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hdace
12-03-2006, 02:33 AM
As it states below, I have a quad G5 (the last model ever made) which runs great. And I've got several p4 PCs for network rendering while I work on the G5.

A good friend of mine runs a business with many many computers. Has just bought a whole bunch of new iMacs and he doesn't need several of them for a couple of months, so I'm borrowing them.

Stuck Boot Camp on them, and they ScreamerNet like madmen! A frame that'll take a new-ish 3Ghz p4 about half an hour takes the dual core intel iMacs about ten minutes.

So my question is this: will switching to x64 speed up rendering? Is the main purpose of LW 64 to speed up workflow, or rendering, or both?

I checked on the Microsoft discussions and got a useful answer. I was told that one can indeed load Windows 64 on Boot Camp, but that Apple's drivers won't work. I know from experience that the iMac without the drivers actually does work, albeit clunkily.

So I wouldn't bother trying to use one to work on, just for rendering. If 64 doesn't actually speed up rendering, then I won't bother. But if my ten minute renders turn into 5, now that would be something indeed!

All advice welcome. Thanks, Hal

kfinla
12-03-2006, 11:57 AM
i'm certainly no expert on this subject but i would imagine, you maybe able to shave off seconds, perhaps a minute in rendertime.. i would imagine the only real benefit would be if your rendering very complex scenes that need all the ram that those imacs can hold.

hdace
12-03-2006, 11:33 PM
Okay, now I'm really feakin'!!!

I was a little confused in my first message. The renders were taking about 1/2 hour on a single p4 PC, Windows 32 bit. My G5 PPC Quad takes about 9 min with the same frame. It's resolution is 1280 X 720. There are 5 characters running around in a room, some smoke using sprite volumetrics, and a bath with a water flowing. The iMac under Boot Camp with 32 bit Windows dual core, brand new, took 15 minutes.

I re-partitioned the drive on the Mac side. After downloading the free (eg: no money!) copy of Windows Professional 64 bit Edition, I burned the CD and installed it into the new partition. Then downloaded 9.2 open beta (sorry for breaking the rules, but this isn't really about the open beta, it's about 64 bit under boot camp-- and I couldn't open the project document retroactively), loaded the project and rendered the frame.

10 minutes. It rendered in 2/3 the time as 32 bit boot camp on the same machine. That's only one minute slower than the PPC Quad. It has four (2 dual core) 2.5 GHz processors, and the iMac only has two (1 dual core) rated at just 2 GHz. Pretty weird, huh? I know you're not supposed to compare IBM to Intel, and there's vector processing and all that, but who cares? It's fun to compare them anyway!

I didn't really have any problems with the no 64 bit driver problem, except there is no support for the iMac display (which means there's no OpenGL), and no sound. I don't care about either of those things. I'm only interested in network rendering the iMacs. We'll see how that goes next.

Hope some people found this interesting. If not, change the channel!

All the best, Hal

BazC
12-04-2006, 01:43 AM
I'm not sure what you're seeing here but I doubt the speed increase has anything to do with 64bit. Everything I've read about the move to 64bit sytems says the only real advantage is being able to use more RAM, there should be no significant speed increase. Hopefully CHilton or someone more knowledgeable than me will chime in with some ideas!

hdace
12-04-2006, 06:26 AM
According to Microsoft one of the benefits of 64 is that a lot more data can be preloaded into virtual ram than before. My scenes tend to have a lot of objects with a lot of textures and tons of polys. I've got 3 gigs of ram in both my main machines. But even they stack up quite a bit of data in the virtual files before they start. I know this from watching the ram pie chart in Activity Monitor on the G5.

I'm sure it would still happen even if I had 4 gigs.

And the iMacs only have one gig. So they're using the big V even more.

Finally, I don't understand your assertion that you can use more ram. Maybe something to do a Windows limitation, but I don't see why 64 should make any difference to how much you can use. Once again, on the G5, the full 3 gigs fill up real fast (watching AM) when I load a scene, and I'm sure it would fill all the way up even if I had the maximum potential of 16 gigs. And that's running LW 32.

Hal

hdace
12-04-2006, 06:29 AM
Oh, and by the way, I'm now screamernetting several imacs on 64, and I'm still getting the speed benefit. Totally overjoyed!

hdace
12-04-2006, 06:37 AM
one final tidbit: I always test to see if procedurals render the same on p4/ppc/intel dual core. Usually they do, but there is the odd occasion when they don't. All 3 were rendering my smoke the same on this scene I've been testing.

With the idc now running on 64, suddenly the smoke looks completely different. Same processors, different os & exe. So, can only render on the iMacs with no help from the p4s. But the speed boost over the p4s is so incredible, I don't care.

BazC
12-04-2006, 06:40 AM
Let me stress first of all that I'm a long way from being a computer expert, I've just picked up a bit of info here and there that I HOPE I'm understanding properly.

First, as I understand it virtual RAM is using the hard drive instead of RAM which is VERY slow so using it more is likely to slow things down not speed them up.

Second all operating system have a limit to the amount of RAM that can be used by any app, even 64bit systems though they can use vast amounts (much more than the 16gigs Mac Pros can fit in) In Windows XP I think the limit is 2gigs per app though I think I've heard that using a trick or two you gat get it to use 3gigs.

OSXs limit is currently 4gigs per app I believe. Moving to a 64bit system and apps allows you to use much more RAM meaning virtual RAM has to be used less which can speed things up but the big advantage is that you can handle much bigger scenes.

Hope that helps!

hdace
12-04-2006, 06:51 AM
Are you actually reading my posts?

You (BazC) say the VM is slow. The whole point is 64 speeds up VM. This is what I'm saying. My scenes are very big. 64 speeds them up.

Please read the Microsoft info, then do your own test. Then you will find that 64 speeds up rendering.

I am also not any kind of an expert. I just know results when I see them. Your point is that most people with smaller projects won't see much benefit. You may be right. But I have to say, it's that kind of thinking that makes Maya the app of choice in Hollywood.

I prefer LW, and I would like to see it eat big projects for lunch. Then Maya for dinner!

All the best, Hal

John the Geek
12-04-2006, 07:05 AM
Are you actually reading my posts?

You (BazC) say the VM is slow. The whole point is 64 speeds up VM. This is what I'm saying. My scenes are very big. 64 speeds them up.

Please read the Microsoft info, then do your own test. Then you will find that 64 speeds up rendering.

I am also not any kind of an expert. I just know results when I see them. Your point is that most people with smaller projects won't see much benefit. You may be right. But I have to say, it's that kind of thinking that makes Maya the app of choice in Hollywood.

I prefer LW, and I would like to see it eat big projects for lunch. Then Maya for dinner!

All the best, Hal

You have something crossed here somewhere... The only way to speed up your Virtual Memory is to buy a faster Hard Drive, since the speed of disc rotation and bus speed are the limiting factors (as well as drive fragmentation) to making VM (Pagefiles) slow. Processor type will not "speed up VM" unless it finds a way to avoid using it altogether, or not use it as often.

You may be referring to the fact that a 64-bit OS perhaps doesn't have to cache to VM as often due to accessing more hard RAM.

=)

BazC
12-04-2006, 07:08 AM
Are you actually reading my posts?

Yes I was but I probably won't in future! :D

hdace
12-04-2006, 07:15 AM
Thanks, John. You more or less answered your own question. I'm confused too for the same HD physical limitation reasons. All I know is that MS says that they can "preload" way more data into VM than before, and that this is the main speed boost.

It's always seemed to me that VM was way slower than it should be. You're loading data from the project documents into ram and then back onto the disk again, in a different place. I always automatically increased a PC's limit to the maximum of 4096 KB because that seemed to help. A lot of swapping goes on. 64 presumably reduces that swapping by making the maximum page files much bigger. Just a guess. I should have entered a bigger number in the preference window to see if I got an error message, but I forgot and now I'm rendering in earnest, so will find out later.

At the end of the day, I hope someone else tests this, 'cause I know I'm getting a big benefit that can result in entire weeks saved.

Hal

Mr. Black
12-06-2006, 12:11 PM
I also sent this to you as a personal message, can you outline with a little more detail how you have the farm set up? I may do the same thing here.
Cheers
Jeff

hdace
12-06-2006, 04:36 PM
I also sent this to you as a personal message, can you outline with a little more detail how you have the farm set up? I may do the same thing here.
Cheers
Jeff

Firstly, I want to explain that I read your personal message quickly, then went to check something else. When I came back to "User CP" (whatever that means) your personal message was gone, so I'm replying to you here.

I don't remember everthing you said, but I do remember that you're working on a master & commander type film. Sounds great. But watch out for the cannon smoke. Sometimes hypervoxels don't render on farms. I've had to undo the farm previously and render each machine in stand-alone mode (when I was making smoke in a scene), which is a bloody pain because you have to load LW on every bloody machine.

I've also read your thread. I don't like 3rd party apps because it's way too hard to troubleshoot them, and LW is already full of enough bugs. And once again, mixing ppc & intel rendered material in the same shot almost always causes problems with procedural textures & hypervoxels (which I think always use procedurals). Your scene will flicker. The smoke will jump around from frame to frame.

So, try to do one scene on your intel machines and a different scene on ppc. Sometimes I've rendered the same scene with two different farms, if there's a cycle involved. ie, if a you've got 2 ships firing at each other, but their smoke doesn't mix, and live action is the background, then render one ship on one farm and the other ship on the other farm, and combine them in post.

For the time being, you do not need to buy Windows for your intel macs. My machines are rendering, so I can't check this now, but I think you get the free 64-bit version download from Microsoft for FOUR MONTHS! By then the UB might be out. That's longer than NT's beta versions.

Then download NT's 64 bit version, load it on one of the intels, then set up the command prompts on the other machines. Couldn't be easier.

It's also important to remember that you can't actually work on the intel macs with 64 versions loaded. Apple have not provided 64 bit drivers for the display, so there's no open gl. In fact, the basic screen resolutions are at the wrong aspect ratio. I just use them for rendering, so it doesn't matter. Use your PPC machines for working. I guess all this is kinda obvious.

Anyway, if you need any more specific anecdotal info, let me know.

Hal

marble_sheep
12-07-2006, 11:48 AM
Are you actually reading my posts?

You (BazC) say the VM is slow. The whole point is 64 speeds up VM. This is what I'm saying. My scenes are very big. 64 speeds them up.

Please read the Microsoft info, then do your own test. Then you will find that 64 speeds up rendering.

Tsk tsk, no need to be rude. :beerchug:

I believe it's you that maybe needs to read these posts a little more carefully. No one was arguing that your tests were accurate... John and Baz were merely pointing out that the reason you gave for the speed increase was not entirely accurate. There are undoubtedly some Virtual Memory optimizations that went into Win64... but VM in general is a sloooow technology, so ultimately it's only going to be as fast as your hard drive and bus (as John pointed out.) You have to consider that there is porbably a lot more going on under the hood than just "VM is now tEh r0x0rzz." When you say things like,


Finally, I don't understand your assertion that you can use more ram. Maybe something to do a Windows limitation, but I don't see why 64 should make any difference to how much you can use.

...it just shows that you don't really understand the idea behind 64 bit, so why are you so quick to dismiss other people's ideas?

Also, you can't say that 64 bit is faster across the board because, as has already been pointed out, small scenes will see little or no increase. This is a fact, no need to speculate about it.


Your point is that most people with smaller projects won't see much benefit. You may be right. But I have to say, it's that kind of thinking that makes Maya the app of choice in Hollywood.

And just as a side-note, what does that have to do with "Hollywood"?? :stumped:

hdace
12-07-2006, 06:13 PM
Tsk tsk, no need to be rude. :beerchug:

I believe it's you that maybe needs to read these posts a little more carefully. No one was arguing that your tests were accurate... John and Baz were merely pointing out that the reason you gave for the speed increase was not entirely accurate. There are undoubtedly some Virtual Memory optimizations that went into Win64... but VM in general is a sloooow technology, so ultimately it's only going to be as fast as your hard drive and bus (as John pointed out.) You have to consider that there is porbably a lot more going on under the hood than just "VM is now tEh r0x0rzz." When you say things like,

First of all, John the Geek was wrong when he said the only way to speed up VM is to buy a faster hard drive. Reducing the amount of file swapping also increses the speed of VM.

2nd, you, Baz, & John don't seem to understand the nature of scientific method. You keep all your variables controlled but one, and that is your manipulated variable. In this case I kept everything identical, the machine, the scene, the frame resolution, the app build, etc. The only thing I changed was going from 32-bit OS to 64-bit OS. I got a 33% speed boost. There is simply no other explanation but that rendering on 64-bit, with a large sophisticated scene, provides a speed boost. Arguing over which aspect of 64-bit OS's actually provides the speed boost is a little pointless.

I apologize for being rude to Baz previously. The statement above may also appear to be rude, but it is not. It is merely a statement of facts.


...it just shows that you don't really understand the idea behind 64 bit, so why are you so quick to dismiss other people's ideas?

Now who's being rude? I admit that I am not a scientist, nor a programmer, and that I am talking out of my whatsit a little bit. But I do understand that the new processors can handle longer line instructions than before, and in theory can process twice the data per cycle than before. It is true that I initially didn't understand that ram was an important element in the new setup, but I was clued in to that when I read the info documents on the Microsoft website. As far as I can tell no one participating in this debate has actually read that, or used it to show how I could be wrong about something.


Also, you can't say that 64 bit is faster across the board because, as has already been pointed out, small scenes will see little or no increase. This is a fact, no need to speculate about it. :

You're right, I should have accepted clearly that 64-bit might not help people with scenes requiring less ram.


And just as a side-note, what does that have to do with "Hollywood"?? :stumped:

All I was trying to say is that this insistance that 64 bit won't help people with smaller scenes is that LW is (hopefully) also for people with big scenes. Harping on about staying with 32 is going to put off people who want to work with the best software. Maya is dominant in Hollywood because it's faster to use for an experienced user. We should want LW to be faster to use, to be less fiddly, to have the best tools available. 64-bit is simply a new tool, and getting it right for LW will give it a new advantage over Maya.

John the Geek
12-07-2006, 06:48 PM
First of all, John the Geek was wrong when he said the only way to speed up VM is to buy a faster hard drive. Reducing the amount of file swapping also increses the speed of VM.

No, I was right you pin head. Reducing the usage of Virtual Memory may increase the speed of a given process as a whole, but it does not make actual VM calls any faster, it only makes them less frequent. There is a difference.


2nd, you, Baz, & John don't seem to understand the nature of scientific method. ...

You are trying to explain something you don't fully understand, and that's quite obvious by several of your comments you've made in this particular thread. Stop trying to convince other people they they are wrong. You're making yourself look bad.

So do yourself a favor and stop nit-picking details. We all agree that 64-bit is zippy so let's drop it.

hdace
12-07-2006, 08:49 PM
You're making yourself look bad.

So do yourself a favor and stop nit-picking details. We all agree that 64-bit is zippy so let's drop it.

I don't care how I look. That's why I don't bother with a thumbnail next to my name.

I have failed to provide any useful input, so I will drop it. I also made a mistake creating this thread. My attempt to provide useful input should have been placed in the UB thread, and I could have humiliated myself there.

Captain Obvious
12-07-2006, 08:57 PM
Saying that reducing the swapping you do makes VM faster, is about the same thing as saying that reducing the amount of anti-aliasing passes in Lightwave increases CPU speed.




I am also not any kind of an expert. I just know results when I see them.
Then post the results you get, and leave the conclusion-making to people who actually know stuff about the subject?

hdace
12-08-2006, 03:27 AM
Saying that reducing the swapping you do makes VM faster, is about the same thing as saying that reducing the amount of anti-aliasing passes in Lightwave increases CPU speed.

That's right. Kick a man when he's down.

Captain Obvious
12-08-2006, 06:11 AM
That's right. Kick a man when he's down.
It's what I do.

dwburman
12-08-2006, 08:37 AM
I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY WE ARE ALL YELLING!

hehe... just remembering Anchorman: The Lengend of Ron Burgundy :) - it'd be better if I could remember the quote exactly.

Thanks for posting the results of your renderfarm setup. The results ARE interesting :)

Chilton
12-08-2006, 08:49 AM
I am, of course, interested in any and all benchmarks.

sonofmickel
12-17-2006, 02:16 PM
What is the cost difference of a dual core mac vs a dual core peecee? That seems to me the basic discovery/argument.

John the Geek
12-17-2006, 04:53 PM
What is the cost difference of a dual core mac vs a dual core peecee? That seems to me the basic discovery/argument.

When they were first announced the Dual Processor/Quad Core Mac Pro was about $1000 cheaper than a Quad-Xeon Dell of similar configuration. I couldn't say now what's more or less because I just don't care. I run my Mac for Mac OS X instead of Windows, so cost between the two means nothing to me.

sonofmickel
12-17-2006, 06:51 PM
First off, you are a geek. Rat-eater and what have you. Second, the original post tests the macs running windoze. So it is completely relevant to judge the two without the super slow, bloated, 10GB operating system you lovingly refer to. If this is a flame war count me out, I happen to prefer rocks over napalm.

Captain Obvious
12-17-2006, 07:21 PM
First off, you are a geek. Rat-eater and what have you. Second, the original post tests the macs running windoze. So it is completely relevant to judge the two without the super slow, bloated, 10GB operating system you lovingly refer to. If this is a flame war count me out, I happen to prefer rocks over napalm.
wtf? :confused: I suggest you do not talk about stuff of which you clearly know nothing about.





What is the cost difference of a dual core mac vs a dual core peecee? That seems to me the basic discovery/argument.
They cost about the same, I suppose. The Mac Pro does seem to be a tad cheaper than most alternatives, though. MUCH cheaper than Boxx or something such. All in all, I think the Mac Pro is just about the best high-end workstation available.

John the Geek
12-17-2006, 07:29 PM
First off, you are a geek. Rat-eater and what have you. Second, the original post tests the macs running windoze. So it is completely relevant to judge the two without the super slow, bloated, 10GB operating system you lovingly refer to. If this is a flame war count me out, I happen to prefer rocks over napalm.

I concur with the good captain... WTF are you talking about???