View Full Version : Computer spec for LW

Clive Edwards
10-29-2009, 04:05 AM
I have been running LW9.6 on 5yr old laptop with 128mb graphics card. I realise that this is not good enough but I am a bit confused about what I need to be able to run it efficiently with render times down to a min. I would prefer to have a laptop and have been told that a 512mb GPU is adequate with the new mobile processors. I have been reading on a post here that the GPU is not so significant for LW. Is this also true for 3DS.
Any advice would be much appreciated,also perhaps with some thoughts on a spec for a desktop. This is mainly for arch viz.
Thanks in advance
Clive Edwards

10-29-2009, 05:08 AM
Well...it all depends on your budget.

10-29-2009, 05:13 AM

Any half decent computer today will run rings around a 5 year old computer.

But I would first look at a 30” screen & skimp a bit on the computer. A large screen will give you a lot more productivity. You can keep adding cheap boxes every 12 months.

My Mac Mini is adequate, but it’s 9 time slower than my W5580. It all boils down to how long you can afford to wait for a render to complete.

Maybe get a run of the mill Laptop & a 920 bare bones box for a render node, as long as its got enough ram, it doesn’t need much else.

Clive Edwards
10-29-2009, 06:31 AM
Should have said that I have 21" screen and my budget is about 2000 pounds

10-29-2009, 07:26 AM
Well if it's only for LW, you can at least skimp on the video card. Don't worry about getting a Quadro or anything like that, and since LW's OpenGL performance basically sucks (it does, but that's OK because even Maya's does too. ;)), you can get by with a cheaper graphics card.
For that I'd personally recommend nvidia, since ATI frequently seems to have problems with OpenGL, and you can get an 8000+ or 9000+ series pretty cheap these days. Believe me, either would be more than adequate for LW.

I have been reading on a post here that the GPU is not so significant for LW. Is this also true for 3DS.

Assuming you meant 3ds Max, no, max has much better video performance, but it uses DirectX (Direct3D) as well as OpenGL. And max's D3D runs circles around LW's OGL. If you're gonna be using Max too, you probably ought to get the best *nvidia* video card you can afford.

10-29-2009, 07:28 AM
I had the last of the Sony curved 21” CRT screens. it was really nice. It was actually better than the first flat CRT screens.

2k, I’d still go a 30” Dell 1200, it a whole different class than a 21”. & you still have 800 for a i7 920 (you will have 50 - 60% of the rendering power of a W5590 box at a fraction of the price) which you can over clock, 260 GC.

Stuff the laptop!

10-29-2009, 08:28 AM
Personally, I'd go for a 920 based system and a cheap laptop (if you really need a laptop). If you're happy to build yourself I can recommend visiting overclockers.co.uk and buying a pre-overclocked bundle, a nice case (Lian Li or similar) and a Geforce 985. I just built a system (minus the graphics card) for under a grand - i7 920 @ 4ghz, 6gb RAM, 3x500gb HD's, Lian Li case, Win Vista64+Win7 upgrade...

You can still get a reasonable laptop for 650+, even my girlfriends 350 toshiba can run Lightwave and Zbrush, but I wouldn't use it for rendering at all.

I personally wouldn't want a 30" screen, I'd rather have two smaller ones. Dell's Ultrasharps are fantastic, I use the 2408WFP (24") which is awesome, height, tilt, rotate, landscape/portrait, multiple connection types inc. 2x DVI and HDMI, card reader, USB hub and wide gamut, 1920x1200, IPS screen...I got it after reading so many great reviews and I desperately want enough room for another. It needs a little tweaking to tame the reds but a few minutes with the Lagom online gamma screens and it's rockin'.

10-29-2009, 08:33 AM
BTW the amount of RAM on a graphics card is almost irrelevant with graphics apps, the speed at which physical RAM can take over if you run out of video RAM is no longer an issue and it's quite rare that it happens anyway. The most important thing with GPU's is the processor speed. Maya seems to be the only app that still requires a workstation card to run properly, otherwise a geforce will offer far more performance for the same price. The 285 card is currently Nvidia's fastest single GPU card, the 295 is just 2x265's in SLi mode and would only work as a single 265 in any graphics applications.

10-29-2009, 09:19 AM
A small correction, the 2408WFP uses an S-PVA panel.

yes, sorry, too much talk of IPS screens lately ;)

a sandwhich
10-29-2009, 02:44 PM
I have a mainstream 2008 hp that cost around 500 except with a better graphics card(9400 gt). I have actually compared prices performance and more and came up with a list of parts to build my own for only 900 dollars. Its got a 3.2 ghz processor, 8 gig o ram, a terabyte HDD, and a ati 4890 gpu. I've compared performance assesments for each part to that of a 900 dollar dell. the parts outperformed the dell parts by 100%. If you have the knowledge, and you don't care about the operating system, I would build my own.

10-29-2009, 07:57 PM
If you come from a 5 year old laptop, that 2000 pounds will get you an absolutely stunning improvement.

Personally I would never use it on a laptop as main workhorse, but if I did I'd not skip the GPU too much. Sure it doesn't help in rendering, but laptops aren't the fastest in the first place and OpenGL framerate while working with scenes counts for something too.

Spending 2k pounds on a non laptop will yield far better results imho and working pleasure is miles ahead. (for me at least)

Assuming you need the whole range of things, I'd go for a i7 920 and overclock it to a bit over 3 ghz (easy if you are somewhat familiar) and spend much of the rest on a great dual monitor setup (see suggestions here :) and skip TN based panels.. ). Fit in around 12 GB ram, in 3x2GB + 3x2GB config.

The monitordual should be around 1k and the rest also 1k if I'm not mistaken. No laptop can beat that in speed or working pleasure.