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I wish to get some advise for 1 MASTER and 9 SLAVES PC for performing rendering over network. I need to know if I CPU versus GPU rendering is faster? If yes then I will buy more powerful CPU and use a low-end graphic card.

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  • $\begingroup$ for cycles, almost any decent gpu will out perform most cpus $\endgroup$ – David Dec 10 '17 at 13:18
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It really depends on your scene. At the Blender Institute we render mostly on CPUs; when a GPU runs out of memory it'll crash, and when a CPU runs out of memory it'll swap. Things will get slow, but at least the render will finish at some point. Of course it also helps that we have a few very nice servers with CPU 40-80 cores each. If the RAM required to render the scene fits the GPU memory, things should be fine and it really depends on what kind of hardware you fit exactly.

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  • $\begingroup$ Most home users and freelance artists can create and adjust scenes so that they will render on a GPU. If you want faster GPU rendering, know that it imposes size limits that you need to stick to. For an insight into why commercial renders use CPU, I like this answer from a developer at a big name studio - scenes with 30GB of geometry that reference 1TB or more of texture. Can't load that into GPU memory ;) $\endgroup$ – sambler Dec 15 '17 at 16:41
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On the flip side, with Blender 2.79a now supporting rendering scenes larger than GPU memory allows as of 2018, I would say GPU rendering is a much more economic strategy for most small productions.

Price wise it's actually quite similar, a $300 Ryzen 7 CPU will perform similarly to a $300 GPU from either AMD or Nvidia. But, the benefit of GPU is that it scales up wonderfully, you can easily buy a motherboard that supports 4 GPUs, which gives you nearly 4x the speedup, whereas dual-socket or quad socket systems are quite pricy.

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