3D and the Mac Questions

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by XD-3, Jul 15, 2009.

  1. XD-3 macrumors newbie

    Jul 15, 2009
    Hi there,

    I'm brand new here, registered five minutes ago, but I am a long time reader so I would just like to say hello to everyone! and wondered if I could get some advice. Basically I am going to Uni this September to begin a degree in 'Game Art' and I'm really stuck on where to go new computer wise.

    I've had a Macbook Pro for about 1.5 Years which sadly got damaged recently and ended up being an insurance job so I am well acquainted with OSX and LoVE it and this is really my problem... Initially I was completely committed to getting a Mac Pro in about a months time so I could continue the love.

    My dilemma however is '3Ds Max' and weather or not I will be able to use this in this environment with Bootcamp?.. after reading reports of people having issues with activation corruption I am a little worried I'll end up with an unusable platform.

    So really my questions are weather or not 3Ds Max 2010 works correctly under bootcamp on Vista 64, and then later windows 7, but i guess that should be a no brainier if vista is game...

    And of course i'm under the impression that V-Ray, Mental " " and Mood Box etc will play nice if the Max is down... (Why does that hole scentance sound a little like some kind of rap?)

    And really just maybe if someone with a little more knowledge could tell me weather in this case a windows box would be a more practical option :( I really don't wont to give up OSX if possible (Apps etc) but Uni is more important then the platform I'm using.

    I also no that there are some real nice smaller apps on OSX as well that I wouldn't mind looking at but Max is a must during the learning stages.

    As you can see I'm at a loss as what to do, yes the windows machine would be cheaper and faster in some ways, but lets me honest it's not a Mac Pro.... But I guess it's all on weather or not 3Ds Max is good to go on bootcamp really.

    Cheers for any input
  2. LeviG macrumors 65816

    Nov 6, 2006
    Norfolk, UK
    get a windows machine - simple as that for 3DS Max (I use it daily) The graphics cards in the macs are not really suited for 3d work.

    If you want a laptop look at the dell precision (name of desktops too) range as they have a gpu that is designed for 3DS Max and the likes.
  3. ckmaes macrumors newbie

    Aug 20, 2007
    Stick with the MacBook Pro, with BootCamp.
    I'm using mine in a 50/50 partition, enough to install everything you might need... Best of both worlds.
    3DS Max 2010 now supports Macs running BootCamp, so you won't have any problems there, I don't.
    As far as GPU support goes, I know the Macs nVidia 9400 and 9600 just gained support from Autodesk, using Maya 2009 though. I haven't checked if it's listed under "qualified hardware" on the Max page.
    Don't listen to the people that tell you a "quadro" is the only way to go, we've been using standard GPU's for Maya and Max for years now. In saying this, the quadro does increase performance in Max, but it's not a must have...
    Hope that helps.
  4. XD-3 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 15, 2009
    Hi, So what kind of hardware do you use in your windows box then if you don't mind me asking, I'm looking at a 2200£ budget, so I can get pretty high end i7 system.... I was thinking about getting 2 4870's for xfire.

    I can't go near the quatro/ Fire GL cards to much £££. I'm guessing max wont benefit from 2 cards?


    PS: Do you need specific hardware (Graphics Card) for Max to Run properly or would the 4890 do it. I understand the point is to have a Quatro/ Fire GL, but i'm going to uni and can't afford such a thing.
  5. XD-3 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 15, 2009
    I no longer have the Macbook Pro, i got an insurance payout for it, so like i said above I have 2200£ if I where to go the Mac Pro route I would HP the rest of the cash needed.

    Cheers for the input though
  6. LeviG macrumors 65816

    Nov 6, 2006
    Norfolk, UK
    Games cards are pointless for cad, if you buy a gaming card then in my view you're not serious about the 3D side of things. The performance of a low end quadro (£130) is better than a £400 geforce in 3DS Max, this is because the way that max uses the gpu is different to a way a game does and geforce is not optimised for it.

    Mine are old now so this is what I would do if I was to (self) build now - an i7 920 (2.66Ghz iirc), motherboard, stick in 12Gb of ram, couple of hard drives (I'd go 4 in raid 0+1 for performance and redundancy or 2 in raid 1 + smallish ssd). Then add in a quadro fx580/1800 @ £137/360 (UK seller - US seller is cheaper but may add import etc) - cheaper than the x2 4870!. The 580 should be enough to be honest.
    That little lot with a 64bit os (this is a must) should cost just a fraction over a grand (working from memory). Add a monitor for a couple of hundred and youre good to go.
    Alternatively look at the dell precision range.

    With the remaining £1000 get a macbook pro 13" for other work or a gaming laptop from dell so you have the best of both worlds :)

    And don't forget student discounts when you get to uni :)
  7. ckmaes macrumors newbie

    Aug 20, 2007
    Well, we produce quality architectural visualisations every day here, using "games cards". Sure, we have a few workstations with quadro 5800's, but we could do just fine without them. Not everyone can afford a workstation class GPU, it doesn't mean they're not serious about what they're doing.

    Other than that, I agree with the idea of buying a dedicated desktop PC for 3D work and a 13" MacBook Pro for portable stuff when needed.
  8. Genghis Khan macrumors 65816

    Genghis Khan

    Jun 3, 2007
    Melbourne, Australia
    To the O.P.

    I was in a very similar situation to you at the beginning of the year. Mac Pro, or Windows Box.

    I use Rhino and V-Ray for Uni and needed something to render with. I ended up going the Mac Pro route. While you may be able to get higher speed for the same price as a Mac Pro, the Pro has awesome cooling that allows it to run for days on end at max speed (you'll find this useful i assume ;) ). And it looks cooler...

    As for graphics cards, the 4870HD is probably the best gaming substitute for a quadro there has been in many years.

    So I'd recommend for you...

    Quad 2.66GHz Mac Pro, with...
    4870HD pre-installed,
    then upgrade the RAM and HDD's as you see fit

    However, if you can, go for a refurb (2.66GHz Nehalem or 2.8GHz Harpertown) and get the GTX285.

    Another option for graphics cards is to buy a seperate one just for Windows usage and switch the display connector when you boot into BootCamp.

    - Michael

    Can I ask for a link to your site? I'd be interested to see pro archi renders from Melbourne
  9. LeviG macrumors 65816

    Nov 6, 2006
    Norfolk, UK
    Is this using maya or 3ds max, in my experience 3ds max is a lot heavier on the gpu than maya is (don't ask me why I don't write the programs :)). And I never said it couldn't be done its just that any dedicated 3D studio (I bet you use autocad or similar too which is primarily 2D) would invest in dedicated 3D hardware such as the quadrofx. Plus we both know that the rendering side of things is cpu bound and afaik doesn't take into account the gpu at present.

    As I've stated the cost of a workstation card (theres not a huge difference in performance in 3ds max though outside of ram capacity) starts at sub £100 although obviously the ones I suggested are better value. If the op was willing to spend around £350 on the games card that kind of negates the cost of a quadro.
  10. XD-3 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 15, 2009
    LeviG I could get this system now for 2000£, I'm guessing this would be super powerful for 3Ds Max.

    Intel Core i7 950 D0 Stepping (SLBEJ) 3.06Ghz
    Asus P6T7 WS Intel X58
    Corsair Dominator 6GB (1600MHz) X2 for some 12GB action
    XFX ATI Radeon HD 4890 XT 1024MB x2
    Coolermaster ATCS 840
    Dell 2709W

    And with that motherboard (7 PCI-e slots), I could add a Fire GL/ Quatro card a little later on once I have the basics down after the first year, I was looking at the 300£ Fire GL cards, that why I can have gaming and rendering

    What you think


    PS: I could ditch the 2709 and get the Fire GL card now, but a nice large display is a good investment I guess.
  11. Lone Deranger macrumors 68000

    Lone Deranger

    Apr 23, 2006
    Tokyo, Japan
    XD-3, have a look over on the hardware forums at www.cgtalk.com. There will be many threads discussing your sort of questions. But yeah, don't waste your money on Quadro's unless you really really need the larger amounts of Ram the top end models offer.
    Oh... and Macs are perfectly capable of doing high end 3D on. I personally wouldn't want to miss out on OSX and dual/triple boot between OSX, Win and Linux.
  12. LeviG macrumors 65816

    Nov 6, 2006
    Norfolk, UK
    paying out for the 3Ghz i7 is a waste of money (they're a rip off), get the slower model i920 and if you must overclock for the difference of .4GHz.
    You do not need a motherboard costing over £300, they all use the same damn chipset!

    Last time I checked quadrofx are better for 3ds max than firegl (although neither are slouches) and I dont think you can run them together with a geforce (although I could be wrong on this) plus you would need to keep changing the cable over etc.

    Personally I still think you are after a high end gaming rig/bragging rights with the way you are specing the system, a quadrofx as I mentioned earlier will be of far more use to you when you start trying to work on your models in a multi viewport situation. A low end quadro (with 512mb of ram) on average has twice the performance of a high end geforce when working in 3DS Max, you also miss out on all the extra enhancements in 3DS Max that the maxtreme drivers provide.

    I'd also personally drop down to a 24" screen but thats individual tastes and the 27" might be good for tv or something too.

    And just because you have 2K doesn't mean it has to ALL go on a desktop pc, spec around my earlier suggestion and get a laptop or/and an xbox/ps3 or something.

    As I'm pretty sure you went shopping at OCUK heres what I would buy minus a gpu (fx580 should do fine) which I would get from lamdatek (brilliant service in my experience too). You also need an os, grab ms window 7 while its on offer for like £50 quid. Note this is not a games machine, this is a workstation.

    Dell G2410 24" Widescreen LED Monitor £229.99
    (£199.99) £229.99
    Intel Core i7 920 D0 Stepping (SLBEJ) 2.66Ghz (Nehalem) (Socket LGA1366) - Retail + World In Conflict PC Game £205.99
    (£179.12) £205.99
    (£179.12) Foxconn Blood Rage Intel X58 (Socket 1366) PCI-Express DDR3 Motherboard £199.99
    (£173.90) £199.99
    (£173.90) OCZ Blade Series 6GB (3x2GB) DDR3 PC3-16000 Triple Channel (OCZ3B2000C9LV6GK) £103.99
    (£90.43) £207.98
    (£180.86) Corsair HX 620W ATX Modular SLI Compliant Power Supply (CMPSU-620HXUK) £94.99
    (£82.60) £94.99
    (£82.60) Lian Li PC-A07B Aluminium Midi-Tower - Black (No PSU) £66.69
    (£57.99) £66.69
    (£57.99) Samsung EcoGreen F2 1TB SATA-II 32MB Cache - OEM (HD103SI) £59.98
    (£52.16) £119.96
    (£104.32) LG GH22NS50 22x DVD±RW SATA Dual Layer ReWriter (Black) - OEM

    Total cost - £1,162.41 + £200 for fx580 and windows 7 home premium so £1365 give or take a few pence.

    You had £2200 meaning you have £835 spare. The 13" macbook pro starts at £845 (educational store) so I wasn't far off earlier :)

    Alternatively you could get a second system dedicated for gaming based around the above (half the ram, same screen different cable connection and a gf250) for around £900 from OCUK

    Like I said, you don't need to spend £2200 on one machine and for the record, having 2 machines while I was at uni , a laptop and a (what was then low end workstation) dual cpu pc, was much more productive than one high end pc. I could do the 2D work while the 3D work was being rendered etc.
  13. XD-3 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 15, 2009
    Ok then, I do appreciate your comments about the workstation cards, I just didn't wont to get a high end system and not be able to play games on it.. Anyway I have dropped the quad to 2.66 and also one of the Gaming cards and will get a Fire GL card instead. (Best of both worlds)

    Also these Maxtreme drivers? are they avaliable for the GL's or would i need nvidia for this, I could easy just change to team green... (Seems the Fire GL's are supported fully on Max) <-- :S Obviously your going to know that anyway duh!

  14. LeviG macrumors 65816

    Nov 6, 2006
    Norfolk, UK
    maxtreme is quadro fx only.

    Just so you know an fx580 is based (although optimised for cad) on the same core as a GF9500 (yes the £50 quid or less gpu and as such is crap for games). The fx3800 is the closest to a reasonable gaming card as thats based around a 9600GT/9800 core although thats around £700.

    FireGL might be closer to desktop performance but I use quadrofx as its better in 3ds Max

    I never buy a computer around a recreation, I buy around its main requirements, ie 3D cad, graphics etc.

    Just get a games console if you want to play games.
  15. XD-3 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 15, 2009
    Come on dude don't be like that, I totally agree with what you are saying, specific hardware for a specific job... And when I have income coming in I will invest heavily in the best damn rendering card I can get my hands on.

    But right now it will just have to be one of the cheaper ones. Cheers for all your input though, I have now ordered my new PC, also if you have any links to show of your work I would love to have a look see at how a pro does it :)

  16. theyoda3 macrumors member

    Sep 27, 2006

    I read through this post and I just wanted to comment on a few things because you seem to be getting conflicting answers without enough details to make an informed decision.

    First of all, if you plan on rendering animation you should get a computer just for 3D work. Someone mentioned a PC plus a 13" MBP which sounds like a good option to me. The reason you want to separate your systems is that rendering can take hours, days, or even weeks depending on the settings and length of animation. You really do not want to be without a computer to use for that long, it sucks. Trust me I know, I did the MBP Bootcamp thing with 3DS Max myself.

    Second, in regards to graphics cards, as people have previously mentioned, you could use a gaming card, but workstation cards are optimized for better performance. This, however, is only a fraction of the truth about graphics cards. After a few years of experience with Maya, MotionBuilder, and 3DS Max and my discussions with an NVIDIA engineer, the previous statement mainly holds true for applications that use OpenGL rather than DirectX. The reason people say workstations cards are better all the time is because almost every CAD application uses OpenGL instead of DirectX, but in this case you are lucky. 3DS Max uses DirectX by default with the option of using OpenGL. You could use use a gaming card with 3DS Max and not worry about much of a performance hit. You would really only see a performance gain in 3DS Max with a workstation card if your scene was really huge, millions of polygons. Another thing to know about the difference between gaming cards and workstation cards is that there is no physical difference. Each workstation card is based off of a gaming chipset and the performance difference comes from the drivers that the card uses. The reason people pay so much more for workstation cards is because of the certification, testing, and custom driver support that they offer. If you had a gaming card and ever needed the performance for an OpenGL program, you could flash your card so the computer identifies it as a workstation card and then use the workstation drivers.

    Third, make sure you get a 64-bit OS for larger memory access and more stability with the 3D programs.

    Fourth, do not waste your money on a ridiculous amount of RAM. It is not worth it to get more than 4-8GB of RAM at this point. You will probably not ever create a scene so complex or render an image so large that you would run out of RAM. If you get an i7 processor, my suggestion is to get 6GB in 3 2GB sticks so you can take advantage the three memory channels. If for some crazy reason you need more memory in the future, you can just buy more.

    Fifth, get a Raptor drive for your operating system and program files and separate hard drive or two for your data files, i.e. scene files and render output. While RAM can improve system performance, the biggest bottleneck in a system is the hard drive. All the other storage devices in a computer are electrically based with no moving parts, but the hard drive is a mechanical device and compared to the RAM or CPU memory it is ridiculously slow. A fast hard drive will help balance your system and improve it's overall speed.

    Sixth, if money is an issue you might want to consider a Core 2 Quad processor. They are cheaper and their motherboards are cheaper. We have a bunch of Core i7s and Core 2 Quads at work and there is not a huge difference in terms of real world performance. If you are stuck on getting the i7 get the cheapest one and overclock it like someone else had mentioned.

    I hope this helps you make a more informed decision about your purchase.

    Best of luck,

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