[Sidefx-houdini-list] stability of mantra on multi core machines?

Larry Giunta larry at gcreativestudios.com
Tue Jul 29 13:32:55 EDT 2008

In my experience, since mult-core rendering came into play (H4 or  
H5??), it has often been a bit dicey from release to release.

Can't speak for everyone ( different set ups, different OS, etc, etc)  
but in my experience there have been some releases when it was very  
....... and then a new major release comes out and I can hardly get  
it to work.
Similar situations have happened with COPs in the past when serious  
slowdowns would sometimes crop up with a new major release.

In the past (and as recently as H9) I have attempted to go back and  
forth with support on these issues but it always seemed tough to  
reproduce and track down the problem.
So in the end we usually ended up living with it for a while and hope  
it will work it's way out in future builds.
Not great, but not terrible to live with back in the days when 2  
procs was a powerhouse machine.

However, now that many of us are working on 4 to 8 core machines it  
would really be great if someone could take a serious look at this  
issue and see if more stability and reliability can't be achieved.

I have not tested thoroughly in H9.5 but as recent as 9.1, when  
firing off renders within the package ( on our machines/setup), 4  
cores only seem to render slightly faster than 1 core.
Back in H8 ( different renderer I know) it seemed to consistently  
rendered about 4 times faster. In general multi-core in H8 was very  
solid for us.

Anyway, that's one issue we seem to get ...... and we also get some  
of these deadlocks and frames randomly crashing etc.

We are all Linux too. So maybe as John has pointed out we may  
experience more reliable results as we more forward full force with H9.5

I understand that it's a tough issue considering all of the various  
OS that have to be covered ....... and it obviously does not seem to  
affect everyone to the same degree.
But it still seem like an issue that could use some attention.

Again, maybe we will find all is much improved in H9.5.


Larry Giunta
Creative Director
G Creative Studios
larry at gcreativestudios.com

On Jul 29, 2008, at 1:20 PM, John Coldrick wrote:

> On Tuesday 29 July 2008 13:10, Sean Lewkiw wrote:
>> That's really weird.  We use mantra heavily here and don't have any
>> freezing/crashing problems.  One thing I did find was that if you  
>> don't
>> set your "-j" flag to something reasonable, (if you have more than  
>> one
>> render or other activity on the machine), Houdini will go ahead  
>> and grab
>> all the threads, and your renders will grind to a halt, (and I  
>> imagine,
>> crash eventually).  We don't have any 8-core machines though.
> 	It's all we use, and we have some 8 core systems on the grid.  The  
> problem
> isn't as predominent as seems to be indicated in this thread(for us  
> anyway).
> We're all-Linux, don't know if that matters, plus so far 9.5  
> doesn't seem to
> have exhibited the problem.
> 	Cheers,
> 	J.C.
> -- 
> John Coldrick                  www.axyzfx.com        Axyz Animation
> 416-504-0425                                         477 Richmond St W
>                                                      Toronto, ON  
> Canada
> jc at axyzfx.com                                        M5V 3E7
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