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[Project] Junks Rackmount Farm Build

post #1 of 68
Thread Starter 
Here it the farm so far:

---------------
Here is an edited down post for anyone just finding this...Basically I am in need of a bunch of "clustered" machines to render out frames from my 3d programs, I am in school to be an animator, and my render times get up there, so this thread is basically just for any questions I have on the way...Be warned, I am a noob at all of this, so bare with me.

I went shopping and decided that a full 42U rack was way to huge, I am in college and find myself moving every year or so, so I decided to go with a smaller rack if I could find one, because it would be a lot easier to move around...I found a rack on craigslist which was suitable, so I went and got it, only to find out that it was smaller than I had originally though. It turns out it is only effectively 14U, and was originally meant to be an audio equipment rack...Here are some of the important links of the thread:

Here is a post with a pic of the rack and kind of a flowcart of my potential network

Here is the first unit build parts list...

Here are more pics of the rack with the 3U case in it the night I got it

Here are pics of the first unit build and the machine running in the rack

Here are the pics of the 2nd unit build and the machine in the rack


Below is the original first post, you can skip it, I posted all of the useful info above...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Me in the original post
Hey yall, not really sure where to post this, but here it goes....I am a 3d artist and I need a LOT of computing power to render out animated sequences in any decent amount of time. Instead of having a bunch of towers in my room I have decided to go rack mount....anyway, I went shopping and decided that a full 42U rack was way to huge, I am in college and find myself moving every year or so, so I decided to go with a smaller rack if I could find one, it would be more mobile, yada yada...Anyway, Yesterday I saw and add for a 24U rack with plenty of depth on Craigslist and I went and bought it, I was in a rush to get back to work and forgot to bring a tape ruler, so I didn't even bother looking at it to closely at his office. Stupid me when I got it home, I noticed that the rack only 15U, and after a few hours of research trying to fuigure out what brand it is, it turns out the case isn't really a server rack, its a rack originally built for audio equipment. I have read that this will work, but I am concerned about heat management. I should probably talk/ask about this somewhere else?

I am getting sidetracked here, anyway, on to the real build question/ideas. I need CHEAP, cool (somewhat, stable cool), somewhat queit, but fast render blades, they don't really need a video card, and there will be NAS, so hard drives are no big deal....Here is my build for the "blades". I am not sure if this is the best or most efficent deal, but thats why I am asking you guys...

OCZ StealthXStream 500W - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817341012
Norco 4U Case - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811219002
GIGABYTE GA-P35-S3G - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813128084
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 (OC 3ghz) - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819115018
CORSAIR 4GB DDR2-1066 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820145197
Seagate 160GB SATA - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822148230
LITE-ON DVD burner - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16827106263
GeForce 7200GS - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814500036
ZALMAN 9500 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16835118223

This build would ship to me for $680 after rebates. See any places where I should be able to skimp?

I know I can build 4U servers no problem, but since this rack is a 15U, I want to try and go 3U so I can fit more stuff in there like my webserver and a switch and patch panel, has anyone built a 3u? Any idea how my cooling would be at 3ghz, since I cant use the Zalman, any other suggestions?

Thanks for the help, let me know where I can ask about my rack and possible mods for it, if this isnt the place...

Edited by MXjunk127 - 5/23/09 at 1:28pm
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post #2 of 68
im so lost in your post i dont' even know what you're looking for.

what is a renderblade?

anyways i did something similar but only have two PC's in it right now. I'm thinking of putting in a third one i have laying out but that still needs to be decided. anyways this work log is OLD, and i have it changed around a little bit with newer stuff and more stuff, etc. but anyways it will give you an idea.

http://www.overclock.net/case-mod-wo...ro-panzer.html

IT's 16U. i don't know if i'd go much bigger if i were you since the whole thing is pretty heavy after several units are installed.

as for 3U vs 4U. go 4U, it's more space but worth it. 3U is hard to get around and you'll have a harder time installing the components in it. ALSO the HSF height limitation.

the cooling was okay running not much hotter than my CM 690. just 1 or 2 C more. but i cut two 120mm fans in the top panel of one of them (the one that holds the QUAD) and it helped alot.
Edited by this n00b again - 7/7/08 at 8:24am
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post #3 of 68
Thread Starter 
I saw your thread last night, cool stuff, kinda what I am going for...

A renderblade is a single machine in a render farm, which is dedicated to the rendering of CGI/3d FX. I am rendering frames at, 1920x1080, and to render one frame I can be waiting quite a while. So, what I am doing is building several relatively fast machines to divy up the task a bit...So instead of 1 quad core work station going at it, I have 4-5 machines going at it, cutting my rendering time considerably. (IE, instead of 1 machine doing 300, 5 machines do 60 frames.) This will also allow me to work while my machines are rendering...Thats why I am thinking of going 3U even if it is more of a pain...

Here is the rack I got:



Here is a flowchart:



I think I explain what I am looking for a bit closer on my blog, see my sig if you are interested...

I am almost debating going 4U,getting a 42 rack, and cutting it down to like 30/w casters...I guess what I am asking is, is that a decent build for the price, and am I crazy for doing this? LOL

Thanks for the advice, I appreciate it.
Edited by MXjunk127 - 7/7/08 at 10:20am
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post #4 of 68
it's a nice rack you got there.

okay so bascially renderblade is just like a network of PC's rendering together.

in that case you should go with the quads but go for workstation graphics cards like:
ATI FireGL
or
Nvidia FX Quattro

these will definitely help with the rendering, but will also bring the cost up since they do cost quite a bit for each GPU.

get:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16835233014 (after you make sure it will fit)

i know the 120mm model wont. if that doesn't then th AC freezer pro 7 will. I have it.

and bring the Clocks of the Quad up.

to keep the CPUs cool at 3U all i can think of is water cooling but this will have to be a separate unit probably taking up it's own rack space.

anyways i think you meant to say gigabit switch in your blog. I will update my Case mod log when i get back home, since there have been several changes to it.
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post #5 of 68
Thread Starter 
haha yeah gigabit, I am such a noob...I am an artist not a tech dude...although, I must admit, its fun!

GPUs actually don't help rendering with my software, its all done in the processor...I talked with the head of IT at a major company here and he told me all about what my set up should be...I will be running hot, but with in tolerance. If worse comes to worse I see I can use an AC window unit...

I am going to order the 3U stuff either tonight or tomorrow...will upgrade my build on here before I do...and will hopefully have something working by the end of the week. Once the first machine is up I will order more.

This guy said I don't have to have a patch panel and have enough room in that cabinet to either Velcro my switch to the side or put it under...I will be doing RDP so KVM cables wont be a problem either. I will wait and get a CPU Heatsink here in town so I can make sure one brand fits....

When I get it functional that's when I may trick the cabinet and cases out ..Thanks for all the help man, will keep this post updated.
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post #6 of 68
yeah, you don't need a patch panel. i have one but didn't use it because the rackmount switch in my room wasn't even 100Mbps. it was 10Mbps so i scrapped it and bought gigabit switch.
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post #7 of 68
Thread Starter 
Here is the new 3U build, I have fans, and will get the Mobo here in town for $179. As you can see I striped them down even farther and am totally bare bones now, I am even going to dare using the PSU that comes with the case. I am hoping to drop below $600 for each machine...

Athena Power Black 3U Rackmount Server Case -
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E16811192028

GIGABYTE LGA 775 MOBO - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813128084

Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115017

OCZ Platinum (2 x 2GB) DDR2 1066 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820227298

EXCELSTOR Jupiter Series 80GB SATA - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822210003

ASUS Black 16X DVD-ROM - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16827135151

ZOTAC GeForce 7100GS - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814500027

I found this switch for $80 http://www.netgear.com/Products/Swit...es/JGS516.aspx

I think I am in business. Will keep you updated...should probably move over to the
case-mod-work-logs area...
Edited by MXjunk127 - 7/7/08 at 11:32pm
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post #8 of 68
find a mobo with integrated graphics and then switch to a 1u or 2u case then you can cram even more in the rack. Like this guy and its $20 cheaper. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813128078 also dropping down to ddr800 probably wouldnt impact performace to much and save you $10 per server. heres a 2u case that runs for $110 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811192044

Only issue with going down to a small case size is you may need to find a low profile HSF for it.
oh ya check this site for best render farm ever. http://helmer.sfe.se/
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post #9 of 68
Thread Starter 
Woah, Helmer is sweet, I should have just done that...

Unfortunately I have already ordered my stuff, but I was looking for that freeking mobo with integrated graphics, guess it just slipped by me. :swearing:

And that case is perfect, but how do you think the heat would be? Again to bad I ordered!!! :swearing:

I just ordered one to see how that rack would handle it so for the next one I may go that way...Minus cards and stuff that would have saved me a bit...bummer...

Thanks anyway.
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160gb OS + 4TB Windows 7 Ultimate Beta x64 (7100) 4 Acer widescreens (6960x1080) Logitech G11 
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post #10 of 68
i dont think heat would be to bad. Heres a 1u HSF http://www.performance-pcs.com/catal...7f44712e18ffb6 Remember your picture of the Pixar render farm. Its all in 1u cases so heat must be within tolerable limits or people wouldnt build 1u servers.
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WD SATA 1.5Gbps Raptor 74GB 2x LG SATA DVD-RW XP SP3 Dell 2407WFP 
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My Baby
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