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Thread: Graphics Card advice please - new system

  1. #1
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    Question Graphics Card advice please - new system

    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.

  2. #2
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    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!

    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?

  3. #3
    Slave to the metal Hipcheck's Avatar
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    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.

  4. #4
    Registered User AdamAvenali's Avatar
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    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.

  5. #5
    Registered User AdamAvenali's Avatar
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    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.

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    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!

  7. #7
    Slave to the metal Hipcheck's Avatar
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    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!

  8. #8
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    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.
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  9. #9
    I'm just a wanna be.
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    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.
    -AMD Phenom 9600 BE, 8gb OCZ Platinum DDR2-800, Sapphire HD3870x2, Lanparty UT 790FX-M2R...
    What more could one possibly want?

  10. #10
    8800GT here, and very satisfied with it. No problems with After Effects either.

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    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.

  12. #12
    Heir to the Throne RedBull's Avatar
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    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.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedBull
    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.

  14. #14
    Is it too early to think display port?

  15. #15
    It's Lightwave, *****es! Digital Hermit's Avatar
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    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.
    Digital Hermit

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