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archiea
10-14-2005, 01:09 PM
First, let me thank Apple for being a boob and spending so much time pleasing investors with iPod sales that their promise of proper 64 bit computing has become a pipedream. Still at least a year away from a robust 64 bit system, and at that an extremely optimistic prediction, the transition to mac intel might also be plagued with Rev A stuf as well as trusted utlilities lagging in the transition.

I was thinking of getting like the last G5 released to help carry me over, but therr appears now three pitfalls:
1) 64bit may NEVER come to PPC based OS-X so I'd be buying hardware that would never be totally utilized.. except for perhaps Shake.
2) Should the 64bit transition happen quickly, then I would be stuck with suddenly "obsolete" hardware. I'd be in that pergatory where I'd be stuck using PPC based mac while, say, the Intel mac supports OpenGL 2.0 as well as 64bits
3) since the OpenGL restriction on the Mac are software based (OS), there is no gaurentee that openGL 2.0 will be supported any time soon, regardless of the hardware.

In fact, chances are that there will be a few more ipods released before any of the above happens...

So, getting ack to the main question, since I already have a shuttle PC, I was wondering if the hardware gurus here can help decipher whats a fgood 64bit shuttle sysstem from below..

http://global.shuttle.com/Product/Barebone/brb_default.asp

I'll also enterain stuff from other manufactuerers.

Lemmie know!!1
thanks!!!

AbnRanger
10-14-2005, 01:48 PM
Outside of a Dual core-Dual Opteron/Xeon system, AMD 64x2 systems are the ABSOLUTE king of the hill right now in performance. Intel chips use to have a small edge on AMD chips in 3d Application performance, because of their Hyper-threading features. But, when the recent Dual Cores came out...AMD took the lead in almost EVERY single category. They run MUCH MUCH cooler than Intel, and use a lot less power....it's just a much better design than Intel's. They had been planning this for years, but Intel seems like they were just trying to keep from being completely obliterated by AMD and haphazardly slapped one chip on top of the other. Rather sloppy engineering and they know it. AMD has two cpu's essentially combined into one dye, and also has the memory controller on the chip...communicating between the two cores MUCH faster than Intel's chip.
Bottom line...AMD is simply slapping Intel around like a pimp "looking for his money!" :cursin:
An AMD64 x2 system will cost you FAR less than a G5, while leaving the MAC choking on its dust. Can you build one yourself? You'll save hundreds if you can. It's actually easier than putting a model car together. Perhaps one of your computer savvy friends can help. I like MSI boards because, not only are they incredibly reputable and stable, but they have a nifty feature called "Dynamic Overclocking." You simply select what LEVEL of O.C.'ing you want (private, sergeant, captain, colonel) and it adjusts all the settings for you. PLUS, it senses when your system is under a good CPU load and starts to overclock immediately. When it's idle or on a small load, it throttles your system down to the default level.
There's a good thread on this LW Community page regarding opinions about PC vs MAC

archiea
10-14-2005, 04:23 PM
how are compatability issues with AMD chips?

Also, what do you think of this beast? it allows for dual gfx cards..

http://www.hardwarezone.com/articles/view.php?cid=1&id=1700

BTW, I;ve assembled Shuttle boxes before.. which come wit the mother board already and requies you to get and insdtall a cpu, drive, GFX card, etc, so this doesn;t scare me. heck I used to shoehorn cpu upgrades in my Amiga and drill holes for custom installed ventillation fans!!

AbnRanger
10-14-2005, 04:48 PM
I don't know of ANY compatibility issues with AMD64 x2 chips. They have the new SSE3 instruction set...so they are every bit as compatible as Intel chips.
Windows XP Pro x64 has some driver support issues (usually it's just individual hardware manufacturers dragging their feet...like the SafeNet dongle drivers); but it's a VERY stable OS. You can usually find a driver you need with some snooping around online (usually can find a beta driver).

That's a nice system...except for 2 things. The spec's show that it's limited to only 2Gb of RAM...TOTALLY UNGOOD. The second thing is...it may be cool for a LAN Party machine (due to it's smaller size), but when it comes to workstation-class machines, small is TOTALLY UNGOOD. These high performance processors and video cards crank out entirely TOO much heat to try and cramp them inside such a small case. I don't care what kind of cooling system they try to use to counter that...you need some space inside the case for the components to breathe...period. There HAS to be some kind of airflow. That's why notebooks are still far behind desktops. If you are set on using the case you have...go for it, but if you want the most but-kicking system you can afford, an AMD64 x2 in a mid or full tower case is the way to go.

Intuition
10-14-2005, 04:52 PM
Hey Abn Ranger, I've been tossing this question around on multiple posts with no success.

I've been trying to spec out a nice 64bit system. You have recommended AMD over intel which aswers part of my question.

What kind of system specs do you recommend for lw64? Not like minimums but a real nice high end machine?

http://www.cyberpowersystem.com/highendsystem/ultraw3000.asp?v=d#configurator_top

AbnRanger
10-14-2005, 05:22 PM
Hey Abn Ranger, I've been tossing this question around on multiple posts with no success.

I've been trying to spec out a nice 64bit system. You have recommended AMD over intel which aswers part of my question.

What kind of system specs do you recommend for lw64? Not like minimums but a real nice high end machine?

http://www.cyberpowersystem.com/highendsystem/ultraw3000.asp?v=d#configurator_top

I have an AMD64 x2 4400, 4Gb, ATI X800XT Platinum Edition myself
and I really did my homework on each component. With just a moderate amount of overclocking a 4400 is as fast (and also has a total of 2MB of L2 Cache) as a 4800 and costs half as much! When I bought mine, it took a MONTH to get one in stock (they had the other models in stock, if that tells you anything)...cause so many other customers did their homework and came to the very same conclusion on that specific model. It's probably the best selling of the bunch, even as we speak.
Nvidia's 7800GTX is the fastest graphics card right now, but at a premium price. Either a 6800 Ultra or ATI 800XT or 850XT (these specific extensions are VERY important...cause the others that say GT or XL are cut down versions...usally down to 12 pixel piplines, from 16 on the 6800Ultra or ATI X800XT or 850XT) would give you very close to the same performance, but for much, much less $$$. MSI Neo 4 Platinum is the brand of motherboard I'd go with, because they are the only maker with "Dynamic Overclocking." It runs at default level when idle or at low system load, but as soon as it senses a sizable CPU load, it kicks in the overclocking level you previously specified.
If you happen to get a Nvidia 6800 Ultra or better, then make sure you get a motherboard with SLI(2 graphic card ports), so you can install a second card later if you want.
This link will give you an idea how fast these AMD 64 x2 CPUs are:
http://techreport.com/reviews/2005q2/athlon64-x2/index.x?pg=8
Also, a Serial ATA (SATA) Hard Drive about 200GB is what I'd initially go with...but when you can afford to, ad a second identical one to set up in a RAID 0 configuration (gives you a pretty good bump in speed since it shares the Read/Write tasks across 2 HD's). Also when you can, max out your memory to a full 4GB. Once you go 64 bit, you'll want as much memory as you can get your hands on...since that platform makes best use of large memory sets, and is just much more efficient. You can work with much larger scenes and higher resolution textures,etc. Also, you will want a power supply of at least 400W minimum (450-550 prefered) since the new CPU's and Video Cards are power hogs. get as many extra case fans as will fit. You want as much airflow as possible...especially if you do any overclocking.

archiea
10-14-2005, 05:25 PM
Thanks again...

good point on the memory... yeah 2GB is good enough for games.. but not workstations...

Gee..thanks Apple.. for once... Ok hardware, but your **** OS actually lagged!! Dumb-arses.. I hope Jobs sits on his Nano and breaks it!!

AbnRanger
10-14-2005, 05:35 PM
Thanks again...

good point on the memory... yeah 2GB is good enough for games.. but not workstations...

Gee..thanks Apple.. for once... Ok hardware, but your **** OS actually lagged!! Dumb-arses.. I hope Jobs sits on his Nano and breaks it!!
Yeah, well...they had it going on with the introduction of the first G5....but has since allowed it to become a bit dated.

roboanarchy
10-14-2005, 06:06 PM
The dual core 2.8 pentium D 820 is very inexpensive right now, allowing you to spend more on a 3d video card and memory which is a good investment since accelerated OpenGL is coming into play pretty heavily, especially on the new 64bit version. What you should get depends on what you want to do with Lightwave really. I do not buy AMD for work machines personally, however I would if I wanted to play games.
The dual core AMD's are very impressive but the price is formidable.

archiea
10-14-2005, 09:25 PM
Yeah, well...they had it going on with the introduction of the first G5....but has since allowed it to become a bit dated.

Well, the hardware, even at sub 3 Gigilo-hurts is still pretty fast... and coupled with their other apps like Shake and FCP, etc, made the mac a nice well rounded content platform. Not the best, but well rounded for 3D... a Desktop for hardcore apps along with the laptop for general computing allowed you to share data between the workstations easily without having to make a huge effort for syncronizing.

I just don;t understand why they just kinda >stopped< with Tiger... I thoughtit wa going to be 64 bit.. well not quite.. I thought great open GL 2.0 support... well not quite.. opps, wow look a new iPud. Then the Mactel announcement actually gave cause for the delay.. where as on could have speculated that 64bit/openGL2.0 support was an update away, it now seems logical to assume that its pushed until the OS settles in its new intel built home.

Whaaa!!!

archiea
10-14-2005, 09:27 PM
The dual core 2.8 pentium D 820 is very inexpensive right now, allowing you to spend more on a 3d video card and memory which is a good investment since accelerated OpenGL is coming into play pretty heavily, especially on the new 64bit version. What you should get depends on what you want to do with Lightwave really. I do not buy AMD for work machines personally, however I would if I wanted to play games.
The dual core AMD's are very impressive but the price is formidable.


not sure what youmean here.. the AMD's are great for games, but too expensive.. so they make bad workmachines.. :confused:

Don;t work machines make money for expensive gear, while games.. well...

roboanarchy
10-14-2005, 09:37 PM
I didn't say AMD's make bad workmachines. I just didn't bother to elaborate that I have a personal preference for Intel when it comes to Lightwave and other professional software, and I didn't bother for what will now probably become obvious reasons.

lots
10-14-2005, 11:45 PM
Not getting into the AMD vs Intel debate, since my preference is AMD .. at the moment.. :P

Here's a suggestion for people who want a SFF computer as a workstation ;) The IWill ZMAX D2 (http://www.iwill.net/product_2.asp?p_id=105&sp=Y) . The system runs an NForce Pro 2200 chipset, and features capabilities for dual Opterons (dual core even) It has 1 PCIe x16 slot and one PCIe x4 slot. It is capable of SLI Operation, though the second card probably will not have as much benifit due to the slow PCIe slot. Great little machine from the looks of it. And surprisingly cool considering what is inside... It is also apparently pretty quiet.

One could only imagine how it would perform with two Opteorn 275s 4GB of memory and a 7800GTX all in a space slightly larger than the average SFF.

coremi
10-15-2005, 01:02 AM
in my oppinion buy MAD only if you buy the whole computer, like BOXX, Alienware etc... If u build it by yoursel Intel is the safer way, also i would recomend an Intel motherboard, very stable and very reliable but not as fast as ASUS or Gigabyte.

About Intel / AMD, i don't care about this, pretty happy that AMD has great CPU's, the price of Intel gets lower. On the other hand just think that Intel as a company is 20 times bigger than AMD, so if the AMD platform were much better, Intel will have a crushing response right away, it is not the case :).

AbnRanger
10-15-2005, 07:49 AM
Not getting into the AMD vs Intel debate, since my preference is AMD .. at the moment.. :P

Here's a suggestion for people who want a SFF computer as a workstation ;) The IWill ZMAX D2 (http://www.iwill.net/product_2.asp?p_id=105&sp=Y) . The system runs an NForce Pro 2200 chipset, and features capabilities for dual Opterons (dual core even) It has 1 PCIe x16 slot and one PCIe x4 slot. It is capable of SLI Operation, though the second card probably will not have as much benifit due to the slow PCIe slot. Great little machine from the looks of it. And surprisingly cool considering what is inside... It is also apparently pretty quiet.

One could only imagine how it would perform with two Opteorn 275s 4GB of memory and a 7800GTX all in a space slightly larger than the average SFF.
I like that system...but it has a weak power supply (350W ...each opteron will draw about 100W or more) for the components it's driving. Nvidia cards are notorious power hogs...and then dual opterons?!
Also, as I have mentioned before...it's just plain common sense; you DO NOT want to cramp such high performance/heat generating components inside such a small space. It leaves NO room for adequate airflow. Look at the MAC G5...it's built into a case that maximizes airflow...and now you want to cram the SAME components into the space of a Mini-Mac? No way. It's not necessary, and it's just not a good idea. Plus, in such cramped quarters, you have little or no room for expansion.
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtools/configdetails.asp?Base=1480594

Intuition
10-15-2005, 08:00 PM
Thanks AbnRanger, Thats exactly the lowdown I have been looking for. :thumbsup:

I am very concerned about cooing as well. The setup I was going for actually has a liquid cooling system for the CPU. Even though I will probably go the more xpensive route with the 4800.

AbnRanger
10-15-2005, 09:09 PM
So, getting ack to the main question, since I already have a shuttle PC, I was wondering if the hardware gurus here can help decipher whats a fgood 64bit shuttle sysstem from below..

http://global.shuttle.com/Product/Barebone/brb_default.asp

I'll also enterain stuff from other manufactuerers.
What do you have under the hood of your current Shuttle? Why not just get the best performing mid to full size tower you can afford, for you main workstation, and network your Shuttle as a second render node? Is that feasible?

Intuition, if you go with an AMD64x2 you do not need a liquid cooling system. Only an Intel P4 needs a one...if you overclock it AT ALL. These dual-core AMD's actually use LESS power than most of their single-core counter parts, and subsequently run cooler. Mine runs between 33-38C with a Zalman CNPS 7000 CPU Cooler...with a medium amount of overclocking.
You can simply get a good CPU cooler like a Zalman CNPS 7700 or 7000,
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16835118115
... and it will keep your temps close to the same as liquid cooling systems without all the hassle, and is extremely quiet. One of the side benefits of this design is that as air blows through the fins, it also blows air (360 degrees around) onto other motherboard components around the CPU....that includes the backside of your video card...across the memory chips...helping to keep it cool as well.
You can check out some of the videos here at 3dGameman which evaluate various hardware components, and show you how to install them as well. Very handy! http://www.3dgameman.com/vr/silicon_acoustics/cnps7000cu_alcu/video_review.html

Intuition
10-16-2005, 09:23 AM
My Current shuttle is a 32bit system.

3.2 Ghz 4gb RAM (didn't know it wouldn't use it all back in March of 2004)
2x hard drives 160gb, 1 for software and 1 for content to keep data movement optimal.

Its a PCI express board running the nvidia 7800 gt (not gtx) which wasn't availabe at time of purchase but runs nicely here.

Can a 32bit system be a render node for LW 64? I didn't think it could be.

The geforece card heats up the case pretty well and I have the computer next to my AC unit and it keeps the computer cooled very well.

I may overclock the CPU but it depends on what Lw64 can do for me.

The Mars project was what I utilized my 2 rigs for, forgot to mention I have 2 of the same compuetr that I listed here. They ran me about $4500 a piece back then.

Lw was busting at the seams whenever I got around 2 million polygons in the scene. Often I would try to build with a lower poly cound whenever I could but then the image maps loaded onto the polys would cause another memory problem. I love details. LW in its 32 bit state does not handle that much detail. Much of the time I would break a scene out into elements and comp them later in AE or digital fusion.

The great thing is a nicely rigged 64bit system on most configuration sites is only running me in the $2500-$3200 range which looks great to me considering last year's buy.

They are great machine running f-prime very stable and have been serving e for about a year and a half and they even run the FEAR demo (cause you gatta test the games sometimes) on full detail very nicely.

BUt the memory limits (polygon count and image size wise) are killing my creative force so it onward to 64bit territory.

So is a liquid cooler really noisy? You mentioned that the other fans were more quiet?

http://www.themarsunderground.com/

AbnRanger
10-17-2005, 03:48 AM
Can a 32bit system be a render node for LW 64? I didn't think it could be.
Boy, that's a good question, which I'm sure will be asked on here as soon as they fix the LW 64 installer. I have another unit that is 64 bit (AMD 64 3400), but am just running regular (32 bit) Windows XP, to use as a render node. I'm hoping there is a work around of some kind; but for me, all I'd have to do is install a second license of XP Pro x64 on the render node. While we are waiting for Newtek to fix their LW 64 installer, it would be a good time to give them a call and ask them that question. If you do, would you mind sharing with us what their answer is?

I may overclock the CPU but it depends on what Lw64 can do for me.
Lw was busting at the seams whenever I got around 2 million polygons in the scene. Often I would try to build with a lower poly cound whenever I could but then the image maps loaded onto the polys would cause another memory problem. I love details. LW in its 32 bit state does not handle that much detail. Much of the time I would break a scene out into elements and comp them later in AE or digital fusion.
That sounds like an echo of what I heard from Newtek's interview of Rob Powers at this years Siggraph
http://www.newtek.com/lightwave/profiles/RobPowers/index.php

and from Zoic in their initial interview regarding the work they did on Serenity.
We'll find out pretty soon just how big a difference LW 64 going to make.


So is a liquid cooler really noisy? You mentioned that the other fans were more quiet?
No, not at all. On your Shuttle's...with them being P4's and crammed into such a small compartment...an inexpensive liquid cooling solution would not be a bad idea...ONLY IF you overclock them any. I doubt you need to go that route since you have them located next to your AC unit. :D

The CPU fans I mentioned are the most common cooling method, of course, and they are much cheaper than liquid cooling systems....not to mention, a lot less hassle to install. A problem they typically have, though, is that they tend to be rather noisy. However, there are a few models, such as the one's I mentioned, that are engineered to be extremely quiet (you'll hear your case fans above it), and their cooling performance rivals liquid cooling solutions....so it's a "no-brainer." AMD chips run so cool that, with a good CPU cooling fan only, you can still overclock quite a bit without it overheating. Not so with dual core P4's. You have (software)utilities that come with your motherboard which allow you to monitor your system settings and temps within your Windows desktop, and most all have an automatic temp warning, and "power-off" feature, to prevent you from frying your CPU.

Gamers are the largest customers of liquid cooling systems since they like to push their system as far as it will go, and they are virtually silent.
http://www.3dgameman.com/videos_archive_03.html
http://www.tomshardware.com