My boss who is also a professor has received a donation of 2 racks of render blades (104 blades total). Each blade has dual AMD 248 (2.4GHz) CPUs, 24GB RAM, 80 GB IDE. Considering these machines are over six years old, are they really worth setting up? I will need to install windows and backburner (for 3DS Max) on each machine. That alone I'm not really sure on how to go about.
I guess what I am wondering is, wouldn't it make more sense to get 5 or 10 dual Xeon systems. These are donated but there is going to be considerable cost in setting them up. They need a lot of power and cooling.
It's a university so they can get cheap licenses of windows. But it won't be easy to install since these don't have optical drives.