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davidfro
07-05-2005, 05:13 PM
I remember reading a year or two back how to build yourself a really cheap renderfarm, and I mean BARE MINIMUM. I can't seem to find where it was that I was reading this. The basic idea that they had was you buy the cheap motherboard, some ram, hard drive and mid-range processor, and power supply (best if you have the ethernet built into the motherboard, if not, then a ethernet card as well). Then, you take and find a nice wood shelving unit or build your own, and mount the motherboards directly to the wood. Once you have all your software setup and the network all setup, you're set to go, cheap renderfarm. Has anyone else heard of anything like this? or better yet, has anyone actually done this before that can offer some insight on how to do it and if it's worth it?

Davido Hyer

enygma
07-05-2005, 05:27 PM
Sounds like it would. I have had computers running on shelves, and even the original box the motherboard came in. I created a small ndistributed network cluster using motherboard, processor, memory, network, video, power supply and CD Rom. No hard drive, no case. Then again, the no hard drive part was mainly because I was experimenting with an OpenMOSIX cluster and compiled a custom Linux kernel to be booted from a CD based distro called PlumpOS. I just popped the CD in, booted the system, ejected the disk, popped it into another system, repeat, and move on... but I digress... :D

It is possible. You obviously wouldn't be able to do it without a hard drive... Unless you use a bootable Linux distro with a Linux based standalone renderer... ;) Otherwise, you may end up having to shell out licenses for Windows and hard drives for each computer. The quick way to go about it is by ordering a bunch of hard drives that you will use for your cluster, install Windows and software on one and clone it across multiple drives. I think you may have to deal with Windows Activation issues and licensing issues once they are on the other systems. I haven't tried doing that with Windows yet.

What direction you decide to go with is up to you, but it is possible with bare minimum components.

brudney
07-05-2005, 05:28 PM
http://www.bit-tech.net/modding/2004/08/21/9ghz_rendiathon/1.html :)

Valkyrien
07-05-2005, 07:08 PM
Or buy a bunch of Xboxes and mod yourself a rather bulky linux renderfarm...

*RUNS*

syb3r
07-06-2005, 10:01 AM
valkyrien nice idea for linux render farm, but it wont work for windows :-(
will xbox be more powerfull compared to a PC at the same mony?

azozel
07-06-2005, 01:11 PM
Somthing is better then nothing.
I've picked up 10 systems off the side of the road that people have thrown out due to ignorance. Most just needed a new psu. All the systems came with 20 gig hard drives or more and windows xp.
The best system I found was a dual p3 with 1 gig ram running at 750 mhz per prosessor. and the slowest is a amd k6 running at 250 mhz with 512 megs ram.
all total on my farm I have just over 7 gig's processing power in 10 boxes. and it was 90% free. All of them run great after minor fixes.
_ I think the total cost to get my entire farm in working order was about 200 bucks.
Brother Hyer Just go to D.I. and get some crap boxes maby spruce them up a bit.
Mormons in the house.

I plan on slowly replacing each of my systems with some amd's running around 2 gigs Mhz and 2 gig's ram starting with the slowest one. But my first priority was to fill up all the network slots on my hub. (my wife isn't thrilled with this plan.)

Valkyrien
07-06-2005, 01:21 PM
valkyrien nice idea for linux render farm, but it wont work for windows :-(
will xbox be more powerfull compared to a PC at the same mony?

I know, and no, that's why I ran away :D

SweetDreamz
07-06-2005, 06:46 PM
You can go ask around...schools are a great place sometimes.

I was asking my old Jr. High if they could possibly help me...it turned out that they were replacing all the P4s in the lab with Dual G5s. I just basically got 25 P4s from them. Ask friends and family too, they would definitely help.

davidfro
07-07-2005, 09:17 PM
Hmmm, these are all very good suggestions. I suppose the biggest problem I'm going to run into is if I have to buy a separate maya license for each render node. Does anyone know if there's any way to use a computer as a render node for maya without having a full maya license on it? And I'm not talking about Mentalray's Satellite option, I personally think it's a piece of trash because I haven't been able to get it to use more than 20% of the slave computer's CPU potential. Ideally, Alias should have a program kind of like Satellite where you can use a computer solely for rendering and have so many licenses come with each copy of maya. They could easily only have installed on each computer the bare essentials for rendering. Maybe I'm just in the dark. Is there already something like this for Maya? Mentalray standalone is way too expensive. I suppose I could use the university's renderfarm, but I would like to have my own personal renderfarm....as I'm sure all of us would ;-)

Davido Hyer

enygma
07-07-2005, 09:27 PM
Does anyone know if there's any way to use a computer as a render node for maya without having a full maya license on it?
The Maya renderer apparently can be used on unlimited machines under one license. You have to execute the renderer from the command line as a batch, and would only be able to render either a specified section of the frame, or a frame in an animation. I believe there is information on how to do this in Mayas help files.
And I'm not talking about Mentalray's Satellite option, I personally think it's a piece of trash because I haven't been able to get it to use more than 20% of the slave computer's CPU potential.
This can really depend on the complexity of the scene. I have had slaves running 100% solid on some frames before, and on super cheap non complex scenes, the slaves barely get any useage. It might also depend on the speed of your network connection as well. Some slaves may be getting small chunks of data, but are taking too long to send the info back to the host.
Ideally, Alias should have a program kind of like Satellite where you can use a computer solely for rendering and have so many licenses come with each copy of maya.
Like I said, you should have unlimited rendering licenses with Maya. I think there are some third party programs that can make the render distribution a tad bit easier for you.

XanderFX
07-07-2005, 09:32 PM
Maya comes with an unlimited number of render nodes just drop the cd in the drive and then there will be three options unlimited, copmlete or render engine, choose render engine and your good to go.

I use Spider to manage my renderfarm at work 19 cpus equalling 50GHz of processing power. Renders in 30 minutes what my dual 3GHz machine takes 8 or 9 hours.

Spider is free from here You'll need to join the Spider Yahoo Group here to download the files.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SXSpider/

davidfro
07-07-2005, 09:50 PM
Wow, that's awesome! If I can get the unlimited render license thing working, I believe the majority of my problems with creating a renderfarm are taken care of. Thanks for your help. If I run into any problems getting the standalone render engine to work, then I'll need some more detailed instructions...until then.

Davido Hyer

davidfro
07-07-2005, 10:17 PM
Hey, I was looking through the maya installation options, and it seems that the only options are for 1: Unlimited, 2: Complete, and then under that it lets you choose 1: full, or 2: custom. I don't see any option anywhere for just rendering...maybe I'm missing something. Do you just install the full version of maya on the computer without licensing? or is there something special you do? And I was wondering if with this unlimited render node setup, can you render both maya software render and mentalray render? or is it just software render?

Davido Hyer

davidfro
07-12-2005, 08:11 PM
I've decided to try and build my own renderfarm, making a custom case to hold 5 or 6 motherboard setups. I have each one priced at about $230. 3.2 Ghz. athlon xp and 1 gig of ram (along with motherboard and powersupply of course). My only question now is, would it be more cost effective to try and make it a dual processor system, or would I still get more Ghz for my buck by using single processor systems?

Davido Hyer

daft-crut
07-13-2005, 02:48 AM
I would recommend getting Athlon 64-bit socket 754 2800+ (lowest rate) for each cluster instead Athlon XP 3200+ at the same prices more or less, but you'll able use 64-bit software later, when it is already distributed.

jbo
07-13-2005, 03:27 AM
I would recommend getting Athlon 64-bit socket 754 2800+ (lowest rate) for each cluster instead Athlon XP 3200+ at the same prices more or less, but you'll able use 64-bit software later, when it is already distributed.

true, but you'll also have to pay a bit more for the mobo. you can get an xp board for dirt cheap.

davidfro
07-13-2005, 04:40 AM
true, but you'll also have to pay a bit more for the mobo. you can get an xp board for dirt cheap.

Which is one reason why I decided to go with the XP instead of the 64. Now, I know they have the 64 bit windows out now, but as far as I know, it's going to be a while until all my programs, mainly Maya, are going to utilize the added speed, correct? So I guess there's not much reason to go with the 64 unless there's a promise of the next version of maya being 64 bit....I can always dream.....:-) Although, 64 bit is one of the reasons I bought my nice laptop.

Davido Hyer

daft-crut
07-13-2005, 03:58 PM
well there is actually a cheap mobo for A64 754, namely ECS Nforce 3-a for about $60 (more or less).

jbo
07-13-2005, 04:22 PM
yes, that is cheap for a A64 board, but you can get an xp board for much, much less...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813185010

i put one of those in my old computer after its mobo died and it works great for a VIA board.

Halford
07-13-2005, 06:14 PM
I'm building myself a small renderfarm, I have 2 bartons xp left from previuos machine, so I moved to the XP solution too.

I got ASUSTeK A7V266-MX (VIA KM266) - Micro ATX for the farm, 25 each and small (saved space :) ).

Hal.

Vincent Walhem
07-13-2005, 10:19 PM
About the xbox renderfarm:

16 xbox renderfarm, Obviously running on linux and modchipped:
http://www.anandtech.com/linux/showdoc.aspx?i=2271&p=1

"Unfortunately, we might have expected too much of our XBOX cluster. The saying goes, "Many hands make light work." The addendum should read: "unless the hands are actually four-year-old stripped down processors made for Microsoft." Probably, had we tried this experiment in early 2002 instead of late 2004, we would have had more shocking results. Cracking keys on the distributed XBOXes showed a lot of promise fortunately, particularly if we can get the network to scale high enough. Other projects that require constant CPU operation like folding@home and seti@home would be the best use for such a cluster; just remember the $1400 electricty bill per year for a 16-node cluster. "

Hey, but you can try it with the 360. ;)

davidfro
07-14-2005, 01:53 PM
Is there any difference between a barton XP processor and a normal XP processor? Or are they one and the same?

Davido Hyer

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