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Ash D'Costa avatar image
Ash D'Costa asked ·

How To Set Up an Arnold for Maya Render Farm

Hi I'm trying to set up an Arnold for Maya render farm. We have deployed a Dell R7425 rack server with dual AMD 32-core processors and 265GB of RAM as trial system for Arnold prior to building out our render farm. We are not getting the results they were hoping from a performance standpoint. So I decided that perhaps the best place to start is to obtain the recommended hardware configuration for Arnold from Autodesk. Is there any documentation that outlines the most ideal server configuration for Arnold or perhaps some performance guidelines we can review to determine the most optimal server hardware from a price/performance standpoint? Thanks very much for you kind assistance!

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Lee Griggs avatar image
Lee Griggs answered ·

Can you share any details about the scene (with images)? The number of samples/ light samples that you are using etc.

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Ash D'Costa answered ·

Thanks Thiago. This is for an educational institutional that is just starting up a new animation program and they are evaluating different hardware and software. So the renders will be for student assignments, not a full production house of any kind. But you answered the question. Rendering on the order of low minutes per frame is a pretty good result that we should be expecting. Adding more servers and front-ending it with a job manager (like Backburner), I assume would reduce rendering times for students?

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That's right, the more render nodes the better. The ideal setup is for each frame of a shot to go to a different render node. That way you can get your shot done as quickly as possible. When renders take 8 hours this is what lets you get a shot done overnight. Of course having thousands of computers is not cheap, so you need to figure out an appropriate balance between how long X students should wait for their X*N frames to finish and then add as many computers as needed to accomplish that.

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Ash D'Costa answered ·

I'm just starting to learn rendering workloads. We have a Dell R7425 server with 2 AMD EPYC 7551 2GHz/2.55Ghz 32-core processors with a total of 265GB of RAM. A small simple render of 500 frames takes 29.8 hours (3.5 mins / frame) while a large more complex render of 1850 frames takes 18 days (14 mins / frame). Is this considered a good result? Is minutes-per-frame the order of magnitude I should be expecting from typical rendering workloads? I was expecting more on the order of seconds-per-frame. Is that an unreasonable expectation out of a single render server, regardless of the number of cores and memory?

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Feature film renders are usually rendered in the realm of hours/frame (as computers get faster, artists throw more work at it, so it tends to stay around 4-10 hours/frame). While other users might be able to get away with low minutes per frame renders. Seconds per frame is less likely, but I suppose it could be possible for highly optimized and very simple scenes.

Assuming the computer isn't overheating, for testing purposes you don't need to render the entire shot. Rendering a few frames is good enough and should make benchmarking much easier.

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Thiago Ize answered ·

Where is the performance under-performing and what makes you think that to be the case? Have you looked at the log file stats to see where the time is going? We have plenty of users reporting good results with AMD processors, so I would have expected you to get good results.

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