The maintenance of a render farm is the only negative aspect associated with such an investment. Although once setup (correctly) they can almost look after themselves, they will require some aspect of user intervention at some point during the year (as with any computer system)
When you work on a single computer which doubles up as both a 3D Design/Modelling station and as your 3D Rendering Workstation you only have to look after one system (obvious we know, but worth pointing out). Every time you update a program, apply a service pack or install a security add-on or creative plug-in, you only have to do this once. Everything is easy to track/trace but performance and productivity is slow L
When working on a render farm (or a small number of nodes) you need to make sure that ALL your render nodes have the exact same software setup. This can include Operating System Service Packs, Creative Software, Creative Plug-ins, Hot Fixes etc. The more nodes you have, the more updates you’ll need apply (so even something simple like an application hot fix can take slightly longer to install).
With all this in mind (covering both software and hardware updates/changes) we have specially designed ALL our dedicated RS rendering systems to work from just ONE flat operating system image. This aids ‘deployment’ and allows creative studios with ANY number of render nodes (desktop or rack mount) to simply and easily update their entire farm. This reduces downtime, IT assistance and any engineer support costs.
Opting for a smaller number of ‘cheap’ desktop PCs can be very costly here. Each PC can use a different set of computer hardware, different hardware revisions, and may not support all the latest operating systems. Applying a simple application hot fix here could be costly to your business in both time and resources and could take many hours to implement and trouble shoot (compared to the RS series which could be deployed in minutes).
Rendering issues, problems or faults can also be very hard to diagnose if you are using different specifications, makes, models etc. Different revisions of hardware can also affect the reliability of rendering and the quality of any outputs could be affected by different generations of technology.
Please take the above points into consideration before taking the cheap desktop PC route. Money spent here will definitely cost you more further down the line.
For help, advice or further information on the best way to maintain a working render farm/node please feel free to contact our knowledgeable sales team.