Building a low profile rendering "network" from used parts

Hi guys,

Im on my phone here and it’s a pain, so please bear with me for - probably - not searching properly!

Atm, I’m running a system with an old AMD 1100T and 16 GB of RAM, 980 GTX. It works slowly, but well enough until “the pandemic” allows normal expenses, so I have to make things work.

I was forced to “upgrade” to a used top model of the AM3+ FX series due to Photoshop’s unfathomable new hunger for SSE 4.2, and it came with a case plus board and RAM.

As I got quite a bit of Blender work recently, I ran into huge problems rendering animations and pretty much being stuck with that, except web browsing, maybe. I need to be able to work and render simultaneously, so here’s my fantastic plan:

I would like to access the second computer through the network, loading jobs from the first and saving them to a cloud drive on the first. I also need the system to be able to do the same with After Effects!
I’d prefer not to need an extra monitor, I already use 2.
Can someone with experience point me to resources, so I can figure this out?
Plus: could someone recommend graphics cards suitable for rendering, maybe several coupled via crossfire (SLI not supported) or so, NO IDEA, that will give me good rendering performance (at least equal to 980 GTX) that I can buy for cheap used?

I have zero experience with the matter
I’m on WIN 10

Please help - somehow :sweat_smile:

I am not sure whether this is what you want but I think my setup is fairly close to your wishes although it’s running on Kubuntu instead.
I have one computer for rendering one that I work on.
The render computer shares files via SMB which is Windows compatible file sharing.
The work computer can access it to upload jobs and download the results.
Both machines use the same version of Blender.
This setup is platform independent and it should be relatively easy to substitute one machine with a Win one.

You would benefit from setting up Windows file sharing.

Have a look at this and see if it can get you started:

Two words of caution, not much tech related but rather a part of your workflow.
Be structured!
You will otherwise most certainly harm you productivity when (not if) you muddle things up.
Work only on the work computer.
Use the render computer only for rendering.
Store everything on the work computer and use the redner one for temp work data only.

Hope this helps :slight_smile:

Excellent! So it should be possible easily. Are you using an extra monitor or is there a way to show a window with the 2nd computer’s screen? Or should I consider using remote desktop to use the 2nd computer? Just trying to save scarce CPU resources :sweat_smile:
Thank you!

Now for the hardware…

I use separate monitor, keyboard and mouse for the render computer.
That way, I can have a quick glance that things are behaving in the render dept. without interrupting anything I work with.

I find Synergy useful for controlling PCs on my local network.

It’s inexpensive and saves desk space if you have to access another PC a lot.

This might look like an ad, but I’m not affiliated with them in any way.

Cool, I’ll look into that, it seems like this is exactly what I’m looking for! I’m absolutely not opposed to paying for software, Blender is my only “free” tool of choice.