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Old September 27th, 2008, 11:47 PM   #1
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Render farm for faster renders?

I run FCP on a Quad 2x2.66 Ghz Dual Core Intel Xeon, and 6gb memory. From what I understand, the only thing that will give me faster renders is additional processors. My Quad sits next to a Macbook Pro with maxed memory. I haven't used it with Qmaster because I haven't figured it out, but my questions:

Is my next step to buy a second Quad just for its processors (and as a backup comp)? Should I look at possibly older Macs? Is processor speed the only speed factor in a render farm? Is there anything else I can do to my Quad (first) for render speed?
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Old September 28th, 2008, 07:53 AM   #2
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Final Cut Pro can not take advantage of render farms, but compressor can.
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Old September 28th, 2008, 09:37 AM   #3
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Before you even attempt such a technically challenging and nearly unsupported setup I'd highly suggest you look at Brian Daly's Compressor Quick Reference Guide. There are several issues with Compressor render farms that are rarely discussed and Apple has little to almost no direct technical support for such a configuration simply because it's barely been implemented with success by anyone outside major studios in Burbank/Hollywood.

For what it's worth, simply adding one machine to create a render farm isn't going to give you the speed increase you're hoping for and, you're also going to end up with strange encode qualities. The major issue with Compressor "farms" is that each NODE as it's referred to, will treat each clip slightly differently and, process them at different speeds especially if they are different machines.

The only way a Compressor render farm will be successful and reliable is if each NODE-machine is running identical processor cores with identical RAM on-board - and you'd need at least 3-4 of these machines to have a substantial cut in encoding times. That's not only a major investment but it's also one of the most technically challenging thing to setup.

You're welcome to try it but be prepared to do your own troubleshooting while you figure it out because Apple nor any other service provider will be able to drill-down any problems without being on-site and seeing the systems first-hand.
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Old September 28th, 2008, 12:59 PM   #4
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Check out this article to maximize Compressor on a multi-processor mac...

Making Compressor Multi-processor Aware
"We've done the impossible, and that makes us mighty."
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Old September 29th, 2008, 11:41 PM   #5
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I just did that and WOW! My render times in compressor went down dramatically. It used to take me an hour to do a few minute quicktime now it's at least under 15 minutes. It's great too since the job I'm working on has me deliver cuts for review almost every night over FTP servers and it has to be H.264 and looking really good to get approved.
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