29 July, 2021 rd

Top 5 most trustworthy renderfarms

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Radarrender has introduced many rankings of the Best render farms by comparing the correlation between Price and Affordability, Speed and Performance, Ease of use, Form of business (SaaS, PaaS or Iaas),etc. However, there is a factor that is rarely noticed by 3D artists but greatly affects the rendering process which is Render farm Trustworthy. People say that What a company says to customers is just advertising while what customers say to their friends is the truth. Any render farm can say that they are committed to serving their customers with all their best but how they really treat customers remains unknown until we start using their services, and especially when we have problems then we will know how professionally and nicely they respond to us. Sometimes 3D artists get into so many troubles because of choosing the wrong render farm but have gone too far to draw back, which causes them to waste much more time, effort, and money. That’s the reason why we decided to write about the Top 5 most trustworthy render farms as a reference for 3D artists to evaluate which render farm is best suited for their needs. 

The results of the evaluation are based on the use of service throughout the career of 3D artists of Radarrender, and especially this time, we have prepared a test file to challenge the customer support of those render farms. This file was designed on Cinema 4D R21 and rendered using Redshift 3.0.44 render engine. However, this file was made with an error purposely and was unable to be rendered. We bring this error file to the chosen render farms and render the project normally until we get an error and ask for help and support.

Criteria for trustworthy renderfarms

There aren’t any definite metrics for finding the most prestigious render farms for your specific needs but here are some factors we believe need considering including Public recognition, Willingness to support, Transparency with Clients, Refund policy, and Security and Privacy regulation. After many days of researching and experimenting with dozens of different render farms out there, Radarrender gives out the Top 5 Renderfarms that we consider as the most prestigious ones including Fox Render farm, GarageFarm, iRender, Ranch Computing, and finally, Rebusfarm. And note here that we’re not playing favorites. These render farms are randomly listed in alphabetical order! Moreover, by exploring every single criterion, one render farm might be the champion of one aspect but not the rest. Therefore, we recommend that you should consider all criteria and see what matters to you the most and make your own decision.  

1. Public recognition

Public recognition means the reputation that a company has achieved in its market so far or simply, how customers feel or think about a company when they hear the name of this render farm. Anybody can create a render farm. Can they create one that lasts and has satisfied customer needs for years and receive the customers’ recognition? All those 5 Render farms are long considered as the most prestigious render farms in the industry. Out of all, Ranch Computing and Rebusfarm are 2 of the names with the longest history. They both have more than ten years of experience in providing render solutions for customers. These 2 render farms are both pioneers, laying the first foundations for rendering services for 3D artists and have enough time to create a good brand in the hearts of customers. Next-generation is Fox Renderfarm and Garagefarm. They have a team of experienced staff in the field of computer graphics. With professional services and industry-leading innovation, they provide cloud rendering services to a wide range of entertainment studios and animation studios. Seeing Testimonials of Fox Renderfarm and Garagefarm reviews, it’s fair to say that they have been doing great in satisfying their customers. The last and also the one that left a quite great impression on us is iRender. This render farm is the youngest player in this playground. Established in 2019 in Vietnam with only 2 years of experience but they have been referred to as one of the best online render farms by many 3d artists, studios, and organizations (Lumion website, CGdirector, All3dp, etc). 

2. Willingness to support

The next primary criteria to consider whether one is prestigious or not is How this render farm supports their customers. Are they available timely to assist the customers? Are they real humans or robots? Do they have convenient support channels? Are they willing and patient to answer customer inquiries? etc.  First, let’s come to Fox renderfarm. We were quite impressed by their good customer service. After registering, users will receive an email from their Fox greeting and asking whether we need any assistance or not. When we ask them any questions, they immediately answer our questions and issues via live chat. But if your problems are about the technical issue, it takes Fox team a while to check and answer later. Fox render farm supports customers 24/7 through live chat on their website or Skype with real humans, not robots.Therefore, we consider Fox as an excellent render farm in terms of supporting customers.

Garagefarm service support is also a considerable strength.  Whenever you have a question, click on the live chat icon (preferred channel of communication) that is available on the user interface. Garage Farm staff are online 24/7 and will give detailed instructions through documents for customers. Depending on user priority level, you will get the support speed. To illustrate, you will get full and premium support if you choose the medium priority and high priority respectively while you only get limited support if you choose the low priority. They ensure 10 people 1st line support, available 24/365 including holidays with any communication via live chat (24/7), Skype (realtime chat), and email (get a response within 1 hour). They also got additional support available for large productions. 

iRender possesses enthusiastic staff and experienced experts who support customers directly and immediately whenever we need help with a diversity of communication methods. It is the renderfarm with the widest range of customer contact methods including: 24/7 live chat, Hotline, Skype, WhatsApp, email etc. We intentionally ask for support after their working hours but still get support and reply within seconds via live chat on their website with real human support. More importantly, right after we register our account, we receive their greeting email which provides us with the instructions and tips to use the service. And one of the special things is that their customer support agent will actively find the way to contact customers, send us the message on any platform that we are available (in our case is Whatsapp) to ask whether we have any questions or need any support or not. This would help a lot if you are not afraid of a stranger to contact you. This agent will directly support the customer for the entire process of using the service. iRender is ISO 9001 certified to deliver products that consistently meet customer requirements and a service that is dependable and can be relied on.

For Ranch Computing and Rebusfarm, they don’t really have outstanding customer support. Ranch Computing’s website shows that they are available from Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. (GMT+1 / Paris, France) to answer questions by email/telephone. During the weekend, RANCH can help on Skype or by email in case of an emergency. However, when we contacted them for help in their working time, it took Ranch Computing hours or even days for them to answer all my questions that we needed to know about their service. And so does Rebusfarm. RebusFarm supports customers via 2 methods including live chat and email. RebusFarm says “Our experienced service team supports you and your render job 24/7”, but we do not receive their answer for a while after asking a question and the live chat sometimes is off-line and doesn’t receive the message from users.

3. Transparency with Clients

When it comes to transparency with clients, we would like to mention in the field of Price and the Kind of Service that one render farm offers. We will take into consideration some smaller factors, for example, do they clearly state the cost for rendering or provide users with sufficient information related to the service that users are using or not?  Because the model of business that Fox render farm, Garagefarm, Ranch Computing, and Rebusfarm are following, which is SaaS (Software-as-a-Service). This model provides users with access to a vendor’s cloud-based software. All you need is to upload your job to their system and get the output after waiting for the render farm provider rendering. These 4 render farms all have intuitive and dynamic cost estimators. In which, users will provide information such as The name and versions of the software, the number of frames, the local computer configuration, rendering time on the user’s computer, etc. From there, it will give you an estimated cost and render time when using their render farm. They all operate on a ‘pay as you go’ basis. That means you are only paying for what you have used. No other hidden cost. That’s the aspect that renderfarms are transparent with their customers. 

However, from the experience of using many different render farms from small to big projects, we can all understand that all the estimation is just relative and the cost can be higher in almost all cases, even double or triple the beginning estimation is normal. Garage farm has a note for users that the estimates provided by the calculator may not be accurate and users should do an actual test on the farm instead”. So do Fox renderfarm, Ranch, and Rebusfarm, they say that the Cost Calculator is a rough estimation and recommend users send 2-3 test frames to verify render time and costs. Moreover, admittedly, users will not know what exact machine specs are. Any render farm can do marketing campaigns and show that their machine specs are the cutting edge CPUs and GPUs, but who knows what they currently own in their render farm.

Moreover, another aspect that makes users confused is The Pricing quotation of those render farms. Due to the various generations of hardware, online render farms try to find a common calculator for Rendering Benchmark. Fox renderfarm, GarageFarm, RanchComputing and RebusFarm are showing their price per GHz hour or Core hour for CPU pricing and OBh for GPU Rendering Benchmark. This cost calculation is confusing for a first-time user. Users often find it hard to understand how the render farm pricing works and render farms find it hard to estimate the rendering cost. We have an article analysing clearly How the renderfarm pricing works if you might be interested in. 

The one that is highly appreciated in terms of radically transparency with Clients is iRender. The costs are also based on the usage known as a “Pay-as-you-go” model. iRender only charges the usage time, without any hidden costs. While users may be confused and do not know exactly what SaaS-based render farms offer in terms of hardware (both CPU and GPU). Things changed when it comes to this render farm, the one with IaaS-based. Customers can simply check CPU & GPU specs, machine configurations once users connect with their servers. 

4. Refund policy

Apparently, a concise and clear return policy gives customers a feeling of security; that what they are paying is guaranteed to be what it is represented to be. And in actual use, if users have rendering problems or for some reason cannot render and request a refund, how that render farm will behave is still a mystery until you actually experience their service. All the 5 render farms state clearly their Refund/Return policy on their websites that Users all have a possibility to test the Service using trial credits and can use trial credits to get familiar with the software and to get a cost and time estimation before committing. They provide relevant documentation that is easily accessible. It covers all necessary aspects of the software to aid you in becoming a competent user of the Service. And in case that users are not completely happy with the quality and results obtained through the Service, users can contact the support and request an explanation within specific days after completed usage. They will investigate your case and will present their position. They all declare that in case of a mistake or a technical issue on render farm’s side, they will offer a full or partial refund or some other form of compensation. 

In order to understand and test the refund process for customers of these render farms, we have signed up for a personal account, depositing the account as usual. Transfer the files to each render farm and start the rendering process. However those files already contain some errors that cause the files to not be rendered or the output of the render files have errors, or crash. From doing this, we could check the customer supportability of the customer service team and the technicians of each farm. Most importantly, to see if we ask for a refund of the deposited amount, how will these render farms behave?

During our usage on Garagefarm, if there are any problems or questions, we can reach them through their live chat to describe the problem we are facing, they answer us almost immediately, check the system, and send us any documentation or guide to solve the problem. When we submitted a refund request, they agreed to refund in good faith. The refund process is not so complicated and time-consuming. According to the terms of their return treatment, users will receive a response to their refund request within no more than 14 days of submitting the refund request. But it didn’t take that long, within a few hours we received their refund receipt.

When it comes to  Fox renderfarm, their refund process is quite convenient for customers in which they use Skype. As referred to at the beginning, our test files have some errors that make the files can’t be rendered. While uploading, their system could detect some errors on our files but surprisingly we didn’t receive any support from their technicians to fix these errors. They told us to review the files and fix them ourselves. When we asked for a refund, they first informed us that they couldn’t refund for the quite unreasonable reason: “It is very complicated to make a refund, and our bank often checks it and refuses to do it.” and recommended that we should leave the credits for future use. After we insisted on requesting it, they agreed to a refund. The entire refund process takes 5 days

Next is iRender. This render farm treats customers quite nicely and flexibly. As stated above, an iRender staff, called Customer Support, will directly support users via any messaging app that is convenient for users. Once we tell their customer support that we have an issue related to rendering and describe the issue, the technician guys will connect with the server (with our permission) to check, support, and consult us to fix the problem directly and immediately. All the credits that were spent for checking will be added back to the user’s account. This is like how they state they only charge you for the time users use their machine and can render normally. We did ask for a refund of the amount that we bought. We quickly received their apology for the issue that we had. They refunded our deposit only a few hours after our refund request in an atmosphere of openness and goodwill. Even more surprising, in addition to refunding the amount we deposited, they still gave us the exact amount of iRpoints we deposited to our account so that we can use it for upcoming projects. Truly excellent! This is really a smart way that few render farms can do today. They don’t put the short-term profit first and can both satisfy customers and retain customers for future usage.

Ranch Computing also treats customers nicely. As referred above, users can reach their customer support via 2 methods including Email or Skype. However, Skype is also not highly recommended by them. If you get into any trouble or want to request a refund, you need to send them an email that describes what problem you are experiencing, the project number, the version of the software and render engines that you are using, etc, so that they can easily forward it to their technical team. The refund process is also quite fast. We will have to wait for Ranch to investigate what went wrong first to understand and find a solution. First, they offered to refund the render points to our account. But when we insisted on getting a refund in cash, they agreed and the whole refund process lasted within one and a half days.

The last one is Rebusfarm. It’s quite convenient for customers in terms of contacting for a refund because they proceed with the refund right on their live chat. They agreed to refund in the form of cash, not render points. However, from the time they agreed to refund, the user’s account will be immediately deducted to 0 render points while they didn’t even ensure when they will proceed with the refund, they said that “when the responsible apartment had the time to refund, they will do it”. They also did not provide any receipt or proof of refund despite our request. The only way to know if we have been refunded is to wait until the money has actually been deposited into our account.

5. Security and privacy regulations

Last but not least, Security and Privacy regulation is one of the important factors that need to be considered. It does really matter, especially for large studios, or major film and cinematic producers, or even individuals if your project contains sensitive material. Does the render farm that you have been using put the customer’s security and privacy as their priority? How can users be sure that all of their information is kept confidential? Is that render farm recognized by reputable organizations in the world for information security or not? If your company or studio has strict and high requirements for privacy, this part is for you. All those 5 render farms provide users with full, clear, transparent dedicated information regarding their Terms and Conditions, Privacy and Confidentiality Policy, files storage, etc on their official websites. Moreover,  all these 5 renderfarm have Non-disclosure agreements available for customers to protect their rights and interests. 

As we all know, content and data security have always been a global concern in general and in the movie and TV industry especially.  We have seen a serial high-profile pre-release leak in 2017 which caused huge damage to Hollywood’s major production studios and to the health of the whole industry. Therefore, a prestigious render farm needs an assessment process with detailed security requirements on the physical security, asset management, content life-cycle, enterprise security, risk assessment, policy & procedures, human resources processes, and most importantly, infrastructure. Fox renderfarm and iRender have sent us the copy of their certification to prove that they are both ISO 27001 certified. Fox is also a TPN accredited provider, which ensures that these 2 renderfarm keep users’ information safe and secure. For Garagefarm, Ranch Computing, and Rebusfarm, we did research on their websites but no information was found. We also contacted their customer support to get more information but got no answer. Some said that they need more time to answer our question and will let us know as fast as possible but still got no response until now.

This article is written based on what the Radarrender team has been using the render farms services, then rate and review them unbiasedly. It should come as no surprise that the render farm rankings changed with our previous reviews. It is because every 3-6 months, we reuse the render farms and update the rankings.

If we are missing a recommendation for your specific use case or you have any questions, feel free to comment below or send us an email via [email protected]

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