July 11, 2008 Seth Perkins

My Miniature RenderFarm

Last weekend, I finally got around to a project I’d been intending to do: hoeing out one of the rather unused rooms in my apartment.  Until now, it housed a bunch of derelict computers, paper-shredders, monitors, printers, cds, and who knows what left behind by previous tenants.  On top of all this was a fairly fine layer of cat hair and grime (not mine).  Over the course of the morning, I trashed, recycled, scrubbed and vacuumed.  In the end, I had a pretty decent space.

What I ended up doing was setting up my file server and next to it, my new render box (a quad core phenom), which I intended to use to offload rendering from my laptop when I’m authoring in After Effects.  I decided not to stop there and started networking in another machine I had to do distributed processing.  I then pulled out another chassis a friend had given me with a mobo/cpu combo he’d never gotten working.  A little tinkering revealed that all along it was a bad powersupply.  In the end, I ended up with 3 machines to do network rendering.  If we include my laptop, then I have 9 cores to jointly put out frames for After Effects.  Sure, it isn’t Pixar, but Im kinda proud of it and it’s rather impressive what the simple act of distribution can do.


Obviously, heat has been a bit of an issue being that this section of my apartment has no A/C at the moment.  Hence, the fan venting out the window.  For now, it’s holding things in check, but a window-box A/C unit would be ideal:)


EDIT : A few hot days motivated me.  AC unit installed makes all the difference in the world.  When you close the doors to this smalls space, it stays icey.


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