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Quadcore uses only 25% for big rendering tasks

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May 8, 2007 5:06:37 PM

My computer is running with intels QX6700 Core2Extreme, and I use it specifically for 3-D and photographic designs. (OS: XP64)

however, when I start one rendering task, only one core gets the job (25% CPU usage).
I can easily start 3 programs like Autodesk 3DSmax and Photoshop CS2, and let every single program render a scene, and then the CPU usage reaches 75% and windows still runs well...

could i get 75% CPU usage with one single rendering task?
every rendering process COULD be 3 times faster done...
maybe theres some software to control this??

please help me out!!
thnxx!!
madmike..
a b à CPUs
May 8, 2007 5:31:44 PM

You have discovered the crux of multiprocessor computing...

If you have one process that generates one thread, then it will tax only one processor with that one thread to finish that one process.

You have to have applications that are capable of multithreading in order to tax all the processors, or be able to run multiple threads at the same time and assign the tasks to any of the available idle processors.

As we see newer operating systems and applications take better advantage of the hardware available, you will see less idle processor time and better performance throughput from multiprocessor machines (and I'm not just talking about being able to write an email while burning a DVD and rendering a Flash movie in the background). For instance, if you are talking about a 3D rendering program, being able to render several frames in parallel as opposed to rendering each frame in serial would speed up performance since each frame would be treated as a single thread that could be assigned to any processor which is idle.

It will take a shift in programming before we all feel the advantage of multiprocessor machines, but once this starts to happen, there will be a palpable difference in performance, rather than the lackluster 25% utilization you are seeing now on a quadcore system.
May 8, 2007 5:46:00 PM

I think that CS3 is supposed to multi-thread better. I don't really know anything about 3D rendering though.

-mcg
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May 8, 2007 5:47:45 PM

MadMike,

First, your nick brings screams to folks around here so please do not be alarmed if you hear some folks giving you some #$%^ about it. It is not you but a former member that had some issues with a very similar nick.

Second, the problem you are running into is called OS priority scheme. In essence the OS assigns a priority to each process and the OS level processes receive the highest of those priorities.

You may hear of this as "Nice or Nicing" a process. Upgrading the priority of a process.

Try reading/doing the info here:

MS_INFO_FOR_PROCESS_PRIORITY

Give that a try and let me know how it looks after that.

Be advised that you can set priority "too high" and cause other things to "wait".

Hope this helps!!
May 8, 2007 5:49:06 PM

strange I thought that Photoshop was able to take advantage of multiple threads for a while now.
May 8, 2007 5:51:22 PM

AFAIK most higher end 3D apps are optimised to support multi-core out of the box, 3Dsmax certainly should be among them.

What about that boot ini "set uptimer" thingy that I've seen mentioned elsewhere that can help an XP box make better use of multi core cpu's?
May 8, 2007 5:57:15 PM

hmmm. AFAIK These programs are meant to be multithreaded. I can't really help you since i'm not a graphics design kinda guy, but i'm sure someone around here can help you.

edit: Woops, must have hit the reply button about 10 minutes ago :p 
May 8, 2007 5:58:21 PM

You also should look at the programs you're using. I'm not too familiar with 3d rendering either, but it is highly math intensive.. I'd be surprised if any "professional" packages don't use multiprocessing, since unlike many other applications, you -would- get a huge benefit from multiple cores. There may be a setting to enable it, or another rendering program might work better.

I ran across a blog post from one of the Photoshop devs. He claims photoshop does use multiple processors, but that their problem is memory bandwidth - the images are so big that there simply isn't enough memory bandwidth available to feed both cores (a single image file can be 2 gig, which is the max a 32-bit application has access to! No room left for working space)
May 8, 2007 6:04:17 PM

If just depends how well the application is multi-threaded.

The app may be able to run different tasks each on a seperate thread and hence make use of the multiple processors but a given task may not be multi-threaded. As a result if a single task is doing some serious computing you would still see what you see.

There really is nothing you can do to improve performance from a Windows standpoint.

A software update may help, but I would ask in the vendor's forums.
a b à CPUs
May 8, 2007 6:07:40 PM

There are various programs on the Internet that set affinity automatically for you. More for dual core than quad core.
May 8, 2007 6:14:29 PM

But affinity will not help his situation.

The application is already doing this since when he runs multiple instances of rendering, they load does get put on different CPUs.

That would really only help if everything kept getting stuck on CPU0 and nothing ever cascased to CPUs 1-3.
May 8, 2007 6:17:04 PM

Zen,

Please look at my post.

He can improve by giving more time to the process via Priority settings.
a b à CPUs
May 8, 2007 6:40:13 PM

Quote:
strange I thought that Photoshop was able to take advantage of multiple threads for a while now.


Me too. I have an old copy of Photoshop 7 and Premiere 6.5 that I haven't installed yet on my new build (QX6700 with 4 gigs memory). But I have installed Photoshop Elements 3 and will check it tonight to see how it multithreads.

One of the first things I did after installing XP MCE and Vista 64 in a dual-boot setup on the new rig, was to look at DVDShrink's multitasking. I ran 2 instances of it - two DVD burners :)  - and looked at what Task Manager reported for # threads and core loading. I'll try to hunt up the screen shots if anybody is interested, but what I recall is that in XP, Shrink loaded 3 cores pretty evenly with the 4th core loaded much less. In Vista 64, all 4 cores were loaded equally and the total time for analyzing and recoding to 60% original size was reduced noticeably too.

So if DVDShrink, which hasn't been updated in what - 2 years now? - multitasks well, I'm surprised Adobe can't make Photoshop or Premiere perform well too.
May 8, 2007 7:07:44 PM

Quote:
Zen,

Please look at my post.

He can improve by giving more time to the process via Priority settings.


Scheduling only really comes into effect when the cpu is at its max. If its idle then the application is getting all the cpu it needs. If a lot of cpu is in use the prorities will weight towards what application gets a time slice.
May 8, 2007 7:13:21 PM

Yes, increasing priority is likely to have very minimal effect.

This would really only do something is there were other major threads stealing significant time. If that was the case, he could then use affinity to keep Process A and Process B on different CPUs. This would likely be more effective than setting a very high priority on the task.

Example - If he said that everytime his AV Updated kicked in, his CS2 slowed to a crawl, he could set CS2 and the AV Updater to use different CPUs. This would work because CS2 basically sticks to one CPU and he would then be able to keep other high utilitzation tasks off that CPU.
May 8, 2007 7:22:51 PM

Quote:
My computer is running with intels QX6700 Core2Extreme, and I use it specifically for 3-D and photographic designs. (OS: XP64)

however, when I start one rendering task, only one core gets the job (25% CPU usage).
I can easily start 3 programs like Autodesk 3DSmax and Photoshop CS2, and let every single program render a scene, and then the CPU usage reaches 75% and windows still runs well...

could i get 75% CPU usage with one single rendering task?
every rendering process COULD be 3 times faster done...
maybe theres some software to control this??

please help me out!!
thnxx!!
madmike..

Photoshop is now lagging when it comes to multithreading (I think CS3 uses only 2 threads max) and bit support (critical when you work on large files) but I have to say that you don't know your software very well, because on the 3DSMax renderer you should have an option to turn on multithreading or even control the number of threads you want to use. I use Blender and both of it's main renderers (the internal and Yafray) let you specify the number of threads you want to use; one for each core to fully utilize your CPU.
May 8, 2007 7:37:46 PM

mad mike ....max should use all the cores. I am running max 8 sp 3, with a dual core cpu on winxp sp2 ....rendering with scanline renderer..see screen grab.

What renderer are you using in max ?
what version of max ?[/img]
vray im pretty sure is multithreaded,not sure about mental ray..
That will make a difference.
smudgee

May 8, 2007 8:03:42 PM

oh so theres no confusion, or you think i photoshoppd it..

May 8, 2007 8:03:52 PM

What do you think? It's a quad-core super bad arse chip but the thing is, it's not fully used since I don't think there's a program or software that could fully utilized the quad core. Gaming, not that great as dual core is still the man. Give it a year or so and quad cores will be the norm.
May 8, 2007 8:24:31 PM

Mad mike, i know youre having problems with yours, but please dontbeleive all this cock n bull that folks are writing about apps not using all cores , they dont know what they are saying.

2 more screen grabs.




smudgee
May 8, 2007 8:44:36 PM

Quote:
What do you think? It's a quad-core super bad arse chip but the thing is, it's not fully used since I don't think there's a program or software that could fully utilized the quad core. Gaming, not that great as dual core is still the man. Give it a year or so and quad cores will be the norm.

Don't talk about rendering like it was gaming; rendering software supports multithreading and even distributed rendering over the LAN more or less from the appearance of dual socket, server motherboards. I know people who had a dual Pentium Pro board and had 3DSMax fully utilize both of the CPUs. That's why in rendering, there is not any problem about software catching up in multithreading; Blender is a relatively new name in the industry and only the crappy internal render lets me chose up to 8 threads and if I had something like a dual Q6600, I'd show you how I maxed all the 8 cores :wink: .
May 8, 2007 8:55:53 PM

Quote:
are u usuing some odd plug in ...like hair n fur or something thats perhaps not multi threaded..?

Shadow map calculation too isnt multithreaded it ithink....check out this discussion


http://discussion.autodesk.com/thread.jspa?messageID=55...

smudgee

He's not enabling as many threads as he needs; that's all. If it was the plugin, it would affect at most the pre-render phase but the render passes HAVE to be multithreaded if the renderer is.
May 8, 2007 9:02:05 PM

Quote:
are u usuing some odd plug in ...like hair n fur or something thats perhaps not multi threaded..?

Shadow map calculation too isnt multithreaded it ithink....check out this discussion


http://discussion.autodesk.com/thread.jspa?messageID=55...

smudgee

He's not enabling as many threads as he needs; that's all. If it was the plugin, it would affect at most the pre-render phase but the render passes HAVE to be multithreaded if the renderer is.

M25 youre dead right.
AAAAARARRARR found it. multithreading option preferences.


Your so right , one cant talk about this as if its gaming.

smudgee
May 8, 2007 9:12:26 PM

Can't really tell you man; the last time I used 3DSMAx was some 2-3 years ago and then I was just experimenting with 3D SW, I merely knew how to put together a nice beginner's render but that was all.
May 8, 2007 9:13:10 PM

On my E6600, 3DSMax 5 uses 100% of both cores when rendering - that's using XP Home.

Maybe the problem lies with using a 32-bit application on a 64-bit operating system (just a WAG :)  )
May 8, 2007 9:16:08 PM

well, m25 was right...theres an option in preferences to enable multithreading...
heres the pik one more time in case the OP misses it on the previous page.



smudgee
May 8, 2007 9:26:36 PM

Quote:
well, m25 was right...theres an option in preferences to enable multithreading...
heres the pik one more time in case the OP misses it on the previous page.



smudgee

DAMN STUPID way to represent such an important option :evil:  That's why I hate 3DSMax; everything in the interface looks, feels and essentially works the same; not bad in theory, but it really makes you depressed after working for a while.
May 8, 2007 9:30:17 PM

hello!

thanks first for your answerz!!!
first some comments:
@chess 11:
i tried changing the priority of the process, but it just continued rendering at 25%. even after a restart of the process...

@m25:
you might be right about me not knowing everything about 3DSmax, i just started exploring its enormous possibilities... (wow...) but, the multi-threading option is enabled.

@smudgee:
yes, we are talking about serious rendering, not moving around some meshes.
my version of 3DS is 8.0, and i'm using the default scanline renderer.

i recieved a link to a program called SMPseesawpro, i'm about to try it right now... it should enable you to aplly one thread to more cores(?)...

i'll keep you informed!!!
May 8, 2007 9:30:44 PM

Quote:
well, m25 was right...theres an option in preferences to enable multithreading...
heres the pik one more time in case the OP misses it on the previous page.



smudgee

DAMN STUPID way to represent such an important option :evil:  That's why I hate 3DSMax; everything in the interface looks, feels and essentially works the same; not bad in theory, but it really makes you depressed after working for a while.

lol that was the third time I looked thru that particular tab too.
Man that should make for nice rendering times now, I hope the OP posts back showing his success...Im so jealous hes gota quad.
May 8, 2007 9:45:36 PM

@mad mike ....oh hell . no luck with that uh ?.


Well i just tried turning off "multithreading" , and yes it took it back to only one core rendering.

er..how much ram you got ?I know that sounds silly but.....video apps like after affects (cs3..or cs2 with gridion nucleo plugin) , want a ton more in order to split threads. I dont think kthis would affect max tho'....just an idea.
Ive only 2gig and its fine.
smudgee
May 8, 2007 9:46:11 PM

Take a look at where my Blender has this option; even a dumb dummy will run into it.

It's hard to learn at the beginning but it's very intuitive; that's why I love it's interface.
May 8, 2007 9:50:51 PM

Quote:
Mad mike, i know youre having problems with yours, but please dontbeleive all this **** n bull that folks are writing about apps not using all cores , they dont know what they are saying.


What? Are you saying games arent the only programs that exist? 8O :D 
May 8, 2007 10:02:23 PM

hey smudgee,

my system has got 4 gigs @ 800MHz... seems enough to me,
just for the record: it all runs on a ASUS P5W64 WS Pro mainboard, 720W enermaxx infinity supply, 2x500G SATA 7200 Rpm...

It is all pretty good matched together, it runs like hell, like i said i can run 3 rendering tasks simultaniously and still burn a cd and scroll my database of pictures.... just awesome...

but rendering one set of frames in a record time? forget it...
May 8, 2007 10:07:53 PM

Have you checked the option smudgee suggested with his last screenshot; it will work for sure:
May 8, 2007 10:16:08 PM

@Madmike80...sorry it was a long shot....4gigs is beauty plenty.

Im stuck now as too suggest anything. I dont use win64 either so......max has beeen multithreaded for a long time now. If you google it, pages are filled with max being almost the epitome of multithreading..//well known for its great multithreading etc.


frustrating...
Have you tried it with a different scene....?
smudgee
May 8, 2007 10:36:42 PM

why dont you ask this question on a 3d forum where people might have run into this kind of thing.
May 8, 2007 10:37:53 PM

heyy..

@smudgee:
different scene... what scene?? sorry i'm as i told not all that familiar with 3ds, i'm just starting to explore it. maybe its multithread applications work well, but not on my system, too bad. it's not only 3ds, also PS, Ulead 3Dcool studio, Fruityloops v7, reason... and so on... every single program just uses a single f#kkng core (sorry for cursing...), whatever the program is...

@m25:
yes, i tried the option, it was already enabled. i desperately tried to disable it, but no difference...

as if my 64bit windows XP would not support multi-threading???
if something has to be be the problem, its my guess its the OS...
frustrating it is...
May 8, 2007 10:47:19 PM

Quote:

as if my 64bit windows XP would not support multi-threading???

if something has to be be the problem, its my guess its the OS...
frustrating it is...
Out of the discussion! It's what I use now and it works great; good 64 bit performance, without the still unjustified resource-hungriness of Vista. Keep checking the options; you will find the key to this problem for sure. Maybe some restrictions imposed on rendering or stuff like this.
May 8, 2007 11:01:14 PM

hello again!

@m25:
i totally agree with you that xp64 runs like a dream, better and much more stabile than the others, but it doesnt have any user-settings to change the multi-thread file handling...
(or i'm to blind to see them, always a possibility)

i'm about to go squeeze my pillow...
more tomorrow...
May 8, 2007 11:02:02 PM

@madmike...heres a test scene for max if u like. Its slightly old but ok.

http://rapidshare.com/files/30260915/maxscene001.rar.ht...


edit..oh you might have to untick "save to file" in the render window....as its set to render to f://..............or change it to "my desktop or something", or it wont work.
smudgee
May 8, 2007 11:09:20 PM

Quote:
Maybe the problem lies with using a 32-bit application on a 64-bit operating system (just a WAG :)  )


WAG? wives and girlfriends?
sorry its just what they call the slappers that see england footballers like posh spice with david beckham.
May 9, 2007 2:56:49 AM

WAG = Wild A$$ Guess :) 
May 9, 2007 4:11:16 AM

MadMike80...this may be your issue:

You're running 3DSMax 8 which is a 32bit program on a 64 bit OS...I'm not exactly sure about this, but in XP (a 32 bit OS) any program can only access 2 gigs of memory at once. I betting that when running a 32 bit program in a 64 bit OS, the same restriction happens. If you are then working with a super huge model that takes up most of this 2 gigs of addressable space, then while rendering the program will have to spend a lot of time swapping this model in and out of a page file, so in effect you are getting slowed down by disk access speed.

3DSMax 9 is available in a 64 bit version, so hopefully it will resolve this issue.
May 9, 2007 8:11:27 AM

Nothing to do with multithreading at all.
May 9, 2007 11:11:40 AM

hi guys,

i gave it a long night of sleep, and i think i will see if i can get photoshop CS3 (if available), and maybe a newer version of 3ds.

the thought that a downgrade to a dualcore CPU would speed things up compared to the quadcore... just makes you dazzle...

the reason i got my 64 bit OS is that it would not see all the 4 gigs and 4 cores in 32bit version... now it sees it all but it doesn't use it. what's the difference???

does anybody think that changing to vista might work? (just for the idea, regardless of gigs internal or software compatibility, just the multithreading item...)

greetz again!!
May 9, 2007 11:18:47 AM

Your setup is perfect and winXP x64 DOES use all 4 cores; just get your software to work properly and don't even think about changing anything.
May 9, 2007 12:18:14 PM

I know this is a crazy idea, but have you tried calling the software company or checked out their support FAQ website? Just a thought.
May 9, 2007 2:46:21 PM

another guess would be to reinstall your system drivers or even flash the bios to the latest version there maybe some underlying problem that has been solved out side of the software
May 9, 2007 2:53:10 PM

I can confirm that Lightwave3D renders using all 4 cores at 100%. It has been written for up to 16 threads for quite some time.

image
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