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Thread: render farm server build

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    render farm server build

    Hi all,

    I'm building a small render farm to speed up my architectural renders in Maxwell.

    The idea was to make it home-worthy, so fairly quiet is important and compact as possible without dealing with heat and noise issues. I wanted to avoid stacking mini-towers in my closet so heres what I came up with....

    CPU--AMD Phenom II X4 920 $150
    .zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?ProductCode=10009842&prodlist=froogle

    MoBo--ASUS 780G MATX AMD Motherboard $75
    .newegg.com/product/product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131324

    Memory --CORSAIR 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR2 1066 $130
    .newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820145215

    HD--Seagate Barracuda 7200 RPM 8MB $40
    .newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148511&nm_mc=OTC-Froogle&cm_mmc=OTC-Froogle-_-Hard+Drives-_-Seagate-_-22148511

    Case--iStarUSA D-200 Black Steel 2U Rackmount $95
    .newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811165082&nm_mc=AFC-C8Junction&cm_mmc=AFC-C8Junction-_-Server%20-%20Chassis-_-I-Star%20Computer%20Co.%20Ltd-_-11165082

    PSU--CORSAIR CMPSU-450VX $70
    .newegg.com/product/product.aspx?item=N82E16817139003

    Heatsink--I need help on this, Something quiet that will fit in a 2u??~$30

    Total cost per node = ~$600

    I'd like to end up with about 10(2u) nodes total, housed the 20u rack like this one(something open and around 300$- .rackmountnet.com/steel-open-rack-post-p-239.html

    My thoughts are to use XP pro 64bit as the OS and use Dr. que or Maxwell Renders que manager to handle the renders. Mabey start off with a couple nodes....check the performance and add more throughout the year.

    Are these parts compatible? Will this work?

    Thanks guys,

  2. #2
    Big, Mean and Ugly! circuitmonkey's Avatar
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    Re: render farm server build

    for a low profile cpu cooler have a look at frostytech

    And whilst thinking of cooling, although the PSU you've selected is a very good one, there may be issues with it's fan location, it's fan won't be able to draw any air to cool it as it'll be placed up against the cases metal. Perhaps looking at something that draws from the side, older ATX PSUs normally do this, look for anything with an 8cm fan and it should work.
    The Antec Signature would work nicely, but might be a bit overkill for your needs

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    Re: render farm server build

    Sounds good...nice link on the heatsinks!

    Here's what I came up with on the PSU--


    Antec EarthWatts Green EA-430D Green 430W Continuous power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS 12V 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply
    .newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371034&cm_re=antec_power_supply-_-17-371-034-_-Product



    Efficiency is pretty important and I'd like to stay around $80 or less.

  4. #4
    Big, Mean and Ugly! circuitmonkey's Avatar
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    Re: render farm server build

    Yer, the antec should do very nicely

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    Re: render farm server build

    Hi and welcome to Hexus! Just wanted to say I'd go for this PSU over the Antec one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-008-_-Product but double-check an ATX PSU will actually fit in your rackmount case.
    Also you could save a bit of money by going for a motherboard with a less powerful IGP (the 780G is a fairly high-end IGP), something like this perhaps? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...pk=ASUS%20740G

  6. #6
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    Re: render farm server build

    Quote Originally Posted by watercooled View Post
    Hi and welcome to Hexus! Just wanted to say I'd go for this PSU over the Antec one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-008-_-Product but double-check an ATX PSU will actually fit in your rackmount case.
    Also you could save a bit of money by going for a motherboard with a less powerful IGP (the 780G is a fairly high-end IGP), something like this perhaps? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...pk=ASUS%20740G
    Hmm, states in the product description that it supports standard ATX Power supply, and like I said earlier, the OP should be looking for one without a fan located on the bottom so the thing can actually breath.

    Fair point on the IGP though, might be able to save money here and put it towards better CPU/More memory

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    Senior Member watercooled's Avatar
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    Re: render farm server build

    Oh yeah, was looking at the wrong page for the case D'oh! And yeah I think you're right about the fan location - didn't read all the posts before posting myself...

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    Re: render farm server build

    I would probably go for the 95W version of the X4 945 as it will run in DDR2 AM2+ motherboards and has a lower TDP of around 95W as opposed to the 125W of the X4 940.

    It is only slightly more expensive and will be easier to cool:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-696-_-Product

    http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/Produc...dlist=celebros

    The motherboard supports the X4 945:

    http://asus.com/product.aspx?P_ID=Kj...M2D&templete=2

    I would also look at this OCZ PSU:

    http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/Produc...dlist=celebros

    It is made by CWT and can maintain its rated power upto 47C!

    Here is a review:

    http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/794

    I would also go for a faster disk like Samsung F3 500GB:

    http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/Produc...dlist=celebros

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...Tpk=F3%20500GB
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 01-02-2010 at 08:10 PM.


    Those despicable Elk,stealing the pond weed!

  9. #9
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    Re: render farm server build

    Quote Originally Posted by CAT-THE-FIFTH View Post

    I would also look at this OCZ PSU:

    http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/Produc...dlist=celebros

    It is made by CWT and can maintain its rated power upto 47C!

    Here is a review:

    http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/794
    Again with a PSU with a fan mounted on the bottom.... It aint gunna work even at upto 47C

    Can't find a review for the exact antec, but heres one for the 500W older version (non delta) and it did very well in their hotbox test and is supposed to be very queit

  10. #10
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    Re: render farm server build

    These Seasonic units are 80+ certified and are cheaper than the Antec:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-085-_-Product

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-075-_-Product

    Here are the specifications of the PSUs:

    http://www.seasonicusa.com/PDF/Catal...us_catalog.pdf


    Those despicable Elk,stealing the pond weed!

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    Re: render farm server build

    It might be an idea to find out if Maxwell can do GPU based rendering?

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    Re: render farm server build

    That's a very good point - you could get far more bang-for-buck if it can use GPUs.

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    Re: render farm server build

    AM2+ boards will require higher voltage DDR2 and produce more heat !
    Kalniel: "Nice review Tarinder - would it be possible to get a picture of the case when the components are installed (with the side off obviously)?"
    CAT-THE-FIFTH: "The Antec 300 is a case which has an understated and clean appearance which many people like. Not everyone is into e-peen looking computers which look like a cross between the imagination of a hyperactive 10 year old and a Frog."
    TKPeters: "Off to AVForum better Deal - £20+Vat for Free Shipping @ Scan"
    for all intents it seems to be the same card minus some gays name on it and a shielded cover ? with OEM added to it - GoNz0.

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    Re: render farm server build

    Higher voltage memory is cheaper than low voltage modules. Also the difference in heat output would be negligible.

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    Re: render farm server build

    This might be a useful reference: http://helmer.sfe.se/
    (\__/)
    (='.'=)
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    Re: render farm server build

    Alot of good points!...

    CAT-THE-FIFTH-
    Good looking out on the CPU, HD and PSU, the Mobo u listed is the one in my original spec. The CPU and HD is a no brainer, I'm definitely going for the x4 945...I was beginning to wonder about the x4 920 with heat issues and a low profile Heat sink in that 2u rack. I'm on the fence with the Seasonic vs the Antec, I need to dig up some more info....but definitely a good option.

    Watercooled-
    Thanks for the tip on the 740g MoBo....I might be going with that one. This Mobo is a small price difference but over the whole build could save a couple hundred doll hairs. This brings me another point....are there deals for bulk purchases like these?...i'm going to buy 10 CPU's, 10 MoBo's, 10 Racks etc. Not to say I'm not happy with ~$600 per node.....just a thought.

    Dirky-
    GPU rendering isn't an option with maxwell render or any other unbiased renderers that I know of. Except "octane"...a no name renderer with little cred and material support. There are talks about VRAY coming out with a GPU renderer but I haven't seen it yet, it seems the hole rendering program needs to be rewritten. Id be nice, but for know its all CPU.

    Stoo-
    The helmer is pretty cool...that's all I'm going for, just a little bit more flexibility with a different packaging.


    ...... The heat sink is still giving me some issues, I having trouble finding a solid low profile one, with good cooling numbers for quad core. These nodes are going to be running steady at 1-10hr blocks for 3k-5k stills and up to 48 hours to animation.

    ...also at about 200~250watts per node and 10 nodes total, i'll be pushing around 2000w~2500w at 110v which is going to blow any 20amp breaker. I might have to start off with 5 or so nodes and see how things go.

    Thanks guys,

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