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Bryce 7 on multi core machine
Posted: 02 September 2012 11:49 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I have a dual socket multi core machine (12 actual cores - 24 threads) and Bryce only uses 3 or 4 of the 24 available threads.  DS4 uses all the cores as does Poser and Terragen 2.

Someone suggested that there is a way to make Bryce see the other cores by making a virtual network and network rendering.  I don’t see how to do that.

Is there anything I can do to get Bryce to use all the cores?  Or are we waiting for an update?

Thanks in advance.

Eric

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Posted: 02 September 2012 12:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Bryce handles up to 8 processors, virtual or real ones. When in the development stage of 7.0/7.1, we had 16 supported cores for a moment. Each thread needs memory and Bryce, still being a 32 bit application with a 2 GB limit (which can be pushed up to about 3.2 GB by making it Large Address Aware), it was a question of how advanced computers the majority has. The compromise finally was 8 cores.

There is a priority setting in the render options. Low Priority uses just 1 core, Normal Priority half and High Priority all - where all is 8.

Network rendering also uses only 8 cores at max, provided the host is set to High Priority, all clients use all cores up to 8 as well. You can network render on one machine, but the overhead makes it slower than a direct render. I have on my Win 7 a virtual XP and 2000 installed and I can use three machine in one for network rendering. However, the virtual XP and 2000 only get one core, no more. So this scheme isn’t of any help.

Not all is lost, though. Provided your machine has the memory, you can open several instances of Bryce and render at High Priority on each instance. In your case, you could render 3 scenes at high priority and get all 24 cores busy. If you render animations, you can cut it in 3 and render each part in another instance of Bryce at full throttle. Then assemble the 3 parts with a movie application.

A virtual core - a multithreaded virtual one - is not as powerful as a real core. It can take over between 10% and 20% of the work, while the real core takes 100% or nearly so. My best machine sports a i7, 4 core multithreaded and I’ve tested this. The next worse machine sports an i3, 4 core, not multi-threadable. It performs at over 60% of the i7, not just 50% or less (an i3 is less powerful than an i7).

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Posted: 02 September 2012 03:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Great info.  Ok, i checked and the standard / default seems to be medium priority.  I set it to high and you’re right, it uses more cores.  Used 12 of the 24 that resmon shows.  8 were at max. the other 4 were at low levels.  So I assume that means it used 8 actual cores and 4 virtual cores.

Thanks so much, this is a bit better but still not as fast as I’d like.  I hope we will see an update.  I’m sure others out there will be going to Beastie machines.

My motherboard will take 8 core cpu’s so when the price comes down a bit I plan on upgrading to two 8 cores that will have a high clock speed.  Which is about the max for Poser and I suspect the max for DS.  No need now. 

I did not try the xp virtual enviroment.  I’m with you, it probably is not going to work well.

When I go to network render there dialog box is blank and none of the buttons work.  I assume that’s because there are no other computers connected.

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Posted: 03 September 2012 10:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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EricofSD - 02 September 2012 03:10 PM

When I go to network render there dialog box is blank and none of the buttons work.  I assume that’s because there are no other computers connected.

If you aren’t rendering anything, this will happen, even if you have LIghtning set up and ready to render on another connected computer.

To actually use Bryce Lightning and see something in that window:
Run Bryce Lightning on a 2nd PC.  In the 1st PC’s Bryce, go to the menu bar and select file > Render Animation… : If you are rendering a single image and not animation, change the Output Module dropdown to BMP Sequence.  Set the file location, check “Render on Network” and press the configure button.  Press the Search button; it should add a green dot for your 2nd computer.  Press the checkmarks to exit all the way out and start the render.  Now the Network Render Manager window will be displayed, showing the status of the render in progress. 


At this point, you can press the checkmark to exit and get back to the Bryce main window, and then from there also select File > Network Render Manager to see the progress again.

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Posted: 03 September 2012 01:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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And - you can start Lightning on the host computer as well, so it does not only distribute tiles (use Tile Optimization for stills, but not for animations) but participates in the number crunching.

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Posted: 03 September 2012 02:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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How does Bryce respond to a single 6 core processor (six physical cores + six virtual)?

Don’t think I justify a dual Xeon workstation but am considering an i7-3930K based setup. Still a pretty penny so wouldn’t want to end up with Bryce using only four cores or something daft.

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Posted: 03 September 2012 06:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I don’t know about virtual cores or the i7, but I can see Bryce using all 6 physical cores on my machine via CPU usage in Windows Task Manager.

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Posted: 04 September 2012 12:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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As far as I can say, Bryce takes all the physical ones first before it resorts to the virtual ones. In your case, Peter, This would bee 6 real cores and 2 virtual cores in high priority. I base this assumption on my experience with a 4 core i7, multi-threaded. In normal mode, it takes all 4 physical cores, in high priority it adds the virtual ones.

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Posted: 06 September 2012 03:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I´ve just upgraded to a i7 3930k and has been puzzled by the way it handles Bryce renders. It doesn´t use all threads all the time, it´s varying between 6 up to all 12, but the load on them varies. The CPU usage during a render seems to depend on the complexity of the scene and the computations needed, but for my scenes it´s often been no more than 20-30% most of the time then it suddenly jumps up to over 60% for a short period then it goes down again!? I had expected a CPU usage much higher, 90-100% and a constant load on all threads during the whole render. But hearing that it´s limited to 8 threads makes sense, had figured out some software limitation, but it seems that Bryce (system) sometimes makes use of more than 8 threads at the same time. But what is a bit annoying is that it doesn´t even use 8 threads, not even the six cores at full load!?

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Posted: 06 September 2012 04:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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That’s interesting and worrying. I note that EricofSD has mentioned on his Renderosity thread that Bryce is a little random on processor use on his dual Xeon setup. One time it’s 6 physical cores maxed with two virtuals at 20%; another time it’s 6 physicals at 80% and 6 virtuals at 10%.

Having loaded the current 7.1 only this week (don’t ask), I was a bit surprised to seeing it use only 75% of all 4 physical cores (don’t have any virtuals) on a complex scene set in high priority mode. On Bryce6 it definitely maxed out the cores.

If the current Bryce doesn’t make full use of the CPU, I don’t feel too much urgency to upgrade (since, as time didn’t allow digital video to get off the ground for me, I don’t have another need). And considering that Intel has decided (probably due to its alliance with Apple) to make its primary PC desktop processor (Sandybridge E) incompatible with Thunderbolt, the hex core is much less appealing.

All a bit of a git, really.

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Posted: 07 September 2012 01:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Made a 640x480 render test! On my old dual core/4 threads/2.2Ghz, the CPU load was just about 65% throughout the whole render of the scene, on the six core/12 threads/3.2Ghz it oscillated around 25%. But the new machine still cut render time down to less than a third of the old one!? So it´s not a complete waste of money but maybe you could achieve the same gain on the new 4 core/8 threads processors!?

I´m confused about the CPU usage on both machines, it´s like Bryce uses less computing power when the render is less complex instead of doing the less demanding parts faster!? Could it be that Bryce gets lazy when there´s little to do, so the result is longer render times!???

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Posted: 07 September 2012 03:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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I’m not sure how the work is distributed. There are scenes when the 8-way i7 is nearly maxed out - 98 to 100% and then it goes down and up again. There are changes of CPU usage within a scene. One would think that each ray fired will get another CPU, If the ray hits a solid object without transparency or reflection, it may have the result much earlier than if it bounces off many surfaces until it exhausts. That would account for the different loads. At least when network rendering, it can be observed that tiles need different times to finish.

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Posted: 07 September 2012 07:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Just to make things more confused I made the same 640X480 render on an Intel core i7-2677M laptop with 2 cores/4 threads, 1,8 GHz with turbo boost getting it up to a stable 2,4 GHZ during render! Almost the same specs as my old 2,2 GHz machine.but the laptop cut render times a lot, 77 minutes compared to 172 min for the old one. The CPU-usage was above 70%, only short dips down, never under 60% but hitting 99% lots of times! The six core machine, maxing it out at 3,5 GHz with turbo boost enabled, did the same render in 47 minutes, at a CPU usage of mostly around 25%! Bad result for the extra CPU power!!!

When increasing the size of the rendered scene on the laptop, the CPU-usage increased too, which seems to fit the Brycean logic. A positive interpretation of all these numbers are that a more powerful CPU will give you more “headroom” for rendering big and complex scenes in Bryce, whereas the laptop would hit the ceiling when render size and complexity of scenes increase!? CPU-power in Bryce isn´t absolutely correlated to render times, it only opens up the potential for doing big things, or have I got it all wrong???

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Posted: 07 September 2012 08:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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boogazm - 07 September 2012 07:26 AM

Bad result for the extra CPU power!!!

So bad I’d check carefully that Bryce is actually rendering in high priority mode. Make sure it’s properly set just before you press the render button.

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Posted: 07 September 2012 08:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Lets cover a couple of points since some more people have joined the discussion that don’t seem to be on the same page. If you leave the render priority set at normal you will only use half the cores available. However since Bryce only can handle a maximum of 8 cores it might mean just 4 cores rather then half of the number of cores physically on your motherboard. If you set the priority to low because you’re doing something else it’s just going to use one core. If you put it on high then it’ll use all your cores up to a max of 8 cores.

Now it has been observed by some that Bryce seems to be using more then 8 cores. Well that really shouldn’t be possible. In testing they did manage to get Bryce to use more then 8 but the memory usage made it less desirable since Bryce is still stuck in the 32 bit realm and can only make use of a maximum of just under 4GB’s and even then only by making Bryce Large Address Aware. So I’m wondering if those of you seeing more then 8 cores being used are actually seeing something else being done on your computer in the background, like a virus security scan for example? I mean does the way you view core usage allow you to actually see what a core is specifically being used for? Or are you just thinking, “Well I’m only running Bryce and this thing to monitor the cores so it must be Bryce?”

What one needs to keep in mind though is that Bryce 7 Pro while a significant step forward for Bryce, is still behind the times. As stated already it’s still in 32bit mode only. Now everybody and their brother was slow jumping on the 64 bit bandwagon I know I had a 64 bit based system as far as the hardware, that died of normal use and age before 64 bit apps and O/S’s were even available. So if Bryce is still 32 bit then it’s clearly behind the curve and not on the cutting edge, programming wise, that some like to think it is. Also as stated above Bryce was tested with more then 8 cores and worked but it was decided to not make it use more then 8 cores. Aside from the memory consumption though I figure a significant factor in that decision was that at that time very few people even had the ability to afford 8 cores. If you had it back then the only way possible was with a board able to run multiple multicore processors. So from a marketing prespective it wouldn’t have made sense at the time to go more then 8 cores even if the memory issue wasn’t a factor.

The final thing people need to realize is that Bryce isn’t a big money maker. I mean look at what’s going on. They’ve been giving Bryce away for free for a good while and have even extended that give away for longer then originally intended. Now that’s not because Daz is such a hugely profitable company they can afford to give away one of their main programs for free. It’s because Bryce isn’t a big money maker and by giving it away for free they’re hoping to grow the market and interest for developing the next level of Bryce. By interest I don’t mean how badly individuals want it. There are die hard Bryce fans that have been with Bryce from the beginning and they will always be interested in seeing Bryce improve, but they represent a fairly small niche market and so their interest wouldn’t generate much money. No the interest I mean is large numbers of people using the program and being willing to buy an upgrade, enough for the money crunchers to examine and conclude that spending the money, time and resources to upgrade Bryce will be profitable.

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Posted: 07 September 2012 11:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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When looking at the task manager and watching how many cores are busy is not a very reliable indication of what Bryce does. Bryce distributes the work according to the Priority setting. But in the opsystem, the priority can also be set for an application (in the task manager, processes tab, select the application and right click on it). And the opsys may also distribute some threads to other cores. Even when rendering at Low Priority, 8 cores may be working, though the added CPU usage shows only 12.5% (on an 8 way system). And then, there are a lot of processes running in the background. Comparing the time a render needs to finish with different priority settings may give a more usable answer.

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