View Full Version : Need feedback on hardware purchasing plans...

Captain Obvious
04-27-2005, 08:57 AM
I was hoping I could do without a laptop and just have a nice desktop system, but I recently learned that mandatory attendance at my school just became eight hours per day (full work day!), regardless of whether you have classes or not. Since I don't have any classes at all one day of the week, and only a couple most others, that leaves me with a lot of thumb rolling, so now I need a laptop about... well... yesterday, essentially. Currently, I am borrowing a 1.6GHz PowerMac G5 and Lightwave from a friend who will be in Japan until august. Since I'm planning to get a little more serious with 3D (and Lightwave in particular, since that's what I like the most), here are my plans:

Buy a laptop ASAP, followed by Lightwave and Fprime. If NewTek offers good educational discounts, this shouldn't be too hard to afford. Most likely an iBook, but this is the first thing I need feedback on...

I would obviously use it for a lot of Lightwave work, and probably Fprime (it's ideal, because then I can leave it cooking while I actually have class). Can someone comment on Fprime's performance is on a ~1.2-1.4GHz G4 iBook, compared to on a low-end Pentium Mobile (~1.5GHz or so seems to be in about the same price range)? Pentium 4, Athlon64, etc, laptops are out of the question due to lack of mobility. A 12" or 13.3" would be best, since I'll have to drag it around with me all day.

When it comes to laptops, the price difference between Apple and, well, the rest of the world doesn't strike me as very big, but if LW and Fprime are a lot faster on a Pentium M (or on a low-power AthlonXP laptop, I guess), I might get an x86 laptop instead. Note that viewport performance might not exactly be of the biggest importance, since I have no interest in character animation or such things. I plan to do arch-viz, nice stills, that sort of thing.

The low resolution of the iBook is another problem. LW is fairly low-resolution friendly (another thing I like about it, it's not very cluttered), so that is probably not a huge issue.

Then, as soon as I can afford it, I would get a higher-performance desktop (probably a home-built x86).

The get-iBook-now-build-a-PC-later approach seems to be a rather good one, especially if you consider the fact that the PowerMac G5 I use now offers acceptable performance, and I'll be able to use it for a while yet, but I would still like to get some feedback from someone who've used Lightwave on a laptop, preferably a Mac one, as well as some performance comparisons.

Thanks in advance!

Captain Obvious
04-29-2005, 03:24 PM
No comments?

04-29-2005, 03:43 PM
I'm just now looking at getting a desktop PC because of poor viewport performance on my 1.3ghz G4 laptop. Granted, mine only as 64md vram and it's not the fastest of the fastest, but working on a fast PC and Mac desktop at work and moving to the Mac laptop at night is pretty disappointing.

I don't do arch-viz, and I'm just getting into character animation. regardless, viewport performance is very low on the powerbook in my opinion, so any time your poly count goes up, it's going to slow you down a lot.

I don't have experience with PC laptops, so I can't comment on those, but if you do get the mac laptop, I recommend the fastest you can possibly afford.


Captain Obvious
04-29-2005, 03:57 PM
The fastest I can afford would be the lowest-end iBook, unfortunately. ;)

But I don't think viewport performance will be that big an issue for me. Even if a scene can get quite complex, I can always model the thing one piece at a time... I do that now regardless. :p The only real slow-down I've run into is rendering.

04-29-2005, 07:39 PM
I have a friend that got a prettty sweet deal on a powerbook on ebay. Might be worth a look.

04-29-2005, 08:20 PM
Well only (helping ?)comment I can give you is:

Do not forget to check lw runs with the inbuild graphic chip without problems.

I know its hard to renember this with the "I want" feeling standing before it, but something annoying and solveable on a desktop platform could be critical on laptops.
(Less driver updates etc..)

04-30-2005, 05:56 AM
I've read in computer arts magazine that the Ibooks and powerbooks are dropping in price.

Captain Obvious
04-30-2005, 05:56 PM
I've read in computer arts magazine that the Ibooks and powerbooks are dropping in price.
Well, the iBooks are due for an upgrade. It was like six months ago they last got bumped. They'll probably get slightly faster CPUs, and maybe more RAM...

As for LW having problems with the built-in... does anyone know if the Mac version has any problems with a 9200 mobility?