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mathos
03-05-2009, 04:17 AM
Hi

I'm sure this question has been here like a million times, but as the technology changes instantly, then the question should be asked again and again,)

I need to build a new desktop mainly for LW, secondly for 2D (Photoshop and CAD) and lastly for games. This is a bit weird combination I know...

I have a dell M90 workastaion laptop but it's getting outdated...

So far I have configured this:

2x intel quad core 2,5ghz
2x ati radeon HD 4870X2 (I see no reason why to go for quadro...)
24 GB DDR2 800mhz
2x SSD raid
Asus' Z7S WS Skulltrail
64bit vista

CPU-wise there is nothing to screw-up, but my biggest dillema is memmory - should I wait for dual motherboard with DDR3 support? Or is a lot of DDR2 fine? On my laptop I have 2 gigs 667 mhz so I think 24gigs 800mhz will be well enough... Last question - are two crossfired Radeons with 2gigs each a total nonsense for a 3D app?

Thanks

Matej

StudioBOZON
03-05-2009, 07:24 AM
Your, right there were a lot of this kinds of topics in the forum, but i know Your confudion since the computer information is always out of date...

I'm using something like that:

dual xeon 2,5 - 8 cores
4 GB of server dedicated memory DDR2
intel mother board
GF Quadro 1700
realy big power supply... :0
Win XP Pro 64

This configuration is realy great for me, comparying to my dell laptop, or a single quad computer. I realy feel the power now. Its great for everything Lightwave has to offer. believe me there is a difference with a Quadro card - i can see most of the textures before the rendering and i can model everything in a real time without a confusion that my reflections won't be distorted, couse i can se them real time.

You don't need dual cross fire ati radeon - it's useless in LW, it's for games only. You won't probobly use more than 6 GB of ram. I'm a LW user for almost 7 years and my biggest scene ever used 3 GB of ram

About windows. DON'T USE CRAPPY VISTA !!!!!!!!!! You will have only problems. Buy Yourself a XP Pro 64. Trust me on this. Only if You use Your computer to switch betwean the glossy windows... than ok. I have 5 or 6 vistas laying in my office and no body use this !!!! half of my stuff just didn't work there. it was always asking about everything... do You relay want to delet the symantec norton what ever - yes i do, are You shure? - yes i am! -realy? - yes!, -positive? - yeah... I'm a vista hater ! ;)

biliousfrog
03-06-2009, 06:21 AM
24gb of memory is ludicrous for most uses, 8 or 16 will be plenty.

A single I7 920 will be close to the two 2.5ghz xeons, faster if you overclock, and will also allow upgrades for the next few years. The current dual and quad core processors are at the end of their run and the Xeon's cannot be overclocked. If you go I7 (recommended) you'll need triple channel memory, 6gb per CPU will be plenty for now. The I7 Xeons will be available soon (Apple is already using them) and you'll be able to have an 8 core I7 rig which will be very fast (but probably not overclockable).

I'd go with nvidia over ATI any day, I've had nothing but problems with ati cards. Dual graphics cards will do absolutely nothing outside of games, you're better off with a single, higher end card. I recently switched my Quadro 1700 for a 9800GT and it's faster for most things especially games (GTA4 didn't even start with the quadro although COD4 was fine.). I always thought that Quadro's were better but, for the price, GeForce's are much better value.

SSD's are still hit and miss. It is unlikely that you'll notice any speed increase over a good 7200 HD and a lot of people have reported corruption and errors. RAID 0 will speed things up but make sure that everything is backed up.

I use XP64 but I've got nothing against Vista, it's stable, just as fast and you can turn off anything that you don't want (such as the nags that studiobozon mentions). When Windows 7 comes out I'll start using that instead.

mathos
03-06-2009, 07:14 AM
now I finally know what to do - there is supossed to be this Asus Z8NA-D6 motherboard released at the end of the month alongside with those new Xeons so I'll wait to see how much that is and if it's like super-expensive I'll go for single i7 with max 12gigs and single high-end gamming card - thanks for the replies and clarification, really helped!

cheers, Matej

biliousfrog
03-06-2009, 07:56 AM
If you search the technical and hardware section of CGTalk there's a bunch of threads on building workstations and the new I7 chips. Adam Glick from BOXX is a regular on there, he offers a lot of useful advice.

zapper1998
03-06-2009, 09:21 AM
No No

Get the i7 get the i7 get the i7

fast fast fast

bad to the bone bad to the bone i7...

Its cheaper the i7....

Clock the i7 920 to 3.6 ghz and stable

8 cores at 3.6ghz.....

imho any ways

:)

F_GX
03-07-2009, 10:48 AM
Always consider that a huge amount of memory tends both to be slower and more unstable, because with like 8 memory banks filled the chipset usually cannot have very low latency times.

It's a good thing that RAM is so cheap nowadays, but thats no reason to use more than is actually necessary.

mathos
03-07-2009, 11:09 AM
oh really? You see, I didn't know that and that is exactly the reason why asked,)

StudioBOZON
03-08-2009, 05:47 AM
The most important stuff is the processor and the mother board, since LW doesn't use D3D, so the Graphics card goes to fourth place after the Ram memmory. didn't use the I7 but You don't get crappy stuff out of intel so it's probobly the best solution, and it's the same price as xeons. The Xeons use a virtual multithreading, so i do my scenes not on 8 cores but on 16. it's faster. I wouldn't waste my time on overclocking. just buy Your self a good CPU - let this be the most expensive part of You set, it's worth it in LW. and don't waste Your money on ram - 8GB is too much, You just won't take advantage of it - spend this money on a better CPU!!!!!!!!!!!!! ah yeah. remember that the standard cooling ang fans will probobly drive You crazy with the noise, so add a 100$ for an NOCTUA colling system. my gf quadro fan is louder than these two huge CPU fans !!! :)

biliousfrog
03-10-2009, 08:57 AM
The most important stuff is the processor and the mother board, since LW doesn't use D3D, so the Graphics card goes to fourth place after the Ram memmory. didn't use the I7 but You don't get crappy stuff out of intel so it's probobly the best solution, and it's the same price as xeons. The Xeons use a virtual multithreading, so i do my scenes not on 8 cores but on 16. it's faster. I wouldn't waste my time on overclocking. just buy Your self a good CPU - let this be the most expensive part of You set, it's worth it in LW. and don't waste Your money on ram - 8GB is too much, You just won't take advantage of it - spend this money on a better CPU!!!!!!!!!!!!! ah yeah. remember that the standard cooling ang fans will probobly drive You crazy with the noise, so add a 100$ for an NOCTUA colling system. my gf quadro fan is louder than these two huge CPU fans !!! :)

All of the advice that you have given is highly inaccurate.

Just because LW uses OpenGL doesn't mean that a graphics card isn't important...why would you think that? You previously said that he should buy a quadro instead of a Geforce because it's better so make your mind up.

None of the quad-core Intel CPU's prior to the I7 chips have been hyperthreaded. I would be amazed if setting the render threads to 16 is faster, I would expect it to be slower if anything.

8GB of RAM is not too much. There needs to be enough RAM to supply the CPU's otherwise the system won't be able to utilise all of the available system resources. 8GB of RAM is widely regarded as the best configuration for 8 core systems (1gb per core). For 32bit applications such as Photoshop (pre CS4) the system will only be able to allocate 4gb RAM maximum so you could easily run two 32bit applications in tandem.

The current 'sweet spot' for I7 chips is 6gb per CPU although it would be easy to require 12gb or more for compositing and editing or rendering large print renders.

StudioBOZON
03-13-2009, 01:23 AM
Wow guys... multiple strike! that's what i like hehehe. I know it's fun to read some specs on the net... yeah. let's talk reality.

Well to be onest, i think Your both wrong. I did compaire XP and vista on the same scene. I know that it's cool to have all the fancy stuff in Your computer... but it's just cool. I'm working with many informatitions and none is using vista, though i have few of these laing somewhere in the office. And believe me, these guys aren't the "i can't print in microsoft office" users or "reinstal my windows" -type informatitions. Tell me if any server, You know about is using vista...? i didn't hear about it. Microsoft did the worst system ever and they have to sell it and that's the only reason this is in stores and in every notebook or computer Your buying, even if You don't want it - I gues You don't have a choice. Daimler, rejected not only vista but the office 2007 too. i wonder why...? Microsoft stoped developing XP's becouse if they did that, they wouldn't sell vista to anyone. I didn't know that vista and windows 7 runs with same memmory managing system... it's a pitty, and ther's nothing to be happy about. Microsoft will be pushing the same realy bad system but with different name... just like always... About the UAC functions (i've fallen of my chair reading this - toys for boys) - it's a problem for most of people to view thumbnails in explorer... it's not worth my 30 seconds

About the graphics card - i did make my mind but You didn't read it well - Quadro makes Your life a bit easyer (it's not a life saveior) and do use it's benefits, but doesn't have any thing to do with the quality of Your work - it's like You'll be telling me, that someone did a realy bad drawing just becouse his pencil wasn't... i don't know - in red or yellow or too stiff... it's not the voodoo type of thing back in the 90's.

About multithreading - i tryed it, it is faster (not always, but usualy) and it uses 16 cores - 8 real ones and 8 virtual.

About the RAM thing
I don't argue that more ram is better (usualy it is). Make an experiment - go ahead and load the biggest scene You've got and hit F9. Then press alt + ctrl + del and see how much ram You've spended (if You don't trust LW). If You have not enough - buy more. I don't know about the i7 processors... didn't use any yet.

The decision is up to You. If You have too much money go ahead and spend it, it's Yours. But if You're looking for a good bussines, You can get better for less but just without a badge. We're talking something like lightwave here. most of people in the world know 3D max, not LW. But i don't think someone will argue which aplication is better... hehehe ??

Cheers Guys ! ;)

F_GX
04-02-2009, 06:09 AM
Well i can tell you, i already had a bunch of graphics cards since i use LW. Back in the LW[6] days i had an Ati Xpert 8MB, then a STM Kyro II 64 MB, GeForce2, ATI 9700, FireGL X1, GeForce7, and now GeForce9. Each time i upgraded, it was definitely a huge difference in workflow, not only in textured mode, but also very much in wireframe.

However, all this insane Power and amount of RAM you advise is only necessary for two things, maybe a third:

1) You want to do "Lord of the Rings" kind of stuff with epic scenes
2) You're a bad 3D artist
3) You do it because you can / need to have the thoughest machine around

People always need more and more, but i tell you this: No matter how fast your system gets, you will always reach a point where it will slow down until it's unusable.

Ok, it's a good thing to have a system as powerful as your budget allows, but when i started with LW6 on a Pentium 2, things were all different as they are now. It was common to use Low Poly Settings in Layout or only Solid Shading Mode and things like that to speed up the workflow. It's the question if realtime full quality viewing modes like a lot of people are using all the time are really necessary all the time. It's the final rendering that counts, the final result. And its always the same, no matter how fast the machine was on which the scene was designed.

Computers are really fast nowadays, i don't see a reason to have a 4x Dual Xeon System with 64 Gig of Ram. Because for really large scenes you'd need a Renderfarm anyway, and for good allday workflow almost any modern computer will do.

LW is for the most part a skill issue, no longer a hardware issue.

shrox
04-02-2009, 06:24 AM
...
1) You want to do "Lord of the Rings" kind of stuff with epic scenes

That would be me...


LW is for the most part a skill issue, no longer a hardware issue.

Absolutely, it's a harsh reality, but most people just don't have it...

biliousfrog
04-02-2009, 01:17 PM
Well i can tell you, i already had a bunch of graphics cards since i use LW. Back in the LW[6] days i had an Ati Xpert 8MB, then a STM Kyro II 64 MB, GeForce2, ATI 9700, FireGL X1, GeForce7, and now GeForce9. Each time i upgraded, it was definitely a huge difference in workflow, not only in textured mode, but also very much in wireframe.

However, all this insane Power and amount of RAM you advise is only necessary for two things, maybe a third:

1) You want to do "Lord of the Rings" kind of stuff with epic scenes
2) You're a bad 3D artist
3) You do it because you can / need to have the thoughest machine around

People always need more and more, but i tell you this: No matter how fast your system gets, you will always reach a point where it will slow down until it's unusable.

Ok, it's a good thing to have a system as powerful as your budget allows, but when i started with LW6 on a Pentium 2, things were all different as they are now. It was common to use Low Poly Settings in Layout or only Solid Shading Mode and things like that to speed up the workflow. It's the question if realtime full quality viewing modes like a lot of people are using all the time are really necessary all the time. It's the final rendering that counts, the final result. And its always the same, no matter how fast the machine was on which the scene was designed.

Computers are really fast nowadays, i don't see a reason to have a 4x Dual Xeon System with 64 Gig of Ram. Because for really large scenes you'd need a Renderfarm anyway, and for good allday workflow almost any modern computer will do.

LW is for the most part a skill issue, no longer a hardware issue.


You have some valid points but you can't say that a great artist doesn't need a fast computer because they're a great artist. When time is money and clients are bombarded by hollywood quality CGI and expect it at a budget price, you need to remain competitive...work faster, and therefore cheaper, whilst keeping overheads to a minimum.

I have a small render farm but it's always faster to render test frames with F9 and every second that I can shave off a render adds up to money in the bank...it's simple math. If I can use high-res models and multi-bounce GI then why would I want to spend time on clever texturing and fake GI lighting when I can spend that time with my girlfriend.

I don't deny that hardware doesn't make up for lack of talent or skill but it works both ways. Why hold yourself back and sell yourself short when you can work smarter and produce better results. I recently bought an i7 based render node for approx. £1000...it has already saved me over 300hrs in render time...if that means that I'm a lesser artist because of it, well great! Rather that than working longer hours or lowering my standards to meet deadlines.

h2oStudios
04-02-2009, 11:44 PM
What's all this? Man, my machine beats it all.:neener: I'm running v9.6 (and it's flying mind you) on my brand new Zeos i486 - 66mhz, 16mb of Ram (and that's plenty), 500mb hard drive, with a Diamond Speedstar video card. And I can play Doom 2 on it too.:rock: Ha!

F_GX
04-03-2009, 02:39 AM
No doubt about that ;D


I don't deny that hardware doesn't make up for lack of talent or skill but it works both ways. Why hold yourself back and sell yourself short when you can work smarter and produce better results. I recently bought an i7 based render node for approx. £1000...it has already saved me over 300hrs in render time...if that means that I'm a lesser artist because of it, well great! Rather that than working longer hours or lowering my standards to meet deadlines.
No, you're not a lesser artist, you're a professional. However, if you own a renderfarm, why would you want to render your stuff on your workstation? And do you really need the GLSL shiny effect stuff and level 15 subpatch while working in Layout :hey:

I just wanted to point out that there is barely a reason to spend a fortune of money if you're not really an "uber-pro".

biliousfrog
04-03-2009, 03:33 AM
I agree, there's no reason to spend a fortune, Lightwave requires a very modest system but what I got form your post is that anyone using or wanting a fast system is trying to make up for a lack of skills...that is complete nonsense.

Put Lewis Hamilton in a Fiat 500 and he'll still be a great driver but put him in an F1 car and he's amazing...it's the same principle, if OpenGL perfomance is restricting the models that you produce, RAM constraints prevent you from rendering to a decent resolution or CPU speed slows your renders enough to break your creative flow, your work will suffer. I still use 'tricks' to speed up renders but no longer at the expense of quality, that's the difference with using a computer that's capable rather than one that's just 'enough'.


No, you're not a lesser artist, you're a professional. However, if you own a renderfarm, why would you want to render your stuff on your workstation? And do you really need the GLSL shiny effect stuff and level 15 subpatch while working in Layout

Having a render farm is great for animations but not much use for rendering individual test frames. If a test frame takes 30 seconds I'm not likely to send it across the LAN, let the node load up the scene, render it and save it somewhere for me to look at. Also the workstation acts as another render machine when required...it's basic CG studio stuff, nothing particularly clever or unusual.

As for GLSL, I turn all that crap off. I find it extremely distracting and pointless but I'm sure that it's a great help to some, especially in the game industry. Level 15 sub-patch?...I've used 20 in some instances for displacements, again nothing unusual for a lot of people. If it improves workflow when setting up scenes why not?

prometheus
04-03-2009, 07:48 AM
interesting thread here right now for me too..since Im looking in to new graphics card, Have been using quadro fx 1100..wich Im pleased with except that it might be something wrong with it...
(computer freezes a couple of times a day.)

And this is most likely because of me doing absolutly stupid things like bonking on top of the computer because the fan was buzzing to much..still checking it, it might be the motherboard aswell.

However..someday you might start to think ..it“s not all lightwave
and you might wanna do other stuff, or the new lightwave core might get some nifty fluid tools requiring certain graphics card to use it fully,so It might be worth keeping in mind new software coming up or new techologys in 3d, like real time fluids..

http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=96798

Im very hot on getting one of those quadro fx cards with cuda.

Michael

shrox
04-03-2009, 08:36 AM
Maybe we should say what not to buy, like a Toshiba...or a Tandy with a cassette drive. (an old Radio Shack offering)

sampei
04-06-2009, 01:32 PM
glad i found this thread.
need some advice as I'm a bit of noob: I'm planning to upgrade my current notebook (an Asus A6T which is giving me nightmares) with a Lenovo ThinkPad W500..what do you think ? a bit pricy but the specs. look good and I'm hoping it will last for a while (i hope).
anyway here's the specifications:

Processor 1 x Intel® Core 2 Duo® T9400 2.53GHz, 1066MHz
Chipset Mobile Intel GM45 Express
Cache Memory 6MB - L2 Cache
Hard Drive 200GB Full Disk Encryption (FDE) - Serial ATA-150 - 7200 rpm

RAM 4GB (installed) / 4GB (max)
DDR3 SDRAM 1066MHz
Graphics Controller ATI Mobility FireGL V5700 / Intel GMA 4500MHD PCI Express x16

Display 15.4" TFT 1920 x 1200 ( WUXGA )

OS Provided Microsoft Windows Vista Business / XP Professional downgrade

edit_now also considering a MacBook Pro 2.66 GHz which I can get a discount on (same price as the ThinkPad)...a bit confused tbh.
:help:

biliousfrog
04-06-2009, 02:57 PM
Unless you NEED portability buy a desktop instead, you'll get a much better machine with more upgradability, less heat issues and a full size keyboard/screen.

JonW
04-06-2009, 04:15 PM
Buy an i7 920 with 6 or 12 gb ram, they are almost as quick as a X5450 V8 & you will have a seriously fast box. If you have a stack of work & or unlimited funds, the X5570 are now available, & you will get roughly another 30% rendering improvement, but I’d wait a few months till the prices settle.

http://www.3dspeedmachine.com/?page=3&scene=39

A good graphics card only makes the monitor easier to use. Unless I’m doing a massive scene, my 8600 & 9800 are almost as good as my 280GTX, with very large poly count the monitor will redraw quicker.

jasonwestmas
04-06-2009, 09:14 PM
Maybe we should say what not to buy, like a Toshiba...or a Tandy with a cassette drive. (an old Radio Shack offering)

Lol Tandy. . .I had a Color Computer 3 with 512 MB of Ram.:bday:

sampei
04-07-2009, 04:51 AM
Unless you NEED portability buy a desktop instead, you'll get a much better machine with more upgradability, less heat issues and a full size keyboard/screen.
thanks, but I doubt a desktop would be the best solution since I travel quite a lot and I was looking for something I can carry around without any hassle...

biliousfrog
04-07-2009, 05:09 AM
thanks, but I doubt a desktop would be the best solution since I travel quite a lot and I was looking for something I can carry around without any hassle...

In that case, the one you listed would be pretty good all round (apart from serious rendering obviously). You might squeeze a little more out of it with Vista 64 as a 32bit OS is only going to see half that RAM anyway (2.5gb I believe).

sampei
04-07-2009, 05:20 AM
ok, will definetly remember the Vista 64 tip when the time comes.
thanks for the advice :thumbsup:

sampei
04-23-2009, 04:54 PM
up and last question, I promise ^^

I have now settled on the W700:

Intel Core 2 Quad Core Extreme Processor QX9300 (2.53GHz 1066MHz 12MBL2)

Genuine Windows Vista Business 64

NVIDIA Quadro FX 3700M 128-core CUDA parallel computing processor 1GB (dedicated)

8 GB PC3-8500 DDR3 SDRAM 1067MHz SODIMM Memory (2 DIMM)

RAID HDD, 500 GB Hard Disk Drive, 5400rpm

my only doubt is regarding the RAM, I can save 500£ with 4 GB...but with 8 the notebook's lifespan will be sensibly increased right ? So i guess I might as well get it now rather than upgrading it in the future, although it might be cheaper if I wait...
advice needed asap :D
thanks in advance

StudioBOZON
04-24-2009, 01:55 AM
I gues making 3D on a notebook is realy uncomfurtable. 17 inches screen - You won't fit any thing in there (i have a dell vostro this big with just a bit lower specs than You wan't to buy). when i bought my 8 core xeon workstation, there's no way i'm going back to notebook working. i'm saving soooooo much time with the power of 8 cores, no camparison. i'm tweaking my renders of exteriors with 20 - 50 milion polys to 15 - 20 minutes in full HD resolution where they would count for at least 3 hours or more on my notebook. i'm using my Dell to work in photoshop or after effects when the workstation is rendering another shot.

biliousfrog
04-24-2009, 03:01 AM
up and last question, I promise ^^

I have now settled on the W700:

Intel Core 2 Quad Core Extreme Processor QX9300 (2.53GHz 1066MHz 12MBL2)

Genuine Windows Vista Business 64

NVIDIA Quadro FX 3700M 128-core CUDA parallel computing processor 1GB (dedicated)

8 GB PC3-8500 DDR3 SDRAM 1067MHz SODIMM Memory (2 DIMM)

RAID HDD, 500 GB Hard Disk Drive, 5400rpm

my only doubt is regarding the RAM, I can save 500£ with 4 GB...but with 8 the notebook's lifespan will be sensibly increased right ? So i guess I might as well get it now rather than upgrading it in the future, although it might be cheaper if I wait...
advice needed asap :D
thanks in advance

Wow...that's a monster machine for a notebook!

My only concern would be the heat with that CPU, Quadro and 8GB. Maybe try 4gb and see how you get on...if you've only got 2 slots though you'd need to sell the 4gb to upgrade to 8gb.

sampei
04-24-2009, 03:41 AM
Wow...that's a monster machine for a notebook!

My only concern would be the heat with that CPU, Quadro and 8GB. Maybe try 4gb and see how you get on...if you've only got 2 slots though you'd need to sell the 4gb to upgrade to 8gb.

yeah I was also worried about that but apparently the cooling system holds up really well even when rendering, I read loads of reviews and user hands-ons and couldn't find anyone who has experienced overheating problems, again maybe they didn't chose the QX9300...but hey it must have some safety threshold feature in it I hope, wouldn't like to fry it :oye:
anyway yes, I think there's 2 slots, but I guess I will see. Is it easy enough to sell second hand RAM if its not enough and I want to get 8 ?

sampei
04-24-2009, 03:44 AM
I gues making 3D on a notebook is realy uncomfurtable. 17 inches screen - You won't fit any thing in there (i have a dell vostro this big with just a bit lower specs than You wan't to buy). when i bought my 8 core xeon workstation, there's no way i'm going back to notebook working. i'm saving soooooo much time with the power of 8 cores, no camparison. i'm tweaking my renders of exteriors with 20 - 50 milion polys to 15 - 20 minutes in full HD resolution where they would count for at least 3 hours or more on my notebook. i'm using my Dell to work in photoshop or after effects when the workstation is rendering another shot.
as I said before I need a notebook so i think the one I posted is a good investment, I will get an extra LCD to work, probz a 19 inch :)