PDA

View Full Version : Buying a New G5


itsallgoode9
01-17-2006, 04:25 PM
At work we are currently using a Mac G5 Dual 2 ghz with 1.5 gb of ram and a Ati 9600 graphics card and are looking to get a new workstation. My boss was considering getting the new Mac G5 2.5 ghz quad processor but am I wrong in thinking it would help speed up 3d more by buying a dual processor and spend that extra money on more ram and a better graphics card ? We are using it for a program called Sketchup which if you don't know about it is a architecture visualisation program...we make mueseum exhibtis so we have quite a bit of graphics in the scene and it seems as if this program saves all textures and images in the actual scene file rather than referencing them from an outside folder which really seems to slow things down alot and causes scenes sizes to be extremely high for what's in them (the scene we're working on now is 168 meg and is only 68,000 faces).

If i've read our ram usage window correctly, we went through our 1.5gig of ram and it's dropping another 6.5 gigs of info onto our HD in the virtual memory?!
When pricing the new computer we could get a Dual processor 2.3 ghz G5 with an upgraded graphics card (nvidia 7800) and 4 gigs of ram for the same price as the base price quad core. So if you have any input, suggestions lemme know...or if i'm am completely out in left field about this lemme know as well. Thanks all!

alanmac
01-17-2006, 04:47 PM
I'm a fan of Sketch Up and love the way its easy to create objects with it. I've only just started to use it, but have to say the application of graphics to models is poor and jerky in comparison to another program I use, Artlantis. That's so easy.

Just select your location, select your image, tell it what size you want it to be and then just move it around from a centre marker to the exact position. You can even change the size or proporations once its been "imported", specify via a eyedropper tool colours to remove, i.e the background around a jpeg, layer graphics, change the stacking order etc. When you open a file it goes about collecting the images so I guess it references them.

I think along with a new machine you may need to look at increasing the digital tools you have available and use. Sketch Up is good but I'd look at maybe adding Vectorworks, both for design, modelling, presentation documents and construction documents, and Artlantis for Rendering. I'm trying to add either Artlantis R as an upgrade or increase the quality of rendering by also moving to and using Cinema 4D.

Plug-ins exist for taking SU 5 files into Artlantis R and for taking Vectorworks into Artlantis 4.5, Artlantis R and Cinema 4D. In the Vectorworks to Artlantis and to Cinema it allows you to change your Vectorwork design file and it will update your render files in Artlantis or Cinema without loss of work you've done in those.

Worth checking out.

Alan

ipaddress
01-17-2006, 05:08 PM
Opting for more RAM and a better graphics card would be a wise decision. The paging process in the MAC is much advanced and better than that of windoze because MacOS is based on darwin kernel. Try running the command "top" in the terminal window of the mac to get the accurate and detailes statistics of the OS in the realtime. The processor handles availability,Memory allocations,Page utilizations and many more details are spewed out in real time. Based on that I guess you would be able to decide on the hardware.

In that "top" screen u would be able to check out if you are really utilising the proc to the extreme. Run this utility when you are executing a task in that application and check out. Good luck.

-IPADD

maX_Andrews
01-18-2006, 03:51 AM
The only speedup you will see in the quad-core is when rendering. You need RAM and more RAM.

Get a dual 2.3 G5 with the 7800 card and get three of these http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Other%20World%20Computing/42DDR2PAIR2G/
for about $600 after tax and shipping
total cost is $3670 after tax, simply upgrading the graphics in the quad core would put you over that.

What kind of display are you running? I'd get a 23" cinema if you don't have one already.

Schwinnz
01-18-2006, 04:22 AM
Hey,

As you might know Apple is switching Intel. I'd personally wait for the new PowerMac series to come out instead of ditching all this money right now.

Beamtracer
01-18-2006, 05:06 AM
As you might know Apple is switching Intel. I'd personally wait for the new PowerMac series to come out instead of ditching all this money right now.
The current PowerPC G5 beats current Intel machines in many benchmarks. Check out Luxology's benchmarks and you'll see what I mean. I think it's a better buy to go with the current model than wait until December for Intel based ones.

lots
01-18-2006, 06:40 AM
Most of the slow down comes from trying to run software that was meant for PPC on the x86 platform :P From what I can see, the Intel based macs do perform rather well, IF you are using universal binaries. Of cource it would be even cooler if the binaries were native.. but hey. Stuff run on rosetta, seems to improve performance after you've run it once. Kinda similar to how .net apps work :) Basically, Rosetta will translate the code from a PPC based program to x86, and then store commonly used bits of code so that next time it doesnt have to translate the call. Pretty smart really. But even with that a dual core CPU (and Rosetta translating on one while the other CPU core does the program calls) still suffers quite a bit of performance hit. LIke Unreal..

At least MS only has to deal with one architecture for the vast majority of things :P Granted there are so many variations on hardware they have to keep track of, its probably much more complicated to keep things stable ;)

movielad
01-18-2006, 12:19 PM
Also, the current Core Duo chips used in the iMac and MacBook are only 32-bit whereas the old PowerPC G5 was 64-bit and could address something like 8Gb. I think both the new iMac and Macbook support only up to 2Gb. Thus whatever processor goes into the next gen. PowerMac needs to be much beefier, and possibly 64-bit EMT to please those that need more than 4Gb of memory.

M.

alanmac
01-18-2006, 12:35 PM
Also, the current Core Duo chips used in the iMac and MacBook are only 32-bit whereas the old PowerPC G5 was 64-bit and could address something like 8Gb. I think both the new iMac and Macbook support only up to 2Gb. Thus whatever processor goes into the next gen. PowerMac needs to be much beefier, and possibly 64-bit EMT to please those that need more than 4Gb of memory.

M.

I think for the main target that the iMac Duo Core is aimed at, 2 ghz is going to be fine. In general terms 2 ghz is not to be sniffed at.

As for the Macbook Pro, this is in line not only with the model it replaces, and correct me if I'm wrong, but are there any laptops at all on the market that take more than 2 Gbs of ram anyway, duo core or otherwise? So no nasty surprise, shock, horror ,how awful revelation there.

Yes, I agree they'll be looking for a different processor for the Tower Pro models, just like in the Windows PC world.

I think the next new model will be an Intel based MiniMac revision with these duo core chips, and then we wait a few months for the G5 tower replacements.

I'm sure Apple will introduce these at a time it sees right to most advance sales. I'd say around the time colleges etc. start to order new kit for the new educational year, or looking back over previous years when sales are at a high point.

Then the whole line will be ready for the next revision, with the new chips Intel brings out, and off we go again on the money-go-round.

Alan

RAZ22
01-18-2006, 12:48 PM
To add my two cents into the replies already, I'd also suggest updating before the Intel switch if you're experiencing frustratingly long waits for key business projects. If you choose to wait it out for a first generation Intel machine (which can be scary enough in and of itself), imagine the number of projects that you'll lose out on.

While you wait to process / render your current project on your current G5, imagine how many more you could actually be bidding / completing by investing in a new machine sooner.

More specifically, I agree with the RAM sentiments. If your 1.5 is getting eaten away in a matter of minutes and another 6.5GB is being swapped on your HD, I'd definitely invest in new third party (read: not Apple) RAM. Apple RAM is too expensive. Newegg has good deals on RAM for G5s.

As far as software, I'm not familiar with any of the titles mentioned, but alanmac seems to put a lot of faith in some other tools that may be more hardware efficient - those might be worth looking into.

And finally, wait to move your business over to Intel Macs until after your software of choice is a universal binary. The thought of running key day to day programs under any sort of emulation scares me.

I suppose that was more like my five cents instead of my two cents. Keep the change. :)

alanmac
01-18-2006, 01:03 PM
I'd just like to add that the Render programs I mentioned are in the context of comparison to Sketch Ups "style" of render. Artlantis 4.5 is very easy to use, very quick, but it's not a patch on the image quality capable from say Cinema 4D or any of the other higher end render programs mentioned on this site.

Artlantis R, builds on 4.5 and improves the output but again I'm really wanting to use Cinema more for its superior capabilities and output.

It's that old deadlines, deadlines, deadlines, situation. The images do the job and there isn't the time or money in the job/budget to improve on that at the moment.

Alan

lots
01-18-2006, 01:28 PM
Actually I think that the Mac mini probably will get a Core Solo, rather than the Duo. With thermal characteristics of nearly half, you could get a pretty silent and small system out of it. And to me, a Mac mini, that is more mini than the current one would just be cool :P Especially given Apples current iPod Nano, I think Apple might shoot for a smaller mini.

Of cource I'm just a PC user so what do I know about such things :P

alanmac
01-18-2006, 01:56 PM
Of course I'm just a PC user so what do I know about such things :P

I use both so I'm stuck balancing between two stools as they say, oh sorry, my mistake they were refering to my performance Saturday night ;~)

.

itsallgoode9
01-21-2006, 07:08 PM
thanks for all the replys guys. As far as the Apple/Intel issue, we are buying a new G5 right now and a new one once the Intels come out as well....

-we use artlantis at work for rendering, but as far as all the other programs that were mentioned we are stuck with Sketchup, which I personally hate with a passion. My boss is a narrow minded guy and once he has his mind set that a program is good, then there's nothing that can be done to change his mind even if there is somthing 10x better out there. :banghead:

Thanks for the advice on the ram, I didn't realize that ram was more expensive through Apple. I"ll have him look into that. Also on the ram issue, on a mac is there a limit as to how much ram can be used at the moment? Cause on pc isn't it like 4 gigs or somthing unless you're running 64 bit? Thanks for all the help guys.

alanmac
01-21-2006, 08:57 PM
Sketch Ups big strength is its easy of use, and I've never met anybody who didn't love it, but you obviously don't.

It works in almost unique way with simplicity as it main criteria. Comparing or trying to work in SU like you would in other programs is simply not going to work and will be a source of frustration to you.

I know because I'm guilty myself of thinking to much the Vectorworks way and getting upset at my lack of speed in SU

It's renderings are of a style which harks back in many ways to a hand drawn stylized way of presentation, which I know many clients like.

It sound very strange on re reading your first posting that your files are so big. It sounds as if you need to reconsider how you are working within Sketch Up.

I'd hazard a guess that its big high res graphic files being put into the program that's causing the problem. I'd suggest looking closely at how big these files are, can they be reduced in size etc.

If you have Artlantis I would have thought unless you want the specific styles Sketch Up rendering produces for presentation, you'll be using Artlantis, so its only the modelling you'll do in SU with all the lighting, textures and graphics applied in Artlantis.

As I said before if using SU5 you'll have a plug in to go to Artlantis R, or if using older SU versions you can use the plug in available to Artlantis 4.5.

Alan

maX_Andrews
01-21-2006, 09:34 PM
Thanks for the advice on the ram, I didn't realize that ram was more expensive through Apple. I"ll have him look into that. Also on the ram issue, on a mac is there a limit as to how much ram can be used at the moment? Cause on pc isn't it like 4 gigs or somthing unless you're running 64 bit? Thanks for all the help guys.

The best and cheapest place to buy RAM for macs is here: http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/memory/
Here's the exact thing I'd buy four of them: http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Other%20World%20Computing/42DDR2PAIR2G/
and then toss the 2x256 sticks that come standard.

Apple charges you $1700 for 8 1-gig sticks, macsales charges you $680.

The memory use by OSX is only bound by the processor and the application. If you have a 32-bit processor, only 4GB of RAM can be used. If you have a 64-bit G5, however, the system can use as much memory as will fit in the slots. Some applications cannot take advtange of this, but others really can. Some OSX apps have a very cool feature that overrides the application memory manager and lets the system allocate memory. This is done automatically so you won't notice it, but it allows 32-bit apps like photoshop to use the full 16GB of memory you may have because it is being done through the OS and not through the application. THe following is taken from barefeats.com, a respected MAC benchmark and testing website:

"Did you know that Tiger handles the memory caching for CS 2? And that it will allocate more memory than you define in CS 2's preferences? We set the memory cache in CS 2's preferences to 522MB. When we opened the 1GB test file, the system memory usage jumped from 512MB to 4GB. When we rotated it 30 degress, the total system memory usage jumped to 6.6GB. That tells us that the OS is grabbing any available memory to avoid unnecessary scratch drive hits."

http://www.barefeats.com

Tell us how you like the new G5!!

itsallgoode9
01-30-2006, 05:43 PM
Sketch Ups big strength is its easy of use, and I've never met anybody who didn't love it, but you obviously don't.

It works in almost unique way with simplicity as it main criteria. Comparing or trying to work in SU like you would in other programs is simply not going to work and will be a source of frustration to you.

I know because I'm guilty myself of thinking to much the Vectorworks way and getting upset at my lack of speed in SU

It's renderings are of a style which harks back in many ways to a hand drawn stylized way of presentation, which I know many clients like.

It sound very strange on re reading your first posting that your files are so big. It sounds as if you need to reconsider how you are working within Sketch Up.

I'd hazard a guess that its big high res graphic files being put into the program that's causing the problem. I'd suggest looking closely at how big these files are, can they be reduced in size etc.

If you have Artlantis I would have thought unless you want the specific styles Sketch Up rendering produces for presentation, you'll be using Artlantis, so its only the modelling you'll do in SU with all the lighting, textures and graphics applied in Artlantis.

As I said before if using SU5 you'll have a plug in to go to Artlantis R, or if using older SU versions you can use the plug in available to Artlantis 4.5.

Alan

well we are using small graphic sizes...almost all are under 2 megs and most are around the 1 meg mark....it's just that there's a ton of graphic panels on the wall...it is an entire full scale museum exhibit. The reason for using sketch up instead of artlantis is because of what you said; the clients like the look that sketchup gives. And alothough i'm not a fan of the program, I must say that the "Follow Me" tool is the best thing since sliced bread lol if only it were that easy to bevel stuff in all 3d programs :( Anyways, here are the final specs that got decided on for the new work station......

Quad 2.5 ghz processors
4 gigs of ram
nVidia 7800 gt

my boss decided just just go all out :) should be here in a week or two I think:bounce:

alanmac
01-30-2006, 06:02 PM
Good luck with it. Great machine, even if some think it's the end of the line that does not detract from it's power and usage etc.

My boss has booked me on a Sketch Up training day next month so hopefully I'll be up to speed sooner rather than later.

Yes, watching the follow me tool video had a few peoples jaws dropping.

If this gets to be a really issue and you want to continue the "hand drawn" style maybe your company should look at programs like Cinema 4D with the Sketch and Toon module.

Or even another 3D painting program called Piranesi which gives good effects and can import direct from Sketch Up.

Both of these do not come cheap but if you are having problems of speed they may pay in the long run.

Worth checking out and suggesting anyway.

Good luck

Alan
"Slow" old Dual 2 ghz G5 ;~)

.

itsallgoode9
01-30-2006, 06:56 PM
hey, lemme know how useful the training day thing turns out. My boss had mentioned some of us employees going to one in the future.

CGTalk Moderation
01-30-2006, 06:56 PM
This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.