View Full Version : Upgrade advice please

05-13-2008, 08:38 AM

Apologies for this rather mundane question but I cant seem to find any recent entries on the subject.

My old dual1.25 G4 is struggling a bit with larger lightwave scenes. Expect it has a lot to do with poor graphics cards. Its not easy positioning things when everything disappears for a few seconds every time I move something.

Anyway im looking at getting a new Mac but need to be a bit careful with the cash at the moment. Whilst the iMacs are not seen as professional macs the specs seem quite reasonable especially compared to my current mac. I know this is like asking how long is a piece of string but would I regret buying an iMac to use with LightWave? If I was to pay twice as much to Get a MacPro would I notice a large difference? Is there a big difference between the graphics card in the current lineup..

The iMacs have Core 2 Duo processors and the following graphics cards...
ATI Radeon HD 2600 PRO with 256MB memory
NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GS w/512MB GDDR3

The MacPro has Quad-Core Intel Xean processors and the following graphics cards..
ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT graphics with 256MB memory
NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT 512MB GDDR3

Your thoughts please on comparing these would be much appreciated.


05-13-2008, 09:29 AM
I went through much debating as which computer to buy, mac or PC. In the end I kinda split the different and got a quad pc and an imac with the nvidia card and 4Gb of memory from Crucial.
One reason being that I searched high and low for a reason the Xeon processors were used and could find nothing. No hard comparisons between the Xeons and the newer breed of processor, just anecdotal discussions that make me err on the side of caution and choose regular procs instead.
Therefore I cannot give advice on the mac pro as I have not used one, but I'm currently using the imac to do all my 3D rendering, compositing and editing. I have no complaints and performance has been better than I expected. Obviously, during rendering, having twice the processors would've been nice (don't have access to the pc where I am right now) but performance certainly hasn't been bad at all.
Furthermore, the two machines above have the same graphics cards, the only difference you'll see is when you render out. Unless I'm mistaken.

05-13-2008, 09:55 AM
Thanks for that. Ill take that as a thumbs up for iMac performance.

05-13-2008, 11:39 PM
I use a Mac Pro at work, mainly for video editing though. I haven't had a chance to do much with LW on it yet. But it is a nice machine.

I believe neverko stated recently on the forums that part of the architecture of the Xeon CPU was that it allows multiple Xeons on the same mobo, which is where the 8-core Mac Pro comes in. That explains why you don't see machines with multiple Core 2 Duos, or even multiple Core 2 Quads.

I think it really comes down to what you want to spend. The iMac will definitely work, but it is only 2 Cores, as opposed to 4 or 8.

I'm looking at an iMac myself for a machine upgrade, but I also have a quad-core PC already working LW.

05-14-2008, 06:30 AM
Thanks for that, Its starting to sound like the iMac is a viable option but the processors in the MacPro are significantly better.I think im deciding between a 24 inch iMac with 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo and NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GS card or a Mac Pro with One 2.8Ghz Quad-Core Intel Xeon and upgrading the card to a NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT 512MB.

Although the MacPro will have a slower chip on paper perhaps it is still better? I guess ill also hae to upgrade to 4gb of ram rather than the standard 2.

05-14-2008, 10:49 AM
The 2.8 GHz Xeon is slower per core than the 3.06 GHz Core 2 Duo, but it has 2 more cores. So as long as you're executing some task that can utilize all 4 cores then it will absolutely perform better.

Part of your decision too will be based on how much do you want/plan on upgrading your machine before you get another one. There's no real upgrading an iMac. And I don't know if you select one Xeon for the Mac Pro if Apple will at a later date install another one for you if desired. You might be on your own, not sure.

05-14-2008, 01:29 PM
For work the imac is probably fine, and a huge improvement.. the question is really about rendering.. thats where the mac pro will really out perform the imac.

05-15-2008, 01:45 AM
Many thanks.

The main thing I have got from your replies is that whichever I get it will work just fine. Just need to decide If I should pay a lot more money for a little more power with the MacPro. The one thing I want to avoid is the very poor screen refresh times im currently getting when I manipulate large scenes so this is making me lean towards the MacPro with NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT 512MB GDDR3 card.

Many thanks for your comments.