How's Mantra Performance on Apple M1 chips?

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I'm considering getting a Macbook Pro for my next hardware purchase, but it is quite pricy. However I would jump at the Macbook if it means I can use it in my workflow for rendering quick animations or even images.

Does anyone have any type of benchmark or even experience with the M1 chips and Mantra? It would help me with my decision on my next purchase.

Thanks ahead of time!
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if you want it fast, expect disappointment

overall i'd suggest against choosing Apple Silicon macOs platform for houdini as a primary driver as of today. if you don't have any other option, sure, it will do. personal experience with M1 chips with 3D (other DCCs, realtime, bakers, whatever) is not amazing.
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Hello - If it's any help, i've currently got access to an apple macbook pro and a ryzen pc so have just run a test mantra render on both for you. I'll also attach the hip that I had to alter slightly because of a material error at rendertime (it's an old Entagama tutorial - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVib4eemhv0)

Hardware specs:
MAC - M1 Pro, 10core with 16GB Ram. 14" Macbook Pro cooling
PC - Ryzen 5950x, 16core with 64GB Ram. Desktop AIO cooling

Obviously not a fair fight :-) but might offer some insight?
Output perameters excatly the same for both renders
Edited by Hatchery - April 27, 2022 08:41:13

Attachments:
PC.jpg (243.7 KB)
Mac.jpg (985.7 KB)
Donut_005.hiplc (1.1 MB)

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Thanks for the reply and the donut comparison! The Apple M1 does seem so much slower, too bad. I really like the Macbook design and its portability and almost everything else about it, but if I can't really use Houdini within reasonable performance, .... well I could tolerate this for some of the tasks. But I'm thinking this will be a painful experience if I do use HOudini on it on a daily basis.

I have a Ryzen 7 3800 - 8cores that I'm thinking may run Houdini faster than the Macbook does, thanks to your Ryzen comparison that enlightened me on this. I have been considering on finding a really small itx case and call it as portable as I can get, I know it's not the same.
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I'd just add that the 5950x does have 32threads for CPU rendering, not sure how the M1's 10 cores work but it significantly less.

Also the M1 running houdini uses way less power, being able to run off battery with virtually no fan noise is very nice, and great if you need to be portible. But yes for any serious CPU rendering or Sim work i'd sticking with a desktop
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What to expect when comparing the M1 Pro with a max CPU power of about 35W to a top spec AMD desktop CPU with a TDP of 105W.

A more fair comparison would be to put the M1 Ultra against this AMD chip.

And what Houdini build was used? The native ARM build or the Intel build running through Rosetta2? Not even sure if SideFX puts some effort in optimizing Mantra performance in the ARM build as we have Karma now…

Based on available benchmark scores, the M1 Pro will definitely outperform your Ryzen 7 3800 (when running native builds).
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Sorry yes the build was the ARM version and agree performance per watt is looking good
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For the curious... the result on my 2017 iMac Pro 10-Core.

Edited by iHD3 - April 27, 2022 14:59:29

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donut_benchmark.png (1.6 MB)

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I think at the beginning I was looking for an excuse to get a Macbook but then later my emotions started shifting away from the pricy Apple device to a more affordable itx case. Things get so more committing when on tight budget, kind of sucks.

I guess with the money I save by just getting an ITX case, I can get a RTX 3090 and stick that on my main machine and swap the current RTX 2090 onto the ITX machine and I think it would improve cooking times for selective solvers in Houdini. However that wouldn't help the Mantra rendering and then I'll just be going off in a tangent... I don't know what I'm thinking anymore.
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BTW Bubblepins - Love your youtube channel, your stuff has really helped my learning
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Thanks! Do you have any topics you want to see? I'm trying to think of some new topics, even though I have a whole list of topics on my to do list.

Thanks for all the benchmarks and feedback on the M1 chip! It's really helping me on my never ending decision on whether to get an expensive apple toy or not. It's like, I want to get a Macbook because I can do this and this, oh wait, it doesn't work that well...

I am thinking of maybe some mocap topics, because that's super popular these days. I recently discovered Mediapipe as a very fast motion capture plugin. I wonder if I can shove that in Houdini, lol. I saw Entagma install python modules directly into Houdini, but I never tried doing it myself. I wonder if I can make MediaPipe work with Houdini. Is that something anyone wants to see? Or is it again another topic that only I found interest in.

I have been so random for the past week, I saw this video on Entagma using an Embroidery Machine and I wanted to buy one LOL even though I have no use for it! This is what happens when I edit too many videos.
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Hello All!

I think I have decided not to get the Apple M1 chip because of the price to performance. I guess I would get it if it was more affordable. It would be nice to integrate Houdini and Apple SDK into a workflow to create interesting apps, maybe that category isn't as saturated as the rest of the market, but it comes with a hefty cost. And the only thing that triggered my incentive to get a Macbook was the portability. It's been hard finding the right time when its quite to record videos, the portability was to help me relocate temporarily so recording can be done.

For those like me in a similar situation, this is the cheaper solution I came up with semi-portability:

I'm going to get a very compact ITX case, that hopefully fits within a tote bag (that's what I'm aiming for) and remove all HDD's and only rely on M.2 NVME, which is my current 2nd PC setup. This should give me quite a lot of portability as I theoretically could carry it anywhere with 1 hand and maybe arm. But you are tethered to the power outlet.

However with the price of the Macbook, I could use the money to get a RTX 3090 and render like crazy, although this doesn't help with the Mantra rendering times.

And I have one of those portable monitors, which are quite cheap, when compared to the Macbook. And to optimize the keyboard and mouse for more portability, I am thinking of getting this Twelve South MagicBridge plastic case, which connects a trackpad with a wireless keyboard.

This isn't a laptop nor do I think it's even comparable to the portability, but it gives you a lot of power at a fraction of the price. Am I crazy? Have I been doing too much editing?
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Hello - yes I think the small form factor desktop approach with a nice graphics card is probably the way to go. I'm an Octane user for rendering so that 3090 would be amazing :-)

Re furture tutorials. I'm currently exploring the woderful world of Tops (PDG), it looks amazingly powerful. Currntly trying to port over a very old 3DS max project I use to do product variation renders with, and Tops with Houdinis procedural workflow is a perfect fit for trying to automate stuff that used to take me hours to do manually before. Not a huge amount Tops stuff out there.

Also massive fan of Vellum so anything that gets into some detail on that is always good.
Edited by Hatchery - April 28, 2022 04:48:20
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Don't underestimate the thermals when you want to run a 5900x and a RTX3090 in an ITX case...
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Hello - yes I think the small form factor desktop approach with a nice graphics card is probably the way to go. I'm an Octane user for rendering so that 3090 would be amazing :-)

Re furture tutorials. I'm currently exploring the woderful world of Tops (PDG), it looks amazingly powerful. Currntly trying to port over a very old 3DS max project I use to do product variation renders with, and Tops with Houdinis procedural workflow is a perfect fit for trying to automate stuff that used to take me hours to do manually before. Not a huge amount Tops stuff out there.

Also massive fan of Vellum so anything that gets into some detail on that is always good.

Yeah TOPS is getting popular! I was just posting a reply on another thread on sidefx about using TOPS for NFT's or using PDG with opendata, I think that may have potential. It is a topic I should explore next! Exciting stuff!

As for Vellum, I haven't done much content on the new Vellum Unified Solver which combines all the flip, grain and fancy stuff all in one. I haven't came up with an idea to inspire me to do it. Still brainstorming...
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Don't underestimate the thermals when you want to run a 5900x and a RTX3090 in an ITX case...

That's a good point!

I was looking into this case, Phanteks Evolv Shift XT, it has this unique ability to extend the top, so I figured I can try it with a fancy video card and if it gets too hot, I can either extend the top and add more fans or swap it back for my older less hot gpu.
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Mac Studio render fwiw

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Screen Shot 2022-04-28 at 6.18.30 PM.png (5.3 MB)

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