Rendernodes for Vray distributed rendering

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  10 October 2013
Rendernodes for Vray distributed rendering

Hi everybody, I'm planning to build two cheap rendernodes(about 1000 each) for Vray DR alongside my new workstation.
I'll use them only for that purpose and they'll be rarely used at 100% for more than 24h since I don't do animation, so I just need a powerful CPU, fast RAM and maybe an SSD(don't know if this will help over a standard HD in this case), I'll only install the OS(windows 7 ??) and the vray license, I'll not use a monitor, I'm not interested in GPU or GPGPU, overclocking or other staff. Probably I'll reuse two old powermac G5 case, I like to give them a second life :

This is the material I've choose so far for a total of 1096:

-Intel i7 4930k 6core/12thread 3.4ghz(3.9 turbo), cinebench15 score score about 1200
-CPU cooler:
-SSD 64GB:
-Motherboard x79 socket LGA2011:
-500W PSU:
-Basic GPU:
-RAM 16GB ddr3 1866mhz(will expand to 32GB very soon):

Let me know if this could be a fast/good value machine, any other input is much appreciated

Last edited by sirio : 10 October 2013 at 04:35 PM.
  10 October 2013
Originally Posted by sirio: ...and maybe an SSD(don't know if this will help over a standard HD in this case)

It won't help at all in this case. I'd just get a cheap hard disk drive.

Originally Posted by sirio: Probably I'll reuse two old powermac G5 case, I like to give them a second life :

This sounds like a terrible idea unless you're just out to hack/make something. I'd just spend $50 on a case and move on. Also the power supply is overkill since there's no graphics card. A 300 watt from a reputable manufacturer would be plenty.
  10 October 2013
think about physical space too

I built 3 vray / c4d render nodes using Shuttle systems based on 3930k chips. Each system came in around $1100.

They work great! I'm totally planning on getting at least 2 more. If I have this right, I can drop in a new IvyBridgeE chip in when I want to upgrade them since everything is based on the LGA 2011 Intel X79 motherboards.
  10 October 2013
Thanks for your help guys
I was also looking for another option, a xeon E5 1650 V2 costs the same money and offers near the same spec of the I7 4930K, plus it will also support more ram(also ECC) and 3,5Ghz(vs 3,4 of the 4930). The socket is the same LGA2011.
At the same price is there any reason not to go for the xeon route?
I7 4930K spec:

E5 1650V2 spec:
  10 October 2013
The i7 "K" edition processors have an unlocked multiplier so they are easier to overclock if you're into that kind of thing. If you don't plan to overclock it doesn't really matter, they're basically the same processor. The registered ECC memory support isn't that useful of a feature unless you get a motherboard with enough memory slots to make it count, like 16 DIMM slots because you can stuff 64GB of memory in there without registered ECC modules.
  10 October 2013
Thanks for your useful explanation. I'm not interested in overclocking the CPU, and therefore I believe I'll go for the xeon e5 1650v2 and run the processor with regular non ECC ram. The motherboard I've listed before don't support more than 32GB, probably I'll purchase this one instead which support 8 dimm:
  11 November 2013
Almost ready to build, this is the parts I've ordered for about 2500(1250 for each node):
-Intel i7 4930k
-Noctua NH-U12P SE2 cpu cooler
-Asus P9X79 WS(if I'll decide to run xeon or ecc ram in the future this card support both, maybe I'll upgrade to 10+core cpu when the price will drop a little)
-G.Skill 32GB 1866ghz ddr3 ram
-Corsair CX500 modular PSU
-Asus Radeon HD 5450 GPU
-64GB ssd
Can't wait to run Vray DR on them!
  11 November 2013
Some pictures of my render node build. I choose to put everything inside two old Powermac G5 case, very efficient for cooling and very nice IMO, plus they look just like my other macpros.
After removing the old hardware I've to put some new motherboard supports(in red), glued with a strong industrial epoxy(JB Weld).
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 03.jpg (35.5 KB, 17 views)
  11 November 2013
Then I take apart a standard ATX PSU and fitted in the old G5 PSU case, I've replaced the old fans with two quieter and more efficient Noctua fans. I've also soldered the ATX system power connectors to the G5 front panel(just soldered led and power button, but you can also add USB and Firewire following this diagrams: http://www.s155158671.websitehome.c...rontpinout.jpeg ).
  11 November 2013
I've replaced the stock G5 CPU fans with two quieter 9x9x2.5 Noctua. The Noctua fan color look horrible IMO, so I've painted them with a fine grey primer which look just like the original grey.
  11 November 2013
After some trimming it's time to fit everything inside the case, I've also put back the original CPU cover and deflector, Finished!
  11 November 2013
Everything is set up and working. Each node reach almost 1150 score in cinebench15 running the processor at 4.1ghz. Since the CPUs temperatures are very low during rendering (around 45/50C) I plan to overclock to 4.5ghz, should give me more than 1200 point(just like a 2.66 12core 5.1 macpro!).
After some initial difficulties the DR render is now working fine over a mixed mac/pc gigabit network. My old 2.1 8core macpro complete a test render in 480'', with two additional nodes it take about 100'' to complete the same render, very happy with this results. I'll probably add two more rendernodes in early 2014 plus a new macpro(8core version) as my main workstation.
  11 November 2013
very cool, love to re-use of the 'CheezeGrader' i bet they weight HALF of what they did befor too.

One item that i count in my render node build is How much space they take up. I love the apple cases, but on the shelf where my nodes are, i can fit 2 apple CheeseGraders on there sides or 6 of my Shuttle boxes. I cant over clock them with out a watercooler (yes they make one for the Shuttles) but i can have SIX of them.
  11 November 2013
nice work. I sold an old G5 case to a guy who did something similar but he was going to run it as a hackintosh. Those are great cases but ya, a 1000Watt power supply is a bit overkill.

your setup is going to be similar to mine. I am going for the new Mac PRo and using my Linux slave for added lifting with V-Ray. Have to see if the 8-core makes more sense over the 12-core. The price difference and the higher clock speed for the 8-core means that you could probably get an 8-core with another headless node for the price of the 12-core. But two computers is enough to manage for me. Tough call.

Last edited by cgbeige : 11 November 2013 at 09:36 PM.
  11 November 2013
The 12core new macpro doesn't make any sense to me. The 8core can boost many of his core up to almost 4ghz, have a much better price than the 12core 2.7ghz(about 1000 less) and have better performance in everything but the final render(but I've my fast nodes for that ). The time for expensive 2 Xeon sistem is over for me, I can get 5x 3.5ghz exacore for the price of a single 12core CPU, price/performance there's no match. When I see the nMP back in June I was slightly disappointed about the single CPU, today I'm starting to understand Apple choice. Even if there was a dual CPU option for a 24core system I'll never pay 10.000/15.000+ for that(that's what HP, Dell and others are charging for highend workstation). I setup my nodes so that I do not have to manage them, Vray standalone and VNC automatically open at startup(with ssd it take less than 5 seconds), if I need to check something I use VNC to remote control the slave from my main workstation(so there's no need for additional monitor, mouse or keyboard).
Basically all I have to do is to turn the system on and enjoy the power of the slaves without having to deal with Windows. Cheap render power and OSX experience(an hackintosh is not really OSX experience), best of both worlds

Last edited by sirio : 11 November 2013 at 06:30 PM.
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