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Newbie question about rendering with 2 hard drives

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Rick DaneNewbie question about rendering with 2 hard drives
by on Oct 16, 2009 at 8:17:51 pm

I've been searching around a bit on this, I don't know if I'm looking in the wrong places but haven't found the answer yet...

I've gathered that its best to use 2 hard drives for rendering (at least 2), is it that you want the source file on the same hard drive that is running after effects and then the renders go to the other hard drive or vice versa?



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Dave LaRondeRe: Newbie question about rendering with 2 hard drives
by on Oct 16, 2009 at 9:07:08 pm

You keep your system software and application software on one drive dedicated for that purpose, and all the other stuff on the other drive.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Walter SoykaRe: Newbie question about rendering with 2 hard drives
by on Oct 16, 2009 at 9:07:58 pm

It depends what sort of work you're doing, but I've found that nearly all of my renders are CPU-bound, not disk-bound. That is, the computer can read and write the frames far faster than it can calculate them.

Do you have lots of RAM? If you don't have at least 2GB per core in a multi-processing setup, your render could crawl while the computer swaps memory to disk and back. This is probably the largest factor for most folks in reducing render times.

Adding a dedicated render drive won't hurt, though, and it's certainly cheap enough.

Walter Soyka, Principal
Keen Live, Inc.
Presentation, Motion Graphics & Widescreen Design
RenderBreak: A Blog on Innovation in Production



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Kevin CampRe: Newbie question about rendering with 2 hard drives
by on Oct 16, 2009 at 9:16:23 pm

if you are working largely in compressed sd, you'll probably be fine with just one drive, but it's often nice to have two, one for os and applications and the other for your media and projects. it makes it easier to keep things clean and maintain performance by not cluttering up you main drive, and both could be on the internal drive bus.

however, if you want to work with hd, you'll really want your media on a separate drive array with a separate bus/controller (i.e. sata2 or sas pci card) for a few reasons. first off, you can create a very fast raid0 (or raid5 or 10 if you wanted data parody) to handle high data-rate hd media. but also, separating the drive bus for media will give you two busses for data, media will be on one bus and caches will be on another. this will reduce the data bottleneck that can happen with just one bus.

Kevin Camp
Senior Designer
KCPQ, KMYQ & KRCW


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Rick DaneRe: Newbie question about rendering with 2 hard drives
by on Oct 16, 2009 at 9:35:40 pm

Thanks for the responses, I have 8GB ram / 64 bit system so thats why these slow render times have been confusing me, I will try it with the files on the 2nd hard drive and see if that speeds it up


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Kevin CampRe: Newbie question about rendering with 2 hard drives
by on Oct 16, 2009 at 10:03:59 pm

if your in windows, look at the task manager while rendering and watch the cpu activity to see if the cpus are working around full capacity (on mac run the activity monitor).

if they are, then changing the drive set up will not help much, the cpus are working as fast as the can.

if they are not, then you have a data bottleneck (essentially, the cpus are not getting data fast enough to process at full capacity). i don't know how many cores you have, but the first thing i would do is to try and limit the number of cores to the amount of ram you have divided by 2 (8gb/2gb = 4 cores). if you are working in hd, you might try ram divided by 4, so 2 cores. this way you know you have enough ram to feed those cores. in cs4, you just set the number of cores to leave for other applications to a value that will leave the number of cores that you just calculated. in cs3 you need to open the preference file in a text editor and find '[mp]' and change the value for number of cores from '0' to the value you just calculated.

if you try either of those and the cpu usage is still not near capacity, then you'll want to turn your attention to the drive/drive bus. first, try disabling the disk cache in the ae preferences. if that doesn't help, then you'll want to try moving media to another drive, preferably a faster drive on a faster drive bus.

Kevin Camp
Senior Designer
KCPQ, KMYQ & KRCW


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Rick DaneRe: Newbie question about rendering with 2 hard drives
by on Oct 17, 2009 at 4:34:04 am

Thanks Kevin for the additional info, definitely something I want to look into is getting more hard drives and setting up the array with 2 busses


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