PDA

View Full Version : Graphics Card advice please - new system



35mm
02-21-2008, 02:26 AM
Hi all. First post! I haven't actually got LW yet, as I am getting a new system built first. Right now I am in a quandary over choosing graphics cards. I am planning to use LW on my new system as well as my existing 3D, video & music production software. I understand LW requires a more robust grfx card than my other 3D apps (C4d, Vue, Carrara, Poser, ZBrush, etc. I was planning on going for an nvidia 8800GTX. My current video production hardware will have to stay on my current machine, as the hardware on the new machine won't be compatible, but in due course I will upgrade my video hardware to the new version that will work on the new machine, but that works a lot better with an ATI Radion HD 2900XT grfx card. In all honesty I am not too sure how that and the 8800 compare, and which would work best with LW. The 8800 isn't so good for the video, and a pro card such as a Quadro FX would hardly work at all for video.

So any grfx card advice would be very much appreciated. At the end of the day I would like to get everything working well on one machine if possible.

35mm
02-21-2008, 05:48 AM
Wow this is like walking into a bar in the middle of nowhere, and everyone stops talking and stares at you for a moment, and then ignores you! 8~

Can no one advise me? I see quite a lot of people using 8800s, but not so many using ATIs. Just wondering if ATIs, such as the one I mentioned in my original post work as well as nvidia 8800s with LW?

Hipcheck
02-21-2008, 06:41 AM
In my limited experience... LW is far better off with loads of RAM and a good gaming 3d card. I would not say that LW needs a more robust card than any of the other apps you mentioned. I would stick with NVidia.

AdamAvenali
02-21-2008, 06:48 AM
I have an Nvidia GeForce 6600GT in my desktop that I built a few years ago and an Nvidia GeForce 8600M GT in my Asus laptop that I just purchased a couple months ago. Both seem to do fine for me, though I am mostly doing game modeling and texturing, and dont really make scenes with millions of poly's or anything.

AdamAvenali
02-21-2008, 06:49 AM
oh, and the desktop has a P4 Prescott @ 3.2 with three gig of RAM and the laptop is a Core 2 Duo @2.4 with three gig of RAM. CPU and RAM should be taken into account as well.

in my experience, maya and max both required a more sufficent system for me to run them on. i think lightwave has been the least demanding of all my apps. zbrush is pretty efficent as well, until you get into that seventh subdivision level haha.

35mm
02-21-2008, 07:49 AM
Thanks for the replies! My current system is a P4 3.4 with 2 Gig ram, and will remain my main video box for now, and get added to my render farm, which consists of my kid's 2 x dual core 3Ghz, various laptops, calculators, mobile phones, food processors and anything else I have lying about that has processing potential!

The system I'm building, or rather having built, is a core 2 quad extreme QX6850 3Ghz, with 2x2 Gig, although I think I will have to stick to 32bit xp for now until more of my software supports 64bit - ha, and that's another shady area! So I won't get the benefit of the 4 gig ram yet.

Apart from the 32bit v 64bit OS conundrum, my only other stumbling block has been which graphics card to go with - ATI or nVidia high end consumer cards. The LW specs recommend pro cards such as quadro fx or fire gl, so I was under the impression that the graphics card was more important for LW than other apps as it is with maya and max.

3D is a fairly new direction for me, so forgive me if I sound like a nut job!

Hipcheck
02-21-2008, 09:01 AM
Not at all... it's easy to get that impression. Put your money into RAM and proc and an OS that will use ALL of your RAM and you will be just fine!

Safe Harbor
02-21-2008, 09:26 AM
If you're planning on using this system for video editing later on, you'll want to get a better graphics card - especially if you'll be using AE. You didn't specify what you're editing video with, but most of the software really benefits from a powerful graphics card.

The minimum card I'd recommend would be the 8800, although we prefer to put our customers into more professional level cards like the QuadroFX 3000 or 4000 series cards if their budget can handle it. The OpenGL support you'll get in one of those cards makes certain programs run so much nicer - the ATI or gaming cards won't be programmed for high intensity applications.

Also, the Quadro line of cards have proprietary software built in that will accelerate a lot of your computations. While they don't include programming specifically for LightWave, there IS a difference in how fast things are calculated. You will notice it - the image scaling, can handle HD video playback, high poly-count model support...

It IS always something you can upgrade. If you decide to go with a cheaper option right now, you can change it out as your needs dictate.

Kryos
02-21-2008, 09:42 AM
Sorry, but the FireGL cards are actually better nowadays. Scary I know, but they are. My current system does wonders as well. It works out magnificently with LW.

Got a Phenom quad core
8 gigs of RAM
and a Radeon HD 3870x2... so want a second.

It works rather nicely.

Oh, and all running on Vista Ultimate 64 bit.

A good consumer card will do you wonders nowadays. For example, the FireGL cards actually use the same GPU as in the HD2900 series for ATI. Granted it has tweaks in the Video RAM and a few other areas, but overall, it is the same chip, so that'd be something to think about. FireGL cards are actually cheaper than Quadros as wel and perform admirably. But I'm an AMD fanboy so I am actually biased so I'm not the best person to listen to in that regard. But stick with a consumer card. It may not be as fast, but your pocket will thank you in the long run.

druitre
02-21-2008, 09:47 AM
8800GT here, and very satisfied with it. No problems with After Effects either.

35mm
02-21-2008, 06:56 PM
Thanks again for your replies. On the video side I mostly use Prem & AE, but I use Matrox hardware for realtime processing and output to video monitors. It also outputs from win media player direct to my video monitor and tv screens, which I find very useful for previewing 3D animations with out having to go into an nle. I'm still using an rt.x100 pro on my current system with an ati rad x600, but I plan to upgrade to an rt.x2 and go full time HD as soon as finances permit. The new comp is designed to support the rt.x2. In the rt.x2 bench tests fire gl and quadro cards come out bottom, gforce 8000 and 7000 series come next, and at the top is ATI radion hd 2900xt. So if a radion hd 2900xt will work just as well with LW as a nV 8800gtx, that would be ideal.

RedBull
02-21-2008, 09:14 PM
The specs listed by NT are:

"nVidia FX 5200 series (minimum) or ATIFireGL V 5100 (minimum)"

Note that blurb specifies the Geforce FX5200 (which is the minmial OGL2.0 spec card Nvidia make) to support GLSL. I don't know why a FireGL is specified though, as any current Radeon or Geforce should work well enough.

LW makes the least use of any of the Quadro features of the main 3D applications, so it's not worth the extra for myself. A good 8800GT/S or GTX will work well for your new system.

35mm
02-21-2008, 09:26 PM
The specs listed by NT are:

"nVidia FX 5200 series (minimum) or ATIFireGL V 5100 (minimum)"

Note that blurb specifies the Geforce FX5200 (which is the minmial OGL2.0 spec card Nvidia make) to support GLSL. I don't know why a FireGL is specified though, as any current Radeon or Geforce should work well enough.

LW makes the least use of any of the Quadro features of the main 3D applications, so it's not worth the extra for myself. A good 8800GT/S or GTX will work well for your new system.
Thanks for that. After some more digging around and chin rubbing, I think I will be going for the 8800GTX, and a xp 32 and vista 64 dual boot arrangment.

Speedmonk42
02-22-2008, 10:43 PM
Is it too early to think display port?

Digital Hermit
02-23-2008, 04:44 AM
There was a discussion, on a previous thread, that helped me decide between getting the 8800GT and Quadro1700. (Mainly price vs. performance.) I went for the 8800GT and I have seen no problems so far.

I also use Adobe CS3 Production Suite and find it works well with AE and Premier.

This is on my Intel Quad @ 2.4 with 4GB of ram.

RTSchramm
02-23-2008, 12:11 PM
Go with the 8800 GT or 8800 GTX from Nvidia. ATi has a lot of issues with their drivers. These two cards will give you excellent interactivity with the lightwave user interface. I had a Quadro 4400, but it didn't give me the fast interactivity as the 8800 GTX, so its in the closet right now collecting dust. At the time the Quadro 4400 cost me $1800 when I bought it.

BUT, when it comes to rendering, its the processor and memory that provide the speed, NOT the video card. If you are building a system strictly for 3D then I would go with a 64 bit Intel Duel Core 2 or quad core processor with the highest clock speed you can afford, and the fastest memory too. AMD processors are cheap, but not as fast as the Intel ones anymore.

I recommend you go to http://www.tomshardware.com/us/
to get unbiased reviews on CPU, memory, and motherboards.

Before you buy anything and waste you money do your OWN research on a legitimate computer hardware site. My experience is that not all LW users are hardware savvy and will just tell you to buy what thay have, which is not always the best choice.

Other good sites are:

http://www.anandtech.com/
http://www.firingsquad.com/
http://www.sharkyextreme.com

Also keep in mind that you can google for specific reviews, but be aware of biases in the reviews. Some reviewers hate Intel, and others hate AMD, etc, and will set up speed tests that will favor one product over another.

I believe that Tomshardware is one of the best sources of un-bias hardware reviews.


Rich

35mm
02-23-2008, 12:46 PM
Thanks for all your comments. I ordered my new system yesterday with the following specs;

mobo - Asus Striker Formula II
cpu - Core 2 Extreme Quad QX9650 3.2Ghz
ram - 4Gb DDR2 800
grfx - Nvidia 8800GTX
2 system drives in caddies. 1 running xp pro 32 and the other running vista ultimate 64.

I'm looking forward to it's arrival, and discovering what Lightwave can do too!

Digital Hermit
02-23-2008, 07:11 PM
Good luck with the Vista part. :o

RTSchramm
02-23-2008, 09:37 PM
Nice system specifications. I envy you. Enjoy!


Rich

35mm
02-24-2008, 01:12 AM
Good luck with the Vista part. :o
Do you mean in regards to the fact that it's MS, and hasn't been around that long? I remember hearing the same about XP when it was new, and I was switching from win 98 and 2000.

The 64bit and Vista transition has been a bit of a nightmare, which is why I am having to stick with XP 32 and have dual boot drives so that I can acclimatize to Vista 64bit, and get better performance from the software that does support 64 bit and vista. I expect most of my current software will have to be installed on the XP 32 drive, and some, such as audio plugins may have to be installed on both!

I am seeing quite a few potential problems here. For example, I have a modest, little render farm (my children's 2 x dual core 3Ghz - spot the ulterior motive that was going on when daddy bought them those for christmas! :hey: ... several laptops, and my current P4 machine) that I make use of with all my 3D apps that support network rendering - currently: Vue 6.5, Cinema 4D, Carrara and soon, hopefully, Lightwave (, and maybe poser pro when it's released). My render nodes are all 32 bit, so I'm not sure if that will be a problem if I'm running the main app on a 64 bit machine to render on 32bit nodes. Hopefully it will work! :compbeati

I was going to go for XP 64bit, but I decided to bite the bullet and go for Vista seeing as it's the latest available OS, and sooner or later it's going to become the norm.

Digital Hermit
02-24-2008, 05:45 PM
I think your smart not going for the XP 64-bit for the reasons you stated. And I agree they will eventually get it right.

Nevertheless, XP 64 was not completely developed because they kinda dropped it for the up & coming Vista... regardless, MS' 64-bit program failed on both fronts.

I'll use Vista when I hear a few more kudos and/or less complaints. :)

DH

35mm
02-25-2008, 01:43 AM
It's historical of MS. I still hear plenty of complaints about XP 32, and before that, no one ever stopped complaining about win 98 or win 95. As with everything MS it will never be right, and in a few years Vista will be so over burdened with fixes, and security blocks - it probably already is. I know IE 7 was before it was even released. But oh well, seeing as I'm getting a new computer, it seems silly to go for an old buggy OS, when I can get a new buggy OS. Although actually, I've done both! :D

pneuma
03-15-2008, 09:14 AM
Great to hear that LW supports the less expensive gaming cards :) I was really hoping I wouldn't have to but to but a Fire of FX to use lightwave.

Though it would be nice to see screen caps that show the difference between one of the expensive cards and one of the gamer cards.

Mostly what I've seen so far as I've explored tutorials and stuff is people working in what looks to be 'Gourand' (sp?) or untextured OGL preview. I'd really like how detailed the preview can be in lightwave.

iconoclasty
03-15-2008, 09:37 AM
Is it too early to think display port?

Yes. Don't support anything that exists to spread DRM into every facet of our lives.

Speedmonk42
03-15-2008, 10:31 AM
Yes. Don't support anything that exists to spread DRM into every facet of our lives.

Is that it's purpose?

I don't know too much about it. I was only thinking of the daisy chain feature I read about which seemed interesting.

iconoclasty
03-15-2008, 10:50 AM
My understanding that Display port has small technical improvements but is being pushed largely because of it's increased potential for DRM control. It takes control of content away from the user. Even more so than HDMI did. HDCP and any other media DRM ultimately is of detriment to the consumer.

pneuma
03-15-2008, 11:39 AM
Is display port part of LW or a graphic card feature that it supports?

zapper1998
03-15-2008, 11:59 AM
The minimum card I'd recommend would be the 8800, although we prefer to put our customers into more professional level cards like the QuadroFX 3000 or 4000 series cards if their budget can handle it. The OpenGL support you'll get in one of those cards makes certain programs run so much nicer - the ATI or gaming cards won't be programmed for high intensity applications.

Also, the Quadro line of cards have proprietary software built in that will accelerate a lot of your computations. While they don't include programming specifically for LightWave, there IS a difference in how fast things are calculated. You will notice it - the image scaling, can handle HD video playback, high poly-count model support...

It IS always something you can upgrade. If you decide to go with a cheaper option right now, you can change it out as your needs dictate.
So How much $$$ are those QuadroFX and ATI cards going for these days ????

Michael

iconoclasty
03-15-2008, 12:32 PM
Is display port part of LW or a graphic card feature that it supports?

Display port doesn't have anything directly to do with LW. It's a newer type of video connection that some video cards are starting to adopt. It's essentially just a new type of DVI or HDMI signal.

pneuma
03-15-2008, 01:32 PM
Display port doesn't have anything directly to do with LW. It's a newer type of video connection that some video cards are starting to adopt. It's essentially just a new type of DVI or HDMI signal.

So HDMI 1.3 is already going the way of the Dodo already?

The way I see it, if someone can make it, someone can break it. All of this DRM stuff is just getting in the way of getting things done. And what's it all for? 60 maybe 90 days of safe distribution? IIRC some guy from either RIT or MIT had proven how easy it was to crack HDMI days after they published the standard...

Anyways... I really wouldn't mind it if they weren't trying to make me buy a new MP3 for every 3-5 computers I go through and just gave me lifetime access to media that I purchase on the web...

iconoclasty
03-15-2008, 01:53 PM
DRM is ridiculous and hardware DRM is especially stupid. Who even pirates a movie by playing it to a recorder? Movies are pirated by ripping them directly from the discs. This protection is meaningless, it's just making everyone update all their perfectly good components so they work with each other.

pneuma
03-15-2008, 03:12 PM
I agree, it's definitely more about marketing gimicks than a protecting content.

Speedmonk42
03-15-2008, 03:21 PM
I agree with the above, however...

I did read somewhere that DP will allow for some pretty long cable lengths, and the daisy chaining I could use immediately for several things.

Those features minus the hardware DRM would be pretty spiffy.

Ernest
03-15-2008, 07:59 PM
My understanding that Display port has small technical improvements but is being pushed largely because of it's increased potential for DRM control. It takes control of content away from the user. Even more so than HDMI did. HDCP and any other media DRM ultimately is of detriment to the consumer.My understanding is that Display Port uses a much smaller controller and so you can make really thin LCDs. Much thinner than would be possible with HDMI. And, you don't need to pay licensing fees to make display port devices. You do have to pay to make HDMI devices.

iojabba
03-15-2008, 08:26 PM
My understanding is that Display Port uses a much smaller controller and so you can make really thin LCDs. Much thinner than would be possible with HDMI. And, you don't need to pay licensing fees to make display port devices. You do have to pay to make HDMI devices.


This is true. A company has to pay $10,000 a year to produce products with HDMI ports and like a dime for each divice. (don't quote me on the numbers, but I'm pretty sure its close)

DP is free as far as licensing.

I don't like the idea of a new port out there that does about the same thing. I do like the idea of chaining many displays together, but I don't have a use for that right now.