Carrara not using all of my render nodes! Solved!

JonstarkJonstark Posts: 2,402
edited September 2016 in Carrara Discussion

Something has Gont Wrongt!

I've had a nice little render network with 2 laptops and 1 desktop, each with 8 core i7's, for a total of 24 render cores in batch rendering.

Last night another computer I bought from ebay on the super cheap came in, and after much swearing and cursing at Microsoft for how difficult it is to install Windows 7, I was able to bring it on line and add it to the network, adding yet another i7 to the mix, which theoretically should bring me up to 32 rendering cores.

BUT!

For some unknown reason, Carrara is only using 24 cores (yes I know 24 cores is a lot, but still I'm greedy and I want my 32 cores, that's the whole dang purpose of buying another computer).  Carrara on my main machine sees all of the other 3 computers as 'available' but for some unknown reason only ever seems to use 2 of the other 3 render nodes, and the last one is always left in 'available' status instead of rendering.  Which of the 3 is left out seems to be random, one try it was the newest addition, the next time it was my more powerful laptop.

Anyone out there have a clue what I might have done wrong here?

Post edited by Jonstark on
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Comments

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 16,487

    See? I think that it might just be the cap limit you've reached - supposed to be twenty - but you're getting twenty-four.

    I bet if you put the Grid into your license, you'll see the whole 32.

    I hope I'm wrong and it's just something simple. But if I'm not... the Grid really isn't a bad price for what you get.

    Back when the Gris was developed, there was no such thing as multi-core cpus, so there was no need to say x-number of "cores"

  • JonstarkJonstark Posts: 2,402

    Yeah, I'm thinking you might be right, I saw an older post when combing through the forums where Spooky mentioned a 25 core cap.  

    On the other hand, I also found a similar discussion from Argus where he was using a 24 core and an 8 core computer together and couldn't get all the cores to work when he had the 8 core as the main computer, but when he switched to the 24 core as his main computer and made the 8 core his node, it seemed to work (it was a tip from Fenric, apparently).  But I don't really have that option as all of my computers are 8 cores, there is no 'big one/little one' scenario sadly.

    I think you're right that when they made the rules and caps for render nodes there weren't muti core cpus (or maybe at best only dual cores) and so maybe the system is confused about how to interpret all these cores on a single cpu, maybe it does read them as cpus after all.

    Dang, Grid is expensive.  I'd still buy it if I knew for sure it would work, but I don't want to shell out and then find out later that that's not the problem.  On the other hand, Daz historically has been pretty good about returns...

  • MystiarraMystiarra Posts: 35,591

    24/32 cores envy devil  i7s, how many render buckets you see?

  • JonstarkJonstark Posts: 2,402

    i7 shows 8 colored buckets, then all of the render node buckets are grey with a 'N' in the middle.

  • Interesting! My "farm" consists of several laptops, a mix of i7/i5/i3 machines and Mac/Windows OSes. In total I have an 8-core desktop and 4x 4-core latops, a total of 24 cores. And Carrara is using all of them - I often wondered what would happen if I'd add more. Adding Grid would be a very exciting experiment, and we'd know for sure if 24 cores is indeed the limiit for a node setup.

    Go on, grab Grid and let us know :-) (like you say, they'll refund you if it's not cutting the mustard).

    Because on a single box, the limit seems to be higher: here's a screenshot from another thread, showing 36 cores in action:

    Courtesy of @stringtheory9 from this thread: http://www.daz3d.com/forums/discussion/57645/further-to-the-cpu-debate-tech-question/p1

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 16,487
    edited September 2016
    Jonstark said:

    Dang, Grid is expensive.  I'd still buy it if I knew for sure it would work, but I don't want to shell out and then find out later that that's not the problem.  On the other hand, Daz historically has been pretty good about returns...

    It was just on sale a week or two ago :(

    EDIT: It was just when you started the Render Node project thread. I actually thought that the two (That thread and the Sale on Grid) were connected - the timing was so right! LOL

    Post edited by Dartanbeck on
  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 16,487

    Hmmm... correction: It's still on sale. Perhaps only for PC members?

  • Hmmm... correction: It's still on sale. Perhaps only for PC members?

    Yeah, I think it's the standard 30% off of PC members. Plus there's the coupon, so that would save another $6, making it $133.90. 

  • JonstarkJonstark Posts: 2,402

    Yup, I'm probably going to go for it later today.  I remember seeing that screenshot from Stringtheory in the prior thread, so it definitely appears that if you have a ton of rendering cores on your primary computer it doesn't seem  to limit  them, but it seems different rules apply when you are using actual render nodes.

    Side note:  I just saw a workstation with 2 Xeon 6 core cpu's, hyperthreaded that comes up to 24 render cores (!) for about $280, including shipping.  Thinking of jumping on it and then selling back the i7 3770 that I just bought...  

  • MystiarraMystiarra Posts: 35,591

    Interesting! My "farm" consists of several laptops, a mix of i7/i5/i3 machines and Mac/Windows OSes. In total I have an 8-core desktop and 4x 4-core latops, a total of 24 cores. And Carrara is using all of them - I often wondered what would happen if I'd add more. Adding Grid would be a very exciting experiment, and we'd know for sure if 24 cores is indeed the limiit for a node setup.

    Go on, grab Grid and let us know :-) (like you say, they'll refund you if it's not cutting the mustard).

    Because on a single box, the limit seems to be higher: here's a screenshot from another thread, showing 36 cores in action:

    Courtesy of @stringtheory9 from this thread: http://www.daz3d.com/forums/discussion/57645/further-to-the-cpu-debate-tech-question/p1

     

    36 CORES  !

  • JonstarkJonstark Posts: 2,402

    That pic also answers the age-old question of whether the color scheme repeats after a certain number of cores  :)

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 16,487

    Yup... and don't Node blocks show up as gray?

    You know, if you're on the path of collecting multicore machines for farming renders, why not keep the new i7 and get the nw one and get the Grid? Sounds like you're having fun pushing the envelope! I mean... yeah... the wallet eventually empties to reveal the lint in the deepest corners... there is that.

  • $280 for an additional 24 cores... that's a bargain!

  • WendyLuvsCatzWendyLuvsCatz Posts: 28,519
    edited September 2016

    Grid was much cheaper than that one sale, I actually saw it 70% off once

    but I am not getting another PC and the cores to need it it.

    You need to wishlist and check often

    Post edited by WendyLuvsCatz on
  • JonstarkJonstark Posts: 2,402
    edited September 2016

    $280 for an additional 24 cores... that's a bargain!

    I hesitated too long and someone else snapped it up, but now I'll know what to be on the look out for, for next time, but sadly I missed it.  I can get the same model but with different Xeons for 16 rendercores for a $260, and then later upgrade to the 6 core Xeons in the future, I'm mulling that over at the moment, but I might just wait to see if some similar deal pops up in the near future instead.  Besides it might all be moot unless I figure some way around this render node problem of Carrara only using 2 of my render nodes instead of all three, which leads me to my next point:

     

    I bought Grid, let me be the first to say it looks like it's a total RIPOFF!

    Seriously this POS costs $200 and it comes with NO documentation of any kind, there's about 12 different download files for the various mac and pc versions of Carrara, nothing there for 8.5, just Carrara 8, but I've seen in other threads it's supposed to work with 8.5 so I go for the version 8 download.  It's an executable and when you run it, it doesn't install anything anywhere, just pops up a blank little window (see the screengrab).

    It has ZERO effect, no more nodes are being used, no more rendercores on the screen.  Am I doing something wrong?  Who knows?  Daz gives no instruction or documentation, just a little blank window when you run the executable.  

    Yeah, I'll be shouting at Daz to give my money back on Monday for sure, and it won't be a nice conversation either.  

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    Post edited by Jonstark on
  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 16,487
    Jonstark said:

    I bought Grid, let me be the first to say it looks like it's a total RIPOFF!

    Seriously this POS costs $200 and it comes with NO documentation of any kind, there's about 12 different download files for the various mac and pc versions of Carrara, nothing there for 8.5, just Carrara 8, but I've seen in other threads it's supposed to work with 8.5 so I go for the version 8 download.  It's an executable and when you run it, it doesn't install anything anywhere, just pops up a blank little window (see the screengrab).

    It has ZERO effect, no more nodes are being used, no more rendercores on the screen.  Am I doing something wrong?  Who knows?  Daz gives no instruction or documentation, just a little blank window when you run the executable.  

    Yeah, I'll be shouting at Daz to give my money back on Monday for sure, and it won't be a nice conversation either.  

    Oh No!!!

    Well now I feel like a total jerk for suggesting it! Damn it!

    I hope that the conversation goes differently than what you're expecting and that there's just something hidden that you're missing or something... argh!!!  How depressing!

  • Jay VersluisJay Versluis Posts: 142
    edited September 2016

    Gee, that's a very nasty surprise indeed. Thanks for sharing, and thanks for taking the plunge on Grid. Even the sales page looks suspicious. I always assumed Grid may be a 1kB file that needs to be copied somewhere... but where and how? Do you have to run it on every node perhaps? Or just the host?

    With no documentation and no real 8.5 installer? What a disappointment. But hey, now we know, and I'm sure you'll either get a solution or your money back (or both).

    Please let us know if you find out anything else, @Jonstark! Grid has always been a true mystery product :-)

    Post edited by Jay Versluis on
  • JonstarkJonstark Posts: 2,402

    Thank you Dart!  Something you said allowed me to finally solve this (but I'm still ticked at Daz).

    I never even thought about trying to put Grid on the rendernodes, only on the main machine.  (Turns out Grid only needs to be on the primary machine, not the rendernodes, but it was in the process of trying to put it on the nodes that I discovered the real problem).

    I started to download/install Grid to the first of my nodes, and was stunned when it came up - not with a white blank box screen as per my prior screenshot - but with an actual executable installer.  Discovered that the problem is that Daz hasn't updated its download links on the Grid page to be useable by Windows 10.  On a Windows 7 screen, I got the result you'll see in the 1st screenshot.  It installs into the same location your main Carrara is running from, and even has a tiny page of documentation (see 2nd screenshot) which directly contradicts the sales page and says the upper limit is 25 nodes (again, something to bring to Daz's attention.  yes, they are still getting a phone call from me)

    I went back and tried to download/install on the Windows 10 main machine, but no joy.  Then I thought it was probably just adding to the extension folder and some other locations in the Carrara substructure, so I tried to install Grid into an empty folder on my Windows 7 machine, to see what it installed - but it wouldn't install, giving an error message that it would only install in the place where the Carrara exectable file was.  Sheesh.  

    So I finally figured a way around it; I installed Grid onto my newest i7 win7 machine, which really had nothing on it prior to the rendernode it was running, so I first installed the most basic Carrara installation I could, then installed Grid on top of it.  On my Win 10 machine I moved/deleted the original Carrara exectable file, leaving everything else in place, then copied/pasted over everything that was in the Carrara folders on the Win7 machine where I had Grid installed (didn't take long as I just 'skipped all' for the duplicate files).

    Started up Carrara on the main machine, and when it came time to test by doing a batch render, it prompted me for the Grid serial number (yes, Grid has its own serial number too, which I didn't realize til that moment).  

    AT LAST!   It worked!  

    32 Glorious Render cores!  (see final screengrab for an example of what that looks like, 24 nodes and the 8 cores rendering on the main machine).

    grid install.png
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    grid readme.png
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    32 cores.png
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  • JonstarkJonstark Posts: 2,402

    So I think I've got a working hypothesis for why Grid is necessary, even though I only have 3 render nodes, and also an explanation for why someone who has a primary machine with 32 rendering cores can add another 8 core node without needing Grid.

    I think that on the primary machine, Carrara doesn't care how many render cores you have, you can have as many as you want.  But on the nodes, it's a different story, and Carrara counts each render core as if it were a separate CPU, and the max is 20.  Since I had 3 nodes with 8 cores each, that exceeds 20 cores, so one of the nodes has to be ignored/not used by Carrara, which is why I was only ever getting 16 cores from my render nodes.  Grid was necessary in my case, but someone who took a different computer path than I did, for example someone who built and uses a dual socket Xeon rig as his main render machine, could easily add 2 more 8 core nodes to the mix without needing Grid.

    That's just speculation of course, but the evidence would seem to support my theory, as with Grid I can now render with all 32 cores at my disposal.

  • Oh nice, great to hear you finally got it working. And it makes pefect sense that the problem was "old installers". I can see from the list that the ones for Mac are still in SIT format (wonder if after unpacking they'd even work on today's Mac's - my guess is "probably not").

    Yes I had assumed Grid would have a serial number. I kept thinking about this today, and I seem to remember reading somehwere that technically, you should be able to buy further Grid licenses, each of which would extend your render network by however many nodes. Say you'd add a few more Xeons to your network, eventually you'd hit the limit again - and when that time comes, I had assumed that another license would give you access to more cores (again). But I may have dreamt that part up...

    Thanks for sharing, and congrats on making it work. Happy rendering - at the speed of 32 cores ;-)

  • JonstarkJonstark Posts: 2,402

    Thanks Jay.  I'm about 90% convinced I'm going to pick up one of those dual socket xeon workstations that are less than $300 bucks.  I'd love to find another 24 core renderer from the jump for that price, but I'm more likely going to pick up a 16 core to start and then pick up some X5680 xeons (seem to have the highest mhz and clock speeds for that same socket) and upgrade to 24 cores in the near future.  My wallet implores me that I don't really need more cores, but my inner greedy pig has more persuasive abilities.  laugh

    Btw you've got a cool tumblr gallery there with some very nice work. 

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 16,487
    edited September 2016

    Being from the days when all Daz3d content was delivered via installers which required "poser.exe" before it would install, we had a trick for getting the install to occur in any runtime folder we wanted:

    1. Create a text file - it doesn't need any text in it.
    2. In Windows Folder/File options, uncheck the one that hides common extensions
    3. Rename the text file to "poser.exe" (.exe being the new extension) and copy that into the extra runtime structure folders

    Now the installer would recognize that dummy exe as "poser.exe" and install! So we could do the same making a "Carrara.exe" if we wanted to - or we could just copy the real one into a desktop folder, for example! ;)

    Yeah... I'm really glad you got it working! So cool! I know now that I'll be buying it down the road too. I want to build a render farm now!

    Post edited by Dartanbeck on
  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 16,487
    edited September 2016

    This is a really nice render you've got going!

    EDIT: Yup... just counted: 32 little buckets! ;)

    Oh nice, great to hear you finally got it working. And it makes pefect sense that the problem was "old installers". I can see from the list that the ones for Mac are still in SIT format (wonder if after unpacking they'd even work on today's Mac's - my guess is "probably not").

    Yes I had assumed Grid would have a serial number. I kept thinking about this today, and I seem to remember reading somehwere that technically, you should be able to buy further Grid licenses, each of which would extend your render network by however many nodes. Say you'd add a few more Xeons to your network, eventually you'd hit the limit again - and when that time comes, I had assumed that another license would give you access to more cores (again). But I may have dreamt that part up...

    Thanks for sharing, and congrats on making it work. Happy rendering - at the speed of 32 cores ;-)

    Yeah... I was wondering that, too. Grid allows up to 100, I think... so could we buy two Grids for 200 and so on? I wonder....

    Post edited by Dartanbeck on
  • MystiarraMystiarra Posts: 35,591
    Jonstark said:

    Thanks Jay.  I'm about 90% convinced I'm going to pick up one of those dual socket xeon workstations that are less than $300 bucks.  I'd love to find another 24 core renderer from the jump for that price, but I'm more likely going to pick up a 16 core to start and then pick up some X5680 xeons (seem to have the highest mhz and clock speeds for that same socket) and upgrade to 24 cores in the near future.  My wallet implores me that I don't really need more cores, but my inner greedy pig has more persuasive abilities.  laugh

    Btw you've got a cool tumblr gallery there with some very nice work. 

     

    Xeonsheart

    congrats you got all your cores rendering.

    gives me hope could one day add cores

  • Do the number of tiles actually make much difference or the is it Gigahertz speed of your CPUs?

    I ask as I went from 4 to 8 updating my mobo from i5 to i7 thus enabling multithreading same speed CPU same RAM and is actually no faster just more tiles.

    (I only updated it as was recomended by shop guy getting my 980ti)

    Just wondering as buying several computers to share the load makes sense but more cores giving more tiles on the same computer unless a dual Xeon which is like two computers in one box does not to me.

  • That Other PersonaThat Other Persona Posts: 381
    edited September 2016

    I wonder that as well.

    I have tested three machines: an iMac quad-corre i7, Mac Pro 6-core Xeon and a Mac mini quad core i7 lower than the iMac's.  They render the same scenes in the same order: the Mac Pro is not the fastest, though it has mor cores and slightly hight specs.  Difference between i7 and Xeons, I guess.

    The iMac and the Mac Pro can run a long time, but the mini heats up after about 10 minutes so I usually leave it out for long renders.

    I am now wondering about adding a new machine to the mix and am holding out for an updated Mac mini, but may not need to.

    Post edited by That Other Persona on
  • JonstarkJonstark Posts: 2,402
    edited September 2016

    I recently upgraded my oldest laptop from an i5 2540m (4 render cores) to an i7 2670qm (8 render cores).  It's not quite twice as fast, but it's close, and certainly is a tremendous improvement in render speed.  To be honest, very surprised you're not getting similar results, ToeJam.  

    The oddest thing for me is that the i7 is running at a cooler temperature than the i5, which wasn't what I expected at all.  On the other hand, part of that might be that when I installed it I was also changing out the thermal paste from the default no name old stuff that came with the laptop to some top of the line modern Arctic Silver stuff instead.

    Wonder if you can have a Mac for your primary machine and add in some of these (relatively) cheap Windows machines as render nodes.  Would they work together?  I would think so, but maybe not. They have i7 2600 machines going for less than $200 on ebay, man that's a freakin' steal.  I remember not so long ago when these very same i7 machines were priced way out of my range, it was a big deal (and a lot of money) when I could finally afford to purchase my first i7 laptop.  Heck, it was a big deal back when I purchased my first i5 laptop :)  I remember the idea of going from 2 cores to 4 cores was just mind blowing, and it was so cool to see the new colors as it rendered  :)

    Post edited by Jonstark on
  • mine is still 4 cores just 8 tiles as double threaded, 8 cores I would hope would be some improvement,

    it was really numbers of tiles I was questioning as think more i5 PC's would be just as good and cheaper if I ever considered making a farm

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 16,487
    edited September 2016
    ToeJam said:

    Do the number of tiles actually make much difference or the is it Gigahertz speed of your CPUs?

    Yes and Yes. Number of cores only helps if they're faster than the lower number - all speeds combined.

    I just bought my little quad-core laptop all happy to have a quad-core in a lappy, but each core is only 1.50GHz, which is horrible.

    My 8-core is ~3.5GHz each core - which makes each little bucket pretty darned fast. It's also an 'unlocked' CPU with an over-clock capable motherboard - but I don't mess with that. My last one I was able to OC to more than 1 GHz faster per core, but it wasn't as fast as if I had a CPU which was that fast without OC, at least that's how it seemed. It was actually pretty easy - I found some gurus online that had some really good OC write-ups. But in the end, I'll just look for higher clock speed CPU without having to burn them up.

    Like I say, though... this octa-core (8 x 3.5 something GHz) fed through 16GB RAM is a killer machine for the Carrara PR render engine. Yes... we can ALWAYS bring our fancy schmancy computers to their virtual knees doing what we do. So I still treat my scenes as if I'm working on an old single core 2.2GHz 4GB RAM machine, and just enjoy the speed - rather than upping everything knowing that I have more than eight times the machine. Because those ultra high render settings can simply bog down anything - no matter how beefy we get.

    I think it was ILM, maybe a different pro studio, like WETA or something... who were saying that we, as CG animation artists need to be patient - especially when practicing at home on our own machines. Saying something to the order of an average frame to render in a massive farm environment to take roughly 70 minutes for cinema-quality... "Average" with many frames taking much, much longer.

    Those farms are crazy compared to anything we're working with.

    Keep in mind that, when ILM started up there was no such thing as a commercial personal computer. They built their own micro-processors from scratch!

    It's hard to try and compete with that level of genius and purchasing power.

    SO since I enjoy constructing my production on my own entirely, I scale my possibilities accordingly. Yes, higher render settings make much nicer still images - and videos too! But when I look at my lower-end renders at 30 frames per second at my low-end HD of 720p, I think it looks pretty cool - and it's a group of settings that I can manage.

    So even when I get the chance to add an 8-core node, I'll just take the speed advantages and run with it. I'm fine with the (roughly one minute per frame) quality settings I'm using now. It takes some work... setting the shaders and lights just so... but by now I've got that part fairly solid for most things.

    Post edited by Dartanbeck on
  • TangoAlphaTangoAlpha Posts: 4,558

    I've been following this thread with half an eye, because I figured network renering is not really my thing, and I don't have the cash or space for a bunch of boxes to act as nodes. Then it twigged that I have this big i7-6700+GTX980ti box that just gets used for Iray and playing flight sim could also be a render node (the cranky old monitor hooked up to it is pretty much useless for working on. I'd hoped to hook up the DP output to the thunderbolt input on my iMac, but sadly Apple nixed that several OS updates ago. I can still remote desktop into it, but that's a real faff).

    So I installed the render node software and ran it up. My iMac needs to be the master even though it's only an i5, because it's my work system and has the really nice 27" screen (and isn't Windows! ;)) Anyhow it ran like a charm. Interestingly, my 4 little i5 cores didn't put in a showing until the network cores were halfway down the image. Nevertheless the test render (attached) which took 40+ minutes last night on my i5, was done in 10 minutes 48. I think I'll keep RenderNode running! laugh

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