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PBlades
10-07-2012, 09:15 PM
Hi there,

I understand there are a few threads with similar topics, but just had a few questions I couldn't find answers to.

I'm looking to buy a portable workstation - Have been looking at the Dell m6700 or Macbook Pro 2012 with 16gb ram.
I would want to run windows, as not sure i'd adapt to using osx & also using windows software.
How well does windows run on mac?
I would mainly be using: Maya, Mental Ray, Vray, Zbrush, Mudbox, Photoshop, After Effects, Topogun, Nuke & Also eventually dealing with RAW video/Prores.

The appeal of the Macbook is it seems more portable, good-design and possibly better resale value?
I have a separate monitor so being a smaller screen than the dell isnt an issue.


I've been working on Dell t5400 & HP xw6400 workstations which are probably a bit dated now, but was wondering what kind of performance to expect in comparison to a Dual Xeon (a few years old) and 8gb ram desktop?

Thanks alot!

cgbeige
10-08-2012, 04:58 AM
all those apps run great on OS X. Some (from my testing, mental ray for Maya, Photoshop, After Effects) are even faster in OS X than in Windows on the same hardware, so there's no point to buying a MacBook Pro with retina screen and running Windows on it, especially since Windows isn't optimized for retina apps and you can't choose to run unoptimized apps at a certain res, like in OS X. You can't download Chrome retina for Windows - you can for OS X. I'm beta testing the retina res version of Photoshop and it will be out shortly.

Also, the Geforce gaming card in the MBP runs Maya fine but Windows drivers aren't optimized for Maya and stuff with non-Quadro hardware so you'll encounter more problems than running it in OS X. If you want to read more about that kind of thing, read my article here:

http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2012/08/as-mac-pro-stagnates-pc-workstations-muscle-ahead/5/

Keep in mind those benchmarks compare a 2-year-old Westmere Mac Pro with current Sandy Bridge Xeon E5 machines, so they aren't apples to apples comparisons.

But OS X is frequently faster for a lot of things (except OpenGL, where Linux is king and Windows is second place). Also, OS X's power management is better than Windows, so you'd be throwing away battery life by running it in Windows.

So, if you have no interest in running OS X, don't get the MBP. Shawn from Autodesk has one and loves it for Maya and stuff and I am typing this on my portable 3D MBP 2011 17" workstation and it works great with Maya. But get the Dell or something else if you just want a Windows machine.

Speed-wise, you're in for a big boost, actually. The 2.7GHz 2012 MBP gets 6.7 points for Cinebench R11.5 render score. That's around half of either my hyperthreaded 2.66GHz 12-core Westmere Xeon Mac Pro 2010 or a 4.5GHz overclocked i7 3770K.

PBlades
10-08-2012, 10:05 AM
Cheers, thanks for the answers.
Maybe go with a Dell then.

olson
10-08-2012, 04:26 PM
The Dell M6700 is in a whole different class of notebook, its a mobile workstation. That means 4 memory slots (up to 32 GB) instead of 2 (up to 16 GB), Quadro and FirePro graphics options with up to 4 GB of memory instead of GeForce graphics with 1 GB of memory, internal monitor color calibration, and the component selection for the Dell is broader (more processor options, hard disk options, etc.). If you're going to run Windows anyway the Dell is definitely a more powerful machine and also costs less. I don't want to sound too hard on the MBP because they have excellent build quality and superb displays but if you're not going to use OS X you're just paying more money for less performance.

PBlades
10-08-2012, 05:29 PM
Yeh thats a valid point, I am more inclined to go for the Dell with windows at the moment, but still considering A MBP with osx, as you both pointed out running windows on it would be pointless.
I would never have considered a mac before but thought it might be worth looking at now i'm in the market for a mobile workstation...

cgbeige
10-08-2012, 07:38 PM
if you're planning on using it for a lot of video stuff, you'll probably be better of with OS X. 3D is still dominated by Windows but OS X tends to have better plug-in support for video stuff since it dominates professional video (regardless of how shitty FCPX is). The MBPs are the only machine that has OpenCL support for Premiere Pro, for example. Smoke is Mac-only now.

Recent builds of V-Ray for Maya can mix Windows and Mac distributed render nodes so you wouldn't be sacrificing much by using OS X:

http://polygonspixelsandpaint.tumblr.com/post/32542042644

PBlades
10-08-2012, 10:39 PM
Well it will be for 3d & working with raw video, so that thunderbolt connection might be useful for the new blackmagic raw camera coming out...


thanks or all the info cgbeige

olson
10-08-2012, 10:51 PM
Well it will be for 3d & working with raw video, so that thunderbolt connection might be useful for the new blackmagic raw camera coming out...


That's not a deal breaker in my opinion. You can use an eSATA dock too since the media for the BMC is 2.5" SATA SSD. Though there are some other cool peripherals for Thunderbolt in the works.

cgbeige
10-09-2012, 12:03 AM
ya, Matrox is sending me one of these to review:

http://www.matrox.com/docking_station/en/ds1/

I don't have USB 3 on my 2011 MBP so this will give me it and a bunch of other options while splitting out the display. But ya, I already have eSATA RAID connected to one of these:

http://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/EXP34SATA2F1/

But eSATA maxes out at 3Gb/s and Thunderbolt is 10Gb/s, which is going to give you a lot more bandwidth for RAW footage and video. It's kind of crazy how fast Thunderbolt is. You could max out two USB 3 devices on it.

olson
10-09-2012, 05:04 PM
But eSATA maxes out at 3Gb/s and Thunderbolt is 10Gb/s, which is going to give you a lot more bandwidth for RAW footage and video.

ThunderBolt is crazy fast, like an external PCI Express kind of. Though the eSATA specification follows the SATA specification so there are 6 Gb/s eSATA devices out there. Like I said, in my opinion this is not a deal breaker. :thumbsup:

cgbeige
10-09-2012, 05:13 PM
1080p RAW video is 6.6Gb/s:

http://media.ciena.com/images/Color-depth-chart-2.jpg

and that's without any secondary layers.

olson
10-09-2012, 05:34 PM
1080p RAW video is 6.6Gb/s:

http://media.ciena.com/images/Color-depth-chart-2.jpg

and that's without any secondary layers.

I don't really follow why this matters. Are you saying use the BMC and record to a MBP over ThunderBolt instead of the SSD media? The BMC records the same raw video the SSD media so connecting it to a MBP to capture is kind of a moot point. :shrug:

cgbeige
10-09-2012, 05:52 PM
I was just pointing out that HD RAW video potentially passes the 6Gb/s limitation of eSATA 6Gb but not Thunderbolt. The RAID drives are irrelevant if the bus is the weakest link.

unless you're doing offline in which case the playback of HD RAW isn't an issue.

olson
10-09-2012, 06:04 PM
I was just pointing out that HD RAW video potentially passes the 6Gb/s limitation of eSATA 6Gb but not Thunderbolt. The RAID drives are irrelevant if the bus is the weakest link.

I guess I still don't see the point. Nothing the original poster said they will be doing is going to need 10 Gb/s of throughput. Even the BMC 2.5K raw footage is around 1.2 Gb/s. The maximum throughput of ThunberBolt is nice but it doesn't really matter in this case. :curious:

PBlades
10-09-2012, 09:09 PM
Am I right to think that buying a Mac would be good in terms of customer support when travelling, since apple is everywhere nowadays? or is this not really a valid point vs a dell...

olson
10-09-2012, 09:38 PM
Am I right to think that buying a Mac would be good in terms of customer support when travelling, since apple is everywhere nowadays? or is this not really a valid point vs a dell...

I think it depends on what the problem is. If you have a power adapter die under warranty the Apple store would probably replace it on the spot. If you had a motherboard die both Dell and Apple would probably send a refurbished unit in the mail which would take at least a few days.

cgbeige
10-10-2012, 10:55 PM
ya, Apple support has been great in my experience. It's as good as it gets apart from on-site. For laptops it's especially fast.

earwax69
10-12-2012, 03:09 AM
If you are going to travel, you might want to consider the weight of the machine as a priority.

cgbeige
10-12-2012, 04:12 PM
the Dell is 7.76 lbs and the MBP is 4.5 lbs. The Dell looks like the kind of machine you aren't meant to carry

olson
10-12-2012, 05:11 PM
the Dell is 7.76 lbs and the MBP is 4.5 lbs. The Dell looks like the kind of machine you aren't meant to carry

More power = more weight. :shrug:

Also if you're hauling over 100 pounds of tripods, lights, lenses, and a cinema camera on a cart the 3 pound difference between two laptops will be indiscernable. Either machine would be a great tool to have, this is just nitpicking now.

theotses
11-05-2012, 06:02 PM
Hello

I study architecture and I am thinking to buy a laptop.

I am between a MBP and the Dell M6700. The price is about the same for the two models in Sweden.

The programms that I am going to run are ArchiCad, AutoCad, Revit, Rhino, Sketch Up, V-Ray and the whole Adobe Suite.

I am using OSX in about 5 years and I don't have any problem with the environment. I attach the specifications of both the systems in order to help me choose the best.

MBP Retina 15':
2,7 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3,7 GHz
8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3L SDRAM
256 GB SSD
NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M with 1 GB GDDR5

Dell M6700 17.3':
Intel® Core™ i7-3740QM Processor (2.70GHz Turbo, 6MB)
NVIDIA Quadro K4000M with 4 GB GDDR5
8GB (2x4GB) 1600MHz DDR3
500GB 2.5' (7.200r/min) Serial ATA II-harddisk

On the Dell I have the option to add the Intel® Core™ i7-3820QM Processor (2.70GHz Turbo, 8MB). At the same price I can add a second SSD HD 128MB. Which of the two upgrades do you recommend (if any)?

Thank you in advance! :)

Edit: 10 days after the original post and no reply. I would really appreciate an opinion, cause i find it very difficult to choose the dell, due to the design and the OS.

Furthermore the clock is ticking and I have to buy the system in the beginning of December.

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