Best Mac Hardward Setup?

DekeDeke Posts: 1,336
edited December 1969 in New Users

I'd like to ramp up my use of Daz. I'm thinking of making an animated film with it. That could mean getting a new Mac. Mostly this is to improve render times. Currently a few second shot can take hours to render.

What sort of Mac should I be shopping for? Is the graphics card more important than the Mac? I don't think I can install a graphics car into my current Imac. Maybe a used Mac Pro would do?

I welcome any input.

Comments

  • That Other PersonaThat Other Persona Posts: 381
    edited December 2013

    The graphics card is not used for rendering.

    The number of cores is what helps.

    Current iMacs have 4 cores (quad) and the OS lets the machine split each core giving you eight threads.

    What iMac are you using now?

    Would a Mac Pro with 6 or 8 cores be in your budget? [Wait before jumping this way, though. I have been cautioned to check to see if the rendering speed is actually worth the cost]. The Mac Pro goes on sale tomorrow.

    Post edited by That Other Persona on
  • TotteTotte Posts: 10,901
    edited December 2013

    I don't have an iMac, but i have a MacBookPro 17" from 2010, and can compare with a MacPro from 2009, and the MacPro is 15-16
    times faster in rendering just because it uses Xeon processors, not Core i7. The Xeon is built to sustain full speed on all virtual threads for a long period of time, the Core i5/i7 will slow down half of the vitual cores after a short period of time to avoid burning.

    I know, the New MacPro is expensive but if you plan on using LuxRender , twin FirePro D500 or D700 will do you good, but I recommend finding a 2012 MacPro if you're on a tight budget.

    Post edited by Totte on
  • That Other PersonaThat Other Persona Posts: 381
    edited December 1969

    I'm on current iMac but would certainly consider a MacPro, which just went on sale minutes ago.

    I don't work with super complex scenes, but rather long animations which take a long time to render.

    If I go with the MacPro, what would you recommend?

    My current iMac
    quad-core i7
    16GB RAM
    3TB Fusion


    MacPro
    6 core is within my price range, 8 would be a stretch

    Or go for 8 and add RAM later if needed?

    I will go for a 1TB SSD which is a pretty penny.

  • TotteTotte Posts: 10,901
    edited December 1969

    The Xeon in the MacPro is made for rendering, the i7 is made more for gaming and other tasks where the CPU load is more irregular.
    I would not put Content on the built in Drive anyway but have an external Thunderbolt driver for that.

  • DekeDeke Posts: 1,336
    edited December 1969

    I'm on a iMac from 2010. 3.06 Ghz Intel Core i3. So I'm not even sure this has cores. I'm eyeing that new Mac Pro, but might look for a used one. Is LuxRender the background rendering engine? If I'm going to gear up and really make a short film with Daz, rendering is the key, both spot-rendering to check a composition and lighting, and then the rendering of high-def shots. Currently this takes hours and there's no way to for a cue to render several shots overnight.

  • TotteTotte Posts: 10,901
    edited December 1969

    dkutzera said:
    I'm on a iMac from 2010. 3.06 Ghz Intel Core i3. So I'm not even sure this has cores. I'm eyeing that new Mac Pro, but might look for a used one. Is LuxRender the background rendering engine? If I'm going to gear up and really make a short film with Daz, rendering is the key, both spot-rendering to check a composition and lighting, and then the rendering of high-def shots. Currently this takes hours and there's no way to for a cue to render several shots overnight.

    LuxRender, ran via Luxus or Reality use the OpenCL in the Graphics cards to render, and can be used as a background render engine. Remember that you will have to tweak materials and Spot rendering is a much more time consuming process using LuxRender compared to 3Delight, but the results from LuxRender can be really really faboulous once everything is set up.

    The MacPro with dual D500 firepro will work, but looking at the price of that I think Apple should have kept the old "huge iron" as those are really really good for rendering and you can put internal drives in them as well. The new can have external drives on Thunderbolt 2, but it adds up. I will get one though, but I need it for development, would be hard to justify for just a hobby ;-)

  • That Other PersonaThat Other Persona Posts: 381
    edited December 1969

    I'm not after a great look; most of my work up till now has been hand drawn (think stick figures plus) 2D animation, and thus I am not after Lux Render. I also don't want to have to fiddle with stuff.

    So I guess I'm looking at core count. The cost difference is big, but I expect the difference in render times would be, too. I just have to decide my balance point.

  • DekeDeke Posts: 1,336
    edited December 1969

    So Cores are the main thing to look for? A 2.4 Ghz 6-core is better than a 2.8 Ghz 4-Core? I'm looking at Mac Pros on Craigslist and haven't bought a new Mac in a few years. If I'm to advance in my Daz work, then I need to work out a better rendering system: a faster computer and background rendering so I can keep working, or a rendering cue to line up shots to render overnight.

  • TotteTotte Posts: 10,901
    edited December 2013

    dkutzera said:
    So Cores are the main thing to look for? A 2.4 Ghz 6-core is better than a 2.8 Ghz 4-Core? I'm looking at Mac Pros on Craigslist and haven't bought a new Mac in a few years. If I'm to advance in my Daz work, then I need to work out a better rendering system: a faster computer and background rendering so I can keep working, or a rendering cue to line up shots to render overnight.

    Depends really. Processor type is equally important, specially as you have two "virtual cores" in each physical core (Hyperthreads), and that second "virtual core" will not work at full speed for longer periods of time on the i3/i5/i7 series, only on the Xeon.

    So a Quad core i7 will perform just 20%-30% better in rendering as a dual Core Xeon. Background rendering (via Luxrender) is not really actual background rendering, you can tell Luxrender how many threads to use, and here the i7 vs Xeon is even more important, and when you background render on 50% of your "virtual cores" on an i7, the remaining ones will crawl at 15% of the speed as the i7 will burn otherwise.

    Post edited by Totte on
  • DekeDeke Posts: 1,336
    edited December 1969

    Thanks for the help. I'll look for a Xeon with as many cores as I can afford.

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