Most of the time you may face this problem in cg field,especially if you are doing a photo realistic render,i.e. architecture rendering. You may aware that several factors affect render time. Remember I already covered about the Mental ray rendering tips for Maya. Anyway this article is different. It is nor going to cover any 3d application or render software. This article is intended for windows users who are working on their home computer. If you are a Mac or Linux user you may get 50% improvements with this article. If you want to tweak your work computer please ask your system administrator to do so.
Before discussing the steps I like to share the motivation behind this article. While working with small studios I realised most of the cg artists are unaware of hardware and system tweaks. If you don't know about the capacity of your system how could you optimize it? Computer of an animator or cg artist is like a sports car. You need to repair every part before a race(render). Seems too complicated? Just follow these steps, you will get the top performing system for heavy render.
1. Install a good antivirus
Viruses and mal ware programs are the main reason for the slowing down of your system. They steal your private information such as password,credit card information etc. Viruses and mal ware can harm your system even if there is antivirus installed. Windows user are the main target of these viruses. But now Linux user need to worry. I don't know about Mac.
I recommend Avast free antivirus. It can be installed to PC and Linux. You can get a mobile version also. Avast has several advantage over other free antivirus. You can search it on Google, Bing, yahoo etc. If you are using a paid antivirus continue it. Instal avast. Update and scan for viruses. If found any viruses use recommended action and do boot scan also.
Hardware is the most important part of your system. Try to upgrade the graphics card, processor, ram, mother board etc. This is the most recommended but less practical method.
3. Software upgrading
Upgrade your operating system such as Windows, Linux and Mac to the latest version. Also upgrade your favourite applications such as Autodesk Maya, 3ds Max, cinema 4d, blender etc to the latest edition. This is also a high priority task but less practicable except for Linux and Blender users.
4. Update the driver and software
Don't confuse with the above step.Regularly update the system driver and 3d software. Most people ignore tis step,but this is very very important. Software drivers are the major part in controlling your PC. At least try to update the graphics card and chip set drivers. Vendors like nvidia and ATI regularly release new drivers for their product. Updated drivers add extra functionality,performance improvement and bug fixes. Also update your OS and 3d software. All these updates are free. So you can download without spending any money!
5. Defragment hard disc regularly
Files in your system will be cluttered and fragmented after continuous use. This will drastically affect system speed. Thus increase render time. This problem is seen in windows only. Regularly Defragment hard disc using inbuilt defragmenter or use powerful and automated intelligent tools such as iobit system defragmenter or defraggler. Both are free.
6. Clean the registry and system
After a long use your system is filled with unwanted files. Windows user have to face another problem, the registry dumps. These problems will slow down your system and eat enormous amount of space also. Affect the rendering. Use programs such as iobit advanced system care, Tuneup utilities, CC cleaner, Glary utilities etc.
7. Tweak the system process, services and startup programs
Limit or stop the unwanted system processes and services . This will free the ram and processor and the render can be fastened.
These are some steps I used for speeding up my system and rendering.