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I am baking a simulation which is taking up roughly 15 GB of memory, is this normal? I am baking full smoke simulation with high resolution and high definition.

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Yeah, it can get to be that large at that resolution. Since 1 cache file (at that resolution) can be around 15MB to 20MB it only takes 800 frames to be 16GB.

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    $\begingroup$ I am not sure if memory usage can be related to the cache file size in this way. Baking memory usage is independent of the length of the simulation anyway. But you are right that baking does take a lot of memory. $\endgroup$ – Mike Pan Jun 20 '13 at 17:57
  • $\begingroup$ Hi Charles Is there a way to bake the simulation without using as much memory? $\endgroup$ – Lindsey Jun 21 '13 at 8:48
  • $\begingroup$ @Lindsey the only way to do that is by lowering the quality or baking to disk (then it's just using disk space). $\endgroup$ – CharlesL Jun 21 '13 at 13:02
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Assuming you mean Hard drive space, not RAM, there is one thing you can do to reduce this:

You can set the Compression to Heavy in the Physics panel > Smoke Domain settings > Smoke cache:

enter image description here

This will enable LZMA compression for cache files. (see this)

Note that this will take more CPU usage, possibly slowing down the bake time.
Have a look at this thread on BA for more information and some comparisons.

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