View Full Version : Budget Renderfarm

06-04-2005, 04:26 PM

I'm looking to build a render farm on the cheap. I'm not doing anything fantastic, but I want to have 3-4 computers to help speed things up a bit.

After looking at some computer prices I've found that I can afford 3 PIII (733Mhz) or 2 Athlon XP 2200 (1.8Ghz) based computers. These computers would be in addition to the two I already have.

I'm using Maya 6.5 on a Windows XP system. Since I'm looking at spending about the same amount of money in either scenario my question is this: would it be better to have more slow processors or fewer fast processors?

Thanks for taking the time to read/reply.

06-04-2005, 05:38 PM
Fewer faster. The more systems the higher the maintainance and energy costs. Also keep in mind that over time older processors like the P3 or older Athlons won't be supported as well as newer ones. Missing SSE2 or maybe even 64 bit ability might be a problem later if you plan to keep this farm a bit longer. I would go for cheap Athlon 64 systems, they offer a lot of bang for the buck and can be build without having to rely on advanced cooling tricks so they can run for a long time without problems.

Jeff Lew
06-04-2005, 06:58 PM
I've been playing with the idea of building a small cheap render farm for about $300 per node. Maybe get like 4 of them. The specs per node would be:

$70 Althon XP 2400 (2 ghz)
$20 heatsink, fan
$25 PC chips motherboard, (has onboard LAN & audio)
$80 1 gig ram
$30 30 gig hard drive
$15 cheap ass AGP video card
$20 cheap ass case
$30 good quiet Antec 300W power supply

For $500 per node, you can probably go Athon 64 and overclock. But you would really have to calculate your $ per render speed equation to see what gets you the best dollar/render.

The big cost might be software. Get like OEM Windows 2000 licenses to keep down costs. Render farm software will cost you too.


06-05-2005, 03:51 PM
Software costs aren't a big concern for me - I have two WinXP Pro licenses free through my university.

What I've been considering is going the Athlon route and making something similar to this (http://www.bit-tech.net/modding/2004/08/21/9ghz_rendiathon/1.html) where I could start out with two machines and add more as I have money/need.

Thanks for the input on the speed issue.

06-06-2005, 09:57 AM
well go for amd 64 bit it will be faster related to 2xps also you will need 1 psu,hdd etc than 2 for the xps. well I am searching for building myself a renderfarm and here is what I plan to do.

1.CPU - amd athlon 64bit 3ghz (2.8ghz if i make no mistake), it works better with dual ddr and support sse3. Also will be faster with 64bit software and os, oem hetsing for the begining no need to buy an new one.
2.mobo- 100bit lan dual, ddr, sata ASROCK 939A8X-M (http://www.e-shop.gr/show_per.phtml?id=PER.528328)
3.psu - any
4.gc - cheap pci. watch out for the old 3volt agp cards if the motherboard don't support it you may burn your system
5.tower - I will build rack style tower its betre and smaller for maintainance . its like putting your systems in shelf and will cost less than buying 5 towers
6.hdd - cheap 6 gig hdd it's enaugh to run win xp and maya.
7.RAM - 512mb ram well its not the best but its ok for the beginig

well don't forget except what gets you the best dollar/render ther is also last in time. it will be stupid not to spend enaugh money so you can use at least the upcoming 64bit softwares, the 32bit ones will die soon. and dont forget the now 939 socket can support dual cores (in case you want to upgrade in the future) so I thing buing xp is not such a briliant idea.

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