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  1. #1

    A quick questions about clusters.

    I know clusters are generally used to render complex 3D scenes and otherwise process really big tasks, but what I'm wondering, however, is if clusters can be used to assist with desktop applications (such as Internet browsing and graphics design).

    I have a crapload of old computers I'm planning on putting into a cluster. Each of them is rather old, the fastest being around 700 MHz. I was planning on making a cluster to render XSI Softimage models, but I began wondering if a cluster could be set up to assist in processing all tasks and ultimately offer better performance than any one of those PCs.

    I realize there would be a good deal of overhead, so I can't expect a speed demon, but would it be possible to do, and if so, would it be worthwhile? I don't expect a particularly in-depth explanation, as I'm still getting familiar with Linux and Linux networking.

  2. #2
    only in a thin terminal enviroment and its limited to very few desktop apps since mozilla doesnt work very well when mozilla cpu time is distributed over a network
    All i want for christmas is a new liver....a second chance to get afflicted with Cirrhosis

  3. #3
    Linux Guru
    Join Date
    May 2004
    From what little I know of clustering, I understand that peformance improvement is dependant on the use of multiple threads by the software in use. I think that if you ran lots of off-the-shelf applications on a cluster of low-end machines, you would see an improvement, but if you run a single heavy application that isn't designed to use many threads, little if any improvment would be seen. So I guess for your use, it depends on the design of XSI Softimage. If you give it a try, I'd be interested to hear your results.
    //got nothin'
    ///this use to look better

  4. $spacer_open
  5. #4
    It seems to me that setting up a render farm would be easiest way to go. Thanks for the info.

    That said, XSI Softimage itself doesn't actually run on a cluster, but rather a workstation. The renderer can be installed on a cluster, and then install BatchServe client on the workstation and server on the cluster.

    I'll have to give it a try, since this is my senior project. Plus, on top of everything else, the cluster I'm planning on building will have plenty of different hardware configurations, making OS and software installations over a network damn near impossible for someone of my skill level.

    It's a pretty big bite to chew, but I have time to chew it.

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