why is Mac performance so horrendous?

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I'm really wanting to get into Houdini and possibly buy it for integration into my workflow but I run OS X 10.8.3 and the performance (with the Radeon cards in my systems) is incredibly bad. It's so bad that I don't even think it's hardware accelerated. If you make a grid with 30x30 vertices, a copy sop with the default sphere attached, that will leave you with a scene that will get 1 frame every two seconds to rotate. On Windows with the same Radeon 7950, it's like 60FPS. I don't get it. I filed a bug with Apple so hopefully they will look into on their end but it's a serious problem with Houdini that I can't get past. While OS X's OpenGL speeds are not great, Maya's viewport 2, Mudbox and Topogun all get very respectable framerates with millions of polygons so there's clearly something different going on here that's not just about Windows Houdini using OpenGL 3.2 and the OS X version using 2.1.

Thoughts?
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While OSX OpenGL performance isn't quite as fast as native drivers from AMD and Nvidia, even that sounds suspiciously sluggish.

Are you certain that hardware acceleration is being used? Help > About Houdini, Show Details should show the AMD 7950 as the renderer, and not “Software Renderer”. If it does show the software renderer, you may need to install a driver from AMD.

The GL3.2 renderer also uses instanced drawing, so it will generally beat GL2.1 which needs to set the model matrix and draw 900 times for the spheres. However, even the lowly Nvidia GT120 which I currently have in the Mac averages about 30fps, so something is definitely amiss. I'll try putting the AMD 5770 in tomorrow to see if the AMD driver is the problem.
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I've a Mac Pro with a ATI 5770 & GT120 card and can confirm the super slowness on the ATI. Simple scene attached.

ATI ~ 1 frame /sec
GT ~18 frames /sec

Houdini 12.5.371
Os X 10.8.3

Attachments:
spheres.hipnc (60.2 KB)

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here's the output for my laptop.

OpenGL Vendor: ATI Technologies Inc.
OpenGL Renderer: AMD Radeon HD 6770M OpenGL Engine
OpenGL Version: 2.1 ATI-1.8.16
OpenGL Shading Language: 1.20
Viewport Render Version: GL 2.1
Detected: ATI Consumer (Mac version)
Unknown VRAM
1.8.16.0
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Thanks! That should be enough to at least reproduce the problem.
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I have the same issue, the frame rate on OS X 10.6 with a Radeon 5770 is virtually unusable in Houdini. With the most basic scenes I get one or two FPS. I know the Radeon 5770 isn't a blazing card but I've used worse graphics cards on more complex scenes and had no issues at all with frame rate on Linux and Windows. I thought it might be just me or something with the particular workstation, but maybe it's more widespread than just me.
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Edit– old info that no longer applies
Edited by - March 16, 2015 11:15:57
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Although it might not be related at all i just wish to mention this.
I am on windows and i used to have an Ati card, the latest and greatest consumer-card that is. After an update to the latest catalyst driver stuff i experienced a same redicilously slugish viewport. “Select one vertex, get a cup of coffee, come back and select another one”-kind of slugish.
Returning to a pretty old driver solved the problem temporarily.
I use Nvidia ever since.

In the school where i teach some Mac's have Quadro 4000's and some other machines have ati cards in there (consumer cards). Students in general complain about the responsiveness, stability and accuracy of Houdini on the Mac, much less so on windows, but the ones that have Ati's and boot in Mac are the ones that seem to have the worst cases. My personal conclusion, although i am very well aware of the lack of decent testing method or a big enough sample to be able to generalise, is to stay away from Ati's consumer cards and specially on OSX. I know it's not fair to compare ati consumer cards with nvidia pro cards but i've had consumer nvidia cards before that were much more stable and responsive then the ati ones.

It's just my opinion, not intended to start a windows vs osx flame, or a nvidia vs ati one. No trolling, just personal experience.
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well, this is the first time I'm seeing serious performance issues with AMD cards on OS X. Their drivers are much more stable with pro apps in OS X than they are in Windows in my experience. There are some annoying issues with AMD cards and Maya 2014 though, so maybe things are a little less stable these days.
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I've looked into this and it appears to be an issue with GL lighting. If you select “No Lighting” from the right toolbar (white circle icon near the top) then performance is restored. Obviously this isn't a solution, but I will try to workaround this issue in the next little while.
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This is from my laptop, which for all intensive purposes has done pretty well in most apps, but recently in Houdini, the viewport is so sluggish (like everyone above has been describing). The lighting definitely seems to be the culprit. As you mentioned, turning on “No Lighting” helps restore responsiveness but it really isn't very useful in actually doing work.

Let me know if you need any more info, i'd be glad to help. I'm running a mac laptop, mac pro and a windows box. It's only my mac's that are experiencing these issues right now.

Platform: darwin-x86_64-gcc4.2-MacOSX10.7
Number of Cores: 8
Physical Memory: 8.00 GB

OpenGL Vendor: ATI Technologies Inc.
OpenGL Renderer: AMD Radeon HD 6770M OpenGL Engine
OpenGL Version: 2.1 ATI-7.32.12
OpenGL Shading Language: 1.20
Viewport Render Version: GL 2.1
Detected: ATI Consumer (Mac version)
Unknown VRAM
7.32.12.0
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This has been resolved in 12.5.378.

It turns out that the OSX/AMD driver really, really did not like the format of the normal array it was being passed. An alternate format resolved the problem.
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Awesome - just tested the .378 build; works perfectly. Thanks for fixing.
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You Sir have done this world and myself a great justice this day with the daily build!

Verified working! Thank you so very much.
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ya, you guys are amazing. thx
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Before I log this as a bug… Everything was running perfectly until I tried to use the Wave Tank Tool. Then I get an error:

'NoneType' object has no attribute ‘set’

Traceback (most recent call last):
File “dynamics_wavetank”, line 4, in <module>
File “/Library/Frameworks/Houdini.framework/Versions/12.5.378/Resources/houdini/python2.6libs/dopparticlefluidtoolutils.py”, line 1246, in waveTank
boxsize, True)
File “/Library/Frameworks/Houdini.framework/Versions/12.5.378/Resources/houdini/python2.6libs/dopparticlefluidtoolutils.py”, line 1037, in createflipbox
‘fliptank’)
File “/Library/Frameworks/Houdini.framework/Versions/12.5.378/Resources/houdini/python2.6libs/doptoolutils.py”, line 1391, in genericConvertToDopObject
objectnode, objectnode.displayNode())
File “/Library/Frameworks/Houdini.framework/Versions/12.5.378/Resources/houdini/python2.6libs/doptoolutils.py”, line 1093, in particlefluidDopObjectInit
mat = dopsmoketoolutils.createUniformVolumeMaterial()
File “/Library/Frameworks/Houdini.framework/Versions/12.5.378/Resources/houdini/python2.6libs/dopsmoketoolutils.py”, line 416, in createUniformVolumeMaterial
mat.parm('shadowdensity').set(0.05)
AttributeError: ‘NoneType’ object has no attribute ‘set’

Thoughts on this one?

~EDIT~ Occurs on Windows 64bit also just fyi!
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That looks like a scripting error in the shelf tool. Please submit it as a bug (it's quite outside my area).
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Will do. Thanks again.
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