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Scott Reynolds

Machine Upgrade

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I started using rendering with v12.5 and like it alot. BUT rendering is slow. Loads slowly too but that I can live with.

I need to buy a new machine anyway. Where do I spend the money to get the speed? A better graphics card, more RAM, faster CPU, dual processor - which gives the best bang for the buck for rendering? Other operations are acceptably quick.

I am running Win XP SP2, P4 2.4 Ghz or so, 500 MB RAM, built in graphics. I do simple residential architecture with no fancy rendering plans (no fog, etc).

Can I have some advice please?



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Intel Core 2 Duo Processor and lots of ram, 2 GB, will see you rendering at a good pace.

Intels Core 2 Duo processor is not only considerably faster than your old P4 it runs cooler and uses less energy to do so.

As with all processors there comes a point at which you really do pay a lot more for the faster speed. A good blend of power and price is the E6400 model.

With graphics cards you can pay a huge sum for a "professional" card or a top of the range gaming card. Again setting your sights slightly lower offers excellent performance at a reasonable price. GeForce 7600GT if your on a tight budget, if you have a bit more GeForce 7900GS. Frankly anything will be faster than the onboard graphics you have at present, especially as its using your ram to help it, and you only have 500mb !!

Don't bother with another P4 no matter how much of a bargain its sold as, or the Pentium D range, now Core2 Duo is out.

AMD up until the release of Core Duos from Intel was your better bet and they are still fast processors if you look at Athlon 64 X2's but they largely struggle to keep up with the Core2 Duo on power and price.

Check this out from a recent copy of PC Pro magazine regarding CPU's.


You may have to register, but its free.

It sounds like you'll be buying from a manufacturer rather than self build so look at specs, compare them and ask if its Windows Vista ready, will you get the upgrade to Vista as part of the package. Will the motherboard allow you to upgrade the CPU to the quad core processors that are being released some time next year I believe.

Happy Shopping


Edited by alanmac

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I have the machine that Alan describes, and obviously I agree with his advice. The Xeon dual 3.2 GHz processor is a good step up from the P4. I have the NVIDIA Quadro FX3450 video card w/ 256K memory, works very well, but I haven't tried anything more powerful. 2G RAM seems adequate since, like you, I don't do too much in the way of photorealistic rendering.

One of the keys to my work is being able to tour the building in OpenGL with realtime walkthrough, to get a sense of how the design decisions play out in 3d. I'd have to say I'm pretty satisfied with the capability I'm now getting out of this machine.

One thing I wouldn't recommend is the 64 bit operating system. I had to say goodbye to too many older programs.

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Add some memory to your existing CPU

it may be enough for what you are doing - if this is not a full time job.

as least 2048 MB - 4096 even better

RAM is relatively cheap these days

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