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Fast Renders with External Cards

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Diego MelladoFast Renders with External Cards
by on Jan 21, 2014 at 4:22:57 pm

Hello everybody,
I have posted a couple of threads in the last years about best graphic cards for Apple computers in render speed terms.
As I have had exposed before, I work doing video mapping using After Effects. I travel a lot, so normally I can only use laptops when I am away from my studio. I go to the place, remap my composition using AE and then render. This may not be the most efficient way but it has worked for me pretty well.
Now, I would like to know if using a Thunderbolt 2 laptop (i.e. MacBook Pro) and and external PCIe enclosure (i.e. Sonnet's) would be a way to speed up the renders, using the proper PCIe card (suggestions are very welcome!). Some of my renders take up to 24h which is not very practical.
I am using AE CS6 on Lion or Mavericks.
I would be very pleased if you can throw some light over this.
Sorry for my English :(


Best,
Diego


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Walter SoykaRe: Fast Renders with External Cards
by on Jan 21, 2014 at 5:15:27 pm

Are you using the ray-tracing renderer, or the classic 3D renderer? The ray-tracing renderer is accelerated by NVIDIA CUDA cards, but the classic 3D renderer is not.

I travel quite a bit, too; I ship a workstation ahead sometimes instead of working on a laptop.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Diego MelladoRe: Fast Renders with External Cards
by on Jan 21, 2014 at 5:35:03 pm

Hi Walter,
First of all, thanks for your words.
I live in Europe and shipping a workstation is not an option when I have to travel to USA or South America :(
I do not use any 3D rendering in special, so I can go for ray and look for an Nvidia pcie card, I guess.
Best,
Diego


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Walter SoykaRe: Fast Renders with External Cards
by on Jan 21, 2014 at 5:40:33 pm

[Diego Mellado] "I do not use any 3D rendering in special, so I can go for ray and look for an Nvidia pcie card, I guess. "

Maybe not. The ray-tracer doesn't support masking, effects or track mattes.

What about getting a new Mac Pro? They are small enough to travel with.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Diego MelladoRe: Fast Renders with External Cards
by on Jan 21, 2014 at 6:11:01 pm

Many thanks to the both you.
I was considering the new mac pro, may customs be a problem? I have to check.
Regarding your suggestions, then i think the best option is going for a top macbook pro if i don't want to switch to PC.
If someday in the near future gpus start to matter in rendering, i can always expand thrugh thunderbolt, right?
Best,
Diego


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Walter SoykaRe: Fast Renders with External Cards
by on Jan 21, 2014 at 6:22:20 pm

[Diego Mellado] "I was considering the new mac pro, may customs be a problem? I have to check. "

You may want a carnet -- it's like a passport for stuff.

You could also rent a workstation locally and travel with all your software pre-loaded on a boot drive. I've done this, too, when it wasn't feasible to ship one of my own workstations.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Ridley WalkerRe: Fast Renders with External Cards
by on Jan 21, 2014 at 5:36:46 pm

I agree with Walter. Unless you are using Ray Tracing in After Effects, the GPU is not important.

Even if you are, there are laptops with good GPU's that won't require an external thunderbolt connection.

Even Apple's new MacBook Pro Retina has the nVidia 750M with 2GB of VRAM. Certainly not the top of its class but sufficient for Ray Tracing.

If you need more then you may want to consider a Windows-based laptop or shipping a workstation as Walter suggests.

CPU speed, number of cores, disk speed and available RAM are the most important factors for render speed. Not GPU  ... currently, and that may change.


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marcus lyallRe: Fast Renders with External Cards
by on Jan 22, 2014 at 1:28:51 am

You can ship a workstation. But then you don't have your computer just when you need it... Just before you go.

Rent a fast computer where you're going. iMacs are perfect for this.
Easy to move around on site.
Better still, get 2 or 3.

1 to work, the rest to render.

Take a gig ethernet hub.
Put your project on a TB drive.
Share between machines.

I do this sort of thing a lot too.
Find a good rental company in advance. Get them to deliver the day before you arrive.

This is pretty much the one thing that CC licensing is good for.

Another thing when flying. Three copies of your work. Always.
One in the hold on a drive.
One in your hand luggage.
One in your studio at home.



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Ridley WalkerRe: Fast Renders with External Cards
by on Jan 22, 2014 at 1:44:02 am

[marcus lyall] "You can ship a workstation. But then you don't have your computer just when you need it... Just before you go."

I imagine that the new MacPro being only 8 inches high would fit in hand luggage... then you'd only need to rent a monitor and pack the keyboard and mouse. ;)


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marcus lyallRe: Fast Renders with External Cards
by on Jan 22, 2014 at 6:05:48 pm

Someone will start making a decent soft-pack for moving those Mac Pros around. Then you might be able to stick it in the hold.

But you might be surprised at how cheap you can hire an iMac for.
By the time you've hired a monitor....



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Diego MelladoRe: Fast Renders with External Cards
by on Jan 22, 2014 at 10:02:09 pm

Woah!
Thousand of thanks to everybody!
I think I am going to try and save some money for the new MacPro.
I don't even need display or keyboard: I can do a remote sesion with my laptop or just use it for mapping and do all the rendering in the MacPro trough shared desktop :)
I have to reasearch a little about customs and taking the equipment with me.
Thank you all for your support and good ideas!
Best,
Diego


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