There are a lot of people on the internet that complain about cycles render times so I want to show some ways to make your render faster…
Render of hair in cycles with 6-8 Light bounces
1-2 Light bounces
So decreasing the light bounces can save about 3 mins normally and in this case it was about 6 mins, but I made the bounces higher than normal. This will only effect the quality of glossy and transition materials.
Using the bilateral blur you can remove grains , so you don't have to use the amount of samples. Bartek Skorupa has a great tutorial on this on CG Cookie http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2UnvgqXqLc
Removing excess Geometry, like backs of cubes, can give you a much better results in some cases...
Focus ? :
Using focus can allow you to have a lower sample amount because the background and foreground are going to be blurred so the noise wont be visible
Under the performance tab you can change some important settings, the most time worthy is the tile size, it's wort some experimenting so the the right size for your system, can remove 4 or 5 seconds. This depends on the size of your scene.
For some scene you might need hi-rez textures, but in most cases you can scale the size of your texture to save some time while loading... On some occasions... like a Minecraft animation you might want to use Gexwings node tree to remove interpolation [www.blenderartists.org/forum/showthread.php?244662-Cycles-Getting-rid-of-Texture-Interpolation-yay-for-blocky-no-for-blurry](http://www.blenderartists.org/forum/showthread.php?244662-Cycles-Getting-rid-of-Texture-Interpolation-yay-for-blocky-no-for-blurry)!!
Using there tips you can shorten your render times for 30 seconds up to 10 mins on some cases…
These where my tips for reducing render time with blender cycles, Some my give different effects on different systems like textures wont be significant for people with ddr5 ram and a ssd. So be sure to try different settings and experiment with them, because experimenting is your key to success!!!