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A colleague of mine recently inquired about assisting him with assembling a "hackint0sh" PC for rendering and processing film. He is a macintosh user, yet believes that Apple is ripping him off and would rather build a custom hackintosh. I'm generally interested in such projects and have some experience with servers and RAID, however am currently at a loss in terms of what's best in this case.

Is it worth the investment to construct a small render farm or would it be better to construct a substantially powerful of a machine? In other words, is it better to have rendering dispersed multiple machines or rather consolidate it all into one machine?

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Would you rather have a top of the line hyperthreaded CPU (8 threads) or an array of mid-range cpu's that are hyperthreaded (8 threads * machines)? Although the power consumption, heat, and network overhead would be substantial. Add in the ability offload to GPUs, Get 3 in one case or 3 in many cases? But for a small operation, that cost is unreasonable to do a farm, imo. –  nerdwaller Nov 28 '12 at 19:47
    
So, you think that the farm would not be in his interest due to the general cost of such a setup? It would be hosted in his own apartment, which he rents by himself. My only worry - from my extent of knowledge - would be the power consumption. –  Xspence Nov 28 '12 at 20:01
    
It would be much better for rendering, almost no question. But even a few barebones kits of something that could handle it (and beat the "nice" hack) would easily hit 2k just for 2-3. Then, you would want all of those to have at least 2 gigabit Ethernets to bridge the connection to handle a fair amount of throughput (and a large gigabit switch). What level does this person work at, if it's pro - it might be worthwhile. Hobbyist, not so much. –  nerdwaller Nov 28 '12 at 20:05
    
@nerdwaller "it would be"? What is "it" in this context? –  Lee Taylor Nov 28 '12 at 20:13
    
@LeeTaylor My apology, a render farm = "it". –  nerdwaller Nov 28 '12 at 20:15

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