k1114, I hope you are reading this.
I am in need of a powerful render farm. I was building gaming cases with processors I could afford and ended up with a rather ugly pile of heaters and a ratsnest of wires. Most of the builds are not cutting it for me. Knowing little to nothing about servers, U's, and the headaches that come with, I dove head first into a decision of building a 42u rack to grow with. I have traveled half of Florida purchasing craigslist items to build with and now have a large pile ready to be put together. I have a 42u rack, 16port kvm, 24port gig switch, ups, 4 1U's, 3 2U's, (all with 500watt power supplies) 48 gigs of ram, server keyboard/mouse in sliding shelf, 35 amp 120w circuit installed, sliding shelves, rails, stack of 80gb hard drives, and other server equipment. I am well on my way to building something workable.
I plan to render using mental ray with maya through backburner. I have pretty much everything figured out and ready to be put together. I am hoping to get some insight from you on matters I don't quite grasp. I will have many questions as I proceed as i have no formal training on anything of the sort.
-Q1.- I would like to use destop motherboards in my servers. This idea was sparked from k1114's partpicker list in the post http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/357545-28-requirement...
What are the pitfalls of using desktop mobos? Will I be able to get a suitable cooler on my cpu that will be running 100% non stop with this configuration (Such as an H60 or H80)? Will the mobo ports line up with the back of a standard 2u chassis?
-Q2.- Should I limit myself on the processor? K1114 suggested making multiple servers with xeon 1230's. His partpicker list came up to $550 without the cpu
( http://pcpartpicker.com/p/wyQ2 ). At that expense, would I be better off getting 3930k's and building less servers (Due to budget). I know that 3930ks would tear the 1230 up. I have one in my workstation and it renders faster than I ever imagined. They are over 2x the price of the $230 1230's though........???????
-Q3.- A thought... Should I scrap all plans of building this expensive cpu based render farm for some upcoming wave of GPU possibilities? I know Maya does not support GPU rendering right now without a painful Iray workaround. Maya 2014 is coming out soon though and will likely have more support. MORE inportantly, new Quadro cards are being released. Does this mean Quadro 5000 & 6000's will be dropping off in price and I will be able to buy multiple GPU's that would leave the best processors available in the dust??? At this point should I be making some crazy build that houses 7 quadro 5000's and renders in SLI. That would mean scrapping the whole server rack idea...... If I am to scrap it, I would like to do so immediatly!
I Begin building next week and would love some input here before I get too deep.
If I get some interested people here, I will happily post pics, results, methods, and final product info for people to learn from in the future.
I would really appereciate the help
Different mobos will just have different features. The socket will affect what cooler will fit on it but for h60, h80 or other closed loop coolers, you will need somewhere to mount the radiator. You'd probably be better off with just air coolers, they are cheaper, most likely quieter and the same cooling performance. The racks should be atx compatible (it'll say in specs) so any atx mobo will fit.
When I made that list, I looked at other configurations and the 1230v2 was the best performance/$ when factoring in all needed components. It may be different now. It you go with the e3, make sure it's v2 as the first one is an older architecture but the same price. 1155 mobos can also be found for much cheaper than 2011 mobos but be aware 1155 mobos will only have 4 ram slots.
Gpu rendering has been around for a long time and there are plenty of solutions, they are just third parties'. Gpus won't just drop in price when new ones come out, just take a look at the current "old" models. Also if you really want better performance/$ quadro is not it. There are limitations of what you can do on a gpu hence the reason why cpus and gpus exist as separate entities. The current ideal setup would be using both cpu and gpu renderers. Even if you went for the current cpu solution, it wouldn't be a difficult to just add better gpus.