View Full Version : How much of an upgrade would this be for running LW?

09-02-2009, 06:59 PM
I currently have an older Dell with a P4 2.80 GHz, 1.5 GB of Ram, Nvidia GeForce 7300 GT. I want to start out with somewhat of a budget Mac to see if I like working on them as well. I don't want to dump $3k on a new Mac Pro to find out that I prefer PC, as I have never worked with a MAC. I have a 24" Dell monitor so I wouldn't be interested in an Imac.

How much of an upgrade would the following Mac be?

http://cgi.ebay.com/Apple-Mac-G5-Dual-Core-2-3GHz-2Gb-250Gb-Super-Drive_W0QQitemZ300342664902QQcmdZViewItemQQptZAppl e_Desktops?hash=item45edd15ec6&_trksid=p3911.c0.m14

Render times on my current PC are insanely slow which keeps me from learning LW as quickly as I would like to. I do graphic design on a pretty decent PC at work but I don't use LW at work and would like a decent platform to start working on LW.

Please don't turn this into the typical Mac vs PC debate. I'm just interested in the G5 Mac, dual core compared to my current PC. IHow much will my render times improve? Thanks! :)

09-02-2009, 08:07 PM
I probably wouldn't put my money into a G5 at this point. If you were going for a used Mac, I'd try to find a used one with Intel processors so you can at least keep your system software updated over the next year or so. Maybe look for a used first gen MacPro. That's what I work on and love it. You could also look at a used Mac-mini.

I couldn't tell you how the G5 compares to the P4 but I'm sure someone would be able to give you a comparison of sorts.

09-02-2009, 08:31 PM
I got a new Mac Mini, upgraded the HD 320 & 4 gb myself. I also bought another i7 920, both boxes cost about the same, but the 920 renders so much quicker.


On a lot of scenes my 920 is quicker than my E5450 V8. Sometimes quicker. My new W5580 is so fast its dangerous!

A 920 with 6 or 12 gb ram is the way to go.

Attachment, there are 3 generations of CPUs, one can work out the times, but in short, 53xx fast, 54xx faster, 55xx & i7 bleedingly fast!

(the 920s @ 3.05 & 3.15, 940 @ 3.55)

09-02-2009, 10:43 PM
Thanks for the suggestions guys. FWIW, my Dell just took 46 minutes to render the scene in the above link...the slowest 2 core on there took a little over 9 minutes so as you can see, anything would be an upgrade. I would be curious how a Mac Mini would do with that scene.

09-03-2009, 12:02 AM
That’s my Mac Mini, 9m 14s. It did the scene in the same time for both 1gb ram 120 HD 5400 & 4 gb ram 320 HD 7200, as the scene just fitted within the available ram, as LW is all about CPUs as long as it will fit in your ram. But 1 gb of ram on the computer & its a dog with Photoshop etc. The built in graphics uses some of your ram as well.

It easy enough to upgrade the HD & ram yourself, I just levered the top & bottom apart with 4 butter knives (a couple of small marks on the bottom, but you don’t see them), & the only item which I was not clear on was one aerial fitting that you need to squeeze to lift off.

The 1gb, 2.0 Ghz model is the one to get & upgrade yourself. Its not worth the extra for the 2.26 Ghz, its a lot of money for 12% more speed, but if this is your only computer & you are doing CPU intensive stuff then its maybe worth it. But upgrade ram & HD.

With 4gb on board, Photoshop & everything else is ok. Lightwave is in a different league, it will use as many CPUs as you can throw at it, & that's an awful lot of them (1000). A couple of Bare Bones 920 Boxes is the most economical approach. Once set up you can run via Remote Desktop & remove the graphics cards as LW doesn’t use them & they only consume electricity.

P.S. My old G4 dual CPU 533 Mac does the scene in 1h 00m 10s.

09-03-2009, 08:03 AM
Also, remember if you get a Intel mac you can install windows as well so you can run both OSes if you need.

09-03-2009, 10:22 AM
I just rendered the same scene on my work computer and it took 4 min 2 seconds. My work PC is a Xeon X5355 2.66 GHz quad core with 3 gb of ram.

I may end up sticking with a PC as it doesn't appear that I can get what I want in my price range with a Mac, unless I can find a good deal on a used Mac Pro.

09-03-2009, 06:41 PM
I doing 600 frames at the moment & with this scene, my 920 @ 3.15 (12.6 Ghz total) is quicker than my E5450 V8 (24.0 Ghz total).

CPUs a couple of years old are not worth it. My E5335 is the 2.0 Ghz version of the X5355, do not buy one of these, its throwing money away, one 920 CPU is o lot quicker & cheaper.