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I have been asked to put a machine together of a friend who needs to do 3D rendering in AutoDesk 3ds Max. I have not been able to determine if the product support multi-threading and would benefit from multiple cores. Could you please let me know if it does?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

3D software rendering have supported multiprocessing for a long time. "Rendering farms" are all about this. Note that I said multi-process, not multi-thread. The act of rendering a picture is often single threaded. but you can process several frames at once when rendering a video. So 4 cores will render video pretty much 4 times faster.

Here's an article on the topic on Extremetech. As you can see, the rendering is about twice as fast on a quad-cores (QX6850) than on a similar-speed dual-core (E6850):

alt text

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Thanks, just want I needed confirmed. – Brettski Jan 28 '10 at 15:20
Do you know if it can utilize a gpu for rendering? It sure would speed things up. It's the same reason rainbow tables can be created using nVidia gpu's. – Brettski Jan 28 '10 at 19:42
[RainbowCrack for CUDA]( – Brettski Jan 28 '10 at 19:45
I'm not sure. Some form of gpu is probably possible if the company decided to support it, but CUDA is relatively new (and worse, proprietary) and gpus way of doing things (quick and repetitive) are not necessarely good for everything (slow and complex). Traditionally, 3D acceleration is very useful in realtime viewport mode, while rendering is cpu based. – mtone Jan 28 '10 at 20:13
Exactly my point, as they are using the GPU for calculations, as it's much faster than most cpu's. Though it may not have the fpu requirements to make it worth-while. Again, thanks for your input. – Brettski Jan 28 '10 at 20:28

From the 3ds Max homepage (you have to expand the "What Is 3ds Max?" section):

New multithreaded xView mesh analyzer technology for in-viewport reporting on several types of mesh.

So, at least some aspects of it are multi-threaded.

Even if it doesn't make use of the multiple cores directly, or certain features - such as rendering - aren't multi-threaded, you will see a benefit as when you're running other applications (mail clients, browsers, paint programs etc.) they should be executed on the "other" core, thus giving you better performance (less paging etc.) from both 3ds and the other application.

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Viewports is the mode you are in when working in 3Ds max in realtime on your scene. The question was about rendering, which is entirely a different thing and more CPU-intensive. – mtone Jan 28 '10 at 1:21
@mtone - true, but if one part supports multithreading then there's a good(ish) chance that other parts will too. – ChrisF Jan 28 '10 at 8:49

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