iMAC for maya work?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by demarcopbl, Apr 28, 2009.

  1. demarcopbl macrumors member

    Apr 28, 2009
    Hi all. Im in the process of buying a somewhat 'dedicated' 3D machine for maya. I want to play around with some animation, and learn some new skills. I have learned the basics of the program using my Macbook Pro 2.4GHZ intel / 4 GB DDR2 RAM and so far, so good. However, im a designer/web designer by trade and would rather keep the resources available on my laptop for that. I talked to someone at apple and they felt that the imac 2.93GHZ 4 gig DDR3 RAM (citing that its twice as fast as DDR2, so would be like having 8 gigs of my current RAM) and 256 NVIDIA gforce card would be sufficient. Now, I have used one of the older iMacs, circa 2005/6 when I was in college. I remember doing some 2D motion work on it (in After Effects - forget which version). It was PAINFULLY slow and crashed on me if I got too click happy. Naturally this make wary of using one for 3D apps. Like I said, I have just learnt the basics, and havent actually done any rigging, skinning or lighting yet, so im concerned it'll be the same thing all over again when i get into the 'meat' of the program. On the other hand, it seems far more convenient (in terms of space, weight etc) than the Mac Pro. I take what sales reps tell me with a pinch of salt, so I thought id put it out there for the Mac community and see if anyone has any experience and/or recommendations for this? thanks in advance. Mike
  2. !GIR! macrumors newbie

    Apr 28, 2009
    Hello! I have an iMac from fall 2007. It is a 2.4GHz Merom with 4 GB of RAM and a Radeon 2600 HD Pro. I have used the latest version of Maya on it and it seems to handle things quite well. I cannot speak to your issues with After Effects as I have zero experience with that application. For medium duty graphics needs the iMac's seem to be great machines. The new machines with the heftier 512MB NVidia cards are no doubt even better. I would say a Mac Pro is probably a bit much for what you are doing, IMO.
  3. mgridgaway macrumors 6502


    Feb 25, 2006
    iMacs have come a long way since 2005. Still, I would hesitate to use an iMac as a professional machine. While I'm sure it could handle it at least decently well, the Mac Pro is specifically built with work station parts that handle the job more efficiently. Aside from that, the iMac is extremely limited in terms of expandability. You'd have to go external if you wanted more space, and forget about upgrading the video card to postpone the inevitable obsolescence.

    However, if it's not your main machine, or you don't think you'll be taking your work to a pro level, it'd probably do fine. You're right to not listen to the Apple employees, though; most are just taking stabs at the dark.
  4. redsteven macrumors 6502a


    Aug 22, 2006
    um....... no

    Someone more familiar with the issues can give you more details on this, but i believe in CERTAIN circumstances the DDR3 can actually be a little bit slower (something to do with latency or something like that).

    I'm sure that the DDR3 is better overall, but I wouldn't compare it to having twice as much DDR2.

    Besides, unless you KNOW that you're maxing out all your available RAM, then ur probably not gonna see a huge difference when adding more RAM.
  5. Blue Fox macrumors 6502a

    Blue Fox

    Apr 13, 2009
    Maya would run fine on an iMac. All Mac's (other than the MacPro) will run Maya and render about the same. If you are going to "really" get into Maya and rendering entire movie scenes and start the very advanced stuff, maybe a MacPro would be a possibility to look into.......but if your just learning the basics to advanced'll be fine on the iMac.

    Maya only gets really hairy when you get into extremely detailed, texture loaded scences with a lot of lighting effects, then the MacPro will really show it's stuff........but it'll still be doable on the iMac.
  6. velocityg4 macrumors 601


    Dec 19, 2004
    Whomever you spoke with needs to take some more computer courses. If you need more than 4GB of RAM you will start to page file no matter what type of RAM it is. More RAM does not mean more speed as the person you spoke with seems to think. More RAM simply means reducing the need to page file thus reducing the major bottleneck the hard drive creates.

    However, DDR3 does have benefits. Since RAM is also slower than the CPU the faster DDR3 does reduce the slow down of DDR2 memory. Though as stated above, the greater case latencies (waiting time between commands) reduces a lot of the advantage.

    The Nehelem architecture of the Mac Pro's CPU no longer uses the northbridge for a memory controller instead it resides on the processor. Since the CPU on the Mac Pro's can talk directly to the DDR3 memory the higher case latency is no longer an issue as there is no latencies by having to go through the Northbridge. So the Mac Pro's get a significant performance advantge by using DDR3 memory.

    As for how well the iMac will meet your needs I would not know. However people were doing 3D rendering with Mac II's and Quadra's. So technically it will be able to do the job. But how quickly is another matter.:rolleyes:

    If this is just going to be a hobby get the iMac. If you are learning the modeling to start doing it professionally then get the Mac Pro. As it can be expanded greatly. With significant performance boosts by adding RAID arrays, professional GPU and lots of RAM as your needs grow.
  7. demarcopbl thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 28, 2009
    Thanks all for the swift replies. Given me alot to think about. Right now I have a solid understanding of model making, and am keen to get into some texturing and motion. I would eventually like to do some professional work, but im not there yet, and probably wont be for a couple of years. I guess I want a machine that will allow me to progress seamlessly into texturing rigging and lighting without having to worry about my machine not keeping up with the extra weight. From what im reading, it feels like the iMac will be sufficient for me to progress, and the Mac Pro would be underused due to my skill level. With that said, anyone have any suggestions as to which one I should go for? Since I cant upgrade the graphics card in the 2.93GHz, do you guys think I should just get the 3.06GHz and take advantage of the bigger hard drive and faster processor? or is that a waste of $400? thanks, Mike

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