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MAC Pro upgrade

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  • 5 weeks later...
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It is unlikely you would notice the difference between the D500 and the D700 in Vectorworks. Currently both are massive overkill. Again, you'd notice the wallet ache mostly.

"Currently," but what about in the long term, say, five to eight years? Clearly Vectorworks, in recent years, has noticeably increased its demand for more powerful graphics cards. Given that trend, is the D500 such "massive overkill" that it's highly unlikely the D700 would ever make sense for Vectorworks?

If given a choice, would the money be better spent on 32 GB of RAM (for the sake of Renderworks) than on the D700? Or is 32 GB of RAM even excessive, without more cores, such as 8 or 12?

Thanks! Will

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

ONE D500 or D700 will make sense very soon, but we don't currently support SLI/Crossfire (what you need to utilize two graphics cards at once) and I don't see that happening very soon, as for most users it would not be beneficial as it is in say, modern video gaming.

For the next 2-3 years id say the 32GB of RAM would benefit you more than a D700. I wouldn't attempt to guess at anything past 5 years since the tech industry changes so rapidly and fundamentally now.

For instance, 8 years ago was a world before smartphones.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I've read this thread a couple of times as well as doing other research. And I still don't quite have the answer about iMac vs. MacPro. It sounds like a highest end iMac (i7 processor and the NVIDIA GTX780 graphics card) may outperform the low end MacPro (four core with AMD D300 graphics card) at this point--except maybe when rendering with Renderworks.

But if VW starts using multiple cores this fall, is that going to change whether the MacPro is worth the money?


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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Graphics card doesnt matter for Renderworks renderings.

More/faster cores will improve Renderworks speed. So if the higher end i7 in the high end iMac has more/faster cores than the low end Mac Pro, then yes it would render faster.

But if VW starts using multiple cores this fall, is that going to change whether the MacPro is worth the money?

Renderworks already uses all your cores.

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does anyone want to write a script that zooms in and out, selects all, moves left 100ft then back and maybe a few more things? i am getting a new mac and want to do a video that has the side by side comparison look with maybe a timer in each corner.

i just want to test the general 2d environment for now.

Edited by digitalmechanics
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Jim,

When Vw couples screen redraw with the graphics card, I imagine the second GPU would still be helpful in driving a 4k display? One card for the display, one card for Vw? Or is the second card unnecessary for that as well?


PS Are retina graphics coming any time soon?

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

When Vw couples screen redraw with the graphics card, I imagine the second GPU would still be helpful in driving a 4k display? One card for the display, one card for Vw?

No. Unfortunately that logically SEEMS like how it would work but in practice, regardless of the application that isn't how it is.

An application would have to specifically support multiple GPUs which I have not yet seen any mention of in improvements to Vectorworks. Also, the OS cant choose to split functionality across multiple cards truly. Normally using more than one card involves using them together acting as one card in either SLI (Nvidia) or Crossfire (AMD).

PS Are retina graphics coming any time soon?


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Hi Jim,

I seem to remember watching parrots of an Apple WWDC 2014 session regarding how the GPUs are broken up "Harnessing the Power of the Mac Pro with OpenGL and OpenCL". It started to put me to sleep, but I had thought it did matter what port a screen is plugged into, depending on the software requirements. I will go back and watch as a reminder.

Having been almost exclusively a PowerBook/Macbook Pro user, am keen for the possibility of moving to a serious workstation. Am commonly modelling huge sites in Vw, and getting into C4D/After Effects. Obviously more processors are generally more important for these apps, than multiple GPU's, but an iMac seems like a short term fix. iMac hardware (generally higher end laptop spec) is simply not the server grade stuff that the Mac Pro is. Also seems wrong to throw out a monitor (as part of the iMac) every three years or so.

Maybe the speed jumps we all desire, just aren't there at the moment. We have the top of the line iMac in our studio, and besides very large OpenGL and Renderworks renders, it doesn't seem much faster than my 3 year old MacBook Pro. Maybe that is because the i7 in my MBP is very capable. But the biggest issue I out of memory challenges, and they happen equally on both machines. Looks like I will be waiting until Vw can use all the memory it can, and until then my MBP will do just fine.

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  • 1 month later...
  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

GPU usage will not change this version, so the previous tips would still stand.

The only real difference is that now the large amounts of RAM available on both models would now be used, however if you are just using Architect with no Renderworks, most like you would not benefit much from more than 16GB of RAM unless you were working with extremely large or complex files.

Edited by JimW
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I will tell you that I purchased a New Mac Pro 6-core, Xeon E5, 3.5 GHz with 16GB RAM. This is SEVERELY FASTER and more stable with Vectorworks than my maxed out 2008 Mac Pro Quad Core with a Nvidia GeForce GTX 680! I create and import intense models from places like Turbo Squid, I also make very high renders. The new Mac is setting me free and rendering at a fraction of the time. I will post back about how VW 2015 reacts with it.

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  • 2 months later...
  • 1 month later...

Just to throw in,

I did a lot of screen renderings in RW on my 6 core nMacPro.

There are so many renderstyles beside C4D GI and Raytracing,

and threads in VW, that work single core only.

Considering that, for VW CAD and RW Rendering, the new

Retina iMac i7 295X would be the better AND faster Machine !

(With a sharper screen btw)

So it should not get hot or loud in VW, just avoid Fusion Drives

or rotating 3.5" HDD's that will get warm.

But if you use additional professional Rendering Software and

hope for better ATI OpenCL acceleration in the future,

The nMacPro with D700 (!?) will be fine, unimpeachable and

super quiet.

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  • 4 months later...

Getting back to everyone about the Mac Pro, very sorry for the delay. It is an amazingly fast computer and I have no regrets spending the money! I no longer have to wait through the night for renderings compared to my last 2008 Mac Pro Quad Core with a Nvidia GeForce GTX 680! There are minor glitches with VW 2015 but I really don't see them relating to the Mac Pro. All things considered, I highly recommend this Mac.

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