Multiple Video Cards performance

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by nxfxcom, Feb 3, 2009.

  1. nxfxcom macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2008
    #1
    Hello,

    i am using Mainly Photoshop, RealFlow and Maya on my latest MAC:

    Model Identifier: MacPro3,1
    Processor Name: Quad-Core Intel Xeon
    Processor Speed: 3 GHz
    Number Of Processors: 2
    Total Number Of Cores: 8
    L2 Cache (per processor): 12 MB
    Memory: 4 GB
    Bus Speed: 1.6 GHz
    Video1: ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT:
    Video2: VIDIA GeForce 8800 GT:

    But Rendering in Maya is still very slow and realflow takes forever,
    now i ordered 4GB more ram, my question is:

    If i order 2 More Video Cards, will that improve performance, even i have only 2 Displays connected?

    Also, what other ways are there to improve my Maya performance?

    Thank you
     
  2. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2006
    Location:
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    #2
    No. You can't add up GPU power if there are no monitors attached.

    Snow Leopard, on the other hand...
     
  3. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
  4. nxfxcom thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2008
    #4
    Raid..

    just to make sure, would i need a Raid Card?
    and then i would buy 2 drives, a raid card, and make that my main HD?

    Thank you
     
  5. nxfxcom thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2008
    #5
    Hello,

    thank you for all your input,
    i did some research here, and i will get 2 1.5 TB cards:
    1.5TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 SATA II 7200RPM 32MB

    and then back everything up, startup with disk, use disk utility to set up a software raid (i guess it has to be stripped for performance) and then get my backed up osx on it, does that sound correct?

    Thank you
     
  6. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #6
    The MP only has software RAID capabilities of 0/1/1+0. Of these, 1+0 would offer some speed improvements combined with redundancy.

    To go beyond this, you would need a RAID card. If you want to load the OS from it, it must have boot capability.

    But there's a lot of questions:

    How many/type of drives will you use?
    Where will the drives be located? (internal/external)
    Type of array?
    Will you boot from it?
    Does it need to run in a multiple OS environment?

    To get you started, I'd look at the wiki page on RAID. Check the other page links, particularly under Standard Levels.

    Hopefully, this might get you started, and you can ask questions from there. :) (Please be patient on this, as RAID is complicated, and a mistake can cost you data, time, and a considerable amount of money, depending on what you actually do).

    Good luck. :D
     
  7. nxfxcom thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2008
    #7
    Nanofrog.


    thank you very much for your response, i am looking at Wikipedia now,
    its sooo complicated all i want is more speed ;)

    So i will go with the 2:
    1.5TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 SATA II 7200RPM 32MB
    via the software raid, as described above, do you think it will help
    and improve my speed?

    Thank you again so much! all i want is faster renders ;)
     
  8. AdvocateUK macrumors regular

    AdvocateUK

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2008
    Location:
    Billingham, United Kingdom
    #8
    Can someone please explain to me how adding RAID will improve render times?

    I'm assuming that unless you're rendering at WAY WAY faster than realtime you won't be hitting anywhere near the speed limit of a standard sata drive.

    /me is confused
     
  9. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #9
    I don't like consumer drives, or software RAID. Too many instances of RAID 0, which has absolutely no redundancy, and the data is at n drives greater risk of failure than a single disk. So if one fails, the data is gone.

    The only possible way to get a mix of speed and redundancy in a MP is 1+0. RAID 1 offers redundancy, but no increase in speed, so that one won't help you for your intentions.
    Think of it this way. You use a single drive to handle the OS, application, and scratch. This slows it down, and the HDD is already the biggest bottleneck in the chain to begin with. Not ideal by any means, but this is the compromise made to keep things cheap.

    So by splitting the load to multiple drives, each is able to give a greater throughput for the task it's working on, in a given amount of time. Beyond simply using separate dedicated drives, you end up needing RAID.
     
  10. AdvocateUK macrumors regular

    AdvocateUK

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2008
    Location:
    Billingham, United Kingdom
    #10
    Thanks for the explanation nanofrog, I do understand what you mean completely. To my mind though I still think the OP is not going to see any performance improvement from adding RAID, and only slight performance increase by adding a second drive.

    Whilst adding a second drive would improve and tasks that are in any way, shape or form disk IO bound (think video editing and, to a lesser extent, photo editing), when it comes to Maya the dataset is likely to be fairly small, small enough I would imagine to be held in a few gigabytes of RAM. From there on in it's CPU all the way.

    Depending on the size and length of the renders the only way to speed them up may be to add a second MP!!!

    This is assuming of course that the OP is purely talking about speeding up "rendering times" of Maya. If those renders are then to be assembled into footage of any length then you're firmly back into "disk IO is king" territory.
     
  11. Chaos123x macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2008
    #11
    Switch the Nvidia to video 1 and you should get much better performance.

    Make sure the monitor set up as the main display is hooked to the Nvidia card.

    I would actually yank out the 2600 card unless you need 3 monitors.
     
  12. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #12
    I wasn't thinking in terms of single frame only :)o), but rather stringing them together into video, so disk I/O would be needed for this. ;) For single frame only, no, not really. Memory would be about it for a single machine. Otherwise, it's distributed processing (render farm) time. :p
     
  13. TrapOx macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2008
    Location:
    Denver
    #13
    Thats the best advice in this thread!
     
  14. nxfxcom thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2008
    #14
    Thank you very much for all your Input,
    i will go ahead yank out the ATI card and keep just the nVidia card,
    i also will order another pair of ram, so a total of 12GB.

    The whole raid thing, seems kind of out of control, and render farm... not sure if i am "BIG TIME" enough for that yet, my main issue is 1. Render time, and secondly simulation time with RealFlow, some items take almost a week,

    somebody mentioned to take a second MP and set up a network render..

    would it be wise/smart to buy a 'cheaper PC' load it up with Ram / CPU(s) and use it for network renders?


    Thank you
     
  15. TrapOx macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2008
    Location:
    Denver
    #15
    Only if you can justify the expense from the time saved. If waiting for your computer to render isn't costing you money in productivity, then I'd just load up on RAM and switch to the NVIDIA card.
     

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