What Is The Golem Network?

Simple explanation: Golem is a bunch of connected computers that team up to become a giant rendering Megazord!

This is a really cool project. Recently I have found myself lacking computational power in a professional environment. The client loves this Blender animation, but I’ve got 1/13th of the power I need to render what they want by the time they need it. Traditional render farms are out of the question because on demand render pricing would be enough to just buy a render farm outright. Possible solution? Golem network.

Disclaimer: I have not used Golem in a professional setting. However, that doesn’t mean I’m not very interested in the project. The idea being: you can download a simple client for accessing the network, set up a few ports for your router to forward, and essentially “go online”. There were anywhere between 250-350 computers or “nodes” on the network at any given time (at the time of this writing). You can check this number now at stats.golem.network. It even gives you the collective number of CPU cores, RAM, and disk space available at any given time. Pretty cool!

There are two sides to Golem. First is the side where you can essentially put your computing resources ‘up for rent’. This allows others on the Golem network to use your computer to render projects. The other side is renting computing resources from the network. Got a huge project to render? You can pay to rent resources to finish your project way faster. A huge advantage is that this is much less expensive than using a traditional render farm. Here’s a promotional video that explains it quite well:

My Experience

I ran spent about 2 weeks on the Golem network just renting my unused compute power. Wasn’t sure what to expect. The Golem network is built on the Etherium blockchain and providers are paid in GNT or Golem Network Tokens. If you are buying compute power, you’ll be paying in ETH and also covering any transaction fees. As of now estimating how much you’ll need to render your job is kinda complex. You need to define a specific ‘timeout’ time for your job. So if a weaker node gets your job and takes longer than your ‘timeout’ time, you basically lose your money. In my experience, I rented out my AMD FX 8350 Black Edition and earned about $0.07 worth of GNT. I think it’s because the network is still so new. Even the client to connect to the netowork is still in beta. It could also be that not a lot of people are using the network just because it’s just so new.

Regardless, the Golem Network is an incredibly cool project to keep an eye on. Who knows, it could potentially be the only way we render our complex projects! It is also worth mentioning that Golem is compatable with Blender projects. I have yet to test out the capabilities of the network and discover what is and isn’t possible when rendering Blender projects with certain versions of Blender, different addons, plugins, etc. Will keep you posted! Thanks for reading.