Cloud rendering and video card questions

I’m looking for suggestions on what direction I should go with rendering stereoscopic Cycles animation.

Currently, I have seven networked computers with GTX 580 cards. This setup has served me well for the last project I did, but I don’t want to continue along this path. Here’s why:

  • The heat generated by running seven computers with GTX 580 cards is insane. It’s fine for the first few hours, but after a while the heat builds up. I’ve had long renders that have raised the temperature in my basement to 90 degrees in the winter. This is not an exaggeration. I’m using fans to push the air out of the rooms of where the computers are, but they only do so much. These video cards get HOT. My renders take a long time to do, and it makes me nervous to leave the computers rendering for days on end. Rendering shouldn’t be stressful, where I’m wondering if something will catch on fire.
  • The power consumption is insane. I have to run the computers off of two circuits in my house. When I’m rendering at 1920x1080 at full quality (and since I’m creating stereoscopic images, multiply the total number of frames to render by two), I get a pretty big shock in my monthly electric bill.
  • I plan to be making more complex animations that will not fit within the GTX 580’s built in 4 GB of RAM. I’m not looking forward to upgrading all of my computers when that day arrives, and really don’t want to feel like a hamster on a treadmill with respect to hardware upgrades.

Here’s what I’m thinking of doing:

  • Switch to rendering on the cloud. I’m looking into Brenda since it seems like a popular option.
  • Sell all of my GTX 580 cards.
  • Buy one, newer, more powerful NVIDIA card for my main workstation that can handle bigger scenes and render them faster. This will be the one card that I’ll continue to upgrade as more processing power is needed. I’ll also use this card for quick test renders before sending the long renders to the cloud.

My questions are these:

  • Is Brenda the recommended way to go for Blender rendering in the cloud?
  • What current NVIDIA card should I consider that would give me the best bang for the buck for Blender rendering?

Still 980Ti, when the VRAM is enough for you.

Hi, I think the 980Ti beat 4-5 GTX 480.
You can check BMW benchmark to compare one 480 with listed 980Ti to get exact numbers.
Use BMW27.blend >

BMW is a simple scene, newer cards are much faster on complex scenes.

Cheers, mib

My GTX 1080 is half the speed of my GTX 770 on BMW scene.

Thanks for the video card suggestions. I tried out the BMW demo on my GTX 580 (running Windows 7 and a forked version of Blender 2.75) and got 1:45. I was surprised to see that the 980ti card results on the spreadsheet only clocked 1:41 (running Windows 10 and Blender 2.75a) and 3:00 (running Windows 8 and Blender 2.77). The other 980 (non-ti) results looked OK but nothing special. The very minor difference in speed doesn’t seem worth buying over the 480.

I think I’m going to keep my main 580 card, sell my other six 480 cards, and if/when I have a scene that doesn’t fit within the 4GB space, I’ll find a way to work around it when working locally and render it for real on the cloud.

I’m going to start digging into Brenda soon.

Hi, I am sorry but forgot to mention the spreadsheet is really a mess.
Render times with 2.75 was a different file and the tile setup was wrong for GPU render.
2.77 has performance problems with Titan and 980Ti but is already fixed, it should be about 0:45 seconds with 980Ti.
But not bad for the old man GTX 480.
I can render the BMW27.blend in 2:20 on my GTX 760 with 2.77 and 2.75 was even faster (less features enabled on GPU).
Just for info, for big projects it is may needed to use a render service anyway.

Cheers, mib

I’ve been using home made air baffles and fans to push the heat out a window, umm if you can make sure that this setup is done on a second story window at least for home security reasons. And make sure pc is above the open window and you use the air baffle with fans to push the hot air out. Else you can end up with rain water being introduced to your hardware.

If you want to set one up on the cheap you can make one out of cardboard,rtv and some yoga mats. For mine I use 6 fans from a pc and it works alright for pushing the heat outside.

I edited my earlier posts on this thread, but I should mention it here. Originally I said I had a bunch of GTX 480 cards. Actually, they’re GTX 580 cards.

Yes, that’s what I’m thinking. I saw The Secret Life of Pets the other night and was thinking that when I get to doing scenes that complex, 4 MB of RAM (as well as the render times required) is totally not going to cut it. I’ve already decided to move toward rendering in the cloud – Brenda and Amazon’s EC2 is the only option I’m currently looking at, but I’m absolutely open to considering others. I’d rather sell my GTX 580s while they still have their market value and not worry about burning down the house when rendering big scenes in the future.