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Was wondering if anyone knows of a way to run Blender in a non graphical mode to use as a render node?

I'm thinking of setting up a small farm using raspberry pi's or another of the mini, efficient, low cost computers to use as a node to process everything.


Does Blender run on ARM and can it be used as a render node?

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  • $\begingroup$ Just seen the odroid which may be more suitable... any ideas? $\endgroup$ – Shugs81 Jun 26 '15 at 12:59
  • $\begingroup$ I'm pretty sure that Raspberry Pi's aren't powerful enough to farm like that. If you're looking for cost-effective, maybe you'd be better off renting cloud time? $\endgroup$ – ajwood Jun 26 '15 at 14:30
  • $\begingroup$ @ajwood the question asks if its possible, Not if its the best option. $\endgroup$ – ideasman42 Jun 27 '15 at 8:06
  • $\begingroup$ @Shugs81, asking for product/hardware suggestions if off topic for this site, see: slant.co/topics/1629/~what-are-the-best-single-board-computers $\endgroup$ – ideasman42 Jun 27 '15 at 8:09
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I have run Blender on an ARMv7 CPU somewhat similar to the one the Raspberry Pi 2 model B uses, so I think Blender has no problems running on this architecture.

In practice, the problem would be processing power. On my Google Nexus 4, which has a quad-core 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Krait CPU, it took well over an hour to render Mike Pan's BMW scene:

photo of Blender rendering Mike Pan's BMW on a Google Nexus 4

This table on Wikipedia seems to show that the Krait in my phone would perform about the same as, or perhaps a bit better than, the Cortex A7 in the Raspberry Pi 2. Additionally, the Pi runs at 0.9 rather than 1.5 GHz. Would a setup with CPUs like these be able to render images? Almost certainly. Would you want to wait for them to do it? Personally, I think you wouldn't.

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  • $\begingroup$ How long did it take to render that scene on a PC? $\endgroup$ – user253751 Jun 27 '16 at 9:58
  • $\begingroup$ @immibis About 1 minute with GTX 770, about 10 minutes with Athlon II x4 $\endgroup$ – catlover2 Jun 29 '16 at 1:44
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Blender can run on ARM under Ubuntu, but the hardware may not meet the minimal requirements (depending on the configuration).

Even if it worked Raspberry Pi's, Odroid's, BeagleBoards etc. are actually very pricy for the power they offer. I run OpenCV algorithms on them and they barely get 10fps on some basic SIFT extraction.

Such boards also have very limited memory which would limit your scene's and textures.

For the money a farm of boards (that could actually render something in your lifetime) would cost you buy an Nvidia card with CUDA and stuff it in some cheap system with 1x PCI 16x that meets the requirements. You will get infinitely more performance out of it.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the response! Idudoes actually make sense what you are saying now... it was more a case the location I would be setting up at only has 1 socket in the whole room... but I've spotted a deal xenon server on ebay for cheaper than a pi so i'll probs go for that!!! :D $\endgroup$ – Shugs81 Jun 26 '15 at 14:52
  • $\begingroup$ Supposed to say it does.... damn phone! $\endgroup$ – Shugs81 Jun 26 '15 at 15:27
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Yes Blender can run on the ARM architecture.

And if you only want to use this for rendering, you don't have to be concerned with OpenGL driver issues.

Blender runs on ARM, MIPS, PPC, SPARC,... and other architectures.
See Debian package details https://packages.debian.org/search?keywords=blender

But note that official blender.org releases aren't provided for the ARM architecture. So you'll typically need to use a package manager (with Linux).

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  • $\begingroup$ Is there any instruction anywhere for those of us who have the blender source code and wanna build targeting Arm architecture? Those builds in the package manager was built targeting arm, so any how-to anywhere on the steps involved? $\endgroup$ – KhoPhi Aug 15 '17 at 23:42
  • $\begingroup$ Just follow regular instructions for building Blender - wiki.blender.org/index.php/Dev:Doc/Building_Blender $\endgroup$ – ideasman42 Aug 16 '17 at 4:01
  • $\begingroup$ I have followed the regular instructions for building Blender to build Blender for my Ubuntu. Works fine! However, I couldn't find any guide on there about targeting the Arm architecture. $\endgroup$ – KhoPhi Aug 16 '17 at 12:53
  • $\begingroup$ @Rexford Blender won't cross compile (not easily at least - because of code generation - makesdna, makesrna), you can use an emulator (qemu for eg) to build Blender on ARM. Note that it may be possible to run ARM code generators, see: stackoverflow.com/questions/37912290/… but I never tried this and you'd probably need to tweak CMake files. Building on ARM should work without messing about. $\endgroup$ – ideasman42 Aug 16 '17 at 13:05
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the clarification. Will try the qemu and see. $\endgroup$ – KhoPhi Aug 16 '17 at 13:20
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I'm running Blender 2.76b on KitKat Galaxy Tab 3 lite 8GB internal 1GB Ram

A little slow but ok for simple design.

STEP 1: Go to Google Play Store and install GNURoot Debian. You can download apk. Just make sure your internal memory free about 850MB to install.

STEP 2: Install Hacker's Keyboard

STEP 3: Launch Virtual Machine (computer button)

STEP 4: Touch the 3 dots button and switch to Input Track pad mode.

STEP 5: Install blender by click the terminal and type: apt-get install blender

STEP 6: type: Y

STEP 7: When the terminal back to receive input state (install completed) click at the wall screen and select exit

STEP 8: Launch virtual machine then click main screen and go to App -> Graphic -> Blender

STEP 9: Wait until it display frame placing, just click and wait until it in.

If nothing happen after install blender and reboot the machine, or can't boot the virtual machine, you can uninstall and install agian (sometimes got unknown error)

You can install inkscape by type: apt-get install inkscape enter image description here

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