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View Full Version : Mac users - what kind of mac should I get?



dblincoe
07-23-2011, 05:40 PM
Hey Mac users. I'm looking to get a new mac. Curious what other mac users are using and what kind of performance they are getting with LW.

What do you think I should get?

I have a pretty new macbook pro. I'm really looking for a great desktop workhorse!

FYI...this will be a work machine!

Please no rants against mac and pc...they both have their place.

Lightwolf
07-23-2011, 07:11 PM
If you're eyeing a Pro then wait. The new ones should be around in a few months coupled with a decent speed boost.
If not then the highest end iMac is a decent choice.

Cheers,
Mike

dblincoe
07-23-2011, 07:16 PM
Thanks Mike. Seems we are bouncing messages back and forth between this forum and email...just got your reply to my dbwtools email.

Still not sure what is going on.

I am wanting a workhorse. Most likely a desktop.

Lightwolf
07-23-2011, 07:30 PM
Thanks Mike. Seems we are bouncing messages back and forth between this forum and email...just got your reply to my dbwtools email.

Still not sure what is going on.
Haha, yes we are. And I'm puzzled as well.

I am wanting a workhorse. Most likely a desktop.
Well, the iMac with the i7-2600K will outperform the current single socket pro ($2,199.00 vs. $2,499.00) - so depending on your budget it may be the better choice.
However, if your budget is higher then I'd certainly wait for the next generation Pros (the earliest rumoured date is mid-August, which I suspect to be a little premature).

Cheers,
Mike

JeffrySG
07-23-2011, 08:53 PM
Yep, I would wait for the release of the new MacPros. You should at least see what kind of specs/prices they will have. I never liked the idea of tying a workstation to a monitor. I already have a monitor that I like. I'd rather put that money towards more computing power.

Scazzino
07-23-2011, 08:59 PM
I agree with Mike! :D

If you can wait a month or so and are looking for a Mac Pro there may be new ones coming out shortly. If you're looking for an iMac then now's probably as good a time as any. I prefer the Mac Pro. I'm currently running the original 3Ghz 8-core and am waiting to see if a new 16-core is going to come out next or not to replace the existing 12-core in the lineup, otherwise I'll jump for a 12-core... You can never have too many cores when rendering... :)

Here's a good buyer's guide that tracks the releases and the average product refresh cycles...

Mac Buyer's Guide
http://buyersguide.macrumors.com/

I generally buy the stock machine from Apple (perhaps with an upgraded video card)
then add more RAM and HD space from OWC: http://macsales.com

:thumbsup:

dblincoe
07-23-2011, 09:10 PM
Yeah, I'm torn between the huge iMac with the nice display or going all in on a mac pro. Only downside is I will have to also pony up for a good display. But I am looking for something that can really crank out some renders.

Thanks for the comments so far guys! Thanks Scazzino, for the great links.

Rayek
07-24-2011, 02:55 AM
I would go for the mac pro - at least you will have your own choice of better quality screens. The glossy iMac screens aren't exactly great for a color correct workflow.

Markc
07-24-2011, 05:02 AM
I would go for the MacPro personally. I am waiting to see the new specs before purchasing.
I have previously contemplated the 27inch iMac as it does look good value for money, but would not be comfortable leaving it rendering overnight for 12+ hours, whereas a MacPro is designed for such activity without breaking a sweat.

lwanmtr
07-25-2011, 07:55 PM
Go with the Mac Pro..the current ones are quite good...mine is 3 years old and still keeps up...You can wait for the next model, which of course will be better..but my philosophy on that is that you will just end up waiting forever because there will always be something better.

That being said....

If you can wait a few months, go for it....if not, go for the 12 core Mac Pro.... The iMac will perform nicely for a while...until you want to upgrade something..like RAM or even Graphics card...iMacs arent really made for 3d work.

Oh...and get the maintenance plan..trust me...it saved me $400 or more recently..lol.

SonicN2O
07-26-2011, 12:11 PM
I've got an iMac, and it does good, Mac Pros are just too expensive for me, but if you've got the money, go for it.

dblincoe
07-26-2011, 12:18 PM
Thanks everyone. I haven't ever had a problem with my iMac (one of the first intel ones). I have hit it pretty hard at rendering over the past 5 years and never had a problem. The past two years I have been using my macBook pro just because it is faster, more memory, etc. I've never used a mac pro before and nothing with more power than my 2 core duo macbook pro. What are we talking about as far as differences in a power? Is it going to be a big jump in let's say rendering speed or just a so so jump?

Scazzino
07-26-2011, 01:54 PM
Thanks everyone. I haven't ever had a problem with my iMac (one of the first intel ones). I have hit it pretty hard at rendering over the past 5 years and never had a problem. The past two years I have been using my macBook pro just because it is faster, more memory, etc. I've never used a mac pro before and nothing with more power than my 2 core duo macbook pro. What are we talking about as far as differences in a power? Is it going to be a big jump in let's say rendering speed or just a so so jump?

Depends on which one you get and what you are moving up from... A few years ago I moved from a dual processor 2GHz G5 and four dual processor 1GHz G4's (roughly 12 GHz total, though newer machines are generally faster than old at the same GHz..) to a dual processor 4-core 3GHz Mac Pro (8-core total, 24GHz total) and that one machine was so much faster (more than double) at rendering than the entire previous render farm so I replaced those 5 machines with this one for rendering.

The new Mac Pro 12-core should be even faster and the rumored 16-core even faster still... My 3-GHz 8-core is pretty solid and I didn't expect the newest 8 or 12 cores to be fast enough to justify an upgrade for me, but the new 16-core should about double my speed again. so I'd be looking forward to upgrade again then...

You'll get the biggest bang for the buck on high core systems when rendering because they make pretty solid use of all cores. General computing won't use all the cores as much though, so if you do lots of rendering then the more cores the better. If you only do a little rendering then you may not need a huge amount of cores...

dblincoe
08-04-2011, 07:02 PM
Hey all thanks again! I'm getting ready to pull the trigger on the purchase tomorrow. Wish I could go all in on a Mac Pro, but I'm going to get the 27in iMac, with the upgrades. Here are the specs:
3.4GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7
16GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x2GB
1TB Serial ATA Drive
AMD Radeon HD 6970M 2GB GDDR5

Thanks for all of your input. I appreciate all of you!

SonicN2O
08-08-2011, 10:11 AM
That's what I got, with a little more RAM...

SonicN2O
08-08-2011, 10:13 AM
Yeah, It's a great computer, you can pretty much do anything with it, I'm calculating 4000 some particles using T4D, and it's going at, say, 30 seconds per frame.

Rayek
08-08-2011, 10:19 AM
Why on earth would you upgrade the memory for that much money?! At the Apple store you pay $600 for the 4x4gb upgrade - which costs $100-$150 if you purchase that anywhere else (like NCIX or Newegg).

Insane. :eek:

dblincoe
08-08-2011, 02:25 PM
That's what I got, with a little more RAM...

Is it working well?

SonicN2O
08-08-2011, 06:33 PM
very well. I ran Modern warfare 2 on PARALLELS and it runs extremely well. the reason I mention this is in case you don't know, those games put a lot of strain on your machine. also I rendered a scene with, I don't know, maybe 10,000 HV's or more, (just a ballpark estimate, probably much more) and it rendered at 2k 2.39 DC the same speed my old iMac (2 core centrino duo) would render the same thing at 320x 240. I also navigated a 2 or 5 million poly model without a hiccup.

dblincoe
08-08-2011, 06:59 PM
very well. I ran Modern warfare 2 on PARALLELS and it runs extremely well. the reason I mention this is in case you don't know, those games put a lot of strain on your machine. also I rendered a scene with, I don't know, maybe 10,000 HV's or more, (just a ballpark estimate, probably much more) and it rendered at 2k 2.39 DC the same speed my old iMac (2 core centrino duo) would render the same thing at 320x 240. I also navigated a 2 or 5 million poly model without a hiccup.

Awesome. Good to know. I have never had a problem with my old iMac or macbookpro. I just needed another work horse for rendering, plus it also get's a little strenuous working on a laptop all of the time...screen size wise.

SonicN2O
08-08-2011, 07:15 PM
yes, a question. There are a total of 3 computers in my house: my new iMac, my old iMac (which is now used as the family computer) and my dad's MacBook pro (which isn't always here) so is there a way for me to set up screamernet or something where I can use the other computers' (mine included- it's the best one in the house. :D) processing power?

dblincoe
08-08-2011, 08:10 PM
yes, a question. There are a total of 3 computers in my house: my new iMac, my old iMac (which is now used as the family computer) and my dad's MacBook pro (which isn't always here) so is there a way for me to set up screamernet or something where I can use the other computers' (mine included- it's the best one in the house. :D) processing power?

Sure is. I recommend using two pieces of software. The first is Dreamlight's Screamer Net UB Launcer
http://dreamlight.com/webshop/utilities/snublauncher.html
it will help you set up your nodes on your machine. Makes is super easy. Even if you decide to go another route, I'd recommend reading the info on the Dreamlight site...very useful.

The second is not necessary, but gives you a little more flexibility than Lightwave's internal Screamernet controller. It is ScreamerNet Controller for OS X http://www.jdavidbaker.com/screamernet/

It will allow you to add nodes and scenes to the screamer net on the fly. You can also take them offline without stopping the whole system (unlike LW's). I think both have free demos and for your setup have low-cost associated with it (both charge depending on how many nodes you plan on using).

There is a few more links I'd suggest you can find them in this thread http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=26572

Hope this helps!

LW_Will
08-09-2011, 04:26 AM
Okay... man on a budget here.

Can I get a Mac Mini with the i7, 8gb ram, .5 tb HD and have it run Lightwave?

It would be $800 without the monitor, et al. but I think I could swing the expense. (and hell, I've got a monitor, keyboard, etc.)

dblincoe
08-09-2011, 07:24 AM
Okay... man on a budget here.

Can I get a Mac Mini with the i7, 8gb ram, .5 tb HD and have it run Lightwave?

It would be $800 without the monitor, et al. but I think I could swing the expense. (and hell, I've got a monitor, keyboard, etc.)

Not sure, but I would imagine. Looks like those specs. were better than some of the computers I use to work on. Check out the video card too. Also take a look at the spec. requirements on LW's website.

a sandwhich
08-09-2011, 08:02 AM
Specs of the mac mini are better than mine and I can run lightwave easily. Except for the graphics card. When doing 3d work I would recommend staying away from smaller form factors that dont allow for easy upgrades.

Rayek
08-09-2011, 09:52 AM
Okay... man on a budget here.

Can I get a Mac Mini with the i7, 8gb ram, .5 tb HD and have it run Lightwave?

It would be $800 without the monitor, et al. but I think I could swing the expense. (and hell, I've got a monitor, keyboard, etc.)

The mac mini sports a very limited video card (either intel hd3000 with max 256 shared memory, or the ati 6620m - which is a middle-class video card, but again only with 256mb memory). Also, the standard 5400rpm hard drive is a bit of a joke, so you would have to upgrade that as well. The standard 4gb ram for the $799 model is a bit on the low side.

Perhaps you can also look into a second hand imac. The problem, however, is that the perceived value of even a second hand mac is relatively high.

Or save yourself a bit of money, and build your own hackintosh.

http://9to5mac.com/2011/06/27/lifehacker-posts-guide-to-buliding-a-mini-hackintosh/

http://tonymacx86.blogspot.com/2011/02/building-customac-three-updated-lga.html

More performance (than a mac pro) for 50% of the money. Caveat here is that you will have to build it yourself. There is a good guide here:http://nofilmschool.com/build-a-hackintosh/

Of course, most people who want a Mac don't want to think about the technical bit. However, building your own 'hackintosh' can be great fun. I have done it, and it gives a great sense of accomplishment - if not a sense of 'freedom of choice'.