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Thread: Growing into a Render Farm - Need HELP!

  1. #11
    Veteran Member Tommy L's Avatar
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    Default Re: Growing into a Render Farm - Need HELP!

    Quote Originally Posted by BKE View Post
    I do residential architectural design work - exteriors with grass and a lot of trees, and interiors. I have a large task list of renderings ahead of me, justifying a hardware upgrade. I have a dual 6 core xeon system and I was going to let that become my render node and build a new i7 3930 or 3960 overclocked workstation for setting up the renderings and working in REVIT, etc. When the render is ready to run, I want to send it over to my node and keep working.
    Here are my questions:
    1) Would I ever need more than 32 gb memory in my V-Ray workstation. (I will let the workstation work along with the node for over night rendering.) I am considering 64gb memory.
    2) Should I consider a Tesla GPU to run RT while I am setting up my renders, to see in 'real time' what is coming together? I feel that a 3gb GTX card will not fit most of my scenes. I know some are using RT for production, but I feel like it has a lot of maturing to do. Is ANYONE in architecture using it to simply boost productivity?
    Thanks in advance for your suggestions/advice!
    Well Ill try and keep it simple, heads spinning a bit after reading the above posts...
    Sounds like you need a farm because you are super busy, a very nice problem to have. The 'buy a rack system from IKEA' solution is one that Im tempted by myself now my farm is becoming inadequate. However, I (like you by the sounds) dont have a spare three days to put the thing together.
    Taking the rendering load away from your workstation is a given for ALL artists. Those that work and render on one machine are masochists or part-timers. When you can buy an i7 based node for around $800 and double your productivity overnight you'd be crazy not to.
    Nodes should be MORE powerful than your workstation (CPU) have more threads and 16GB of RAM should be plenty. If an AMD cpu comes in a couple of hundred bucks less but is half the speed of i7 then get the i7. You can never have enough power. You can never have enough money either, but the faster CPU will earn its keep.
    I agree with Juraj on the GPU rendering. I just find it fiddly and inaccurate. Once you have enough nodes for DR, DR is just as fast as GPU rendering anyway.
    I currently run 9 x i7 machines, 2 of which are workstations, total cost of around $10k.
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    Veteran Member dtolios's Avatar
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    Default Re: Growing into a Render Farm - Need HELP!

    Well, definitely the "Helmer / AMD" proposition was not the "engineered" to be the best $/TFLOP or Watt/TFLOP answer (it might be close / or not), but or sure will add some "bang" for its buck - at least way more cost efficient than a c2050 or an xtreme 3960.
    More powerful FX processors are on sale every now and then, closing the gap in performance with the mid-range i5s.

    GPU rendering is impressive under certain circumstances, but when you start looking into 2-3 dozens of the latest breed of CPU cores, even the underdog FXs, you can fine-tune lighting and materials pretty fast, and way closer to the final output. Not that a proper GPU is not desirable, but c2050...meh...if you cannot do it with GTXs, you can buy an impressive cluster for the price of a single med-hi-end Quadro / Tesla.

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    Default Re: Growing into a Render Farm - Need HELP!

    Hi,

    Have been searching online for more info about the Helmer Render Farm and came across this thread.

    I like the format of the six node AMD FX6100 with the ASRock 880GM-LE FX motherboard.... I was wondering about the spec for the power supply/fan and hard drive - would there be a 10000RMPM model you'd recommend for greater speed?

    Any advice would be appreciated!

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    Veteran Member dtolios's Avatar
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    Default Re: Growing into a Render Farm - Need HELP!

    Quote Originally Posted by Damien March View Post
    Hi,

    Have been searching online for more info about the Helmer Render Farm and came across this thread.

    I like the format of the six node AMD FX6100 with the ASRock 880GM-LE FX motherboard.... I was wondering about the spec for the power supply/fan and hard drive - would there be a 10000RMPM model you'd recommend for greater speed?

    Any advice would be appreciated!
    Today, there are very-very limited reasons to go for 10,000rpm drives - especially in render nodes where technically there are no capacity issues.
    I doubt that it will make much of a difference anyways in the long run, but if I wanted the most cost-effective yet fast solution, I would opt for 64GB SSDs. Prices in many cases are half of what it used to be back in April when this thread was started, so I see no reason going for a much larger HDD: the cheapest HDDs you can find cost more or less the same, and considerably slower - unless you opt for a 2.5" Drive, which again will be slower.

    Also if the FX6100 is apealing to you, then make sure you check out the FX8120 too...occasionally on sale cloes to $130 - usually $20-25 more than the FX6100 - is definitely a good "upgrade" given you can find a suitable mATX board (that supports 125W+ CPUs - the 6100 is 95W).
    Forgive my rants - I can be laconic in Greek if you prefer.
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    Default Re: Growing into a Render Farm - Need HELP!

    Searched online today to make price comparisons between the original spec and the FX8120/FX8150.

    I'd like to max out the sytem with the third or fourth option below...but I'm still not sure about the hard drive and power supply....could be better?

    6CORE (3.30GHz) x 8GB NODE
    CPU Six core AMD FX6100 (3.3GHz, 3.9GHz Turbo) = 107.11
    Motherboard - ASRock 880GM-LEF (Socket AM3+, AMD 880G, DDR3, S-ATA 300, Micro ATX, Supports AM3+ Processor, 8-Core CPU) = €52.98
    Memory 8GB- Crucial 2 x 4GB DDR3 1600 = €44.30
    Power supply with fan - Antec 450W = €49.35
    Hard Drive - WD Scorpio Black WD1600BJKT - Hard drive - 160 GB - internal - 2.5" - SATA-300 - 7200 rpm - buffer: 32 MB = €40
    Cost of node: €293.74


    8CORE (3.10GHz) x 8GB NODE
    CPU Eight core AMD FX-Series FX-8120 Black Edition Eight Core Processor (3.10 GHz, 16MB Cache, Socket AM3+, 125W)
    Part Number: FD8120FRW8KGU = €144.19
    Motherboard - ASRock 880GM-LEF (Socket AM3+, AMD 880G, DDR3, S-ATA 300, Micro ATX, Supports AM3+ Processor, 8-Core CPU) = €52.98
    Memory 8GB- Crucial 2 x 4GB DDR3 1600 = €44.30
    Power supply with fan - Antec 450W = €49.35
    Hard Drive - WD Scorpio Black WD1600BJKT - Hard drive - 160 GB - internal - 2.5" - SATA-300 - 7200 rpm - buffer: 32 MB = €40
    Cost of node: €330.82

    8CORE (3.10GHz) x 16GB NODE
    CPU Eight core AMD FX-Series FX-8120 Black Edition Eight Core Processor (3.10 GHz, 16MB Cache, Socket AM3+, 125W)
    Part Number: FD8120FRW8KGU = 144.19
    Motherboard - Asus M5A78L-M/USB3 HDMI Motherboard (Socket AM3+, Up to 16GB DDR3, USB 3.0, uATX) = €63.43
    Memory 16GB - Kingston ValueRAM - Memory - 8 GB : 2 x 4 GB - DIMM 240-pin - DDR3 - 1333 MHz / PC3-10600 - CL9 - 1.5 V - unbuffered Part Number: ECCKVR1333D3E9SK2/8G €33.59 x 2 = €67.18
    Power supply with fan - Antec 450W = €49.35
    Hard Drive - WD Scorpio Black WD1600BJKT - Hard drive - 160 GB - internal - 2.5" - SATA-300 - 7200 rpm - buffer: 32MB = €40
    Cost of node: €364.15




    8CORE (3.6GHz) x 16GB NODE
    CPU Eight core AMD FX-Series FX-8150 Black Edition Eight Core Processor (3.60GHz, 16MB, L3 Cache, Socket AM3+,125W)
    Part Number: FD8150FRGUBOX = 173
    Motherboard - Asus M5A78L-M/USB3 HDMI Motherboard (Socket AM3+, Up to 16GB DDR3, USB 3.0, uATX) = €63.43
    Memory 16GB - Kingston ValueRAM - Memory - 8 GB : 2 x 4 GB - DIMM 240-pin - DDR3 - 1333 MHz / PC3-10600 - CL9 - 1.5 V - unbuffered Part Number: ECCKVR1333D3E9SK2/8G €33.59 x 2 = €67.18
    Power supply with fan - Antec 450W = €49.35
    Hard Drive - WD Scorpio Black WD1600BJKT - Hard drive - 160 GB - internal - 2.5" - SATA-300 - 7200 rpm - buffer: 32MB = €40
    Cost of node: €392.96 I read somewher that in a CPU/Motherboard bundle of the above it uses 32GB? Cant find that info on the manufacturers website!


    Let me know what you think. I

  6. #16
    Veteran Member dtolios's Avatar
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    Default Re: Growing into a Render Farm - Need HELP!

    The PSU is a bit pricey - Basic Antec 450W for 55 euros? Ouch...Am I out of Europe for that long?

    The HDD will work fine for the price, but low platter density @ 160GB disk won't deliver much speed-wise. 7200rpm or not. With 60/64 SSDs in the €50-55 range I would go for those. Again, in the bigger scheme of things, I don't know what difference it will make: both HDD and SSD will be faster than the GBit connection that will be feeding the nodes, so I don't know if you will have much more than faster boot-up and a silly reduction in power draw with the SSD.

    Unfortunately the mAtx offerings for the FX processors are pretty limited atm. Mainly for providing very limited overclocking with the CPU and not supporting more than 8GB Ram. Only one Asus does I think. There is no mAtx with the 9xx series chipset.
    I know O/C sounds greedy for many, but when you can have a 25-30% performance gain throughout your nodes with O/C for "free" or for €10-20 more on the mobo (ok, electricity bill does take a hit too!), its feels a waste not to. FX chips are taking O/C pretty good

    So You have to pretty much choose if you really have to stick with mATX for the shake of the IKEA Helmer, or move on and look into more open, DIY cases, were ATX would work just fine:







    I know - not that pretty, but good for brainstorming.

    Another Idea would be cutting the back of the helmer, to mount the PSU or even the mobo hanging/being cantilevered partially from the back.

    EDIT: and the coolest looking DIY computing cluster yet...
    Last edited by dtolios; September 12th, 2012 at 11:48 AM.
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    Default Re: Growing into a Render Farm - Need HELP!

    I have no problem moving away from the "Helmer"....I actually prefer the idea of making something bespoke!
    O/C sounds good to me....the more I can clock out of the setup the less time I spend rendering! Have just looked at WD website WD Green HDD...if they use less juice dont mind spending the extra money especially if they speed up the system.
    What did you think of the mobo and CPU set up.
    Things have got pricey this side of the pond with the Euro going downhill.

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    Veteran Member dtolios's Avatar
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    Default Re: Growing into a Render Farm - Need HELP!

    Quote Originally Posted by Damien March View Post
    I have no problem moving away from the "Helmer"....I actually prefer the idea of making something bespoke!
    O/C sounds good to me....the more I can clock out of the setup the less time I spend rendering! Have just looked at WD website WD Green HDD...if they use less juice dont mind spending the extra money especially if they speed up the system.
    What did you think of the mobo and CPU set up.
    Things have got pricey this side of the pond with the Euro going downhill.
    As I've told you, mATX 8xx chipset boards are fine if you can live with the RAM limitations, and you don't care about O/C.

    WD Greens or Blues do save energy, but...we are talking 5Watts here and there - thats less than a 120mm fan, and pretty much nothing in the bigger scheme of things when you have node that will draw 150-200W (depending on O/Cing or not) under rendering load. 5W +/- is within statistical errors or adding / removing a fan into the equation.

    If you want to save on energy, you pretty much limit your choices to more efficient PSUs: 80+ Silver or Gold will save you multiple times the difference of switching to a Caviar Green instead of Black. Greens don't speed up the system, are technically slower than the Blacks to save more energy, and actually Samsung and Seagate low power HDDs are even more economical. 6.5W vs 7.2W or something ridiculous like that doesn't worth mentioning, unless you are trying to maximize your battery runtime on a mobile device.

    Small form factor PSUs like this one could do the job, being Gold Certified: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817151113
    Forgive my rants - I can be laconic in Greek if you prefer.
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    Default Re: Growing into a Render Farm - Need HELP!

    Wondering what you think of the following bottom-dollar render node config, using what I understand to be your recommendations above (all parts retail @ Microcenter, rebates counted in price):

    BIOStar A960G - $0
    AMD FX 6100 - $110 (Would go for the 8120 for $30 more, but for motherboard wattage limitation)
    Win 7 Professional OEM - $139 (can I go with Home to save a few bucks in a 1-CPU box? Or Windows Home Server 2011 ($50!) to save many bucks?)
    OCZ Technology Vertex Plus R2 60GB SSD - $30
    Antec Earthwatts 350W PSU - $40
    Crucial 2 x 8GB DDR3 - 1600 - $100 (Motherboard Specs claim 16 GB support, but you mentioned above that wasn't possible...)
    PowerSpec TX-381 mATX case - $30 (IKEA bashing sounds fun but I can't commit the time right now)

    Total: $449
    Last edited by jackbird; September 24th, 2012 at 09:47 AM.

  10. #20
    Veteran Member dtolios's Avatar
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    Default Re: Growing into a Render Farm - Need HELP!

    Quote Originally Posted by jackbird View Post
    Wondering what you think of the following bottom-dollar render node config, using what I understand to be your recommendations above (all parts retail @ Microcenter, rebates counted in price):

    BIOStar A960G - $0
    AMD FX 6100 - $110 (Would go for the 8120 for $30 more, but for motherboard wattage limitation)
    Win 7 Professional OEM - $139 (can I go with Home to save a few bucks in a 1-CPU box? Or Windows Home Server 2011 ($50!) to save many bucks?)
    OCZ Technology Vertex Plus R2 60GB SSD - $30
    Antec Earthwatts 350W PSU - $40
    Crucial 2 x 8GB DDR3 - 1600 - $100 (Motherboard Specs claim 16 GB support, but you mentioned above that wasn't possible...)
    PowerSpec TX-381 mATX case - $30 (IKEA bashing sounds fun but I can't commit the time right now)

    Total: $449
    The MS Home vs. Pro debate boils down to capability for more than 16GB of RAM which is already limited by your board, Remote Desktop (which might be an issue but you can always control your nodes by hooking up KVM switch or USB mouse/kb and monitor on the fly etc). I doubt you will need domain join or network backup etc. I really don't know what the limitations of Home Server are (if any).

    The FX6100 does drag behind the 8120. The extra expense for the 81xx is justified, but we run in Mobo limitations, given the mATX requirement (if it has to stand).

    The mobo you chose does support 16GB properly. Issues were found with mobos supporting the 8120 + 16GB in the mATX format, where the available boards use a specific version of the 8xx AMD chipsets that is limited to 8GB usually. The 760 chipset in that particular Biostar 960G does 16GB.

    In a nutshell, if you want to stick with mATX and 16GB RAM, and that's your top dollar budget, the node should work just fine for you.
    Forgive my rants - I can be laconic in Greek if you prefer.
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