View Full Version : Disappointing test...

02-14-2003, 10:53 AM
OK, it was rumored that 10.2.4 improved OpenGL significantly for certain video cards. I've yet to see any real benefit so far in LW. But I have done some testing, and the results will probably disappoint you.

For reference, I have three systems:
1-Powerbook G4/1ghz -1GB of RAM/ATI Radeon 9000 64MB RAM

2-Power Mac G4/800DP - 1.5 GB of RAM/nVidia GForce 3 Titanium 64MB of RAM

3-AMD XP2200XP+/512MB of RAM/nVidia GForce 4MX - 64MB of RAM...

I decided to load up Stu_Full Character from the LW Objects / Characters and subdivide him.

Here's the unscientific results of OpenGL performance in LW Modeler...

On the PowerMac, with Patch Division at 6, moving the model in perspective mode/smooth shade is too jerky to be usable. Only when Patch Divisions are lowered to about 3 is OpenGL movement fluid, but still kind of slow.

Just about the same response for the PowerBook.

The AMD Athlon, however is a different story. Even with Patch Divisions set to 6, the OpenGL movement is fluid, and still faster than the Macs at a setting of 3. This is utterly disappointing.

Can someone from Newtek please tell me where the bottleneck is for the Mac? Is it just a horrible OGL infrastructure on Apple's part? Is the CPU the bottleneck here? Is it Apple's video drivers? If I were to upgrade to a Power Mac G4/1.4 with a Radeon9700, would this test pass?

On the upswing, the AMD has a hard time running both LW and Modeler at the same time with only 512MB of RAM. My Powerbook ran both much better when I only had 512MB (before the 1gb updgrade)

02-14-2003, 11:12 AM
I used to use LW on a Mac and I hated every minute of it, it was awful, to the point that I wanted my money back.

Problem with Mac graphics cards (assuming they're not part of the motherboard) is that they have cut down versions of their PC counterparts (unless you pay a LOT extra) so they're nowhere near as fast as PCs when it comes to 3D work (this is why nearly all the major 3D apps are PC only)

Some even have software OpenGL which is a joke.

But generally speaking OpenGL was adopted late on the Mac, it just isn't as well integrated IMO.

I used to be a Mac fanatic, but moved to PCs (in a Mac "Switch" kind of way!) because the software I need to use runs better on PCs, or isn't even available on Macs.

You get more for your money with PCs, and the simple fact is, I can do more on a PC than a Mac, despite what they claim on their "Switch" marketing campaign.

I hated Microsoft, but I have to admit, Windows 2000 isn't too bad, XP Pro is too (although I've reverted the interface back to Windows 2000, luna sucks!)

Now I don't miss the Mac at all.

Bottom line, for 3D use a PC.

This is just my opinion, but I've seen both sides of the fence, I'm not loyal to either platform, I just want to use what works, and PCs do.

02-14-2003, 11:24 AM
even despite this test, and despite the problems LW has on the Mac, I still prefer using it under OS X over Windows. I know, I must be a masochist. Even though the AMD is here for just that purpose, I love using LW in my Mac workflow. It's always such a chore to fire up WinXP just for LW, when everything else runs better, and the whole OS GUI is much nicer on the Mac side.

I don't think the physical hardware is to blame. The GForce 3 Titanium in the PMG4/800DP is the same GForce 3 Ti4600 card that is in many PCS. From what I understand, the bottleneck has to be in either Apple's OpenGL implementation, the drivers for the video card, LW's codebase or the CPU.

My guess is the driver for the card...

Can anybody with a more powerful Mac config test this out and report back with their results?

02-14-2003, 11:25 AM
perhaps more than dissapointing, par for the course.

02-14-2003, 12:06 PM
wow, matt
those are some very strong opinions...
and alot of your "facts" are very out of date. Its not that you are wrong, its just that alot has changed since the introduction of os X... lets see if we can clear up some of this...

" Problem with Mac graphics cards (assuming they're not part of the motherboard) is that they have cut down versions of their PC counterparts (unless you pay a LOT extra) so they're nowhere near as fast as PCs when it comes to 3D work (this is why nearly all the major 3D apps are PC only)"

ok i won't speak to the driver, the software that runs the card, but as far as the hardware is concerned almost every Apple AGP card IS a PC card, and it sells at The same price, as its PC counterpart.

"Some even have software OpenGL which is a joke. "
I'm assuming here that u r refferring to some applications... its the same as on the PC, the developer is responsible for the mess he/she creates. If your saying that some macs don't have hardware acceleration, then thats simply wrong.

"But generally speaking OpenGL was adopted late on the Mac, it just isn't as well integrated IMO."
yes it was adopted late, but it Isn't poorly integrated anymore. the implementation of OpenGl in Os X Now, is rumored to be built off of the original source: SGI's own implementation of OpenGL which by definition is The MOST mature and well integrated version of OpenGL. so the previous os 9 implementation has Nothing to do with the state of OpenGL on the Mac as it stands. None of those bottlenecks or gotchas exist anymore. The current implementation is actually well thought of by SGI, and John Carmack just to drop a few names. It is robust, very compatible (a feat windows hasn't accomplished yet), and it has very few bottlenecks.

my fav: "nearly all the major 3D apps are PC only"
ummmm... no, true there are a lot of them that are PC only, but there are two big boys that are pc-mac compatible... and quite a few little guys that all started out as mac only... then ported to pc (cinema 4d, EI, Strata, Carrarra, FORMZ, etc...)

now speaking to the original post....
personally i think that the problem is that the functions sped up in 10.2.4 aren't utilized by Lightwave.
As for the disparity in speed between the amd and the g4...
ppossible bottlenecks:
video drivers (mac video drivers need to mature alot)
Lw optimization*
hardware besides the graphics cards, and CPU, like perhaps hard drive speed, or bus MHZ.

* i suspect that most developers assume that the way they have been writing code for a while on the PC (or even the amiga) is the "right" way to do it on a mac too, after all its all OpenGl right? I think this behavior has two effects:
1. it makes the mac seem to be substandard, bc that code works just fine on the pc.
2. it seems to validate the idea that the mac isn't good at (enter type of media here)
this has been going on for so long that the developer expects the slower results he/she gets, based on experience.
This is why Appe released Safari, purchased iTunes, Made IDVD, embraced FinalCutPro. Apple is actively fighting the stereotype that Apple machines are less capable, they are in fact, at least just as capable and quite possibly more capable, and Apple is trying to educate developers (by example) that they can do something to get the kind of performance that their market demands.

I have a little SGI-built openGL demo, running it in fullscreen mode it gets almost 200 FPS on my 933 g4Ti mac, the same app, on a dual xeon (2 gig i think) compaq with a g4MX with re-diculous ram and harddrive gets about 150 fps. Mac OpenGL is in a very good position generally speaking.

02-14-2003, 12:09 PM
Matt, OGL on the Mac is as compliant as OGL on any other system. The issue is how Apple writes video drivers. Apple has had poor implementation of video drivers since they started having BTO 3rd party cards.

They don't optimize the code for texture load/unload, they don't hook the OGL code through the graphics subsystem effectively, and they don't utilize the full capacity of the AGP bus, and that's just a few of the comments I've heard from developers who try to use X-platform graphics code in their software. Apple writes the primary version of all video drivers for Macs.

For companies like ATI, who then sell retail versions of their cards, their work is built off of the code subset constructed at Apple, which is why (sometimes) ATI has decent performance, but never in early release of a product.

Since nobody makes a retail NVidia card, the only drivers ever written for the Mac/NVidia products are the set from Apple. There is a serious lack of attention paid to 3D hardware utilization in the Apple drivers, and that won't improve with the suggested release of "Pro" cards for Macs, unless those cards are retail, with drivers written outside Cupertino.

In conclusion, unless Apple rewrites their video drivers with 3D acceleration (other than Quake engines) in mind, or a 3rd party manufacturer writes drivers from scratch, we will always suffer on the 3D graphics front.

02-14-2003, 01:08 PM
perhaps it did sound too strong, wasn't meant to be, I don't hate the Mac, I don't love Windows, I can see where each score and fail.

we have OSX in the office here but it's never used, all the macs are in OS9 still, so I'm not sure _exactly_ how good opengl is now, but as you say the drivers for the mac aren't as well written, or at least don't push every once out of the cards as their PC versions.

regarding software, true ElectricImage (or Universe as it's now known) was Mac first, Cinema4D started out on the Amiga actually! FormZ is at the moment better on a Mac than PC I'll give you that (mainly an interface issue, apparently sorted in the upcoming version 4) Strata 3D and Carrarra I wouldn't ever want to use anyway they suck! (IMO)

But I was thinking higher end to be honest, yeah Mac now has Maya, but in terms of PROPER solid/surface modelling it has solidthinking and that's it.

PC has solidworks, alias studio, pro engineer, catia, solidedge, rhino3d (<- actually not that high end but still very good) i-deas, mechanical desktop the list goes on . . . these are more engineering / industrial design packages it has to be said, but it gives you an idea that 3D is more prolific on the PC, despite the fact the mac COULD run these packages.

I wonder if alias studio will ever appear on the mac to marry up with maya seen as it's the same company (Wavefront)

(BTW: I lied when I said I don't miss anything about the Mac, I REALLY miss iTunes, Windows Media Player is absolutely sh!te, I hate it, I really, really hate it, the usability is SOOOOOOO wrong I can't believe it! I'd use WinAMP but it doesn't playback DJ mixed CDs properly)

02-14-2003, 02:11 PM
It's true that a top-end Mac is still outperformed by a lot of the PCs out there. Motherboard design on the Mac isn't as sophisticated..I think the max bus speed on the mac is 133 or maybe 167Mhz....

Plus, 8XAGP is pretty common on the PC side, whereas macs are still at 4X...so a Geforce 4Ti card in an 8X slot on a pc will probably give you much better results than it would on a Mac.

I can't say anything about software drivers on the mac, but supposedly OpenGL is built right into the core of OSX, so it should be pretty well integrated into the system.

02-14-2003, 05:47 PM
I have noticed that it is much slower in Wireframe shaded than in Smoth shaded mode?..

Arnie Cachelin
02-14-2003, 08:01 PM
Generally, and especially with heavy geometry being deformed by bones, the OpenGL speed IS NOT the bottleneck, floating point calculation speed of the CPU is. Also, Apple's OSX OpenGL implementation is far better integrated than any Windows versions, which are largely left to card vendors, who, in turn, see the moving target of Direct3D as their main concern. Of course MS could integrate and standardize their OpenGL better, or make their graphics multi-threaded like apple, but they are on the record as trying to eliminate OpenGL anyway.

P.S. Wireframe shaded mode has twice the work to do, drawing shaded, then wireframes on top.

02-15-2003, 09:35 AM
A few comments -
Apple and Steve Jobs seem to favour Maya, atleast from what ive seen..(pixar bias?)
If you start seeing maya mac and maya pc being close in speeds youll know why...

Alot of 3d appz on pc macs could live without becaus ethey are old school and dying.
e.g 3DMAX, softimage.

PC are more bias to DX and dont favour OGL.

Lightwave ISNT loosing ground, BUT they should optimise heaps more for mac LW as I know for a fact they could do MORE!
Remember the big speed increasde we got from 7 to 7b to 7.5? It was a big difference that they were even at macworld keynote to show it off with the raytraced car demo.

NEWTEK mac users need those optimisations and consistant abilities pc's LW has.
Dual support for hypervoxels please and skytracer.

02-15-2003, 11:03 AM
I have tried a test and here is what I have:

G4 duel 1.25
512 ddr ram
AT Radeon 9000

Mac OSX.2.3

I have tested with this config: a box with a devide of: 100x100x100

Here are the results, both apps are in smooth shade mode and with a full screen view:

Lightwave 6.5 Modeller - 4-5 Frames per second (at best)

Maya 4.5 - 8.7 Frames per second