Render Farm for Starters

Hi everyone!

I am quite new to blender, but I am already shocked by the long render times… Because I had some unused PC’s lying around the house, I thought: why not build a render farm? Rendering with my laptop wouldn’t be that much of a problem if it wouldn’t heat up so much. My available systems are:

Laptop (nót in the farm):

  • i5-3317u 1.7 ghz
  • 4 Gb ram
  • GT 740M

Desktop:

  • Pentium 4 3 Ghz
  • 1.25 Gb ram
  • Geforce MX 440 64 Mb

Desktop

  • Athlon XP 2000+ (1.8 Ghz)
  • 786 Mb ram
  • Riva TNT 2 32 Mb

Laptop:

  • Core 2 Duo T5670 1.8 Ghz
  • 3 Gb ram
  • Integrated x3100 graphics

Desktop:

  • Pentium D 280 2.8 Ghz
  • 1 Gb ram
  • 8800 Gt

My question is: how to do it? I tried installing Rocks (for a Beowulf cluster), but my PC’s are not compatible with that program… I have thought about a few options:

  1. Blenders integrated Network Renderer: the problem is that with this program I can’t use LuxEngine or Cyles…
  2. A Beowulf Cluster: I have got the required parts, but I tried installing Rocks and that failed quite a bit. I wouldn’t know any other operating systems for that.
  3. An actual Render Farm: also no idea how :stuck_out_tongue:

I hope someone can help me!
Thanx in advance

Sincerely,
TheMcSquirrell

I wold use the network render. You can select Cycles in the network render settings if you wish, and IIRC LuxRender works as well. You have to have the internal LuxRender (pylux) mode installed, if you have Lux material previews, than you should be fine (ill double check when I get home)

In the laptop with 3GB, start Blender in the master mode network render. Then launch another instance of Blender, using the slave network service, but set it to 1 thread.

Launch Blender on the remaining 3 desktops (be mindful of RAM, you may not have enough, especially the 768MB PC) and start them as slaves.

On your main laptop, you can then create your scenes, and send them to the master (using client mode) to render. You can queue multiple animations if your going to render overnight. WHen your not using your main laptop, add it as a slave, but set it to 1 thread, to help with the heat.

Also, or luxrender, you can just use the built in networking:

Start luxconsole in slave mode (luxconsole -s) on all your pc’s.

Export all the luxrender frames you wanted to a folder, but untick the render option, so it exports only.

Then start luxrender GUI on your laptop for example, set it to 1 thread. Then add all the luxconsole slaves in the network tab, and set the update interval to at least 300.

Then goto the luxrender queue tab, and add all the files you want to render. LuxRender will then process all your files, while rendering on your network.

Hi Zeepal,
Thanks a lot for this answer! This is going to help me a lot, but could you point out an OS I should use? I was thinking about this one: http://blenderbuntu.weebly.com/ but that is not yet updated, and I think is better suitable for a client… I’d prefer something with very little resource usage because, as you said, I might be lacking RAM.

Sincerely,
TheMcSquirrell

Thx alot zeealpal!
Can anyone help choosing OS?

For the slave machines, you really want a linux machine with only a command line interface (ubuntu server?)

Then you just wget luxrender for linux and x32, and launch luxconsole straight from the command line. (After getting the slave’s ip from ifconfig)

The client machine can be anything you want at all :stuck_out_tongue:

Well, I installed Tiny Windows 7 now, it’s like windows 7, but really tiny! Just the os idling uses only 234 mb RAM :smiley:
Do you think I can get better performance with Linux? And can I get normal blender (cycles) running on that too?