If I was building a new micro studio today...

So as I'm writing my next animated feature and in talks about producing a lot of other animated stuff I've been researching new hardware...Because I'll have to buy new hardware eventually... Cinema 4d is my 3d app of choice and it comes with a pretty nice network render client...If I was going to get a new workstation and mini render farm today this is what I would get...

I know we wanna go out and get some macho like 8 core system but from my experience its not the best way to spend your money... Its better to get a cheaper system now so in a year or two as processors get cheaper and faster you can simply buy another similarly priced system and add your previous one to the render farm... If you spent 6k on your workstation your not going to be able to do that... So if I were to build a new workstation today it would be like the one in the image based around an AMD x2 6000...My workstation for WATS had an AMD x2 4400...its an excellent processor I must say... 4gb RAM...because any more than that would just be wasted with 32bit Win XP... I would go with a Nvidia 7950 card over an 8800 because its about $100 cheaper, the drivers are more stable and the performance difference isn't that big...

Now as far as render nodes go...

I would use the same AMD x2 6000 processor in this super cheap barebones case... $350.00 for a render node is pure WIN... My render nodes for WATS only had 1gb RAM so I figure 2gb should be fine for this new film... If I find in my render tests for my new film I need 4gb RAM I'll build them around a new case that has a 4gb RAM limit because this case has a 2gb limit... Also when you build your render farm don't buy too many nodes right away... just get a few and see how that goes... So I would get 4 of these to start... So for about $1400.00 you will have the same render power as a $4000.00 8 core MacPro.... Also with these nodes... You hook them all to a KVM and if you want to use them as secondary workstations you can just drop in a $100 gfx card...much more flexibility than just one 8 core machine.

Your also going to need a 8 or 16 port gigabit switch and a file server... I already have an 8 port switch myself and a file server... My old file server is a super old p4 1.5ghz server case with 1gb RAM...It has two SATA cards in it and 6 drives... So for your file server you want to be able to put a bunch of big drives in it... and you make sure the drives are available to all the nodes and workstations... Ok I'll geek more next time...Gotta finish my scene outline now...

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