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Net Render with Mac Mini?

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Tim PfeifferNet Render with Mac Mini?
by on Jul 28, 2011 at 5:28:03 pm

I'm thinking of buying a couple of the new Mac Mini's 2.7Ghz with 8Gb RAM and starting my little render farm of my own. MAybe even a few goats too. I'm new to this so please forgive me if this is a crazy idea that's been tossed around here too many time before. I'm also wondering if there's a way to just direct connect these and bypass the router. Is there any advantages/benefits to doing that or is it even worth considering?
Thanks for any of your thoughts.

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Tim VaughanRe: Net Render with Mac Mini?
by on Jul 29, 2011 at 1:28:23 pm

It is entirely possible and extremely easy to do, providing you have a small intranet set up where each computer can see the master controller and access the masters hard drive(s). Of course, you will need to verify each render computer has fonts, plugins, and any other add-on. The only drawback is render speed on each computer. The Mac Pro or desktop with a higher processing power is going to render out much faster than the mini's, but having 10 mini's "daisy chained" together is going to definitely speed up the time. Also, I've heard (though not experimented) that mixing processors can yield different results. I'd recommend staying with 1 type. (If Mac, they use the Intel processor. Adding a couple Intel PC's haven't affected my results at all)
Go for it, I say. C4d render farm is extremely versatile and quite easy to set up. Very easy...

Hope this helps!

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Tim PfeifferRe: Net Render with Mac Mini?
by on Jul 29, 2011 at 4:45:49 pm

Thanks for your thoughts. Im going to give it a try.

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Tim PfeifferRe: Net Render with Mac Mini?
by on Aug 10, 2011 at 3:08:59 pm

Just wanted to let you all know that the two Mac Mini 2.0GHz Quad-Core Servers are rendering perfectly with net render. They actually seem to be rendering a little faster then my Mac Pro 2x 2.8 GHz Quad-Core. Incredibly simple to set up too. Now if I could only buy about ten more! :)
Thanks for your help. I highly recommend these little guys for helping with rendering.

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Arty BlackRe: Net Render with Mac Mini?
by on Aug 13, 2011 at 11:37:44 pm

Hi Tim,

We just got the same setup as you. Our two extra quad core minis arrived today. Everything works as expected but it's a lot of noise. Do you have the same issues? When Net Render is running and maxing out the machines the noise almost gets unbearable. For how long did you have them running?

Ours just rendered a 4K sequence with 300 frames. The speed is amazing and they are a great addition to our network but the heat concerns us a little bit. The CPUs run with 90 degrees (celsius) / 360 kelvin. Compared to a 12 core 2.93 GHz Mac Pro, it's a lot.

Would be great to get feedback from you since you are running the same setup.

Thank you!

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Tim PfeifferRe: Net Render with Mac Mini?
by on Aug 14, 2011 at 12:39:09 am

Hi Arty,
I'm thrilled with the Mac Mini set up so far. I have this GIGANTIC animation job with (of course) a very tight deadline, and there was no way I could ever finish it without investing in these. I also just added 8 more GIGs of RAM in my Mac Pro. A total of 20GBs now. Whoo Hoo! I'm working with huge CAD files from my client. My scenes are all at least 1.5 GIGS each! I've rendered about 50 scenes (450 frames long each) so far. All in one week. I've been working 16 hour days everyday. They really do get hot! I've been worried about that too. I also noticed the noise. At first I thought it was raining outside. It's sort of a quiet sizzle noise like white noise to me. It doesn't bother me. It's kind nice to know they're working hard. Maybe your's are louder?

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Arty BlackRe: Net Render with Mac Mini?
by on Aug 14, 2011 at 3:53:43 pm

Hi Tim,

Thanks for your quick response. Your explanation sounds exactly the noise we are having. Glad that it seems to be normal. Rain is coming ...

What a great investment in render speed!

Hope you are well and thanks again.

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Christos KotsovosRe: Net Render with Mac Mini?
by on Dec 4, 2011 at 9:15:41 am

Hi guys, I'm technically deficient when setting up a render farm. Your post intrigues me, can you give a simple set list of instructions on how to do it? I'm looking for anyway to speed up my C4D render times.

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Tim ShetzRe: Net Render with Mac Mini?
by on Dec 4, 2011 at 9:16:44 pm

I have a video tutorial here:

Cinema 4D net Render Tutorial

It's from 11.5, but should be pretty much the same. It will definitely get you going.



Tim Shetz

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Gordon CandelinRe: Net Render with Mac Mini?
by on Nov 9, 2012 at 1:08:17 am

I know it's been a while, but I'd be grateful for any information on the physical setup of your system -

Are the minis linked via thunderbolt? Ethernet? Are you working off one of the minis or is there an additional computer in there

My working comp is an iMac, and I've just purchased a mini server to do what you've described - any help would be appreciated!



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Tim PfeifferRe: Net Render with Mac Mini?
by on Nov 9, 2012 at 12:16:21 pm

Hey Gordon,
Wow it has been a long time! My main workstation is a MacPro. I have four Mac Minis connected through ethernet. Works great! Of course you'll need a router/switch if you have more then one Mac Mini.
Good luck!

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David CabestanyRe: Net Render with Mac Mini?
by on Apr 3, 2013 at 11:58:42 pm

Hey Tim, are you using i5 or i7 Minis?

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akriti deviRe: Net Render with Mac Mini?
by on Jun 6, 2013 at 8:57:22 am


I work in a small production company and we are thinking to setup a small render farm with mac minis to use with cinema 4d and after effects. What specification mac minis are best to buy to work most efficiently ?


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Joe MandiaRe: Net Render with Mac Mini?
by on Aug 8, 2014 at 7:09:16 pm

Hey guys,

Almost a year later….I was just considering doing this and when I did a quick google search I found this thread. Have any of you used a setup like this with Maya? How do you control your renders and your cpus? Is there a front end that you use? Sorry, this would be my first render farm setup so please excuse my nubs-ness. :)


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