

    Do the node PCs need plenty of RAM like the Master PC ?

    Thanks

  10. #10
    If you want your node to render as efficiently as your workstation,then yes you'll want a good amount of ram. The render node is basically a remote computer.
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  11. #11
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    Both my node PCs are newer and faster than my master sadly, can just afford to bring them all up to 8GB RAM each

  12. #12
    Super Member JonW's Avatar
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    You need enough ram, but if your scene is small then you may have enough anyway. You can just run 1 node per computer if you are short on ram. Also just rendering & not running LW on a node will use less ram. You can do a quick check. Once your scene is ready on your main computer. Open LW but do not load the scene just send it to Screamernet or whatever & check windows task manager to see how much ram it's using.

    Optimism images using PNGs & PNG grey scale for bump maps etc. Don't use 2000k images if they are simply not needed. Remove things from the scene if they are not needed.
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  13. #13
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    Have set up a home network and installed Amleto, the PDF says there is a Preferences tab, but I can't find it anywhere It also only shows the PC that I am on and not the other two. Firewall checked and Amleto is allowed.


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  14. #14
    Super Member inkpen3d's Avatar
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    The documentation is in error (i.e. out of date) regarding that. In both the server and client applications the misnamed "Preferences" (in the documentation) actually lurks under the Tools=>Options menu. I expect you've discovered that by now!

    Make sure the "Automatic server search" box is ticked in the client apps options.

    Check that the PCs are all on the same Workgroup on your local network, I find that's usually the problem when there's a lack of comms between machines (open up the properties for the computer from the desktop - the computer name, domain and workgroup settings are listed in the pop-up and there's also a link there to enable you to change the Workgroup settings). There's plenty of information on the web about setting up home networks if you get stuck.

    Hope that helps.

    Regards,
    Peter
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  15. #15
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    Thanks Inkpen, sorry for delay is getting the 3rd PC to behave. Did a clean install of 64bit Win 7 to match the other PCs but not liking it, very unstable with blue screens of death.

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