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Thread: RAM and how it could affect your show

  1. #11
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    Default Re: RAM and how it could affect your show

    I owe BB an apology from the first post, I of all people should have realised the intent of this post, let's see if i can make up for it.

    NOTE: if your display has less than say 500 channels then little of this is likely to apply if your PC runs windows well.
    All my notes refer to Vixen 2.5

    Quote Originally Posted by Barnabybear View Post
    The intentions of this thread are to discuss:
    The limitations that the quantities of RAM (random access memory) may have upon sequencing and programming scheduled events, and workarounds or solutions.
    I shall start with the sequencer that I am using (Vixen 2.1) but feel free to discuss others.

    Why are we talking about this when itís never been a problem before?
    With the emergence of low cost pixels and controllers the quantity of channels that we are asking sequencers to control has in some cases jumped 10 fold.
    Example: last year a show contained 500 channels Ė this year with the addition of a pixel mega tree (42 high x 32 strings x rgb = 42x32x3 = 4032 channels) the show now contains 4532 channels.
    1000 pixels are not that expensive and that is instantly 3000 channels above what you had, multi thousand channel counts are about to be common.

    Quote Originally Posted by Barnabybear View Post
    What is the problem?
    As I understand when Vixen 2.x gets ready to run a program of sequences (run manually or scheduled) it loads all of the sequences into RAM ready to output them. If there is not enough RAM you get an error.

    What causes my show to be too big for my RAM?
    All of the following will increase the amount of RAM required:
    1. The number of channels (10 channels uses 10 times more RAM than 1 channel).
    2. Small time steps (25ms uses 4 times ram than 100ms).
    3. Longer programmed shows (a 30 minute show uses 3 times more RAM than a 10 minute show).
    All of the above is spot on. Think of the Vixen Grid as a giant spreadsheet with cells.
    A Sequence 100 seconds long and 100 channels will have
    100ms = 100,000 cells
    50mS = 200,000 cells
    25ms = 400,000 cells

    Now make it 1000 channels
    100ms = 1,000,000 cells
    50mS = 2,000,000 cells
    25ms = 4,000,000 cells

    Now 5000 channels
    100ms = 5,000,000 cells
    50mS = 10,000,000 cells
    25ms = 20,000,000 cells

    Scary isn't it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Barnabybear View Post
    What other things can affect the quantity of RAM available?
    1. The amount of RAM fitted in your computer.
    2. The operating system of your computer (windows 32 bit can only access 3.2GB of RAM regardless of the quantity fitted, windows 64 bit can access more).
    3. Other programs running on your computer (obvious or in the background like antivirus).
    4. Not closing Vixen down and opening back up again after performing certain operations (I will speak more about that later).
    1. hope it does
    2. Win64 will be required for large counts
    3. Personally try and limit them but they must be considered.... install a low overhead AV is a good thing.
    4. Absolutely, Vixen is good but not perfect at releasing memory.

    Quote Originally Posted by Barnabybear View Post
    So you say Ė no problem, Iíll program my mega tree in 100ms time slots and close my antivirus and stick some more RAM in my computer (donít turn off your antivirus please). It may be that simple for some people, but if you have the maximum quantity RAM that your machine can handle and have 3 years worth of show that is already sequenced in 25ms time slots (you will have to go with 25 ms for your mega tree) it may be more difficult.
    I know people love to reuse and reuse, but maybe adopting a large pixel feature like a tree is also time to redo a lot of the show. just a thought.

    Quote Originally Posted by Barnabybear View Post
    It should be easy enough to test you RAM now to see if your likely to have problems Ė Iím not an expert but I believe that it is as simple as creating new empty sequences (with the number of channels, time slots and number of seconds that you believe that you will be using) and then adding them to a test program. IMPORTANT; Closing vixen (or it holds on to the memory) opening vixen -> opening programs -> opening manage. If you donít get an error you should be ok. (If you get an error, you need to open the vixen file -> open the programs file -> delete the test program and keep reading here).
    NOTES:
    1. Please donít do this until someone confirms it is correct and will give you the correct results (I donít want to reassure or concern anyone).
    2. Backup your files before doing anything I or anyone else suggests.
    1. near perfect way to test for ability to sequence, the only thing i would do is fill the entire sequence with a Random effect so all cells contain real data.
    NOTE save a bunch of files at the desired channel count and then load them up in Manage Program, see note below.
    2. Agreed back up your files.

    Quote Originally Posted by Barnabybear View Post
    On my computer running windows 7 32 bit with 4GB of RAM (only 3.2GB useable) I was only able to program sequences totalling 16 minutes if I had 4000 channels @ 25ms time slots or 32 minutes @ 50ms using the above method on my general computer.

    Thoughts please.
    Sounds somewhat right however there is a difference between being able to sequence and able to manage the program and load the program.

    I've seen memory usage peak at 30% higher than expected as the sequences are loaded into memory both when manageing programs and loading shows.

    For 2010 and 2011 i found that 16Gb of RAM worked well with 8k-10k channels and 25mS timings. A jump to 20k channels for 2012 will see me lift RAM to 32Gb.

    Cheers
    Phil
    2012:
    Software: LightFactory Personal
    Hardware: J1Sys Pixel controllers . [url]Http://www.j1sys.com[/url]
    Lights: 6000+ Pixels and 20k+ LEDs
    Channels: around 20,000 channels

    You know where to find me....

  2. #12
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    I wish someone would make a device that could load up these massive rgb animations. I aw thinking each effect would have a object number. Obj 1 is 4 spiral tree, obj 2 is butterfly effect, obj 3 is scrolling text.

    Then if we could set aside a few channels in vixen to trigger these effects on the time line.

    At 55 secs start obj 2, end obj 2 at 57.85 secs

    Now the complexity of the effects is removed from vixen,lor,lsp.

    As the channel counts go through the roof, I think we need a different approach. Maybe you could pull one section into sequencer to edit but then send it back to this black box under its object name after edit is finished.

    I am hoping rj's conductor might this ability some dat
    Sean
    Littleton, CO
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  3. #13
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    Default Re: RAM and how it could affect your show

    This may be only a little OT.

    Is anyone that has uses XLights willing to do a complete breakdown like Phil did for Vixen.

    ie.. does it manage memory better than Vixen.
    or does it also load the entire sequence into memory,
    or does it somehow only load the parts it currently needs.

    just asking, and looking for any available options.

    Joel

    PS upgrading ram from 1GB to 2GB and adding 30GB ssd
    will let you know how it goes.
    If I no longer count channels... but instead say I have over 12 universes... Is that too many

  4. #14
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    Default Re: RAM and how it could affect your show

    Sean - in regard to a shift toward object or effect oriented sequences for the large channel counts, I think we probably all agree that is needed. Vixen 3, and John Hinkle's sequencers are moving that direction (and I'm slowly working on something called Pixie which also does that but with a different twist). There may be others.

    However, this can be somewhat MORE complex to program and get it right, compared to a grid based sequencer. And if an effect/object programmer didn't create quite the options you need, you just "can't get there from here", while with a grid you can create any sequence the hardware can handle, whether or not some programmer anticipated your concepts.

    It's going to be a lot harder for show players like xLights to play back object/effect oriented sequences (and keep up with version changes). I suspect these sequences may need to be "baked" into the larger but simpler channel/value (ie: grid) format before being played back by xLights type programs (whether on the PC or in a standalone controller).

    So grid oriented sequencers will be around for a while still. And not everybody is going to jump into many thousands of channels. But you are right about the overall trend.

  5. #15
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    Default Re: RAM and how it could affect your show

    i dont know if this is much use but i would like to add that the not only the hardware but the equipment in field effects the performance of fading.....there was alot of comparison from noticing 10ms all the way to 100ms sequence-ing ...yes you will notice a difference from times of sequencing and from types of songs...but if using LED's vs incans. LEDs your always going to have sizable differences in the ramping and fading world, and if your going to be that picky you should never mix LED and incandescent lights in the same time or same show (at least with the same timely ramp/fade). going even further Different brands or manufacturing of LEDS make a difference of how they perform side by side doing the same ramp/fade; also some contributing factors are Full-wave or half wave, or more voltage sensitive more over than others (with in their series). If you have time to manufacture a show that coordinates all this and performance of a computer (a show computer) odds are your not from this world because most people would not care about those differences in a show....the basis to good shows are timing/ animation/ and sequencial coloring that makes sense and if all else fails resort to the worst technique ever just adding a lot of lights for ever because. (the best shows i have seen so far are no more than 50K lights and no more than 1K channels)....i have seen some pretty awesome 20Klight shows with under 200 channels.

    In my personal opinion this RGB pixel-ing is cool and very neat but very primitive(just a very basic and controllable tv monitor) compared to a projector/s screening the yard and have actual video on the house animation.

    Computer recommendations is always minimm 8gb of ram dual channel a descant processor. if files are larger than 50mb than a solid state drive may be needed in order to increase loading and refresh....RAM that synchronizes is usually far more superior than individual ram dimm....like 4 channel ram is better than 3 channel and 3 channel is better than dual channel and well those are far far far far far better than single channel RAM. IF your computer is disabled from an internet or server connection than disable the Virus protection ....open up task manager and limit the active tasks to free up space and make your computer understand that its dedicated for one purpose (the main event). i hope this is not off topic and contributes to your guys's info.
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  6. #16
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    Default Re: RAM and how it could affect your show

    Thanks for all the comments, and please do not apologise for making comment related to making shows work. The more we talk about these things the better shows will be.
    Thanks all.
    2 X E681 running 8 universes of 3001s as a 32s x 42p mega tree or a 96s x 14p matrix hanging from my guttering.

  7. #17
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    Default Re: RAM and how it could affect your show

    now i keep seeing vixen in all this. that is good, but some people are running lsp. how will the memory effect lsp as well? the same or worse?
    2012 - The year of the pixels
    21ft tall 12x38ct WS2811 Pixel Megatree - DONE
    5 36ct GECE Pixel Archs - Maybe
    Pixelated roofline with windows - DONE
    Bigger matrix and pixel star - DONE
    Added 1200 pixels, a few strobes, and fast tubes
    Now it just all has to play nicely lol.

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    [URL="http://www.facebook.com/OhioChristmasDisplays"]http://www.facebook.com/OhioChristmasDisplays[/URL]

  8. #18
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    Default Re: RAM and how it could affect your show

    ^^^ wow still no answer lol
    2012 - The year of the pixels
    21ft tall 12x38ct WS2811 Pixel Megatree - DONE
    5 36ct GECE Pixel Archs - Maybe
    Pixelated roofline with windows - DONE
    Bigger matrix and pixel star - DONE
    Added 1200 pixels, a few strobes, and fast tubes
    Now it just all has to play nicely lol.

    [url]http://www.facebook.com/FiedlerFamilyChristmas[/url]
    [URL="http://www.facebook.com/OhioChristmasDisplays"]http://www.facebook.com/OhioChristmasDisplays[/URL]

  9. #19
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    Default Re: RAM and how it could affect your show

    I see you asking about LSP all over the place and all different aspects with little or no replies. Is it that few people use it or everyone using it is new to it or what?

    Brian (PS I don't use it as it won't load on my show machine)
    2009 - 48 channel MegaTree 4800 lights
    plus 3200 lights static display.
    2010 - 6 Snowflakes on heavy equipment stored in front yard :-(
    2011 - 72 channel Megatree 7520 lights,
    120 channel total about 10k lights total

  10. #20
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    Default Re: RAM and how it could affect your show

    well ive ran it for 2 years now, but im making a big jump in channel count this year and trying to justify if i need to buy a new machine that will handle more ram. if its not needed then i wont upgrade lol.
    2012 - The year of the pixels
    21ft tall 12x38ct WS2811 Pixel Megatree - DONE
    5 36ct GECE Pixel Archs - Maybe
    Pixelated roofline with windows - DONE
    Bigger matrix and pixel star - DONE
    Added 1200 pixels, a few strobes, and fast tubes
    Now it just all has to play nicely lol.

    [url]http://www.facebook.com/FiedlerFamilyChristmas[/url]
    [URL="http://www.facebook.com/OhioChristmasDisplays"]http://www.facebook.com/OhioChristmasDisplays[/URL]

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