How to Control How Many Cores Maya Uses

Written by c.a. rubino
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Maya is a 3D modelling and animation suite that allows users to create full three-dimensional scenes. For complex models and animations, Maya needs a large amount of system resources. A user who is running Maya on a computer with multiple processing cores can fine-tune the program to use a certain number of cores, either to give it access to all available resources or leave cores available for other tasks while Maya is running.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Start Maya and allow it to load fully. Press CTRL + ALT + DEL and click on the Start Task Manager option. From the Applications tab select the Maya task from the list. Right-click on the task and select "Go to Process."

  2. 2

    Right-click on the highlighted process, which is listed as "maya.exe" or something similar. Select "Set Affinity" from the list that appears. From the affinity list, check which processor cores you would like Maya to be able to access. All Maya tasks are executed on, and split between, the highlighted cores. By default all available cores are selected.

  3. 3

    Switch back to Maya. Select "Rendering" in the drop-down box located on the upper-left corner of the Maya window.

  4. 4

    Open the Render menu located on the menu bar at the top of the Maya window. Hover the mouse over the Render Using option and select your desired render from the list. Only the Mental Ray and Maya Software render engines can tweak the number of cores to use.

  5. 5

    Reopen the Render menu from the menu bar. Click on the square located to the right of the Batch Render option. If you are using the Maya Software option, you are given the choice of choosing the total number of processors for the render application to attempt to run on. If you are using the Mental Ray render engine, the option is for the total number render threads. Add two threads for every core you wish to use.

Tips and warnings

  • For the fastest-possible render, set the program and the render application to run on all available cores. While Maya is performing a render, however, the computer may not be usable as the render process will take the majority of the computer's resources. If you limit the number of cores that Maya and the render engine use, it may be possible to still use the computer while the render process runs in the background. This method makes a render option take significantly longer.
  • The render application is still restricted by the manually set core affinity. If you set the affinity to run on only two cores, for instance, the render application will have access only to those two cores regardless of what options you set for it.

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