TheKitchenAbode

Processor Core Usage In Chief ?

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Hi Ed - Just sent another report down. I updated the driver as you suggested and ran the test twice. Looks like there was some improvement as it was more difficult to replicate the crash. Did it twice but only if I had all the cores set to max in the Preferences Raytrace. If I reduced the cores down by one I could not crash it no matter how rapidly I flipped through the catalogs. As I always run with the cores reduced by one this problem should not be an issue for me anymore. 

 

However overall performance is now noticeably slower. There is a definite lag in DBX pop ups and zooming in & out is now jittery. If I double click a camera view it is definitely slower to generate. With a Raytrace tab open I clicked on a closed camera tab, it took about 4 seconds to transition. I think the best way to describe the effect is as others have, "it seems to be less snappy". It' like driving with your left foot resting on the brake.

 

Many thanks for your attention to this issue and also to the other forum members who are providing really great advice and guidance in an effort to get this resolved.

 

Graham

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This is interesting. I went to the Nvidia site and used their auto detect for updating drivers. It installed this driver 9.18.13.5012. System performance has significantly improved compared to 9.18.13.4752 that windows installed when I selected the update driver under device manager. With 9.18.13.4752 I also noticed a response reduction in other programs, they just did not pop up as quickly. With this new driver things seem to be back to normal. Will keep my fingers crossed.

 

Graham

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Looking more and more like a driver related issue. With this new version 9.18.13.5012 from Nvidia I could not get X7 to crash. All cores on Raytracing and very aggressive catalog flipping. I could force a not responding for a moment but everything recovered as I would have expected. As mentioned above overall system performance appears to be much improved.

 

I know drivers or compatibility with certain drivers is a known area of concern. It is also become apparent that the driver version you get when updating may vary according to how or who you update through. In my case the update driver in windows device manager installed a different version than the update driver detector on the Nvidia  website. The latter appears to be the better driver for me.

 

Once again Joe, your suspicion about my drivers along with Ed's forced me to set my ship on a new coarse, I can now see land on the horizon. :)  :)

 

Many Thanks,

Graham

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Hind sight is always 20/20 but you should always get

your driver updates from the respective vendor's web

site and not from Window's Update or Device Manager.

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I agree Rich and this was what I was doing up until the release of Windows 8. I was a very early adopter, was running the preview version before the public release. At that time there were a number of manufacturers who's drivers had comparability problems with Windows 8. The only real assurance was to rely solely on Microsoft approved drivers as supplied through their update process. This has been the only time in more than two years that I have encountered what appears to be a driver related issue.

 

At this stage I'm hesitant to say exactly what the cause is, is it just the driver, is it some change in Chief, is my system starting to show it's age. Maybe it's a combination of all three, a bit like the perfect storm. Seems for now things are working pretty good. Hopefully some other members who are experiencing sluggish performance may benefit from the discussions in this post and those of the respondents.

 

Graham

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The MS site is usually many versions behind what the vendor is with drivers. I'm not sure how they decide what to put up there. I generally don't trust that they have good drivers there. I've had many cases in the past where their drivers were bad but the hardware vendor had good drivers. But I've also seen it where the vendor driver was bad and the MS driver was good. So it is a bit of crap shoot when you update them.

 

Video card drivers are unfortunately one of the most unreliable parts of a computer. It has been this way from the release of the very first accelerated graphics cards and while their quality has improved dramatically over the years, they remain at the bottom of the heap with regard to reliability of computer parts.

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I still don't understand why I can put up X6 and X7 on the same computer and X7 is much slower using the same plan and the same settings.

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Perry, there's "other" stuff happening in the background that effects performance.  I'm not aware of everything going on, but one item would be to explicitly kill the four open TCP connections that CA insists on using. (X6 only had one persistent connection.)(one of which is port 80...really?  An unsecure HTTP connection? Dudes...)  There is no reason to keep these running once license check has run.

 

jon

 

everything is connected

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Thanks Jon, I was not aware of that. I'm not sure I could do anything about it anyway, but Chief can.

Chief, can you explain why we have 4 unsecure ports open in X7, when X6 had 1

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Four ports total, one unsecure...

 

Image, PID, Local Port, Remote Address, Remote Port
Chief Architect Premier X7.exe, 3724, 51320, 54.245.110.192, 443
Chief Architect Premier X7.exe, 3724, 51313, 54.244.88.174, 443
Chief Architect Premier X7.exe, 3724, 51312, 54.244.113.254, 80
Chief Architect Premier X7.exe, 3724, 51311, 54.244.113.254, 443

 

jon

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Done some further checking into drivers. Discovered a lot of gamers have been having similar issues, slower frame rates, game crashes and overall sluggish performance. Many have found that rolling back the driver to an earlier version helped them out. Why not? downloaded 9.18.13.2014 released date May 7, 2013. Did a custom install to eliminate stuff I don't need. Huge performance gain. Now running Raytrace with all 4 cores assigned (max), multiple tabs, multiple browser session, vid playing. Absolutely no problem at all. All cores running flat lined 100% steady for several hours yet everything is quick and smooth with a real sense of stability. Not sure my system has every performed this good. Even Raytraces appear to run much faster.

 

Maybe going backwards is better than forwards when it comes to some of these new updated drivers.

 

The attached Raytrace. 100 passes 25:51, that's only 16 sec per pass. All while multi-tasking.

 

Intel Quad Core Q6600 2.4GHz

4 GB Ram

Geforce 650 Ti 2GB

 

Graham

 

 

post-4793-0-80579800-1430422880_thumb.jpg

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All this talk of core usage and threading leads me to ask; Is anyone using a Zeon cpu, or two, and if so, how does this cpu perform compared to the i7? I ask because my pc's motherboard gave up today and I plan to build a new box just for Chief. I don't play or care about games. What I care about is faster high quality raytraced images.

All comments welcomed.

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I have a MB that uses dual Xeons. The processors are not that fast but the EVGA MB allows overclocking of the Xeons to max the throughput. The person who built this computer (I usually do all my own) measured the throughput (in gigaflops) of the 2 overclocked Xeons versus the fastest i7 that was available at the time and the 2 Xeons were better performers. They were NOT better without the slight OC. I went with this set up to quicken my RT times and it's about twice as fast as my older i7 OC'd to about 3.4 hz. Now no doubt the newer i7's would be faster than my current dual Xeon setup.

 

All this is to get to the point that if you use Xeons, find a way to measure throughput versus the newer i7s. Without that info you may not improve your RT performance and spend a LOT of money doing so..

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Xeons are a good choice. They perform better than i7s, plus if you do a dual CPU setup you can get even more cores working for you for ray tracing.

 

https://www.cpubenchmark.net/high_end_cpus.html

 

Doug, if Xeons are a better choice (recommended?), then I think Chief should add this to their Computer System Requirements web page. Currently the advice on the page only mentions i7 CPUs:

 

"A multi-core system, such as a system that uses a quad-core i7 processor, would be a good choice."

 

Also, I've read several times on this forum that we should get the "best gaming rig" you can afford. I don't know if this advice originated from users, or from someone at Chief. Xeon chips are pretty rare for consumer gaming rigs, and any google search will lead you to various conflicting opinions on i5/i7 vs Xeon. Is your opinion, as stated above, shared by the CA gurus who publish the System Requirements? Can I interpret your statement as an endorsement of Xeon over i5/i7 for future computer purchases?

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Not all Xeons perform better than i7's and I don't think Doug intended to imply such a thing. Check the passmark chart linked above. Those relative performances are probably a good indication of the Ray Trace performance you can expect. There are other factors of course. I was told that dual Xeons have a strange capacity to perform more than twice as fast as a single processor because of their internal architecture but that's a bit beyond my pay grade.

 

Again I think if you stuck with that chart and bought as much throughput as you can afford you'd be good for Ray Tracing.

 

Also remember Xeons can suck the power. I have 2 energy efficient processors that were chosen for that purpose as well.

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You need to do your homework to ensure that the Xeon benefits will be worth the investment. These are commercial grade processors designed primarily for heavy duty server applications where the processors are running flat out 247. Yes they may be faster than say their consumer grade I7s' equivalents under particular situations but this ability usually requires software that has been specifically written to utilize certain built-in architecture. Regular software that we tend to use may or may not recognize this and might actually perform better on a consumer version processors. This comparison on Toms Hardware, link below highlights some of this in their benchmarks.

 

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ivy-bridge-ep-xeon-e5-2697-v2-benchmarks,3585.html

 

They did run some 3d modeling software and the Xeons delivered exceptional performance, maybe with the new Raytrace core/thread optimization in X7 similar results might be reasonable to expect. While other software like Photoshop saw minimal benefit and in some functions the I7s were faster.

 

Unfortunately there is no 100% definitive answer. There are certain generalizations that can be made such as faster is always better, the more cores the better and so on. The real question is how much better and at what cost and will this benefit actually be realized by the user.

 

Graham

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Graham,

 

I hear you. I just wish CA would be willing to take a stance and commit to what is best/good/enough to run their software.

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Robert - I also would like some greater clarification as to hardware recommendations. I am certain that the difficulty lies in the fact that we are all doing many different things and as such it is likely impossible to define a minimum. The hardware required by an individual really relates to the complexity of the model. Chief alone will run on almost anything, I have systems with integrated graphics and dedicated graphics and with the work I do I really can't tell the difference between them. Technically one is better but I just don't see it.

 

Maybe they should have a Good, Better & Best type of guide based upon model complexity.

 

Graham

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It's not like haven't taken any stance. CA has clearly stated that gaming cards tend to work better than CAD cards for rendering. More/faster cores are better for RT's. But within those stances are subtleties that have to be recognized or you'll spend a lot of money for very little or no performance gain.

 

I told my guy I wanted RT power and told him what that meant for my software - all CPU, all the time. He chose a fast set of processors to serve that purpose. If someone wants to do fast RT'ing it will still require all CPU all the time and faster more cores is better according to CA.

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Larry - For RayTracing that's pretty well sums it up. It's a CPU horsepower process. The issue that I believe many are experiencing is when multi-tasking. To get maximum Raytrace throughput you need all cores assigned in X7. For some this results in a discernable lag while the RayTrace runs in the background. To overcome this the dedicated cores may need to be reduced. As with everything there is always a trade-off, multi-tasking runs better but RayTraces run slower.

 

I myself had this issue, after a lot of playing around the problem was traced down to my graphics driver. Contrary to popular belief, upgrade drives provide the best performance, I had to downgrade the graphics driver, now everything runs as it should, all cores assigned, CPU flat out 100% with more than acceptable multi-tasking while RayTracing. Considering my system is at least 8 years old I really can't complain. 

 

Graham

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Thank you to all for you thoughtful input. Everyone has their own experience and certain variables in each could/will impact results. My small amount of research leads me to the following cost effective system.

 

My Zeon 2620 Dual CPU Titan X 1 Edit Part List Edit Details Delete

 

I have 128 SSD for a boot and program drive (Win 8, Office 365 and X7) and 1 TB SATA for files. The best part is I need only buy one CPU and Fan to start and can upgrade later. The outstanding question is.. "go single" 8 or 6 core" and add the second CPU later. Will the additional 4 cores  justify the price?

 

CPU   $628.99  

 

CPU   $391.95

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You need to do your homework to ensure that the Xeon benefits will be worth the investment. These are commercial grade processors designed primarily for heavy duty server applications where the processors are running flat out 247. Yes they may be faster than say their consumer grade I7s' equivalents under particular situations but this ability usually requires software that has been specifically written to utilize certain built-in architecture. Regular software that we tend to use may or may not recognize this and might actually perform better on a consumer version processors. This comparison on Toms Hardware, link below highlights some of this in their benchmarks.

 

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ivy-bridge-ep-xeon-e5-2697-v2-benchmarks,3585.html

 

They did run some 3d modeling software and the Xeons delivered exceptional performance, maybe with the new Raytrace core/thread optimization in X7 similar results might be reasonable to expect. While other software like Photoshop saw minimal benefit and in some functions the I7s were faster.

 

Unfortunately there is no 100% definitive answer. There are certain generalizations that can be made such as faster is always better, the more cores the better and so on. The real question is how much better and at what cost and will this benefit actually be realized by the user.

 

Graham

Graham,

 

I saw the Tom's link, thank you. One thing I can't seem to find are recent (2015) comparison.

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Hi Scott, It's really hard to find current benchmarks on Xeon processors, try a general Google search "Xeon processor reviews" and see if something comes up.

 

In general the more cores you can afford the better, especially for multi-tasking. With the new Raytrace Core assignment it would allow you to better fine tune your system to find that sweet spot. If you plan to use 2 CPUs it is my understanding that they must be "exactly" the same, could be difficult to find if you wait too long.

 

Would also consider using a SSD for primary file storage. Your plan loading & saving will be a lot faster than the SATA Drive. You can use the SATA for archiving or less frequently used file storage.

 

Graham

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Guess I am still struggling with the "almost double the price on the 2630 over the 2620 for 2 additional cores. Logic would dictate go for the two cheaper units now and have 12 cores and hyper-threading (24 cores) for about the same price as 8 (16).. I could always upgrade the CPU's later when the price drop in a year or so. I am virtually dead-in-the-water and two commercial project waiting to be completed.

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