Thank you for taking the time to read my questions and comments. I am new to this so I apologize for the text wall and improper use of terminology. I think I have answered my own questions but because I acknowledge my lack of knowledge, I need to consult a large group of people and get different opinions.
I own an older HP ML350 G6. It contains 2x Xeon X5672 at 3.2GHz, 56GB DDR3 RAM, 6x 149GB SAS 15K RPM in a Raid 5+0, no video card, 460W PSU redundant. I'm using ESXi 5.5 for my OS.
I have used this system in the past to run a few VMs hosting video game servers at the same time and it handled it pretty well. ATM, I am no longer running any game servers so it was just sitting there collecting dust.
A guy I play games with creates animations as a hobby and renders them but his video card died so he can't interact with his PC. I offered him the use of my server to render on because he still had a shitty laptop to get online with and he accepted. I knew nothing about Cinema 4D or rendering for that matter when I offered my hardware. I have done an extensive amount of reading over the last week to try and educate myself on this topic. My first question is, are there any major drawbacks to rendering on a VM even with all resources allocated to it?
I still know nothing about the specific settings used for rendering in CD4, but I know we are focused on CPU rendering only. My friend that is doing the rendering applied the settings he wanted and we are getting about 30 minutes a frame. He said when he was using his computer, it was doing the same thing with the same settings in about 20 minutes. He is using the i5-4690K. I am relying on integrated graphics while his dead video card was a GTX 1050. So my question is, would adding a video card, even a cheap one, take enough load off the CPU's to see any performance increase in rendering times? Would a cheap, 1GB card help in any noticeable way and could I get away with an AMD card? I have some older HD5770's laying around but I can't test them without upgrading the PSU first or I would just test it. For $55 I can get a new GTX730 or a GTX1050 for $150.
Without a GPU, we cannot use V-Ray. When my friend was rendering on his system, he never used V-Ray so having it as an option is not a necessity, but if the answer to my question about adding a video card is 'yes, buy a video card', which I think the answer is going to be, I think it is worth looking into seeing if it is a possibility. To have the option of offering V-Ray, I understand I should be looking at workstation cards with a minimum of 4GB RAM. Keeping in mind, this is an older system being used to learn on and mess around with so I won't be buying a Quadro M5000. Buying something new doesn't appear to be an option either, but, for $60 I can get the old quadro FX5800 or for $100 I found a Tesla M2090 6GB. Which kind of video card am I best to go with? Older workstation or newer desktop? I think I should go with the Tesla M2090 but what do you think?
When it comes to the CPU's, I have read that while the higher the frequency the more desireable, having more cores could be better. So when I was upgrading my CPU's, rendering was not something I had considered doing with the hardware. I went from E5620's at 2.4GHz to my X5672's at 3.2GHz. I stuck with 4 cores but at a high frequency and saved $100. So my next question is, would there be any gains by switching to the 6-core Xeon X5675 at 3.06GHz?
The hardware is old and I don't really want to spend a huge amount of money on it ($100-$300) but I want to improve the performance of my hardware to help with his rendering times but also maybe rent out some server time if it's worth it. Right now I'm working with 460W power supplies. The next size up I can go to is 750W for about $70 a piece making that $140 alone. So here is my thinking, adding a video card to the system keeping the price below $160CAD after tax and shipping. I'm think the Tesla M2090 would be my best choice. It is a 255W card so I am forced to upgrade both power supplies for a total of $240. Lastly, if there is any gain by switching to the 6-core processors, I'll go above my spending limit and make it happen. I can get a matching pair for about $120. This would but me up to $360 which I won't mind spending, I just don't know how much of a gain I would see. Will I see gains of 10 minutes a frame or more or will I see gains so small, the cost doesn't make it worth it.
Is my line of thinking and understanding correct? Any input would help a lot. Thank you all that read this far.