Best Mac for 3d Rendering

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by maclook, Mar 12, 2010.

  1. maclook macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2008
    #1
    I am debating whether to get:
    27 inch i7 iMac
    Upcoming 15" or 17" Macbook Pro revisions
    Upcoming Mac Pro revision

    Use: SketchUp (with Plugins Vray & Podium), Modo (learning), Adobe CS4, Autocad & 3D Max (PC)
    I hate Boot Camp because I need to have access to OSX so I use VMware Fusion. I would prefer, if possible, to have a computer that could render quickly in a virtual machine (3d max). I am a student, so I am not immediately going to max out the power of the machine, but I am quickly learning how to use all of the above programs and want them to run perfect.

    I'm looking for value over a long term. The 27" i7 seems like the best choice at this very moment, but a Macbook Pro with quad core capabilities sounds even better. A Mac Pro sounds good over the long term since I can upgrade myself. Thanks for any advice!
     
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #2
    Any of the Macs you listed would handle 3D rendering with no problem. The more RAM you have, the better.
     
  3. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #3
    What is your budget? Do you need portability? What apps do you use and how many cores do they support? Is it just a hobby or profession? Do you already have monitor(s)?

    Answer those first, so it's easier for us to help you
     
  4. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    Nov 30, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #4
    If you're searching for the, as you said 'best' Mac for rendering, the decision can't be any easier.

    Mac Pro. Period.
     
  5. maclook thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2008
    #5
    Updated the OP with some more info. I have a 21" monitor now, but it is not widescreen (or Apple ha) so I will probably want to upgrade that. I need help with the portability issue. It is more about the pros/cons of the iMac vs Macbook Pro. [Big and cheap] vs [portable and expensive]
     
  6. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #6
    It just depends how often you need the portability, and what that's worth to you. Only you can decide such things, since only you know how and where you plan to use your Mac.
     
  7. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

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    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #7
    I agree with GGJstudios. If you need the best performance per $, get iMac or Mac Pro when they are out but if portability is important, then MBP is your only choice. If you decide to get a desktop, wait till Mac Pro update because it'll be worth it
     
  8. pukifloyd macrumors 6502a

    pukifloyd

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2008
    Location:
    Scottsdale
    #8
    +1
    mac pro will give you the choice of upgrading RAM or HDD or video card etc. whenever you want(its very easy) and also you can use any display with it.
     
  9. maclook thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2008
    #9
    The Mac Pro seems too expensive for me as a student. It sounds like a dream machine though.

    The perfect config for me would be a quad core in the 21.5" iMac form factor. Any idea when that might happen? If not, is the 3.33ghz good enough for high quality rendering? I'm a little nervous about buying anything that isn't quad core since this is a long term investment
     
  10. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

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    Dec 10, 2008
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    Finland
    #10
    Maybe late 2010 depending on Intel if they come up with new cooler quads
     
  11. jmazzamj macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    #11
    The MacBook Pro is out of the question, then. The Arrandale processors are dual cores. They support Hyper-Threading and offer 4 logical cores, but they only have two physical ones.
     
  12. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2006
    Location:
    England
    #12
    Your needs dictate the requirement of hardware that you can only get from Apple in the form of a Mac Pro. Which means expensive. You can go for a refurbished system, 2.66GHz 2009 quad is $2,149 and the 2008 8 core is $2,399. You'll want a powerful graphics card and if you look in the Mac Pro sub forum you can find a way to get them cheaper by flashing your own PC version. Rendering and working with 3D modelling software through a virtual machine just sounds like one big headache on a dual core system.

    If you decide on a refurbished Mac Pro then you will need to then decide if you want to get one now while they are in stock or wait until Apple update in the next couple of months (some say Tuesday, but there is no real evidence) and see how the new systems are. Usually when Apple update the refurb section is full for a while, and there will likely be 2009 2.66GHz systems on their for a while. Your other option is a used system, the prices on these should come down another notch when the 2010 systems are announced. I wouldn't go for anything older than a 2008 system.
     
  13. ktlx macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2002
    #13
    In my opinion, before someone can provide useful advice, you'll need to share how many polygons are in your models and roughly how your time breaks down between modeling and final rendering. Another question is how much animation you expect to be doing, compared to still renders? I don't have experience with 3ds Max, but I do with the others.

    Of the apps you've listed (other than 3ds Max), Modo is going to tax your hardware the most, all else equal. I would suggest cruising the Luxology forums and reviewing some of the models and renders people are posting. Often they list the gear they're using. I was surprised what people could accomplish with MacBook Pros and Core 2 Duo iMacs. You most definitely do not need a Mac Pro to learn and do complex models in Modo, as long as you reduce the amount of time performing final renders and animation.

    That said, if you can afford a Mac Pro and live without portability, then by all means shoot for it. A refurbished Mac Pro is going to get you the most horsepower for the money.
     

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