Render slave’s setup and benchmarks

loocas | hardware,miscellaneous,technical | Thursday, February 11th, 2010
render node setup

I’ve finally received all the parts for my first render slave and immediately got into assembling and installing it. The rig is quite simple, very mainstream and very affordable. A standard ATX board placed in a 1U rack chassis, a Core i7 CPU, 8GB of RAM, two drives, one primary for the system and software and the other for buffering stuff, no DVD drive, no GPU, 350W power supply and that’s it. All running 64bit Windows 7 Professional.

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1000BASE-T Ethernet upgrade

loocas | hardware,miscellaneous,technical | Saturday, January 30th, 2010

duber studio net topology

The entire studio ethernet ran on a standard 100Mbps line, 100BASE-T Fast Ethernet, which used to be enough. However, with the addition of a render farm and a fast centralized storage, I needed an upgrade. Thankfully, nowdays, a Gigabit Ethernet is becoming pretty mainstream as well, so I didn’t really have to put too much money into the whole network. All the standard, mainstream, main boards come with a 10/100/1000Mbps network cards integrated, the 1000BASE-T switches and routers are also pretty cheap, so all I really needed was a new switch, a bunch of CAT6 cables (however, CAT5e would have been enough as well) and a bit of re-wiring. The new network topology can be seen at the top.

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duber studio server is finally online!

loocas | hardware,miscellaneous,technical | Saturday, January 30th, 2010

duber server is online

Hell yeah! :) After a few months of putting the gear together, getting all the paperwork done, installing the electrical and network cabling, we finally run our own data management platform with an added bonus of a private render farm. How cool is that?! :D

duber’s render slaves

loocas | hardware,miscellaneous,opinions,technical | Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

duber render node

I finally started building the render slaves for my studio. The first dedicated render node I built is based on basic mainstream parts, nothing fancy, but with enough power so that the render node does make sense to be placed in a rack installation.

The basic idea, obviously, was to build as powerful a machine, as possible for the lowest price tag, as possible. Since I’ve been an Intel user since, well forever, I based the machine on a Core i7 860 (Lynnfield) CPU, DDR3 memory and the rest is pretty much optional. But for my purposes, I wan every machine in the studio, to basically follow this idea of having a dedicated hard-drive, preferrably pretty fast, for the OS and a dedicated one for all the offline data. So, each machine, including the render nodes, will host a C: drive with all the software and programs on and a D: drive that’ll be setup to support all the files that we’ll work with. The workstation will have some other HDDs optionally, but these two drives are neccesary in order to rule out variables in the pipeline I’ve been building for a few months now.

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Server room installation, part 2

loocas | hardware,miscellaneous,technical | Thursday, January 21st, 2010

The T-Systems guys were pretty quick! I didn’t expect them to show up this week, but they did. Kudos!

Anyways, the server room is finally plugged to the local central switch. It is not online yet, T-Systems will have to go through yet another buerocratic procedure prior to setting up the line. But, the hard work is done and all I need now is an electricity revision and the T-Systems green light.

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Server room installation, part 1

loocas | hardware,miscellaneous,technical | Monday, January 18th, 2010

Electricity Label

We finally got to the first stage of installing and prepping the server room this weekend. The first stage was to get electricity to the computers. The problem with this is, firstly, the power drain, then the network connection. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any other choice but to place the server with the DAS and the render slaves in a storage room, located on the ground floor in the building my studio is placed in (former flat). The room is great since the server and the running machines don’t bother anybody, but, it’s not properly air conditioned, it didn’t have any electricity power (except for the light) and it wasn’t connected or even remotely being able to be connected to the LAN switch.

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Transforming an elder file server into a modern workstation, part 1

loocas | hardware,miscellaneous,opinions,technical | Monday, January 4th, 2010

ProLiant ML350 G-5

I bought an aging file server, HP ProLiant ML350 G-5, and I want to transform it into a modern workstation that’ll be used for compositing tasks (Nuke, Photoshop and maybe After Effects). However, I’ve ran into some issues. Mainly, the server doesn’t have a dedicated PCI-Express 16x slot used for modern graphics cards, it only sports 3 PCI-e 4x slots, which sucks (how much it suck I’ll know after some benchmarks). The server also has only one CPU, a quite old and slow one. And, only 2GB of DDR2 RAM. The RAM is the least of an issue, the CPUs are quite expensive to upgrade, so I’ll keep the one already in there for the time being. But the GPU is the bummer! I’ve documented an approx. 15 minutes long video of “hacking” a regular graphics card in the PCI-e 4x (actually of the 8x size) slot, for those curious ones out there (I sure was!) ;)

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A day with HTC HD2

loocas | hardware,miscellaneous,opinions | Saturday, December 19th, 2009

HTC HD2 (Leo)

After spending the whole day with the most awesome phone on the market (all right, a bit biased here, but I’m really loving it! :D ), tweaking the shit out of it, installing gazillion apps and customizing it exactly to my liking, what has the experience been like?

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HTC HD2 (Leo), finally arrived!

loocas | hardware,miscellaneous,opinions | Thursday, December 17th, 2009

HTC HD2

Ahhh! Finally, the courier has arrived and after 14days of waiting, I’ve got my new phone in my hands!

Yes, none other than the icon of pure awesomeness, HTC HD2 (Leo). So far (only a few minutes) the experience has been beyond fantastic. The phone is very snappy, huge and uber-powerful. I’m simply loving it! Besides, I wouldn’t settle for anything below high-end, so, this phone was a clear winner. :D

One little hiccup, though. The Mini (perhaps micro?) USB port on this device is slightly different to all the previous HTCs I’ve had, so I have to change the cable leading to my PC. But I’ll do it tomorrow and besides, it’s really nothing. :)

HTC HD2 (Leo)

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