Requirement for a render farm

please can i get a specification for a render farm to render scenes with over 150 million polygons using 3ds max design 2011. I'm presently using a
Dell precision T3500
Intel(R)Xeon(R) CPU E5630 @ 2.53GHz 2.53GHz
12gb ram. but it seems the processor is not fast enough as the system drags while modelling a scene of about a hundred chairs (50 million polygons) and i still need to model and render an auditorium scene of 6,000 chairs. i guess that will be about 3000000000 (3billion polygons).
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  1. how fast are you looking to do this huge render?
    Are you aware that you can 'rent' render farm time?esp if this is a one time project.
    A render farm is basically alot of pcs all networked together and 1 of them acting as the 'manager' so building your own farm can get very expensive.
  2. @ janusfirst and popatim, I get your point, but it's not a one time project. Do you have an idea of what specs i should be considering?
  3. A renderfarm doesn't have a set size; it can range from just 2 pcs to thousands. And since they're simply just pcs networked to together you can add or remove nodes with minimal effort. A project doesn't have a requirement, better hardware means faster render, worse means longer. From a cost stand point, the best price/performance would be the e3 1230v2. And just get as many nodes as your budget allows (or room space, power and heat capacity, etc.). This is just for an idea of cost. You'd be buying in bulk so should be a little cheaper and of course those parts may not be available in bulk so would get something similar.
  4. dollarrender said:
    Do you have an idea of what specs i should be considering?

    Depends on how fast you want/need it to go.

    Companies like Pixart and ILM have render farms made up of hundreds of machines so their programmers/artists can tweak things almost in real-time.

    If you are rendering scenes with 3 billion polygons, you will need tons of RAM. If each vertice is stored as a SP float and you have three per polygon, you are already looking at over 36GB of raw data.

    If you look at TaskManager and see that rendering is slow with some CPU cores nowhere close to 100% load and the HDD LED constantly lit up, low RAM and swapping/reloading are killing your rendering performance and you need to bump your computer to something like 36GB RAM or more. If you build a new rendering workstation, you will probably want to aim for 64GB.
  5. @ invaliderror, and K1114,Thanks for that piece of information. very useful.
  6. If I'm using SMEDGE as my queue manager, do i need to install my modeling software (3dmax design 2011) on every node? the information i got from SMEDGE site implies that i dont need to.
  7. Do you have to use smedge? That is just extra money. 3DS Max comes with backburner for network rendering setup. You just need the backburner client on each node. The same goes for smedge, you just need the smedge client on each node.
  8. Thanks alot k1114, i'll check that out.
  9. Hi k1114, I was trying to send you a message but it appears the messaging is broken here at Toms. Hopefully you get this. Your suggestions in this post sparked a rampant building and spending spree and has changed the way I plan to build and render. 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 the rack, 16port kvm, 24port gig switch, ups, 4 1U's, 3 2U's, 48 gigs of ram, server keyboard/trackball shelf, 35 amp 120 circuit installed, sliding shelves, rails, stack of 80gb hard drives, and other server equipment. I am well on my way to building something awesome.

    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 truly hoping to get some insight from you on matters I don't quite grasp. You seem to know a lot about rendering. From linux vs windows, to desktop motherboards fitting in servers, to 3930k vs xeon 1230, to scrapping the project and moving to gpu rendering, I have many questions.

    Would you possibly have time to chat over skype or any other messaging software? I could also start a forum if necessary. My skype id is new.visions and my email is

    I would really appreciate the help

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