Render Your Next Render Farm

You might remember [Janne]’s IKEA cluster. Now he’s got a couple of dream rigs in mind, so he started doing 3D renderings of them. Helmer 2 is designed to contain 24 video cards attached to six motherboards with quad core CPUs. (AMD has even taken enough interest to send him some cpus to get started) The rendering really comes in handy for designing the custom copper heat pipes and the aluminum cooling fin enclosure. Still bored, he put together a rendering of a 4 PetaFLOP machine using 2160 video cards.
Update: The Helmer 2 link is fixed.

17 thoughts on “Render Your Next Render Farm

  1. nice idea, but. He is intending to use heat pipes, and as far as i know they are supposed to be positioned ~vertical (or at least in a way that the hot part is lower than the cold one). he has positioned them ~horizontal so i believe that there will be serious problems. IMO it would be much easier to dispense all that heat with water colling. i would also like to know where is he intending to get/make that kind of case, not to mention custom shaped heatpipes…

  2. The idea is nice, but i think there is a small problem with the design. What happens if one of the boards or cards has a fault and needs to be replaced. It seems there is going to be a lot of downtime and work required to fix something that should be as simple as swapping out the card.

  3. dang, how do i get on amd’s processor “tester” list, i need something faster than my 4000+ 939 socket single core. and i love the case idea, although i do have to agree, im not sure how effective the cooling will be.
    maybe put your motherboards on their sides so the air will rise through the case instead of getting trapped at each level? that would also fix the heat pipe issue too.

  4. The software will be a problem. Aren’t plugins for Cinema 4D, Maya, and Autodesk stuff mostly proprietary to studios by in house engineers? I know most Cinema 4D stuff is.

    I’ve never seen plugins for the populer clustering frameworks.

  5. @1
    As long as the heat pipes have a wick inside, it’ll be fine. As for custom shaped, you buy straight ones and bend them yourself.

    Water cooling in that setup would be way more maintenance.

  6. I’m with Mark on this one. I like the design but it is very short-sighted. Additionally, i like the CFD work done on how to passively dissipate a shitload of heat. Passively with DIY heatsinks is a bit too “seat of your pants” engineering for my liking.

    Water cooling is the way for something like this and with the amount of components in such a setup, accessibility is not something to be overlooked.

  7. I checked this out a few days ago, the Helmer III designs have no info about interlinks power servicing or mounting, cooling ain’t that detailed either.

    I would love to see a breakdown of the budget. Also I wonder if he plans to have diskless nodes, that is how I would do it, except what would happen when you max out ram on a node without a disk?

    Nvidia Gelato seems like the most viable option, but it is not clear on the site weather or not you have to pay for network capeable nodes or not, also I wonder how much bandwidth Gelato uses, if it can saturate a Gb Ethernet line?

    Although having many times the processing power for a factor of the price compared to a large reasearch facility could be pretty cool, I wonder if google uses CUDA capable GPUs for any of their computational work?

  8. great case.. honestly asfar as the cooling pipes.. i like that configureation and have seen great things from ALOT less…. one guy i met used a coil of copper tube ans an automotive heater core to cool his rig … coolant was circulated with a windshield washer pump (junkyard hackin at its best lmao

  9. The common belief that heatpipes need to “go up” is not true, the wicking material is what brings the working fluid in contact with the heat source. Double check the design of many video card coolers, their heatpipes are usually hung underneath the card. CPU coolers don’t have their pipes at the top either, the bottom is the half of the pipe that lays horizontally below the cpu when in a tower case.

    Don’t worry too much about the vertical orientation of the pipes.

    @ th3m43:

    “i need something faster than my 4000+ 939 socket single core”

    Good luck, I still haven’t found a faster processor from AMD (Mine went 3.0Ghz and had the 1MB lvl2 cache, I have a sneaking suspicion that AMD wouldn’t be so far behind if they had kept that level of performance.)

    If Intel would make a single core faster than 2 ghz with more than 512k of ram I am sure it would be awesome, my Conroe-L is great at 3.1ghz, but the cache is still lacking :( .

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.