Ok.When would a render farm become necessary?

Hi. I am new here and I was wondering about rendering. Not sure where this post is most appropriate. Anyways, at what point do I need a render farm. I am thinking of making a small home based one. This would be to render small short film animations. Fairly detailed work. Anyone know what I can get away with? 5 CPU’s? 10 CPU’s? Just trying to get an idea of what it takes. Thanks!

I think this is really just a matter of need or opinion. I have 4 old dells and one ancient pentium 1 computer that makes up my renderfarm. I made it for 2 reasons, first because I still wanted to work in blender while rendering and second, because I wanted to play with networking pcs together. Typically, a scene might take me 8 hrs to render 200 frames, so normally I would render while I sleep, but as I said, sometimes I want to render while still using blender. So now I can send it all to the render farm and work away on my main pc without problems. @ 6 mins per frame render time, I didn’t really need a render farm. If you are talking 30 mins per frame @ 200 frames, then that can’t be done while you are sleeping at night, it could take a few days, then you would need a render farm. As to how many nodes you need, that would depend upon how good they are. My 4 dells are all single core machines, it is faster than my dual core main pc. If I upgrade my main pc to a quad core, it would be faster than my 4 dells (the ancient pentium 1 machine only works as a master, controlling the 4 dells). So it’s kinda like anything else computer wise, what are your needs and what’s your budget?

Just my opinion…

Thanks Randy. I am thinking of building a farm with 5 new i3 intels for my nodes. Linking them to my 2 core duo iMac or making a new master hub to run from.
Would this give me enough power to make small movies like Sintel from the Durian Project? It does not need to be lightning fast but I would prefer a day or 2 of rendering rather than a week.
My movies will run from 5 to 15 minutes long.
Also have you used or heard of Respower or BURP? How do those work.
Thanks alot!

How many frames per hour can your current computer render? Now, multiply that by however many computers you are going to put in your renderfarm. That’s how fast your renderfarm will be if all the computers have the same hardware and software.