Anyone running a 15" Macbook Pro Retina with Maya and other 3D apps?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by fig, Jun 3, 2014.

  1. fig macrumors 6502a

    fig

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    Austin, TX
    #1
    I'm a designer and animator who's currently got a 13" Macbook Aluminum (used mostly for design and light development work) and the latest revision of the Mac Mini, dual 2.6ghz with a Fusion Drive.

    I'm looking at getting rid of the Mini, which is reasonably capable but won't ever be confused for fast, and the 13" MB and replacing them with a MacBook Pro that I'd run mostly in clamshell mode connected to an external display or two.

    I don't do a ton of heavy rendering/simulation/effects, mostly character animation and some light modeling and rendering in Maya and Modo.

    I'm considering something like the 15" 2.7ghz with 16mb RAM and the GT650M. Any thoughts, ideally from folks with firsthand experience? Thanks.
     
  2. fig thread starter macrumors 6502a

    fig

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  3. kelon111 macrumors 6502

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    #3
    For 3D rendering , I would use a Quadro or FirePro GPU.
    Of course those are considered professional class GPUs so no Mac laptop would use them.

    A GT 650M can do the same job roughly speaking , but it can be a lot slower depending on what exactly you're modelling.

    The good thing is that if you don't do high end 3D rendering as a job , you can afford to wait longer for the same task to get done.
     
  4. saturnotaku macrumors 68000

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    Mar 4, 2013
    #4
    Not a good idea since NVIDIA has gimped professional 3D performance in its GeForce line, starting with the 6-Series. You'd be better off getting a Dell Precision M3800 as it's available with a Retina-like display and a Quadro GPU, which will be ideally suited for development applications.
     
  5. kelon111 macrumors 6502

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    #5
    I would recommend the M3800 as well. Not only would the M3800 be better for 3D rendering due to better hardware and better optimized software , but it would be easier to change parts and get things fixed if needed.
     
  6. leman macrumors 604

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    Oct 14, 2008
    #6
    Rendering in 3D software has traditionally been CPU-only. A quick google search seems to indicate that Modo does not utilise the GPU for rendering. Not sure about Maya. The 750M is more than enough to deal with modelling, unless we are talking dozens of million polygons or more, at which point the K1100M in the M3800 is not going to help either. Not to mention that the K1100M is basically an underclocked 750M without gimped DP units (but I very much doubt that they are used by Maya) and with additional driver optimisation for some archaic OpenGL features, which 3D content creation software still use for some reason.

    There little doubt though that M3800 will be better at modelling, even though its GPU is lower clocked — simply because it is Windows and you can use the superior DirectX drivers.
     
  7. fig thread starter macrumors 6502a

    fig

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    #7
    I don't think either of them is GPU dependent for rendering, although in Modo there is a really nice interactive preview render that would benefit from a higher end video card.

    I really don't do much rendering though and when I do it's pretty simple. My work is about 90% character animation so I'm more concerned overall with in-app performance and that sort of thing.

    I realize that the mobile card in the MBP isn't going to be ideal, but I'm more curious about what the boost will be like compared to the onboard graphics I'm currently utilizing in the my Mini.

    Thanks for the feedback guys.
     
  8. kelon111 macrumors 6502

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    Mar 16, 2013
    #8
    Well , the benchmarks I found show a huge GPU dependence...

    I'll upload one.

    In this Maya benchmark a K2000m beats a GTX 680m
     

    Attached Files:

  9. fig thread starter macrumors 6502a

    fig

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    #9
    I don't know that that's for rendering though, I think that test is for viewport performance (navigating around a scene in realtime).

    http://www.spec.org/gwpg/gpc.static/maya04.html
     
  10. leman macrumors 604

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    #10
    Please correct me if I am mistaken, but SPECViewPerf is an OpenGL-only benchmark, not a DirectX one. Also, it does not cover rendering, only modelling tasks. Not to mention that your benchmark was done in Windows, so its not representative for Mac performance. Here is a benchmark using DirectX:

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/specviewperf-12-workstation-graphics-benchmark,3778-9.html

    You can see here that its the actually speed of the card that matters, not whether its a professional one or not. The explanation is simple: with the DirectX backend, Maya is using modern techniques to display its data. The OpenGL renderer in CAD software are usually very old and often are still relying on API patterns from the 90ties. Hardware vendors have learned to exploit this by artificially slowing these things down in 'consumer' drivers. A good example: http://doc-ok.org/?p=304
     
  11. kelon111 macrumors 6502

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    #11

    I thought Mac OS X couldn't use DirectX since DirectX is part of Windows.
    Wouldn't the OpenGL benchmarks be more relevant than? I know for sure Mac OS X supports OpenGL.
     
  12. leman macrumors 604

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    #12
    Windows OpenGL benchmarks are not really relevant because you can't get a K1100M on a MacBook Pro. In the end, you would be comparing apples and oranges.

    I think the message would be: if you want to get max possible performance working with complex CAD (or other 3D authoring tools), you should get a windows gaming laptop with a fast GPU. Does not have to be a Quadro. If you, like OP, just want to do some light modelling and rendering, that it does not really matter what you get. A quad-core 15" will be over twice as fast compared to Mac Mini OP is currently using, so I think its a reasonable replacement.
     
  13. Zeov macrumors 6502a

    Zeov

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    #13
    i've been running Maya with the 2.6ghz with 16mb RAM and the GT650M for about a year now and i must say it is great, but the 1GB video ram could be more.. i made an exam project (where i build the interior of a house) with a lot of textures materials which made it lagg, but it was a pretty big project !


    i'd say i'm pretty happy about it, though i had at least 20 hours of rendering ahead of me (and sadly no renderfarm, so had to use the mac)..so i put a batch render on and went clubbing but sadly it ended up crashing after about 13 hours on 100% load, which is no surprise, i was actually impressed it lasted that long during a summer !

    TLDR; Maya works great on the MBPr, i even saw a guy from Autodesk use it not so long ago when talking about the new features of 2015 version !
     
  14. fig thread starter macrumors 6502a

    fig

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    #14
    Well, Maya crashing isn't exactly a shock :)

    Great feedback, thanks, this is exactly what I was looking for. Sounds like it's definitely capable enough to run things pretty well, sounds like what you're going is far more complex than what I'll be attempting most of the time.

    Are you using it with an external display or just with the 15" screen?
     
  15. Zeov macrumors 6502a

    Zeov

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    #15
    no problem!

    i have a video showing my setup: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syGHLeJaa6M

    having two or more displays really make things a lot easier when working in 3D :)

    i made this on the Retina a while back : http://12amike.dim.sde.dk/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/site_32.jpg worked great!
     
  16. fig thread starter macrumors 6502a

    fig

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    #16
    Nice setup, looks like fun. I've been running dual displays in Maya for quite a while now, for doing animation with a main window, camera view, and graph editor it's tough to work any other way.

    Render is looking good, now get some reflections in that floor :)
     
  17. librarian macrumors regular

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    Sep 24, 2011
    #17
    if you're going retina, get 2 external displays and work only on those, with the laptop in clamshell mode, or your performances will be crippled enough because of retina crap.
    I'm talking about at least 10 fps difference, wich in animation is a lot for interactive real time playback.
    The 750m and the 650m are good enough if you use Viewport 2.0 (with the retina display disabled), but sadly not on par with Windows performance wich is at least doubled in dx11 mode on the same machine.
    More importantly if you're dependant on older version of Maya (2014 and older, remember that save files are not backward compatible) you must get a mac that can run Mountain lion, because Mac os Mavericks does not support older versions properly, unless you're OK with risking the entire project pipeline :)
     
  18. fig thread starter macrumors 6502a

    fig

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    #18
    Thanks, I'll be running primarily to dual displays so that shouldn't be a major issue. Currently on 2014 but it's a student version so I can upgrade as needed.

    Also not working in a pipeline so that's not especially critical :) Thanks for the info!
     

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