Hardware Delema Mac or PC?

ezra

Super Organism
OK guys, I have a serious decision to make, and I'm finding it difficut to make. Every three years I udate my machines with new hardware, or buy new machiens. With all the great things going on at Apple these days, I'm still finding myself looking more at the PC for my workstations. I would like to stick with Apple, but for under $1000.00 I can get a monster dual 1.4 Ghz PC machine. I would probably be happy with a dual 733 setup, even though it would probably be twice as slow at 3D rendering, which is what I do mainly. If anyone knows some good affordable options out their I would appreaciate any information you could give me, so I can make this decision sway more towards a Apple solution instead. I hate working on my PC's, but the speed is always tempting, and the cost is just so much less.

Also I've already benchmarked the rendering speed in MHz, and PC's are dead on with their MHz in our benchmarks for the specific software we use. A 800MHz Apple system had the same rendering time as a 800M Hz Athlon PC system, give or take a few seconds. I don't wish to argue over this, this is just one test for the software we use, it may not be the case across the board, but of course this is all that matters to us right now. It's impossible to reach the 2.8 GHz level with the Mac, but I would be willing to settle for less speed as long as I can keep my better work environment in OS X, and OS 9.X. So what's the best upgrade option for $1000.00 in Apple's corner?

All my machines are G3/333 MT with 768MB of RAM.
 

kilowatt

mach-o mach-o man
What software are you using for your rendering?

There is alot of open source software avaliable that runs well under Yellow dog Linux.

Perhaps a trip over to ebay.com will yeild a cheap G4, and you can put YDL on it. Maybe use it solely as a render computer?

Just a small brain fart ;-)


Oh, and if I was in your place, aside from the linux idea, I'd go with the Mac.

Not because of price/performance necessarly, but because of some of the bad things I've had happen to me under windows.

The Mac has allways been easier to use and maintain, IMHO, and it looks better... Plus, Mac OS X has got to be more stable than most windows stuff.

Just think of what you want to sit in frount of for the next few years. Windows on a PC, or Mac OS on a Macintosh.

Either way, with either processor and OS, you will get your work done. Right? So think of what you would rather use.
 

ezra

Super Organism
Originally posted by kilowatt
What software are you using for your rendering?

There is alot of open source software avaliable that runs well under Yellow dog Linux.

Perhaps a trip over to ebay.com will yeild a cheap G4, and you can put YDL on it. Maybe use it solely as a render computer?

Just a small brain fart ;-)


I use most avaialable on the Mac. Maya, Lightwave, and CInema. Linux in not a good platform for 3D, most developers won't go near it until there is a standard. There's no way the could make sure there software would be compatible with most systems. I think theres only a few that support it, Houdini comes to mind. With this kiind of work established platforms are the only way to go. You have to make sure everything is already available that you need.



Oh, and if I was in your place, aside from the linux idea, I'd go with the Mac.

Not because of price/performance necessarly, but because of some of the bad things I've had happen to me under windows.

The Mac has allways been easier to use and maintain, IMHO, and it looks better... Plus, Mac OS X has got to be more stable than most windows stuff.

Just think of what you want to sit in frount of for the next few years. Windows on a PC, or Mac OS on a Macintosh.


It's not that easy when your making a business decision, Cost and performace are key. We currently use both Macs, and PC's, ans they are both very easy to use and maintain, and none is more stable than the other in our experience. The programs run exactly the same on either platform, so it makes no difference for the end users that will be using them. I'm just looking for a reason to stick with Apple, and hoping that I over looked something that can change my mind. It's been pretty obvious that the PC is the smarter route in the past, but maybe sombody knows more than I do about Apple hardware pricing. Also can't go with used equipment for a business, you got to have a warranty.


Either way, with either processor and OS, you will get your work done. Right? So think of what you would rather use.
Sure, but I would rather fly than walk across the country, and time is money. So, I think were going to have to do a little better than that to sway the decision. Thanks for your input though.
 

RacerX

Old Rhapsody User
I'll give you the same advice I would give any of my clients: pick the system that gives you the most actual work performance for your dollar. Mind you, that dollar is for both hardware and software (hardware is nothing without something to run on it).

If you have NO software for a PC, and you are thinking of getting one, throw in the software cost into the final total. What do you need, what do you need replaced (if you have only the Mac version), what might come in handy (antivirus software, system tools, etc.). I say the same thing to PC users thinking of switching (many people see what I can do with a Mac and think it must be the Mac even though I could do much of the same work on most types of computers). One thing to look at is the time it takes YOU to run a set of given tasks on a given systems. Put together a set of things you do regularly and time yourself (I'm thinking of a large number of small things that take no time for any type of system to do, we are looking at user speed) to see which one YOU are most effient on.

The only app I use that requires any amount of computing muscle is Photoshop (and I haven't been working with anything that large lately, so not even that). Other wise everything is based on my productivity and software cost. If you are more productive on a PC and you have all the apps you need already, then by all means get the PC.

For me, Windows is a waste of hardware. If I was going to get a PC I would most likely set it up to dual-boot to Solaris 8 and OPENSTEP 4.2 because I have a need for those and a ton of apps for both. Anything I need Windows for I can do in VirtualPC (and I can have 3.1, 98, NT 4 sp6, and 2000 Pro all on the same system without wasting hardware). What apps would I run? Office 97 or 2000, I have been playing with Yellow Box, but nothing that needs a "real computer". My only two working PCs are both running Rhapsody DR2, and I don't see any reason to change that anytime in the future.

In the end, you need to choose for yourself because only you know what would let you be most productive. If I were doing 3D stuff I would look into an SGI Indigo 2 with a R10000 or an O2 with maybe an RM5200 (I only need to have a working knowledge of SGI systems, so my Indy with a R4600SC is more than I need). But most of the best 3D is done on SGIs (and in some cases the final rendering is finish up on Suns). If you were going to look for work in that area, I can tell you that you would have a better chance at a job at ILM with a Mac and SGI background with 3D apps than you would with PCs. The power and the promise of Mac OS X is that people at places like ILM would like to have just one system on their desk, not two, but most have a G4 sitting next to an O2 because there isn't a Mac version of Maya yet. You should note that there has been a version of Maya for NT 4 for quite some time, and they still use SGIs and Macs instead of PCs. Maybe they have a good reason, I don't know.;)
 

ezra

Super Organism
Maybe I should have been clearer in my inital post, I'm looking for a good upgrade route for the machines in our render farm, which are beige G3/333 We have other workstations that are much more powerful, but we need to upgrade our render farm machines. We can get dual 1.4 PC machines for around $1000, but we would like to stick with Mac and support Apple. We need your advice on Mac upgrade hardware available for these machines in that price range. If I can't come close, then we have no choice then to go with PC hardware, it's not the end of the workd, we still have our Mac workstations.

Trust me when I say we don't need any advice on the 3D industry, we've been working in it for 15 years. You might want to get your information up to date, most of your comments were either so out dated that they are basicly untrue at this point, or you were given misinformation. Maya is alive and well on the Mac BTW, we use it every day.
 

jiblet

Registered
Whew, as much as I hate to say it, I don't think you're going to be able to go with the Mac upgrades. I don't recommend the processor upgrades on Macs, because Apple's software is so tuned to work with stock boxes. When you say that you run software on Macs & PCs, and need nothing platform specific, the PC side wins every time.

The places where Apple is going to give you great cost effectiveness are fairly limited. Anything where you need unix (lots of text manip, regexps, networking, servers, etc.) is where you stand to get better value with Apple. The other factor is how much Mac software you have.

Sadly if you are using apps that are available for PCs and Macs, and don't need the unix capabilities, I can't think of any financial reasons to go with Apple.

What you are paying extra for with Apple is quality. The problem is that any given Mac or PC could be unstable and buggy, but overall you will save money on support with Macs, if for no other reason than that any problem you experience is likely to be documented somewhere since there are so few hardware configurations.
 

MacSub

Saiyan Member
According to some of the mac sites (and pc sites) there's a rumor flying around that come this january we are going to see new chips.
I hope this is true; Motorola is going to announce new G5 chips that reach 1.6Ghz! Good news if true, but don't blame Apple if its not (or Motorola/IBM).
 

knighthawk

Registered
There is a good website for upgrading macs at http://www.xlr8yourmac.com/ which as far as I can tell is not related to any one company. They have a large database of options available. They have a section dedicated to the pro G3 models called G3-Zone (http://www.xlr8yourmac.com/G3-ZONE/). Which should give you the answers that you are looking for.

It does not seem that any of the 3rd Party upgrade makers have anything over the 500mhz... basically nothing new. XLR8 has a dual processor solution (500) that is a good boost in performance, but at it is about $1000. Sonnet has one, but is only able to work with the G4 AGP, and that one is still $800. Sonnets G4-400 is only $300 which is not bad, but considering that you are coming from a 333mhz G3, I don't know how much more performance you will get from the Altivec and if it is worth the cost.

Upgrading Macs is not nearly as easy as upgrading PC, which is frustrating at times... my philosophy at work (when we are ready to buy) is to get the least expensive current pro model Apple has. I just do not feel the cost justifies buying the most expensive mac available. Just over a month ago, people purchased the 733 (not Quicksilver) for $1400 more than it is worth now. Sure you get the DVD-RAM drive with it, but at our business, that would be useless as CDs are still perfectly fine for our backups. Sure, there is always going to be something faster and cheaper the week after you buy your computer, but that is the way it works.

Reading about the G5 that are coming out, that makes me excited... even if only half of the rumors are true. I cannot wait for Macs to be equipped with DDR-SDRAM (or equivalent) and the idea that AMDs HyperTransport might be used in the G5 towers is really cool too.
 

Abakadoosh

Smiling 'till death
A question for ezra.... im 17 and very interested in comptuer graphics (always have been), and im looking to do it for a future career. Since im new to the 3D world, what can i expect in terms of enjoyment and is it very rewarding/satisfying? i hope to one day have a job at ILM :D :D , but will obviously take a lot of time. What kind of software am i looking at? Miya? Bryce? Infini-D? Cinema 3D? Am i looking at a lot of hardware to render everything? And if so, how, computers or computer parts? And which is the best way to go abouts all this? Class's or just learning on my own? (btw, im signed up for a computer graphics course at a nearby college, i hope it teaches me a lot) Any feedback would be great, thanks! :)

And a question about the G5, i was wondering, where are you guys reading about this? Would be interesting to look into. Cause if Apple doesnt step up the mghz or use Altivec then they really need to give the CPU's an overhaul (say about, oh, twice as much), because thats what a lot of entry level computer buyers look at, numbers. Anyway, sorry to not be able to help you ezra and take up space on your forum, but xlr8yourmac (as someone else said) is the only thing i can think of.
 

ezra

Super Organism
Originally posted by jiblet
Whew, as much as I hate to say it, I don't think you're going to be able to go with the Mac upgrades. I don't recommend the processor upgrades on Macs, because Apple's software is so tuned to work with stock boxes. When you say that you run software on Macs & PCs, and need nothing platform specific, the PC side wins every time.


Yeah, it's sad really, people want to use Mac's for cool things, but Apple just doesn't make it affordable for them. One would hope with Steve being the CEO of Pixar still, he will be thinking of a better affordable solution for render farms, and workstations.
 

ezra

Super Organism
Originally posted by MacSub
According to some of the mac sites (and pc sites) there's a rumor flying around that come this january we are going to see new chips.
I hope this is true; Motorola is going to announce new G5 chips that reach 1.6Ghz! Good news if true, but don't blame Apple if its not (or Motorola/IBM).
It nice to know some information about the G5 is coming out finally, but I usually don't even pay attention until it hits the street, or else you just end up feeling like you waited for ever. I don't think I buy another Mac until they catch up to PC speed wise. I want to, but I can't justify it. 1.6 is good, is much better, but AMD will be far past that by that time. It makes you wish you could run OSX on a PC.
 

ezra

Super Organism
I check there pretty often but they seem to be a liitle behind lately, and there information is a bit scattered, so it not my favorite site. I was looking into one of the cards that allowed you to run two dofferent speed processors, and one at a time if you wanted to buy one now, and one later. I forget which card it was, but it had the most options, and felexability of the bunch. I was going to get 500 G4, and then a 733 later for a a couple of the older workstations. I still might., who knows. The new stuff is looking really cool as well, and it kills me because I know what I have to do. Not that I'm not excited aobut the dual chip PC's, the systems are about as good as they get. What I feat is that I'm going to want to use the PC's because redraws will be significantly better than the Macs. Were considering setting up the old macs a Linux Cluster via Black Lab Linux. We could then port our net rendering engine to Linux, and see what happens. G3 333 X 30=9990MHz. Unfortunately I don't think it adds up quite that well, but it will still be interesting to see what it will do. Nasa is doing this with G4's. I'm not sure how well G3 will work, but I remember some college doing ot with G3 iMacs, and it worked really well for them. Any ways thanks for the input, this wasmore of what I was looking for.

Originally posted by knighthawk
There is a good website for upgrading macs at http://www.xlr8yourmac.com/ which as far as I can tell is not related to any one company. They have a large database of options available. They have a section dedicated to the pro G3 models called G3-Zone (http://www.xlr8yourmac.com/G3-ZONE/). Which should give you the answers that you are looking for.

It does not seem that any of the 3rd Party upgrade makers have anything over the 500mhz... basically nothing new. XLR8 has a dual processor solution (500) that is a good boost in performance, but at it is about $1000. Sonnet has one, but is only able to work with the G4 AGP, and that one is still $800. Sonnets G4-400 is only $300 which is not bad, but considering that you are coming from a 333mhz G3, I don't know how much more performance you will get from the Altivec and if it is worth the cost.

Upgrading Macs is not nearly as easy as upgrading PC, which is frustrating at times... my philosophy at work (when we are ready to buy) is to get the least expensive current pro model Apple has. I just do not feel the cost justifies buying the most expensive mac available. Just over a month ago, people purchased the 733 (not Quicksilver) for $1400 more than it is worth now. Sure you get the DVD-RAM drive with it, but at our business, that would be useless as CDs are still perfectly fine for our backups. Sure, there is always going to be something faster and cheaper the week after you buy your computer, but that is the way it works.

Reading about the G5 that are coming out, that makes me excited... even if only half of the rumors are true. I cannot wait for Macs to be equipped with DDR-SDRAM (or equivalent) and the idea that AMDs HyperTransport might be used in the G5 towers is really cool too.
 

ezra

Super Organism
Originally posted by Abakadoosh
A question for ezra.... im 17 and very interested in comptuer graphics (always have been), and im looking to do it for a future career. Since im new to the 3D world, what can i expect in terms of enjoyment and is it very rewarding/satisfying?


It's very rewarding, but you may have to sacrafise a lot a long the way. It's very creative and very technical, so you have to be both good in math and good in art. Art beiing the more important area, you can always learn math, art is much harder to learn, so you should focus on that intinially. I started out in art school, at Art Center, and helped set up the Computer lab in late 80's. I was a Fine Art Major, iand Illustration Minor, but emphasized on computers. I also had a other art and computer science certificatefrom a two year college before I went to art school, and I studied visual psycology after college, and still continue to study and learn new things now.Right now I'm studing the human condition. It's a never ending process, so you have to be dedicated, and you have to be OK with accepting t he things that you might miss in life. I know that sounds kind of harsh, but it true, and it also seems to work out because you have so much fun! In the end your work environment will be much funner to work in, and you'll have a lot more liberties than a regular 9-5 job. Think pool tables, and video games at work! Heck some days I don't even go in, I just send my work to the net rendering farm from home.


i hope to one day have a job at ILM :D :D , but will obviously take a lot of time. What kind of software am i looking at? Miya? Bryce? Infini-D? Cinema 3D?


You really only need something Animation Master to start with, it's very cheap compared to all those that you mentioned, and you learn about most of the features that are in the big packages. Take some classes few years and make sure it's what you want to do for sure, then if it is then invest in something more substantial. At that point you'll know what your interested in, and that will help pick the right application. I'm personally biased when askd which software to use because I work with Maxon in developing Cinema4D, so I naturally think it WILL be the best, but at the moment it's not. I think you would be safe with Lightewave, or 3D Studio Max as well They are a bit cheaper than Maya, and have plenty of support, as well as good well rounded tool set. I use Lightwave as well, I like it since it's been around since my early years on the Amiga. It's like a old friend to me. May has powerful tools, but I just don't like to work in it really. It's kind of unpolished as well. When the time comes you'll know what you need. Stay away from packages like Bryce though, becaue it will teach you almost nothing that you can use in the real 3D apps.


Am i looking at a lot of hardware to render everything? And if so, how, computers or computer parts? And which is the best way to go abouts all this? Class's or just learning on my own? (btw, im signed up for a computer graphics course at a nearby college, i hope it teaches me a lot) Any feedback would be great, thanks! :)


As far as hardware, faster is better, and the most amount of RAM you can get, you'll be needing it for what you'll be doing. You should take classes, and don't forget about art classes as well, theyare most important. If your not a good artist with natural media, you most likely won't be a good 3D artist either, so focus on this daily. Draw all that you can from life, and see if you can get in some sculpting classes as well, sculpting is very useful in what e do. On a project basis you never touch your computer until you have your ideas sketched out on papaer or story boarded, then you go to your computer then figure out how to make it a reality with your tools. You have to know your tools inside and out, so after all the art schooling, you have to dive into your computer tool and really get to know them, so when the time comes you know what to do with them.


And a question about the G5, i was wondering, where are you guys reading about this? Would be interesting to look into. Cause if Apple doesnt step up the mghz or use Altivec then they really need to give the CPU's an overhaul (say about, oh, twice as much), because thats what a lot of entry level computer buyers look at, numbers. Anyway, sorry to not be able to help you ezra and take up space on your forum, but xlr8yourmac (as someone else said) is the only thing i can think of.
For the G5, do a search on one of the bigger sreach engines for "Apple, Mac, G5" or something similar, you should find something. And, don't worry about the questions, I get them all the time, I'm glas to help, and glad to see young people interested, because it's going to be so much funner for your generations, you guys are going to have much cooler toys to play with than us old timers. Have fun with it!
 

Carlo

All your base are belong
Originally posted by ezra


Yeah, it's sad really, people want to use Mac's for cool things, but Apple just doesn't make it affordable for them. One would hope with Steve being the CEO of Pixar still, he will be thinking of a better affordable solution for render farms, and workstations. [/B]
I heard rumors of apple looking to make a rack mount server a few months back. They could seriously shave the dollars off the cost of Render Farms if they made a simple pizza box that had basic components and a nice big CPU. Sun have the Netra's which are small and simple but do the trick. And now that apple have OSX they have the operating system to make such a plan work.

Is it me or is there something very cool about rack mounted computer systems... ;)
 

Abakadoosh

Smiling 'till death
thanks man, much appriciated! i had no idea that art was involved! and math? doh! well, i still wanna do it, despite the consiquences. been a lota help, thank you. :)
 

chemistry_geek

Registered
I just upgraded my Blue & White G3 from a 400MHz processor to a 500MHz processor for $300.00. The new processor is manufactured by IBM whereas my original processor was manufactured by Motorola. There is NO SPECIAL software to install either, just rip out the old processor and insert the new one.

http://www.allmac.com

These guys repair almost ANY Macintosh and their prices aren't too bad.

chemistry_geek
 

tink

Registered
XLR8 MACh Velocity G4/400 MHz 9x 1MB Cache DUAL Processors W/ Altivec & MPe (XLRG4-MVD4001200) more info... $879.00
21 Days

XLR8 MACh Velocity G4/450 MHz 9x 1MB Cache W/ Altivec & MPe (XLRG4-MVS4501225) more info... $629.00
21 Days

XLR8 MACh Velocity G4/450 MHz 9x 1MB Cache DUAL Processors W/ Altivec & MPe (XLRG4-MVD4501225) more info... $999.00
21 Days

XLR8 MACh Velocity G4/500 MHz 9x 1MB Cache W/ Altivec & MPe (XLRG4-MVS5001250) more info... $769.00
21 Days

XLR8 MACh Velocity G4/500 MHz 9x 1MB Cache DUAL Processors W/ Altivec & MPe (XLRG4-MVD5001250) more info...

XLR8 MACh Velocity G4/450 MHz 9x 1MB Cache DUAL Processors W/ Altivec & MPe (XLRG4-MVD4501225) more info... :rolleyes:
 

RacerX

Old Rhapsody User
Originally posted by ezra
Trust me when I say we don't need any advice on the 3D industry, we've been working in it for 15 years. You might want to get your information up to date, most of your comments were either so out dated that they are basicly untrue at this point, or you were given misinformation. Maya is alive and well on the Mac BTW, we use it every day.
Could you be more specific about which information. I didn't know you were talking about a business (any business that is using Maya wouldn't be penny-pinching anyway), so that would leave plenty of options for used or refurbished systems (which is something that SGI deals in all the way back to at least O2s if not Indigo 2s). As for my information being out of date, maybe (but it sure looks fine from what I can see). But then again, I have been involved in this industry in one way or another for about ten years, so maybe it is your lack of experience (why else would you feel the need to ask such a question in the first place?).

As for using Maya on a Mac, that should be news to Alias|Wavefront. The current (and past) versions are only available for Irix, Window NT 4, 2000 Pro, and Linux. Does this mean you are using Linux on a Mac? I can only assume so because I can't figure out how you could set up a render farm using Mac OS 9 (again, assuming this is not something new that you just started doing with Mac OS X). With this new information, yes, string together a number of cheep PCs that do nothing else but the final rendering would be a great idea.
 

ezra

Super Organism
Originally posted by Abakadoosh
thanks man, much appriciated! i had no idea that art was involved! and math? doh! well, i still wanna do it, despite the consiquences. been a lota help, thank you. :)
He he, yes there is actually a lot of work involved, but it's nothing similar to school work. It's fun to work with mass, and volumes when they are particles of water splashing off a stone in a waterfall scene, or fur of a giant apes swaying in the wind as he's swigning through the trees. I bet that's not what our teacher had in mind when they said we would need this stuff later on in life. ;)
 
Top