Mac: Serious 3D machine or not?

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by JesseJames, Dec 6, 2003.

  1. JesseJames macrumors 6502a

    Mar 28, 2003
    How'd I get here? How can I leave?
    I was wondering if any 3D artists out there has tried running Maya 5 on the new G5's. If so, how is it?
    Apple has Maya Complete but no Maya Unlimited. WTF?
    I've been contemplating about getting a really serious 3D machine and as far as I see Apple is just not wooing the software makers to come over. They don't even offer the serious workstation graphics cards for the G5's. Apple still doesn't make top-level, fire-breathing machines like they should for the hardcore users out there.
    I may jump ship to get a serious workstation PC for 3D graphics animation.
    Wuddya think?
  2. i_wolf macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2002
    traditionally older versions of maya havn't faired too good on the mac. However this could be put down to two things. Hardware (G4, G3) not as fast as top o range pentiums so seam very disappointing when running maya and doing raw performance comparisons. Second problem is that from what i gather, there was little good optimization in Maya 4 for the G4 even when in SMP. Not sure what the story is not with Maya 5 however.
    But if you were considering , then definately give a G5 a look. Because even if they don't optimize it well for the G5 to run at full potential, it should run just as fast if faster than x86 version because of raw grunt horse power in G5.
    Also an important thing to note is that Maya on a Unix platform would be much more reliable and stable than maya on win platform so that is another thing to consider as well.
    You could always go to the apple store, bring along a demo of maya 5 for mac and ask them if you can play around with it. might be the best thing to do.
    With regard to the "not having high end graphics hardware " , i would argue differently. you can now configure a G5 with a 9800 pro. This is the same card as the Fire GL and radeon 9800 pro that we know and love on pc. Its well know that pretty much the only difference between the FireGL and 9800 pro are the drivers which are optimized for 3d apps on the wintel side for the firegl and drivers that are optimized for games with 9800 pro on wintel side.
    Thing is , Apple are calling their card the 9800 pro but in all essence it potentially has the same performance as a fire GL if the drivers are used. ( i don't know whether they are or not but i would imagine that they are.) Also apple aren't building in direct x for obvious reasons so drivers are focused heavily on Open GL which would lead me to believe that the 9800 pro in G5 would be an incredible 3d card to have in a machine.
  3. arogge macrumors 65816


    Feb 15, 2002
  4. i_wolf macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2002
    fair enough those wildcat cards are great.
    However ATI and nVidia have really come a long long way over the past few years in the graphics workstation card area.

    ok.... the card in the G5 is 128 megs... but essentially minus the 128 megs of ram, this is an identical card (obviously apple's use ADC connector). ATI's workstation class cards which are uber expensive in comparison to the gaming cards are identical in terms of hardware technology. It is only the graphics drivers and certification for performance under certain apps that distinguish the two types.
    In terms of raw horse power i would think that having an ATI card in your machine would be better than having a wildcat (money you would save), performance i would imagine is similar if not better on ATI (Anyone with firegl care to comment?? not sure myself..)
    Also doesn't the 9800 have Open GL 2.0 certification , does the wildcat currently have same??? Since apple aren't uring direct x and since the powermac particularly caters to power hungy creative professionals i would imagine that apple have good drivers of near FireGL quality to cater for the apps these people need.
    These days there is little to differentiate a consumer pro gamer card 9800 and a pro workstation graphics card bar the drivers. I would imagine that apple have struck a fine balance with their drivers for their use of the 9800.
    Also of interest is that Apple are due to release a dot update soon 10.3.2 with new core drivers for ati cards. I was talking to a beta tester in the ADC select a minute after seeing your thread... very interesting and good questions. The beta tester assured me that performance is better in 3d apps with the new update.
  5. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    I doubt ATi would let anyone write drivers that would "unlock" their consumer cards so they would perform just like their pro cards. ATi gives the cards different drivers for a reason.

  6. legion macrumors 6502a

    Jul 31, 2003
    Re: Mac: Serious 3D machine or not?

    3 Words for you if you're looking to do serious 3D animation:

    IBM Intellistation Z

    ... you'll be happy.
  7. JesseJames thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 28, 2003
    How'd I get here? How can I leave?
    Ah yes. That Intellistation Z looks most appealing. And it's IBM.:) :D
  8. etoiles macrumors 6502a


    Jun 12, 2002
    Where the air is crisp
    I think the main question is how badly you need to 'integrate' with the windows world. Do you work on projects with people using the PC version of Maya ? If you do, then it is probably safer to stick to PC, just because there is quite a lot of third party software/plugins (and Unlimited, but that should change at some point) that is not available on OSX yet. It would be painful to receive a file you can't work on just because of that...

    I bought a Boxx workstation earlier this year, works great. I don't have any issues with it, other than having to use windows. I am pretty sure I would get a G5 if I had to do it again, though, but they hadn't even been announced at the time.

    Speed performance is a minor issue IMHO, all those machines are more than powerful enough to handle complex models, get cheap render slaves if you are on a tight deadline.

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