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3D graphics and Dual CPU Question

Posted: Tue, 1st Feb 2005, 2:50am

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cinemafreak

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I am planning on getting a high end 3d graphics program such as Maya or 3D Max in the future. I built my computer with the help of my dad and the specs are:

Intel Pentium 4 3.2 Ghz Processor
1 GB of RAM
300 GB of Hard Drive
Nvidia Geforce 6600 GT
Windows Home Edition XP

Now, I know I need to uprgade to XP Professional, and I know a hardware accelerated OpenGL card is ideal and I need to get one, but what about a dual cpu motherboard? Do you think that should buy a new motherboard and go with dual Xeon's? What should I do. I am planning on getting the software next holiday season and at that time I want it to run OK, it doesn't have to run with awesome speed by then. Do you think that I should go ahead and work and beg and cry for the money to get another motherboard and dual processors, or will it run OK for the time being with a one cpu PC?
Posted: Tue, 1st Feb 2005, 2:53am

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Hybrid-Halo

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I wouldn't bother with dual CPU's where intel are concerned right now, the only people to really get them to work at an affordable price is Apple.

Currently, I'm running an AMD64bit 3500+ with 1.5gb of ram and 3d applications are running extremely nicely. All that being said, you don't really need a monster of a machine, just something modern to use a 3d program comfortably.
Posted: Tue, 1st Feb 2005, 9:43am

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Mellifluous

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Your current system actually seems fine for 3d. I doubt if you upgraded the things you mention that you'd actually notice any difference. Windows Pro is recommended though, make sure you get an OEM version because it'll be cheaper.
Posted: Tue, 1st Feb 2005, 12:29pm

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Bryce007

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The 6600gt definately has hardware accelerated OpenGL....i dont think any cards DONT have it anymore. Also, just Get alot of Ram. Like, 4 gigs should work out well, and thats where you'll notice the difference the most with your current machine.
Posted: Tue, 1st Feb 2005, 4:51pm

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sidewinder

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Dude, 4 gigs of RAM costs at least a thousand dollars.
Posted: Tue, 1st Feb 2005, 5:54pm

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Hybrid-Halo

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sidewinder wrote:

Dude, 4 gigs of RAM costs at least a thousand dollars.
1gb of ram would cost me £100

4*£100 = £400
With the GBP to USD exhange rate of around 1:2 that'd be approximately...
$800.
"At least a thousand dollars" if you're into being ripped off...
Posted: Tue, 1st Feb 2005, 6:02pm

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devilskater

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why is windows pro so important...does it accelerate renders...or what?

WEll,
i am working on a
2,53 ghz
512 ram
128mb gforce 4

and it all works well...yet i will be upgrading to 1 gb

cheers,
devilskater
Posted: Tue, 1st Feb 2005, 6:08pm

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Hybrid-Halo

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Only windows pro can use Dual Processors. (if you choose to go that way).
Posted: Tue, 1st Feb 2005, 6:45pm

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VisualFXGuy

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Also keep in mind if your 3d program supports dual processors to the best of their ability. For example, Maya 5.5 and earlier could only use one processor at a time per frame when rendering, so duals were pretty much void. I don't know how the other applications deal with them, but it's best to check that out before you really invest.

Me, i'd go with a slower processor and LOTS of ram. smile
Posted: Tue, 1st Feb 2005, 8:34pm

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Colincsl

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Although currently Xeons are better for rendering, this should soon change. I know that once 3ds Max 7-64 comes out, Opterons will be far ahead of Xeons. According to a member of 3dbuzz, a 64-bit version of Max will come out the day that Windows XP-64 comes out.

In about 5.5 months I'll be getting my own set of Opterons biggrin

edit: I know that for 3ds max at least, unless you are using a renderer that I am not familiar with, ram doesn't matter as much as you guys say it does. You do need a lot of ram with programs like After Effects and Combustion etc though.
Posted: Tue, 1st Feb 2005, 8:39pm

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cinemafreak

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Thanks for all the feedback guys. biggrin So you suggest that I stick with one processor for the time being atleast right?
Posted: Tue, 1st Feb 2005, 9:50pm

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VisualFXGuy

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It really depends on what your 3d programs use. I know I could have a high end graphics card for video games, and have it make hardly a difference when I do work in Maya compared to a lower end graphics card. (assuming video ram is the same).

Max may not use alot of ram, but Maya definaly uses all you can pump it for. Ram won't effect 3D draw rates in the viewport, but its one of the main things you need for rendering. And Cacheing for that matter, which I use alot.

So, basically, check out the program your going to be using and figure out what works best hardware wise, and go with that.
Posted: Tue, 1st Feb 2005, 11:12pm

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cinemafreak

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VisualFXGuy, since you use maya for 3D, would you mind telling me your system specs, with emphaisis on graphics card. Maya requires a hardware excellerated OpenGL card. The 6600 GT has OpenGL 1.5, but I'm not sure it has hardware excellerated. Help me out here.
Posted: Tue, 1st Feb 2005, 11:16pm

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Mellifluous

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His specs are in his profile.

I believe OpenGL is an application that allows hardware accelleration with your graphics card, so any card that supports OpenGL will be able to support the hardware accellerated option in 3d & games.
Posted: Wed, 2nd Feb 2005, 8:13am

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A Pickle

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Apple may have affordable dual processor machines, but it's important to note that affordable and fast are two entirely different categories. A 2.53 GHz Pentium equipped Dell whomped a Mac dual G4 at at about $670 less. Any hope for speed or reliability there is shot. Macs statistically freeze 3-12 times a day, where a friend of mine and myself rigged his 2.4 Ghz P4 machine to render a scene, which unexpectedly took 3 days (We later found one of our direct lights had Raytraced Shadows on. It hurt).

Dual Intel machines are very nice, fast, and work best with professional applications. Athlon processors perform nicely, but Intel performs best with professional applications, which tend to use gigahertz most. 64-bit Intel's are already developed, just not marketed. Not the wisest strategy... in my humble opinion... but oh well, the EM64T (Intel's 64-bit tech) is to be available for desktops in 2005.

3D Studio Max hasn't yet released a 64-bit enabled version of it's software, but Softimage XSI and NewTek Lightwave 3D both have released versions of their software whcih take advantage of any existing 64-bit capability. This makes the purchase of a Dual Opteron board a possible venue.

Intel is slated to release dual core processors also this year, which are two processor engines on one chip. The idea behind these is to continue on the trend of Moore's Law while still maintaining the reducing chip sizes and increasing chip speed. Multicore cpu's are cooler, require less power, and are less "chaotic" than typical monocore cpu's, where their speed is hampered by the intense voltage and heat. It is feasible to think (hope?) that Intel may even be marketing multicore, 64-bit hyperthreaded processors by early to mid-2006.

Lastly, we can't omit the GHz factor. Intel ended 2004 with a 3.6 GHz cpu on the market. Somehow, I think 4.00 GHz is just around the corner.

Me... I would go Intel in 2005. Things on that side of the computing world are getting quite interesting. Can you imagine dual multicore, hyperthreaded, 64-bit, 4 GHz processors?

WOW. I want one. Or two.

As for me... I run discreet 3D Studio Max R6 on a single P4 machine, and the thing does great. I
Posted: Wed, 2nd Feb 2005, 9:21pm

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VisualFXGuy

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My specs arn't the greatest for Maya, but moneys a little tight right now. wink

You can use virtually any graphics card with Maya, you don't need anything specific. For example, you don't need an ATI's FireGL card, as opposed to the cheaper ATI cards. (the FireGL WOULD be a million times better, tho) I just have a Radeon 9000 Pro 128MB, and it does pretty good, just not as well as if I had a FireGL. smile

But there are definaly limits. If I try any realisitc Hair Sim, my comp just laughs and dies. One reason I deperatly need to upgrade.
Posted: Thu, 3rd Feb 2005, 9:23pm

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Colincsl

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A Pickle wrote:

Macs statistically freeze 3-12 times a day
Really? Statistically? I really doubt that. I just asked me mom(who herself along with her coworker both use macs) and she said they never freeze. Also, if they froze so much, why would people like them so much?

A Pickle wrote:


Dual Intel machines are very nice, fast, and work best with professional applications. Athlon processors perform nicely, but Intel performs best with professional applications, which tend to use gigahertz most. 64-bit Intel's are already developed, just not marketed. Not the wisest strategy... in my humble opinion... but oh well, the EM64T (Intel's 64-bit tech) is to be available for desktops in 2005.
You can't mean all professional apps... Have you looked at some of the comparisons between 64-bit apps? AMD's 64-bit architecture is much better than Intel's. A prime reason Windows XP-64 isn't out yet is because of Intel's 64-bit architecture. I guess I haven't read about problems lately, but as of when the Nocona's (64-bit Xeons) came out mid-late last year there were many things going wrong. So before Intel markets these, they might want to make sure everything works fine. The public isn't as nice as some companies are when they find soemthing deosn't work correctly.

A Pickle wrote:


3D Studio Max hasn't yet released a 64-bit enabled version of it's software...
It should be out when Windows XP-64 comes out


A Pickle wrote:


Lastly, we can't omit the GHz factor. Intel ended 2004 with a 3.6 GHz cpu on the market. Somehow, I think 4.00 GHz is just around the corner.
Ghz doesn't really mean anything. For example, a 2.6 ghz AMD 64-FX 55 can ANNILATE a P4 2.6. Also, according to Intel's roadmap, Intel isn't planning a 4.0 Ghz P4 anytime soon. New technologies are being developed to get away from just boosting ghz, as it has shown to be getting harder and harder to get more power from it especially when they can focus on other things and get better results.

A Pickle wrote:


Me... I would go Intel in 2005. Things on that side of the computing world are getting quite interesting. Can you imagine dual multicore, hyperthreaded, 64-bit, 4 GHz processors?
On the contrary, I would go with AMD. Things are getting just as exciting here.
Posted: Thu, 3rd Feb 2005, 9:28pm

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Mellifluous

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Apparently, Pentium are struggling to produce more powerful processors with their current P4 technology (correct me if I'm wrong). Sounds like they're going to need to redesign their chips before they can really push the limits further.
Posted: Thu, 3rd Feb 2005, 9:37pm

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NuttyBanana

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After upgrading my hard drive I'll be looking towards a new processor and I'll certainly be going AMD, I've just heard better things about them.

As for 3d modelling, the modelling files only amount to around 20k with most things I've done, the only thing that seems to require anything is the rendering, which apparently runs from your ram (already been said i know). Pump your comp up with ram, that graphics card should fine fine!
Posted: Sat, 5th Feb 2005, 7:41am

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VisualFXGuy

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I think all processors are slowly coming to a halt.. they're reaching the point where they're going to have to push the information faster then light, and thats a whole other debate.

What I think is really needed is faster motherboards and ram. It's nice that you can get a fancy 3.6 GHz for your comp, but when your motherboard is only pusing at 533, your bottlenecking everything.

Not that it really matters, it's all too expensive for me right now. ;(
Posted: Sun, 6th Feb 2005, 7:16am

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Colincsl

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I found found this ealier and I thought a few of you might enjoy it. It explains Sony, IBM, and Toshiba's "Cell." It's an interesting but long read(in full).

http://www.blachford.info/computer/Cells/Cell0.html
Posted: Sun, 6th Feb 2005, 8:29am

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Serdar3500

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Dual Intel's or AMD's are really dope. You'll see your render times cut in half (approximately).
Posted: Sun, 6th Feb 2005, 5:12pm

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A Pickle

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Mellifluous wrote:

Apparently, Pentium are struggling to produce more powerful processors with their current P4 technology (correct me if I'm wrong). Sounds like they're going to need to redesign their chips before they can really push the limits further.
For the most part, this is what the multicore processor technology is aimed at rectifying. They run fast, cooler, and require less power to give you the same juice that our current mono head rocessors give out.

Colincsl wrote:

Ghz doesn't really mean anything. For example, a 2.6 ghz AMD 64-FX 55 can ANNILATE a P4 2.6. Also, according to Intel's roadmap, Intel isn't planning a 4.0 Ghz P4 anytime soon. New technologies are being developed to get away from just boosting ghz, as it has shown to be getting harder and harder to get more power from it especially when they can focus on other things and get better results.
That's exactly what Apple propogates. And they got trounced by a Dell with a 2.53 GHz processor, and later by another Dell with the 3.06 GHz. Both of the Mac competitors were dual equipped. Now, I'm not saying GHz mean nothing, cache has a lot to do with it too, but... gigahertz is not just some random number they stick on their processors.

Colincsl wrote:

Really? Statistically? I really doubt that. I just asked me mom(who herself along with her coworker both use macs) and she said they never freeze. Also, if they froze so much, why would people like them so much?
To be honest, I have no idea. The two macs I use are not nearly as stable or convenient as the Dell I own at home. We can't plug a camera into the Apple we have without needing to restart it, Final Cut Pro quits and dies almost daily, and the PowerBook we use actually boots up a whole 50% of the time.

Colincsl wrote:

A prime reason Windows XP-64 isn't out yet is because of Intel's 64-bit architecture
Windows XP-64 bit edition is out. It has been for several months now. You can't go out and buy it, it's for full time businesses and institutions, but... it's out.
Posted: Sun, 6th Feb 2005, 9:45pm

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Colincsl

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A Pickle wrote:


Windows XP-64 bit edition is out. It has been for several months now. You can't go out and buy it, it's for full time businesses and institutions, but... it's out.
I'm not saying I don't believe you, but could you show me an example of this? I know that the beta is out, but I was unaware that a full version was.
Posted: Sun, 6th Feb 2005, 10:38pm

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Hybrid-Halo

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I think colinscl meant that "longhorn" or whatever it's called isn't out yet.
Posted: Mon, 7th Feb 2005, 3:10am

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Colincsl

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Nope; I'm talking about Windows XP-64
Posted: Mon, 7th Feb 2005, 4:30pm

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firewired

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A Pickle wrote:

... Any hope for speed or reliability there is shot. Macs statistically freeze 3-12 times a day...
state your source please - you can't make ridiculous statements like that without the relevent links to back it up.

To be honest, I have no idea. The two macs I use are not nearly as stable or convenient as the Dell I own at home. We can't plug a camera into the Apple we have without needing to restart it, Final Cut Pro quits and dies almost daily, and the PowerBook we use actually boots up a whole 50% of the time.
Sounds to me like you have serious hardware issues that need resolving. I've only ever had one crash on my Mac in three years - running Internet Explorer...Final Cut Pro is one of the most stable programs I've ever used.
Posted: Wed, 9th Feb 2005, 7:11am

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A Pickle

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Colincsl wrote:

I'm not saying I don't believe you, but could you show me an example of this? I know that the beta is out, but I was unaware that a full version was.
To be honest, I saw it on Microsoft's website a few months ago on searching for XP 64-bit edition. From what I interpreted, XP 64-bit was available to the business world along with the Intel 64-bit's that were only available to the business world, at the time. Perhaps I ws looking at a beta version, but from what I remember it specifically stated that 64-bit was unavailable for purchase by consumer "authorities."

firewired wrote:

state your source please - you can't make ridiculous statements like that without the relevent links to back it up.
True, I stand corrected.

firewired wrote:

Sounds to me like you have serious hardware issues that need resolving. I've only ever had one crash on my Mac in three years - running Internet Explorer...Final Cut Pro is one of the most stable programs I've ever used.
I dunno what's going on. Both of them use Final Cut, which I think, as an NLE is a dynamite program. Sadly it has "unexpectedly quit" far too many times and has autosaved far too few times. I suppose I'm having hardware issues, but most of my video stuff I'm now doing on my Dell which is chugging along fine.
Posted: Wed, 9th Feb 2005, 7:38am

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Hybrid-Halo

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Anyway, since this is definetly not heading towards a mac vs pc debate....

It's my understanding that There is yet to be any program or Operating system that makes full use of an AMD64bit processor, though that doesn't render the 64bit useless as each tick of the processor still does more than each tick of a 32bit processor.

A example would be that be 2.2ghz AMD runs around the same speed as a 3.4ghz Pentium 4. the AMD64 is a gamer's processor at heart, though I'm rather sure it's also very close to the pentiums scores when it comes to video editing and the like.

It's always been a very nooby assumption that to run a 3d program you need to spend an arm and a leg on a new system when fact is, you don't need anything wonderful to create brilliant 3d. 3d scenes often looks worse than dated quake graphics in the editor, the one thing that a better machine will speed up is rendering. But if you're learning then the chances are you won't be rendering much hardware intensive for a while.

Why not learn the program on what you have, and then upgrade when you need to rather than spend a whole load of money upgrading for a program you'll probably decide you can't figure out. I learnt Cinema4D on a 1ghz machine.

-Hybrid
Posted: Thu, 10th Feb 2005, 12:06am

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A Pickle

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Concurred, Hybrid-Halo. I began 3D Studio Max on an 800 MHz Dell, moved to a 1.3 GHz AMD custom built machine and am now on a 3.0 GHz Dell.

While now I can say I have a decently powerful system, that little 800 MHz I had (and I ran 3ds with Windows ME) was quite possibly the most dependable little computer I ever had. I loved that thing. *sniff*

The nostalgia.

Anyways, yeh. The minimum system requirements for 3D Studio Max are not high end in the least. The great thing there is that if you happen to have a quality cpu cooling system, be it a fan or other means, 3DS generally does not freeze even on long renderings. I rendered a really bad-looking, raytraced polygon horrific alien invasion fleet on my 800 MHz machine for two days. Fun that was.

But... yeah. Just try 'em out. Yay.