View Full Version : Boxx, Mac, Alien, etc..... whats best for xsi??

10 October 2006, 02:40 AM
Hey All,

Just got my first taste of 3d on xsi, and it looks like a keeper. I was wondering? whats the best machine to run it on? I've seen all the pro's the cons and prices, But whats the word from those who really use it?

thanks ,


10 October 2006, 05:31 AM
Home built all the way! This probably doesn't work that well for a studio, but for a small one man operation like I have, this is the only way to go. It's cheaper to build and many of my upgrades have been little more than replacing the cpu, which isn't possible on a mac and may be difficult on custom jobs like Alien/Boxx.

10 October 2006, 05:43 AM
How about recommended pc hardware to get to build a desktop for XSI? And for several budget ranges such as $1500, $2500, $4000 and etc.

10 October 2006, 07:20 AM
Hmmm, custom builds are cool, but again that falls under "made of what?" Brand, viedo, ram, cpu amd vs. intel, Windows vs. Suse. I guess I could go out and build a machine, but what hardware or componet is the best for running xsi?

So let me reword the question.

Out of Boxx, alienware, mac(running xp), or anyother prebuilt system for animation and vfx for xsi, which would you sugest as being the best platform to go with?:)

price range: 12g for computer,
os: SUSe, or Windows
3d package: XSI essentials, and or XSI full meal deal


Major NoOb.

10 October 2006, 08:24 AM
Well, Boxx are consistently recommended on the hardware forums, and respond personally over there - I don't think any of the other manufacturers do that. Macs seem to be a very good deal at the moment, their prices for dual xeon machines are very respectable and not what I expected from apple. Only problem may be getting certified drivers and graphics cards - there isn't as much choice as pc components. There have also been niggling problems do do with boot camp, which makes me think it may be wise to wait for the next version to smooth out the bugs.

Quad core Xeon chips are due out in november, which almost certainly means a price drop in other components (Intel and AMD), so it may be wise to wait til then to see what comes out, and if its worth investing in an 8 core machine (if you're a one man studio and will need to get render work in and out the door quickly I'd say yes personally).

As for essentials versus advanced, depends on your needs again - if you might need to do a lot of hair stuff or cloth sim it might be worth it. Behaviour is also included but the learning curve is very steep.

Ed Caracappa
10 October 2006, 01:52 PM
Lots of choices for building your own! Intel's Woodcrest kicks butt and their new quad core processors are right around the corner. XSI is not multithreaded enough to take advantage of all the cores when you model but, when you! It will scream. If you have questions, feel free to email me directly. I'd be happy to try and help whether you're going to buy or build your own.


10 October 2006, 05:15 PM
Thanks Mattmos,
I'll def check the hardware form. thought I just try the source first:). totaly cool insights!!

And yes thank you ED Caracappa when I've come down to what I'm going to get lol, If I go with boxx, I'll def email you and see what you can do for me. As for the new chips coming in nov, thats good too know. hmmmmmmm chips :)

little less of a NoOb

10 October 2006, 06:18 PM
You get what you pay for. Just be sure to look into getting a "work station" and not a gaming PC- many dealers sell "workstations" that really are just game PCs with a new name.

You might also consider some other parts to your equation if you do other kinds of work on your system- such as editing of audio or video. Make sure to check with each developers web site for any complications etc. such as when using pro-tools.

IMHO there are two ways to go- VERY cheap but effective, and "high end workstation". Otherwise it seems your wasting your money as the value just isn't there and the middle ground has "consumer product" written all over it. You don't want the most "bling" for the buck, but "bang" for your buck.

If you can gauge what kind of work you plan to do it can also help you decide where to spend the money. Knowing the size, and complexity of your scenes on average, both as a mesh, and in terms of how they will be rendered is important. The people who mainly setup scenes, and model them have different needs than those who light them and render them etc.

And last- never discount a good work station setup- people over look the quality and kinds of input devices they use all too often. The desk, the chair (or lack of one), the mouse and keyboard, pen tablets- monitors etc. are VERY important in the long run, and shouldn't be discounted for a bit more video ram or a slightly faster CPU IMHO. PCs get better every minute, but the human body only gets older! :)

10 October 2006, 07:34 PM
So what should you look for in a cheap and effective workstation? And does boxx have one that is under 2000?

Ed Caracappa
10 October 2006, 07:40 PM
Honestly, "cheap" and "effective" don't really go together. There are lots of trade offs but, here's my minimum recommendation:

One dual core processor (pick your poison, Intel or AMD)
2GB of memory (I wouldn't go with less)
nvidia Geforce 7900 or Quadro FX1500
80gb hard drive
dvd/cd burner
windows xp pro

If you have more money, upgrade processors, graphics card and memory, in that order (works for most people). If you're working on huge images then go processors, memory, graphics card.

That's rough but, it works.


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