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Building a Rendering Server--Need advice please.

Last response: in Systems
November 30, 2009 5:34:09 PM

Hi there,

I am building my first "from scratch" system and need some advice. This system is going to be used specifically as a rendering server for models we are building in 3DS Max. We will not be creating the files on this system, or using it as a workstation. Sole purpose is rendering station.

The idea here is a good combination of speed, reliability and value. Want to keep the total build under $2,000. This is what I was thinking, and I will now open it up for comments! Many thanks! --Sean

ASUS Z8NA-D6 (ASMB4-IKVM) Dual LGA 1366 Intel 5500

2 x Intel Xeon E5520 Nehalem 2.26GHz

Kingston 6GB (3 x 2GB)

XFX GS250XZDFL GeForce GTS 250 Core Edition 1GB

2 x Western Digital Caviar Green WD7500AADS 750GB


DVD Drive

December 1, 2009 6:42:52 PM

How many Render Nodes can you use and which rendering software? Does it use the GPU for final renders?

I ask because I just researched a small render farm for C4D and this is what I found:

$90 - Supermicro 1U Chassis & 260w PSU

$100 - Supermicro Mini Tower & 300w PSU

$170 - Supermicro 1156 Board

$240 - Intel X3440 Xeon 2.53GHz

$110 - Kingston DDR3-1333 4GB (2x2GB)

Without drives, each Render Node is $610-620. 2 of these Render Nodes is much faster than a single dual-Xeon 2.26GHz. If you don't want a rack setup, then the Mini Tower will work better and be cheaper since the cheapest rack is about $200.

For drives, you only need something small like

I am assuming that you don't need to render images larger than 2k otherwise a single render node would take far too long.

For $2000, you could build 3 Render Nodes, which is the fastest for the money.

Or you could even save a lot of money and just build a single node for under $800 and have 75% of the performance of a dual-xeon system.
December 1, 2009 8:01:07 PM

I have since decided this system will need to be used as a workstation too. Eventually, it may be the hub for a small render farm, so I will keep your suggestions in mind for that.

Thanks very much for your advice. Just posted another thread, as two of my friends have recommended a couple of different configurations, one at $2000, and the other at about $1600. Curious to know what you think about the combos.