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Thread: Seeking insight: current state-of-the-art in 3D-worthy PCs

  1. #1
    Spinny Spinland's Avatar
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    Seeking insight: current state-of-the-art in 3D-worthy PCs

    Little insight: roughly 10 years ago I abandoned the PC world for the walled garden of Apple computing. I had had enough of crazy mix-and-match driver/component issues, weird paradigms like the "registry" and, as someone who came up the computing ranks as a Unix user, Apple's embracing the BSD Linux-based OS X appealed to my desire for a command line interface and a file system that actually make sense to me. The final straw came when I paid Apple-esque money for a boutique AlienWare workstation that ended up having even more weird driver issues than ever.

    The honeymoon seems to be all but over.

    Of late I've been having more and glitches, quirks and outright hangups/crashes and as Apple "improves" their OS my frustrations with their reliability seems to increase by contrast. Their focus these days appears to be on mobiles and computers meant to appeal to the Photoshop crowd more than to folks who need to crunch major data and to store huge piles of it on fast drives. I'm also encountering more and more instances where useful software simply does not run on a Mac.

    So. I'm not planning to dump my Apple boxen in the dumpster but I'm considering giving the Windows world a probationary period starting with a main workstation while relegating the Apples to side duties like rendering and such. I am literally a decade out of touch with what's going on in the PC world. I could dive into a research period but, before I start that, it would be helpful to have some fast-track tips, pointers, and even maybe some links of tried-and-true workhorses that currently serve folks in this community (especially LW) in good stead. I'm not yet sure what sort of budget I could bring to bear, I don't even know where to begin scoping what the current price scale is. For a current Mac Pro the tab tends to be between US$5k and US$10k for a useable version. My presumption would be comparable PC units would be cheaper but maybe not.

    So, my droogs...any insights?

    Many thanks in advance!
    “There may be people that have more talent than you, but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do.” ~ Derek Jeter

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  2. #2
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    If you don't want to build on your own maybe HP Z Workstations or Dell XPS would be an option.

    I use a new MacBook Pro for work which I like (also due to the fact that I can use a UNIX terminal). For 3D I use self-built Windows workstations and a Dell XPS 15" 4k and Surface Pro notebook.

    For a Win workstation I wouldn't start below Hexacore and 64GB RAM, fast SSD snd GF 1080ti.

    I don't know how LW runs on retina displays but on Win high-res displays LW is unusable for me. One of the reasons I stopped using LW.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spinland View Post
    Little insight: roughly 10 years ago I abandoned the PC world for the walled garden of Apple computing. I had had enough of crazy mix-and-match driver/component issues, weird paradigms like the "registry" and, as someone who came up the computing ranks as a Unix user, Apple's embracing the BSD Linux-based OS X appealed to my desire for a command line interface and a file system that actually make sense to me. The final straw came when I paid Apple-esque money for a boutique AlienWare workstation that ended up having even more weird driver issues than ever.

    The honeymoon seems to be all but over.

    Of late I've been having more and glitches, quirks and outright hangups/crashes and as Apple "improves" their OS my frustrations with their reliability seems to increase by contrast. Their focus these days appears to be on mobiles and computers meant to appeal to the Photoshop crowd more than to folks who need to crunch major data and to store huge piles of it on fast drives. I'm also encountering more and more instances where useful software simply does not run on a Mac.

    So. I'm not planning to dump my Apple boxen in the dumpster but I'm considering giving the Windows world a probationary period starting with a main workstation while relegating the Apples to side duties like rendering and such. I am literally a decade out of touch with what's going on in the PC world. I could dive into a research period but, before I start that, it would be helpful to have some fast-track tips, pointers, and even maybe some links of tried-and-true workhorses that currently serve folks in this community (especially LW) in good stead. I'm not yet sure what sort of budget I could bring to bear, I don't even know where to begin scoping what the current price scale is. For a current Mac Pro the tab tends to be between US$5k and US$10k for a useable version. My presumption would be comparable PC units would be cheaper but maybe not.

    So, my droogs...any insights?

    Many thanks in advance!
    Build your own Workstation. It's cheaper, and you can decide where you need the power.
    Start with the CPU. AMD's Ryzen delivered better multi-core performance for a low price. ThreadRipper is a very powerful cpu. If you will be using mostly single core operations, Intel is still fine. The rest of the components come down to: "get as much as you can afford." If you really don't want to build your own, check out Boxx Technologies.

  4. #4
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    I would suggest Spinny on the graphics card side of things not to waste tons of money on Quadro style workstation cards and buy higher end gaming cards. The gaming cards are very capable indeed and most people are using them on GPU rendering instead of farms, simply because it is so much cheaper to buy a couple of good gaming cards than one bloated Quadro.

    When I bought my GTX670 4GB for my home workstation a few years back, there was the 680 and 690 above that. When you go to cpubenchmark you can get the real figures to compare performance against price and IMO, my card was over £200 cheaper than the 690 at the time but the extra cost wasn't worth it to me for those performance gains.
    Last edited by Luc_Feri; 11-04-2017 at 09:15 AM.
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  5. #5
    Spinny Spinland's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tips thus far, guys. I'm hesitant to try a custom build, given my many years of being out of touch and ignorance as to the "good" components versus the lame ones and the money sucks.

    The suggestions thus far are quite helpful as I begin some searching.

    Thanks again!
    “There may be people that have more talent than you, but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do.” ~ Derek Jeter

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  6. #6
    Spinny Spinland's Avatar
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    Just ran across this post at Tom's Hardware. I'd forgotten about that site but, as I recall, it's a treasure trove of tech geekery.

    http://www.logicalincrements.com/art...ring-animation
    “There may be people that have more talent than you, but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do.” ~ Derek Jeter

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  7. #7
    Registered User squarewulf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spinland View Post
    I'm hesitant to try a custom build
    Don't be. It's definitely the way to go, WAYY cheaper, and MUCH easier than you'd think. Plus if you want to upgrade or fix anything in the future you'll know how.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spinland View Post
    Just ran across this post at Tom's Hardware. I'd forgotten about that site but, as I recall, it's a treasure trove of tech geekery.

    http://www.logicalincrements.com/art...ring-animation
    Some nice builds. You might not need all those features though. For example "the forge of the gods" build sinks a lot of money into GPU and CPU. You might do well with a high clock speed i7 instead of the ThreadRipper if you strictly do GPU renders.

  9. #9
    Super Member Kryslin's Avatar
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    I recommend a custom build as well. DDR4 Ram is still hideously expensive, and the i9 Intel CPUs are not worth the money, so you might want to step back a generation. I'm slowly acquiring the pile of parts for my next machine, based around dual Xeon e5-2690's, and a beefy GF 1080ti. Yes it's slower, and it's power hungry, but the CPU, Ram (128GB) and Motherboard cost as much as the i9 chip or it's ram. Also, I'll probably have to go with Win 10 Pro for workstations as well.

    And make sure the case you choose can fit where it's supposed to go. I've got to modify my desk to get an extra 3" of clearance under it. (I have cats, therefore, the top of the computer, wherein lies the RESET button, is kept covered.)
    --------
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  10. #10
    www.Digitawn.co.uk rustythe1's Avatar
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    i didn't think Lightwave could render fully on a dual xeon setup as it can only see one processor at a time?
    Intel i9 7980xe, Asus Rampage Vi extreme, 2x NVIDIA GTX1070ti, 64GB DDR4 3200 corsair vengeance,
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  11. #11
    Super Member Kryslin's Avatar
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    I'll find out soon enough, won't I?

    I have a number of other applications that can and do use multi-cpu set ups that do CPU heavy work. Besides, I could set up on CPU to handle rendering in the background, while I work on the other CPU.
    --------
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    I've found dell workstatins to be good. Only issue is upgrade space. Like the cases though.
    Support is good; if something breaks, a dude shows up with a replacement.

    I do find that my i7 seems to render faster than Xeon and ssd is a must. I use Samsung Evo.

    If building your own, do some research on a good mb. If you go to tonymac, you could build a hackintosh compatible so you could dual boot. Quadro is a lot more stable for me in windows 10 but that might be something to do with ms sys updates of late.

  13. #13

    i buy used, i basically saved tons doing that...

    Up 2 U...
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  14. #14
    Member devin's Avatar
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    PC Parts Picker and its forums are a great resource for system configuration, sourcing parts, determining parts compatability, etc.
    Last edited by devin; 11-05-2017 at 07:28 AM.

  15. #15

    Quote Originally Posted by devin View Post
    PC Parts Picker and its forums are a great resource for system configuration, sourcing parts, determining parts compatibility, etc.
    Awesome!
    LW vidz   DPont donate   LightWiki   RHiggit   IKBooster   My vidz

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