Best PC Configuration to run T2

Started by PeterPan, December 21, 2006, 01:30:16 PM

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First, I want to express my deepest thanks for the T2 team for letting a "single home user" play with such a wonderful tool.   ;D   And for F*R*E*E, mind you!   ;D

Now, my problem is that my actual computer is quite slow in rendering the pictures. I have a Pentium 3, 1Ghz and 512Mb RAM.

Could anyone tell me what should be the optimal computer configuration to run T2, so that it doesn't take 60 minutes to render a 1024 x 768 picture?

I am thinking of upgrading my home computer, and T2 just gave me the right push to do so  :D



u cant say how long will 1024x768 render there are far too many options and operators. Best PC will be probably some of the new Core2Duo or even Core2Quad (if u got 1000bucks lol). I think 1GB of ram will be ok because Tgen 2 doesnt eat so much of it.


Quote from: buchvecny on December 21, 2006, 01:47:05 PM
u cant say how long will 1024x768 render there are far too many options and operators. Best PC will be probably some of the new Core2Duo or even Core2Quad (if u got 1000bucks lol). I think 1GB of ram will be ok because Tgen 2 doesnt eat so much of it.

Your assumption on 1 gig being enough RAM is debatable. If you want to work wiith populations, you will bang against the memory limits with every other render. So 1 gig is ok for simple scenes, and small scale renders, but for anything decent you need 2. More is better.



Although the render times are greatly infliuenced by the complexity of the scene 60 minutes is not all that bad... I am hitting 20 hour render times with a small 600x400 :). Just to give my two cents. I am not a hardware person, so I will not be much of any help :D.


I had a 24 hour render shut my computer down cause of overheating (might not be TGs fault, maybe my own)... but I have 768 ram and a 2.6ghz processor laptop... I had GI both raised to 2 as well as samples at high numbers as well. 800 x 600 image by the way :)


I think that for high quality images you will not be able to get 60 minute render times very often, even with a fast machine. Over time the rendering engine will be optimized and this may become more reasonable, but even then a scene of any decent complexity and quality will probably take longer. This is true of most rendering systems. Certainly you can render for example a basic single light non-displaced high poly object in say Maya in 1 minute or so, but add displacement, global illumination, multiple high poly objects, reflections, refractions, etc. and soon you will have high render times there too.

Terragen 2 is simulating a complete and accurate global atmosphere system, volumetric clouds (if used), global illumination, reflections on complex geometry (if water or reflective materials are present), high-detail displacements, and literally billions of polygons of instanced objects (again, if used). Given how much is being rendered it's not terribly surprising that render times are high, especially given the fact that the engine is as yet still not fully optimized and most importantly does not take advantage of multi-core/processor systems. As soon as TG2 is multithreaded you will see an immediate and tremendous speed increase.

In any case the best machine for TG2 is going to pretty much be the best machine you can buy for near any task. TG2 performance is largely driven by CPU speed and power. Currently the procesor landscape looks like this in terms of power, in order from least to greatest: Pentium 4, Athlon 64, Pentium D (dual core), Athlon 64 X2 (dual core), Pentium M/Core Duo, Core 2 Duo. So if you take that and look at the speed of the processor in Ghz and compare it to the "power" of the CPU, you can get an idea of what the best CPU's are. A Pentium 4 at 3Ghz is a lot slower than an Athlon 64 at the same speed because it has less "power". That's a very simplified explanation but it plays out in reality fairly well.

So for a simple and specific recommendation go for a Core 2 Duo system with at least 2GB of RAM. The graphics card won't matter much, just get something decent. I would suggest in particular the E6600 Core 2 Duo at 2.4Ghz. It's faster than an Athlon 64 X2 5200+ and only slightly more expensive. If you have money to burn you can consider the Core 2 Extreme at 2.93Ghz, or the *quad core* Core 2 Extreme at 2.6Ghz (with 4 cores!). But only clock speed will help you with rendering time until TG2 is mulithreaded. Once it is however a quad core would give you amazing performance. But if you're just buying an upgrade to deal with TG2 renders it would be best to wait on a quad core since they will be cheaper and more available next year when TG2 is released.

I hope that helps. If you need any more specific recommendations let me know.

- Oshyan


I want to go Core 2 Duo as well. I was pricing them at newegg around 400$ i think. I have 1 Gig of DDR Ram at the moment and soon i want another Gig. The Asus motherboard i was browsing at can take 4 Gigs of DDR 1 Ram so in the future atleast i could upgrade to max out 4 Gigs.

He, hee, if the Quad Cores are within the 500$ range by next year i might consider that instead.


I am running a pentium 4, 2.8 ghz with 1 gig of ram. My first render with T2 took 35 hours. Of course, I dove right in and played with all the buttons so it had everything going. After the image was complete, I ran msconfig and turned off all non-essential processes and it seemed to help. Now that I have read a little more from all of you and "followed the rules" a 800 x 600 image takes about 4 hours going with a medium to high quality to the cloud layers.
I bought the computer through Dell for around $500 and it seems pretty reliable.

p.s. thanks for all the great advice and tips. It has helped a lot.


i had a render going for 35hrs on my p42.8ghz 1gb ram  at 800x600... running max settings at 1024x768 with water or 3d clouds is going to take extra time in rendering....

also while running the page file balloons out to around 1.4gb 

with your p3 if you want good quality renders you're probably going to have to let it render away... slowly

<a href="">My  Terragen Downloads & Gallery</a>


For my experiences, the biggest increase to render time of all the settings has been the 'Detail' value in the render node. Increasing samples in my clouds, increasing the anti-aliasing and other such quality settings, while they do take a hit to rendering, it does not affect the render times as much as 'Detail' does. From what I have found, increasing the anti aliasing to something like 24, and decreasing the 'Detail' will yield similar results, but with less time taken to render.

For example, in the Deep version of TG2, the image below was rendered in 5 hours (I am on a laptop with an Athlon 3700+ and 2gb RAM). But before I purchased the Deep version, using the free version of TG2, to get the same quality of render (by having to increase the 'Detail' value nearly all the way) took the renderer roughly 18 hours.

Of course if you are using the free version, you can't increase the anti-aliasing past 3, so this should be an incentive for all you to buy the 'Deep' version.


Thanks all for your wonderful tips and insights!
Geez, I thought that 60 minutes was long  :o
but, as a single user I use TG2 purely for my own pleasure. I never intend to sell my pictures (maybe just give some to interested friends, at the most).

So, as I can see the optimal PC configuration should be:
- Highest CPU speed.
- Dual core processor.
- Minimum of 2Gb RAM.
- High anti-aliasing setting.
- ... and lots of patience  :D

Is that a good formula?

BTW: Does anyone know any Web sites showing CPU speed comparison charts?


bang goes my budget for next year :)

I'm currently using a laptop which I'm surprised TG2 actually renders on.  I quite fancy a dedicated machine I can just leave for however long it takes to get the render finished.  Some useful info on here.


terragen 2 uses around 950mb of memory on a small terrain with some clouds/objects 

easily push the page file over 1.3gb... i'd say 1.5gb would be good... if you want other applications to run at the same time and not be restricted by page file access speed...

a core duo and possible multi thread support would sound interesting!
<a href="">My  Terragen Downloads & Gallery</a>