Render farm Performance on the bouncing ball (part 1)

Ok, so on 20 April, I rendered a bouncing ball to see which was faster, Linux or Windows.

Back to Basics: Bouncing Ball from djotaku

In that post, we saw that it took my Linux computer 481 seconds and my Windows computer 453 seconds. So for a slightly longer than one second animation, the windows computer was about 30 seconds faster to finish it. So one might reason that a 2 minute video would finish 1 minute faster and so on as time goes by. So it could become relevant for a long enough animation.

Then on 3 May I tested the crappy computer I gratefully took off my father-in-law’s hands. It wasn’t fit for running Windows XP and it barely ran Xubuntu well, but I threw freeBSD on it and decided to make it part of my render farm. An article I read said that when it comes to an amature render farm, it’s not important how fast the computers are, but how many you have. The parallel processing will make it faster. So, just to see how well it did on its own, I rendered the bouncing ball on that computer and, as I mentioned here, it took 796 seconds. This, I calculated, was about 1.65 times slower than if I just rendered it on my Linux computer. (Which isn’t state of the line, but it was a cheap best buy computer over a year ago)

So, as part of a render farm consisting of just that freeBSD machine and Linux computer, how fast would it go? It was 405 seconds! So even though the second computer was nearly two times as slow, adding it to the process made it 1.2 times as fast! It shaved off nearly 1.5 minutes off the time. So imagine, if it were linear, in a ten minute animation, I’d save 15 minutes of render time. Sure, probably nothing in the course of days of rendering, but I’d sure like to finish faster!

So, this is part one because I have one other machine I’d dare hook up to this. I mean, I could try with my Windows computer, but as of now it’s not really as well supported and I haven’t heard good things about mixed environments with Windows and *nix computers. But, when the next big animation comes around – probably when I finish up “Jose’s Dinner“, I will tell the Windows computer to render some portion of the files. It won’t be as elegant as the render farm solution, but perhaps in time they will also get to join the farm. I’m pretty excited about how things will go when I try it with 3 machines. The third one should be in the neighboorhood as the 483 second Linux box, so I’m hoping for a dramatic drop in render time.

Here’s hopin’!

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