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Graphic Card Option

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I think the NVIDIA Quadro FX 4800 for Mac? with Elemental Accelerator is the best graphics card for the MacPro. It would be nice to have someone else weigh in on this as far as how VW2010 uses the MacPro graphics card. It would also be interesting to know if the Elemental Accelerator is will help decrease wait time in Final Quality RW or Radiosity calculation.


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Thanks for that info. I was at Best Buy last night on non VW business, but couldn't help checking out the desktops re VW and got the following advice:

Wait for the Intel i7 processor - while most quad cores can't really be accessed by most programs, this is new architecture that lets programs access all 4 cores if necessary.

Two mid level graphic cards (most computers don't have slots for two, but new version of Gateway FX does) are better than one higher end for fast rendering.

As you can see, my computer isn't that old, and $1000 doesn't seem to be too expensive to me if I can avoid long waits and numerous crashes, which I have now. I haven't worked in 3D a lot just because of the crashes and delays.

I guess I am asking what you think the highest level of Windows computer, graphics card and memory for someone moving into 3D with VW 2010 (just got my copy, not loaded)

Thanks in advance for supplementing the VW knowledge base info.

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Multiple cores will affect two aspects of Vectorworks.

First, Several Renderworks modes will utilize multiple cores.

Second, additional cores means that although Vectorworks runs on only one core at a time, it will be interrupted less frequently because other processes can utilize the other cores.

The i7 processor has been here for many months. From an operating system standpoint there is no difference in how the cores are utilized.

Core 2, Nehalem, and even Core processors are seen by the Operating system in the same way under Windows (snow leopard has an issue with Core processors, however).

For Vectorworks there is little advantage to running dual cards. Other than OpenGL rendering very little of Vectorworks performance is dependent on the graphic card, and more importantly Vectorworks is temperamental when it comes to video card drivers. Dual card setups may compound this issue.

If you want the fastest Renderworks times, a workstation with dual quad core Xeon processors is the way to go. But, you won't find any in your neighborhood Best Buy.

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Thanks for the input. First, the comment on waiting for the i7 was based on the fact they had virtually no computers in the store - waiting for Windows 7 they had let the stock run down. I had a feeling that, while knowledgeable, he may have been trying to stop me from going somewhere else to buy saying "all the stores were low".

It was also clear that despite being 50ish that he was a gamer and the VW knowledge base calls for a true workstation rather than gamer computer, so I figured his input was perhaps from the wrong perspective.

Speaking of dual monitors, does anyone run a small second monitor just to keep the tools and etc. out of their way?

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So back to the graphics card discussion...

In respects to modeling historic buildings from dxf meshes created by Lecia Cyclone from HDS point cloud info...

Does anyone have comments as to if an extreme graphics card (such as the FX 4800) will speed up navigation on screen, modeling commands, and re-composition of 3D polygons from decomposed meshes?

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Thank you everyone.

Ray, Apple can ship with any one of these two cards. Sounds like one of this will work just fine--from the discussion above.

NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 with 512MB of GDDR3 memory, PCI Express 2.0, one Mini DisplayPort, and one dual-link DVI port

ATI Radeon HD 4870 with 512MB of GDDR5 memory, PCI Express 2.0, one Mini DisplayPort, and one dual-link DVI port

Talking about the processor cores, will VW take advantage of 8 core or that will be an overkill too? I know one can never go wrong with extra memory if ones budget allows.

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What about Open CL? Isn't Open CL going to boost rendering speeds via the graphics card somewhere in the not to distant future?


Open CL allows GPU computing, in theory.

This means that tasks which would run on the CPU are written to run on the GPU.

It might make the beefier card a worthwhile investment.

In two or three years today's high end card will be middle of the pack in terms of hardware performance.

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Open CL allows GPU computing, in theory.

This means that tasks which would run on the CPU are written to run on the GPU.

My understanding of these things is peripheral at best, but the hype as I read it was that OpenCL was going to unlock some pretty big number crunching abilities in the GPU that are specifically suited to tasks like rendering. No eh? What a pity, rendering is a huge bottleneck in my workflow and I thought OpenCL was going to provide a shot in the arm.

Back to the topic of card selection, I used to update my mac towers about every 3 years and never swapped out a graphics card between updates. Graphic card options in the mac universe are not the same as the plethora of replenishing options you get over on the windows platform, so I've generally viewed taking the best option off the shelf at the time of purchase as the more economical, less wasteful way to go. I switched to an imac with my last update and the same is true because, of course, even if I wanted to swap the GPU (like I never have) I never could.

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First off, I'm not a graphics card expert, I only know what works for me. I bought a Quadro card once and it was a waste of money for VW use.

I always buy the latest model NVidia card possible for around $120, what I consider the price/value line. It's always worked well for me. I run two monitors with 512 MB of memory, but that's probably going to go up to 1GB on my next purchase.

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