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Render Farm Question For Maya, 3DS Max and Afx

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Dan Bert
Render Farm Question For Maya, 3DS Max and Afx
on Nov 16, 2013 at 8:20:24 am

Hello, I am trying to help my roommate come up with a solution to a problem. The problem is that his Maya renders take much too long. Really there is nothing wrong with the computer and it is rendering out at the appropriate speed. The catch is that it takes several days to render his larger projects, and he works every day on CG things, using multiple computers, but he still wants renders to go quicker.

So he asked me to come up with some ideas as I have a CompTIA A+ certification. Problem is, I do not know a lot about render farms and have some questions.
1) Does Maya use GPU's more over than the CPU for rendering, or can you set the GPU's to do the brunt of the rendering process? -I heard that GPU's are more powerful in rendering than the CPU, which I do not know if this is true.
2) He has $2,000.00 to spend on a render farm. Would it be more cost effective to have several computers networked together to help the render load, or to actually have me build something? -Option, I can get a hold of two power macs for $250.00 total. One has a quad core 2.0 ghz processor and the other has quad core 2.66 ghz processors. I know the ram can be upgraded to 32 gb as well.
3) I have read an article at http://cgcookie.com/blender/2013/08/09/setting-up-a-render-farm/ where it discusses using a Virtual computing network and blender to manage the custom built render farm. I also watched a tutorial where a render farm was built, however they used motherboards with built in graphics. I am not sure if that is the way to go?

His current machine that he does maya on is a Mac. It has Dual Quad Core processors running at 2.26 ghz, 16 GB of ram (DDR3 1066 mhz) and a ATI Radeon HD4870 (512 mb) PCI express card.

Any guidance would be greatly appreciated. Maybe I found the right information and I just need to follow that cgcookie article? Or should I go the route of buying the other two macs and splitting up the renders through there? I've never attempted something like this, so I'm hoping things go well.

Thanks,
Dan


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