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Mac Pro hardware upgrade question...

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Still running VW 2010 on my Mac Pro 2x2.66GHz, 4GB RAM, with a NVIDIA Geoforce 7300 GT (256MB) - probably will upgrade to VW Architect 2012 w/ RW soon. Either way, looking to speed up the system a bit.

Any recommendations for the most bang for the buck? More RAM, and if so how much? Upgrade the video card? Looking at the ATI Radeon HD 5770 with 1GB as a possibility (currently about $223 at B&H).

For those of you who have upgraded to 2012, does the new version place noticeably greater demands on the hardware?

Thanks for your feedback!



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  • 2 months later...

I've got a Mac Pro 1,1 with a 7300GT, 2x 2.66Ghz dual-core Xeon, and 5GB RAM. I just upgraded to VW 2012 w/ RW and the graphics are noticeably slow. I feel like I'm waiting on the computer to catch up with me even on normal 2d drawing. I'd love to hear if anyone's getting good performance with the Radeon 5770.

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We have 2006 vintage Mac Pros with 7300s in. We've been told that there are no supported Graphics upgrades available for these machines, other than on the 2nd hand market.

Apparently the Radeon 5770 will run in them, but is unsupported and may blow a transistor. The power supply on the PCIe is insufficient for the 5770. You can minimise the risk by NOT having any other PCIe cards in the machine and NOT using dual displays.

We might risk one or two of our machines as a trial..

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I'm using a MacBook Pro manufactured between 2008-2009 running 2.5 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 6 Gig Ram, NiVidia GeForce 8600M GT and am happy when rendering in v.2012. For stills, I typically use HDRI backgrounds, with a medium amount of plants/trees (xFrog image props) around the entries, rendered in High settings in Custom Renderworks which might take 20 minutes for an end-of-design-cycle, full-on-everything rendering. Fly-arounds in OpenGL with everything set to high with ground volumes, some plants and furnishings, NO HDRI backgrounds, render in maybe an hour to 50 minutes. Fly-arounds in high settings for Custom Renderworks without or especially with HDRI will require you to schedule a vacation of several days to a week if you want the loveliest output.

For general getting-around the-drawing I experience no lag (stair tool not experimented with at this time), updating of files happens lickety split. No complaints with zooming or nudging.

Don't get me wrong, I have a list of gripes, but lack of speed is not among them.


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Markus, if you have speed problems think about getting an SSD and boot from that.

As you don't say which v. MacPro you run(mines the 2010-5.1) or your budget, i don't know what is available for yours, but the difference is remarkable on most fronts. i doubt it'll solve all needs, but it does get you very much closer under Lion.

Can't believe how much slower it seems when i have to restart from an HD running SnowLeopard.

Can't vouch for RW but C4D manages well on the SSD.

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Hopefully Apple will see sense and release new Mac Pros.


Our experience with hardware is that you need desktop class machines for CAD.

The compact machines which use mobile parts, iMac, Macbook, Mac Mini don't last. We hammer our machines including network rendering overnight and we have logic board failures on our iMacs which writes off the machine including the screen (repair cost is close to the replacement cost).

If Apple stops producing desktop class computers then we'll be forced to use Hackintoshes or switch to Windows.

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In keeping with this thread.....I would like to upgrade from 2011 to 2012 but have concerns about my iMac (2.66 ghz 8GB ram, Nvidia GeForce 9400 256 MB) not being able to handle it. 2011 works fine now...rendering can be a little slow but that doesn't bother me. Does anyone have any experience with 2012 and this particular iMac? Would the video card be the main concern? Thanks in advance for any thoughts.

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  • 1 month later...

I've got the Mac Pro 1,1 with the 7300GT, the 2x 2.66 GHz Dual-core Xeon, and 5 GB RAM. The VW website says that if you want to take advantage of VW 2012's advanced OpenGL capabilities, this card isn't adequate. But I only use OpenGL for modeling (and Renderworks for lighting & shadows) and in VW 2012 the basic OpenGL is noticeably improved over VW 2011. (I've yet to work on a large project).

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