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View Full Version : would you use a G3 for screamernet rendering?



PeteS
07-16-2003, 09:57 AM
I am rendering a short that will take weeks to render. I have a dual 800 G4 (god, i remember when that was impressive once)with 1.5 gigs of ram. Anyway, I have a old G3 at home too. Would you recommend linking it up for rendering or is it not woth it? Also, how difficult is it to set up screamernet rendering?
Thanks, Pete

Zarathustra
07-16-2003, 12:23 PM
Depending on who you ask, SN is either VERY hard or VERY easy.
Follow Dirk's tutorial, not Worms of Art:

http://homepage.mac.com/nonplanar/

Not knowing the capabiliies of your G3, I can't say how much it might help you. If you're using any 3rd party plugs, you have to make sure the G3 can find them.

If you're talking weeks, then every little bit can only help, right? Provided you have enough RAM.

mlinde
07-16-2003, 12:30 PM
If you can get screamernet up and running (and many people have problems, although I don't), you want to. Even a G3/233 will render faster than nothing.

If a frame takes 15 min on your G4, it will take about 45 on the G3. So for every 3 frames on the G4 you get one more on the G3. Now figure you have a 30 second animation, at 30 FPS. If my soft math is correct, it will take about 170 hours with both computers, and 225 with just the G4. So you get back 50 hours of computer time.

Now this isn't true with all projects. Shorter projects it may not be worth it, but overall I find it's better to use all the processors I can.

PeteS
07-16-2003, 03:29 PM
my G3 has OS9 on it. would i need to change it to Jaguar like my G4?

mlinde
07-16-2003, 03:59 PM
I would say that you should at least upgrade to 10.1.5, if not 10.2.4

I've not tried to establish a render farm with 9.x and 10.x nodes. Theoretically it should work, but 10.x will probably be quicker and more stable.

Zarathustra
07-16-2003, 04:25 PM
I don't know if Jaguar works for G3. I used a program called XpostFacto (I think that's the name) to get it installed on my 9600.

mlinde
07-16-2003, 04:28 PM
Originally posted by Zarathustra
I don't know if Jaguar works for G3. I used a program called XpostFacto (I think that's the name) to get it installed on my 9600.

If you have an original G3 or better (not a pre-G3 with a G3/G4 processor upgrade) it should install Jaguar. XpostFacto is for machines in the XX00 series, and the clones, that have processor upgrades, and are officially unsupported. Officially:
http://www.apple.com/macosx/upgrade/requirements.html

Johnny
07-16-2003, 08:15 PM
I'm pretty new to screamernet, but I can attest that a G3 CAN handle rendering in a screamernet setup.

after I finally learned how to get things set for SN, I set up a test pan of a real project of mine (some real models that I'm preparing for stills) containing reflection/refraction, shadows, caustics...all the good stuff.

the 600 mhz iBook kept up with my Dual 450 G4 very nicely, turning out *slightly* more renders than did each G4 chip. so, in my case, the iBook contributed 1/3 to the job, and you could say saved 1/3 of the time as would a single chip have taken.

As I learn more about LW and SN, I get the idea that much can change render time results, depending on the complexity of scene rendered, and my test scene wasn't even close to being complex, but it illustrates the contribution a G3 can make.

My G4 has 1.5 GB RAM, the iBook 640MB. Both machines were running 10.2.4

Johnny

Ade
07-17-2003, 09:11 AM
G3 is adequate enough.

Install Jaguar (software parity between the two is good to do)

Have atleast 512 ram

10 gigs free space


Lightwave updated exactly

Maybe install remote desktop and link the two macs up and view the g3 desktop via the G4.

Zarathustra
07-17-2003, 09:32 AM
Well, I mentioned in another thread how you can link everything with a KVMP switchbox, so the 2 will share 1 monitor, keyboard and mouse.
I use an IOGear 4port USB KVMP switchbox. Only drawback is with the keyboard going through the box, it doesn't power it's USB ports, so things like your dongle won't work if you normally plug it into your keyboard.

I think they're about $100 now.

mlinde
07-17-2003, 02:21 PM
I'll make it shorter here than the tutorial I used to have on my website.

Configure the hardware for your systems. For a render node, the minimum recommended RAM is 256 MB, 512 is ideal. Drive space is irrelevant. Video cards and monitor real estate are irrelevant. Your OS should be same flavor, if not generation, ie all OS 9 or all OS X. It doesn't have to be all 10.2.x, some could be 10.1.x. If you already have a 10.1.x machine, just make sure it's running 10.1.5. 10.2.x should be 10.2.4 or 10.2.6.

Your network should be configured using a 10/100 ethernet switch, not a hub. A switch will give you incremental speed benefits over a hub. Don't buy cheap network cable. Cat 5 or Cat 6 (if you are running a complete gigabit network), well shielded, will also improve your speed incrementally. Using a KVM switch (as suggested by Zarathrusta) will save you power and real estate, while an option like remote desktop will cost more money.

Once your HW is all set up, on each node, create an admin account with the same username and password as your primary (host) computer. I have all my machines with the same username & password, which makes network logins easy. Depending on your LWSN methods, you either need access to the whole host drive, or a shared directory somewhere. Make sure you have full network connectivity before even getting into the various Screamernet tutorials. You'd be shocked how often a Screamernet "problem" is actually a network snafu.

Once you've re-verified your connections, review the various Screamernet tutorials, pick one to follow, test and set up a single machine (so you understand the system) then repeat for the whole farm.

Zarathustra
07-17-2003, 02:41 PM
I recomended Dirk's Tut over WoA because WoA don't tell you to add a specific path for the job and ack files. Once I revisited Dirk's and noticed that little difference, I was able to get LWSN to work on OSX.
That's a little detail that I never needed prior to OSX and one that I've seen a lot of frustrated people rejoice over once they learned it.

Julian Johnson
07-18-2003, 12:12 AM
Hi Zarathustra - I'm puzzled why for some people the only way to get the job and ack files recognised is to explicitly state them in the cmdline.

Here, from 6.x onwards (including 7.5c in 10.2.4) I can rely on LWSN to look in the Content Directory as a default [either the Content Directory specified in the Lightwave Layout 3 Prefs file sitting in Users/You/Libarary/Preferences; the Lightwave Layout 3 Prefs specified using the -c argument or the one you specifically declare if you use the -d syntax in the LWSN cmdline which overrides the one in the default preferences]. This is how the WOA tute works and how the previous tutorials that didn't specify the route to the job and ack files have always worked.

Can you try something for me if you get a chance?

1. Remove the Lightwave cmdline temporarily from your Programs folder [or make sure it is completely blank]
2. Launch Layout and set the content directory to 'xxxx' [anything you want]
3. Quit Layout.
4. Put this in the LWSN cmdline:

-2 job1 ack1

5. Launch LWSN
6. Launch Layout, open Network Rendering and set your Command Directory to 'xxxx' [whatever you set your Content Directory to in step 1]
7. Initialise Screamer. The CPU should initialise.

In my setup, this *always* works as LWSN automatically starts looking in the Content Directory for job files and Screamernet recognises the CPU.

Does this not work on your machine?

[In the cmdline above LWSN reads the Content Directory from the default Lightwave Layout 3 Prefs sitting in Users/You/Library/Preferences and then assumes the Job and Ack files will be in that Content Directory, too].


Julian

Zarathustra
07-18-2003, 08:51 AM
I sucessfully used LWSN since LW5 on OS 7.5 through 9. I agree, I never needed a specific path for job and ack before. I even had a LWSN tutorial I wrote on my site back in 96(?) that never mentioned it.

With OSX, I spent 9 months (off and on) trying to get LWSN to work. I pulled the cmdlines for Layout out dozens of times. I've tried numerous locations for the content folder. For most of those 9 months my preferences were in the default location (users/Zarathustra/Library/Preferences/) but near the end I moved them to a "Configs" folder within the Programs folder so I could safely have multiple versions of Lightwave (7.5, 7.5b, etc) without them overwriting each other's preferences.
I believe an explaination of that was in the WoA Tut (I looked at so many different tuts).
Anyway, LWSN just wouldn't write the ack file; therefore, the cpus could not be initialized. When I went back to Dirk's tut and saw he had the specific pathway for job and ack I thought, "Hell, it's worth a try" and WHAM that was it!

I really don't care if you shouldn't have to do that. No one should have to struggle, period, to make network rendering happen. I really think that adding the specific pathway takes all of 30 seconds to type and is a VERY small effort to make to ensure success.

Why should I waste MY time to test YOUR theory of how to make something work that I ALREADY have working just fine now?