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View Full Version : Building a comp for 3D/Vfx/Film


NinjaTronix
10-09-2009, 10:10 PM
I need help trying to figure out what kind of computer rig I need to build for work. I work heavily in 3D Vfx and Film.

What I know so far.



Desktop vs Laptop

I'm going with Desktop. Why? SO I could change a customize parts if I need to. Plus it can hold more ram and other components. I could buy more ram and better components for much cheaper.

Also I already have a laptop. I have to disable the graphic card just so maya would work. It's daul booted with mac but I can't get programs like Final Cut to Work because the graphics card on it isn't compatitble with the Mac OS X Operating system.



Mac Vs PC

First of all I want to be able to daul boot between both mac and windows operating systems.

Mac's I hear have no problems having a windows os installed on it but I haven't tested it out myself yet, but I don't anything about Mac Hardware and if it's even customizable. I read in 3D world a few months ago most 3D Artists choose Pc's because Mac's are very limited in graphics cards.

Pc's I could daul boot, but I may be very limited with the hardware I could have on my computer. It doesn't look like Nvidia Quadro Fx's and FireGl's graphic cards are compatible with Mac Os X.

Linux os I may want because I hear helps render times. But it would probably work either way. I'm not even really gonna look into that right now.



Processor

I need the fastest processor possible

why? sounds like most people say that. And I know it must help with render times because batch renders usaully ask for multiple processors.

Questions:

Does it basically help to work in realtime when working in heavy scenes in 3D apps like Maya?

Can multiple processors be installed into one computer?



Graphic Cards:

For graphics cards it looks like Nvidia Quadro Fx's and FireGl's work the best with 3D. The quadro's for what I've read looks like a better choice. Also the quadro's are top of the line when working on multiple moniters.

Question:
I'm thinking of getting a Nvidia Quadro Fx graphics card. What model should I get?

Is it basically for better hardware renders in 3D apps, Or is there other reasons?

Is it hard to switch between graphics cards?

Can multiple graphic card be installed into one computer?

Does it effects maya software render and mental ray renders at all?

Does it help with render times?

Does it help working in real time and working on Heavy scenes and renders?



Memory and Motherboards

I'll probably start of with 8gb of ram. I think the ram helps with working on heavy scenes, and allows users to work in multiple apps at one time without there comp slowly down. As well as having more processes running. Is that right?

I was also told if I were to build a computer to make sure I choose a processers first and then get a motherboard that's compatible.

Questions:

How many ram slots can one motherboard have?

Is there a way to add more ram after the slots are full?

Does it help with render time



HardDrive

I'd get a hard draive with alot of storage but I don't find it really necessary because I'm constantly buying external drives.

Question:

How important is the speed of the hard drive?

ThomasTheToolman
10-09-2009, 10:47 PM
Processor

I need the fastest processor possible

Do you really need the fastest? If so, you have to buy a pair Intel XEON W5590, those are the fastest CPU out now.


Questions:

Does it basically help to work in realtime when working in heavy scenes in 3D apps like Maya?

Can multiple processors be installed into one computer?

The faster the CPU, the faster your workflow possibilities.
Working in "realtime" is a single threaded task, so no benfit from multicores.

Multicore CPU, or even multi CPUs do a fine job when it comes to Rendering.
It is possible to set up 8 CPUs into one computer, but for that you will need special hardware what you canīt find in every corner, so itīs really hard to get this hardware. Regular 2 CPU Workstations are established.



Graphic Cards:

For graphics cards it looks like Nvidia Quadro Fx's and FireGl's work the best with 3D. The quadro's for what I've read looks like a better choice. Also the quadro's are top of the line when working on multiple moniters.

Where have you read this?
Any proof for that?



Question:

Is it basically for better hardware renders in 3D apps, Or is there other reasons?

Is it hard to switch between graphics cards?

Can multiple graphic card be installed into one computer?

Does it effects maya software render and mental ray renders at all?

Does it help with render times?

Does it help working in real time and working on Heavy scenes and renders?


There are some other reasons!
I donīt know what you mean with swichting between graphics cards?
Multi graphics cards can be installed into one computer, so long as the motherboard has the right slots for that. Some Mobos support only Crossfire, others only SLI, some handle both.

Other Questions are for your guys... ;)

NinjaTronix
10-09-2009, 11:30 PM
Where have you read this?
Any proof for that?


"For graphics cards it looks like Nvidia Quadro Fx's and FireGl's work the best with 3D. The quadro's for what I've read looks like a better choice."

They were doing a ton of Quadro and FireGl comparasions in 3D World magazines. I forgot what issues they were. Each I think has it's different strengths. They're both look very close I think mainly depends what model you get. From the looks of things the Quadro equivalent to a FireGl looks better priced.

Quadro's being top of the line when working on multiple moniters. Was just something I heard just now talking with tech support from Fry's Electronics


Do you really need the fastest? If so, you have to buy a pair Intel XEON W5590, those are the fastest CPU out now.


Lol.. fastest processor that's within my budget.


There are some other reasons!
I donīt know what you mean with swichting between graphics cards?
Multi graphics cards can be installed into one computer, so long as the motherboard has the right slots for that. Some Mobos support only Crossfire, others only SLI, some handle both.


That's great too hear that multiple graphics cards could be installed in one computer. By switching I meant taking out one and put in another.

Like I primarily looking to work with a Nvidia Quadro Graphics card, but it isn't compatible with Max Os X Operating systems so I was hoping I'd be able to switch it with Nvidia GeForce Graphic card that I know does work with the Os. (Because I sometimes get HD footage captured with final cut that can only be edited with final cut.)

So if a motherboard has two graphic cards slots I could have both a Nvidia Quadro and a Nvidia GeForce?

Would they both be working at the same time?

imashination
10-09-2009, 11:53 PM
Quadro's being top of the line when working on multiple moniters. Was just something I heard just now talking with tech support from Fry's Electronics

Sorry this just made me laugh ;-) Most fry's employees couldn't wire a plug; taking advice on computer hardware from them is like asking Hugh Laurie for medical advice because he played a doctor on tv once.

Your whole post seems filled with something you heard from some guy that read a magazine once, and im not sure that anything we say here will change your mind?

I say quadros are a horrible waste of money, theyre not faster in the real world and theyre no more stable or supported than cheaper geforce cards. Others will disagree, you can search for these topics and decide yourself.

Multiple different gfx cards can be installed in one machine, its a pointless pain, dont do it. You only need 1 card for dual screens. 2 cards for 2 screens will show very little speed difference.

Gfx cards dont affect the vast majority of render engines, its quite unlikely you will want, need or use any of the current generation of hardware accelerated renderers. What happens in the next few years is up for grabs, but buying a card for software you dont have or plan to use isnt a wise investment.

Gfx cards speed up realtime feedback in heavy scenes, but, realistically the majority of speed problems will be a limitation of the cpu, this is where you should spend the most.

If you want a mac, just buy a mac, theres little point dancing around with random largely incompatible hardware crossing your fingers just because it will save you some money. If youre after a premade dual socket machine then apples machines are pretty much the same price as youll get from dell, hp or boxx. As its already been established that windows is very well supported on them, it seems odd that youd try to do it the other way.

Unless you want to spend silly money, all harddrives are 7200rpm. If you need more speed, strap several of them together in a raid rather than looking for 10k-15k drives.

Most motherboards these days have 6 slots for a single cpu machine or 8-12 slots for a dual core. even the lowest end machine you can buy will take 12-24 gigs, that will be plenty realistically.

Dont buy 8 gigs of ram, buy a multiple of 3 for a single socket, or a multiple of 6 for a dual socket machine. ie. 6, 12 or 24 gigs are nice numbers.

The fastest processor doesnt mean it will be the fastest renderer. eg. the fastest sensible cpu you can get would be an i7 clocked to around 4GHz. This will give the most responsive machine, good render times and the fastest 3d view in the 3d app. But this chip is limited to 4 cores. A xeon wont really go up to 4GHz, but you can install more than one into a computer, so what it lacks in raw speed, it more than makes up for in sheer numbers

i7 = rocket car
xeon = a fleet of transit vans

ThomasTheToolman
10-10-2009, 12:00 AM
"For graphics cards it looks like Nvidia Quadro Fx's and FireGl's work the best with 3D. The quadro's for what I've read looks like a better choice."

They were doing a ton of Quadro and FireGl comparasions in 3D World magazines. I forgot what issues they were. Each I think has it's different strengths. They're both look very close I think mainly depends what model you get. From the looks of things the Quadro equivalent to a FireGl looks better priced.

I readed those reviews too a lot and allmost everywhere.
But do you actually know what all those results mean they write nicely in there magazines?
Sure, there are some strengths, but they arnīt the money worth it.


Quadro's being top of the line when working on multiple moniters. Was just something I heard just now talking with tech support from Fry's Electronics

Actual Geforce cards working as well on multiple monitor.
There is no doubt anymore.


Lol.. fastest processor that's within my budget.

What is your budget?


That's great too hear that multiple graphics cards could be installed in one computer. By switching I meant taking out one and put in another.

Like I primarily looking to work with a Nvidia Quadro Graphics card, but it isn't compatible with Max Os X Operating systems so I was hoping I'd be able to switch it with Nvidia GeForce Graphic card that I know does work with the Os. (Because I sometimes get HD footage captured with final cut that can only be edited with final cut.)

So if a motherboard has two graphic cards slots I could have both a Nvidia Quadro and a Nvidia GeForce?

Would they both be working at the same time?

What a format is it you get what only can be edited with Final Cut?
Maybe you donīt know by now that you can edit this format also in other applications?!
Actual Quadro cards will work also with the actual MAC OSX.

If the MOBO has 2 PCI-E x16 Slots, it says you can use two identical graphics cards, but you canīt use different cards. What technologie is sopported by the MOBO is writen at the homepage of the manufacturer. Quadro and GeForce in one computer wonīt funktion at the same time, because they need two seperate driver, selfspeeking it canīt function.

ThomasTheToolman
10-10-2009, 12:22 AM
i7 = rocket car
xeon = a fleet of transit vans

Sounds kind of a good analogy.
No more words needed.
I like it and keep it... ;)

NinjaTronix
10-10-2009, 12:43 AM
I'm thinking I may just get a Desktop Pc for now with a GeForce Card for now to dual boot. My main concern about graphic cards is that I think my brother has a geforce graphics card, and I wanted to do some particle hardware rendering it said "insufficent graphics card" So as long as that message does show up when I try rendering something with the GeForce card I'd be happy for now.

In the future I think I'll sell my laptop get a macbook for my mac os and daul boot needs, and I'll still be able to upgrade the parts of the desktop pc in the future to whatever components I need in the future.

i7 was actually the processor I was looking into. I'm glad to hear it has a recommendation.
Is there any i7 model in specific?

Dont buy 8 gigs of ram, buy a multiple of 3 for a single socket, or a multiple of 6 for a dual socket machine. ie. 6, 12 or 24 gigs are nice numbers.

I'll definatly keep that in mind



Where have you read this?
Any proof for that?

Here's some more info for ThomasTheToolman on graphics cards
Great info and comparisions of Quadros, FireGLs, and Geforce.
http://features.cgsociety.org/story_custom.php?story_id=3321&page=3

It's an older article, but I'm sure the info would be useful. The 3D World articles are more detailed on strengths and weakness, most recent with recent models, but I'll have to look back at them. I'm not at home at the moment.

As long as I don't get an "insuffient graphics card" message when rendering different hardware particles I should be happy.

NinjaTronix
10-10-2009, 01:03 AM
What a format is it you get what only can be edited with Final Cut?
Maybe you donīt know by now that you can edit this format also in other applications?!
Actual Quadro cards will work also with the actual MAC OSX.

It's footage captured from a Xh-A1 in final cut. I've searched everywhere on it, and talked with many pros about it. Some say it's final cut capturing hd footage in a codec only it could read. Some says it's because Xh-A1's are mainstream to work with FC, but whatever the case may be no one has a solution for it other then recapturing it using Adobe premiere or daul booting the comp. Too much footage to recapture, and I may not always have the tapes to recapture. So I got into dauling booting.

ThomasTheToolman
10-10-2009, 01:23 AM
As long as I don't get an "insuffient graphics card" message when rendering different hardware particles I should be happy.

First. What GeForce card did your brother use as this issue appears, GeForce 6600 or even older? Times have changed, so does graphics cards and I didnīt get any issue till now with my GTX260 board, not when I use Painteffects, Fluids or even Dynamics.

I still have a thred open, you can read here: http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?f=23&t=808900


There I bring up some test results from within Maya 2010 x64 in a Windows 64bit environment by using some consumer cards like Ati 4780, GeForce 9800GT, 7950 x2 and more...


I donīt know which version of Maya you used or what OS, even not what graphics card you used as the issue "insufficent graphics card" appeared at your place. But read there comments from Raffaele (ThE_JacO) and Paul (paulrus), it might help to solve bad cliche about actual GeForce consumer cards.


Cheers!

ThomasTheToolman
10-10-2009, 01:30 AM
It's footage captured from a Xh-A1 in final cut. I've searched everywhere on it, and talked with many pros about it. Some say it's final cut capturing hd footage in a codec only it could read. Some says it's because Xh-A1's are mainstream to work with FC, but whatever the case may be no one has a solution for it other then recapturing it using Adobe premiere or daul booting the comp. Too much footage to recapture, and I may not always have the tapes to recapture. So I got into dauling booting.


What would "The Mill" do to solve this mess?
What a mess... I feel so sorry for you, really.

NinjaTronix
10-10-2009, 01:36 AM
First. What GeForce card did your brother use as this issue appears, GeForce 6600 or even older? Times have changed, so does graphics cards and I didnīt get any issue till now with my GTX260 board, not when I use Painteffects, Fluids or even Dynamics.

I still have a thred open, you can read here: http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?f=23&t=808900


There I bring up some test results from within Maya 2010 x64 in a Windows 64bit environment by using some consumer cards like Ati 4780, GeForce 9800GT, 7950 x2 and more...


I donīt know which version of Maya you used or what OS, even not what graphics card you used as the issue "insufficent graphics card" appeared at your place. But read there comments from Raffaele (ThE_JacO) and Paul (paulrus), it might help to solve bad cliche about actual GeForce consumer cards.


Cheers!

I don't remember having problems with Paint effects, Fluids or most Dynamics. It was mainly hardware rendering particles.

It was a new computer so I doubt the card was old, and I think I was using Maya 2008 at the time. It was like a year and a half ago. I'll try calling him and asking him what model his card was.

imashination
10-10-2009, 01:22 PM
He's right about the final cut format, Ive come across this too where ive been sent some video in a FCP intermediary working codec, which was only available on the mac and only comes with fcp. In short, whoever sent you the footage is a tit for sending it in such a limited, uncompressed format to begin with.

The link for your comparison of gfx cards is just specview. This isnt a reliable independent third party benchmark company, its literally funded by the gfx card manufacturers and always shows biased unrealistic results. Its like those daft 'independent' researchers that show windows is the most productive OS... but you can guess who paid them to do the research.

scrimski
10-10-2009, 01:47 PM
Dont buy 8 gigs of ram, buy a multiple of 3 for a single socket, or a multiple of 6 for a dual socket machine. ie. 6, 12 or 24 gigs are nice numbers.Why's that?

ThomasTheToolman
10-10-2009, 01:56 PM
In short, whoever sent you the footage is a tit for sending it in such a limited, uncompressed format to begin with.

Thats what I thought also.

--

Most common file formats are AVI or MOV.
You better talk to your provider sending you the footage next time in a more common format.

imashination
10-10-2009, 03:15 PM
Thats what I thought also.

--

Most common file formats are AVI or MOV.
You better talk to your provider sending you the footage next time in a more common format.

its not a question of avi or mov, these are just containers, they dont do any compression themselves. Its the codec within this container that is the important part. For example I can have an mp4 .avi file, or an mp4 .mov file. You can compress yourself a h264 file with either mov or avi or mkv if you fancy.

Dont buy 8 gigs of ram, buy a multiple of 3 for a single socket, or a multiple of 6 for a dual socket machine. ie. 6, 12 or 24 gigs are nice numbers.

Because the current generation of intel chips can interleave up to 3 memory sockets at a time. In short, it makes your computer faster. Now it doesnt make a huge difference in 3d apps, a few percent at best; but it is worth planning a machine around, if only because its a good excuse to get 12 gigs instead of 8 ;-)

ThomasTheToolman
10-10-2009, 04:09 PM
its not a question of avi or mov, these are just containers, they dont do any compression themselves. Its the codec within this container that is the important part. For example I can have an mp4 .avi file, or an mp4 .mov file. You can compress yourself a h264 file with either mov or avi or mkv if you fancy.

Let me think.
Does FCP has no opportunity for choosing the right codec to save the data in an proper format so he can use the footage right away outside MAC OSX in other applications for editing?

scrimski
10-10-2009, 04:30 PM
Of course. Any installed codec that runs on both systems can be used.

ThomasTheToolman
10-10-2009, 04:49 PM
Of course. Any installed codec that runs on both systems can be used.

Something to think about...

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