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Z_Render_8
01-21-2005, 08:42 AM
Hello I am looking to configure a dual opteron 250 machine for my company. I was given a choice of several video cards and am not sure which card to select. There were 6 cards to choose from and I selected only 3 that were within my price range of $700. NVIDIA® Quadro™ FX 3000 256MB 8x AGP was over my budget.


3DLABS® Wildcat® Realizm 100 256MB GDDR3 AGP w/ Dual DVI

3DLABS® Wildcat® Realizm 200 512MB GDDR3 8x AGP w/Dual DVI

ATI FireGL™ X3 256MB GDDR3 8x AGP w/Dual DVI


What other video cards would be good to choose? I am looking at alienware and [email protected] to configure the computer. Are there any other sites I could look at? Any suggestions would be appreciated as I would like to order by next week.

My price range within $5,200 minus the monitor. Thanks for your help.

Silkrooster
01-21-2005, 05:39 PM
Just to look and see what is available for video cards, you may want to check tigerdirect, pcconnection, or sharbor. The first two sites should allow you to purchase what you need to upgrade your self or get one of their barebones systems and let them add the options. Probably tigerdirect would be the cheapest and they usually will do custom systems for you. Pcconnection, I don't remember is they do custom system or not, but worth checking out, so far I love their service. safe harbor is designed more for graphic artists, so they are more than likely to have higher end video cards, I do not know how their service is or whether or not they do custom systems. But I thought they were worth mentioning.
Silk

koots
01-21-2005, 11:29 PM
I work at Pc Connection. Cool place to work, I work in corperate sales there. It is kind of cool you mentioned Pc Connection. Just thought I would post that. Now i probably going to get all this mail that pcc sucks. but anyhow, the thing I like about PCC is the free post sales tech support, for the rest of the time you own the product. Anyhow, enough pushing PCC, and as for pcc doing custom systems. They will do Build to Order, name brand systems. they sell motherboards and processors but do not carry a huge number of options for those.

I would reccomend Nvidia. i just replaced my Ati card and the nvidia card works so much better with LW

tischbein3
01-22-2005, 02:58 AM
nvidia, there a lot of problem with lw and ati reported in the forum...
(wich I should have read before buying one : (

doimus
01-22-2005, 06:05 AM
Z_Render, if your butget is not enough for Quadro, try regular gamer nVidia card. They're almost as fast in Lightwave as Quadros.... Anyway it's better to get a high-end gaming card than low-end quadro for the same price.

Avoid Ati and 3DLabs... both have serious issues in OpenGL drivers.

Z_Render_8
01-22-2005, 10:12 AM
Koots and Doimus thanks for the warning about ATi. I was little concern about ATi cards. I am now looking at the nVidia Quadro FX 600 or the GeForce series. Somebody told me to stay away from the 6800 GT and get the 6800 Ultra card instead.

I was wonder what is the different between the Quadro and the GeForce cards?
I really would like to get a good video card. Is it worth staying with the Quadro series? I might be able to reconfigure the computer to get a good card. Thanks ;)


P.S. I stop by PCC, but I had trouble finding a dual Opteron Configuration page. I wonder how good iBuyerpower computers are?

philthorn
01-22-2005, 10:51 AM
I've had 2 systems from iBuypower and have no complaints. I recieved them pretty quickly and never had any problems.

I used to build all my own systems but I can't touch the parts for what they build a system. Last system I got came with a free 19" Viewsonic monitor and Free OS installed.

They always have some kind of special going on.

Other than iBuypower for some work stations, I usually stick with Dell for servers and mission-critical stuff. Can't beat the onsite service!

I'll add my warning against the ATi cards as well. They may be great cards for some but they are notoriously buggy when it comes to high-end graphics apps like Lightwave etc.

PaQ
01-22-2005, 11:02 AM
Based only my personnal xp, I didn't get any perf boost between a quadro 2000 (a gift :)) and my old ati 9700 pro, at least in lightwave (but I only use lw for modeling). Lightwave modeler is a bit "slow", and don't seems to work like other software in fact. I'm not a programer, but I still have an idea about it. Lw modeler draw 3d models in an "editable vertex" mode. I suppose that 3D gpu can't accelerate this (-> cpu task). If I compare with other softwares (3DS***, Mod**) they all can draw more complex geometry (using the gpu), but if you start to to push some vertex, or duplicate some polygons (edit mode), it's an other story ^^

(the only software able to edit millions of polys object is Zbrush, and the 3D engine is completely software, so no matter the gfx card you use ... )


So basically I don't think it's usefull to buy an highend quadro card for lw (way to expensive).

Btw the 6800gt is a better choice compared to the ultra. The difference it's just about the gpu/ram speed ... (10-20% faster ???). The 6800 GT require only one molex for the power supply (-> cooler), and it's a "normal" size gfx card (the ultra is a double width one).

Technically it's the same gpu (same number of pipelines) ... and if a game just kill a 6800 GT in the future (in perf point of view :P), it would be the same for the Ultra !

(hope my english may sence ^^)

mouse_art
01-22-2005, 11:04 AM
I'll add my warning against the ATi cards as well. They may be great cards for some but they are notoriously buggy when it comes to high-end graphics apps like Lightwave etc.


Just not True, the drivers makes the differences(e. XSI runs performant and great, on my ati cards)).

Look on other forums there are many with problems on nvidia cards too...

I had a little Problem in LW with a X800pro, but it was a driver issue(newest not even the best), but one driver step back, and all runs fine.

But that have nothing to doo with the gfx card itself.

(IMO)



(the only software able to edit millions of polys object is Zbrush, and the 3D engine is completely software, so no matter the gfx card you use ... )

Yes in Zbrush, but in some apps like xsi i can edit(ati X2) smooth shaded models about 1.5 million polys workable, and in wireframe much much more.

But here again it have not to do with the card itself(its base rad 9800XT) but the drivers...



So basically I don't think it's usefull to buy an highend quadro card for lw (way to expensive).

Yes.

Architook
01-22-2005, 11:22 AM
Lightwave doesn't see any performance boost between the FireGL and cheap Nvidia cards. We regret enormously our $2000 FireGL. Apparently Wildcat and Quadro are the same for LightWave.. no boost. The FireGL definately peps up AutoCAD noticably though, so there is a use for them, just not in Lightwave.

Our latest upgrade went to an NVidia 6800, $200. Works great. CPU is much more important for openGL speed (especially in Layout) and dual Opeteron 250s are as good as it gets.

-NG-
01-22-2005, 11:26 AM
I've got a MSI Gforce 6800 and it works great, now it's a good price around 200$ :)

Z_Render_8
01-22-2005, 05:31 PM
Other than iBuypower for some work stations, I usually stick with Dell for servers and mission-critical stuff. Can't beat the onsite service!


Dell onsite service is great, but I would like to get a Dual Opteron this time. Plus I don't want to fall behind when LW becomes 64 bit.

I would like to thank you all for helping me out. It seems I will be staying with a nVidia card and I can save some money to get a Monitor as well. :D

doimus
01-24-2005, 12:29 AM
I think you're on the right track... just max out your CPU performance... that's most important. You can go with cheapest nVidia 6-series (h*ll, second hand GeForce 3 may be as good :D) as you can always change it later. It's sensible cost-saver, because it'll allow you to work almost as comfortable as with high-end cards, and is easily upgradeable.

DigiLusionist
01-24-2005, 01:32 AM
I just got a Dell Dimension XPS Gen 4 with the Radeon X800 XT card.

When I work in LightWave with it, I do get artifacting. And, when I deselect points, they still look selected. Really bothersome.

I downloaded and installed the latest drivers, but it didn't seem to resolve the issue.

Wickster
01-24-2005, 01:40 AM
i use an ATI card (Radeon 9000)

i'm not sure this would help but there use to be an issue with ATI cards not displaying with dual monitors correctly. I "used to" have problem where I have a lot of my palettes on monitor 2 and main LW window on Monitor 1. When I exit out lightwave and when I launch the program back up, all the palettes would jump to monitor 1 and i'd have to rearrange them again. NVidea users seemed to have no problem of that happening.

but ... 8.2 seemed to have fixed that problem. but i'm still going to get myself an NVidea later on (holiday left me for broke) nonetheless.

mattclary
01-24-2005, 05:07 AM
the drivers makes the differences



You said a mouthful there. You are absolutely right. I don't think there is anything wrong with ATI hardware, but their drivers really suck for non-gaming applications. There may be occasional problems with nVidia drivers, but for every nVidia driver issue, I read about 10 ATI driver issues (even if they are eventually resolved, as they were with you).

beverins
01-26-2005, 04:59 PM
I had to order 10 new PCs for the lab here in Long Island University - 10 Dell Precision 370's, and thanks to budget restrictions I wasn't able to get the Quadro cards I wanted to, and decided on the Ati FireGL 3100.....

Well, I have to say that the cards *DO* work, but I had to dig on google.com for a *really* old driver for this card. The 8.6 driver included makes LW have some truly curious artifacts, such as no right-click "blue line" for selections in Modeler, points wouldn't "light up" when selected, surfacing would be a hit or miss affair (you could select a range of polygons, hit Q, name them, and then a few of the polys would not take on the surface attribute)... and then of course the **** thing would just crash randomly.

I dug around for as old a driver as I could find, and I got a version 8.0. I went into the ATI configuration, found the entry for Lightwave 3D, and turned off the one check mark there (force 8-bit buffer or something like that).

Now the system is far more stable and *seems* to run properly. I tried to hit it with some really demanding scenes from the content (the one with the martian walking I think is fairly demanding for realtime OpenGL? Are there any more demanding scenes?) This driver is incapable of running two instances of Lightwave (why would you want to? Students learning the program think its useful until they know better) and will lock up both instances of Lightwave that are running.

End of story moral - I wish I could have gotten the cards I wanted to get. ATI once again shows me that their cards/drivers and Newtek's programming aren't compatible. It doesn't even seem to speed up the OpenGL all that much either. The Martian scene mentioned above still chugs along, and is about .2 fps if you hit the "play" button or try to scrub the timeline. Very disappointing. (the machines are 3.2 ghz, 2gb ram, PCIx video interface - I think they're fairly up-to-spec in this regard)