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Rendering Stations and Servers for Video Production Environments

Video production and rendering is one of the most hardware-intensive tasks in the computer field. Many customers are surprised to find, however, that hardware cost and render time do not scale linearly.

Adobe Premiere can effectively leverage four CPU cores when working with 1080p video, but up to 10 CPU cores when working with 4K video, although 6 fast cores may be faster in many scenarios.

Adobe Premiere may render a 5-minute scene with 20 applied effects faster with a GTX 1080 and 4 core CPU than with a GTX 1050 and 8 core CPU, although an nVidia Quadro may be more reliable in business-dependent scenarios.

Scenes and clips stored centrally on a server may be badly bottle-neck by conventional spinning hard drives and gigabit networking, although machines stored on locally-attached storage may be afflicted with reliability and backup issues.

Hardware selection and network design is extremely important in a video production environment, especially when companies move past traditional single workstation environments to distributed computing and dedicated blade server render boxes.

Sundial can provide past examples on successful implementations of custom-built video render machines in production environments and successful buildouts of render server and distributed computing blades and network setups that result in high production output.

  Typical Implementation Schedule:
 Assess current video production and render situation.
 Determine best hardware for present programs – Avid, Premiere, etc.
 Propose hardware, network, server, and workstation implementation.
 Assemble hardware.
 Implement high-output render environment.



Can gaming video cards be used in teams for high output render environments?

nVidia and ATI’s support for gaming video cards in professional environments is not official. Although these video cards may afford very high performance per dollar spent, they may not provide sufficient driver and feature reliability to be used in professional production centers.

At what point should we move from a workstation render application to a dedicated server/s?

The availability of “GPU Beds” or barebones servers that come equipped with power, slots, and cooling to host several professional video cards have transformed the video production world. A single render server equipped with a team of nVidia or ATI professional grade video cards can reduce render times to a small fraction of anticipated waits with legacy equipment.

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