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buying new mac need advice

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How long do you keep your computers? How much rendering do you do?

While VW2008 might not support multiprocessors, it is the direction the industry is going. I would expect some future version, probably in the next 2 years to support multi-processors. If you keep your machines longer than that, then I would get the quad now to be ready for future software upgrades.

If you do RenderWorks Renderings, I would get the quad now as it will use all the cores.


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I have the beast from January; Mac Pro Quad-Core Intel Xeon, 2.8 GHz. I now have 10GB of memory and about 3TB of disk space on this thing. I added the NVIDIA GForce 8800GT to the ATI Radeon HD200 XT for faster OpenGL rendering and I drive 3 monitors.

This baby screams. It is really fast, and uses all 8 cores on final quality renderworks. The only reason I don't use that as my default rendering is that OpenGL is just about as fast with the NVIDIA (and it is much easier to move around the model in OpenGL). When NNA allows more cores for basic functions I am more than ready.

What I really need is for VW to use more memory. It crashes once it starts using more than 2GB when you are rendering.

Get as many cores as you can afford. NNA will improve this over time and you will be happy.


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I agree with RonMan. I have the 2x 2.88 (8-core) and like it a lot. The rendering times are great (except radiosity which is single core only). I have the ATI 2600 with 2 displays (3, RonMan?, do you need to climb up over them to get to your desk?), and it is okay, and may upgrade that as better cards become available. I thought about the older macpro, but at the rate I replace hardware (I had my last computer for 8 years) I figured getting out on the bleeding edge when I bought was a good move over the long term.

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Apple are currently only offering the Octo-Core Mac Pro, ie Dual QuadCore processor machines.

You cant go faster that these, it will not be long when VW is multi-processor aware.

Make sure you have the right RAM, which is unique to the MacPro and is most efficient if used in blocks of 4, ie use 4 x 2 Gigs rather than 2 x 4 Gigs. It is also cheaper doing it this way.

Also fast hard-drives will speed things up, although the the relative cost a 160gb 10000rpm drive is the same price as a 1TB 7200rpm drive.


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Do you all know something I don't? What makes you so sure that VW will be multi-core aware "soon?" I certainly haven't heard anything from NNA that would make me hold my breath. They can't seem to find the resources to update stair, window, or door PIOs or fix known bugs, how the heck are they going to rewrite the entire application to use more than one processor?

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I don't have any specific information on VW, but here is my reasoning:

1. The future of processors is multi-processor.

2. There likely will not be any great increase in clock speed, but a huge increase in the number of cores per chip.

3. The Software Development Tools (compilers and the like) are all supporting multi-core, so it will almost be harder to not use them.

4. If you are right, we all need to be searching for a new program as VW will fade away in the next 5 years.

5. There are two different teams (at least) at VW. One does the core of VW. This is the group that will have to worry about multi-cores. One does the vertical markets (Arch, Landmark, Spotlight). They want mult-core support as much as we do.

6. I don't think it is a matter of rewriting everything, more a matter of changing a few things and flicking a switch in the compiler.


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Three monitors are great! Main screen for VW. Left screen for worksheets and other programs (Word for specs, Excel for spreadsheets, Strata 3DX for odd renderings). Right screen for pallets.

Thought it would be overkill when I set it up, but it only took me two days before I realized how cool it was.


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There is a lot of room between your "rewrite the entire application to use more than one processor" (Post 108311, August 15, 2008) and "Simple as 'flicking a switch'".

What I said was "I don't think it is a matter of rewriting everything, more a matter of changing a few things and flicking a switch in the compiler." There is work to do, but some of it gets taken care of by the compilers so not everything has to be manually changed.

Multi-core processors have really only been available (at least on a Mac) Since August 2006. VW2008 was realeased in September 2007. Not a lot of time to do the work (and especially the testing) to do a modification that for most day to day uses in a program like VW don't make a huge difference in the operation speed. Especially since NNA was already doing a major switch from PowerPC to Intel chips in the Mac.

Tools get better. Priorities change. Hardware gets faster.

If you really want a single processor machine, I have a very nice first generation G3, 266 MHz that I will let you have cheap. ;-)


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There is a lot of room between your "rewrite the entire application to use more than one processor" (Post 108311, August 15, 2008) and "Simple as 'flicking a switch'".

Quite true, Pat. I just get the feeling that the amount of work required is closer to "rewrite the entire application..." than it is to "flicking a switch."

While I agree that much of the "drafting" done with VW won't see a noticeable improvement using multiple processors, the rendering component will. I switched from ACAD to VW last year in an effort to improve my presentations and my design process through the use of 3d modeling. My hope was to do ALL projects in 3d so that my clients could have a clearer vision of the finished product. I bought VW because it allowed me to draft, model, and render all within one application. Unfortunately, I'm finding that the rendering component is quite slow so I spend a great deal of time waiting for VPs to render. If making VW multi-processor aware is relatively easy, I don't understand why it wasn't done that way to start with.

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Renderworks does use multiple processors.

Yes, but only "final quality renderworks." And none of the other rendering options (hidden line, artistic, radiosity, etc.) do.

I guess we will just have to agree to disagree on this one and wait and see what the future brings.

I hope that you're right and I'm just being a pessimist.

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