I need help building a renderfarm!


Right now I have a pentium 4 3.0 gig system with 1 gig of ram. For all my cg work I use Cinema 4d. I’m getting real tired of waiting on my renders so I thought I would build an el cheapo renderfarm so that I can still use my main computer.

WARNING:I am no proffessional, so please understand the low specs. It’s not like a company renderfarm.

I was planning on using
three 1.5-2.0 gig pentium 3’s (all will be the same speed and model)
three sticks of 512mb pc2100-2700
three motherboards with onboard ethernet ports
Three 10 gig hardrives
Three 250 watt powersupplies (one for each board)

I’m custom building the case myself out of acrylic.

Right now I need help finding out what software to run it on and how to connect them to run as one. Should I use a program that divides up the task? If I base it on Linux can I connect a widows computer to it to send it the task.

I know I can build it but the software problems have me going nowhere.
I guess every 16 year old has his limits right?

Please someone give me a nudge in the right direction.


These Links may helpftp://ftp.futurenet.co.uk/pub/3dworld/resources/tdw29tut_render.pdf


You will need windows on each system (don’t use Win 9x or Me). XP Home should be the cheapest and working fine. Just install the CINEMA Net Client on all systems (remember to install all neccesary modules and plugins too). Make sure the XP firewall does not block the ports CINEMA is using (by default 80 and 1080). You can make one of the systems the server, client and server can work on the same machine without problems provided you have enough memory. 512 MB are a bit on the low side, i would recommend at least one gig, otherwise swapping out on the disk will slow down many renderings. For the same reason i wouldn’t use old 10 Gig drives, they are simply to slow. Instead of building acrylic cases get some el cheapo cases and put the bunch out of sight and hearing range into your cellar.
Try to get cheap mobos with on board graphics. Net render does not need grpahics adapters with OGL abilities.
Hope this helps


As mentioned above, I would increase the amount of RAM in each machine and add faster hard drives. I also see you mentioned the RAM speed being PC2100-2700. That is quite slow, but you also said you’d be using older P3’s, so I’m not sure if the boards you’d be using could actually take anything faster. I would go for the fastest RAM they can handle, and if your budget holds up, try to make sure it’s quality RAM and not some cheap “no name” type. It does make a difference and will add to stability. Corsair, Crucial and OCZ are some good brands to look into.


For the price youll pay for that you could build a single faster machine similar to the machine you have. Just a thought.


Thanks guys, i’ve read up on net render and I have a pretty good idea of the new specs:

3 of everything(except for cooling components. They have their own quantities)

2.6 ghz socket 478 celeron 89.99x3
mach speed P4x400D Mobos 34.99x3
40 gig caviar 7200 RPM 59.99x3
POWMAX 300 watt Power supplies 17.99x3
512mb stick of pc3200 by Ultra 89.99x3

These are my cooling components:
3 Vantec aeroflow cpu cooling fans 25.99x3
6 Powmax 120mm case cooling fans 4.99x6
Zalman ZM-MFCI 6-channel fan controller 39.99

That is $1,025! I’m just a few dollars under budget! (Original Component Budget 1,050)

The setup will be that I a have one Mobo acting as a server and the other two as clients. Essentially this system will be three computers in one case. The operating systems will be installed on all hard drives using my current system. Doing that, I’ll remove all of the bells and whistles of my current computer so that I wont have any software issues when the hard drive is moved to the render farm.

I’ve decided to go ahead and put them all in the same case. The guy I was getting the Acrylic from for free decided to sell it on Ebay last night. What a kind uncle, huh? NE way I’m still going to build the case myself. I was thinking of doing it in steel and thick Plexi.
WAIT it’s not going to be ugly. I’ll weld a boxframe from one inch bar stock and cut some really bitchin’ fillets out of sheet metal that are in the shape of flames and then I’ll have the frame proffessionally painted midight blue. After that I’ll take the plexi and smoothe the edges so that they fit together Perfectly. It will look good because it’s going in between my computer desK and my bed. My curent system sits a mere meter from my head as I sleep at night so fan noise does not bother me anymore.:shrug: I know… I’m a strange one.:surprised

The reason my uncle sold the acrylic is that he found the Not-too-thin plexi and thought that it would “better suit my needs” He also forgot to remove the dollar signs from his eyes…LOL. The case will be painted by a good friend of mine who owes me one and owns a body shop:thumbsup: . The only thing I have to buy is the steel, And I own a welder.

Now on to my questions:(Sorry, but you knew they were coming!)

  1. since I am using one mobo as a server and the other two as clients, I need to know whether I should us Windows Server or XP on the non client MOBO.

  2. will two fans on each board be enough? Please send me your email if you would like a bitmap blueprint of the case to better answere this question.

  3. I didn’t get enough info on net render to know if it will put the server to work rendering also. Will it?

  4. Final question. do you think I should have the fan controller? and should I go down to cheaper 80mm fans?

You guys have been a great help in telling where to go for info. I thank you all from the bottom of my hear.

May the stars shine brightly upon you path


P.S. This is the longest post I have ever made in any forum… EVER!!!

  1. Windows Server is not neccesary. XP home will do fine
  2. This heavily depends on your case design. The celerons won’t heat up that much so an intelligent airflow in tha case will be more important then a fan more or less
  3. You have to differentiate between servers as computer systems and servers as applications serving other apps. Net Server is just an app and can run fine alongside with Net Client on one system. The Net server only distributes frames and compiles final animations it does not render.
  4. Fan controller are usualy a good idea, but make sure to adjust them correct.


you just saved me allot of money. THANK YOU!

This forum is filled with some of the most helpfull people anywhere. I wasn’t pushed away like several other forums. Thank you again all. I have most of the information I need now. If anyone has more suggestions though, please don’t fail to say so.


Be sure to post a pic of your setup once you have it built. Sounds groovy!


XP allow you to a maximum of ten simultaneous connection
so unless your going over ten render machine, You don’t need to buy windows server

512 meg of ram is very low, I suggest you to go at least to one gig
the probleme is, if you dont have enough memory, You will scratch on your hard drive (virtual memory) decreasing your performance drasticly, sometimes even by ten

good luck


Wow, I never knew that lack of memory would cause a computer to do that! I guess I need to save a few hundred more dollars to up the amount of memory. That just set me back a while.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!!! the transmission in my car dropped onto the I24 Interstate yesterday at 70 miles per hour.

New transmission- $1,000… Installation- $150… Knowing your renderfarm idea just went down the shitter- priceless. There are just some dissapointments you can’t bitch about in life, but for everything else, there’s an insurance company to stiff you.

looks like I’m not going to see a single part till next summer. Mutters Various profanities

whoo, Okay, I’m relaxed, I’m cool, I’m calm, I’m SERIOUSLY PISSED! I can’t believe this! I worked construction in 101 degree heat in 100% humidity for two and a half months for this money.

Ultimately, I don’t think this will stop me. Nothing stops me. Not budgets, not people. In the next year I’m going to design a more beautiful case for this renderfarm than anyone has ever seen… Perhaps out of my old transmission? feeble lol seriously though, I’ll repost on this page as soon as My budget returns. Until then, if anyone would like to give a suggestion, then please do. Ill post some illustrations as soon as I create them.

May the stars shine brightly upon your paths


P.S. Dear The_sturm, Please do not take offense to my sarcasm, I was merely venting and am just now realising that it seemed to be directed at you. So please take no offense.


This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.