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Where is the bottleneck?

Posted By Jfrog 7 Years Ago
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Jfrog
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Hello to all,

First post here so I hope I am posting at the right place. Please let me no if I am not.  Smile  

I 've been reading this forum for the last two weeks. It looks like a nice community with very nice people.

I plan to purchase Iclone 6 for VR storytelling. I come from a mac world and I want to buy a decent PC computer. I already have the GTX 1080 in mind along with 32 gig ram, I7, 6800k processor but I was wondering where would be the bottleneck?

For example, I was planning to buy a m.2 samsung 960 ssd. It is really fast but would it be too fast for nothing if the CPU rendering time can't catch up with the write speed of the disk.  Would it be better to just have normal cheaper SSD drive?

Another question if you allow me.  Does Iclone use any kind of disk cache? If so, buying extra ram would be more beneficial isn't?

What would be the maximum length for a 360 VR short video within Iclone?  

Thank you in advance.




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justaviking
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Greetings.  Smile

Those look like great specs.

What size is that SSD?  512MB is good, but add a good old-fashioned HDD for mass storage (3TB drives are very affordable).

I don't know for sure about your VR question, but at least 10 minutes I expect.  (General advice is to avoid really long projects.  It is best to break them into smaller pieces for several reasons.)  I don't know if VR 360 has any length restrictions, but someone else probably will.

Looking forward to you joining the community so we can see what you do with iClone.



iClone 7... Character Creator... Substance Designer/Painter... Blender... Audacity...
Desktop (homebuilt) - Windows 10, Ryzen 9 3900x CPU, GTX 1080 GPU (8GB), 32GB RAM, Asus X570 Pro motherboard, 2TB SSD, terabytes of disk space, dual  monitors.
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7 Years Ago by justaviking
rgreenidge
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Hello Admin welcome to the club. I probably changed my motherboards and components every year, when Cyrix and AMD gave my more for the money I switched from Intel processors I would say from the early 1990's. I built computers for friends and family and gave them my hand me downs. In the beginning I would say I based my computer performances on the MS Flight Simulator. Then came the video burning to CD's, then DVD's to Blu~Rays, I could never keep up, and I used and tried just about every video software program. With this experience, you learn that rendering is not a open and shut case with iClone or making videos. The rendering time If you use the same settings on projects will vary with each frame depending complexity of what is being shown in that scene, or that camera at that particular time. Simple stationary backgrounds will decrease the rendering time. Doubling or tripling the money you spend, may not double or triple the rendering speed. I had the the top of the line AMD 8 core processor (not that 5000 watt power eater), and maxed my memory out to 32 GB, 4 slots x 8 GB. I went from a 2 GB video card, to a 8 GB video card and the only difference I saw was that I can pan my sets without stuttering. I do not use NVidia cards so I can't tell you if it makes a difference with the rendering. Most people on here will tell you to get a 1080 card, and tell you it's more important than the memory but they don't give examples. I have shown on here what I could do with 64 GB of MB RAM, compared to 96 GB of RAM, with me switching back to Intel. And I'm not one of those AMD vs Intel people, but I'm not going to waste $1000 for 15 minutes of improvement. After seeing the difference with 96 GB of RAM, and showing on here that's it's not a overkill I filled all 8 memory slots up and have 128 GB of RAM now. I still have the same problems with random crashes with iClone, that I had with the AMD systems. You're going to need lots of space if you have a lot of projects. I have one drive for iClone, and another for my videos before I edit them. SSD drives still scare me, and until you actually see someone on here showing you the difference where he used a mechanical drive vs a SSD don't go for the hype. Now if you only have one computer, and need to get online, that may be a problem. I split my projects into 3000 frames using PNG sequential files, and if it crashes, I start back where it crashed. Now if someone come on here and tells me he has a SSD hard drive and his iClone never crashes, then maybe I'd try one. If you can look at You Tube videos of iClone and cant tell what video card is being used by looking at it, is it worth spending 1080 money? Get the RAM, and a motherboard with 8 memory slots. Is there anyone on here that had a 980 card and upgraded to a 1080, and has seen a different result that is worth the money? Maybe with NVidia cards, but show me, I'm from Missouri and only have used AMD cards with iClone, and when I was told be people on here to get a card with more memory, it didn't change a thing, the bug was in the item I bought and I found that on my own. If you have projects with less than 10 avatars, you wont need much RAM. Working as a electronic engineer, you always get people telling you what they heard or believe. I always practiced what I preached not by hearsay or that it sounds good, or someone else said so, I put in the time and compare results hands on. I'm not going to tell you spending more money will do this if I haven't tried it myself. What's the point if a 1080 card can do this, and the others cant? The only people who can see this shading is those with 1080 cards, then the majority can't see it, and it may look crappy to them. It's like me trying to make a mix a song with a 40" woofer, and expect those to hear what I heard. Again until I see different, RAM over video card. Hard drive capacity over SSD speed. That's my 5 cents, but it comes with proof that I posted on You Tube. The only problem I had on this forum, is when I ask people specific technical questions of how they came to this conclusion they don't answer. I'm not here to challenge anyone, I don't like wasting my time and money or believe it is right to tell someone to do something that you are not a expert in, but go by hearsay.       




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animagic
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@rgreenidge: I for one do not base my technical comments on hearsay but based on experience of building and using quite a number of systems. So I don't really understand your comment. This is not a systems builders' forum, so when people come for advice it's best to keep it concise and to the point.


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planetstardragon
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if you understand the functions of the components,  you'll be able to know where to strengthen your system for your needs

1 - the Video card processor -  handles, the textures,  the real time pixel processing, and the output rendering,  and the physx

2 -  the cpu - handles compression / decompression -  so for opening files,  rendering video and converting to mp4, and many 3rd party systems use the cpu for rendering as well,  such as modeling software, blender, maya, modo -  it's mainly the real time technology which evolved from gaming, that moved on to placing more emphasis on gpu processing since it's inherently a faster processor than the cpu.

3 - the ram,  which loads your software,  -  more often than not you will find yourself with a browser open,  iclone, 3dxchange,  a modeling software and possibly a video editor at the same time....some video modelers such as 3D coat use computer ram over gpu ram.  8 gig vram just started going mainstream, and was too expensive for the general public so most older softwares tuned their software to be easy on the video card demands.  gpu rendering is still a relatively new technology that not everyone uses,  so you still need power on the cpu side for software that are cpu dependant.

4 - Drive -  matters for the system cache,  opening and saving files.   Using SSD for everything has diminishing returns - and the life expectancy of your drives are shorter.   I'd use a bit of both standard hard drives and an SSD in the mix -  so it's cost effective,  and set up your SSD to be easily replaced -  for example, use it for cache to directly impact system speed where it matters most -  but for data storage,  such as projects and assets use the standard disc drives since you can get those in 5 gigs and up for much more affordable prices than ssd.  They are still fast, just go NAS type drives with most cache and rpms.  The cost difference between a 5 gig disc drive vs 5gigs of ssd isn't justifiable for a millisecond or a even a 3 second difference.

5 - motherboard -  handles how fast the data is distributed in your system.  if it is not made to withstand heat,  it will throttle the speed to a crawl.

6 - cooling system - matters bigly - the hotter any part of your system performs the slower it will perform. so you can have bells and whistles,  and i can have an average system,  if my system is cooler than yours,  we will have roughly the same performance speed because iclone and real time rendering generates a ton of heat in it's processing demands.

7 - powersupply -  when you are rendering with iclone -  you are causing all parts of your system to run at max at the same time, biggest energy draw / spike in the process -  if your power supply is weak,  your individual parts will slack in performance.  it's always good to have wattage over minimum requirements - should you ever decide to get into overclocking your system to increase your frame rate for complex scenes.

Hope this helps.




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7 Years Ago by planetstardragon
justaviking
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@rgreenidge,

I promote SSD for these reasons:
a) Fast
b) Reliable
c) Fast

In an otherwise decent system, you can actually FEEL the improvement by going from HDD to SSD.  It boots a lot faster, applications launch faster, game levels open faster.

Some people worry because they've heard that SSDs can "wear out."  If that's a concern, it shouldn't be.  I can find some articles that explain it.  But even for very heave workloads at home, it's simply not an issue.  Seriously, not an issue.  A good SSD is statistically less likely to fail that a good HDD.  Of course, you should always have a backup for many reasons; system failure, undesirable software updates, viruses, ransomware, lightning strikes, etc.

I doubt, though, you'd notice much if any difference on rendering times.  Writing to the disk is probably not much of a bottleneck when doing iClone rendering.  Maybe you could measure a difference with a stop watch, but I doubt you'd notice the difference like you will for boot and launch times.  I output my renders to a large HDD anyway, so it's not a factor in that case.

Going from an HDD to a SDD is almost like going from one to two monitors.  You won't want to go back.



iClone 7... Character Creator... Substance Designer/Painter... Blender... Audacity...
Desktop (homebuilt) - Windows 10, Ryzen 9 3900x CPU, GTX 1080 GPU (8GB), 32GB RAM, Asus X570 Pro motherboard, 2TB SSD, terabytes of disk space, dual  monitors.
Laptop - Windows 10, MSI GS63VR STEALTH-252, 16GB RAM, GTX 1060 (6GB), 256GB SSD and 1TB HDD

RobertoColombo
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My experience so far is 2 years with SSD (Samsung EVO 850), 500GB, no issues at all.
Obviously I use the SSD only for SW and, as much as I can, I avoid to create temporary and download files there.
Unfortunately not every SW allows to setup the temporary directory path, so something still goes run-time into the SSD, but that's quite a small quantity.
I also do NOT use the SSD to store data files that are subject to be updated quite often (and in future I might consider to add a new SSD for data files not being updated often).

Now some technical considerations (I know a bit on non-volatile memories, as I worked on them for more than 10 years...).
SSD technology was first used in military and industrial segment, where the operating conditions are way more severe than what you have at home: the technology to make them working in a reliable way does exists.... since long... question is what the company producing them does in terms of "memory qualification" when the device becomes a commodity.
This can scare people, but....
Consider that there are different SSD types, based on different non-volatile memory technologies.
My SSD, Samsung EVO, is based on Flash multi-level cell, which should be the "weakest", but in reality, as I said, it still work very well after 2 years (and I had iClone rendering sessions up to 14 days continuous... just to tell that the PC is not there to collect dust... Smile).
Samsung Pro SSD are based on single level cell, so they are intrinsically more robust and probably even faster in writing (Single Level Cell can be programmed faster than Multi Level Cell).
Again, I am happy with my MLC-based EVO, but if you are really scared and want to sleep quietly, then go for a Samsung Pro.
Now there is a new technology called Vertical Nand, which makes it possible a higher integration scale.
I believe it is well tested, but if I had to buy a SSD now, I would stay on the previous generation technology...

Consider that, whatever the technology being used, the memory controller embedded into the SSD implements several algorithm aimed to increase the write reliability and protect from read faults.
For the write reliability, sophisticated wear levelling algorithms spread the data being written uniformly across the memory, so that even if the same file is being written multiple times, in reality it is stored in different parts of the memory (otherwise some parts of the memory would get too much stressed compared to other ones).
For the read reliability, even more sophisticated error correction algorithms are able to repair and rebuild teh correct data even in the presence of failed cells that reads 1 instead of 0 or vice verse.
Finally if some part of the SSD does not work in read or write, it is permanently marked as a "Bad Block" and removed from the available memory.
Some algorithms substitute them with a pool of fresh, never used blocks, so that the overall memory capacity is kept constant. Other algorithm instead decreases the SSD capacity. 
Also, some critical tables are stored twice, so that if one get corrupted, the other one is read.
Last but not least: neither mechanical parts nor magnetism... can you imagine what does it mean to apply a magnetic polarization to a micro-metric part of a HDD memory and move a mechanical part to read the area around it. I sleep better if my SW is stored on a Flash-based SSD Wink

Finally, some open questions.
I am thinking to add a 2nd SSD, where to store the temporary files, but also the working files of teh projects I am currently working on.
Hence, it does not need to be so big, probably even 250GB is enough.
A big iClone project should be loaded quickly... is that true ? Anybody has any experience on that ?
Also, if iClone creates temporary files and uses them during the editing, maybe a SSD could help to speed up.
Anybody has such an experience ?

Cheers

  Roberto



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SSD: 2x512GB Samsung 860 EVO + 1x2TB Samsung
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Edited
7 Years Ago by RobertoColombo
Jfrog
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Thank you very much to all of you for taking the time to give your very valuable inputs. It is appreciated.

I have been using Samsung SSDs on Macs for the last three years and it made a huge difference specially, for boot up time, and working with very large video files (sequential reads and writes). Very large for me means 60 to 80 gig video files.

For example with my previous  sata2 HD drives my reading / writing  speed was around 80 MB/s. Switching to SSD  brought my reading / writing between 450 to 500 MB/s.   Now the new M.2 samsung 960 1TB, have sequential reads close to 3200 MB/s and sequential writes  around 2000MB/s which is amazingly fast. I read that the new M.2 samsung 960 1TB is not as good with 4k files speed (small files like system files), so my idea was to have a normal samsung SSD drive as the system drive but to export all my session files and content to this faster drives.  Then do all backups on normal 2 or 3 TB drives, because we always need backup wright?  Smile

But reading all you precious inputs makes me realize that maybe an M.2 SSD is overkill for Iclone since the bottleneck would probably be the CPU time to render anyway and not the time to write to disk.   Curiously, I don't mind saving money...   Wink   and it will allow me to buy more RAM if needed.

Thanks again!



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Rampa
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It's the GPU, not the CPU, where you need to have the power.

The graphics card is where the rendering happens, even the "final render". A fairly basic CPU, like an i5 is actually plenty. I would suggest an Nvidia GTX 1060/6 gig as minimum. If you bump up to a GTX 1070, you get 8 gig of VRAM. The more VRAM the better. VRAM is not expandable, as it is soldered on the GPU.

System RAM should be, at least, 8 gig. Sixteen is a good idea.

You are correct that an SSD will not benefit iClone's functionality.
animagic
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RobertoColombo (2/19/2017)
Finally, some open questions.
I am thinking to add a 2nd SSD, where to store the temporary files, but also the working files of teh projects I am currently working on.
Hence, it does not need to be so big, probably even 250GB is enough.
A big iClone project should be loaded quickly... is that true ? Anybody has any experience on that ?
Also, if iClone creates temporary files and uses them during the editing, maybe a SSD could help to speed up.
Anybody has such an experience ?

I have a 1TB SSD as data disk. I use it to store iClone content, including projects, as well as data for other programs, hence the larger size. As to projects loading faster, I haven't really noticed that. iClone seems to do a fair amount of pre-processing, so that's seems to be the bottleneck.



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