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View Full Version : All things being equal, PC or MAC ???



dagdal1967
10-13-2005, 02:17 PM
FIRST OF ALL... I don't want this to be the standard flame war of MAC vs. PC.

What I DO want is to be enlightened on the pro's and con's of Mac vs. PC for lightwave users.

I've always had PC's but am faced with the situation of buying a new computer specifically to run lightwave (NO OTHER PURPOSE), and I'm having the following dilema...

1. I'm a hobbiest that has no comercial factors driving him.
2. I am equally at home with MAC (especially now that OSX is linux based) and PC interfaces and UI's
3. My budget is fairly open ... I am very lucky that my day job is fairly lucrative and I can afford the higher end of either platform.


All things being equal.. What are the pro's and con's of running Lightwave on MAC and/or PC.

Your experiences only please.. Don't guess. And again... NO FLAME WARS!!

paulrus
10-13-2005, 02:31 PM
I use both so I guess I'm qualified.

If you are looking simply at LW performance on each, then the PC is going to win - especially on 8.5. The Mac version is not 64 bit and does not support OpenGL 2.0. Additionally there are a lot of plugins (mostly free ones) that aren't available for the Mac.

If money wasn't a factor and I wanted a LW only workstation, I'd probably go with a dual core AMD machine.

HTH

Paul

gschrick
10-13-2005, 03:49 PM
I use both as well and I have to agree with paulrus. I have LW running on dual AMD BOXX and a dual G5 and I prefer working on the BOXX. For me it seems that LW is a bit more stable on the PC.

But then again if you want to take advantage of 64bit and install WinXP x64 you'll find that a lot of devices are still not supported. My scanner was no longer compatible. Just something to think about.

hrgiger
10-13-2005, 03:52 PM
Trying to be as un-political as possible about this, here is my stance.

Mac does not support a true 64-bit platform as of yet. Also, as paulrus said, they don't support OGL 2.0 yet. They will soon I'm sure.

The other thing, and this is the big one for me, whenver there is a new plug-in available, either commercial or free, it seems like half the time, it's only available for pc and usually there is a statement such as "no plans for a mac version at this time". It just feels to me that there are more options with a pc.

KillMe
10-13-2005, 03:55 PM
out of the box probally nto much difference - but plugins plugins plugins for them you'll be wanting a pc

Captain Obvious
10-13-2005, 03:55 PM
If it's just for Lightwave (and the odd texturing job in Photoshop), go with a PC. Buy yourself an iBook for general use (like posting on these forums!). ;) Like paulrus said, there isn't exactly feature parity these days, and that is pretty much only Apple's fault. No solution in sight either.

I have an iBook right now, and a borrowed PowerMac. When I get a job, I'll buy myself some parts and build a fairly fast PC for a fairly low amount of money. I barely use the PowerMac for anything but Lightwave and Photoshop right now, and let's face it: the huge advantages Mac OS X offers are barely noticable when you're only using those two applications. Well, Exposť when you have fifteen open Photoshop files is a downright orgasmical workflow enhancer, but I usually don't have that many open anyway.

Then there's the plugin factor. Yes, Richard Brak does a great job porting plugins, but it's not unusual to find a cool plugin and get all exited only to realize it's only available for Windows/x86.

Conclusion (for some structure in this mess): Lightwave runs better on PCs, for the most part*. I won't bother pointing more fingers than I already have, this is just stating facts. Photoshop runs about the same. On a high-end machine, the price isn't really that different. Build yourself a PC and buy an iBook for everything else.

*If we disregard LW64, the Mac seems to be a whole lot better at rendering HUGE images, due to better RAM management.



PS.

especially now that OSX is linux based
Mac OS X is not based on Linux in any way shape or form. It's losely based on FreeBSD, which really isn't the same thing. Besides, Mac OS X is fairly different from FreeBSD as well.

Scott_Blinn
10-13-2005, 04:36 PM
:agree:

Your best performance-per-dollar will be with a PC. A dual core 64bit setup will cost you less than a high end G5 system too.

I personally use PCs for all my graphics work these days and have an Apple powerbook for my daily/personal use.

I love my Mac and OS X, but the truth (IMHO) is that a PC LW setup is the most cost effective and practical decision. You'll get better compatibility and a greater selection of plug-ins and complimentary applications.

dagdal1967
10-14-2005, 07:27 AM
Mac OS X is not based on Linux in any way shape or form. It's losely based on FreeBSD, which really isn't the same thing. Besides, Mac OS X is fairly different from FreeBSD as well.

You're right... I should have said *nix based as apposed to Linux propper. The thing I think is cool is that Mac OSX gives you direct access to a *nix shell. I feel at home there (sad but true). :bangwall:

Doug

dagdal1967
10-14-2005, 07:31 AM
Thanks Guys...

This is actually pretty much what I expected to hear, but it is great to have it confirmed, especially by people who use both!

NOW... The question is, Intell Pentium D or AMD Athalon 64x2 ????

I'm looking on the web now to see if I can find any 3rd party comparisons, but would love to know what you guys think???

Doug

Radamanthys
10-14-2005, 07:45 AM
I pesonaly have two Athlon 64 X2 and a powermac G5 2x2 GHz

The PC is A LOT faster when it come about real time 3D (i have the same card ont eh pc and on the mac, and the difference is enormous [6800 GT])

as for teh CPU, the Athlon 64 X2 are great value for money, I dont have comaprison betwwen it and the pentium 4 D in lightwave, but in most of other test, the pentium is slower.

Rada.

hrgiger
10-14-2005, 10:42 AM
as for teh CPU, the Athlon 64 X2 are great value for money, I dont have comaprison betwwen it and the pentium 4 D in lightwave, but in most of other test, the pentium is slower.

Rada.

I've seen it about split myself. And of course the most recent update 8.5 is showing slower render times for the AMD's.

KorbenD
10-14-2005, 10:51 AM
http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,1697,1813753,00.asp

There's a fairly recent comparison of speeds for X2 and dual core P4 processors. The basic gist with LW rendering is that the X2 slaps the P4 around and calls it Susan. ;)


"Rendering using LightWave 8 is a different story. It comes as no surprise that the dual-core X2 finishes the render much faster than the FX-55, as LightWave's renderer is nicely multithreaded. The Athlon 64 X2 is faster than the dual-core Opteron, previously the best chip on the block. What is truly amazing is that AMD's new champ actually finishes this test render considerably faster than the 25% overclocked dual-core Pentium!"

Lito
10-14-2005, 11:35 AM
Oh I should bring this up for the people who are experiencing slower render times on AMD chips.

http://support.microsoft.com/?id=896256

There seems to be an issue with the AMD cool and Quiet throttling and Windows (this only affects windows XP 32bit btw). You can look at the above link and call MS to get the patch, but at the moment it is in beta IIRC. I didn't do any benchmarks before or after the patch, but from what I read about it on various sites, it does increase the speed in some games and various benchmarks like 3dmark.

gjjackson
10-14-2005, 11:40 AM
I thought I read somewhere that LW64 was only for the AMD. Something to consider.

Phaxmohdem
10-14-2005, 11:40 AM
For sheer performance, you will want a high end X2. I'm part of the hardware enthusiast community that floats around the internet, and at this point in time, the only setup you could do better than an X2 4800+, is perhaps Two dual Core opteron 280's (4 cores @ 2.4GHz each that way). A setup like that (if built yourself) will cost you most likely over 5 Grand to do it right, but that would be one bad mutha.

If I could build my dream lightwave/Digital Media box I would get:

ASUS K8N-DL Motherboard
Two Opteron 280 Dual Core CPU's
Min. 4GB RAM (1GB Per Core)
nVidia Quadro FX4000 Video Card (Or 7800GT/GTX if I was on a more realistic Budget)
Antec P180 Case
PC Power & Cooling > 500W Power Supply
WD Raptor 74GB 10K HDD (Main Drive)
2X Seagate 7200.9 500GB Hard Drives (Secondary Storage)
And Finally 2x Dell 2405FPW Monitors

Ok So that would total around: $7500-8500 but who's counting :)

dagdal1967
10-14-2005, 12:25 PM
Ok.. So here is where I am after all this valuable input.

After what I've heard here and my own research I've decided to go for an AMD x2 chip. I was still wrestling with the Buy vs Build issue and as I leaned towards BUY then I was struggling with the Big vs Small PC manufacturer.

Taking into account that I am a HOBBY user and I don't need to be able to render a PIXAR length film in a matter of days ;D , I talked myself into BIG.

I went and did some shopping and found an HP machine with 1G of ram and an AMD 64x2 3800+ for next to nothing.. I spent the extra money I saved on an NVIDIA 7800 GTX card with 256Mb of ram, and a lovely 20.1" LCD Monitor.

Maybe not the optimal dream machine, but way better than my Celeron based Dell Laptop and good enough to keep my Hobbiest mind occupied!

I'm going to set it up this weekend and I'll do a couple of side by side renders and let y'all know what the comparisons are! :D

Thanks again for all the help!!!

AbnRanger
10-14-2005, 12:47 PM
I recently built a system with an AMD 64x2 4400, an ATI Radeon X800XT PE, and yep...it smokes.
I hope that 1Gb it came with, is one stick, so that you can just buy 3 more memory modules, in order to max that puppy out. Memory has really dropped in price as of late. You wouldn't want to have the racehorse you have in that processor, only to limit it with just 1Gb. You will also want to get an additional HD for backup purposes (should one HD go down), and create a second small partition on it just for your page file. Windows is always using your page file to temporarily dump memory from your RAM into it, to be readily used if needed again.
If you install Windows XP Pro x64, and LW 64, you want to have as much memory as you can fit onto your motherboard...they make more efficient use of it...especially for large scenes.

dagdal1967
10-14-2005, 01:07 PM
Yup.. Pleanty of Memory expansion room! Memory is an upgrade that will have to wait a month or two :-P

Good idea about the 2nd hard drive and partition for Swap... I've done that on Database servers but nevery really think about it for home.

Cheers!!

AbnRanger
10-14-2005, 01:14 PM
Oh I should bring this up for the people who are experiencing slower render times on AMD chips.

http://support.microsoft.com/?id=896256

There seems to be an issue with the AMD cool and Quiet throttling and Windows (this only affects windows XP 32bit btw). You can look at the above link and call MS to get the patch, but at the moment it is in beta IIRC. I didn't do any benchmarks before or after the patch, but from what I read about it on various sites, it does increase the speed in some games and various benchmarks like 3dmark.
The best remedy for that is to go into your bios settings and overclock your cpu (about 10 points or so). Both AMD and Intel chips can easily handle a moderate amount of overclocking. The "cool and quiet" function is disabled when it is overclocked. Most newer motherboards allow you alot of flexibility in overclocking, and come with a utility that allows you to monitor your clock speed, cpu temps,etc. from within Windows (keeps an icon in your system tray). You can leave it at default settings in your bios, but when you are ready to render...then you can open you diagnostic utility and manually bump up the CPU multiplier 10 points or better....then let her rip!

I have an AMD64 x2 4400 and with a little overclocking it runs at the same speed as the 4800 model. I have a good CPU cooler, though, to make sure she doesn't get overheated (AMD's are MUCH better at using less power and keeping lower temps than Intel chips).

By the way,Dag, that's a pretty smart buy you made...that AMD64 x2 3800 is perhaps the best "Bang 4 Your Buck" processor going. It costs considerably less half of the 4800 model, but isnt that far behind in performance...and it's about twice as fast as the AMD64 3800 single core....which was among the fastest chips less than 5 months ago.

Stooch
10-14-2005, 01:15 PM
Master the power of the pc you must. Finish work faster you will.