View Full Version : LW8: workstation

05-22-2004, 01:26 PM

what is the best workstation choice between Apple Power Mac G5 dual 2 Ghz and AMD dual Opteron pc-based, for running LW8 and F-Prime?

(2 GB of RAM DDR 400 Mhz and ATI Radeon 9800 Pro graphic-card for everyone)

Hope in Your suggestions.

Thank You Very Much!

(sorry for my very bad english language...)

05-22-2004, 03:46 PM
If you are used to PCs and Windows and like playing games you should stick with that.
If you like Mac OS X and the option you have on that platform like Final Cut, DVD Studio Pro, Motion, Shake, Logic ect. you should buy a G5.
But if you want a fast PC for LightWave you should look at a dual Xeon.

radiosity render

PC Dual 1.6 Ghz Opteron
34 min

Mac Dual 2.0 Ghz G5
25 min 47s

PC Dual 3 Ghz Xeon
21 min

05-22-2004, 03:59 PM
I would agree with the dual zeon. I use one for my VT3 and it is a real speed demon. As I understand it a lot of programs use the SSE extensions from Intel to speed things up. I would also recommend a Nvidia based graphics card, but don't want to start a platform war. Hope this helps.

05-22-2004, 04:37 PM
I have just bought a dual xeon 3.2 and am very pleased

Also look into fast hard drives. I made sure they installed a 15000 rpm serial ata drive as a system drive and an extra larger capacity drive with lots of cache and 10000 rpm for data.

It's all about creating - not being stopped by the machine to load in another program for example. Just being able to continue without waiting for anything is a dream come true.

Offcourse we'll speak again in a year or two when quad processors will be the main thing and everything will be that much computing instensive...

05-22-2004, 05:10 PM
A workstation is different from a node in a render farm.

A workstation is where you work. It must be capable of numerous graphics tasks. Lightwave is rarely used in isolation, and must be used with numerous other apps (paint apps, compositing apps, other apps) that are necessary to get the job done.

It is in this context that the choice of workstation should be made by looking at the job to be done in its entirety, rather than judging the whole thing on some minor megahertz differences.

Think about what environment you'd prefer to work in.

05-22-2004, 05:44 PM
Hm i know it doesn't really make sense to buy hardware for the future, but i'm not sure if i'd spend that much money on a 32bit machine...
Sure there's no 64bit Windows+Programs yet (apart from public betas), but i'd assume he wants to keep it longer than 6months and in 1 year you'll perhaps be annoyed by a max of <3GB memory to render a highres scene (or whatever that might take much RAM)...but it can also happen that you will be annoyed about that on an Opteron too in more than a year if 64bit software doesn't get into gear...
I'd expect 64bit Xeons, 64bit Intel Compiler and 64bit Windows XP to be available at the end of this year, but who knows, i still don't have LW8, and i definitely didn't expect that in November...

(I wonder if AMD really can/will pull out dual-core Opterons that work with existing motherboards (http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=15605)...)

About Opteron vs. G5, i have no idea how they perform with FPrime, i'd like to know too...
The new Opteron 250 (2.4GHz) would probably be faster but definitely more expensive i guess.
Hm but then again the Xeon machine gives the most bang for the buck right now.

05-23-2004, 09:58 AM
I would call BOXX Tech in Austin and tell them what you need a system for (LightWave) and they will build teh best system you could ever ask for....mine is rock solid!

05-23-2004, 12:25 PM
Thank You Very Much.

i'm a graphic-designer for DTP, illustration and digital-photo projects.
in this graphic-area the best choice is PowerMac, no doubts for it.
at my job i use a PowerMac G4 dual 1 GHz with 1 GB RAM that works well with Photoshop, QuarkXPress, etc...
my home-personal computer is an Athlon XP 1800+ (1,533 Ghz)with 1 GB RAM.

up till now, there's not a 64bit Intel CPU (i prefer AMD...) and dual-Xeon is not a good solution for me in future projection and i'm not sure if i'd spend money on a 32bit workstation too.
Now PC 64bit workstations are 3D Boxx and IBM Intellistation, everyone with AMD Opteron processors:
all great workstations but i'm not sure for the OS...
there's not a 64bit Win version, except for beta-version, too much instable and too far to be useful...

my opinion is the "problem" for a x86 PC is the OS (Win):
there's not LW for Linux (why?) and Win is a very instable OS,
virus-vulnerable too...and it's going "crash" frequently (sometime
with LW too...)
Mac OS X is a very solid OS in DTP and my probably choice will be
PowerMac G5 because it will useful for my work too, but i'm not sure that's the best solution for 3D graphic contents...
perhaps it's better waiting a bit for more precise infos about 64bit
technology evolution in computer-graphic...

Thank You Very Much.

(P.S.: i'm very sorry for my "terrible" english language...)

05-23-2004, 01:47 PM
From the little i know, PC is the best solution to run 3D apps. win XP pro is still win, but it's quite stable OS.

u must think to your whole work however, if you will use Lw massively or only a bit and for the rest of time do DTP editing and print maybe the G5 will fit your need s too. in any other case if you do great amount of 3D PC is the way to go for now.

05-24-2004, 07:48 AM
I couldn't disagree more.

The platform you should choose is the platform that best suits you. If you work better under Win OS get a PC, if you work better under Mac OS get a G5. You won't be disappointed either way.

Personally I hate using Win. based OSes because they tend to agitate me (not intending to start any wars). The whole idea of a computer is to simplify things, reduce redundancy, etc... and for me Win OSes don't do that at all - I spend more time fighting the OS than actually working. Don't get me wrong, and think that I'm a PC newbie or something - I'm full MCSE & A+ certified, and have been using them since the early days of Dos. I'm just far more productive in a OSX/Unix environment than in Win.

The notion that 3D is better on the PC than it is on the Mac is quite simply: bunk. I'll put my 3D Mac skills up against anyones 3D PC skills.

05-24-2004, 08:39 AM
Originally posted by harlan
I couldn't disagree more.

The platform you should choose is the platform that best suits you. If you work better under Win OS get a PC, if you work better under Mac OS get a G5. You won't be disappointed either way.

I'm starting a project for a short film all LW. The workstations will be all G5 with Panther, who knows, maybe even tiger... and the render farm will be AMDs. In my litle experience, the top pcs are faster than Macs (G4) on rendering, but I can do lots of stuff at the same time while working on LW on the Mac. Still don't have the G5s to test.

If you gonna work on the workstation for other things AND LW, and you used to OsX, stick with the Mac. I will...

05-24-2004, 11:10 AM

some comments

Especially Mr Halan with his MCSE A+ license ( not in 3D I assume, hummm.....)

It is true that for some things ( yes some ) a mac is better - their ASIO implementation for audio is far more better then the ASIO or Directx implementation on PC ( lower latency ) but that's about it

I'm the lucky owner of a G5 & a Dual Opteron ( both very recent, the G5 I got as kind of payment )

some facts:

comparing Mhz's is a louzy way to evaluate CPU's for this simple reason that one type takes for example 8 clockcycles for a multiplication / division , while another type does 12....
But in general they all need one ( 1 ) clockcycle for an ADD, MOV etc...
that's why RISC ( MAC ) cpu's slower in MHZ are almost equal in overall performance than a higher MHZ CPU CISC ( PC )
( one remark they don't build pure CISC's anymore - the extra SSE & other instruction sets makes them CISC/RISC hybrids )
( finished hardware part, if you want to know more about it use www ....

and now we come to the most important part of it,
the difference between craputers ( most PC owners have one )
and computers/workstations > the Motherboard !!
It's the most important part of a computer ( a good/expensive motherboard with good memory & good powersupply with a slow CPU works far better & more stable then an expensive CPU with a cheap MOBO, memory, & supply ( the so called craputers )

What does this all mean ? Very simple, if you're going to use a computer for transporting large amounts of data ( like mixing several streams of RAW video = not very CPU intensitive math wise, uses a lot of MOV instructions ) a good PC ( expensive MOBO not neccesarry fastest CPU is the way to go ) because of the ( much ) higher bandwidth high end MOBO's offer ( several GBs )
( for your info 4, 8 CPU MOBO's do exist allready )

On the other hand, for apps using math intensitive calculations ( simulation stuff etc...), MOBO bandwidth is less important, ( amount of clockcycles / instruction... ) and therefore the diffence in MHz between MAC<>PC is becoming irrelevant

unfortunately LW is both worlds

to finish this I want end the myth of windows instability
instability occurs mostly with craputers, built of components functioning beyond their specs causing instability ( that's not the OS's fault, yet it's easy to blame MS )
MAC fanatics will remember the ( short ) time 3rd party company's where allowed to produce parts for their computers ( CPU upgrades & stuff ) Why a short time ? because Apple realized that the quality of most of these parts where below specs......causing instability..... IBM ( the original PC maker ) allowed this to continue resulting in very cheap PC's ( cheapest PC cost 300 euro ? 200 ? perfect for wordprocessing....

anyway if windows was really that instable, why are half the worlds servers PC's running W2k/XP2003, why is the other half mixed LINUX ( also PC ) / UNIX ( a few 100/1000 's X-servers?) ( I own a few servers myself running W2K, Honestly can't remember when I restarted them, must've been years - didn't see any MAC doing that - right....... OSX ( with UNIX kernel didn't exist yet, Mr Harlan ?? helloooo..)
I think people don't realise that W2K/XP(2003)/Linux & since short MAC all use a 32bit clone of the UNIX kernel (wich is 64bit )
Apple even adopted the complete PC mobo system ( PCI(x), AGP,IDE , SATA, etc.... )why? because it's crap ? didn't think so

My advice

If you have the money to buy a G5, then buy a high end PC - not available in your local store grin.....-
Don't have the knowledge ? go to the BOXX site, they make exellent computes ( thank you Mr. Proton )

ABIT makes very good boards ( quite expensive 400-500$ for good one ), MSI good to, ASUS very popular quite cheap ( havn't got to much troubles with it, good support )

05-24-2004, 11:23 AM
Originally posted by harlan
I I'll put my 3D Mac skills up against anyones 3D PC skills.

Yeah, well I'll bet my dad could beat up YOUR dad!


05-24-2004, 11:55 AM
yeah J you're probably right! ;)

Let's eat later this week by the way...I'm back from my journeys - and have mostly recovered! ;)

And Djamu - you're completely missing the point. If you're more productive in the Windows environment then use Windows, if you're more productive in the Mac environment then use Mac. You could have the fastest machine in the world and still be the slowest at productivity if you're not comfortable with the tools.

The MCSE & A+ comments were not to be bragative or something, rather they were just showing the fact that I'm quite familiar with the Windows way of doing things - and even so I prefer to use OSX because it works better for me.

05-24-2004, 12:08 PM
Djamu has some very good points, that "craputer" vs. computer is exactly what my experience was.
When i built my dual machine around the Tyan Tiger MPX using registered ECC RAM Windows 2000 (NT based) all of a sudden ran _really_ stable! I mean Win 2000 on "craputer" was already a step up from 98 (DOS based *shudder*), but boy, what a difference, i suddenly realized all those remaining crashes where mainly not M$'s fault. (this doesn't mean i regard Windows as the best OS out there though!)
Just as important as the hardware and the OS are the drivers, they can unfortunately f**k up your machine like the worst OS/hardware could (on any platform)

So, i would not stay away from a PC because of possible instability.
However, you were unfortunately right with the virus-vulnerability. If you don't have some kind of firewall (or no online connection at all) you should check Windows update at very least once a week, the last one took 2 weeks from security patch to virus "release", and with such nice bugs Windows disclosed lately you didn't even had to open an email attachement to get infested.
But, with a firewall (router) and my brain? i got around any infections so far!

@Djamu: Do you have FPrime and had the chance to run it on Opteron and G5?

In the ned it really comes down to what you prefer, OSX's transition to 64bit seems to be smoother, the Windows transition will be somewhat more abrupt, 32bit programs will not get full 4GB (max. 2 from what i read, not even a 3GB switch available) and all drivers have to be 64bit to get started at all so i'd expect some more problems there, but some more advantages once Software gets 64bit compiled (the Opteron gets twice the CPU registers available after all, should provide a few percents in performance)

Why there is no Linux-Version of LW...well, ask Newtek, but 64bit Linux is not all rosy yet, it's apparently not easy finding a distribution that supports 32 and 64bit software to run in parallel, and again, drivers, drivers...they're lacking even more than under Windows 64bit beta.

05-24-2004, 12:14 PM
WOW. Once again, a thread spirals down into the realm of brazen incompetence - where nincompoops come out of the woodwork just to voice their one-sided opinions. ;)

I don't give a flying "BEEP" if M$ does this or Crapple does that - the most important thing is what gets the job done - USE THE SYSTEM YOU'RE MOST PRODUCTIVE ON - and leave the other nonsense behind. PEEERIOD

05-24-2004, 12:40 PM
Sorry to say this, but it's one thing you all have forgotten... There's alot more LW plugins for Windows than there is for OSX.
It's sad but true.

05-24-2004, 01:08 PM

i couldn't disagree about the pc is the best platform for 3D graphics;
always the "first" professional platform for 3D is SGI workstations with UNIX-based OS.
majority of cinema-FX studios use that workstations/OS "combo" up till now, or Athlon 64 computers with Linux RedHat as OS.
i don't know about LW on SGI and there's not LW Linux version.
moreover, SGI workstation is much more money dear and it's not suitable for my need...

please, believe me: i don't want start any usual (and useless...) competition about Win or Mac OS.
it's an Individual Choice.
i use both in different contest (job and personal) with the same applications except LW, that i use on my Athlon with WinXP.
i have much more problems with Win, although various optimizing resource settings, relative powerful hardware-config, memory dotation, Raid-config hard-disks, etc...
but this is my personal experience.

also, it's true that pc got more 3D-programs (XSI, Maya Unlimited and 3dsmax are pc-version only...) and more graphic-cards choice (ATI Fire GL, NV Quadro and the powerful Wildcat...).
but pc is not the only good for 3D....

i use LW for graphic-design contents principally and a bit for animation.

anyway, i prefer waiting more times for my definitive choice because 64bit is in "work in progress" time and there will be some important news in a short while for sure.

Forever, Thank You Very Much to Everyone
(specially to Djamu for his important technical indications)

05-24-2004, 01:56 PM
I personally would go with a dual opteron 248. They run at 2.2 ghz and scores show them either neck to neck with the Xeon or beating it. I personally prefer AMD just because I have had such good experiences with their processors and they are quite a bit cheaper. Also the 64 bit is just a little icing on the cake it doesnt add anything at this point but who knows in a year if it could. You can also dual boot your system running windows XP pro and then a 64-bit version of linux (I like SuSE)

[edit] I just noticed that they released the 250 model with run at 2.4 ghz and the front side bus runs at the speed also.