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Not only does 3DS Max take very long to render the image, it's making even simple tasks like browsing extremely sluggish while it renders...

Why does this happen, and is there any way to make my computer useable when I am rendering?

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Computers are generally only good at one thing at a time. Your 3DS Render probably has a normal or high process priority, so the OS process scheduler is prioritizing your render (which is both CPU and GPU intensive).

You can change the process' priority to run "Below Normal" or "Low", and also restrict the number of cores that it can execute on. That way, your browser will be scheduled higher in the process execution schedule, and be guaranteed to run when it needs.

Alternatively, you could just run your web browser at a higher process priority then the render, so the computer prioritizes that instead.

If you run Windows, go to the task manager (CTRL + SHIFT + ESC), and go to the Processes tab. To set the priority of a process, right click and go to Set Priority; to change the number of cores it can run, click Set Affinity instead. To launch a process with a set priority/affinity, see my answer to this question (ignore the HyperThreading stuff).

On Linux, you can use the nice command to change the scheduler's priority for that process when launching it, or renice if the processes is already running.

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I do know how to set priority and such and I have already set 3ds's priority below normal, but it's still slow. – TPR Aug 20 '11 at 20:33
also, someone edited out the question in which I posted the computer specs. i7, 12 GB RAM (and dedicated graphics, but I doubt that counts)... should computer still be lagging? – TPR Aug 20 '11 at 20:34
@progtick The specs were edited out because they don't matter in a couple of months when someone might stumble upon the question. (Btw congrats to 10k, Breakthrough!) – slhck Aug 21 '11 at 11:31
@slhck Thanks man :) – Breakthrough Aug 21 '11 at 12:50

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