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Golden Spindle
10-28-2013, 02:54 PM
Hey Everyone,
I had to go mobile for a while have finally found a place to live and can sell my laptop and finally get a large screen again. I'm on a very limited budget right now and was wondering what would work. I've looked at the benchmark differences on these two iMacs and didn't see a whole lot of difference in the results. Could I function well with the 2.9GHz iMac? I used a lot of Photoshop, Lightwave and Vue. I do have a budget to add another 8GB of RAM after I order the computer. Is there much of a difference enough that I can use the 2.9 iMac? Before I had the 2011 iMac 2.7GHz which got extremely hot but I didn't seem to have a problem. I was thinking that the 2.9 was still faster but has the 512mb graphic card. My old Imac had a gig graphic card. Would 512 work? Is RAM the main thing that will help with render time and open GL? Below are the links to the computers I'm looking at. I wanted the I7 but I just couldn't pull it off financially.



http://store.apple.com/us/product/FD095LL/A/refurbished-imac-29ghz-quad-core-intel-core-i5

http://store.apple.com/us/product/FD096LL/A/refurbished-imac-32ghz-quad-core-intel-core-i5

Golden Spindle
10-28-2013, 03:33 PM
I may also wait to save a bit more later next month for the I7. Do you think it's really worth it? This is what I researched.

Phil
10-28-2013, 03:44 PM
RAM will only help with render time if you tend to dip into swap (particularly with mechanical disks - SSDs make swap less apparent, although there is still a significant impact). As such, you have to evaluate whether your scenes are relatively simple and then decide what the best option is. Note that the 27" iMacs appear to be user serviceable wrt memory upgrades, unlike the other models.

As for graphics cards, it again depends on your use. My 2011 MBP has 1 GB RAM on the GPU and I expect there's a benefit for the VBO mode as more data can be loaded onto the card for display.

That said, I worked perfectly happily with LW on a 2010 MBP (which my wife took over when her old 2006 machine died, hence my 2011 model) that had a 512 MB nVidia 330m GPU.

*shrug* Where I am not a fan of the iMacs is that you have a nice display welded to the computer, so if you decide you want a speed bump later, you have to dispose of the entire machine (the size makes it impractical to push into a render farm). I wonder if a Mac Mini and a third party display would be a better option (and perhaps cheaper). That said, the intel GPU might undermine this notion.

Golden Spindle
10-28-2013, 03:50 PM
So you're saying a 512 video card would work well? I know my current MBP I7 (2011) takes a long time to render vue 11.5 scenes. I saw the speed bump in the 3.4 I7 Imac as shown in my picture but not sure if that is worth it considering Photoshop, Vue, and some video editing and Lightwave is basically all I use. If an I5 and 512 Video card would work then I'm all for that. If not, I'd rather wait and save a bit more and make sure I get what's going to work best on my budget.

Phil
10-28-2013, 05:29 PM
So you're saying a 512 video card would work well? I know my current MBP I7 (2011) takes a long time to render vue 11.5 scenes. I saw the speed bump in the 3.4 I7 Imac as shown in my picture but not sure if that is worth it considering Photoshop, Vue, and some video editing and Lightwave is basically all I use. If an I5 and 512 Video card would work then I'm all for that. If not, I'd rather wait and save a bit more and make sure I get what's going to work best on my budget.

The only GPU utilisation in rendering in Vue is for AA. For LW, the only thing the GPU is used for is the display. The limitation there is how much can be shoved onto the GPU memory to avoid streaming data from main memory (the VBO option).

Frankly, if you are cost-sensitive, you can generally get more bang for buck with a regular PC running Windows.

pinkmouse
10-28-2013, 05:35 PM
Or just build a hackintosh (http://www.tonymacx86.com/home.php) ;)

Golden Spindle
10-28-2013, 09:11 PM
Thanks for the Info. I'm going to get a real IMac and no PCs or hackintosh. So do I need to get the I7 or the 1GB graphic card if I'm not using AA in Vue? Will the 2.9 with 512MB video card work for what I'm using it for? If so, then I'll just spend money on the 2.9 and upgrade the RAM.

JonW
10-29-2013, 12:47 AM
Render this frame to see where your computer is at. The difference between 2.7 & 2.9 GHz is not worth worrying about, but if you are short on RAM then you have a real problem.

http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?133251-11-5-s-BenchmarkMarbles-lws-share-your-machine-s-render-time-here

Can you use both your computers for rendering? You can always split a frame over 2 computers with the Shift Camera.

Golden Spindle
10-29-2013, 08:34 AM
I have to sell my laptop to get the iMac unfortunately. So what I think I'm hearing is the ram is the absolute most important aspect when it comes to graphic design in 2D and 3D. What I think I'm hearing is Incan pretty much get away with the $1439 IMac 2.9 as long as I boosts the ram up. I believe I can get up to 32Gb ram in the 2012 thin iMacs and I heard the cooling design is sooooo much better in the thin iMacs. Am I right on all my assumptions?

Markc
10-29-2013, 05:45 PM
Something else to consider is the i7 is hyper threaded (i.e. 8 render threads instead of 4).

Golden Spindle
10-30-2013, 09:23 PM
true. I think though, based on my budget am going to get the $1,439 iMac just because I can't pull any more off at this time. I'm sure it's still a great machine and will work fine with what I'm using it for. I guess if my old 2011 Imac 2.7 could pull it off, then this new machine can I'm sure.

Jerry W
10-30-2013, 09:38 PM
You may not know this, but only the new 27" iMacs have upgradable memory. The 21" iMac does not have user-installable memory.

Golden Spindle
10-30-2013, 10:44 PM
Yeah that's why I'm getting the 2.9 27 inch. I want the ram to be maxed if possible

BeeVee
10-31-2013, 04:53 AM
The words "budget" and "Mac" don't go well together. If you have ~$1400 to spend you can get a lot more machine for your money with Windows, sorry to say. It won't be as shiny, but it will be a lot more capable and future-proof.

B

JonW
10-31-2013, 05:32 AM
The words "budget" and "Mac" don't go well together. If you have ~$1400 to spend you can get a lot more machine for your money with Windows, sorry to say. It won't be as shiny, but it will be a lot more capable and future-proof.

B


Agree.

I do everything on a Mac or 2 & use Dell monitors with them as well. But when it comes to LW I use PCs. On top of that you can build (or have built) bare bones boxes with good CPU & enough ram, everything else, any third rate part will do.

You really need to throw lots of CPUs at LW to get the most out of it.

donlimpio
10-31-2013, 11:23 AM
20 iMacs here at Pinkeye - where I am the I.T. "manager". But we still do all of our 3D work on PCs. It just works so much better for 3D, even more when you factor in cost. Also of note: during the past summer's heatwave (which is very relative in rainy Belgium), 4 of our thin iMacs froze up regularly, so I assume they could not dissipate the heat fast enough. Sad for such a pricey machine.