Q: Mini render farm for background rendering

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by jammiefreerider, Aug 21, 2009.

  1. jammiefreerider macrumors regular

    Aug 23, 2006
    Hey everyone,

    Im in the planning stages of getting a small office/studio for myself and of course thinking of all the new computers/software I should get. I came across the thought that maybe instead of getting a souped up Mac Pro for £5,000 maybe spend the same on a 24in iMac and £4,000 worth of mac minis to create a very small render farm which would be used for background rendering and compressing.

    Does any have any experience with this? Im just thinking out loud at the moment so if you know please point me in the right direction


  2. matteusclement macrumors 65816


    Jan 26, 2008
    what programs do you plan on using?
    rendering farms only work for compressor.
    in other words, when you're rendering in FC, having a 4 or 8 core mac pro is going to be better than a farm.
    If you have the budget, go mac pro.
    I use an iMac and it's huge bottle neck is it's CPU's.
    What kind of mac pro are you looking at?
  3. jammiefreerider thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 23, 2006
    Just using FCS and CS4.

    Thats quite disappointing :( Having my sequence renders going constantly in the background on a farm sounds like great idea. Maybe one for FCS 4.

    Im not sure whats best at the moment for a Mac Pro as its too easy to ad things and clock up a £5,000 computer which might not be any better than a basic Mac Pro and a few mac minis. Guess that last thought is out now. What would be your bang for buck recommendations matteusclement?
  4. matteusclement macrumors 65816


    Jan 26, 2008
    the honest truth?
    if you are going to be doing video as work or a serious hobbie, get an 8 core system, bare bones, no upgrades from apple.
    if you are going to be a casual user, go 4 core.
    BUT KEEP IN MIND (and I speak from experience) nothing is worse than sitting infront of your computer waiting for a render to finish. I once calculated that my whole project from shoot to edit to finish would have been half the time if I could have sped up my rendering.
    Don't get the upgrades from apple, get the parts from NCIX, newegg.com or crucial.

    so.. how serious is your "hobbie"
  5. xStep macrumors 68000

    Jan 28, 2003
    Less lost in L.A.
    If you build a farm, do you not have to also buy extra software licenses too?
  6. Dr.Pants macrumors 65816


    Jan 8, 2009
    Legally yes; for programs like Nuke, IIRC, render licenses cost a fraction of the regular ones. However, I am not familiar if the task can be distributed over XGrid, which would null the need for multiple licenses AFAIK.

    I would go for the bare-bone MacPro and upgrade RAM and HDs. £2,500 for MacPro (dual-processor 2.26 GHz) plus £800 for FCS leaves £1,700-1,400 (UK store won't let my U.S. IP put stuff in basket), which can easily be spent on memory from other sources.
  7. jammiefreerider thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 23, 2006
    I thought we would have to wait for the pro apps to turn 64bit before we saw a decent benefit to 8 cores v 4 cores...

    btw..very much more than a hobbie
  8. romanaz macrumors regular


    Aug 24, 2008
    i can get most of fcs to use 8 cores simultaneously on my schools mac pro systems. 64bit mostly pertains to each app being able to utilize more then 4gb of ram each. At least, thats how I understand it.
  9. jammiefreerider thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 23, 2006
    With Nvidia's CUDA technology and Apples Grand Central/OpenCL does anyone know having multiple graphic cards now becomes a good way of speeding up the computer for our needs.

    Could top spec now (once Snow Leopards out) be 8 cores and 4 Nvidia GeForceGTX 285?
  10. matteusclement macrumors 65816


    Jan 26, 2008
    My understanding is that YES, multiple graphics cards can help.
    BUT, theory and practical are going to be slow to merge.

    YES on the 64bit = using more RAM
    YES on FC using all 8 cores as it stands even with 10.5
    NO on more software licences with the type of rendering I am talking about (i.e- compressor and shake)

    again, it's going to be your call on the 4 vs 8 core. Once you have the set number of cores, you're stuck. The project I was referring to was a total of 100 hours. Could have been 50 if I had better CPU.
    the 4 cores can only take 16 gigs of ram while the 8 cores take 32gigs.
    While this may seem like an insane amount of ram, i can see Pro-Apps eating alot more now that snow leopard allows them to take more.
    I always like to future proof anything I buy over $1000.


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