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schnudd
04-10-2005, 09:03 PM
I am ready to invest in a new Mac, plus video/graphics boards if necessary. Of only the current line-up of Macs, what would be the best configuration if money was no object. Keeping in mind we know nothing of any new Mac (?G6's a possibility) coming down the pipe, I am not interested in speculating there... only the current hardware. Is a video board of any use at all? I hear mention on some postings that certain boards are great, but my sense it that those were PC users.

Thanks in advance.

Conrad Hoy
Novice LW user

Ade
04-10-2005, 09:49 PM
I was a proud mac user for 8 years...."WAS"..
Apple likes to spend time on ipods n crap now, and have forgotten about the power users. Go get a dual xeon system for the same money and youll have a more than twice as fast machine.

If u want a mac just for its OS over windows youd go for a dual 2.5 ghz with 2 gigs of ram and the lastest NVIDIA card rumours of the new SLI verison will be out soon so youll buy 2 of those cards running as dual.
also add a 20" formac screen and maybve a wacom.

In the end it wont be nowhere as close as a pc, because releasing coloured ipods and mini macs that use video cards from 3 years ago is more important to apple now.

toma
04-10-2005, 11:26 PM
Go get a dual xeon system for the same money and youll have a more than twice as fast machine.

Hmmm it's not that simple, I own both a dual G5 and a dual xeon. the configs are similar : 4 Gb each, nvidiia 6800 (ultra for the G5 because of the 30")…and the cost isn't soo different for such boxes…

of course the dual xeon is faster (sometimes twice as fast sometime slower, I would bet on a +25-30% average…

if you have to deal with a milion polygons or more, some high res textures AND high resolution rendering, be aware that your dual xeon won't be able to do any renderings for you !

of course LW 64 with Win XP64 will be another story, but we are talking about current hardware and current OS for current lightwave, so the mac has still a great advantage over the winXP'dual xeon : it can handle all the ram.

So If you need a mac now, grab a dual 2.5, fill it with as many ram you can afford (4Gb is OK), and if money isn't a big issue go for the 6800ultra and the 30" cinema display, it is awsome ! put in two drives, a 160Gb for the system'n'apps and a 500 for your files…

thomas.

Darth Mole
04-11-2005, 03:54 AM
I would definitely wait a little while before chosing - 1) for Tiger and 2) to see what new PowerMacs Apple releases.

I got hold of an ATI X800XT, the bst graphics card you can get forthe Mac, and saw literlly no differecne in LW OpenGL redraw. I assume it's because either the Mac's OpenGL still needs optimising - Tiger could well prove interesting in this respect - or that the bottleneck is now with LW rather than the UI. (To be honest, I didnt see an awful lot of improvement over an ATI 9800, even in games.)

Ade speaks a half-truth in that Apple is indeed keen on debeloping iPods and so on, but it hasn't forgotten PowerMacs: it simply hasn't had anything worthwhile to upgrade them to - it only gets moaned at if it speed-bumps them by a few 100MHz, so why bother?

I'm hoping the new dual-core IBM chips will be ready soon, or at least Power5 chips that can run at 3GHz. I suspect we'll know sooner rather than later - either at NAB in a few week's time, or at the WWDC dev conference in June.

I can't comment on the Dual Xeon other to say that it runs Windows. Which for me is reason enough for it not to be an option...

PCWilliams
04-11-2005, 06:53 AM
I am ready to invest in a new Mac, plus video/graphics boards if necessary. Of only the current line-up of Macs, what would be the best configuration if money was no object. Keeping in mind we know nothing of any new Mac (?G6's a possibility) coming down the pipe, I am not interested in speculating there... only the current hardware. Is a video board of any use at all? I hear mention on some postings that certain boards are great, but my sense it that those were PC users.

Thanks in advance.

Conrad Hoy
Novice LW user


So If you need a mac now, grab a dual 2.5, fill it with as many ram you can afford (4Gb is OK), and if money isn't a big issue go for the 6800ultra and the 30" cinema display, it is awsome ! put in two drives, a 160Gb for the system'n'apps and a 500 for your files…

I'd have to agree with toma. I run a G5 dual 2ghz, with two internal drives (one for apps and the OS ... the other for my files), two monitors (30" cinema and a 19") and 6 gigs of ram ... not to mention 5 external firewire drives for backup and storage. I use the machine for graphics, sound and movie editing (and just began my LightWave use). It's incredibly stable and fast ... no complaints here.


:D

Nigel Baker
04-11-2005, 07:09 AM
Hello there,

I have to agree that the 2.5 G5 mac is very sweet to work on overall.
But the PC's are cheaper and by a lot of accounts they seem faster to render on.
I just can't bring myself to but a PC.

I did see a lovely MAC interface for the PC though, it looked very, well MAC.

Stability on the MAC is very sound. and everybody has an opinion.

eblu
04-11-2005, 08:02 AM
hmmm... I'd have to say that for Lightwave3d, a mac generally is slower than a PC. But frankly, I've seen some Other apps, 3d apps, run faster on the mac (faster than Lightwave, and faster than their own PC counterparts). so does Lw's slowness have the OS to blame? well, I'm sure that theres no direct, simple answer, but its become obvious in the last few weeks that any 3d company pointing the blame to apple, is just trying to avoid blame themselves.

Ade, I don't know man. I just can't agree that Apple has walked away from the power user. True they make a ton of cash from iToys, but thats the dog n pony show. Apple needs the goodwill, and the positive cash flow from those things. Its still a company of Computer Geeks, and the G5 in its current form is far and away the most powerful Mac ever. Sure many features are not over the top, 20% faster while being 400% more expensive, but thats because the market wouldn't support it. So Apple has been eyeing the magic line between cost effective, and bleeding edge. And their idea of where that line is, may not coincide with yours. I guess I disagree with you.

Captain Obvious
04-11-2005, 08:04 AM
It's "Mac," not "MAC." ;)

Either way, to see which is faster for LW rendering, check out THIS (http://www.blanos.com/benchmark/). Often, the G5 is quite compeditive. x86 boxes probably give more bang for the buck, but not greatly so. The big advantage of Windows/x86 for Lightwave is the fact that there are more plugins available, and better OpenGL performance (in Lightwave, that is, I don't know about other applications).

And I find the idea that Apple are forgetting their pro users quite silly, to be honest. Look at Tiger. What does it introduce for the "normal" iPod/iMac user? Dashboard and Safari pr0n Edition? Yeah, that's a lot of great features right there. For pro users, let's see... Core Image/Video, Spotlight, improved performance, and a hell of a lot of great "under the hood" type things that pro users might not really use, as such, but that will probably find its way into some applications. 64-bit capabilities (though not in the GUI, but it is very much possible to build a 64-bit command line renderer for Tiger). Oh, and improved OpenGL performance. And did I mention Core Image/Video?

Ade
04-11-2005, 08:15 PM
Hello there,

I have to agree that the 2.5 G5 mac is very sweet to work on overall.
But the PC's are cheaper and by a lot of accounts they seem faster to render on.
I just can't bring myself to but a PC.

I did see a lovely MAC interface for the PC though, it looked very, well MAC.

Stability on the MAC is very sound. and everybody has an opinion.

I was like that for 8 years until i realised Steve Jobs doesnt give a **** about us pro users cause they care more for hobby things like ipods and garage band.
They left us PRO users starving, when i bought a pc i realised that for less money I could get more than double rendering times which translated to more jobs faster, more money and I was able to go home earlier to get a life.
Apple dropped that ball 4 years ago and never bothered to pick it up.
Dont get ya hopes up high for NAB or WWDC.
PROOF: Wheres the 3ghz that was promised 1.5 years ago????


I DO understand that the mac interface destroys pcs and macs os handles ram far better so all I can recommend is too do this:

Buy a "20 imac for interface modelling and setup, then send the files over screamernet to a shuttle pc for rendering.

Aus dollars-
"20 imac + 1 gig ram - $2200
Shuttle PC, 3.4ghz, 1 gig ram, top end nvidia - $ 1,700
Total $3,900
Compared to $5,500 for a DP g5 2.5ghz.
The single 3.4ghz would be same or faster in rendering with HT acting for multiple threads.

Advantage - You create using the best interface on a "20 screen and render off on a small unit that is cheap and faster than a DP2.5. With the money saved you can buy more shuttles or twin LCD's...


Apples biggest problem is that they should never get to the point when someone like me is FORCED to buy a pc then realises that its OK to use one.

disclaimer:
(pc is used only for lightwave and modo, anything more would be a pain and internet sux on pcs....Hope macs come back again, but until then im not waiting like I did in the dark years).

Ozzie
04-11-2005, 10:11 PM
I'll never get the Mac/PC argument. People always say that a PC is cheaper than a Mac. Big deal. Fords are cheaper than Porsches but I’d guess most people if given the choice would take the Porche in a heartbeat. There’s more to the argument than just money. The cost of the machine would be my last consideration.

I'm sorry but Windows is ugly clunky crap. I have a Microbits PC on my desk, it's louder than the air-conditioning, and crashes daily.

The initial Mac purchase price may be higher (depending on how dodgy the no-name PC is) but considering the **** things just keep on going and that there is some useful software to get you started straight out of the box, I'll pay the extra money.

If people are serious about their work than a Mac with Lightwave, FCP HD, After Effects, and DVD Studio Pro is pretty hard to beat. Unless people are using pirated software, but that’s another argument.

How many IT guys do most companies have for their PC’s? We have a couple rooms of Macs (about 50 machines) and 1 part time IT guy.

Either way arguing Mac/PC is like "pissing yourself in black pants. It gives you a nice warm feeling but no-one notices" or cares.

In answer to the actual question. Buy the top of the range Mac available. Don’t bother waiting for some machine that may never arrive, we’ve probably all done that and end up getting screwed waiting months and months.

CHEERS.

Mark

NonPlanar
04-11-2005, 10:22 PM
He's asking about what the best Mac is for him to get... He's not asking whether he should go Mac or PC. So as far as I'm concerned a lot of your *&^% is off topic.

Anywho... IMHO The old rule still holds: Get the fastest you can afford, and put in the most memory you can buy... but install the memory yourself as Apple will rip you off on RAM.

As far as video cards go.. sadly, the only two brands are still NVIDIA and ATI. And both have brought their share of tears to 3D users on the Mac (but not only tears). However, of the two I'd rather go with ATI.

I'm using:

G5 Dual 2GHz, 2.5 GB RAM
Powerbook 17" 1GB RAM
Mac Mini 1 GB RAM (this makes a perfect little server for a network)
iBook 12" 1GB RAM (portable internet).

All using ATI cards.

Darth Mole
04-12-2005, 01:33 AM
Hey, NonPlanar - you've spelt David Cronenberg's name wrong in your sig...

I just don't get this blind enthusiasm for sh!tbox PCs. I know Macs cost more, but look at the OS and the usability. Plus the joy of owning a beatiful looking, stable, virus-free machine. It's not always about the money; it's not always about the performance (hey, if you're rendering overnight, who gives as f%$*?). Sometimes its about the warm glow of ownership - how do you get that from a soulless, nameless beige lump from Taiwan?

I drive a 4.0-litre Jaguar XK8. I could have bought three new hatchbacks for the same money, but you know what? I didn't want to.

NonPlanar
04-12-2005, 02:13 AM
and NOW you tell me... :p Hehe, thanks for the typo pointer Darth. I sometimes just type too fast. Corrected.

And I certainly agree with what you have to share.
However, Apple has a variety of their products manufactured in Taiwan. But I knew you weren't implying Taiwan (or any Asian country) as being the bad guy here :)


"Did you hear me, Chinese Waiter?" - Ted Pikul eXistenZ

toma
04-12-2005, 02:25 AM
Buy a "20 imac for interface modelling and setup, then send the files over screamernet to a shuttle pc for rendering.

that's strange I do all the opposite : I never use Modeler on the mac (the hub doesn't work on macOSX) I don't do scene setup on the mac (OpenGL is better on XP), I don't do test rendering or Fpriming on the mac (xeon are faster) B U T in the end I am happy to have a G5 to do the heaviest renderings because the very same scene that works OK on the PC at screen resolution will only render on the Mac at print resolution…

… still, sometimes I need to render on the PC because of some plugins like HD instance and it forces me to optimise my scene and reduce polycount to the bare minimum in order to be able to launch the HDinstance rendering… but acording to Graham Fyffe (HD intance developper) HD instance will be release for the Mac platform…

thomas.

Nigel Baker
04-12-2005, 02:31 AM
Hello Toma,

Great news about HD instance for the mac, have been looking for this for a long time now.

As for the Hub on the mac, I have never had a problem with this.
I also use a 2.5GHz G5 using OS X 3.8. Have newtek not been able to help out here?

NonPlanar
04-12-2005, 02:36 AM
Hub working fine here, too.

Darth Mole
04-12-2005, 02:56 AM
Sorry, yes - by 'Taiwan' I just meant low-rent, cheap and cheerful, OEM stuff. Just chuck a logo on and there's your brand. No offence to the majority of the world's population intended...

unc1e meat
04-12-2005, 08:10 AM
I have a powerbook 17" 1.5 ghz with 1 gig of ram and 128mb ATI 9700 card. I do almost all of my work on it even though I've got a Dual 2.2 ghz Xeon machine with a pro nvidia card. There really isn't a huge difference in open gl speed between the two machines. The only thing I use the Xeon machine is for rendering once in a while and testing websites.

Since I don't use my Xeon machine much anymore, I'm hopefully going to be replacing it with a Dual 2.5ghz G5 soon with the ATI X800 card in the upcoming month or so. I can't wait. Honestly for me, even if the new Xeon machines are faster, I still don't care because all the software I prefer to use is available on the mac only such as Final Cut Pro, Motion, DVD Studio Pro, etc. Plus I prefer OSX over WinXP anyday.

toma
04-13-2005, 02:25 AM
Great news about HD instance for the mac, have been looking for this for a long time now.

me too, now it's a pain because the mac can't load the plugin so I have to clik "don't load plugin" for each item with HD instance applied on it when I load a scene on the mac…



As for the Hub on the mac, I have never had a problem with this.
I also use a 2.5GHz G5 using OS X 3.8. Have newtek not been able to help out here?
&

Hub working fine here, too.

so you are lucky !

seriously, can you use lightwave with Fprime, more than 100 objects, a few dozen of lights, one or two milion polygons, maybe 200Mb of texture and still be able to twick your models, switch back and forth between modeler and layout without any crash ?

I can't even if I pause or close Fprime, F12 will kill layout sooner or later. I don't say it happens EVERY TIME, but maybe 1 over 5, and that's way too much (it NEVER happens on a XP box. a 800 € PC with (only) 1 Gb will be more stable when it comes to using the Hub).

I never felt safe when using the Hub on a mac. now I use a dual 2.5 G5 with 4Gb, osX 1.3.8, no fancy apps, all memory modules tested via AHT… and the hub is no more stable than on a powerbook G4 1Gb, a dual G4 800, a dual G4 500, a mono 500… or any Mac I have used with Lightwave since LW 6.0…

but maybe it's me :D

but I don't think so :rolleyes:

thomas.

Nigel Baker
04-13-2005, 02:44 AM
Hello Thomas,

I have just gone back into one of my files to look at the size.
I constantly flip between modeler and Layout with this, but I may add it does take a bit of patience.
I have 47 individual layers. The total polygon count is 557,529. There are also a good few image
maps but I would have to count them. Moving between the two applications is not an issue although
as I have said it does take time for everything to load up. Especially if you move something in Layout.
I also have to make sure that the open GL is fully finished loading up
before I press FPrime to start, because otherwise I will just get a white window and this will sometmes crash.

I suppose it is because LW is not finished loading everything up into the file and I have already started FPrime on it way.

I know none of this helps you personally. I my self always feel a once yearly complete clean out of my machine is essential.
This year even though everything is pretty smooth and I am convinced that computers develope personal traits.
I am waiting for the new OS X operating system and will then do a complete clean install.

NonPlanar
04-13-2005, 08:13 AM
Guys, you're hijacking this thread which was asking which the best mac is for LW... not a PC / Mac comparison. Geez!

However,.. about FPrime and a lot of object and lights... see here:

http://www.nonplanar.net/fprime

So there.. and no crashes.

:p

Nigel Baker
04-13-2005, 08:29 AM
Soory Non-planar,

Yes back to the original train of question,.
But I still really enjoy working on my mac.

By the way thanks for the comparison table.
it would be interesting if some one could take your file and render the same test on a PC.

toma
04-13-2005, 09:05 AM
However,.. about FPrime and a lot of object and lights... see here:

http://www.nonplanar.net/fprime

So there.. and no crashes.

:p

sorry I can't resist, but this is a typical bench mark scene, a simple mesh without texture cloned a hundred times… and anyway, I did say that rendering is safer on Mac than PC… ;)

cheers !

thomas

Johnny
04-13-2005, 01:01 PM
I'll add my 2 cents to the pile and talk about stability and ease of use, plus the ratio of working time versus tinkering/swearing time.

One thing that has kept me from exploring using cheap PCs as render drones is the never-ending stories I hear and read about headaches and hassles involved in getting and keeping a PC up and running.

Yes, I have heard that PCs are "getting better" in this department, but for pete's sake, the desktop revolution began 20 years ago!! And just now, PC's are "getting better" in the stability and ease of use department? sheesh. That's like saying your flu is getting better..you're still puking and sitting on the throne, but the flu is still the flu.

How much rendering and modeling can you do during the time you might spend tinkering with a PC and swearing at the headaches?

Speed is great, but I prefer the term "work accomplished." In my experience, the Mac is more dependable in terms of getting actual work DONE, thru thick and thin, and not only when all the little dials and switches are just so, and some experienced windows whiz is there to hand hold the PC every step of the way.

J

NonPlanar
04-13-2005, 04:15 PM
Well hello to mister stating-the-obvious... Of course it's a typical benchmark scene, that's what is was made for. DUH!
What did you think? I was going to put together a customized benchmark for your specific needs? Tsk.. as if.

:D :D

:p



sorry I can't resist, but this is a typical bench mark scene, a simple mesh without texture cloned a hundred times… and anyway, I did say that rendering is safer on Mac than PC… ;)

cheers !

thomas

DiscreetFX
04-14-2005, 01:31 AM
My PowerMac 2.5 Ghz Dual runs fantastic, very nice OS (Mac OS X). No VT[4] for it though.


:(

Ade
04-14-2005, 02:35 AM
Why IMHO the mac always falls short of pc's:

No optimising like SSE2 has.
No Pro cards, just game cards with average drivers.
Bad OPEN GL performance.
Too slow to update hardware and tooo secretive.
Price systems according to what they are worth and not what they fall into the product matrix.
Release systems with standard adequate ram.

toma
04-14-2005, 03:35 AM
Well hello to mister stating-the-obvious... Of course it's a typical benchmark scene, that's what is was made for. DUH!
What did you think? I was going to put together a customized benchmark for your specific needs? Tsk.. as if.

:D :D

:p

yep I know, but the point is that LighWave is very nice and robust when benchmarking but often stalls in real word use ;)

Captain Obvious
04-14-2005, 03:43 AM
No optimising like SSE2 has.
For quite a few things, AltiVec/VMX kicks SSE's ***. Not Lightwave rendering, though, since LW uses 64-bit floats and VMX can only do 32-bit floats... For some things, it's a lot better, though.

No Pro cards, just game cards with average drivers.
With below-average drivers, I'd say. Yes, it's a tad unfortunate.

Bad OPEN GL performance.
Why do you think Mac OS X has bad OpenGL performance? It's Lightwave that has bad OpenGL performance. For other lack-luster things, like Doom 3, it's other application-specific code that is less than perfect. Apple's GART texture upload is supposedly the best in the business. I don't really know enough to investigate it myself, though... But trust me, Mac OS X doesn't have bad OpenGL performance, as such. Though I must admit the Nvidia drivers are kind of crummy.

Too slow to update hardware and tooo secretive.
Well yes.

Price systems according to what they are worth and not what they fall into the product matrix.
Which has the nice side effect that a PowerMac is often cheaper than an "equivalent" PC workstation.

Release systems with standard adequate ram.
It'd be nice, but it really doesn't matter that much. Installing RAM in a G5 takes about three minutes, and that includes shutting down, opening the RAM box, and booting the computer again. Dell charges overprices++ for RAM, too, you know...

Ade
04-14-2005, 03:57 AM
Oen GL mac to Open GL pc...PC will always win.

Captain Obvious
04-15-2005, 02:16 PM
Oen GL mac to Open GL pc...PC will always win.
According to what I've heard and seen, that really depends on what you do (don't you hate that answer? ;) ). An application like Motion (or an OpenGL-accelerated FCP) might very well perform better on a Mac than on a comparable x86 machine, probably due to the supposedly awesome texture upload performance in Apple's GL drivers. Anyway, like I said, it depends on what you do. There are no cross-platform OpenGL benchmarks that will show anything relevant (Doom 3 is CPU limited even on a 2.5GHz G5!).