Terragen (2) Tweakguide

Started by SuperNova, December 30, 2006, 03:40:26 PM

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Now its time for the first guide (it'll probably come more late on) on how to lower your rendering times specially for older machines.
Since i spend a lot of time around hardware, overclocking, tweaking, modifying and so on i got curios to see how much i could lower the rendering times on an old machine. Of course you can tweak a new rig but you actually don need to it  ;) A C2D, C2Q, A64 or a Quadfather rigg will do the work just fine!

My goals are to lower the performance without spending a dime and without overclocking - so you all can try it no mater on how much you know about hardware/tweaking.

However EVERYTHING described here is done on your own risk, and I wont take any responsibility for any damage on any equipment or on yourself!

My system:
PIII 800MHz EB (133x6)
Intel i815 based motherboard
256+128MB PC133 (133MHz @ 3-3-3-7 timings)
Voodoo3 3000 (16MB VRAM, Default clock @ 166/166MHz)
8.4GB ATA33 HDD (I used a really old drive since the chance of people having a old drive just like this laying around is quiet large, thereby you won't have to spend any money)

General tips and tweaks:
*Disable VGA and system bios cacheable, in bios to free up a few MB of RAM.
*Don't use integrated graphic cards which uses the system RAM as VRAM, this will severely reduce system memory bandwidth.
*Don't have any application running the background.
*Make the pagefile larger that system default to eliminate the risk of system running out of space, thereby decrease the risk of a system crash
*Move the pagefile to a separate hard drive, (move it to another partition but in the same disk as the OS wont give you any performance boost).

I made a image which i used as benchmark, here are the results:

First run:
*VGA and system bios cacheable - disabled
*Normal startup
*Default XP Theme
*Default pagefile size and position
*Explorer on
Time to render - 2hours, 14minutes and 11seconds.

Second run:
*VGA and system bios cacheable - disabled
*Diagnostic Startup (thereby using the old 2k theme)
(Run -> Type msconfig, hit enter -> general tabb)
*Pagefile moved to another disc and upped to maximum 4096MB
(System->Advance->/under performance/->settings->Advance Tabb->/under virtual memory/->change)
*Explorer was shut off
Time to render - 2hours, 9 minutes and 5 seconds.

This was improvement of 5minutes and 6seconds, or around 4%. I have been chasing after improvments far less that that ;)
When doing a quick render (of the default scene with the default settings) you gain more than 1 second per every 40 seconds with these tweaks.
Considering the hardware used, and that no overclocking was done I consider this a success, considering it was free! Of course you would experience a higher performance gain if you used another ATA100 disk for swap, or memory's specified at lower timings. A faster computer will be even more crippled by slow pagefile and/or memory management.

I will probably have more guides as the times goes on, perhaps on a deeper plane for those of you who wants to make some more serious changes to achieve lower rendering times.

The project file can be obtained below, please don't use the file for anything else than benchmarking.
Render settings are default except:
Resolution: 480x360
Detail: 0.8

Tim O'Donoghue

Hi Supernova;

Could you post the test file you mentioned?  I'd like to try some of those tweaks, but would like to see the results first without any changes so I can establish a baseline.



oh well thats not much honestly :(


Quote from: buchvecny on December 30, 2006, 06:21:31 PM
oh well thats not much honestly :(

If you are working on an animation that takes months to render it might be worth it!




I've added the project file and settings now. You can always make a picture with those feats you like end use to test render times. I mean if you use heavy cloud's in every image you make you would want to use that in the benchmark. Same goes with water and so on..