Noob hardware questn

Discussions about the use of Realflow
infinice
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Noob hardware questn

Post by infinice » Wed Sep 25, 2019 7:50 pm

Hi folks-
I'm considering Realflow but will have to up my hardware game. My problem is that Next Limit seems vague about RF's hardware requirements.
Can anybody enlighten me? A budget, intermediate, and advanced system list would be very helpful.
Any other advice (on typical beginners mistakes and/or difficulties for instance) would also be appreciated.
Infinice in Vancouver

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ChristianZ
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Re: Noob hardware questn

Post by ChristianZ » Thu Sep 26, 2019 8:00 am

Hi

RealFlow is rather frugal regarding minimal hardware. I have used earlier versions on Apple Laptops without technical problems, but now, I would recommend an 1TB SSD for storage and high single-core clockspeed for smooth working. The Dyverso solver benefits from an Nvidia GPU with large video memory 1080Ti or better.
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infinice
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Re: Noob hardware questn

Post by infinice » Thu Sep 26, 2019 7:21 pm

Thanks- i appreciate your feedback. I expected the Dyverso solver to benefit from a beefy GPu, but it does prompt another question (that i should've asked in the first place)- how often/much is that solver most useful (e.g. open ocean, splashes, what?)? Your SSD advice is a bit more surprising. Would you say it's as useful as a top-of-line gpu. And i take it that Nvidia is preferable to AMD; but why?
Personally, i'm most interested in fountains, and am somewhat shocked that none of RF's tutorials are devoted to this subject. But i guess it's simple enough: a simple jet of water pointing up, with gravity.
Thanks again.
Infinice

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ChristianZ
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Re: Noob hardware questn

Post by ChristianZ » Thu Sep 26, 2019 9:37 pm

The Dyverso is now the fastest solver and it is accelerated by the CUDA system, that is why Nvidia is necessary here, but only one GPU.
This solver is good for small to mid-scale fluids such as all kind of splashes or the fountain that you mentioned. For oceans it is still the Hybrido (which is not fast at all and most people use Houdini for such things now) or simple wavy surfaces with the RealWave surfaces.
I have just mentioned the SSD because there are so many small files that are always created (and overwritten) and for that it is ideal. In addition I make backups on a slow external 10TB harddisk.
Our forum member Forester has a lot of experience with fountains, see here
viewtopic.php?t=11418
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infinice
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Re: Noob hardware questn

Post by infinice » Sun Sep 29, 2019 7:11 pm

Muchos gracias for the Dyverso clarification and forester link. They both help a lot.
Your comment on speed reminded me of some Youtube videos i saw recently, comparing Octane, Arnold, Mantra. Redshift seems to be the fastest renderer period, so i'm tentatively planning to base my work on it.
Turns out Mantra was dead last in all 4 videos, very slow. When added to its high cost, notorious difficulty (and SideFX's absent-minded approach to tutorials, especially beginners), the decision to avoid it is easy.
Anywho, thanks for your help!

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Re: Noob hardware questn

Post by Forester » Tue Oct 08, 2019 5:15 pm

Apologies, I'm very late to this topic.....

I agree with ChristianZ about the SSD (and the nVidia, of course!)

I build my own machines, mostly with Realflow in mind. I use a pair of SSD's for the main drive and for a dedicated storage drive that I write all Realflow files to. It vastly speeds up all simulation operations.

Have you considered Maxwell Render for your renders? It is also made by Next Limit, it's particularly compatible with Realflow for still shots, and it is a physically based rendering engine with real-world physics for lighting and camera controls. Plus, once you get the hang of the shading engine, its darn fast to build and apply shaders. (I also use Arnold, Vray and have messed around with Redshift a little bit.) Personally, I very much like Maxwell Render.

Drawbacks are that there are just a very small number of tutorials for it and only a single great tutorial for the shading engine that must be purchased from a third party. (Hugely worth every penny I spent on it, though.) Also, it does not render animations - just a series of still images that you would need to stitch together into an animation, using something like AVS4YOU software.
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Re: Noob hardware questn

Post by Forester » Tue Oct 08, 2019 5:17 pm

And I'd be happy to provide any technical assist you might need with fountains.

Check out http://www.expandingwave.com

If I remember correctly, I think I've provided at least one free realflow fountain setup there.
Windows 7 Pro 64 - Realflow 10.1.2.0162 (Nov 2017 patched) Standard Version

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Oldcode
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Re: Noob hardware questn

Post by Oldcode » Wed Oct 09, 2019 1:25 pm

Here's a stupid question...

When you use the Nvidia card with CUDA, does the GPU replace the CPU operations, or does it add to it? I tried using CUDA on a simulation that had around 3 million particles. It seem to take pretty much the same amount of time per frame. Actually, when I turned on the GPU, it seems to be just a bit slower than the CPU.

Thanks,
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ChristianZ
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Re: Noob hardware questn

Post by ChristianZ » Wed Oct 09, 2019 5:36 pm

When you use the GPU option with CUDA it can very nicely accelerate Dyverso simulations. This replaces CPU operations.
But, the GPU needs to have enough memory and CUDA-cores. If the memory is not sufficient, it will fall back to CPU or crash.
The older Open-CL acceleration that already existed in Hybrido in my opinion is not useful.
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Oldcode
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Re: Noob hardware questn

Post by Oldcode » Wed Oct 09, 2019 6:09 pm

Yeah, that sounds right. I only paid about 200 US for my Nvidia card. I was busy spending way too much on the CPU for rendering. I got one of those Thread Rippers from AMD. It's great, but for about 3 million particles, it was taking anywhere from 3 to 10 minutes per frame.

The strange thing is it would start out pretty fast, but the simulation time would creep up over time and after about an hour, it would take 5-6 minutes per frame. I had this really long simulation for a recent project, 8500 frames, and I got into the habit of stopping the sim, closing Real Flow, and starting it up again. When I did that, the simulation was back down to 3 minutes per frame.

I don't get it. :?
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