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OS X - Apps and Games Discussion of applications and games available for Mac OS X.

Multi Threading? App Specific.


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scarredtaka

 
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Hi, I am looking at buying an animation program. It says on it's web site it supports multithreading.

"NEW: xxx now supports multi-threaded rendering, taking advantage of the processing power of the multi-core and multi-processor systems now available. {Render Engine} can render on up to four threads simultaneously, which can be optimized for performance on your system to yield shorter render times for specific scenes."

How can I maximize the power of multithreading? Does rendering on 4 threads mean it can/will use 4 cores at once?

If so, would I then need a quad core mac, or a 2x duo core mac to get the full advantage of the 4 threads?

If I have a dual core machine, does that mean it will only be able to render on 2 threads?


Thanks

-ST-
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mathogre

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scarredtaka View Post
Hi, I am looking at buying an animation program. It says on it's web site it supports multithreading.

"NEW: xxx now supports multi-threaded rendering, taking advantage of the processing power of the multi-core and multi-processor systems now available. {Render Engine} can render on up to four threads simultaneously, which can be optimized for performance on your system to yield shorter render times for specific scenes."

How can I maximize the power of multithreading? Does rendering on 4 threads mean it can/will use 4 cores at once?

If so, would I then need a quad core mac, or a 2x duo core mac to get the full advantage of the 4 threads?

If I have a dual core machine, does that mean it will only be able to render on 2 threads?


Thanks

-ST-
The best one to answer it is the people who wrote the software. Write to them. Find a sales or customer support email address and send them the questions. They *should* be able to answer them.

That said, here's my guess.

The program probably allows you to specify the ability to use more than one thread, specifically up to four. Accordingly, when you're rendering an image, there will be at least four jobs running on your machine in support of the rendering. Four would run for the rendering job, and either one of those four or a fifth separate process would control the job.

Do you need four cores to do it? In theory if you had a four core machine, the application and OS could distribute the jobs among the cores. If you have two cores, you'd think two would work ideally. If you have only a single core machine, multithreading wouldn't be particularly appealing, at least on the surface. More on this next.

If the program is processor intensive - one thread can keep your CPU at 100% usage - then really you're looking at using one thread per core. You could run it in a multithread mode, spawning other render threads, but you'd be fighting against yourself. It would probably take longer to run, swapping jobs back and forth.

If the progam isn't taking the entire core all of the time, then you might be able to go with more than one thread per core. For instance, the program could be spending a considerable amount of time writing to disk. If so, you could potentially run 3 or 4 threads on a two core machine and realize some efficiency. Also, you could potentially run more than one thread on a single core machine. Still, my guess is that being a rendering program it will be very processor intensive, and you're probably looking at one thread, one core.

Hope this helps!

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jsgreen

 
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I'd also suggest asking if you can control how many threads the application uses, as well as how "greedy" the application gets in terms of system resources use. It could be that you can control the application so that it doesn't completely take over all resources.
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scarredtaka

 
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Thanks for the replies.

I really don't care how processor intensive it is, since when I tell it to render, it will be going all night. I just want to know if there will be a speed increase during the rendering (i.e. will it render the scene faster), vs an older version of the software that does not support multithreading.

And I'll probably send the manufacturer an email later.

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Aptmunich

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scarredtaka View Post
Thanks for the replies.

I really don't care how processor intensive it is, since when I tell it to render, it will be going all night. I just want to know if there will be a speed increase during the rendering (i.e. will it render the scene faster), vs an older version of the software that does not support multithreading.

And I'll probably send the manufacturer an email later.

-ST-
On a multi-cpu/core system you will see a speed increase over a single threaded version of that app, yes.

Each thread (or "job" to use a colloquial term) will be assigned to its own processor. That way, each processor can dedicate a larger percentage of its time to that job specifically.
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scarredtaka

 
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Thanks.

I kind of understand multithreading and the concept behind it. I have another program that supports multithreading, and when it is working, it graphically shows what each processor is doing.
What each processor is doing is shown with a number. It looks like this.

http://img215.imageshack.us/img215/5777/picture2me1.png

I am running on a dual core intel imac right now.

I unfortunately don't have access to any mac pro's right now.

This program is applying 1 thread to each core, correct?

If I were to move to a quad core machine, it should make 4 different render areas, correct?

-ST-
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mathogre

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scarredtaka View Post
If I were to move to a quad core machine, it should make 4 different render areas, correct?
All other things being equal, yes.

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