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Wondering if there is a way to render on my nvidia card without having to run my entire machine on it. Whenever I render on gpu, it causes the whole OS and all other apps to lag. Mission control, resizing windows, scrolling, and any other graphics related process outside of Blender become super choppy.

When I set my Mac to run on the default OS driver (using the nvidia Graphics Driver Manager in SysPrefs) GPU rendering is unavailable in Blender. If I set my Mac to run on nvidia, gpu rendering is available again, but results in the same lag issues.

Is there some kind of 3rd party gpu manager that would let me enable nvidia for Blender while continuing to run the rest of my Mac on its default gpu?

Thanks in advance!

Specs: Late 2013 iMac 27" - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 775m (2GB) - High Sierra 10.13.6 - Blender 2.79

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Rendering is a very resource-intense task thus I'd highly recommend you to avoid doing anything else on your machine while rendering: it will either clutter the system or simply work out poorly.

Anyway, I suggest you to try rendering your final scenes or animations from the command line. I noticed that renders done that way tend to be kinda faster and the machine is more stable without the overhead of Blender's GUI.

  1. Make sure to set up your blend file so to make it use the GPU for rendering and make sure to specify all the output options (select a path, a filename, the file format, etc.). Save the blend and close the GUI.

  2. Copy the path to your blend file. Then, move into your Blender's executable path via Terminal (note that your path might differ, so I suggest you to also see this answer):

    cd /Applications/Blender/blender.app/Contents/MacOS/blender

  3. Run:

    ./blender -b "pathToYourBlendFile" -f 1

(-b tells it to run in background, -f 1 tells it to render the first frame only).

Now the render should start with all of your preferences. Try to see if the system is more usable while rendering this way (mine usually is, but I suppose YMMV).

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    $\begingroup$ While the GPU does most of the rendering, it doesn't mean that the CPU is idle doing nothing. There is some processing taking place in CPU. Nvidia GPUs like GTX XXX "m" are really for laptops (Imacs are nothing but a stationary bulky laptop with a large screen). Those GPUs are nowhere near as powerful as desktop ones. Lastly, displaying anything on the screen is also using resources from the GPU. Don't expect miracles out of the current hardware. If you want to render, let the poor machine do the work, go for a walk, get some sleep or interact with fellow humans... $\endgroup$ – cegaton Jun 24 at 22:55

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