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what a render farm must have...?

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I´m moving from my litle room here at home, to a less little office where i´m planing to start working at a bigger scale.


So now i need to have more render power, apart from the workstation, i want to make a little render farm.


My knowdlege in this area is "none", i don´t know how they work, or what are the basic components to it.


So it would be very helpfull if you point me some web where this is explained in detail.


I´m thinking in 2 or 3 machines with quad cores, but don´t know for example if 2Gb ram each would be enough, or if they all need HDD´s or maybe could all the machines use the same HDD??.


Could the machines be just conected trough the net to my workstation so i can just send the render jobs and store the result in te workstation, or is necesary another machine (with monitor) to work with?


Also need to know what software is necesary to manage this.


Well it is dificult to me esk you all this in english, so if this well explained in some web would be better.



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There are several kinds of render farms, depend on your budget and type of tasks to develop.

easiest way to start, could be those three computers you are planning, quadcores would be very nice, so they would be usefull to work too... connected in a domestic net.

Depending on the software you use, you should choose a software to admin the farm (Backburner from max is excellent), the farm could grow up till 10 computers. Backburner help (inside max help) has all instructions to make a render farm. Actually I work succesfully with 8 computers using that way... ;)

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first there are some questions you must ask yourself. Is this a project you want to do yourself (building your own renderfarm from scratch?).


I assume that what you want is some sort of rack with Dedicated computers that will see no other use than a renderfarm. If this is the case I think that it is possible for the CPUs to share the same hard drive and input devices (i think each CPU must have its own RAM though). It will take some time, lots of research, and lots of tweaking to get it to work properly.


The other way around it (which is easier in my skills)is to build a small network with individual PCs, each with its own monitor, input devices, RAM and Hard Drives, plus a switch, some ethernet cables, and then build your own network on wich these will be slaves and your main PC will be the manager.


I highly recommend you do some further research since I am no expert.

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Thank you guys for the replyes.


What i want is to know what my options are, so i can choose the proper one.

My initial though was to dedicate 3 machines, cuad cores, with 2 or 4 GB each (don´t know if is necesary to have 4 gb in a render slave, or is enought with a good amount of ram in the workstation or server that i woul load the scene)


But if this means to have each machine as a complete PC with is own monitor and all, then i woud prefer some kind of rack.


My need is to be able to send the renders to that "render farm" while i keep working in my workstation without loss of cpu power.


That´s why i was asking for some kind of guide where i could have a look to all the possible configurations.


Thank you

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What software do you use? Most of the 3D packages come with some kind of network rendering system that is more than adequate for 3 render nodes. The nodes can be under a desk in the corner with a keyboard, mouse and and old monitor on a KVM switch for when you need to get at them directly.

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AJLynn: sorry i miss that information.


I use Max 9, and Vray, y know i can send the renders trough backburner to the nodes.

That KVM switc you said it´s a good solution to control all the nodes with just one mouse/keyboard/monitor, thank.


So to get it right, i could have:


3 nodes with quad duo each, 2 gb ram, a very simple/cheap video card, a HDD just enought to install windows xp 64.


1 set of Mouse/keyboard/monitor connected trough a KVM swich to alternate the control among them.


Then i could send the render jobs from my workstation to the render slaves, and leave the WS free to work in another project?? i mean, once the render it´s send, the WS will be free of cpu consumption from the render? or does it have to be the same scene loaded in a max window?


Another thing i´m concerned, is the HHD manage, what about the textures for example, do they have to be only in the WS, and the nodes see them trough the net? the same with the final render, where is it saved?


Another solution woul be to have the 3 render nodes and a 4th pc with a program to manage the nodes and its tasks, then load the scene in that machine and have the nodes to render it???


I konw this is a lot of information that i´m asking for, i just wanted to know if some of you have find anithing where this is explainde to dummies like me.


Thank you.

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Put the textures and other support files on a file server and use the same drive letter mapping on all machines, and only use the shares in your file references. That solves all the texture problems. Use Backburner or Vray's distributed render or whatever, you don't need any more software, but with 8 core boxes get more than 2GB RAM - you want 4GB. Look at the Backburner and documentation, it has enough info on farming your renders.

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