View Full Version : DREAM (sleep) feature for OSX?

03-01-2003, 02:50 PM
Guys would it be possible for OSX to somehow incorperate some sort of sleep function where everything powers down but the cpu still works processing for render farms, kinda like the mac is "dreaming"... OSX could somehow switch its main priorities off an concentrate on this one task... Hardware would have to support this feature, what do yu think?

03-01-2003, 09:15 PM
I'm certainly not a hardware expert, but to render an image, you need the CPU and the system bus, so what would you power down? The system bus has to communicate between the RAM for storing information while processing the data that ends up as an image, and then you need to store that rendered image somewhere, so you need the drive up and running. At most, you could power off the video sub-system, I guess, but why not just turn off your monitor?

I'm confused as to what advantage or need this "dreaming" function would be.

03-01-2003, 10:36 PM
Good points, but stuff like video cards these days have noisy big fans and produce heat so if the mac was in dream mode, the card would power down (fan would still run if monitor was switched off), and as the system was rendering it could save all its info onto on server HD that they are all conncted to. So it renders it to ram and sends it via ethernet to the main server HD.

What Im trying to suggest is special HW boxes that have special features as rendering nodes.
HD's can be noisy and hot, so if like 20 macs were rendering an animation and they all were saving to ram then sending via network to one central HD that would save alot of noise, power and heat.. Just an idea, if you want to add feel free...

03-02-2003, 05:10 AM
Do hard drives produce a lot of heat? I hadn't noticed it, though maybe they do. Modern drives are also reasonably quiet.

You'd need the hard drives to be operational at boot time, and then to switch off. For wear and tear, hard drives are probably better left on and spinning rather than being switched on and off. Equipment is a bit like a light globe. Things fail more at the time they're switched on or off. Lights rarely fail while they're running.

Interesting idea, though.

Karl Hansson
03-02-2003, 09:16 AM
I've been thinking about something similar. I know there has been talk about letting graphic processors handle renderings. I dont know about the details about all that. But something I've been thinking about is to have a box powered with graphic processor technology (nVidia for example) and its own harddrive that would connect with your computer using firewire for example. And when you render a scene LW sends the scene to the "renderbox" and completly offloads the computer of the whole rendertask enable you to continue to work while rendering. Also lets say that you could chainconnect several "renderboxes" to get even faster rendertimes. Just fantasizing:D

03-02-2003, 09:19 AM
Distributive processing via GPU's..
Trouble is no video card now supports raytracing in hardware from the gpu.

Karl Hansson
03-02-2003, 09:42 AM
I didnt realize that. But dont you think that you can program around that problem? Or is it impossible for a GPU to do other calculations than what it normally calculats (opengl etc)? It would be an interesting product though dont you think? The benefit I would se about this that it could be a cost efficient solution compared with a renderfarm. And it would be easily scaleable, just buy another renderbox when you think you can afford it and plug it in ontop of the first one. Still just fantasizing:D

03-02-2003, 09:45 AM
Unless ths unit is cheap ppl will just say go buy a cheap AMD box.

03-04-2003, 12:37 AM
Sounds like a great idea, but it is just a fantasy. I'd love to see something like this, but currently there are no VC's w/ 1Gb of onboard RAM. What about co-processing, The VC and CPU working together to render. The VC renders all the OpenGL and the CPU handles raytracing, radiosity, etc. But your idea is good. Imagine opening your box and instead of 4 PCI slots you see 4 AGP's instead, badaboom renderfarm in a box! I'm sure none of this is possible, at least not now. If anybody has the time to explain why none of this is possible, I'd love to hear it. Alas I am but an aspiring computer geek(I use that term as a compliment not an insult).

Karl Hansson
03-04-2003, 12:17 PM
Yes Im sure that there are a few little details that makes this imposseble. But hey, If every idea were to be dismissed based on some few little ditails we'd still be living in caves, right. :). The GPUs are already very specialiced in an area that I imagin would suit renderprocessing great. Of course they would probably need some additional development from to days GPUs. GPUs have the advantage that they are specialized at what they do and that they are made in fairly large quantitys, since they would also be in regular graphiccard, so price is quite fair.