While this method of achieving faster CyclesR rendering time does not include node setups,it does involve scene visibility, particularly tile sizes.
Tiles are the black squares that obscure the scene currently undergoing rendering by Blender. The purpose of tiles are to allow for more manageable rendering by the processor and thus minimizing chances of Blender crashing by limiting how much data the processor renders at a given time, saving memory in the process.
Under the 'Performance' section in the 'Render' Properties window, you will find the 'Tile Size' selection. These dimensions represent the pixel size of tiles, where dimensions in powers of two provide faster render times for processors, 16x16 being the optimal choice.
It's the third render optimization tip listed in the provided link.
Hope this serves as another useful method aside from what you're seeking.