View Full Version : iMac 24 inch vs Mac Pro Quad for LW

09-01-2009, 07:01 AM
I am curious, how much performance difference these two have what comes to Lightwave rendering. iMac has more Ghz but in my understanding Xeon processors pack more punch.
Also I guess the graphics in Mac Pro allow more things to be shown in Modeler and Layout preview, etc. I don't know if the graphics card help in mesh deformations, I guess not..
But with iMac I get the 24 inch screen, which I could use in conjunction with my current one.. bigger hard drive, more memory etc. with less money.

But then again, I am strongly thinking I should wait a month, and save money for the quad.
Just would like to ask, what do you guys think.

09-01-2009, 09:10 AM
If you have the money go with the Mac Pro. It adds so much as far as the ability to upgrade. While the IMAC could get the job done you might find yourself wanting more power and speed and being unable to upgrade.

09-01-2009, 11:20 AM
Go with a Mac Pro.

As aidenvfx stated, more flexibility regarding upgrades.

I have an iMac (3GHz 2 core model) and two 8 core Mac Pros. I'm spoiled by having two 30" Apple Cinema displays. If you can afford a 30" display you'll never be satisfied with anything less.

So although I cannot speak to the 4 core Mac Pro, the render speed-up appears to be almost linear to the number of cores you have (general impressions; not a scientific benchmark between my iMac and Mac Pros).

However, the latest iMacs are more than powerful enough for modeling and rendering if price is an issue.

The Mac Pros require more physical space but you can pick and choose your display.


09-01-2009, 12:17 PM
I'd without a doubt go with a Mac Pro. I have a PC with about the same specs (if not better) than the iMac, and it is sooooo slooooow when it comes to rendering vs. the Mac Pro.

What the PC use 10 minutes rendering, the Mac Pro can do in 2-4 minutes. That's a lot of time saved so you can do the creative job and push the limit a bit further before you have to start rendering to get the job done within the deadline.

I'm thinking of getting myself an iMac though for home use when I move the Mac Pro to the new office, so I can play around if I get an idea I wanna check out. For play only, but not for production. After I started using LW on Mac, I can't stand using it in Windows. It just feels so much better and smoother.

09-01-2009, 05:34 PM
Thanks. Well, I guess I will resist the temptation of picking up one of those glossy iMacs for a while, and get Mac Pro next month.
Do you think the standard video card in Mac Pro would be good enough for some advanced Lightwave work?
Would I get some benefit if I will later switch it to another card?

09-01-2009, 09:04 PM
The stock card is just fine for advanced LightWave work [nVidia GeForce GT 120 (?)]. However....

My first 8 core Mac Pro has an ATI card (ATI Radeon X1900).

My second 8 core Mac Pro has an nVidia GeForce 8800 GT.

Both work equally well for modeling and are not used at all during rendering (well, except for status display).

However, I find the nVidia card (and drivers) appears to be faster (from an end-user perspective) when working in Textured Shaded Solid and Textured Shaded Solid Wireframe viewports (with all the OpenGL bells and whistles turned on). I'm not sure if it's because the second Mac Pro is newer and faster, the nVidia drivers are better, the nVidia card is simply faster, or LightWave just likes the OpenGL/nVidia stack better (?).

If I were to buy another Mac Pro today I would personally get the nVidia card. My information may be dated, however, as the ATI X1900 card is a few years old and that the ATI Radeon HD 4870 may actually be a wonderful card.


09-01-2009, 10:06 PM
I've always had nVidia cards in all my Macs and PCs. I ran with ATI once on my PC and my first Power Mac G4 came with an ATI Radeon something.. They didn't do much other than making me lose hair in the age of 16... :D