DIY Render farm

My previous upload of Home Alone render farm seemed to jag some interest but it did not contain all the automation scripts needed to operate a render farm. There were a couple of minor misprints as well.
So attached is the guide with a complete set of instructions and tested scripts. The script files are available from https://github.com/WazzaMac/renderfarm . Pic of my farm also attached.

Farming Renders-gq.pdf (2.5 MB)

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You could trim the costs a bit by using more then Single GPU on on the setup.

Beyond that I really enjoyed the level of details you have provided in the guide… Though I didn’t read it all yet, but well done.

@yfile would this apply to what you’re doing with your M1 talking to your separate Windows computers?

This is indeed interesting project however my aim was to have fast ‘Mac’ Cycles workstation machine for everyday jobs (with high quality realtime preview, fast files transfers and as close as possible Mac native feel) and not a render farm only – to survive the hard times when there is no Blender/Mac GPU renderer.

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I guess I’m looking at my next project after putting together a new Windows computer.

I have not tried it but the M1 with 8 cores could be OK. My aim was to render a frame in 20s or less per host. That ruled out standard desktop duo and quad PC’s and laptops but if you don’t mind waiting longer they will do. The solution itself could theoretically be applied to a a network of Raspberry Pis or anything that installs Ubuntu Linux.

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Good thought. I may add extra GPUs in the future but I cheaped out on some of the mobos that have only one PCI slot. There are Python scripts around for configuring Blender to use multiple different GPUs but it’s complicated.

Do understand. I use a Mac to do my Blender work but I can’t find any way to use the Mac’s GPU with Cycles. It don’t like Metal. That’s the main reason I built the render farm in Linux. To get away from proprietary limitations.

I just use a PC slave machine in a different way to have Blender Cycles multi-GPU realtime preview/render on a Mac:

I understand that the render farm is running a Linux OS (which I’ve never used), but could I do my work on a Windows machine and then use the render farm for the rendering?

Absolutely. The only requirement is for your Windows machine to be in the RENDERFARM workgroup so it has access to the drop-box and pick-up box. See page 119 of the guide. Even that could be dispensed with if you used a transfer device such as the Gateway shared USB or even a USB stick.

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