Finding the best render farm
Ever since creating this page, we have received tons of questions about which one is the best render farm out there. However, we have never replied because it’s hard to tell if this render farm or that render farm is the best. It depends on your needs, your software, or tons of other things. Understanding that we always write articles about the best render farm for specific software, or top render farm for CPU, GPU, etc.
In this article, VFXRendering will try to explain why finding a best render farm in general is impossible.
1. Is there any best render farm?
If you search for the best render farm on google, bing, etc. they often display some render farms and state that they are the best. Is there a best render farm in general? Like… it is the best render farm for all needs, all users, and all software? We believe that no render farm would be the best one. They can be the best render farm for CPU rendering, for GPU rendering, for Cinema 4D, for Houdini, for Maya, etc. But to say that they can serve all your needs to the fullest, it’s really hard.
From the beginning, we have never said in any of our articles that the render farms we recommend are in a ranking. They are just listed in alphabetical order. And we choose to display 5 render farms on our main page because we think that they could serve almost any 3D needs.
So no perfect or best render farm in general, only a render farm which is suitable for your needs, your pipeline, your software.
We could have a best render farm for CPU rendering or GPU rendering. Or a best render farm for Cinema 4D, for Redshift, for Houdini, For Octane, etc. And that is the criteria you can take a look at when choosing a farm to render your project.
2. Case studies for best render farm
Each render farm will have their own strengths and drawbacks. As we said, no best render farm in general. They can only serve one specific customer base. It’s because of many reasons.
– CPU or GPU rendering
– The price rate
– The support
– The software/tools they can support
– The scale of your project: is it big or small?
If you are using Houdini, of course you cannot use the Rebus render farm. Or if you use Unreal Engine, there are not so many choices for you (we are trying to find some render farms who support Unreal, and it’s hard).
Or maybe you are on a tight budget, so a render farm which is so high in price could not serve you. Or the workflow is so complicated and it deters you from thinking about trying it.
We would like to tell you some examples of us using and noticing render farms throughout our trying. And we will give you suggestions on how we think that that render farm is the best in terms of one criteria.
2.1. Best CPU or GPU render farm
In CPU one, we pay attention to specification, the price rate, the software which runs on CPU and the render farms support them all. We have one article about the best CPU render farm, you can see it here (Top render farms for CPU rendering).
Based on our experience with real projects we have rendered, Fox render farm and Garage farm are the lowest in price. Moreover, in the case of plugins/addons supported, Fox is famous for that. You can easily select the tools involved in your project on their desktop app.
In GPU one, we also pay attention to specification of the GPU (it’s the latest one or the most powerful one), the software which is GPU-intensive and the render farms support them all. And in this case, it’s easier because many software and render engines now are shifting to GPU and render farms tend to support them.
We have discussed this topic in another article (Best GPU render farms). We also selected Fox and Rebus to be the best when it comes to GPU rendering – SaaS platform due to its popularity with many 3D artists and studios. In terms of IaaS platform, we selected iRender as it can provide you with the latest GPU which are RTX3090 and RTX4090.
2.2. Price rates – cheapest render farm
It’s hard to tell which one is the cheapest. We have discussed it in our article Best render farm service in 2022. We divide them into 2 criteria: cheapest for CPU rendering and cheapest for GPU rendering. In that article, we depended on the price rates they provide on their website and had our advice for the cheapest CPU and GPU render farm.
However, it’s just from the rate they publish, not from a real project test. We don’t know their hardware, the priority, or the number of their nodes you can access. So every comparison is just relative. To tell exactly which one is the cheapest, you still need to try rendering a real project.
And as we said above, from our experience with many real projects, Fox render farm and Garage are the lowest for CPU rendering. Regarding GPU rendering, Garage and iRender are the lowest in price.
2.3. Render farm with the best support
We really care about this criteria, and we think so do some of you. A render farm with good support is that they can really help us get to know how to use their farm, and maybe can help us to troubleshoot when the render is turning out wrong.
Also, we know that many of you care about the refund policy as well. Are they easy and fast to refund? Will they refund us if the issue is not from them but from us the users? If one farm can support us and refund us in a pleasant and professional way, we think you can consider using that farm. Nothing is more frightening than you throwing the money on their farm to render, but they cannot provide you a result and cannot refund you.
Many render farms claim that they support you 24/7, but will they immediately reply to you when you have your questions? From our experience, Fox render farm and iRender farm are the best when it comes to fast, nice and friendly support. They are quick to respond, and eager to support you with your issues.
One more farm we really like is Ranch Computing as they are really good in helping you troubleshoot technical issues.
2.4. Best render farm for software/tools
That’s a difficult thing also. We think that each render farm could be the best one for each software/tool.
For example, Garage could be the best one for Blender rendering, as they discount 33% for Blender users, and provide you with a $50 free trial.
Or iRender could be the best one for Redshift or Octane rendering, because Redshift and Octane are GPU-intensive programs and iRender has the best GPU systems for you (we just checked and they now support RTX 4090, which is the latest graphics card just released by NVIDIA).
2.5. The scale of your project
So most render farms will render your project whether it’s big or small. A big project can contain many tools/programs, have a large number of frames, or its size is big. Whereas a small or medium project will have fewer frames, or smaller size, fewer tools related.
Regarding the scale of your project, sometimes it’s not only the project itself but also a fact that many of you don’t pay attention to – the files transferring speed. You will need to upload your project to the render farm, and download your result right? Moreover, do all render farms allow you to upload very big files? Or they just allow you to upload files no bigger than xx GB?
In this case, we have experienced many issues related, like some farms don’t have stable or fast uploading speed, some farms don’t allow you to upload more than xx GB. In the past, we did a project which was 7 GB, and it was frustrating when we needed to upload again and again as it always failed. We believe that no one wants this case to happen.
From what we have tried among many render farms, iRender could be a great choice for big projects, because of its transferring speed and storage allow. It’s not lightning fast, but it’s stable and has a good enough speed, and the storage for you is abundant. Plus, they allow you to rent remote server(s), as they are IaaS and you can easily install any software or render engines you need.
On the other hand, there are small or medium projects. If you use a render farm for them, Ranch computing could be the best one. They support common tools/programs, with a reasonable price and fast transfer. And because they do not support a project with the frame number greater than 9999, or one which is bigger than 50GB, it’s not a good choice for big projects.
Other farms all have their disadvantages in data transferring, storage space, tools supported, etc. You should know your project scale to have the best choice.
3. Wrapped up
We can see that there is no best render farm for general purpose. You should narrow your needs when you search, or you should be more specific when you ask them. It’s helping you to find a best suitable farm for your project, and helping them know if you are one of their customer base.
See more: TOP RENDER FARMS – OUR RANKING