nMP + Parallels Desktop + 3DSMax + TERA PC game

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Anim, May 28, 2014.

  1. Anim, May 28, 2014
    Last edited: May 29, 2014

    Anim macrumors 6502a

    Anim

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2011
    Location:
    Macclesfield, UK
    #1
    So had to test this out.

    My machine is a 2013 Mac Pro, 6 core / 16GB ram / D700
    I have a Bootcamp partition on the main SSD with Windows 8.1 on it

    Now switching between OSX and Windows is fine, takes around 1 to 2 minutes to switch but when you need a quick model export or a 3D rendering from a different angle, it became a pain to switch between the two operating systems. I work in Unity3D and Xcode for OSX/iOS development so need both OS's.

    I installed Parallels Desktop 9 in Trial mode. Opted to use the existing BootCamp drive and got a warning that I might have to re-register certain software before continuing. Thats fine so I went ahead.

    Windows 8.1 didn't ask to re-register so that was good although not tried booting back as a native OS on my mac yet.

    Then I tried 3DSMax 2011 Design. This version doesn't use the later enhanced viewport displays. I left it on Direct3D and it popped up with a license error and to contact AutoDesk to resolve it. So I launched it again under OpenGL just to see if the same message would pop up and it didn't. Max loaded full screen while still in OSX, sweet!

    For a test I created a biped, added a quick walk cycle and duplicated a teapot around the scene to make 92,000 Polygons, about the maximum I would use when creating game assets. I hit play and got 60 fps of viewport playback speed in smooth shaded. I switched from smooth shaded (F3) to mesh view (F4) and got 180 fps playback.

    I rendered out a quick draft image of another project and it was spot on, took about 50% longer than native but the ease of which I can do this while still in OSX is great.

    I also launched the game TERA thinking no way would this work, surprisingly it did, I did a quick Broker (Same as Auction House) check and managed a few sales then logged out. I could probably have played the game too but didn't test it for that long. No corruption, all worked spot on.

    Will carry on using it as a proper development environment and see how things progress but so far will be buying the full version.

    Cheers
    Anim
     
  2. Anim, May 29, 2014
    Last edited: May 30, 2014

    Anim thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Anim

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2011
    Location:
    Macclesfield, UK
    #2
    Benchmark

    Speed test:

    New scene, create 20k poly teapot (13 segs) and duplicate it as copies so you have them arranged in a 3 x 3 grid. Create a camera and assign a Position Path constraint (onto a circle shape) so that it spins around the teapots and looking down at them over 100 frames. Press 7 to display FPS and hit Play.

    3DSMax Driver - Direct3D 9
    ==================
    Wireframe = 350 fps
    Smooth and Highlights = 350 fps
    Smooth and Highlights + Edged = 350 fps
    Manual Viewport rotation = 390 fps

    3DSMax Driver - Direct3D 10
    ==================
    Wireframe = 100 fps
    Smooth and Highlights = 250 fps (Teapot lid shows through to background)
    Smooth and Highlights + Edged = 100 fps (Shows all edges as triangles)
    Manual Viewport rotation = 29 fps

    Open GL
    ======
    Wireframe = 127 fps
    Smooth and Highlights = 40 fps
    Smooth and Highlights + Edged = 31 fps
    Manual Viewport rotation = 31 fps

    So for performance choose Direct 3D9 although single face or disconnected faces on objects may flicker if they have no extrusion. Same happens in OpenGL.

    Don't bother with Direct 3D10 as it has issues, mainly showing all triangles (in edged mode) rather than polys and some backface culling issues. Also, if your scene has HW shading enabled on a viewport then it won't even display it. Although Direct 3D10 does not have the flicker issue as mentioned on DX9 and OpenGL

    EDIT: Ok, the flickering issue was a plane object (single face) that intersects objects. I guess this is ordering issue with the driver fighting over what's in front and whats behind. To stop the flickering I just moved my ground plane down by 0.1 units so nothing on it was in the same coordinate space.

    Hope this is helpful to some.

    Anim
     

    Attached Files:

  3. Anim thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Anim

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2011
    Location:
    Macclesfield, UK
    #3
    And for those that want to see TERA running on OSX

    One shot is on max quality, the other is on min quality. FPS is shown in the bottom right corner.
     

    Attached Files:

  4. Darwin36 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2013
    #4
    Many thanks for these insights Anim, i'm planning a purchase of a nMP by years end and use MotionBuilder and some other bits and pieces for an aspect of my academic research and pondered these virtualisation software machines. I currently run bootcamp on my MBP 2011 15 and have no issues but it is a little bit of a hardship swapping to windows for that one bit of motionbuilder work and switching back to mac for the other aspects of my research.

    do autodesk products play well with win8 in general? im a win7 guy and was a bit hurt when they said win8 only

    Finally, as a novice with virtualisation, as you used your bootcamp partition as the source of your virtualisation, is it possible to use bootcamp again or is it permanently changed for use with parallels?
     
  5. Anim thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Anim

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2011
    Location:
    Macclesfield, UK
    #5
    I'm a windows 7 guy too but after some fiddling with Windows 8 I managed to get the old desktop and start button back, non of that slide rubbish.

    Max 2011 installed and runs perfectly on Windows 8.1 but can't vouch for the others. I guess it is more down to third party drivers if you use any specialist hardware where Windows 8 may hiccup.

    As to bootcamp, Parallels did something, not sure what but it connected to my existing bootcamp when setting up, if I reboot into Windows natively it's the same copy. One nice thing I found is Copy and Paste works across both systems, just copy from desktop in windows (i.e. a image rendering) then click on the OSX desktop and paste. Really simple and saves me having to use the network drives as an in-between. I also believe that Time Machine can backup the windows volume via Parallels somehow too but I have not tried it yet.

    As I use PhotoShop on the Mac I don't need to have it installed in both OS's which saves on space as well.

    Windows takes around 4 seconds to load up via Parallels so there is practically no down time if I need something quickly from windows.

    So far, really happy with it, Working on a client job today and so far haven't bothered running native windows while working in Max, something I didn't expect and no slow down in production (obviously hardware rendering would need to run native or any realtime GPU rendering would benefit from native windows boot)

    Anim
     
  6. BigZero macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 25, 2014
    #6
    Hi Anim, thanks for the useful information. I'm planning on getting a nMP myself but i'm still not sure how those AMD cards will perform with OpenCL realtime GPU rendering. Are you using Vray with your 3ds Max? If so could you test OpenCL Activeshade with the D700?
    Thank you very much for your time.
     
  7. antonis macrumors 68000

    antonis

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2011
    #7
    Yes, it's a feature of both Parallels and VMware Fusion. If there is an existing bootcamp partition, they offer the option to use that as a VM (although it's not) instead of creating a new virtual disk and go through a new installation.

    Yes, that's also a long-time feature of both aforementioned virtualization s/w, as long as the parallels/vmware tools are installed in the virtual machine (this allows all this copy-paste, drag n drop etc). Also mind that you don't need to use a real network drive to exchange files - there's the option to map Mac drives/folders to the virtual machine and vice versa.

    Well, you don't want to do that. Generally speaking, virtual machine's disks are represented by a single file on the host. Meaning that this file will constantly change, therefore time machine will always get the entire file every time it tries to get the changes. For a bootcamp installation, though, I'm not sure if this is even possible (e.g. adding the mounted windows volume to the time machine's list of backup folders). Even if the TM allows you such thing, I doubt you'll be able to restore it effectively after a problem on the windows side. You'll be much better with a native backup solution on the windows side for that matter.

    Keep using the best of both worlds and have fun.
     
  8. sirio76 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2013
    #8
    VrayRT seems to work fine with the dual D700(I've seen a video on cgarchitect.com), don't know how fast they are though.. I'll ask for some benchmark.
     
  9. Darwin36 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2013
    #9
    This is all a great education for me, thanks guys.

    When you say these VMs use an existing bootcamp and you can actually boot back into the partition like you would normal bootcamp (alt on restart), are any changes present in the bootcamp that you might have changed/added when booting it using a VM. Is that an overly confusing?
     
  10. m4v3r1ck, May 30, 2014
    Last edited: May 30, 2014

    m4v3r1ck macrumors 68020

    m4v3r1ck

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2011
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #10
    I like VMware Fusion

    Yes, you can! When creating a new VMware you have two options:

    [​IMG]

    That's why I'm very excited about Fusion, when you start the VM (created via option #1) the icon on your desktop disappears and the partition gets locked by Fusion. After shutdown, the bootcamp drive becomes available again and reappears to the desktop again. Want to continue natively (GPU), simply reboot into Windows.

    -/- no native use of GPU's (yet)

    [​IMG]

    Working in Fusion = working on your BC partition! Very easy for me.

    Good luck choosing yours! Just test WMware Fusion 6 (free trial) and see for yourself.

    ~ Cheers
     
  11. Anim thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Anim

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2011
    Location:
    Macclesfield, UK
    #11
    I do have VRay but its is 1.5.x not 2 or the latest 3, I also have RT (the realtime render viewport) with it but its the old version as well and I don't think it supported AMD back then, just CUDA. I haven't bothered connecting the dongle up yet as remember it was a pain last time and the current projects all use Unity shaders anyway so no need for beauty renders (yet). I have a friend that writes tutorials for the Chaos Group so will ask him if he has had the chance to test a D3/5/700 card.

    As to Parallels vs Fusion, that debate has been going on for a long time but as I was only concerned with 3DSMax, that's where I concentrated my research and chose to try Parallels based on reviews and the fact that Parallels themselves show 3DSMax in one of their promotional videos:

    (1:33 seconds in)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bysikWgkm4
     
  12. Anim thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Anim

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2011
    Location:
    Macclesfield, UK
    #12
    The only change I have noticed is on games where I lower the quality, when I boot back to windows (using Alt at startup) I have to set them back to high quality. Also, if you change your resolution / palettes or other window arrangements in apps then these will be retained by the app when you launch it next time, regardless if it is Bootcamp or VM.

    Other than that, no. Its the same windows before I installed Parallels.
     
  13. Anim thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Anim

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2011
    Location:
    Macclesfield, UK
    #13
    Windows Activation just popped up in the VM, boo

    Ok, after a bit of messing about, had to use the automated activation service form Microsoft by entering lots of numbers into boxes.

    1. Control Panel->system->Activate
    2. Then select the Call Option (because it wouldn't accept my valid key)
    3. Select country
    4. Call the number, wait, tell the automated system your numbers shown on screen, finally input the numbers they give you back and click Activate

    Was a bit worried that activating windows in the VM would deactivate my bootcamp, it didn't and both are activated with the one key. I checked by switching back and forth 3 times to make sure both stayed activated.
     
  14. Riwam, May 30, 2014
    Last edited: May 30, 2014

    Riwam macrumors 6502a

    Riwam

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2014
    Location:
    Basel, Switzerland
    #14
    Virtualiizations allow Snapshots as Backups

    [Quote Anim] I also believe that Time Machine can backup the windows volume via Parallels somehow too but I have not tried it yet.

    ............................
    Both VMWare Fusion and Parallels allow you to take Snapshots, a perfect backup system.
    If something goes wrong you can always return to the working Snapshot state.
    It is advisable to make a Snapshot before trying some new thing or installing a new software or a new version of an existing one.
    The only disadvantage is that Snapshots take space on the HD but you can erase those unneeded and keep one for safety.
     

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