Kerky render farm

Kerky render farm

Postby juju » Tue Feb 12, 2008 11:39 pm

Hi there people, I'm looking for some opinions. I'm looking into getting a few second hand (read old) machines to start a little render farm. Three identical machines, specs as follows: (SH = second hand, NP = newly purchased)

CPU: [SH] Intel 630 3GHz/2M/800 socket 775 with stock Intel HSF.
Mobo: [SH] Gigabyte GA-8S661FXM-775.
RAM: [SH] Value 512MB DDR400 (the units come with 1x 512MB, but I think I should upgrade these to 2x 512MB, tell me if you think it'll be worth it).
GFX: [n/a] onboard to mobo (render machine only).
Network: [n/a] 10/100 onboard to mobo.
HDD: [NP] 80GB Seagate (cheapest HDD's available), I could upgrade these to 160GB HDD's for approx $10 US per drive.
Optical: none, only installed for setup purposes, thereafter it will be removed.
Sound: [n/a] onboard to mobo, but won't be used.
PSU: [NP] 300W Generic.
Chassis: [NP] Standard enclosure (cheapest).
OS: [NP / SH - depends, will see what I can get] Win XP (Home / Pro).

These will be networked for Kerkythea rendering, using a 8-port 10/100 switch. These three machines will be set up to run without a keyboard / mouse / monitor using VNC viewer. (The initial installation will require a keyboard / mouse / monitor but it can be removed once VNC is installed and set up.)

One more machine might join the array, but the specs differ a little (ever so slightly higher spec). I have my desktop machine (a monster by comparison) on which I will do the scene setup, tweaking etc. on and just copy it to the other machines and have them render the scenes together.

I was hoping to get some feedback from the guru's out there, before I buy the components and assemble. Most of the components I'm getting second hand, some will have to be bought new, but all things considered it should be quite cheap in comparison to the cheapest new desktop machines available. I should be able to build three for 50% - 60% of what three new (lower spec) machines are retailing at (not including any software).

I was thinking about running the three machines on Ubuntu Linux, but I am unsure how well the communication will be between the three machines running Linux (and KTe2008 - Linux version) and one machine running XP Pro (and KTe2008 - Windows version). Also not sure if VNC will work across a network like that.

Any feedback / tips on the above?
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Last edited by juju on Wed Feb 13, 2008 10:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Kerky render farm

Postby remus » Wed Feb 13, 2008 7:57 am

hi juju, looks like a prety good setup, although im no expert. Might be worth thinking about a slightly larger HDD, you could fill 80 GB pretty quickly if your rendering a lot of scenes.
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Re: Kerky render farm

Postby Frederik » Wed Feb 13, 2008 8:42 am

Hi Julian,

Please don't get me wrong... I really don't mind that you post such a question here at our "sister" forum, but I suggest that you post such a technical question as well at the KT Forum... ;)

Primary reason for this is that personally I don't have any experience using the network option and back "home" I'm sure that there will be many more users who can contribute to this and give you some expert advice... ;)

Have you seen the Network Rendering - How do we set it up? thread..?? ;)
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Re: Kerky render farm

Postby juju » Wed Feb 13, 2008 8:44 am

Yeah remus, I know the 80GB HDD's won't last long when doing multiple renders, I could upgrade them to 160GB units without much of a cost implication, we're talking approximately $10 US per drive.

The idea is really to pull completed renders from the drives and thus regaining the used space.

Frederik, yup, I thought that maybe I should post it over there as well, this was posted really late last night and I wanted to get to bed. I saw the network rendering thing on the Kerky forum, I've DL'ed it to my machine already (I have a folder I keep with Kerky stuff and Kerky related stuff).
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Re: Kerky render farm

Postby juju » Wed Feb 13, 2008 10:51 am

OK, so I did some more digging. The setup I explained above will work fine, but it seems that two of the mentioned new low end machines will outperform the three custom built machines (some new parts some second hand parts) above, and will cost less than the three. My mistake the first time around. So guess which way I'm going...

So it looks like I've solved the question regarding how well the setup will perform, questions regarding interoperability between OS's & KTe2008 versions remain.

Topic over at the KT forum.
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