I’m currently the lead developer for renderfarm.fi. The last few weeks we have seen an enormous increase of submitted work, but the increase in volunteers doing the computing hasn’t been as big. This has resulted in the render queues getting larger faster than we can crunch.
With Cycles integration we have the possibility of doing still images, since we can divide the work of stills in a useful way that allows the user to render them on our grid. I have explained the main process here: http://www.renderfarm.fi/blog/jesterking/cycles-rendering
The best way to get more power is to have people join the project as volunteers to render. Currently our grid has around 500-600 active machines doing the work, but considering the size of alone the Blender community we could have a significant increase in computing power, benefiting everybody on the grid.
We’re working on several ways for volunteers to give project/community preferences on our grid. This means that a user could ‘like’ a certain production, or a community/project for their sessions. Whenever such sessions are accepted on the grid, then their machines would first get work units based on these preferences, before getting work units from other sessions.
We are aware of some mechanisms that submitters could use to get increased performance, but currently they are not relevant yet, as we’re still concentrating on bringing the service quality forward on many fronts. Renderfarm.fi is still a research project as well (currently through http://www.sci-bus.eu), working out many aspects of doing what we’re doing.
Being a free service remains also a top priority, that won’t change. That said, it is not impossible that someday it could possible to buy more processing power for your sessions.
We keep working on the cool stuff. Cycles has finally been integrated in a way suitable for desktop grids, and more of the cool stuff is coming.
Thanks for considering http://www.renderfarm.fi . Remember, more volunteers means more computing power!
ps. if you decide to volunteer for computing, don’t forget to join the best team http://www.renderfarm.fi/team_display.php?teamid=198