I’ve read of some who have dedicated machines [computers?] just for rendering. Is this the best way to go for a hobbyist or is there some relatively normal home computer setup that can handle the heavy weight renders from Bryce.
I’m asking because after filling the cart with neat skies and all kinds of stuff; took a good read of the descriptions ... and threw most of them back out. Time in and of itself is not the problem ... the problem is my laptop’s fan whirrs like crazy and the laptop gets quite hot on a 15 minute render ... somehow I don’t think an hour and a half or so is a good idea. It’ll be smoking!
Now I do have a desktop computer [Sony] and while it handles normal stuff just fine I have serious reservations against it being used for renders. The previous Sony Special I had would overheat and get real noisy just if the room was warm ... didn’t matter what one was doing with the computer.
So ... what is recommended?
Righto, here’s the thing to consider, rendering is the most punishing thing you can do to your poor CPU. Dedicated gaming rigs work on 80% CPU load for their design criterion, because much of the load is handled by graphics cards. Not so rendering in Bryce, it is exclusively CPU time, and under high priority 100% CPU. This is a motherboard, PSU and CPU killer. I know I speak from bitter experience. I kill usually one PSU (power supply) a year, one motherboard on average every 3 and the processor every 5. And my system is designed to cope with the load.
I use an i7 920 CPU and have, after much research, used the overclocking functions to underpower the processor to reduce the heat output. I also have heat-sink on the CPU the size of a house brick and seven fans running continually. It is a bit noisy, but it is cool - and that is the point.
So what to look out for is,
a) 4 core CPU that can multi thread, up to 8 cores can be addressed by Bryce.
b) good cooling for that CPU - your design criterion is 100% CPU loading!
Plenty of HD space helps if you make as many scene files as I do.
And an overclocking capable motherboard (mine is Asus) because the components are designed to take more punishment - and if you are brave - you can make changes in the bios to fine tune your processor. Be aware, manufacturers err towards the high voltages input for CPU, to avoid problems with marginal processors - but if you get a good quality CPU, you can lower these voltages and reduce heat significantly. I just lowered the power to my CPU to Intel’s lowest recommended settings and as a result was able to OC the processors clock cycle from 2.6ghz to 3.8 ghz. And generate less heat than it did running at standard!
At the moment. Not a Mac, due to compatibility issues with new Mac OS.