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View Full Version : Lightwave, RAM and Scratch volumes



Johnny
10-12-2007, 11:22 AM
I have 1gig sticks on the Macs I do lightwave on, and according to Menu Meters, I rarely exceed 700MB of that while modeling, setting up scenes or rendering.

Can I assume that means that the RAM I have is adequate? Also, does LW make use of scratch disks when sorting things out?

Is it possible for Menu Meters to register plenty of free RAM, while in reality, LW is using Virtual memory to display and execute commands?

I'm running into a situation where, every 4 to 6 months, I get more and more beachball time overall, and LW is one of my key apps. I had been nuking and paving to get back responsiveness, but it's been suggested I try to track down the actual source of the beachballing, and fix that instead.

The macs I use are G4 Minis - clearly not even close to state of the art, but they actually are great machines for the projects I do...up until something piles up somewhere and gives me the beachball time!

thanks!

J

Chilton
10-12-2007, 11:31 AM
Can I assume that means that the RAM I have is adequate? Also, does LW make use of scratch disks when sorting things out?
...
The macs I use are G4 Minis - clearly not even close to state of the art, but they actually are great machines for the projects I do...up until something piles up somewhere and gives me the beachball time!


Just so I'm clear, this is with 8.5, right?

-Chilton

Johnny
10-12-2007, 11:36 AM
Just so I'm clear, this is with 8.5, right?

-Chilton

yes. you are right. LW 8.5, OS 10.4.10

1.42 ghz G4 mini; one with 7200 RPM external boot volume; the other the internal 5400 rpm drive as boot volume.

J

Johnny
10-12-2007, 11:54 AM
also, it's been suggested that I make use of the Console and of Activity Monitor to help figure out what the problem is, but the console in particular generates a lot of cryptic gibberish (to me, anyway) and I'm not sure what language, code, or pattern I need to be looking for.

Any suggestions?

J

Scazzino
10-17-2007, 11:42 AM
Can you describe the "beachball time" in a bit more detail? Does the entire machine hang, giving you the beachball, or just LightWave? When you have the beachball can you command-tab to other apps or is the whole machine hung? Does it ever come back to life if you leave it for an hour or so or does it beachball until you force restart? Does it happen across the board in other apps or just in LightWave?

Just some questions that may point to a culprit.

I've had various beachball hangs for various reasons over the years. If it's not just LightWave that hangs, then it could be at a lower level than LightWave, like a network or video driver issue. I've seen both of those cause beachballs.

In older versions of LightWave there was also an instance which could cause the ATI video driver to hang the machine, necessitating a hard restart. That's been fixed in LW 9 and beyond though. There's also a bug in Tiger that can cause network related URI lookups to hang the machine (http://dreamlight.com/insights/bugs/Apple/lookupd.html), but I haven't seen that one in a while. Also, if the Mac is looking for some network item that is no longer available, that can cause beachballs as well. Sometimes the hub can cause beachballs too...

So any additional information might help indicate a direction for further investigation...

brunopeixoto
10-17-2007, 12:16 PM
Do you accept a sugestion?

Back Up all your information, reformat your hard drive with zero out data, install a brand new system, update it until there will be nothing to update, install your sofware and put your files and configs back.

When the beach ball appears too much it's a sympton of heavy problems with the hard drive. HD maintenance software improve system stability and speed, but you get much better results reformating the drive.

I've been doing this for about 5 years for me and about 80 clients. This ever work well (really good results). It's faster and better to try figuring out and fixing isolated problems.

Just take care with the back up. After reformating with zero out data it's really hard to recover anything.

Why zero out data. Well, when you do a fast erase, all your files, and system files too, are not erased (the HD just receive a new directory that tells all your HD it's free, and the old files can messy the hd).

Johnny
10-17-2007, 03:50 PM
yeah, bruno...I think that's about where I'm headed...it seems to represent the max benefit with the min time invested...it's what's worked, but I thot I'd give the other angle a try.

to answer the other questions, it's a general increase in beachball doing the kinds of things I do everyday: working with scenes, working with photoshop... this might not be scientific, but you have a sense of your machine so that when it gets suddenly more pokey, you notice it.

when you're used to a certain thing happening in a second or two, then that same thing starts taking 4, 5, 6 seconds, or when you have to sit back in your chair for the beachball to stop, then you know "sumpin here ain't right."

I think I'm going to nuke and pave as it works and spares me becoming Mr. Geek and who knows how much THAT would help?

J

brunopeixoto
10-17-2007, 04:06 PM
Download xbench, it's free.
http://www.xbench.com/
Install it, turn of all your apps and benchmark your machine. You can compare results to other machines like your. If your peak speed for read and write it's below 40 MB/s (megabytes per second) there are something wrong with the machine. If you think there are something going on with memory, try memtest...
http://www.memtestosx.org/

Johnny
10-19-2007, 06:13 PM
Welp...just got done nuking and paving one of my two macs and I am here to tell you it was time and effort well spent!

Opened a scene I'd been working with which had been *PAINFULLY* sluggish to work with, now behaves properly...changing the scene, moving cameras, setting things up is now a breeze, as it should be and as it was before Problem X took over.

I have my Mac back! and a big, big smile!

J

Johnny
10-19-2007, 08:01 PM
Welp...just got done nuking and paving one of my two macs and I am here to tell you it was time and effort well spent!

Opened a scene I'd been working with which had been *PAINFULLY* sluggish to work with, now behaves properly...changing the scene, moving cameras, setting things up is now a breeze, as it should be and as it was before Problem X took over.

I have my Mac back! and a big, big smile!

J

brunopeixoto
10-19-2007, 08:50 PM
Ok, if you want to keep things fine for a while run Drive Genius or Disk Warrior (just keep away techtool) on a month basis and cocktail on a week basis. Nuke and pave will be necessary on large periods of time.

Scazzino
10-19-2007, 08:54 PM
I'm not sure what problems you guys are running into, but I can honestly say that I've never had to do any such thing as wiping out my system drive and reinstalling on the Mac, ever... and I've been running Mac OS X on various systems ever since 10.2... and before that Mac's going all the way back to System 1...

:question:

brunopeixoto
10-21-2007, 02:32 PM
Weel, you are a very lucky guy!!!

Scazzino
10-21-2007, 03:39 PM
That's possible, but it's also possible that the problems may not really be hard drive problems at all but something else, that gets masked by wiping and reinstalling the system until you then run into the same problem and start all over again...

In my Mac experience (since the original Mac 128K) it's typically not necessary to wipe and reinstall the Mac system, that's something that's much more necessary with Windows than the Mac, especially Mac OS X.

:goodluck:

brunopeixoto
10-21-2007, 03:51 PM
The source of problmes can come from: energy (eletric power), magnetic fields, external drives (any external drive not working well can cause a mess in your system - they affect all the flow of information and energy in system), memory (memory not working well also make a mess in the flow...), logic board, internal ac supply, by the same reasons... Power failure... all that is related to energy that can influence drive controllers (in logic board and in the drive, including the read/write head thats magnetic!!!!!!! - ok, the drive shielded, but not totally block all fields).
My first mac work without problem for about 2 years (without crashes and reinstalling). After System 7 this change. People that use theirs computers in stable enviroments go for 1 to 3 years without nuke and paving, but this is not usual...