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What Kind Of Laptop for 3D Modeling/Rendering?

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by Save Ferris, Nov 6, 2003.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Im considering a powerbook or ibook for 3D rendering/modeling work. I already have a dual processor G4 at work, this would be for home and out of the home so i wouldnt have to be in the office or home to do extra work.

    What laptop could i load up with ram?
    A dual processor would be nice but I heard they dont have any?

    Please throw out some recommendations!

  2. macrumors 68040


    If you can afford it, the 15 or 17 inch PB is the way to go. That way you get at least 64Mb on the video card and rendering isn't so slow. Plus the higher screen resolutions will be a major bonus.

    Oh and with either of those you can get over 1Gig of RAM cheaply (as opposed to taking the 12" PB up to 1Gig which costs like $500 for the chip).
  3. macrumors 65816


    All true. To add to that, The Radeon Mobility 9600 is currently the fastest mobile consumer graphics chip, so you are getting top of the line. There are mobile versions of those super high end video cards like the ATI FireGL series and nVidia Quadro, but they do not make macintosh versions of those cards, be they desktop or mobile versions.

    Here is a price comparison:

    12 inch PB
    - 1GHz PowerPC G4
    - 1.256GB DDR266 (256MB built-in & 1GB SO-DIMM)
    - 80GB Ultra ATA drive @ 4200rpm
    - Combo Drive (DVD-ROM/CD-RW)
    - Keyboard/Mac OS - U.S. English
    - APP for PowerBook (w/ or w/o display) - Enrollment Kit
    - 12.1-inch TFT Display
    Subtotal $2,873.00

    15 inch PB
    - 1GHz PowerPC G4
    - 1GB DDR333 SDRAM - 2x512 SO-DIMMs
    - 80GB Ultra ATA drive @ 4200 rpm
    - Combo Drive (DVD-ROM/CD-RW)
    - Keyboard/Mac OS - U.S. English
    - APP for PowerBook (w/ or w/o display) - Enrollment Kit
    - 15.2-inch TFT Display
    Subtotal $2,923.00

    17 inch

    - 1.33GHz PowerPC G4
    - 1GB DDR333 SDRAM - 2 SO-DIMMs
    - 80GB Ultra ATA drive @ 4200rpm
    - SuperDrive (DVD-R/CD-RW)
    - AirPort Extreme Card
    - Backlit Keyboard/Mac OS - U.S. English
    - APP for PowerBook (w/ or w/o display) - Enrollment Kit
    - 17-inch TFT Display
    Subtotal $3,648.00

    NOTE: Subtract 349$ if you do not want applecare. All prices are in US Dollars ($USD)
  4. acj
    macrumors 6502

    What 3d modeling software are you using? Many don't use the graphics card for output render, but I suppose you'd do most of your rendering on your desktop?
  5. macrumors member

    I have a new 15" Al Powerbook 1.25 with 2GB of ram and I use Maya daily on it for modeling and rendering. I must say I am quite impressed with the performance of this sweet piece of machinary. I love my new PB and the fact that I can use Maya on the go is incredible. I would recommend one of these over an iBook anyday. If you have anymore questions feel free to PM me.
  6. 7on
    macrumors 601


  7. macrumors 6502a


    Go the PB since it has better graphics chip, and larger graphics memory.
  8. macrumors 65816


    I have run Maya on an old P3 600 with an 8MB ATI M1 and it was fast enough for me. But then again, I'm not a graphics professional. Render times weren't really an issue for me. I was only able to get it to choke if I used a huge number of particles.
  9. macrumors newbie

    Thanks for all the responses! I plan on using Maya on it. I would still like to be able to output some rendering so HOPEFULLY it could utilize the card.
  10. macrumors newbie

    One more thing-- does it really matter which hard drive i get? 5400 would be nice but i hear the battery life sucks as it is...
  11. acj
    macrumors 6502

    Risky to say, but Maya is an area where you could get much better performance on a PC and save money. Also would be nice to have an option of a high resolution screen. Maya sucks at 1024x768.
  12. macrumors 6502

    Get 7200rpm if they offer it, do not stay with anything below 5400.
  13. macrumors G3


    the above price comparison is misleading because the 1 gig chip in the 12" costs $800 from apple. You'd have to be nuts to do that. You can save $700 by going with a 512 chip from crucial instead. All of a sudden the 12" and the 15" aren't so close in price.

    That said, for video work, you want the fastest possible, so I'd say 15" or 17". But none of them are going to be impressive with video work compared to a high clock dual G4.
  14. 7on
    macrumors 601


    why not get a G5 powermac for rendering and an iBook G4 for the mobility? You could create projects on the iBook, then copy them over to the G5 for Rendering.
  15. macrumors 6502a


    I'd go for the 15"PB if you can afford it. Good balance between speed, price, screen, portability. As a side note: You can model on any of the current laptops, I used to model on a 333Mhz G3...didn't feel overly painful at the time.

    I bought a 12"PB recently, but mainly as a 'fun' computer (email, photos, music etc.). I have been running Photoshop on it, as well as Maya PLE, works fine, even though I haven't done any 'serious' work. You need to be a bit more organized in your workflow (breaking down your models to avoid huge polycounts, work in one viewport at the time etc.) but hey, you can't have it all :p

    Also, as 7on already hinted at: you might want to arrange your schedule to model and texture while you are on the road, and then light/render your scenes on a desktop.
  16. macrumors newbie

    I guess I dont mind rendering in the office I just want a laptop so that i dont have to come in on the weekends or spend too much overtime on special projects.
  17. macrumors 6502a


    I know this is off topic but I thought it might be the best thread to ask the questions. I play around with Maya and Cinema 4D. Does anyone know of any good comprehensive video/CD Rom type tutorials for either of these. I learn better using this method. Just me. I haven't see anything good for either of these apps. I currently use Strata Studio Pro and I want to get away from it and use these others but as you know, if you've use them, they are way more indepth.


  18. macrumors 6502a


    for maya you might want to check out those:

    not cheap, but high quality classes...you can also subscribe to online tutorials.

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