PII /rendering question


Hi - I realize in reading the posts evryone it seems has gone way beyond the PII’s - but I’m just starting and have some retro questions.

I have 3 - PII’s
1- PII-400
2- PII- 300’s

I’d like to get my feet wet as far as render farms and rather than start with 10 machines - these will have to do. But I could use some help.

I could use some recommendations as far as graphics cards for each. and using them as a macro-mini render farm. and how this is set up

I’d like to start with blender for the graphics app. at least for now but I don’t want to be limited - and this brings me to another question - setting this up - will it be copatable with todays apps?



You seem confused…
Graphics cards have nothing to do with rendering.

Just get them all networked together - you will need a NIC for each and a router (get like a 5-port minimum).

Everything after that is just software related. Don’t know anything about Blender, but using MAX yuou just run the network-rendering software (afterBurner) that came with MAX on each machine and evenything is basically handled automatically. One PC is considered the server and the rest are the clients. Basically when a PC is done rendering its given the next frame to render - the help file that comes with MAX is actually decently helpful in decribing what you need to do.

Concerning any other software its probably very similiar.


yeah. You should have lots of ram in each client. I also dont know about blender but there are many network rendering apps and systems out there. There is lots of info on the web bout this.


you do realize that a single Athlon 1.2 GHz will blow away those three machines? Get rid of the machines and get a single used Athlon in the 1.x GHz range and you are well off for small money.


I think he/she is using those computers because they already own them, ie, they don’t want to go out and purchase any new hardware…or that’s how i read it.


it sure would be more effective to get recent gear. in case those old machines will have to be upgraded, think about the memory upgrade costs alone. the kind of graphic cards and other stuff one gets at the stores nowadays might not even work with old mainboards - such a wonderful business …

personally i’m wondering why a starter in the field of 3d would want to have his own mini-renderfarm? even a somewhat dated dual-cpu workstation (intergraph/sgi zx10 comes to mind) which can be got for rather little money should give more bang for the buck, require less setup and administration hassle and saves room space, power and long term repair and maintenance costs.


If you’re doing it for fun and just for the experience then fine. But those machines are so old that you could make a single computer several times faster with £100 and second hand parts from ebay.

What software are you going to use?


Never mind the ENORMOUS power savings you’d get with 1 machine instead of 10.


yeah it obviously doesnt make sence to do it this way but i think he is like well i have these old machines lying around, :lightbulb why dont i make a renderfarm. More of like a project to learn how it all works than anything else and in the end the bonus is you get a renderfarm. But it would definateley be smarter to sell those machines for what you can get and then buy a real nice machine that will be faster than all 10 of those out together. But who wants to deal with shipping all that and selling it all. So if you just want to do a renderfarm as a science project or whatnot. You wont need a graphix card in the clients but you will need some ram and a way to hook them up thats pretty fast. good luck.


^^^ See thats the problem - its not like he’s going to sell those PC for mroe than a couple of bucks. SO since they are basically worthless if selling them, ya might as well put them to work - even if its slow work.

I actually am typing this on my 333 P2. Slow? Yea! but I use it only for internet surfing and its my print server and run some PS on it. Its fast enough that I don’t ahve to wait on it, yet too slow to really run MAX on it, and its worthless if I try to sell it. I haven;t set it up as a render farm, but I could since its already networked togather.

As long as LOU realizes how slow his systems are compared to a new one, I say he go for it since it sounds like he already has all the HW. And on the pluss side, if he gets a router and a few NICs he can still reuse them on any new PC he eventually gets, so its not like he would be wasting money.


Personally I would have thrown such machines in the skip about 3 years ago.

An important point is that after a few weeks of use, his electricity bill will cost more than buying a single faster machine would have been, so its still a false ecconomy.


good point. :lightbulb :lightbulb :lightbulb :lightbulb :lightbulb unles he creates the first solar powered renderfarm. Might be a problem for rendering overnight.


… well concerning the electric bill, I’m in the US, and our crazy prezident invades foreign countries to make sure that we can waste as much of our low-cost fuel as possible.
… sad but true. :sad:

(also mind you, that a computer thats asleep doesn’t waste much energy, espeisially if you don’t bother to have a monitor hooked up to it)


hey everyone thanks for the advice and it’s all something to think about.

As far as selling them in the US rite now $125 retail @ compusa for 125meg of ram for these machines - not worth welling them. But I am getting lucky at finding 125meg and 256 meg sticks for real cheap,( but they’re not good for the newer machines) I have scsi 160 cards - raid cards -and nic cards - plus a 4 port switching router.

I’ve never had exsperience with render farms and would like to try it. (PII’s used to be the thing - bad machines in their day.)

I also have a new case and I am building that into my main computer. Which I’m still doing research on what is the best mother board graphics card and sound card etc. That I want to use scsi ultra 320’s in for the apps. But that’s another question.

But with what srek had to say - It’s going to take me 6 months to save to get a really good computer/proc/motherboard ram etc. Yes I would love to buy newer machines…$350 each hey not bad for an over 1 gig machine but thats a new graphics card or a new sound card for my main machine.

So…I have 3 machines now. Slow by todays machines, true. But remember when it was Oh,man! I just got me a PII 400! This thing flys…remember those days …just a few years ago. They’ve got to be good for something in the 3d world.

Why a graphics card?..a decent 3d graphics card will speed up even boot up…Gygabyte has the radeon 9200 that is still for 1x, 2x, 4x, and 8x besides a 2d card rendering a 3d frame? doesent make sense to me. Gygabytes only $79 bucks.

In short till I build my main comp…I’m working with hand me downs.

Thanks for all the advice - and hope to hear more…


yeah. Here in the U.S. fules expensive. Is there a shortage, not realy, its just alot more profitable to pretend and charge high prices. as bush adiquatley said the other day…

" Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."


Yup… that bastard for once wasn’t LIEING… he HAS been harming the US for the past 3+ years!


Wow this is still open… seems to be a bit off track.:eek:

As far as network rendering goes I am not familiar with the blender renderer so assuming it is capable of doing you will need to first network your computers. You will need compatable os enough ram and lots of patience. I would first see what is involved to do this. If you have to spend any money it would not be worth it. Besides you will have to learn an awful lot before you will need a network rendering farm. I advse learning blender and save up a few months for a new system, it will be less frustraiting in the end.


CG ==>> politics…hmmmgh Hey Thanx RPB… and thanks again everyone that posted. I be thinking about what was said and read up some more on the subject.


who said anything about rendering and blender. This is about president bush. If you dont have anything mean to say dont say it at all. Just kidding. On subject i would say that a more worthwile cause would be to always be on the lookout for cheap parts. Maybe buy 10 wholesale or sumthing. And realy upgrade these machines to a point were you could sell them for a profit. This might not work considering the clockspeed but might be worth a try.


Seems good old GWB is really getting good at his job.