I was wondering how i can build a cluster for 3d rendering ?
what hardware i need ? , and software ?
I'm thinking to make an 4 or 8 cpu pc for an smp application .... ( 8 threads max ).
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More about cluster
  1. You need to find or do benchmarks for the applications you intend to run to choose the CPU and make the single vs. dual cpu decision.

    >I'm thinking to make an 4 or 8 cpu pc for an smp
    >application .... ( 8 threads max ).

    I'm not sure I undersytand what you're asking here... SMP only works within a single system. Except for some work with the MOSIX mods to Linux, you can't migrate threads to other systems in the cluster. So, if you want to run 8 threads, you'll need an 8 CPU motherboard = big $$$

    The way clustering works is that you actually run seperate processes on each system in your cluster. If they need to communicate, they use a message passing library like <A HREF="http://www.epm.ornl.gov/pvm/pvm_home.html" target="_new">PVM</A> or <A HREF="http://www-unix.mcs.anl.gov/mpi/" target="_new">MPI</A>.

    As for what hardware: Pretty much just off the shelf components: MB, memory, CPU, etc. You can rackmount, or use regualr cases if you have the room. 8 CPUs probably isn't worth rackmounting, especially if you go with dual boards.

    Network depends on what kind of com bandwidth you need. For 8 CPUs, you'll probably have plenty with a single fast ethernet. Might as well go with switched, it's not much more then a hub now.

    You don't need a mouse, keyboard, CD, etc. for each box. You may not even need a hard drive if you want to net-boot. I'd get MB with onboard video if possible, in case you need to debug a box, you don't need to add a video card. A floppy drive for each box is a good idea also.

    And remember, stability is key when you're running several boxes like this, so don't get rock-bottom components.

    As for OS, I can't reccomend anything other then Linux. Providing you app runs on it of course. You can't beat the price, stability, remote-admin, etc. Pretty much everybody using clusters runs them on Linux. So, there tends to be much more in the way of online info, software, utilities, etc. available for Linux.

    Here's another link you might check out. You can find pretty much anything you need about clusters either on this site, or linked from it.

    <A HREF="http://www.beowulf-underground.org/" target="_new">http://www.beowulf-underground.org/</A>

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice.
    In practice, there is.
  2. I believe you want to build a render farm.

    well, first off you will want decent Mhz from these machines, they do not have to be SMP machines, but you can go that route if you wish.

    I would suggest a P4 with striped scsi 160 atlas 10k (cheap for 36gig atm) and gigabit ethernet (rj45 copper not SC connector)

    Or you can cut all the way back to P3 800Mhz, 10/100 network and a single ata/100 hard drive.
  3. >I would suggest a P4 with striped scsi 160 atlas 10k
    >(cheap for 36gig atm) and gigabit ethernet (rj45 copper
    >not SC connector)

    I'm not to familiar with rendering. Is it really that network intensive for 4 or 8 machines?

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice.
    In practice, there is.
  4. Those machines have enough bandwidth to breach 10/100 network bandwidth (hi! scsi 160 striped). Im sure it can be done on 10/100 but if your gonna do it right gigbabit is next step in the right direction (getting cheap too).

    Gigabit is standard on all macs now, not that it makes a diff. just simple fact.
  5. Sure, they can saturate fast ethernet. The question is, does it? One of my distributed apps hits the network with so little traffic that I could probably get by with 10bT. It's all CPU bound.

    If a distributed app is saturating fast ethernet with only 8 CPUs, you probably need to have another look at your application design.

    How's the latency on gigabit wrt ethernet? That might make it worthwhile for some stuff.

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice.
    In practice, there is.
  6. I am planning to make a cluster, though I am a newbie and cluster stuff. I am planning to cluster a whole crapload of old 486s, P1, P2, etc. and maybe a few Durons or something.

    From now on when someone asks you how fast your computer is, tell them your benchmark scores.
  7. I have a small cluster at home that I use for experimenting with message passing libraries, etc. It's a couple of old 486s that I picked up for $15 each about 2 years ago.

    That was my first experience doing my own networking also. It was a good investment, I learned a lot. Haven't booted it up in ages, but I've been toying with the idea of trying <A HREF="http://www.mosix.cs.huji.ac.il/" target="_new">mosix</A> on it. If I ever find the time!

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice.
    In practice, there is.
  8. Keep in mind that with Linux, there are NO SSE2 optimizations. Without that, the P4 is not practical at all.

    Windows has SSE2 optimizations for a few things, but not much that would be worthwhile in a cluster. Not that it matters--no one in their right mind uses a Windows OS for clustering anyways.

    Some things in Linux can be optimized for SSE1 or 3Dnow!--mainly the Mesa libs and the kernel. If one took the time to compile Linux from scratch, then the stuff at <A HREF="http://www.athlonlinux.org/" target="_new">http://www.athlonlinux.org/</A> could pave the way for full 3Dnow! optimization. That's a lot of work though and is beyond many peoples' skills.

    If Gigabit does become the interface of choice, then a mobo with 64-bit PCI slots is in order--32-bit, 33 MHz PCI can get almost completely saturated by Gigabit. In that case, the P3 (or a non-x86 CPU) would be the only good choice, and ServerWorks would be a good choice for a mobo.

    SMP also rules out Athlons and P4s at the moment.

    "Happiness is a loaded weapon."
  9. >Keep in mind that with Linux, there are NO SSE2
    >optimizations. Without that, the P4 is not practical at

    I think you can use SSE2 under Linux if you're willing/able to hack assembly. If you look in Intel's SSE2 tutorial, a lot of it concerns assembly anyway. Just conjecture though.

    Also, Intel is supposed to start a beta trial of their compilers for Linux soon.

    Check out this link for some headers that abstract some MMX & 3DNow assembly for Linux <A HREF="http://aggregate.org/SWAR/" target="_new">http://aggregate.org/SWAR/</A>

    I haven't tried it yet myself ... any day now.

    Thanks for the athlonlinux link. I hadn't seen it before.

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice.
    In practice, there is.
  10. Firstly sorry about my bud English .... and Thanx for all your info ...
    If i cant migrate threads to other systems ... clustering is not for me .... BUT i know a 3D app that does that !!!!
    " Realsoft 3d " checkit out www.realsoft.fi and its very intresting . But I'm using another app LightWave 3D that support 8 threads smp , and Render farm ( but only for frames , not at the same image i think ... ) so the quastion is ....
    is there a way to do it ?
    694D PRO ,dual PIII 800 @ 882 ,768 Ram and a DUAL PII 400 , 384 Ram BUT I WANT MORE ......
  11. God, you girls shoot anything down.

    On second thought, new suggestion. go to a real 3ds forum and ask your question. you will get nothing here but lemmings who bash anything intel and your question becomes a flame of children splitting hairs.

    anim8tor might be of some help, if he opens this thread.

    You can decide how many machines you want and what they will be used for when they are not rendering.
    based upon current intel price cuts the P4 is the best option currently available. 3ds is fairly easy to setup as a farm on a network of pc's. keep the configuration close to the same or exact matching machines. I have seen 2 pc's differ in renders of same scene.

    3ds is a threaded app, 8 way 1ghz xeon's would smoke in rendering (price this vs 8 single pc's w/ monitors and stuff).


    This is one of many, but its a place to start.
  12. What is your problem? There has been no "shooting down" at all. There has been no "Intel bashing."

    Go screw up another thread.

    From now on when someone asks you how fast your computer is, tell them your benchmark scores.
  13. G1 Griz, right on que for you. as you obviously can see I was helping in this thread, unlike your post.
  14. I just checked out the link you posted. It says "Distributed Network Rendering" as well as "Multi-threading and symmetric multiprocessing." so, it sounds like it can use SMP within a system, as well as distribute the load over a cluster. In fact, a little further into the discription:

    "Realsoft 3D supports cross-platform distributed network rendering and symmetric multiprocessing.

    The system subdivides the image and uses available workstations and/or processors to render the images. Even the material preview takes advantage of this to speed up its rendering."

    I would definitely have to reccomend a cluster over an 8-way proliant box though. Using the link fugger suggested I configured a pretty bare-bones 8-way proliant:

    System Type
    ProLiant 8500 6/700-1 MB Model 2S-1024 MB

    Disk Data Area 1
    SCSI / 18 GB, 10,000 RPM / 0 GB (Requested), 0 GB (Configured)

    2048 MB (Requested), 2048 MB (Configured)

    The price comes to $38,354, and Compaq didn't list 1GHz xeon as an option, just 700 MHz. Is there a 1GHz xeon?

    You could build about a really good 32 node cluster for that money. There is even a Linux version of your software, so you don't have to pay all the licensing costs of Windows.

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice.
    In practice, there is.<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by ergeorge on 04/20/01 11:08 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
  15. name-calling and almost-flaming isn't helping in my book.

    From now on when someone asks you how fast your computer is, tell them your benchmark scores.
  16. All I can assume is that you're all bent out of shape because someone dared suggest that your precious P4 isn't the best for everything. Welcome to reality, baby.

    And if I was a real AMD lemming, I'd have said, "Go with AMD all the way. To hell with Intel [and SMP, and 64-bit PCI]." Notice I didn't say that. AMD's not the best for everything either.

    Nothing against Intel, but you have some real insecurities there.


    bash-2.04$ kill -9 1
    init: Just what do you think you're doing, Dave?
  17. I would go to a board that is concearned spacificaly with Lightwave. You can find a couple at


    Each software package is very different, a single Athalon is quicker than a single P3 in Maya. LightWave may be different so find out from those who use it.

    New Tek certified the Athalon for Lightwave so either P3 or Athalon would work well. P4 would also work but I dont know If lightwave does/will run faster or slower than P3/Athalon.

    Here is a few 3rd party apps that are used in renderfarms( taken from a post on Highend 3D):
    Network Rendering / Network Distribution / NT Render Farm Solutions:

    I think the demo version let's you render to your hearts content on two computers and then is $620 for unlimited computers on NT and UNIX(IRIX &LINUX?) or $770 with a year of tech support.Best value for mixed platform renderfarms with 3+ computers. Slow to download DEMO

    I'm not sure what the DEMO allows but I recall that it was $150 per computer.Best feature it's crossplatform.

    Windows Only. Render Pools. Error Correction. UI & Command Line.$100 per computer. Good value if have 4 or less computers. Site license for $5000 (good if value if you have 50+ computers). Best feature is that it will support other net renderable applications. Two week Demo

    http://www.rendercorp.com They've got GOD on their side.
    $595 for first 5 license, $150 for additonal packs of 5.
    Best feature is the Image Scatter which allows the network to render chunks of a single image. Good value if you only have 3+ Windows machines. Downloadable DEMO

    http://www.stationxstudios.com/html/prod_soft.spider.htm Windows Only,Pools/Group,Error correction
    Supports Maya, Lightwave or Chalice but requires seperate license for each (SUCK!) Pro version Best features: Supports Image Slicing and command line scripting
    Standard $99 per CPU$6000 a good value if you have more than 60+ CPU's. Pro $149 per CPU $9000 a good value if you have over 90+ cpu's (That's right ! per CPU not per computer SUCK!)You can request a DEMO

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