For smaller setups Redshift would definitely be the way to go for a lot of shots imho!
I use Houdini like a freelancer and to be honest the most slow render in my test is Mantra.
If Houdini Indie not have third party render it will be impossible to use Houdini(my opinion).
Houdini Indie bring new life to SideFX, people like me that can buy only a single core I7 but not exactaly a renderfarm or two processor in one machine had difficult to work.
Mantra is good! Mantra is beautifull! Mantra is integrate…. I know it all.
But if I can not render my jobt in time I will not make money… but we had a talk about it in “thoughts about mantra” and SideFX probably read it a lot…
I think here is not necessary to open this speech again
Today I am focus in character rigging in Houdini like I can do in Maya.
Now I am study to teach Houdini in Brazil at São Paulo and render and rigging will be a very delicate talk with my students in the future.
Because when a lot of us started in Houdini we want an alternative to other package for character animation and if possible render too
That was only a comment only it.