After getting Vue 10 up and running, I wanted to employ some of my included 5-cow licenses. On renders that take a while, using multiple workstations is the way to go. In fact I installed Rendercow on my main workstation because I have 6 cores and at least one of them could be taken up by rendering in background. The metrics are interesting on doing Rendercow renders. It is not just the processor raw speed, but some other factors involved. My guess is it has something to do with front side bus and cache on the processor itself. Granted, my workstation has the newest hardware, but my wife’s PC has a faster processor in raw Ghz. She has a 2-core with less cache on die, but mine is slower with more cores and a bigger cache. My front-side buss is a bit faster too. Using HyperVue for an external render from the start, my PC was able to accept and render 1/3 more frames. The 3rd PC I was using was a laptop using wireless with a slower processor. This rendered half as much as my wife’s PC. I might add that both my wife and I have gigabit LAN ports, so that part of equation was the same.
Anyway, the point of this entry is the annoying ‘disconnected…’ status of one or more of the render nodes (cow clients), when Rendercow is clearly running. In the case of my PC, where HyperVue resides, Rendercow would diable itself and disappear. This would, at least, be after a rendering job when it was assembling all the frames. This seemed random and didn’t happen all the time. The laptop on wireless would be running and the Rendercow status window would say ‘rendering…’, while Hypervue would say ‘disconnected…’. Obviously something was off. The simple fact that I have come to find, is that turning off the scanning for Cows, or Auto Rendercow search was the first thing to do. Then each PC should have a different port selected on the Rendercow setup window. I went from 5005, 5006, 5007 on the PCs. Then you add the nodes manually and use the ports you assigned on the Cow clients and then everything works smoothly. I found in cases where the render stopped assembling the frames, that changing to manual mode enabled to pick up where it had left before.
I don’t know what I did without Cow nodes to render before. What used to take 5 hours to render takes 3, now. I am going to resurrect an old box and put a new motherboard and processor in it and keep it headless in the garage (where I have the network switch and router) just waiting for renders. I’ll have to turn on the ‘wake-on-LAN’ feature so an upcoming render will wake it up to start the render. I read a blog somewhere that talked about using a rendercow for different processors on one PC. If the processor I get is fast enough and has enough cores (at least 4), then I am going to try that. Now what we need is distributed processing for GIS for some of those statewide geodatabases I am currently dealing with!