View Full Version : For those who have both - MAC OR PC?

05-11-2005, 12:50 AM
I don't need the MAC priests or the PC soldiers here starting a flame war. I'm looking to purchase a decked out Duel G5 or a Dell workstation and I thought I would get some advice from you guys. I've never owned a MAC but they are starting to catch my interest and since I'm new to lightwave/3d I thought a complete flipping of my world might be in order. I am working mostly on floorplan models and community fly-throughs. A complete newb I am but learning quick. 3dgarage.com's signature course get my recommendation.

For those of you who use PC's AND Mac's and don't own stock in either company could you give me your personal preference? Since this is a 5500.00 investment it's going to be my primary workstation for the next 2 years I thought someone out there could give me some good points to consider. I am due another laptop at work and it just might be a powerbook if I like the MAC's, I must say that the Tiger platform looks very impressive from a creative standpoint.

Let loose the hounds!

Sorry, but I know this is like talking about religion, women, and politics at the same time in a bar full of drunks - someone is going to get hurt.


Seriously, thanks for any constructive input.


Captain Obvious
05-11-2005, 01:30 AM
Best solution: stationary PC (preferably home-built, since "store-bought" workstation PCs are often twice as expensive as a home-built with the same exact parts) and a PowerBook.

As for Tiger, it's a great OS. Definitely the best I've ever used, even relatively speaking. But it's not like you really*notice a difference inside Lightwave...

Oh, and it's "Mac," not "MAC." The latter is "Media Access Control," the former is "Macintosh." ;)

05-11-2005, 06:39 AM
i would just make the decision based on what you will be doing most of your work in. i have a dell workstation at my job and worked on a G5 for a little while before they switched me. i have a G4 at home. i was switched at work due to primarily working in 3D now. i would never buy a pc for myself at home. the mac (even my g4 at home) blows away my pc (windows xp) in both photoshop and OS. the pc is slightly better on the 3D stuff. you just need to identify what's most important to you. OS and Photoshop to the Mac. 3D still to the PC (though the gap is lessening). I work in both everyday at home and my job so i'm not guessing. i've done my own Dell vs G5 tests with a coworker side by side and the Mac wins the photoshop and stability war. the opposite for the 3D.
my 2 cents.... hope this helps.

05-11-2005, 07:45 AM
If all you'll be doing is working in LW then pick whichever machine runs LW best...

If on the other hand you'll be doing many different things, then the Mac would be my recommendation. The Mac OS simply makes working with many different Apps (especially creative apps) more user efficient, and you won't be wasting time trying to stay ahead of all the viruses, spy-ware and spam that plague PC's...


05-11-2005, 08:45 AM
I would say 3D apps are balanced on both machines. If your goal with 3D were print or video with 3d, I would go with a Mac (Final Cut Pro HD). If you're more into games, go with a PC (if you have that much coin to drop check out Boxx or Alienware). OSX is a WAY better OS than Windows, but the 1 button mouse can get tricky when you are learning something that requires the 3-button mouse. It is also a pain in the arse to optimize your hard disk with Mac's. Mac's are less prone to viruses.

I like Mac's more, I have 2 Dells a G4 and a G5. You gotta find the balance that is right for you, and if you dont know... what ever you buy will probably take you in that direction.

05-11-2005, 08:50 AM
I have both, definitely prefer the Mac for graphics (3d and Photoshop) stuff, it did a very good job of being better than my windows box as far as the multitasking department goes.

I don't actually have windows anymore because I don't like, it my PC is a linux box and being a P4 1.6Ghz will probably make a very good render node (it was a workhorse but is currently off coz I stole it's monitor to attach to my G4 laptop).

Erm. Personally I'd pick the Mac coz I think they run a lot better than the PCs (something to do with they tend to make the hardware for the OS or vice versa), though it really depends on what you're comfortable with. If you want something that's going to work and actually be able to multitask I suggest a Mac, if you want something that you can tinker with and upgrade the hardware of easily then definitely take a PC (I know you can upgrade Macs but it can be tricky).

05-11-2005, 09:44 AM
I use PC box for LW and mainly 3d apps becasue I can get it cheaper with more powerful graphic card. The graphic card helps a lot when working.
I use Powerbook for everyday things, email, internet, iphotos and more. Thte reason because, Mac has less annoying problem if you use only everyday things and have less viruses. I can not remember when was the last time I formatted my Mac. PC in the other hand, has more problem of compatibility if you put a lot of stuffs in there. It might work today but broken tomorrow.
$5500 is a lots. If I were you I might get PC box $1000-1500 that you will get pretty decent PC or if you can find a good deal, you would get dual xeon or Operon.
And I will put the other $1500 for Powerbook. You get the best of both world, laying in your yard surfing the net and organizing you vacation ($2000 left over) photos. While the PC box sitting underneath you table in the basement is rendering you project. :-)

Last word, don't struck with any but use the best they offer.

05-11-2005, 10:26 AM
For <2000.00 you can stuff all kinds of goodness in a Shuttle XPC. Mine - one at work one at home - run LW, Photoshop and any other number of programs very well.

Now you have to deciede what to do with the 3,500 haning around - maybe get an Apple 30' display!!!!

Captain Obvious
05-11-2005, 10:35 AM
You get the best of both world, laying in your yard surfing the net and organizing you vacation ($2000 left over) photos. While the PC box sitting underneath you table in the basement is rendering you project.
My sentiments exactly. For general use (and Photoshop, and probably some light Lightwave work too), a PowerBook with wireless internet and a nice back yard simply cannot be beat. For heavy-duty Lightwave, though, I'm pretty sure a home-built PC will give a lot more power per dollar. Plus, less "argh, you mean that plugin isn't available for Mac!?" annoyances can't be a bad thing...

Best of two worlds! ;) I'll probably end up doing the same, but the budget alternative... Not a PowerBook and Opteron box, but rather an iBook and some dual-core cheaper PC. :p

05-11-2005, 10:49 AM
I use a dual zeon 2.8 at work and a dual G5 2.0 at home. I used to always think mac was the best. Over the past year, I have found that LW runs better on a PC than Mac. Lately, I have been dreading having to do any 3d work on my mac. Maybe, it's just me, but LW crashes all the time on mac. Lsed will not function. It could just be my computer. But these problems just don't happen at work. In our department we have a graphic design dept and video dept.The graphic guys keep saying that I am turning to the Darkside of the force!

I have always bought apple computers, but my next machine will be a pc for 3d work. I think mac is great for photoshop, graphics, and most of all video editing. When it comes to doing 3d, I don't think mac is the way to go. I am really looking forward to running LW64 on a AMD64 box. Who knows when the mac LW64 version will be ready. On the other hand, mac has a far superior operating system and their computers are very well built. I have just been very disapointed with apple the last few months.

Bottom line. Computers and software are just tools. It's up the artist to use the tools to create good work. The most important tools are in the artist's mind. Mac and PC, Lightwave or Maya, it doesn't really matter. It really comes down to. What is your cup of tea.

Hope this helps. I have been wanting to talk out my fustrations with the mac and Lightwave. I am currently working on a project where I rendered some files at work(PC) and some home. The scenes rendered on the mac had to be rerendered at work because of some weird digital noise in the files.


05-11-2005, 11:11 AM
LW 8.3 levels the playing field for Mac vs. PC. I have LW on a Dell 1.9GHZ P4 with 1.5 GB Ram, and I have a Dual 2.5 G5 with 8GB Ram and 30" Cinema Display running 10.4 Tiger. Lightwave prior to the 8.3 release was pretty unstable on the Mac. Now, however with 8.3, I find that it is way way faster and finally stable! So now I would say go Mac.

In terms of OS, Mac OSX Tiger can not be beat. Spotlight is such a fabulous search tool, and it has true 64bit integration with the G5.

Good luck.


05-11-2005, 12:48 PM
I have a home built PC, built 2 years ago and runs very well,very stable with LW,
2.4, Ati 9800, only one gig or ram. Slow but stable.
Now, this monster G5 with nvidia 6800, and 2 gig of ram, is "somwhat" odd with LW.
Odd crashes that i cant quite pin down, and slow open gl performance. Oh its fast and clean, I like the "look" of the operating system, but to be honest, thats all I like.
Mac right now seems to be trying to be all things to all people and not quite hitting the mark. PC's have been doing that for years now and simply do a better job. If Someone wanted to trade be a comparable PC system for my G5 I would do it.
Happy Creating, see ya.

05-11-2005, 01:02 PM
The problems many of you seem to be pointing to using LW on the Mac are primarily due to bugs in LW's Mac implementation (and in some rare cases video driver bugs). These are not problems with the Mac or Mac OS X, or they would be affecting other applications as well... Once these LW bugs are isolated, reported and fixed, LW will be just as stable on the Mac as it is on Windows. Many LW Mac OS X bugs have been fixed in LW 8.3 and I'd guess that NewTek is working hard to crush many more as well...

One major example is that the Mac implementation of the LW Hub still causes various stability issues and crashes... if you are experiencing stability issues on the Mac, try disabling the hub to see if that makes any difference...

How to disable the hub. (http://dreamlight.com/insights/10/cmdline_files.html#hubSwitch)

As far as Mac OpenGL performance being an issue, once again it seems that any sluggishness is more to do with LW's Mac implementation than with the Mac's OpenGL performance itself... as an example, the new program modo has extremely fast OpenGL performance on the Mac, it screams...


Captain Obvious
05-11-2005, 01:44 PM
Now, this monster G5 with nvidia 6800, and 2 gig of ram, is "somwhat" odd with LW.
Odd crashes that i cant quite pin down, and slow open gl performance. Oh its fast and clean, I like the "look" of the operating system, but to be honest, thats all I like.
Mac right now seems to be trying to be all things to all people and not quite hitting the mark. PC's have been doing that for years now and simply do a better job. If Someone wanted to trade be a comparable PC system for my G5 I would do it.
I'm probably going to come off a bit like a Mac fanatic now, and you'll have to trust me when I say that I'm not... ;)

Anyway, the "look" of the operating system goes way down to the core. The only real reason Apple still exists is the fact that their OS has the superior user interface (it is simply beyond compare). The OS has its fair share of problems, obviously, but they are purely of a technical nature, and it's not because Apple are trying to please everyone, or because they're focusing on the "look" of the system. Despite what you may think, Apple's software department is not about Form over Function, it's about Superior Function through Superior Form.

Moreover, almost all the issues Lightwave has in Mac OS X are because of NewTek (note: I am not blaming NewTek for this: Lightwave is very old and I am sure they've made lots of choices that made sense a decade ago). It's not the operating system that's making OpenGL performance poor. It's not the operating system that's making it unstable. It's the application.

Err, just like MikeS said, I suppose. :p

Of course, that doesn't really matter. Lightwave is your (and my) tool of choice, and you should choose the computer that Lightwave runs best on, regardless of who's "fault" it is.

05-11-2005, 02:19 PM
I currently use LW on both PC and Mac and so far I've found LW to be much more reliable on my PC. I am currently running 8.2 because I wanted to wait and see if anyone is having problems with the update before I installed it. LW on my Mac has proven to be very unstable, crashing all the time. Also, some of the features I really like in LW became useless because they caused it to crash on save and corrupt my scene file. In my last project I pretty much quit using the Mac version for anything other than rendering because I was spending so much time recovering from crashes. Hopefully 8.3 addresses most of the issues I'm having but I don't know yet. There are also OpenGl issues on the Mac version that make things really frusterating when your whole view turns white or pink and you can't see anything. I love my Mac and I love LW but I have to say I don't enjoy using it on my Mac.

05-11-2005, 03:10 PM
Check out who else just switched to the Mac because of the better overall workflow...

So, who's the "Switcher"? (http://forums.luxology.com/discussion/topic.aspx?id=paQVg9sf+HE1l+NVaa11oA==)


05-11-2005, 04:55 PM
I have a custom built 3.4Ghz P4 PC with all the trimmings complete with a 6800GT. I also have a Dual Processor 2.0Ghz G5. It used to be that there was no question as to which machine I would use for my 3d work, and that answer was always the PC. However, 10.3.x and LW8.x have certainly had me using my mac to do more and more 3d work on it. I think the PC has an edge with more mature drivers and opengl implementations. If you are buying a machine soley for LW, then a properly speced PC would be the best choice. However, if you use this computer for many other tasks a G5 might be a better choice. I find the day to day computing expirence to be better on Mac OS X. I enjoy photoshop CS, Apple's Motion, and other Apple software. Also my G5 renders lightwave scenes very quickly, and its a nice option to run a render on one CPU while continuting to work on the other. I would have to step into highend XEON or dual opteron territory for the same render performance. (check out http://www.blanos.com/Benchmark/ for benches).

Here some myths you will hear in the Mac vs. PC dispute.

1. one button mouse can be a problem.
Alright, news flash: OS X has supported multi-button mice since its inception. I use a microsoft intellimouse complete with intellipoint sotware for application specific button mappings for all SIX of its buttons. 'nuff said.

2. PCs have faster video performance for opengl applications.
This is certainly true right now. OS X used to be horrible and laughable in this department. Every release seems to be getting a bit faster and Apple seems to have finally decided to sink some resources in making the opengl implementation and video drivers on OS X competitive. While this is still a work in progress, there is work being done and if you look at some of the job postings, specifically geared towards opengl/driver dev on Apples behalf in the last few months, it is easy to see they intend to better the situation.

3. System maintence. I work in a large Mac/PC IT department and supporting OS X is far better than windows XP. We have far less problems with OS X than windows XP the total time with system upkeep is lower with OS X. Lack of spyware and virus threats are two less problems to worry about while running OS X (currently). A lare collection of built in opensource tools into OS X make advanced tasks easy to manage as well.

Just my 2cents.

05-12-2005, 12:29 AM
My comments about the Mac or PC for LW was just that, for Lightwave, not Adobe apps or any other 3d app. My comment about all things to all people was not fair and I retract it. Computers are too good a tool for all kinds of work for me to expect to be catered to for my needs only.
If you were in art school back in the 1980's(ouch!) remember what we were looking at in the new computer rooms? I do. Us creatives were the market that funneled lots of loot into Apples orchard to keep them growing. Mac Os' look so kool because creatives were the main market, it had to look kool. That nice slick interface grew out of that markets expectations. Markets changed, needs changed, Apple changed, PC's have changed, for the better. And my fellow LW friends are right, its not my G5s problem that LW has some hitches in it, its mine. Newtek is doing a fine job keeping up and I will continue to support them. Sounds like a tuff job keeping up with all us users doing so many different things with a program. Bound to be problems. And when its all said and done, I'm about 2 min away from firing that G5 up and doing some CG.
I'm not arguing, just posting, see ya!

Captain Obvious
05-12-2005, 01:39 AM
2. PCs have faster video performance for opengl applications.
This is certainly true right now.
I would just like to point out that there is nothing wrong with Apple's OpenGL implementation. It has the best texture upload performance of any GL, as far as I know, except perhaps SGIs or such. The only real GL problem on Mac is Lightwave and Doom 3, and the latter doesn't perform quite as badly as some people would have you believe. :p

05-15-2005, 03:14 PM
First, thanks for the insight - to say the least, I was shocked that LW seems to be more stable on a PC then a Mac. I'm also glad that everyone kept the platform rhetoric to a minimum. I have higher end XP laptop that I'm running LW on now and for the most part, it runs fine. I've had some crashes but I learned rather quickly to keep hitting S.

I do need the G5 to do more then 3D. I create websites and self contained flash presentations for real estate agents (including myself) and I need something versatile in the creative end. With the G5 I can still use all of my Macromedia stuff and LW to really put out products in-house that we just we not capable of before. This is not to say that I could not do this with our PC's but I'm looking for something with balls and raw power.

Anyway, thanks again for everyone taking the time to share their experiences.


Captain Obvious
05-15-2005, 03:40 PM
Well, Flash kind of sucks on the Mac. The blame for this is Macromedia and their very poory optimized code. Not much you can do about it, really. They demoed Flash 8 (also called "8ball," I think) on a PowerMac a while ago, doing things that almost rivaled Core Image/Video, all in real-time. But now that Adobe has gobbled up Macromedia, one can guess that we'll never see those vast improvements (I heard some things were about a hundred times faster in that version)...

05-15-2005, 11:16 PM
I have the laid out dual G5 and the 17 inches Powerbook that youíre talking about. I recently sold all my PCs on Ebay. At one time PCs had the 3D Animation advantage, but not any more. I worked on PCs extensively, but made the switch and never looked back.

Creativity flows best in a comfortable environment that is really powerful. Iíve been working in Computer Graphics since 1990. No question, Mac all the way, Baby! So fast! So creative! I do everything expect games.

Besides, I have so many Award winning Professioanl Designer friends that use Macs, we all now use Macs. There seems to be a separate old days 3D Artist group of artist who tend PCs. it really depends on other systems that you might be interfacing with. And you own personal compfort. Now days there is just no really huge advantage either way.

Darth Mole
05-16-2005, 01:51 AM
As an aside, for me, LW 8.3 seems pretty stable. Well, actually, very stable, though I've not pushed it hard. So I think the stability question raised above is less of a issue. Hopefully, NewTek's new team can keep on top of this.

05-26-2005, 07:34 PM
I love LightWave on the Mac! Get jobs to do so can't spend to much time here.

05-26-2005, 10:27 PM
It really comes down to your individual tastes regarding platform, os, and workflow. Generally speaking, the playing field on both platforms is fairly equal. Each platform has its share of problems & advantages; you really need to sit down with each and find out for yourself which one you prefer.

To reiterate what Mike said, the LW issues on the Mac are exactly that, LIGHTWAVE issues on the Mac. NewTek has been working hard to alleviate the problems and they'll eventually get LW just as stable on the Mac as it is on the PC. That being said, LW 8.x on the Mac is definitely production capable.

Most of the other apps are equally stable & usable on both platforms. I've used Maya for years on Irix, Win, Linux, & Mac. Having used Maya on each platform I came to find out that there weren't many advantages to it on any platform, but I prefer to use it on the Mac simply because I like the methodology behind the OS. One area that I've grown to love with OSX Tiger is the Automator. Using Automator in conjunction with Maya is very impressive as MEL and AppleScript can sort of communicate with eachother, you can create some pretty cool actions at the OS level which will drive certain features in Maya.

People always tend to bring up benchmarks. I for one don't adhere to the whole cross-platform benchmarking ideology as you'll always be comparing Apples & Oranges (pun partially intended).

Oh, and I'm drunk so ignore everything I said above. :)

05-26-2005, 10:38 PM
Hmmm... while I'm here.

I wouldn't hesitate in the least bit to recommend LW on the Mac platform to anyone. LW in my opinion is quite stable enough to do production work on the Mac. There are some serious issues, but once you find them you can work around them fairly efficiently.

My problem with Lightwave is the same problem on both platforms. The complete lack of standards adherance & the overwhelming lack of basic functionality found in almost every other animation package for at least 6 years.

Why do I have to perform 10 different workarounds & 30 extra mouseclicks to do a basic function accomplished with 3 clicks on any other app? The LW programmers are obviously downright genius, but why can we not get simple STANDARD functionality in LW (ie: deformers, real bones, ODE or some other standards based rigid body simulations, etc.. etc... etc...) - the math is public domain and can be found at the local library, so why ignore it???? Intellectual Property issues??? I don't know. Sure would be nice to not have to use 2 different apps to overcome the very basic shortcomings of one app.

Okay... Now. I'm not being rude or ranting or whatever. I'm just saying that from a stability standpoint, I'd recommend Lightwave on any platform for production work - however for a number of tasks you'll need to have an extra tool or two in your toolbox regardless of your platform.

05-27-2005, 09:51 AM
Mac is by far the best OS on the market. I've used alot of OSs, but Mac has always got me there first!

06-07-2005, 05:10 PM
I am strictly a Mac user, but the wifes a PC and (25 year) Mainframer. I use Macs because - quite simply - for use as a do-all workstation there is nothing equivalent ...period.

However, for those worried about LW Mac, take note. Recently, Roth and Granger joined the LW development/marketing staff. These men pioneered 3D on the Apple Macintosh platform and designed Electric image Animation System/Modeler from teh grond up. If anyone could fix Mac-related problems, it's these guys.

Hmm...LW has major Mac issues...two leaders in Mac 3D join NewTek and leave their company of some 15+ years...what does this mean? Additionally, Apple has announced a move to Intel-based processors. This is truly sad. However, it will be an A P P L E coded processor, and not Intel-Microsoft's creation. And, it will likely run EVERYTHING. So...

Suggestion. There are changes coming. If you need to decide, thinking "different" might well be considered thinking long term (as some don't).