View Full Version : Good CPU/Motherboard for Lightwave3D?

04-27-2006, 12:38 PM
Hello everyone,

I have to upgrade my computer so that I can actually render Lightwave3D scenes faster and calculate Motion Designer processes faster.

I currently have a Athlon XP 1.7Ghz with 512MB Ram running Windows XP Home edition.

I would like to upgrade to a better system without spending too much money, and I would need some direction in choosing the best CPU to improve Lightwave's rendering and calculation speed.

I have read that Lightwave 8.5 supports 64Bit technology and I am wondering if I should go with an Athlon 64 series of processors, or the Pentium 4 types, or any other type that you guys would suggest.

There are so many CPU's out now that it's hard to make sense of them and I risk purchasing one that is just not right for Lightwave.

Any suggestions?

What do you think about this one? Asus K8V-X SE Via Socket 754 ATX Motherboard and an AMD Athlon 64 3300+ 2.40GHz OEM Processor

And then an upgrade to Windows XP Professional 64 Bit?

Thank you for your help!


04-27-2006, 11:24 PM
Intel/AMD either is fine and will work okay...

Everybody will prefer their own thing,
I like anything that looks good and goes fast, so if it's cheap too, than thats a bonus.

I would go for AMD, to make sure it matches your current CPU, if you plan
to render with nodes.

64bit is still a little immature, and if i were you i would use the cost of XP64
to spend on more ram, or faster processer and wait for Windows Vista 64.

Looking at what you have now, i may be more inclined to wait until you can jump a bit further... The difference between 1.7 and 2.4Ghz will likely only translate to a second or three in rendertimes. It's always disappointing to see how little difference their is after upgrading. Especially if money is tight.

The Athlon64 will have SSEII and 64bit, i guess....
But again the differences just won't likely be outstanding...

Good luck.

04-28-2006, 02:11 AM
Yeah, you would probably want to wait until you can buy a dual core. It could be the latest asrock motherboards could be a good option for you, the ones with Uli. They have very favorable price/performance/features and reasonably good quality, not necessarily any worse than non-budget brands. And they allow updating to quadcore/ddr2 later on without buying a new board and building/installing again, its a nice option to have. You wouldn't need expensive ram, twinmos for example have a series that is normally fast and cheap but sturdy. In a little while, there are a new series of AMD processors coming that doesn't fit the old sockets. I'd expect prices for both the old technology boards and processors to get cut a lot, particularly in the used market. If you wait until then and buy from say, a highly rated seller at hardforum.com, you could probably afford beyond twice what you can now buying new.

04-28-2006, 09:04 AM
DON' T buy the socket 754 motherboard.

That is last generation range of AMD processors ( current one is socket 939, future one is M2 ), and you' ll be stuck with a very limited number of chips to choose from. I' ve only seen semperon chips available for that socket, which are cut down A64 processors. AMD don' t support that anymore, and I' m surprised there' s still chips available for it actually. There definitely won' t be any fast chips or dual core available for it. It' s dead basically, so avoid it.

You' ll have a much wider choice of processor with socket 939. Dual core are available for that socket, as are fast single core chips.

For any 3D package, a fast processor and ram are most important, along with a decent speed graphics card. ( game cards work very well, and get faster all the time). Dual core give you 2 chips in one, so definitely save up for one of those. And go for 2GB of ram if you can too.

As for AMD or Intel, they both have comparable speed chips, so just read reviews about all the processors, then pick the one you can afford.

Personally, I would wait a few months until the new chips from each manufacturer are out, because then you will see exactly how fast the new ones are compared to the old ones ( I read Conroe chips from Intel are supposed to be fast ), and if it' s better for you to just buy older socket generation chips ( socket 939 or Intel equivalent ) and save some money into the bargain.

They ' ll both be slashing prices to get rid of thier current chips, so even though you could only upgrade to the current chips, they still should be fast enough for you for a few years, and you' d save a lot of money.

04-28-2006, 11:46 AM
"AMD don' t support that anymore, and I' m surprised there' s still chips available for it actually."

That isn't correct I believe. What separates the lower end semprons from the rest of amds processor is less cache. Which doesn't draw them down a lot really in most cases. Second they are without the cool and quiet and so they will be less so, but the top sempron models have that. And third they have a single channel memory controller meaning memory bandwidth is around half. It'll slow down renders where that is bottleneck, but given the results I have gotten drom my own socket754 box it doesn't look like that is the case a lot. I have Athlon64 though that is the one he is looking at as well, the chip he mentions would probably perform slightly slower than a 939 I think 3400+ in most cases. If the scene is like half a gig of texture maps, the 939 would run away, but I'm not sure the difference would be as dramatic as you would think. He doesn't state the price, but it'd probably be better price/performance than a comparable 939/3700+ combo. But it'd likely be lower price/performace than a dual core rig, and that is 939.

If you buy a 754 nvidia 410 board like the Asrock, you can often overclock a sempron a wee bit, it can be a snappy and dirt cheap alternative. If one alternative was this and Fprime and the other one of the pricier dual cores but no Fprime, I'd say the first one would be faster because in a workstation what is just as important is workflow speed as well as render speed ...

04-28-2006, 02:26 PM
Okay, so the Semperons have less cache, some have cool and quiet and some don' t, and they have half the memory bandwidth, I would call that cut down.

My point is, if he goes for a 754 socket now, he will only have a few chips to choose from. I' ve only looked at a few shops online in my country, but all of them only had 4 or 5 Semperons for sale, nothing else. AMD stopped making A64 chips for that socket a long time ago. Why limit yourself to 2 year old technology that' s no longer supported ?

I have socket 754 and A64 3000 myself, so I know that if I wanted a faster processor, I would have to upgrade to socket 939 ( Or overclock my chip).

If his budget is low, get a 3000 socket 939 chip ( Or Intel equivalent ). At least that gives him the option to upgrade to a dual core later on.

If he gets a socket 754, he will have to upgrade the motherboard and cpu all over again when he wants a faster chip. By going for a newer motherboard now, he will save the cost of not changing that in the future, and will only have to buy a new CPU

04-28-2006, 06:47 PM
Hey guys,

Thanks for all the replies and the suggestions and the help with this.

I appreciate all the answers and feedback on this.

It's useful to know which socket type is going to be good for a while, rather than picking a "dead" socket type that's not going to be upgradeable apart from the CPUs currently on the market now.

Thanks for the Dual Core note, which makes a lot of sense to me now. They can definitely be worth saving for.

In regards to Ram, would 2 Gig be reasonable to handle most Lightwave scenes?

Thank you!


04-28-2006, 06:51 PM
I was just commenting since I believe the information you posted is incorrect. It isn't unsupported by AMD, there's scheduled an update to the 754 socket range. Second the impression you gave about the relative performance of the sempron is incorrect, see this:



As it says the comparable athlon chip have the extra cache and dual channel memory controller, differences from nothing up to 6-7% which is less than the difference in price. I gave my advice for his case above, but in general for a person on a really limited budget the sempron2800/nvidia6100 can be very nice value, the onboard graphics will let you run LW, and I would as I stated put a Fprime purchase before a second core. One of the things that are great about LW is that it doesn't need very highend rigs to run, people make great work on less powerful rigs than what he poster at the tops has.
The 2800 is like half of a 939, and you can quite safely overclock it if you like since it won't need any extra voltage to do so. And so you would just have convinced it that it is a higher model in the same range, which might actually be the case since speed isn't set after the real margins in the chip but estimates and market analysis.

I don't think it is great advice to buy fast ram as well, it is a difference of a few percentage points at the most for normal use. It can make sense to go a little bit above the cheapest options both for quality and a speed bonus, but money would be better spent on processor, or the difference from 1 to 1.5 or 2 gb. The last which would be a sensible purchase at this time, buy 2*1 GB though and not four stick, they will run slower and you won't be able to upgrade further as cheaply.

I fergot to say it, but the Asrock board I mentioned could be a good option for you if you would like to upgrade later on as it allows upgrading from 939 sockets to an M2 Socket, meaning you could get a quad core later on without having to rebuild.

This one: http://www.asrock.com/product/939SLI32-eSATA2.htm

04-28-2006, 09:37 PM
Great. Great information. Thank you all very much.

There's one question that I still have and has anyone here used Lightwave 8.5 with a 64Bit Processor and XP-Pro 64, and what was the advantage respect to the 32 Bit version?

I have seen mixed reviews of 64 Bit software performance. Some said that it helped a lot and made software like Lightwave run a lot faster in 64 Bit, others just said it didn't make much difference.

Anyone has had any experience and/or noticed any major difference between 32 bit Lightwave and 64 bit lightwave operation?

Thank you.


04-28-2006, 11:15 PM
LW64 main advantage is the ability to handle a scene with a large polycount. I have a terrain with assorted models that crash LW8.5 running under W2000 because of the large number of polygons. LW32 and LW64 running under XP64 have no problem loading the scene although I mainly still work in LW32/XP64 because of lack of full plug-in support for LW64 ( though the situation is slowly improving ). As to rendering speeds for me it's hard to make a comparison since I tend to mix third-party textures with native Lightwave surfacing tools in LW32 whereas I would have to change to all Lightwave in LW64 so it wouldn't be a direct comparison. Bottom line for me is that it was definitely an improvement in workflow to be able to load such a large scene without having to resort to workarounds. But I still render in LW32-XP64 and look forward to the improvements in LW9 render speed. Sorry I can't help you more.

04-28-2006, 11:23 PM
I never heard about the news about AMD updating the 754 range, so if that happens then great, because I' ve got that socket too. Have you got a link to that so I can learn more please ?

There' s not much difference in speed from those tests I' ll admit, but there' s not too much difference in price either. You save maybe £20 pounds now, but you have to add on the cost of a new motherboard in the future ( £60-70 ). That' s what I' m getting at. Socket 754 will be phased out before 939, because it' s older than 939. Say he buys a Semperon, what can he upgrade the CPU to in the future ? How long will AMD support 3 different types of sockets ?

At the moment, they have Semperons for system builders to make low price PC' s, and socket 939 for mid and high budget PC' s. When the new socket comes out, those chips will be for mid and high budgets as well, so the 939 socket will become the new low budget socket and the 754 will be phased out.

I hav' nt checked that, so don' t quote me, but that' s what' s happened with all the old AMD sockets, so I see no reason for them to change now.

And I did' nt mean to buy fast ram, but I can see from what I typed why you thought that, so I' ll rephrase it here " A fast processor and lot' s of ram are most important " I' ve got crucial ram myself, which is good quality but cheap to buy as well. I' ve never bought faster ram, and I never will in future, because I can spend my money on buying more of it, which will speed things up more than faster ram anyway.

I' m not trying to have an argument, but I just don' t see the point of buying old technology, when there' s better and more future proof technologies available for only a small difference in price.

04-29-2006, 12:47 AM
I had a look around for AMD roadmaps, and these links are the best I could find. The date' s are a bit old, but the information should be correct.

this one shows faster Semprons for socket 754, nothing else, but it also shows the same Semprons coming out for socket 939. AMD did that with socket A and socket 754, and not long after socket A dissapeared.

This link shows that there are even going to be semprons for the new M2 socket.

If you can get a Sempron on every AMD socket, going for socket 754 now, which will only support Semprons is, to me, a waste of money with no upgrade path. If the Semprons are available for every socket, there' s not much point making chips for socket 754 anymore. I honestly can' t see socket 754 being around much longer after seeing these roadmaps.

I would go for something like that motherboard habernero linked to. That would give you the best upgrade path, because otherwise you' ll be stuck with faster Semprons, then eventually nothing, and you' ll have to upgrade everything all over again.

04-29-2006, 11:49 AM

Regarding the Sempron, I have noticed that yes it is very interesting in terms of rendering speeds, I saw some benchmarks where it was very close to the Athlon 64 of equivalent Ghz speed, but the Sempron is cheaper than the Athlon 64 series, so it is definitely interesting.

I have a question, I noticed that there are Semprons that are offered in
Socket A
Socket 754
Socket 939

Currently I have a motherboard that is Socket A (For my Athlon XP 1.7Ghz)

I wonder, is there a noticeable speed difference if I go with a Sempron 3300 Socket A, respect to a Sempron 3300 in Socket 754 ?

Not sure if the socket type has that much impact on performance.

I could simply switch my processor and get that upgrade done that way without changing my current motherboard, and of course, adding Ram to it.

Look forward to your feedback.


04-29-2006, 12:30 PM
Wow, this shop you' ve found sure has some old stuff ! Have you got a link to it ?

You can check this link for socket a performance.

It shows your 1700 chip, socket 754 3100 sempron, and socket A 2800 Sempron. Judging from the results, if the 2 Semprons were the same speed, there would' nt be much difference in speed between them.

If you get a 3300 socket A, then that will give you a very decent speed increase compared to your current chip. 1700 ( 5 minutes 37 seconds) 3100 ( 3mins 51 seconds ). so the 3300 may be 20 seconds or so quicker than that.

You could get that 3300, and put the money you saved in not buying a motherboard into getting more ram. Only downsides are, I doubt it' s a 64bit chip, and the new motherboards use ddr1 and ddr2 ram, so the ram from your socket A board won' t work, and you' ll have to upgrade to all new ram in future.

But saying that, for a decent speed increase at the lowest possible price, it could be a good choice for you.