Processor Scalability and Linux

Kwan Lowe kwan at
Mon Aug 9 18:07:24 UTC 2010

On Sun, Aug 8, 2010 at 1:52 PM, Michael Miles <mmamiga6 at> wrote:

> Well, 3D animation is my thing and has been since the Amiga platform.
> The power to render many minutes of animation and still have functional
> machine to do the rest of my daily activity.
> I use a virtual machine running windows 7 for my animation software and
> if I want to convert a HD movie at the same time as I do everything else
> it shows a definite slow down.

I run a 4-node rendering cluster ( dual quad-cores on each, or 32
cores total and 16G RAM each node).  They're headless and just have
minimal local disks. All nodes write via bonded 2 x 1Gb Ethernet to a
fileserver, but network is usually not the bottleneck. When in use,
CPUs are pegged for hours at a time.  Modeling is done on a quad-core
Windows 7 system with some relatively high-end ATI cards, but gets
final render in the cluster. HD conversion is a minor step since the
renders are done at final resolution.

My point is that it may be more effective to separate your rendering
hardware. I.e., you can buy a low-end desktop with decent video cards
that will run your software natively *and* a separate, headless
compute node that does all the heavy lifting rather than try to bulk
up a desktop. The desktop will generally have crappy disk i/o, crappy
memory limits (8G is average), crappy network (wireless or GBit), and
your CPU will be busy drawing a pretty desktop than actually rendering

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