Render Farm (Tech Stuff)
Well, overall, my advice is that before investing money, assess the boxes you have, to calculate whether it is ^worth^ spending cash to get them operational.
The calculus is: How many render threads (at ____ clockspeed), supported by _____ memory, do I get for my investment?
If your ex-school machines have H/T quad processors or better, and have 64bit Win7 licenses, then they are worth buying hard drives for.
I'll note that blades (those flat computers I linked to) are the ne plus ultra of space efficiency, low electrical demand for a given processor horsepower, and can be had with lots of CPU cores and RAM for modest cost.
The one downside is that blades have an array of small diameter high speed fans, so they whistle when running hard in a warm room. Noise is a factor to consider if you'll be doing overnight renders.
Search eBay for UK listings, or search for other UK sources of refurbished servers. Your friend may know of sources.
These are the ones I've been able to get out so far. Some have memory and hard drives, cards etc, others don't. I took the data cables out to give a better view but I'll do more when I'm less drunk and more coherent. Bottom left is my little Compaq Presario, which is a neat little machine. I've not had it running but it has a hard drive and seems complete, so might still have Win 98 on it, lol! It's cute as a button and I love it for what it is, so probably won't include it in the render farm.
Would it be good for me just to take this lot right down to components and work from there, or keep them as they are? I need to test a few of them, as the previous owners reported problems with them which might be terminal, but we'll see. I don't remember which one it was, but the guy said he was certain the MOBO was goosed, which would be a shame, but as I said, we'll have to run tests and see. Neat little project, I think... and I know a motorcycle club which has a 'computer smashing' competition at their annual rally, where they take a sledgehammer to a pile of old cases (nothing of much worth left in them), so I could be well loved in that club again, lol!
On a side note, top right is my favourite case. It looks like crap, but it is easily portable with the handle and plenty big enough for a decent MOBO, so I was considering putting my main PC into that, as this case is an 'Aerocool Strike-X' thing which, frankly, is balls. I hate it, it's the worst case in the world. I'd rather have the gubbins screwed to the wall, lol!
I sleep with Static-X pounding my head to bits through my monitors, noise is fine, lol!
Thanks for all your help, I'll get as much info as I can on it all and get back to you.
@Glen85 Hey! Some of that memory appears to be registered (server memory); I even see what appears to be ECC (error correcting code) chips on a few pieces. Old, though - it's DDR, not DDR2, DDR3, etc. And not big capacity.
Regular desktop memory has four chips toward one end and four chips toward the other end, with an empty area in the center. If you see a ninth chip (or two) in the center, that is a register/buffer/controller chip for registered memory.
If that came out of one of those machines, you may have a server motherboard (albeit single-CPU).
JAFO last edited by
@Glen85 I see 4 full-tower cases there, that alone gives them 'some' value.
Look at the mother boards in those machines, if you see 4 or more memory slots & 2 or more PCIe slots there's potential, if any of them have any AMD socket3 motherboards... hey now.... 8core Piledrivers have dropped under 100bucks since the release of Ryzen(12 & 16 cores arent much more expensive and dropping like a rock)...
Sorry for the silence, folks. I've not been well, I'm afraid. I have tons of mental health quirks going on, as yet, undiagnosed (the NHS is pretty dire with mental health, I've been waiting since 2006, for a proper diagnosis!).
I'm still not quite on form enough to turf my flat upside down to get all the machines out, but as I've stressed, there's no rush for this stuff, as I can't afford to do anything about it for quite a while yet.
A quick update though: I think I have a mixture of Pentium 4 and Celeron D CPUs in the machines.
When I'm up to it, I'll get them all out and take loads of photos, giving all the information I can on everything. I've lost some of the RAM though, so goodness knows.
Please don't continue the conversation until I've listed everything, I won't be able to take stuff in and I don't want to upset anyone by not responding properly or forgetting to mention anyone.
Thanks for all your help and patience.