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kopperdrake
01-16-2007, 03:46 PM
Hi Guys :)

I'm after advice if possible. I've been using Lightwave on a PC since it migrated there from the Amiga. Before then I used to use Macs and always preferred the interface. After several serious problems with my Intels over the last few months I'm seriously considering my next major upgrade to be an Apple. At the moment my PC is a dual 3.2 Xeon - not a dual core though. I've heard about this bootcamp thingie so assume I can always keep a version of Lightwave on that so I can keep using my Vue XStream and other PC-only bits of software on that if needs be?

My question is, what would you buy? I run 4Gb now but 8Gb would be better - essentially this'll be my work horse, I'll only move things to the PC variant if I need to use my PC renderfarm (I assume that I can't easily integrate PCs and PCs on a renderig network). The only major plugins I use are FPrime and LWCAD2, and Vue Xstream of course. Other software I use will transfer no problem - Adobe suite being the major other one.

It's been so long that I've been out of the Apple market I really have no idea where to start looking or how to make comparisons. Eventually I'd like to have only Apples with perhaps one PC to run PC-only apps.

Thanks for any advice :)

Dunk

Chilton
01-16-2007, 04:46 PM
Hi Dunk,

Well, at the high end, that dual proc dual core Xeon is a giant fiery monster. Our benchmarks, which we'll probably post along with the Open Beta for the Universal Binary when it's ready, show a massive, dramatic speed boost over the fastest hardware you could buy a year ago.

That said, there was a time not too long ago when a laptop couldn't hold a match to the speed of a desktop Mac. Today, while that's still pretty close to the case compared to the Xeon, a MacBook Pro is not too shabby either.

We'll be working heavily on ScreamerNet next after the UB is ready for testing, and hopefully any problems mixing Macs and PCs on a network will go away.

-Chilton

John the Geek
01-16-2007, 04:59 PM
I have a quad-core Mac Pro at work. It's fast. It's got 4 SATA II drive bays, and 8 RAM slots. It's going to keep me happy for a long time. (Or at least until the octo-core Mac Pros are out...)

All of the current Macs should run LW UB pretty sweet. Well... maybe not the mini, but all of the Core 2 Duo's will. Do you want to be portable? Expandable? Fast, big, and cheap? Your needs will dictate what you should ultimately get.

=)

John the Geek
01-16-2007, 05:03 PM
We'll be working heavily on ScreamerNet next after the UB is ready for testing, and hopefully any problems mixing Macs and PCs on a network will go away.

http://dvt.science.nd.edu/bin/misc/amazed.gif

avkills
01-16-2007, 10:00 PM
Wow, that sounds great Chilton about screamernet and the UB.

I would look at the MacPro myself. I have a Mac Book Pro for work and I am using bootcamp and running LW on it and it renders almost twice as fast as my Dual 2ghz G5; at least until the UB ships that is. ;)

-mark

kopperdrake
01-17-2007, 05:15 AM
Thanks for that guys :)

It's going to be my 'sit at the studio' workhorse - I can keep using my PC laptop for mobile use. Essentially I just want a beast I can throw things at. A lot of my work is arch viz (well - about 30%), and I'm looking at NT's developement of baking radiosity solutions which look great! This leads me to think that a huge monster machine to set scenes up, test render, and even render short anims would be the way. By the sounds of it my various PCs will sit nicely on the network too eventually, which is all good, though I really want to eventually replace all of my PCs as they die, with Macs. I've just had enough of Windows and hope that a mostly closed system, such as Apple provides, might take away a few headaches.

A lot of my work is also for print so the fact that an Apple can utilise more than 2Gb of RAM per application is also a boon. I know XP64 and Vista will allow that too, but in all honesty, even though I'm a Windows Reseller, I wouldn't install Vista for another year and it would mean a new PC to go to XP64, which isn't going to happen.

So there are new Octo-core MacPros on the horizon?

kopperdrake
01-17-2007, 05:18 AM
Oh - one question. If I decide to add my own memory to an Apple - is this a pain to do, or a no-no? Having been so used to adding my own components in PCs, like memory upgrades, I was wondering if it's a bad idea to keep thinking like that with Apples?

BazC
01-17-2007, 06:24 AM
So there are new Octo-core MacPros on the horizon?

In theory yes, no idea when they might arrive though.

Adding RAM to a Mac is no problem, in fact access to a Mac Pros innards is a lot easier than any Windows machine I've used. One thing to note is that the RAM Apple sells for Mac Pro has extra large heat sinks, I don't know if they're available anywhere else. Using RAM from other sources could theoretically result in more fan noise and/or lower performance. Good quality RAM from another supplier shouldn't cause any major problems though.

Generally speaking I think you can replace pretty much anything in a Mac Pro these days.

John the Geek
01-17-2007, 06:48 AM
In theory yes, no idea when they might arrive though.

Adding RAM to a Mac is no problem, in fact access to a Mac Pros innards is a lot easier than any Windows machine I've used. One thing to note is that the RAM Apple sells for Mac Pro has extra large heat sinks, I don't know if they're available anywhere else. Using RAM from other sources could theoretically result in more fan noise and/or lower performance. Good quality RAM from another supplier shouldn't cause any major problems though.

Generally speaking I think you can replace pretty much anything in a Mac Pro these days.

The Kingston RAM chips (http://shop.kingston.com/modelsinfo.asp?SysID=32075&mfr=Apple&model=Mac+Pro+Workstation&Sys=32075-Apple-Mac+Pro+Workstation&SUBMIT1=Find) use the exact same heatsink as Apple's OEM and report the same 667MHz speeds with no added fan noise I can hear. I was quite happy with them.

I bought two 2GB chips and they are nice. I can't wait to throw them at a Universal LW.

=)

NOTE: They must be bought in pairs and installed in a specific sequence (http://manuals.info.apple.com/en/MacPro_MemoryDIMM_DIY.pdf) to get the best results.

TomT
01-17-2007, 08:37 AM
My current quad intel 3.0 ghz run very nicely as desktop and my 15" MacBook Pro laptop are doing good as 3D machines. Both run lots of stuff well, but sadly Lightwave isn't among them. If you're wedded to Lightwave in a money-making venture, you probably should be looking at a Windows-based system for your next purchase. (I say this as someone who works with both platforms every day, but prefers my Mac machines.)

If you're more interested in staying with the new Intel Macs there are better software choices out there. PM me if you need recommendations. Be forewarned that you're in for a bit of a ride yet on these hot new machines. :)

If you want to ride out the transition, look around for quad-G5 (2.5ghz) and run that into the ground for the next 12 months or so while NT puts its house in order, Worley gets his Intel plugins out, etc., etc.

dsol
01-17-2007, 08:55 AM
The Kingston RAM chips (http://shop.kingston.com/modelsinfo.asp?SysID=32075&mfr=Apple&model=Mac+Pro+Workstation&Sys=32075-Apple-Mac+Pro+Workstation&SUBMIT1=Find) use the exact same heatsink as Apple's OEM and report the same 667MHz speeds with no added fan noise I can hear. I was quite happy with them.

And Crucial.com also sell Apple-spec ram modules with heat spreaders. The difference in price between 3rd party RAM and buying it from Apple ain't so great these days, but if you do get extra RAM at a later date they deliver next-day and it'll save a few bucks. Not too shabby :)

Nigel Baker
01-17-2007, 08:59 AM
Wow

The Kopperdrake is switching.
Well if you use your own memory to put in the Mac how will you remember anything else.

I buy all my hardware direct from Apple but things like RAM I purchase cheaper else where.

Oh one other think about adding your own memory is, yes it would be very - very painfull.
You may need help with this ;-)

Regards,
Nigel.

.

dsol
01-17-2007, 09:08 AM
My current quad intel 3.0 ghz run very nicely as desktop and my 15" MacBook Pro laptop are doing good as 3D machines. Both run lots of stuff well, but sadly Lightwave isn't among them. If you're wedded to Lightwave in a money-making venture, you probably should be looking at a Windows-based system for your next purchase. (I say this as someone who works with both platforms every day, but prefers my Mac machines.)


Well, you could run Windows LW under Parallels or Bootcamp (or VMWare - if that's out yet?). And if you really want to abandon OSX, well - you can just use a MacPro purely as a windows boxen. It's pretty cost-competitive with any high-end windows workstation. Certainly cheaper than Boxx or Alienware AFAIK.


If you're more interested in staying with the new Intel Macs there are better software choices out there. PM me if you need recommendations. Be forewarned that you're in for a bit of a ride yet on these hot new machines. :)

Better for what? For my needs, LW is still the simplest, least fussy way to make pretty 3D graphics onscreen. And it's pretty cheap too as pro apps go. I've tried Maya - and it didn't agree with me at all. Hugely powerful for character animation, and very good dynamics as far as can tell, but saddled with an ugly and needlessly convoluted interface. Though that's only MY opinion ;)


If you want to ride out the transition, look around for quad-G5 (2.5ghz) and run that into the ground for the next 12 months or so while NT puts its house in order, Worley gets his Intel plugins out, etc., etc.

Heh, well the Quad G5 is certainly a good machine to have right now if - like me - a significant chunk of your income comes from After Effects. They're pretty hard to get hold of these days though I imagine. I haven't seen any listed on the Apple refurb store for ages.

BazC
01-17-2007, 10:24 AM
The Kingston RAM chips (http://shop.kingston.com/modelsinfo.asp?SysID=32075&mfr=Apple&model=Mac+Pro+Workstation&Sys=32075-Apple-Mac+Pro+Workstation&SUBMIT1=Find) use the exact same heatsink as Apple's OEM and report the same 667MHz speeds with no added fan noise I can hear. I was quite happy with them.

I bought two 2GB chips and they are nice. I can't wait to throw them at a Universal LW.

=)

NOTE: They must be bought in pairs and installed in a specific sequence (http://manuals.info.apple.com/en/MacPro_MemoryDIMM_DIY.pdf) to get the best results.

That's good to know, I'll be adding some RAM to mine soon, it'd be nice to save a few quid! Thanks :D

Largemedium
01-17-2007, 11:35 AM
That's good to know, I'll be adding some RAM to mine soon, it'd be nice to save a few quid! Thanks :D

Here's a ram link for you. OWC is a decent company and they have great prices on Apple spec ram that have the proper heatsinks. Prices are quite a bit lower than the Kingston ram. Check it.

http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/memory/Mac-Pro-Memory

BazC
01-17-2007, 12:00 PM
Here's a ram link for you. OWC is a decent company and they have great prices on Apple spec ram that have the proper heatsinks. Prices are quite a bit lower than the Kingston ram. Check it.

http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/memory/Mac-Pro-Memory


Thanks a lot, they are cheap and ship to the UK!

dsol
01-17-2007, 12:10 PM
Thanks a lot, they are cheap and ship to the UK!

Just watch out for customs and excise slapping you with a nasty heaping of import tax ;)
Otherwise, Crucial (http://www.crucial.com/uk/) have always impressed me with their quality/delivery speed.

kopperdrake
01-19-2007, 04:14 AM
Wow - thanks for all the pointers people :) Except Mr baker who will receive a severe slapping when next we talk for being so cheeky about my memory...now what was his number again...?...

There's no question of moving from Lightwave - this needs to be a machine capable of running LW, FPrime and LWCAD on.

TotT: Yep - Lightwave is what I base my business around, curious as to why you say stay with Windows for my next purchase? This is a move I'd like to make in the next year but I won't rush it. I wouldn't consider anything other than a Mac that could run Windows through bootcamp so I can still use the odd utility on Windows if I really need to (until I find replacements).

Thanks again!!

avkills
01-19-2007, 09:07 AM
In my opinion there really isn't a choice on whether to buy a Mac or not; if you need Windows, run under bootcamp or parrallels. Do all your online and email through OS X, which is a lot more secure.

Unless you can afford that 16 core Boxx system without feeling a drain on your wallet, the Mac Pro seem to be the obvious choice for any new purchase of a high-end workstation for any type of content creation work.

-mark

BazC
01-19-2007, 02:26 PM
Just watch out for customs and excise slapping you with a nasty heaping of import tax ;)
Otherwise, Crucial (http://www.crucial.com/uk/) have always impressed me with their quality/delivery speed.


Thanks for the tip!

TomT
01-23-2007, 11:06 AM
Well, you could run Windows LW under Parallels or Bootcamp (or VMWare - if that's out yet?). And if you really want to abandon OSX, well - you can just use a MacPro purely as a windows boxen. It's pretty cost-competitive with any high-end windows workstation. Certainly cheaper than Boxx or Alienware AFAIK.



>>> Yes & no. We tested LW XP running under emulation and with Parallels the OGL support isn't there, so performance even under XP is pretty awful. Less so with bootcamp, but you need to be clever about your device drivers. All-in-all, we don't buy our Macs to run XP . . .

VMware isn't quite here yet, and we're not sure how the GPU is going to be handled--if it's a virtual S3 like parallels, it may not be very suitable for production 3D work . . .




Better for what? For my needs, LW is still the simplest, least fussy way to make pretty 3D graphics onscreen. And it's pretty cheap too as pro apps go. I've tried Maya - and it didn't agree with me at all. Hugely powerful for character animation, and very good dynamics as far as can tell, but saddled with an ugly and needlessly convoluted interface. Though that's only MY opinion ;)


>>> If you only reference point is Maya, I'd have to agree with you. Though Maya just release 8.5 UB which is working pretty well for our CA types. I do mostly motion graphics and pre-viz and I can't recommend LW at this point on the Intel platform as it's *slower* than a quad G5 on my Intel quad 3.0 ghz. We get paid to turn around ad projects fast, and LW is not doing for us on the Mac in either OGL performance or in features (including hair, motion graphics, pre-rendering, etc., etc.) I say this as someone who has been a LW devotee since the first release on Mac (V4 was it? Right after metanurbs were introduce.) Running any version of LW after LW7.5 is pretty painful right now with problems in generating previews, etc. If you're just doing stills, you can get by with the current LW on Intel machines, but I still wouldn't recommend it to anyone who has to make their living that way . . .



Heh, well the Quad G5 is certainly a good machine to have right now if - like me - a significant chunk of your income comes from After Effects. They're pretty hard to get hold of these days though I imagine. I haven't seen any listed on the Apple refurb store for ages.

>>> Our two are still chugging along nicely. We bought them right before the Intel switch as an insurance policy for some our production stuff we were completing. One did need a mother board tweak which Apple took care of right away for us, but they've been very reliable workhorses, especially for the non UB stuff like LW. From an animating point of view, they are more suitable to LW8 and LW9 than trying to run LW9 (the non UB release) on the current Intel machines like the Quad 3.0.

Your millage may vary, :caffeine:
My best suggestion is try it for yourself and verify.

-T