Using 3ds max, I must say, the most exiting moment is hitting F9(Quick Render). It just takes ages for image to appear especially when lots of complex materials are used in the scens. You have a few options to shorten render times like tuning the render settings, caching lighting calculations etc.
A simple fast solution to shorten render times is using just simple material. So, no reflection, no refrractions, just the mesh and the shadow, also called a clay render.
But re-assigning the material to you mesh will take lots of time, so for this purpose, Autodesk included a nice, nifty little checkbox in the render setting window:
Right: wallclock 0:00:23.35 for rendering
It’s not really speeding up render times, more just speeding up your workflow.