View Full Version : Gotta give Mac Mini credit

02-02-2010, 11:15 PM
So as some here may know I set up a Mac Mini (2.26 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo) to do some single frame renders via Screamernet. It's been working great and today I decided to see how much it could handle.

Now I normally do renders of about 3,500 X 2,500 with high anti-aliasing so they take a long time. I set the Mac Mini off to render 6 frames with 6 different instances of Screamernet and it's just chugging along with no problems.

Anyway I guess I expected it to choke along the line somewhere and I just had to share :D:D:D

02-03-2010, 12:14 AM
You can run as many instances as you like as long as you have enough ram to have all your renders done within ram. But there are going to be diminishing returns for using that last Nth of a percent of unused CPU resources.

In most cases 2 instances just about does it. Also if you have a large file & are sending over a network, & you have 2 nodes on one computer SN will sent the file twice, once for each node. If you are not doing that many frames & they are quick to render. It maybe uneconomical to render with too many instances.

If you have say 6 computers, have the nodes organised as:

computer 1: nodes 1 & 7
computer 2: nodes 2 & 8
computer 3: nodes 3 & 9
computer 4: nodes 4 & 10
computer 5: nodes 5 & 11
computer 6: nodes 6 & 12

Firstly if it’s a large scene & you need all your ram, just fire up the first 6 nodes.

If it’s a small scene, then 12 nodes. When SN loads the files it takes a bit of time to get to the second node on each computer, & thus you will get a stagger start on the start of each second frame with utilises the unused CPU resources a lot better.

02-03-2010, 02:38 PM
Great info, thanks!

I only have the one Mini right now but may add more later. I expected it to slow way down with 6 running but I was actually surprised at how fast it finished. Apparently the 4GB memory was enough for this particular scene (pretty simple one).

I normally run only 1 or 2 instances but since I had 6 sitting there waiting just thought I would try it.

I tried many things to get the mysterious Screamernet setup and several times I thought I had it (following online demos) but this would work, then something else would not... just gave me grief. So I just ventured out on my own with what I had learned and ended up aliases across the network for my drawers associated with Lightwave and my output drawer and it worked perfect.

Any changes I make are of course done across both systems, nothing can get out of sync. :-)