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Old 01-02-2013, 10:28 PM   #1
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Suitable Mac system for Maya 2012-13

Hello,

I have been tasked with doing some research into a suitable Mac machine for running Maya-either 2012 or 2013

Can I get some opinions on the following system which my IT department has suggested?

I am a. not a systems guy I just use the program and b. a Mac guy, this will be the first time I have used Maya on a Mac.

http://www.softchoice.com/catalog/en-ca/desktops-apple-mac-pro-xeon-w3565-3.2-ghz-monitor-none.-MD770LLA-MV1252

Besides the fact that Mac OS Mountian Lion apparantly does not support Viewpoint 2.0 (which I have never used but hear is great) I have some concerns with this system

-it has a quad core where it seems like everyone recommends 6 or more

-the graphics card being a Radeon HD 5770 (asopposed to 5870) with only 1GB

Can someone please evaluate this system and let me know if it is going to do the trick.

Oh-I am doing mostly architectual fly-thrus with some moving cars but limited animation beyond this. The scenes are pretty huge though-like master plans with hundreds of small condos and trees to bog down resources.


Thanks

Last edited by MB07 : 01-08-2013 at 06:57 PM.
 
Old 01-03-2013, 09:53 AM   #2
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How do,
If you're looking at that bottom end MacPro because of budget, then I'd get the top of the range iMac with the 680MX graphics card (build to order), it's around 3x faster then the one in the MacPro. There's also the i7 processor upgrade (again, build to order) which would make the machine a good 30% faster then that MacPro:

However, if money is no object, those top of the range MacPros are pretty tasty

Where did you hear that VP 2 doesn't work in Mountain Lion? I've not noticed any problems (other then VP2 being unfinished in general).

Hope that helps,
Ian
 
Old 01-03-2013, 10:25 AM   #3
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Maya works quite well on Mac OS, but at times you will wish that software and plug-in developers supported the Mac platform as much as they do the Windows platform. That is to say that you will encounter some tools that are only available on Windows, or come to the Mac platform several months later. If you're a Mac guy, that's nothing new to you. Maybe you can convince your IT department to dual boot your Mac Pro so you can jump into Windows 7 if necessary, but it's probably more trouble than it's worth.

The system you linked to only has 6 GB of RAM. That's pretty low. I'd recommend a minimum of 16 GB, but would suggest 32 GB or 64 GB. Basically as much as you can afford, especially if you're rendering hundreds of trees and whatnot. The more RAM you have, the less your render engine will have to cache overflow data to your hard disk, which slows things down considerably. As for the processor, I wouldn't worry so much about the machine having 4 or 6 cores, but I'd try to get a dual processor system if I were you. The faster your processors are, the faster your renders will finish.

We're using Radeon 5870s with 1GB. They're "okay", but are a complete joke compared to what's available on the PC side. More GPU RAM will allow you to work in the viewport more smoothly and can help speed up real-time rendering (VRay, iRay) and dynamic simulations in some cases. (I can't speak to Viewport 2.0 because I don't use it. Still seems very under development.) A big problem is the lack of GPU options on the Mac side. You can't even get a built-to-order Nvidia option from Apple right now.

Finally, if you have a working machine already, it's probably a good idea to wait until Apple announces their next generation of the Mac Pro. It hasn't had a solid update in roughly three years and there haven't been any real price drops, so you'd essentially be buying a three-year-old computer at full price. A ton of studios are in desperate need of new hardware and they're all either waiting for updates, or switching to Windows. We're waiting to see what's announced, but are seriously considering abandoning the Mac platform which would be unfortunate, but we don't have much choice. Supposedly we'll see an update later this year, but nobody knows if it will be a step in the right direction. Maybe the new Mac Pro will just have a home button and that's it.
 
Old 01-03-2013, 04:23 PM   #4
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Thank you both, I appreciate the concise explanations and will follow up with my IT guys on your suggestions.
 
Old 01-06-2013, 04:17 PM   #5
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That's a pretty old machine to be throwing that kind of money at. I'm a Mac Pro user but you should be able to get a much better Mac Pro for that kind of cash. I sold my 2010 12-core 2.66GHz Nehalem Mac Pro with Radeon 5870 for $3900 about five months ago. That would destroy that machine. Get this instead:

http://store.apple.com/ca/product/F...intel-xeon-2012

That price is in Canadian. Look for refurb 12-core 2010 machines instead of a quad core. The 2.2GHz machine would be in your price range but that's already close and it has much more RAM. It would also completely murder your linked machine. The one I linked to would score around 11.5 in the current Cinebench. The one you linked to would probably get below 6. A current iMac would even beat it easily.

regarding the other stuff:

Mountain Lion 10.8.2 works fine with Maya I use this combo daily. Autodesk is just retardedly slow about certifying systems and I'm sure it will be another 20 years before Windows 8 gets certification, even though many people are running it fine.

Get more RAM. 16GB is the minimum for a 3D workstation. 6GB will be brutally slow because of the virtual memory paging and OS overhead.

The Radeon 5770 is fine but the 5870 is better. The Quadro 4000 isn't good enough to warrant the extra cost.

Last edited by cgbeige : 01-06-2013 at 04:23 PM.
 
Old 01-08-2013, 06:59 PM   #6
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Thank you that was a very helpful post.
 
Old 01-08-2013, 10:01 PM   #7
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are you in a rush?

because apple should be releasing new mac pros early this year... rumor has it that is. tim cooks did say a redesign was coming tho.
 
Old 01-08-2013, 10:03 PM   #8
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Yeah sort of unfortunately-I had heard the same
 
Old 01-09-2013, 04:15 PM   #9
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Ok so if I can change gears without starting a new thread-what about a comprable PC to handle Maya as per needs of original post? In doing some research online I see even a lot of Mac fans saying that right now the PC's can offer more processing and graphics power for Maya workload. Can someone suggest a good system here too?

Thanks for all the help with this!
 
Old 01-09-2013, 06:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
In doing some research online I see even a lot of Mac fans saying that right now the PC's can offer more processing and graphics power for Maya workload. Can someone suggest a good system here too?


This has always been true, but it's not a Mac vs. PC thing. That's just marketing hype. Macs and Windows computers share many of the same components, since Apple dumped IBM and went with Intel. Macs are just as much personal computers as a similarly configured Windows or Linux counterpart.

But Maya renders faster in Mac OS and Linux than it does in Windows, and you can forget about Windows 8 altogether too. This appears to be due to Windows 7's process management; one can override this with third-party applications and equalize rendertimes, but most people don't do this or aren't aware it's possible (and easy).

Another reason to stick with the Macs is that unless you already know what you're doing and build your own workstation, there's no equivalently-configured turn-key Windows machine that's as easy to use. If your people are used to Mac OS, I suggest sticking with it. And if you end up needing Windows, you can install that on your Mac as well.

If you're looking to save money and get the most bang for your buck, build your own system. If you're not prepared to do that, CGBeige's suggestion is a great one to save money and maximize processing power, so maybe look for a used one?
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Old 01-10-2013, 01:54 AM   #11
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Maya is faster to render in OS X and Linux due to the compiler used for Qt on the respective platform, not specifically the OS. Although, OS X and Linux are still better at multitasking than Windows, so there's that too.

I built a nice, cheap-ish overclocked 6-core i7 3770K that scores the same in Cinebench as my 12-core 2010 Mac Pro 2.66GHz, but I gave up trying to use anything but OS X for creative work, since I like Unix and Linux isn't OS X when it comes to creative software. I use the PC as a render node and gaming machine. I recommend either waiting a few months for the new Mac Pro, getting the refurb Mac Pro or, if you really don't mind switching, go with the Windows i7 3770k for the most bang/buck
 
Old 01-10-2013, 02:17 AM   #12
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Also keep in mind that "bang for your buck" isn't always all it's cracked up to be. I built an FX-8120 system last year which on paper seemed amazing, and the price was definitely great for the components. And it is much faster for many tasks than my current 1100T system, but for rendering with Maya/mental ray, the 1100T with six physical cores still wins, and stays cooler doing so. A budget system will take a performance hit no matter how you look at it, but CGBeige's recommendations are usually spot-on.
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Old 01-10-2013, 03:18 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cgbeige
Maya is faster to render in OS X and Linux due to the compiler used for Qt on the respective platform, not specifically the OS. Although, OS X and Linux are still better at multitasking than Windows, so there's that too.

I built a nice, cheap-ish overclocked 6-core i7 3770K that scores the same in Cinebench as my 12-core 2010 Mac Pro 2.66GHz, but I gave up trying to use anything but OS X for creative work, since I like Unix and Linux isn't OS X when it comes to creative software. I use the PC as a render node and gaming machine. I recommend either waiting a few months for the new Mac Pro, getting the refurb Mac Pro or, if you really don't mind switching, go with the Windows i7 3770k for the most bang/buck


Hey man,

Qt is a windowing tool kit, and really doesn't have much to do with performance in Mental Ray or Vray. Multitasking works fine on all consumer OS's, and Maya still crashes and leaks memory on OSX, Windows, and Linux. I think your reading into things a bit much.

The 3770K is also a quad core.

-AJ
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Old 01-10-2013, 04:08 AM   #14
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Quote:
Multitasking works fine on all consumer OS's, and Maya still crashes and leaks memory on OSX, Windows, and Linux.


There's a huge difference between "working fine" and "working well". I can't speak for Mac OS or Linux, but with Win7 thread/process management is certainly not optimized in any way, out of the box. TaskMan will not allocate more/less cores (change affinity) or prioritize them in any dynamic way. You can only set the cores and the priority, and you can't dynamically recover memory or a host of other features which are fully functional with a third-party application.

On a test render with Win7 vanilla TaskMan, a test render yielding a 50 minute rendertime dropped down to 39 minutes when using ProcessLasso, on the FX-8120, due to process optimization and priority boosts. That's a 128% speed boost from software alone.

Is it working fine in vanilla Win7? Sure, the render finished. Is it working well? No, not if it's that much slower than an optimized process manager can yield. I'm not even convinced ProcessLasso is the best one, either - but it does eliminate memory leaks and crashes in many cases, due to dynamic resource management.

Now one could argue that if Mac OS or Linux had a similar process manager in play, they could perform even better than Windows under such optimization. If this is a topic worth exploring, let's start up a new thread dedicated to unraveling such mysteries and do some medium science.
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Old 01-10-2013, 05:02 AM   #15
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@Sho: If your really concerned about optimizing your renders, and your the kind of person who likes to tinker, definitely download a Linux distro and play around.

I've been through the same types of things you have on OSX, Linux, and XP, and its the same story for every OS. Except XP does have that wonderful task manager that lets you play with the priority and thread count for each process.

@Mitch: If your looking for more hardware specific info, try posting on the technical/hardware forum.

http://forums.cgsociety.org/forumdisplay.php?f=23

There are plenty of folks there who would be happy to help.

-AJ
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