If you are going to do high def animations (1920x1080 pixels @ 30 frames per second) then you will need to use a commercial render farm or set up your own. A five minute animated movie at 30 fps requires that you render 9,000 frames. To get high def quality you are looking at a minimum of a 10 minute render per frame using Indigo assuming a very basic scene. That works out to 62.5 days (1500 hours) of full time rendering on a single, high end computer. For scenes with any sort of detail, you are looking at least 20 minutes and, for reference, Pixar takes at least 6 hours to render a single frame in one of their animated movies. For 20 minute per frame renders you are looking at 125 days of 24x7, full time rendering to make that five minute animated movie. To make that practical, you need a minimum of 10 computers in your "server garden" which is how I refer to a home based "server farm". If you are only looking at a one time movie, it would probably be more cost effective to use a commercial server farm such as Rebus rather than buying 10 computers plus having to add electric costs of about $75 for the project. Outsourcing to a commercial render farm would cost about $30 per computer per day which would be a minimum of about $3,750 to render your five minute, high definition animated movie. For reference, server farms would typically do rendering in dual, four-core Xeon CPUs and would probably not have a video card. High end video cards are essential for real-time lower quality renders which display on your desktop but rendering can be done without them. Surprisingly, when rendering is done in the CPU (or GPU), you don't need to load up on RAM so having 64GB of RAM isn't going to get things done any faster than 8GB of RAM. There are a lot of four year old servers with dual, four-core Xeon processors available on eBay and it wouldn't be hard to pick up ten of them for the $3,750 commercial rendering price. Just remember that servers are very loud and have significant electric requirements so you would probably need to factor in the cost of running several dedicated electric circuits in your house. The also take up a lot of room and need to be in an air conditioned space for much of the year.
So, if you're still interested in setting up your personal server garden, the next issue is getting the software to run it. With iClone, you can get Indigo RT which includes the iClone Indigo Plug-in. The Plug-in creates xml type files out of each frame of your iClone scene and packages the texture maps/images for each frame. When you run Indigo RT, it takes those files from the plug-in and renders them frame by frame creating high quality png files. Indigo RT only works in stand-alone mode; however, the full version of Indigo Renderer (about $835) can act as a master node and assign individual frames to render nodes. The full version of Indigo Renderer includes two of these render nodes (called "slave" nodes). Additional render nodes cost $135 each, so you are looking at $1,080 for eight nodes. Therefore, total software costs for you Server Garden are about $1,915 USD ($835 + $1080), though there may be some quantity discounts on the render nodes that they don't publish on their website ( http://store.glaretechnologies.com/?currency=USD).
The nice thing about the full version of Indigo Renderer is that it can also be used to render Maya, 3ds Max, Blender, etc).
Right now, the weak link is with the iClone plug-in for Indigo. I've had issues with it reliably creating the xml type files reliably which can be consumed by Indigo RT (and by extension the full version of Indigo Renderer). To be effective as part of a full time render operation, I would need to be able to pull at least 120 frames from iClone representing 4 seconds of my final movie. Right now, it seems to choke when I even try to feed it 20 frames. For example, I request 20 frames and it may only produce files to render eight frames. One of the biggest issues in my view is that iClone produces its own plug-in rather than have it produced by GlareTechnologies who make Indigo. Plug-ins for Maya and Blender are actually maintained by Glare so I think they would be more reliable, better documented and have a more intuitive user interface.
Hope this helps.