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View Full Version : how do you set up your mac, for an over night render?



eblu
09-22-2006, 07:17 AM
so last night, I setup a screamernet render and went home. when I came in this morning my nodes had crashed at some point during the evening.

and it got me wondering, what can I do to help the system avoid hangups...
what do other people do to avoid problems in over night renders.

currently I lock my screen (keychain access in the menubar allows this)
have energy saver set to: never
have the screen saver "flurry"
turn the processor performance to "highest" (in energy saver)

and I wonder if the machine tries to do some cpu intensive clerical work over night. or somehow gets a little confused.


just giving it some thought, I can think of quite a few ways to get OS X to restrict access to individuals who might accidentally turn off the render, and stop doing things that might potentially slow down a render... how do you set it up? how well does it work? Found any tricks you'd like to share?

Scazzino
09-22-2006, 07:43 AM
I've been running Mac ScreamerNet non-stop for months on end without any problems.

The last time that I was having nodes crash seemingly at random, it turned out to be bad RAM. The RAM passed Apple's tests but the machine was sometimes unstable during the heavy stress of rendering. I tracked it down by removing all but one DIMM (or two DIMMS on the DP G5) on each node and letting it render for a few days. Then I added another DIMM and continued rendering for a few days. I was able to track the problems to a specific DIMM (or set of DIMMs on the G5) in each machine. I had the bad DIMMs replaced and my render farm has been running non-stop for months now without any crashes...

Your problem could be different, but when all else fails, start testing your RAM...

As for how I set up the machines. I just run LWSN on each machine. I turn off the screen saver and tell the machine not to sleep. Then I turn off the monitors... That's about it...

And this is how I set up my ScreamerNet.
Mastering LWSN on the Macintosh: LightWave ScreamerNet for Mac OS X (http://dreamlight.com/insights/10/welcome.html)

TomT
09-22-2006, 08:05 AM
RAM and USB devices are high on the list. Go with RAM first as Scazzino suggests, but minimize USB devices on your render nodes (especially hubs).

HTH,
-T

John the Geek
09-22-2006, 10:04 AM
I just sent a shopping list to my boss...


Things to buy for new Mac Pro:

- 4 flakey USB hubs to daisy-chain.
- Bad RAM for Lightwave.
- Windows 3.11 for Workgroups. (for BootCamp)


:twak:

eblu
09-22-2006, 10:15 AM
yeah, umm... thanks for the screamernet tutes... but uh... I was more curious about the rituals people go through to try to keep screamernet going all night on the OS side of things.

I'm sure I can hammer out my screamernet quirks, I'm just trying to find an optimal way of safeguarding/optimising the computer while it renders over night. for instance, I know that Apple has it go through a few cleanup duties when its on late at night. Has anybody disabled this? has anybody found that it is a problem?

avkills
09-22-2006, 10:55 AM
If you only have 1 computer rendering, then why use screamernet? Are you rendering multiple scenes out overnight?

I generally have no screen saver, but my screens blank out after 15 minutes of non activity (like keyboard and mousing). Screensavers rob CPU cycles.

I also don't lock anything. I also render out to image sequences now, so if something does happen, I can pick up right where the render stopped.

I think if I had nodes, then I would probably run them headless and just VNC into them to do stuff. I'd disable everything the OS does that would rob CPU cycles. Disabling the OS housekeeping would be a bad move though.

-mark

Scazzino
09-22-2006, 11:15 AM
I'm just trying to find an optimal way of safeguarding/optimising the computer while it renders over night. for instance, I know that Apple has it go through a few cleanup duties when its on late at night. Has anybody disabled this? has anybody found that it is a problem?

That's just it... I haven't had ANY problems and haven't had to disable anything at all. I just set the screen saver not to come on and the computer not to sleep. Nothing else causes any problems. The only time I had random crashes with LWSN turned out to be bad RAM... (and it was installed by the dealer, they replaced them and now all my nodes are rock solid) ;)

I even sometimes run LWSN using one processor on my DP G5 while I'm still working on the other processor. Mac OS X is pretty much bullet-proof running LWSN from what I've seen here. I've been running a Mac render-farm non-stop for over a year...

I don't know about the PC, but you shouldn't need any "rituals" on the Mac. :thumbsup:

:D

eblu
09-22-2006, 11:48 AM
If you only have 1 computer rendering, then why use screamernet? Are you rendering multiple scenes out overnight?

I generally have no screen saver, but my screens blank out after 15 minutes of non activity (like keyboard and mousing). Screensavers rob CPU cycles.

I also don't lock anything. I also render out to image sequences now, so if something does happen, I can pick up right where the render stopped.

I think if I had nodes, then I would probably run them headless and just VNC into them to do stuff. I'd disable everything the OS does that would rob CPU cycles. Disabling the OS housekeeping would be a bad move though.

-mark


we have trust issues with our co-worksers, and we need to render multiple scenes overnight. So we Have to do more than turn off the monitor, and use screamernet (in Some capacity).

We also use renderfarm commander, which allows us to customize how many nodes we want for each specific render. currently i have 2 nodes, but just last week I had 18!

avkills
09-22-2006, 11:55 AM
That is a shame about your co-workers. I've been doing some research on how to make a really cheap render farm. I am planning on making a custom cabinet where I can just slide in Core 2 MB. The current hiccup in the plan right now is finding a power supply that can power 5 MBs. I was going to use VNC to log into them. It was going to be Windows based though, even though I'd rather have Macs. The 2GB memory limit on the Minis is causing that decision.

-mark

Scazzino
09-22-2006, 11:56 AM
we have trust issues with our co-worksers, and we need to render multiple scenes overnight. So we Have to do more than turn off the monitor, and use screamernet (in Some capacity).

We also use renderfarm commander, which allows us to customize how many nodes we want for each specific render. currently i have 2 nodes, but just last week I had 18!

I usually set up a special Render user on each machine and use that user to run the render on each machine. If you don't trust your coworkers you don't need to give them the password for the Render user. Then login as Render, start the render and go back to the login screen. Then they can login normally as another user without bothering your render in progress... though if LWSN is using both processors it will slow down the other users... then when you get in in the morning, you can stop the LWSN nodes from the controller...

Captain Obvious
09-22-2006, 12:36 PM
Macs... crash? The last few years, the only Mac crashes I've experienced have been hardware failures. Kinda hard to protect yourself against a broken hard drive...

___mats___
09-22-2006, 05:19 PM
yes and I recommend renderfarm commander for ease of use and features, you can schedule rendering scenes in the order you want, make nodes online/offline as needed, etc.. thumbs up

Scazzino
09-22-2006, 07:07 PM
yes and I recommend renderfarm commander for ease of use and features, you can schedule rendering scenes in the order you want, make nodes online/offline as needed, etc.. thumbs up

Yup. Renderfarm Commander (http://dreamlight.com/insights/10/advanced_network_rendering.html#renderfarm_command er) is very good. Another good controller that I also use is called ScreamerNet Controller for Mac OS X (http://dreamlight.com/insights/10/advanced_network_rendering.html#screamernet_contro ller), which saves the render queue and can even recover and continue the queue in case of a crash.

:thumbsup:

keniarts
04-10-2007, 09:51 PM
Hi Mike,
I went to your site and worked for hours to set up lwsn; with no success. I even coppied config. codes directly from your pages (changing only my paths). Could it be an issue hosting from a PowerBook and rendering to a G4 tower (identical os's)? Could it be that pesky dialogue box that pops up when I open the lwsn file in the program folder?

Thanks

Scazzino
04-10-2007, 11:33 PM
If you're getting a dialog box when launching LWSN, it means that it's not reading (or finding) your "LWSN cmdLine" file. When it reads the arguments from the cmdLine file, it won't open a dialog when launched... So it sounds like you probably have a mismatch between the name of LWSN and the "LWSN cmdLine" file.

Double check this portion of the tutorial against what you're doing.
http://dreamlight.com/insights/10/cmdline_files.html#cmdLinesName

:goodluck: