Render farm OR a workstation?

I just recently looked at the Six Core Xeon's.
Buying two of these would cost over $2000, not including RAM/Case/PS/MB/etc.

Quad Core i7's 3ghz are only $300, not including ram/case/ps/mb/etc.

Now... I am thinking if I get cheap cases/mb/ps and the minimum of ram for THREE i7's, I could probably build 4-6 quadcore i7 computers for the price of ONE dual Six Core Xeon workstation.

Obviously, my rendering engine supports render nodes.

Now... which would be better?

To have 4-6 computers running quadcore i7's @ 3ghz each


To have ONE workstation running Dual (2) Six Core Xeon's.

Honestly, there is no reason to waste my money on a $1000 processor IF I can buy MULTIPLE $300 processors and the extras to build those computers are well worth it.

Alternatively, I haven't even looked into workstations that are cheaper than the Six Core Xeon's. I just did some quick research for the best possible workstation vs. the cheapest possible i7.
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  1. Hello nitros85;
    I like your idea of building a good workstation and a couple (quartet?) powerful less expensive systems for a basic render farm.
    I can't see how 12 Xeon cores would outperform 16 i7-950 cores.
    And you'd be able to have a workstation system while the render farm is busy.
    Would a dual Xeon quad workstation fit anywhere into the budget picture?

    How flexible are you on the timing of putting this altogether? Those new Sandy Bridge CPUs due out (again) in a few more weeks give you more options.
  2. I recently built a little render farm. You can build a 8 core z8na-d6c render node with 2 xeon 5620 2.4 ghz cpu's for around 1400- 1500 with 12gb of ram and cheapo cases etc.

    I think when i looked at it, it made more sense than buildng quad cores, I cant remember the price difrence, but i also wanted to minimize that power suplies and cases etc.

    also every now and then you can find x5650 cpus on ebay for around $700, so that would be $1400 for a 12 core

    dont forget though youll need a little server or NAS and a switch for this.
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