Old News and Info 2003
A Little Bit More Speed
Posted October 12, 2003
Well, after all the hardware updates last month - there was one empty spot on a rack so I went ahead and filled it. That brings the farm to a nice even number of 20 render clients weighing in at 4260 cinebench rendermark, 34.3 ghz total processor and a nice 14,400 total render hours available per month. That should be it for a while - at least until I update the 12 cpu's with 1800XP processors to the 2400XP's later this winter.
I hope the users benefit from this little bit of more speed and as always, thank you for using RenderKing!
Posted September 24, 2003
A busy month here... RenderKing has updated to Cinema 4D v8.207 along with a couple plugin updates, more 2400XP cpu's added to the renderfarm bringing the total cinebench 2003 score to 4072 (oops.... I had the maya render client idle in the background when I ran the first CB tests (3939) it took 7CB off the tests) and a total of 32.3 ghz for the render farm. Server moves to OSX for the NET Server, FTP and File Server to allow better admin, less virus infection possibility, and better networking/command line access. With all these updates the prices are the same - making RenderKing an ever better value - now 1.5 cents per gigahertz hour for Cinema 4D users and 1.93 cents per gigahertz hour for Maya users.
I hope the users of RenderKing benefit from this new speed and as always, thank you for using RenderKing!
RenderKing logo update
Posted June 29, 2003
Well, i've been thinking of a new logo for RenderKing for a while, for a couple reasons - I wasn't sure if the global audience I was attracting with RenderKing was "getting" the homage to The Simpsons and Barney from his Plow King episode; and I was getting a little tired of the "silly" twist I started the web site with.
So, there is my new logo, it seems I tend to reflect my own interest in retro logos, I like it myself, but it does remind me of my Dark Sky Digital logo too - good and bad in some ways - i'd like to try some "new" style but i don't have lots of time to experiment and I don't think i have all that many varieties of style as a designer myself. EDIT: well with a few changes to the logo I like it better in it's new compact form and less similar to my other dark sky digital logo too.
I hope RenderKing users like the new logo, I am trying to think of an updated web site style too, but my time is limited in that respect as well. I like the simplicity and confidence that using simple html provides and no issues for any browsers - and the fast load times are nice too which appeals to my sys admin side of my brain : )
Look for more subtle updates as we go, I will be updating the RenderKing NET interface too when I get a little more opportunity.
Shave Faster Every Day
Posted June 21, 2003
Joe Alter's Shave and a HairCut has been added to RenderKing today. It is available to both Maya 4.5 and Cinema v8.1 users.
I've had a couple questions about supporting it over the past months and finally am proud to say that it is available. Be sure to check the FAQ page here to check on versions and plug-ins available.
I hope this new addition comes in handy for some of you. A big thank you to both Joe Alter and Maxon for making this technology available to us!
RenderKing CPU Upgrades
Posted June 2, 2003
Last month I said I didn't know if or how long it would take for any upgrades of the four new CPU's conversion for use on the whole farm - well, about 30 days it appears. I've been getting great support from the users of Cinema 4D - partially due to the excellent user controlled aspects of the Cinema 4D NET Server that maximizes efficiency for those users. As well as Maxon was kind enough to mention RenderKing in their spotlight page on the Cinema 4D web site. That kind of support makes me feel confident in spending more to make RenderKing faster and better for the Cinema 4D users who support it. So this week the four new CPU's will be brought over to the Cinema side of the farm.
I'm proud to say that brings the render farm to about the 30ghz mark (over if you count the two dedicated servers that add to the overall performance and throughput) and puts the combined Cinebench Rendermark at 3509+, along with this upgrade I will begin converting the entire farm to Athlon 2400XP 2.0 ghz processors over the next couple months which should put RenderKing at the 35 ghz mark and estimated 4080+ in Cinebench when completed by the end of the summer.
As a user said to me, "if you look at it from a cost perspective - you are getting access to a professional IT guy to run "your" farm, 20 fast CPU's with software and hardware maintenance included, network costs, and electricity all for as low as $349 a month - how much would that cost otherwise?" I tend to agree, and thought that was a nice perspective on using RenderKing.
RenderKing Hardware Upgrades
Posted May 1, 2003
Well maybe some of you noticed the hold on maya subscriptions the past month. The reason for that was maya setup was needing an upgrade to allow for optimum performance. So it is done - a new dedicated linux file server dedicated to the render farm has been added. On top of four new cpu's are almost finished being added to the farm, these will be dedicated to the maya portion of the farm and running the linux version of the maya render client, as well as the new networking 10/100 base-T switch and large UPS battery backups to support all the new hardware. The new cpu's are based on the same specs as the current farm except will be running Athlon 2400XP processors bringing the total farm to 30ghz of render power. The dedicated linux file server also benefits Cinema 4D users with extremely large projects that may be bogging down from NET Server not being able to serve textures or files fast enough to the NET Clients - so performance increases for all who need it.
There currently are no plans to convert these four new machines render clients to run Windows XP Professional - which would be required to run the Cinema NET client - so for the time being a performance increase for maya users. I'm considering adding Windows XP to these new CPU's but it all factors on expenses - Cinema user subscriptions will determine if and how soon it may happen. One other slight change is a small increase in the subscription cost for maya users. The extended subscription options were dropped due to low usage and to simplify the price structure back to where they were.
thank you for your support, and thank you for using RenderKing.
]RenderKing Updates - Something For Everyone
Posted March 7, 2003
some good news in here for everyone i hope...
MSA has been added to the render farm! version 2.2 for the v7 NET Server and version 3.08 for the v8 NET Server. this should be a time saver from baking for many of you.
also i upgraded two more clients to 1gb of ram - so now 5 CPU's on the farm have 1gb. not many jobs ever have memory issues as it is with 512mb, but i have noticed a small speed improvement on some scenes with the additional memory, i hope to keep upgrading the other CPU's as i go. this is listed in the FAQ in case you ever want to check on any updates i may do to the farm - the versions and kinds of plug ins installed are also listed there.
for those who may not have noticed there is a new area on the RenderKing sign up page that lists the current user subscription status and expiry date. keep an eye on this - because if all slots are filled you may be in a waiting queue for the next available opening. users have the option to prepay to guarantee the next available spot - but current subscribers have first option to renew. if not resubscribed by the day of the expiry date posted the spot becomes available for a new user.
if you prepay to get the next available opening, your subscription is not affected in any way - i will notify you of your actual subscription start date (usually first available) and you will have the full number of days you paid for. i also will be able to refund any prepayment within 15 days of prepayment as long as your subscription has not yet been activated. this way if your timeframe becomes too small to use the render farm or the needed user spot does not become available you are not out of your expense - but it allows you to get in the queue for the next available opening.
also there are now the extended term 60 and 90 day subscriptions available at a discount. good for those big projects and also helps keep your payment and billing organized - all while saving a little extra money. see the FAQ page for the terms and discount prices.
thank you for your support, and thank you for using RenderKing
Posted February 8, 2003
Due to demand RenderKing now supports Cinema 4D v8 as well as v7.303 and Maya 4.5 so for those who need it - there you go! For those who want the full detail here it is: I upgraded to the V8 Studio bundle so that includes all the extras of bodypaint, advanced render, thinking particles, pyrocluster, mocca, and dynamics. The only thing missing is hair and if there is demand I might purchase it or ask joe alter if I could support it on the render clients as a gratis thing.
The new pro focus is going well, reducing support issues on my end as well as clearing lots of available rendertime up for those who subscribe to the new format. Right now there is only 1 open user slot available - but sometimes there are slight lapses between one subscription ending and the next renewal - say if the user has a week or two between the next render need before they re-subscribe for another 30 days.
If there was ever a "full house" (i.e. 4 users) these lapses would allow any user in the waiting queue to begin a subscription; of course if the current active user resubscribes before their subscription expires then they keep their seat - so if you need it - renew on time.
Posted January 9, 2003
Well I don't know what to say other then the users have spoken and RenderKing is going back to user controlled, 30 day flat fee use.
After I sent out the proposed changes and asked the past RenderKing users to provide feedback, they overwhelmingly wanted user controlled access back. When presented with the concerns expressed by users about render time and my concerns covering expenses, the solution was to eliminate all but Level 1 access and limit the total number of users to 4 subscribers. This is to guarantee a high level of service and always enough render time available to these top tier users. While I do have concerns of not being able to support the previous Levels of users, it was also those lower priced tiers and their instability of steady access that were making the viability of RenderKing uncertain some months. With this "pro" focus I can guarantee the service will stay up and also provide income to pay for necessary software upgrades such as Cinema 4D v8 which will be added in the next few weeks. Maya 4.5 projects are also still supported but will be manually added to a queue and rendered for the time being. I was very interested to know that many users are using both software platforms and expressed great interest in having a dual capability render farm.
So, I'm sorry if these changes aren't everybody's best solution, but for the time it is providing the means to benefit these users and allow for planning of future hardware upgrades such as faster processors. As always I want to make RenderKing a solution for all user needs, so if you have ideas please let me know and we can try to plan that in the future upgrades of RenderKing.dann
RenderKing Support for Maya 4.5 and Cinema 4D XL 7.303
Posted January 5, 2003
RenderKing is back up with support for Maya 4.5 added and Cinema 4D XL v7.303 is still here. With enough demand to justify I will upgrade to Cinema 4D v8.
The new format of RenderKing is unfortunately no longer unlimited use as was before, (the 24/7 FTP upload/download is still always available) this wasn't as feasible with Maya support being added and the potential of two separate renders being started on the farm at once - degrading performance. Not a good thing with costs calculated by the hour. This may not be much of a problem, few users used the farm on a "daily workflow" basis as I originally developed RenderKing.com around. RenderKing was being used much more like a traditional render farm - that is most users only used the renderfarm for the final render - so that has what it has evolved to. Maybe flat rate unlimited access was a little ahead of it's time? I remember people saying the same thing when internet access became unlimited use each month for a fixed monthly cost... ; )
Also, with the past usage - sometimes sitting idle for a couple days - I can perform service or upgrades much easier this way knowing when machines are needed and when no jobs are currently scheduled. I tried to keep the costs as reasonable as I could using an hourly charge format. I still think it compares well to other options out there - 20 gigahertz of rendering power for $.15 cents per ghz hour. To have all 12 render CPU's working on your file your cost is only $2.76 per hour. A 20 hour block of render time costs $55.20 - this is equal to 240 hours on a single CPU. There is a minimum job charge of $20 for any one render job. You will receive a detailed email bill of the render log with the actual render times and pay for only the actual render time used. Cinema 4D render log will be estimated by first frame start time and last frame end time. Any balance will be kept as a credit on your account until depleted.
Thank you again to the past users of RenderKing, I hope the changes to RenderKing will still allow it to be of some benefit to you in the future.
The updated FAQ has the full details on the changes and I tried to make the site less wordy and streamlined.