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Recommendations for a rendering computer?
Posted: 16 September 2012 02:57 AM   [ Ignore ]
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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?
Thank you.

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Posted: 16 September 2012 03:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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@Patience55 - There is a priority setting in the render options if your laptop or desktop sports a multi-core or multi-threadable processor. If priority is set to high, it uses all resources and hence things get hottest - though it also renders faster. If priority is set to normal, only half of the resources are needed and accordingly less heat produced and the render will take a bit longer. Normal priority will always use only one core, no matter how much there are. Now, on a single-core machine, also low priority will make the processor go full throttle.

I have no dedicated render machine. I still use an old laptop at times that I had upgraded from Win98SE to 2000 and that one stops if the render takes some time. It obviously overheats. I have not had such an issue on the netbook I also use sometimes for rendering. I also have desktops, on the best and fastest (i7 8-way) I use only normal priority for longer renders because the core temperature gets quite high and the speed gain between normal and high is only 15% on average. On the i3, a 4 core thing, I use always high priority because it doesn’t get hot and there is not even a fan.

To answer your question: I don’t have a dedicated render machine, just ordinary home computers. But I do consider how I set the priority for long renders.

 

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Posted: 16 September 2012 03:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Patience55 - 16 September 2012 02:57 AM

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?
Thank you.

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.

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Posted: 16 September 2012 03:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I notice Horo has responded also, and having read what he put, it occurs to me to point out that my application is somewhat specialised for a my hobby because I am most interested in researching for Bryce development.  This is very demanding, because of the number of long running tests performed.  But I still consider myself a hobbyist, just one that is particularly cruel to his computers.

So the most sensible answer, in terms of cost effectiveness, is to consider upgrading the cooling for your desktop PC.  You have the advantage of owning a laptop, so you can use that while your desktop is tied up rendering.  I do everything on one PC, fore purely economic reasons, and control CPU usage via the Task Manager - switching the allocation of CPU cores around when I need to get on with something and let the render tick over in the background.  So that is another strategy.

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Posted: 16 September 2012 04:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Thank you both for the detailed responses!

I will read this over and check the settings on the laptop.

No I’m not brave when it comes to bios. My first computer was XP which had wizards that presented all options! Now with W7 and while I have learned more about computers than I ever wanted to know; the bios is still foreign turf.

The desktop computer is not upgradable afaik. One of those monitor screen/computer combo jobs. “Desktop fan” sits beside it wink

I shall take these proper suggestions to a computer store it being a good season soon for such shopping trips and see what can be obtained.

In the meantime I can certainly get a start on setting up some scenes.

Thank you also for all those great video tutorials. Looks to be a nice challenging [in a good sense] program.

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Posted: 16 September 2012 08:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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These recommendations are specific to your mention of Bryce btw. New render engines use GPU some or all the time, so if you are purchasing a rig you plan on using with a variety of renderers such as LUX (Reality) then you want to take that into consideration.

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Posted: 16 September 2012 12:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I’ve been reading this discussion with interest because sadly, my trusty computer was stolen yesterday during a break-in at home.
I thought I should tell David and Horo that I would love to have bought several of their Bryce items at the DAZ sale, but now I can’t as I need to replace the computer. I thought I should say this just so D&H do not get discouraged if folks such as me not buying their special products - Please do carry on with pushing back the frontiers of Bryce! Its such a lovely programme!

My now lost Intel Q8200 2.33ghz computer bought in 2009 never seemed to get hot even with long gnarly IBL renders on high priority, but probably I wasn’t really testing it as much as David does his computers much. I think the Gigabyte motherboard and cooling may have helped. 

Im going to be scouring the local pawnshops to see if my computer pitches up somewhere, (PLEASE do, computer,  as weeks of vital data processing were lost too) else I will take the advise posted here to get a suitable new machine in due course once funds permit, that can handle CPU-based (for Bryce) and GPU-based rendering (for Lux/Reality).

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Posted: 16 September 2012 12:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Sorry to hear that Keryna, I hope things turn upward for you.

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Posted: 16 September 2012 01:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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@keryna - now this isn’t funny at all. I don’t fancy to get my computer(s) stolen. I rather prefer to sell a product or two less. Thank you for your kind words. I hope you get your machine back, if for nothing else than recover all your work.

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Posted: 16 September 2012 10:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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@keryna: Do hope your computer shows up at a pawnshop, or someone happens to get pinched with it in their possession.  Terrible loosing all that work.

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Posted: 17 September 2012 12:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Nice man at one place that sells “ready made” computers can get in a couple different laptops. The “high end” [for their store] he thinks is overkill but I’m not sure. Have quite a bit of content for D/S too.

Intel Core i7, 12G RAM, 2.3GHz speed
NVIDIA Geforce GTX 660M graphics
1.5TB hard drive
15.6” TFT Active Matrix 1080p display
W7home 64bit

Has quite the price tag though so didn’t come home with it yet. It’s being toted as a gaming computer.

The other one I don’t have the specs for, was an i5.

Next option would be to consult at a “put it together” shop ... my one experience at such a shop [now closed] wasn’t too good. I told the tech/salesman exactly what I needed to use the computer for ... and while yes they sold me the main hardware for the task, rather overlooked the power supply section ... if one used ‘all’ the usb ports ... had to cold crash the computer; reset the thing and start over. Not good. [that one is now history]

I didn’t buy the Reality plugin yet ... obviously I have D/S3, D/S4.0 in use, D/S4.5 in storage, ... only other program I’d be interest in this working with that I don’t already have would be 3dMax but I can’t see why they figure it requires W7Pro. Anybody happen to know?

 

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Posted: 17 September 2012 01:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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For Bryce, the graphics card is not important, for Studio, it is. i7 is one of the fastest processors (not the fastest) but faster than the i5. Memory is important even though Bryce is still 32 bit and limited to 2 GB. You can make it large address aware with a free tool and then Bryce can use around 3.5 GB. You can also open several instances in Bryce - render in one and work in another and have still room to open Studio. Go for 64 bit Windows.

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Posted: 17 September 2012 02:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Horo - 17 September 2012 01:03 PM

For Bryce, the graphics card is not important, for Studio, it is. i7 is one of the fastest processors (not the fastest) but faster than the i5. Memory is important even though Bryce is still 32 bit and limited to 2 GB. You can make it large address aware with a free tool and then Bryce can use around 3.5 GB. You can also open several instances in Bryce - render in one and work in another and have still room to open Studio. Go for 64 bit Windows.

Okay, thanks. grin

And yes for the 64bit! “no going back” to 32 wink

 

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Posted: 17 September 2012 02:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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The size of the power supply is also important to consider.  It’s better to have a larger power, 750W or there abouts, then try and run several things with a smaller power supply.

You may never need to use the entire wattage a larger power supply provides, but it allows you a greater wiggle room in case you install something that puts the lower rated power supply at it’s very limits.

I’d also get as much RAM on the motherboard and graphics card as you can afford.  It’s another of those you might run into something that pushes what you get to its limits.  It also helps if you’re into graphic intense games.

For assemble it yourself systems, Newegg is a good place to shop for parts.  And I’ve read that eCollege PC will build the PC of your choice. It seems the people on the other site I visit highly favor eCollege PC, at least they’ve had real good experiences with this company.

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Posted: 17 September 2012 06:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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GussNemo - 17 September 2012 02:20 PM

The size of the power supply is also important to consider.  It’s better to have a larger power, 750W or there abouts, then try and run several things with a smaller power supply.

You may never need to use the entire wattage a larger power supply provides, but it allows you a greater wiggle room in case you install something that puts the lower rated power supply at it’s very limits.

I’d also get as much RAM on the motherboard and graphics card as you can afford.  It’s another of those you might run into something that pushes what you get to its limits.  It also helps if you’re into graphic intense games.

For assemble it yourself systems, Newegg is a good place to shop for parts.  And I’ve read that eCollege PC will build the PC of your choice. It seems the people on the other site I visit highly favor eCollege PC, at least they’ve had real good experiences with this company.

Thank you. I don’t think we have those particular stores nearby. I did get the names of a couple the local kids recommend, I think I’d best check into what’s available from them too. Wasn’t too impressed with the reviews on the laptop considering the money it costs. Not in a mad rush so I can take some time to fanthom all this.

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Posted: 17 September 2012 09:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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I would reccommend against using a laptop as a rendering computer, at least if you hope to take advantage of Bryce, Studio, Poser or 3DMax to it’s fullest potential. A laptop is fine for doing something you have to get done while traveling but mainly for 3D Art I’d say a laptop should be used more for showing off 3D Art rather then creating it. Laptops already struggle with heat issues because of their compact nature so using one for hardcore rendering would likely cause it to break down relatively quickly. Also with a laptop it’s much harder to deal with if part of the system breaks down. Replacement parts tend to be expensive because laptops are propriatary in design your only other option then is to replace the whole thing.

The only strong selling point I can think of for a laptop running Bryce is that in theory you could go somewhere with an inspiring view and sit there and try to recreate that view, so it would be kind of like sketching.

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