How to Maximize CPU Potential for Maya?

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Old 01 January 2013   #1
Unhappy How to Maximize CPU Potential for Maya?

Hi, good day.

I'm just wondering how I can maximize the potential of my CPU for my Maya purposes? Not yet for rendering, just overall workflow. Is there some sort of settings or tweaks that I can do?

Intel (R) Core (TM) i7-3630 QM, 2.4GHz
8GB
NVIDIA geforce 610M, 2GB
Windows 7 Ultimate Service Pack 1

and I'm running Maya 2012 64 bit.

Sometimes, my Maya crashes or lags and when I check my processes/performance, the memory goes up to 62% and my RAM barely reaches 7%. :( Am I doing something wrong? Is there any way that I could possibly allocate the RAM I have to my Maya? :(
 
Old 01 January 2013   #2
NVIDIA geforce 610M, 2GB


This is your problem right here. That card is really going to be a bottleneck for Maya's Viewport, as it's basically the weakest possible graphics card available.

Sometimes, my Maya crashes or lags and when I check my processes/performance, the memory goes up to 62% and my RAM barely reaches 7%.


I imagine you mean that the CPU usage goes up to 62%? RAM and memory are the same thing (Random Access Memory). Thus, the CPU usage and memory usage are often independent of each other. That's not abnormal. Your CPU is already "maximized" for Maya, but you could look into ProcessLasso if you'd like to further enhance your performance.

I would suggest building or buying a nice 3D workstation if you intend to do some serious Maya-work; a decent laptop for Maya will be very expensive compared to a decent desktop workstation, and even at their best laptops are still weaker for number-crunching.
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Old 01 January 2013   #3
Make sure you update your maya to the last service pack too.
 
Old 01 January 2013   #4
Originally Posted by InfernalDarkness: I imagine you mean that the CPU usage goes up to 62%? RAM and memory are the same thing (Random Access Memory). Thus, the CPU usage and memory usage are often independent of each other. That's not abnormal. Your CPU is already "maximized" for Maya, but you could look into ProcessLasso if you'd like to further enhance your performance.


Aww man. I'm sorry. I meant the Physical Memory and the CPU usage. :( Also, I checked this:

http://www.notebookcheck.net/NVIDIA...0M.63759.0.html

I guess it's really like you say it is. :( Thank you so much for the kind replies.
 
Old 01 January 2013   #5
Please don't feel chided or picked on or anything, we've all used sub-par computers (even the great ones have issues, too!). My first workstation at this company had a Quadro graphics card in it for Maya, which are the professional line versions of their Geforce gaming cards. The only problem was that it was a Quadro 370, which was the lowest, weakest card they had on the market that year! So for six months it was a real strain, then I convinced the boss to get me a Geforce GTX250 (old card, now!) and it was much better, even though it was just a midrange gaming card...

I ramble. But for your next computer, pay close attention to the graphics card!
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"Like stone we battle the wind... Beat down and strangle the rains..."
 
Old 02 February 2013   #6
Smile

Nah. It's okay. We're cool. I'll just have to make do with this current laptop. And then I'll go render scenes on our school's laboratory.

By the way, since we're on the topic already, would you mind recommending specs for a 3d workstation? Uhm, let's not mind the price first, as I'm thinking something that will last. And, though I'd really *really* hate to start this topic, is buying an iMac/Mac Pro a better option than building your own computer?

I wish this doesn't stray too far from the current thread but...yeah. :|
 
Old 02 February 2013   #7
Ah! that's exactly the question I also wanted to ask. My problem is, that I rigged my high poly model (19k) and I can barrely move it because the viewport updates too slowly. So it is the graphics card? Nothing else? I also run Maya on a 64 bit. But good thing Maya doesn't crash.

What workstation would you recommend? I really don't know on what I should pay attention to when buying a PC made for 3D - or better components. Like description keywords on the parts numbers wicht indicate that they are better than the ones before and and and.
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Old 02 February 2013   #8
My problem is, that I rigged my high poly model (19k) and I can barrely move it because the viewport updates too slowly. So it is the graphics card? Nothing else?


@Sundaynights: Yes, the Viewport display is powered almost entirely by the GPU. Maya tells the GPU what to draw and how (OpenGL) and then the Viewport is rendered, similar to how a 3D video game renders its graphics. The CPU is involved to some extent as it processes what to tell the GPU to render in the Viewport, though. This differs from application like Zbrush where the CPU is used to perform viewport rendering; GPUs are much faster and more parallel at this task, thus their importance. Your CPU will have 2 to 16 cores depending on the model, which may run at 2-5GHz or so. Your GPU will have hundred of cores running at 500-800 MHz or so, thus they run slower but there are many more data paths (parallel computing). This is a very basic explanation of how these things work.

19K polys is not a lot of polygons to work with, to be honest. Many of my scenes have millions and billions of polys, although my scenes are usually static and don't have animated characters or anything like that. Often you can fix or at least mitigate some issues with proper, udpated drivers. But that said, often the latest drivers aren't the best ones. And if you have "Intel HD4000" onboard graphics, forget 3D content creation work. You're going to need an Nvidia or AMD GPU.

Generally graphics cards are labelled the same as many other electronics - the higher the model number, the better the card. The first number will be the "series" - Geforce GTX 660 for example will be the Geforce 6 series, or AMD Radeon 7950 will be the Radeon 7000 series. These are the only two viable brands to choose from in today's graphics race - Nvidia (Geforce, Quadro, Tesla cards) or AMD (previously ATI, they make Radeons and FireGL cards). And thus, the Geforce 690 will be better than the 660 or 670 and considered "flagship" for that series, and the Radeon 7950 would be better than the 7850 or 7900, and also considered "flagship".

But there's a lot more too it unfortunately; it's not quite that simple. "Flagship" graphics cards are often for gaming, consisting of two 680s or two 7850s (for example) on one physical card. For games this is great; for CGI this means nothing, as Maya and most 3D programs will only be able to access one of those GPUs anyway. So the 680 would/should perform, for Maya, just like the 690, but cost half the price. Thus, for Maya one should never purchase one of these flagship dual-GPU models.

It gets even murkier though when you get into laptops. First off, laptop GPUs are always weaker than their desktop counterparts. They have lower power consumptions to keep heat under control and therefore won't do as much math in the same time-frame. Second, their model numbers are quite often misleading or obnoxious: a Geforce 680M (mobile) is NOT the same chip as the GTX 680 desktop card. They are usually labeled this way so you know that the 680M is the top of the line for laptops, though. Both companies do these labeling shenanigans though, so it's a toss up on which brand is more obnoxious, really. Both however make good products.

If you want good recommendations, head over to the Hardware section and post a thread. My builds are great for Maya, but also a lot of work to set up and maintain sometimes, so unless you're comfortable building your own a pre-built one might be a better option.

And, though I'd really *really* hate to start this topic, is buying an iMac/Mac Pro a better option than building your own computer?


This is your thread, silly! You can ask whatever you like. But for a more objective take on the topic, post the question in the Hardware forum? You'll get a lot more opinions, and have a wider array of arguments and suggestions. I personally would never use a Mac, never buy one, and never suggest one to anyone for CG work or any other reason. You have a limited selection of GPUs to choose from, with them, especially with the iMac. They're overpriced and underpowered and you're paying for a fruit label, although their Pro cases are well-designed. For the price though, they better be - many other cases are even better-designed, and much cheaper and more flexible. But I am a "nerd" and build all my own 3D workstations, and have studied computers my entire life. Most people are not comfortable assembling a computer from scratch, and beyond that diagnosing and fixing any problems that occur. And some people are totally capable of doing so, but either too lazy or too busy, depending on how they view themselves.

For some people it's easier to just get a Mac and put Windows on it, albeit more expensive obviously This really comes down to personal preference and budget, so please do your own research and don't just take my word for it. It can be a touchy topic - but keep in mind it's computer parts we're talking about, not religion, ethics, or morality! There are zero reasons to be loyal or fanatic about corporate branding. It's not a Mac vs. PC debate despite Apple's hype - Macs are personal computers too.
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64KB RAM
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"Like stone we battle the wind... Beat down and strangle the rains..."
 
Old 02 February 2013   #9
I detect most people who roam these boards aren't animators, but mostly modelers, previs, architectural, character setup people and their typical response is focusing on the graphics card, which is justified is all you do are those things and fly-thru animations. However if you're *deforming* geometry like what is done in character animation, or dynamics simulation or rendering the strength of your gaming graphics card is less important than the strength of the processor. And you've got a good one. However, if you want more speed and a lighter wallet, a pro graphics card is the only way to go, not a Geforce, as one like this actually share the burden with the CPU. Cool stuff:

http://www.nvidia.com/object/workst...ions-tesla.html

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

P.S. My workstation is a phenom II x6 1090T 3.2 and originally only had GTS 250 and it gave me 20fps with 2 fully animated near feature quality rigs.
I added a Geforce GTX 570ti (overclocked by EVGA themselves) and I get 20fps. :/
but it can handle loading in huge scenes with 100x higher polygon count without crashing and viewport orbiting is very fast.

Last edited by egglybagelface : 02 February 2013 at 12:50 AM.
 
Old 02 February 2013   #10
I usually have 4 instances of Maya.exe open as it's so terrible at multi threading I'll have one instance of Maya softening a model's edges, another one combining mesh and then the master scene open, usually a third one chugging away on 12% doing something....
 
Old 02 February 2013   #11
P.S. My workstation is a phenom II x6 1090T 3.2 and originally only had GTS 250 and it gave me 20fps with 2 fully animated near feature quality rigs.
I added a Geforce GTX 570ti (overclocked by EVGA themselves) and I get 20fps. :/
but it can handle loading in huge scenes with 100x higher polygon count without crashing and viewport orbiting is very fast.


I'm running an 1100T overclocked here, with a GTX 560Ti. It handle large scenes very well too, but after a few million polys the viewport really lags, unless you're using Viewport 2, and then it'll take a long time to initialize. But you're correct, I mostly just do static arch/viz here, and once in awhile a landscape scene for fun.

I usually have 4 instances of Maya.exe open as it's so terrible at multi threading I'll have one instance of Maya softening a model's edges, another one combining mesh and then the master scene open, usually a third one chugging away on 12% doing something....


Now that is a very interesting solution, Hamburger! Does that work pretty well?
__________________
Commodore 64 @ 1MHz
64KB RAM
1541 Floppy Drive


"Like stone we battle the wind... Beat down and strangle the rains..."
 
Old 02 February 2013   #12
Well it seems like part of the solution is.. don't have everything visible in your scene file with textures and everything on all the time and the densest pieces of geometry you can load.

I don't know why people do this to themselves. You really should only display what you need for what you are doing at the time and there is a multitude of ways to hide parts of the scene and then render it to see the full results.
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Old 02 February 2013   #13
Originally Posted by InfernalDarkness: Now that is a very interesting solution, Hamburger! Does that work pretty well?


LOL - I had to write a new copy + paste MEL script (to remove _pasted among other things), it works fine now
 
Old 02 February 2013   #14
I don't know why people do this to themselves. You really should only display what you need for what you are doing at the time and there is a multitude of ways to hide parts of the scene and then render it to see the full results.


Well that's a really easy answer, my friend: "they" don't. Sure, there are various methods to deal with large geometry and complex scenes - and they're all workarounds.

Sure, you need to work within the computer's resources and know your limitations. But it's still simply not intuitive or artistically beneficial to always have to resort to such things. And rendering takes a great deal of time when you're trying to be creative on a deadline. So it's important to have the best hardware you can afford, because it can SAVE you that time to do it in preview (Viewport).

It is not intuitive or easy to work with bounding boxes, in a complex scene.



It's not even easy to select the objects when it's this dense and messy. Sure, proxies and stuff can help.



But given the architecture, and GPU evolution, working in realtime with the Viewport isn't that far away. And Viewport 2 of course promises many benefits that will bring this closer, faster. Thus I think urging people to get the best GPU within their budget is still a good idea.
__________________
Commodore 64 @ 1MHz
64KB RAM
1541 Floppy Drive


"Like stone we battle the wind... Beat down and strangle the rains..."
 
Old 02 February 2013   #15
Thumbs up Thank you guys!

Hey guys, thank you for the answer! So I will definitly need to buy a good graphics card that does not outsorce to the CPU, and a good processor - if I got all of you right. And I might look up what viewport 2 is all about.

I allready know that I can make things quicker when not letting everything show up in the scene. But still it is very slow by showing only the char in preview (without color) and the control curves.

I don't get that idea with the 4 open maya.exe's. How that works when modelling and stuff.... But I also model in Softimage and consider going back and forth since both have there advantages.

So, thanks from me again. I will jump over to the hardware thread and will read and learn more there about what is considered as good and high-performing with maya doing modelling and animation.
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