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Thread: RF Commander issues w/Headless Mac

  1. #1

    RF Commander issues w/Headless Mac

    I *just* began doing screamernet with a headless mac using Tiger's built-in capabilities and Chicken of the VNC as the viewer.

    The screamer sessions I've done since then have taken longer than I expected them to and when I look at the log files which RFC produces, I see that some frames are rendered twice and many of them wildly out of order.

    the per-frame and average per-frame times are right in line with what I'd expect.

    Can the headless node be the "cause" of this? IOW, could the headless connection somehow be sending wrong info to RFC? Maybe it's a wierd question, but so's this situation!


    Any ideas?

    thank you!

    J
    Last edited by Johnny; 03-22-2008 at 05:46 PM.
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  2. #2
    Using LW 8.5 with OS X 10.4.11
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  3. #3
    I tossed RFC's prefs and re-installed RFC, re-configured the nodes and the prblm seems to have cleared up.

    I'd say the problem was corrupted prefs, as happens with so many apps..just part of the computing world.

    J
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  4. #4
    self flagellating LW monk
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    johnny,
    does your headless machine use a screen saver?
    I found that leaving my machine logged in for overnight renders with the monitor just turned off, made the whole thing slow down. it SEEMS to run better if I turn on fast user switching, and go to the login screen without logging out.

    that being said, Screamernet has some serious memory leaks and (at least with the 9.3 version) my co-worker (pc based) and I (mac based) have found that Screamernet renders slower than Lightwave. sometimes coming in minutes later under the same configs.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by eblu
    johnny,
    does your headless machine use a screen saver?
    I found that leaving my machine logged in for overnight renders with the monitor just turned off, made the whole thing slow down. it SEEMS to run better if I turn on fast user switching, and go to the login screen without logging out.

    that being said, Screamernet has some serious memory leaks and...I (mac based) have found that Screamernet renders slower than Lightwave. sometimes coming in minutes later under the same configs.

    No screensavers runing on headless mac OR on controller Mac... I resent the CPU power they slurp up...the whizzing fan on these Macs always betrays that!

    Interesting cocktail of fixes you've discovered for making things go faster, tho... Does your "monitor turned off" scenario imply screensaver kicking in?

    I have both read of and suspected the memory leak sitch in screamernet sitch. Now, you're noticing SN comes in minutes later per frame, or per overall session? I haven't done much experimentation on that since render time can be quite dear, esp. when juggling other things the macs need to do for you...

    Also a bit puzzled why the Host Mac (with respect to SN) mostly seems to render it's frames more slowly than the "slave" Mac...anywhere between 30 seconds and a minute longer...sometimes more, whether there are apps idling in the background or not.

    Wondered one other thing..have you experimented with Renicer, or similar?

    thanks!

    Johnny
    Last edited by Johnny; 03-24-2008 at 07:04 AM.
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  6. #6
    maybe NOT an issue of corrupted prefs...the rig started acting up again, telling me my sessions would take ridiculous numbers of hours (11,800 in one case) and one node rendering the same frame over and over; even after being shut down and started up again.

    I'm beginning to think the headless mac scenario does not work well with Screamernet...never had these problems before...

    based on this experience and eblu's comments, it seems to matter greatly whether a mac is connected to a monitor or not, even if through a KVM.

    dang..

    J
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  7. #7
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    Hi J,

    Just out of curiosity, what are the specs for your systems?

    -Chilton

  8. #8
    Heffalump
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    Wooo. I've been looking for something like renicer for ages. Strange that Apple hasn't added this functionality to the activity monitor.
    Inactive.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Chilton
    Hi J,

    Just out of curiosity, what are the specs for your systems?

    -Chilton

    Hi, Chilton;

    I have 2 G4 Mac Minis, 1.42 ghz (one the "stealth" upgrade 1.5ghz) BTO SuperDrive, 1GB RAM, Airport, graphics card is the Radeon 9200 in both.

    Basically, they're identical, save for the slight difference in CPU speed.

    the faster mini has an external firewire 7200rpm drive as the boot volume, and is also the controlling mac; the 1.42 is a render node and uses its own internal drive.

    I just re-connected the Dr. Bott KVM switch and will resume the screamernet session, using Renderfarm Commander, and I hope it'll be able to finish it out correctly and not suffer from whatever wonkyness happened before.

    Under the KVM setup, I *never* had a problem like this. and RFC has been rock solid long as I've been using it. and if I hit F10 in Lightwave, that seems to go ok, too, but then, that's not screamernetting...

    thanks!
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  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Phil
    Wooo. I've been looking for something like renicer for ages. Strange that Apple hasn't added this functionality to the activity monitor.

    well, Renicer has changed since the last time I used it and I find it bamboozling. Use to be each running app would get a slider and you'd dial up or down the ones you wanted priority..

    now, seems you don't get to see all running apps, only certain ones...LWSN, Renderfarm Commander, and Lightwave didn't come up at all, so that blows that idea!

    ;-(

    J
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  11. #11
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    Hi Johnny,

    That's downright bizarre. I have a headless Mac Mini here as well, but it's an Intel based one. I'm going to do a few tests of this and see if I can reproduce it, and if so, what it is.

    -Chilton

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Chilton
    Hi Johnny,

    That's downright bizarre. I have a headless Mac Mini here as well, but it's an Intel based one. I'm going to do a few tests of this and see if I can reproduce it, and if so, what it is.

    -Chilton

    Chilton; what do you think about eblu's comments:

    http://www.newtek.com/forums/showpos...81&postcount=4

    I haven't had anything that wierd need to be done, but both of our experience seem to point to some level of....fussyness, for lack of a better word..

    J
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  13. #13
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    Eblu, the self-flagellating LW Monk? I have found his comments to be generally correct. If he says he's seeing a memory leak in LW, he probably is. And if he's benchmarked it against the full version and found it to be slower, I take him at his word. We're investigating both issues.

    -Chilton

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Phil View Post
    Wooo. I've been looking for something like renicer for ages....


    I just grabbed a copy of Process Wizard, which was that thing I remember having used awhile back...each app or process gets a slider, and you dial up the ones you want priority, dial down the ones that need less juice.

    Seems to actually work, too! I have a screamernet session going right now, using RFC, and I have its window positioned so that I can see each node's render time, as well as the estimated completion time.

    On the host machine, I'm doing a little web coding, so all those associated apps, I've dialed WAY back, and the result is that the host node's times are about equal to those of the other node, which has NO other process going besides LWSN.

    I guess hard core Terminal users might sneer, but this is easy to use and it cuts wood.

    Cheers!

    Johnny
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  15. #15
    one thing I've learn so far in using this renicing utility is that one can go overboard...

    on a render node, I cranked LWSN's priority to the max, and gave the Finder (the only other running app) Zero!

    suddenly, that node's render times were 3, 4, 5 times that of the Host node..

    I shut it down , gave more to the Finder, a bit less to LWSN and now render times are more what I'd expect.

    I probably choked off the poor finder, which is needed for some SN processes, like saving those rendered images across the network.

    J
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