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v 2008 multiple processors

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

2008 takes advantage of multiple processors for RenderWorks rendering and a few other things, but there's still quite a few things that could be rewritten to use them but aren't yet. With the growth of dual and quad core chips, and dual processor machines, I'd expect this to become an increasing priority for NNA.

There's no specific limit on the number of processors it can make use of that I know of, and it's unlikely any future changes would have a specific limit.

VectorWorks is a 32-bit application, and thus can address up to 4GB of memory. Windows and OS X both have limits somewhat below that on the upper limit a 32-bit process can actually make use of, but that number is specific to the OS version. I don't think VW 2008 will run on any OS that has an upper limit of less than 2GB per process, so that's typically a good amount.

Someday the computer world will switch to 64-bit OSes and applications as the standard, and no doubt VectorWorks will switch with them, but NNA hasn't announced any sort of schedule for when this might happen. That would raise the upper limit to 16 billion billion bytes (more bytes than currently exist on all the computers in the world now, probably), so the limits will be on how many slots a computer has and how big memory chips you can buy.

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  • 1 month later...

I have a Mac Pro with Two Dual-Core processors and 7 Gg of memory. My Activity Monitor shows that I'm only using about 500Mb of that RAM and only one of the Four CPUs at a time while I'm performing Radiosity Renderings. I would think that it would use much more (which is why I got the extra RAM).

I understand that VW2008 doesn't take advantage of Multiple Processors (which is frustrating), but is there any way to get it to use more RAM? I evidently have over 4Gb free.

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Andrew's description of the issues is spot on ... go to Intel's site for more details.

The problem is an entrenched legacy code base ... pure & simple ... but this has always been the case. Hardware capabilities far outpace software realities.

Usually its the new start-up who have the most incentive to explore the cutting edge.

Established and successful companies like NNA operate on a much more conservative curve. By & large none of us fully utilize the computational power anyway... except perhaps when trying to render a life like scene. We can only type so fast & move the mouse so far ...

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I did a little testing and discovered something interesting. When I have VectorWorks rendering in the background it only uses one processor at a time (changing processor every second or so). However, If I have the VectorWorks in the forefront, it uses all 4 processors.

BTW, I'm running the new Jaguar OS which is supposed to make better use of multiple processors.

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Hello jcooper:

Raytracing in RW modes and final gather make use of all cores. Radiosity processing and non-raytraced render modes don't. Some operations cannot be easily multi-threaded because some data is dependent on other data and so you can't split up the processing into independent parts easily.

The OS will limit how much RAM VW can utilize. On the Mac the memory used will go up to about 2.5GB before it will start reporting that it ran out of memory. On Windows you are limited to about 1.5GB. It doesn't matter how much real RAM you have - the OSes reserve some memory out of the application's area that cannot be used by VW. You can use all 4GB spread out over multiple applications, though.


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Something I would like to see is the GUI being put in its own thread so it can run independently of time consuming operations. Im not saying that I want to be able to do something with the UI at the same time (although being able to save the current file would be nice), but it would make me sit easier than seeing the "Not responding" message.

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I run an 8 core machine and see a remarkable improvement in rendering. Even though I have far more ram than VW will address, overall the system is a lot more "snappy" because I am in no danger of running out. I would like to see VW be able to address more ram, and increase the number of functions that utilize multiple processors. I know it's a massive undertaking for the coding dept, but it's an inevitability that might as well be started on now.

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