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Hardware Performance Discrepancy

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Lyle Patton
Hardware Performance Discrepancy
on Aug 18, 2016 at 1:02:31 am
Last Edited By Lyle Patton on Aug 18, 2016 at 2:08:57 am

I'm having problems wrapping my head around a hardware performance discrepancy. Here's the situation. I'm rendering the same AE composition on two different machines, a Desktop System and Laptop System. The hardware configuration for both are listed below. I would expect the desktop unit to vastly outperform the laptop but actually the reverse is happening. AE preferences for both units are essentially identical, both are running CS6. Desktop is running Windows 10 while Laptop is running Windows 8 however I don't believe it is related to the Operating System. I re-rendered a old AE project that had been rendered on the Desktop before the OS upgrade to 10 and render times were essentially identical. Can anyone shed any light on why the desktop is such a dog? Is there something obvious I'm overlooking? Any insights would be greatly appreciated.

DESKTOP:

Windows 10
Drives:
OS: SSD
Media Drive for Footage: RAID 0 7200 RPM Array
Output/Disk Cache/Media Cache Drive: 7200 RPM Platter Drive

CPU: i7-3960x hex-core 3.30 GHz
RAM: 32 GB
Video: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 570
Render Time: 31 min

LAPTOP
Windows 8
Drive: Single 5400 RPM Platter Drive
CPU: i7-4710HQ quad-core 3.30 GHz
RAM: 8GB
Video: Intel HD 4600
Render Time: 13 min


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Cassius Marques
Re: Hardware Performance Discrepancy
on Aug 18, 2016 at 12:56:47 pm

Could you further explain what it is you're rendering?

Does it have footage? where is it located? -> Try changing it.
Does it uses effects? Do any of them use GPU for acceleration? -> Try disabling it.
Are both on the same version of AE cs6? -> check and upgrade.
Are you outputting to a local or remote drive? -> Try changing it.

Also you may try trashing the preferences, try rendering it in a previous version, try disabling multiprocessing (if on).

Cassius Marques
http://www.zapfilmes.com


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Lyle Patton
Re: Hardware Performance Discrepancy
on Aug 18, 2016 at 5:16:52 pm

Thanks for your response. I've replied to the questions you ask below.

Does it have footage? where is it located? -> Try changing it.

The footage consists of high resolution PSD files. It is stored on the RAID 0 Array which is also the render destination drive. When I moved the source footage off that drive and rendered instead from the SSD and the secondary 7200 RPM drive (two different tests) there was about a 15% decrease in render times but nothing like the performance exhibited by the laptop.

Does it uses effects? Do any of them use GPU for acceleration? -> Try disabling it.
It uses three effects—primarily Trapcode Particular but also Fill and Ramp. Particular version 2.1.2 is installed on both systems. I don’t think this version of Particular supports GPU processing. GPU processing for Ray Tracing was enabled on the Desktop. I turned it off and re-tested the render but there was no change in performance. The laptop video card doesn’t support OpenGL or CUDA.

Are both on the same version of AE cs6? -> check and upgrade.
Yes—it is the same on both: ver. 11.0.4.2

Are you outputting to a local or remote drive? -> Try changing it.
I’m outputting to a local drive. My initial post indicated it was the second 7200 RMP drive. That was wrong. I’m actually outputting to the same RAID 0 Array that also holds the footage. Leaving the source footage on the RAID array, I tried outputting to the second 7200 drive and then to the OS SSD drive. Neither had a significant impact on render time.

Also you may try trashing the preferences, try rendering it in a previous version, try disabling multiprocessing (if on).
Multiprocessing is not on on either system.


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Walter Soyka
Re: Hardware Performance Discrepancy
on Aug 18, 2016 at 1:43:59 pm

Render times are heavily influenced by what has been cached on each system as you've been working. Make sure you clear the disk cache on both machines for an even comparison.

Also, please share your memory & multiprocessing settings.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Lyle Patton
Re: Hardware Performance Discrepancy
on Aug 18, 2016 at 5:20:05 pm

Thanks for your response. I've replied to the questions you ask below.

"Caching..."
The respective render times listed in the post represent “fresh” renders with wiped disk and media caches and data base caches.

Please share your memory & multiprocessing settings.
Desktop:
32 GB RAM total. 26 GB available to Adobe. “Reduce cache size…” NOT checked.
Multiprocessing is not enabled.
Laptop:
8 GB RAM total. 6 GB available to Adobe. “Reduce cache size…” NOT checked.
Multiprocessing is not enabled.


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Thomas Leong
Re: Hardware Performance Discrepancy
on Aug 18, 2016 at 5:44:03 pm

Q: What cpu cooling system are you using for the desktop? It could be experiencing thermal throttling during the render therefore not performing at, at least, its rated cpu speed. HWiNFO64 should be able to show you whether thermal throttling is occurring as the temp goes up during the render.

Also, start a monitor during the render to check that all its 6 cores/12 threads are being used during the render - Ctrl-Alt-Del > Task Manager > Performance. The cpu should at least be 50-90+% occupied during the render. Likewise for the laptop.

good luck!
Thomas Leong



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Lyle Patton
Re: Hardware Performance Discrepancy
on Aug 18, 2016 at 7:41:07 pm

Thanks for your suggestions.

I'm using a good after-market cooler in a full size tower with plenty of fans. Temps when rendering are getting up to 50 degrees centigrade--nothing out of the ordinary.

However this render doesn't do anything like push the CPUs to 100%. All 12 threads are engaged but the system doesn't typically exceed 15 to 20 percent CPU usage.

For comparison, I ran Prime95 stress testing. This ran all CPUs at 100% and temperatures quickly rose to 80 degrees centigrade.

I always believed that the low CPU utilization was simply a testimony to the power of the CPU. Back in the day, this was one of the most powerful consumer-grade CPUs available. Is there some way to "force" it to work harder?

.


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Thomas Leong
Re: Hardware Performance Discrepancy
on Aug 18, 2016 at 8:08:02 pm

" Is there some way to "force" it to work harder?"

Not that I know of.
There is a way to disable two or more cores/threads so that the remainder will have to work harder.
In Windows 10, it is Windows key > System Configuration (or msconfig) > Boot > Advanced Options > enable 'No. of Processors' (this number includes the hyperthreading 'processors'), and yours should show 12 maximum. Select perhaps 8 of them, Apply, and reboot. The PC will then start up with 4 cores/8 threads.
To revert, just untick the 'No. of Processors' option, apply and reboot.



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Thomas Leong
Re: Hardware Performance Discrepancy
on Aug 18, 2016 at 8:20:03 pm
Last Edited By Thomas Leong on Aug 18, 2016 at 8:21:53 pm

" Is there some way to "force" it to work harder?"

Forgot this, which you could try -
In Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Power Options > select 'High Performance' option > then 'Change advance power settings > and in the popup, scroll down to 'Processor Power Management' and in one of options therein (can't remember which - am on laptop which is different from desktop options), the one that says something like 'minimum processor state' = 5%, change it to 100%, and ok your way out. Your cpu cores will now all remain at 100% state even when idling. Might help, might not.



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Walter Soyka
Re: Hardware Performance Discrepancy
on Aug 18, 2016 at 8:51:09 pm

[Lyle Patton] "Is there some way to "force" it to work harder?"

Yes, enable multiprocessing. This will launch multiple copies of the Ae renderer in the background so your computer can render multiple frames at the same time.

This eats a lot of RAM, though, and your Memory & Multiprocessing settings may require some experimentation. Start here:
https://forums.adobe.com/thread/543440

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Thomas Leong
Re: Hardware Performance Discrepancy
on Aug 19, 2016 at 11:48:52 am

Your temps at 50C during the render are good. But it is a head-scratcher that a $300+ cpu with slower single hdd beats a $1000 cpu with faster SSD and hdds.

Q: Have you checked the resultant rendered files? Are they both the same duration, and filesize?



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Lyle Patton
Re: Hardware Performance Discrepancy
on Aug 19, 2016 at 1:03:18 pm

[Thomas Leong] "But it is a head-scratcher"

I know, right? I'm utterly baffled.

I can tinker with multiprocessing settings and/or CPU settings and possibly decrease render times but neither course of action ultimately explains the underlying discrepancy between the two systems.

Yes. I double checked the rendering settings on both machines to make sure they were in fact creating "identical" files. And they are.

I'll also run some tests with different AE projects to see if the anomalous behavior is consistent.

May also post over on Adobe's forum and see if I get any insights there.

Thanks again for everyone's suggestions.


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Thomas Leong
Re: Hardware Performance Discrepancy
on Aug 19, 2016 at 7:37:22 pm
Last Edited By Thomas Leong on Aug 19, 2016 at 7:39:39 pm

Here is a comparison between the 2 cpus: http://cpuboss.com/cpus/Intel-Core-i7-4710HQ-vs-Intel-Core-i7-3960X

One aspect to note is that you reported both running at 3.3GHz in your original post. The 4710HQ base clock is only 2.5GHz, so at 3.3GHz, it is being overclocked. The 3960X base clock is 3.3GHz, in Turbo mode should be 3.9GHz...so it seems to look like you turned off Turbo Mode or Enhanced Turbo in the BIOS?

The 3960X being end of life has dropped drastically in price and the two are closer in price dif now. Down towards the end of the comparison chart under 'Specifications', the 3960X does not have 3 Instruction Set Extensions vs the 4710HQ. Wonder if AE uses any of these Extensions in rendering as that may explain somewhat the performance difference.

The last thing that comes to mind is the RAM speed used in the two machines. Are they similar, eg. 1600MHz or is the Desktop using the slower speed of 1333MHz to account for the difference?

Hope you have better luck/answers from Adobe's Forum.



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