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I've seen a lot of interesting posts on this forum regarding the hardware for vision. I'm Mac based for VW though I also use a PC for a rival, un named visualiser (ok then Wysiwyg). Obviously a PC will be a bit cheaper than a maxed out Mac Pro, does anyone know if the ESC export can be dropped straight into vision on a  PC? Or would I have to convert the original VW file to PC then export? 


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I can answer this, it's one of my favorite topics. Though my opinions on the matter are solely that, and aren't representative of Vectorworks in any way. I'm going to imagine the legal people are giving me a high-five for that.


First to answer your question simply, yes, and ESC file is transferable to a PC from a mac and vice-versa. Just make sure you keep the mac up to date by running the Vision updater with the dongle in every now and then, to keep your fixture modes current. Honestly though, unless for some reason you need to use a Mac for your drawing I'd just use a PC for the whole process. Your VW license allows for 2 installs anyway.


Ignore below if tech discussion bores you:

Finally, for the question you didn't ask. A maxed out Mac Pro is $7000, a maxed iMac Pro is $13,000. For the same performance in a pc you'd be looking at....2000? Maybe less. Here's where they get you - hardware exclusivity. The Mac Pro likes to tout the dual D700's as a big selling factor, because you can't find a PC with them. Why? Apple took W9000's from 2011, renamed them, and dropped them in. Vram, clock speeds, memory speed, all identical to a W9000. BUT, Apple says they cost like 2 grand each - so people think they are good.


Next, the processors. Not many things utilize multiple cores at all, let alone some of the high counts in server CPUs. Xeons are designed for a ton of people accessing a computer simultaneously and doing different things. I'd put money on the server for our website having a Xeon. Anything over 4, just won't really get used - unless you tinker with processor affinity to manually assign a process to certain cores every time you launch it. Which leaves us with performance on 4 cores or less. The iMac Pro has a Xeon W-2195 (I'm assuming, they never specify for some reason) which has a clock speed of 2.30 GHz, ouch. My personal machine has an i7 8700K, running comfortably at 5.0 GHz, and that processor is about $2000 less.


The comparisons I always see are between a mac and a PC with the SAME hardware, but this is silly. You wouldn't try to go out and buy a W9000 for a PC, it's 7 years old. If you do go PC, let me know. We've walked a bunch of people through part picking - to get the best bang for your buck, and I'd be happy to help out.



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Please spec a PC and be specific.. that out performs a maxed iMac Pro on a $2000 budget.. I'm curious.

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Posted (edited)

So, I had to take some liberties considering apple chose some...weird parts on their maxed version. 


128gb of ram is pretty gimmicky. Nothing actually utilizes it. Like the above however, you could use it with a few thousand tabs in chrome maybe. Linus tech tips actually did a great video on 128gb, and every test showed no speed improvement. However, if we are being sticklers - add about $500 to swap the motherboard for a server board and add another 64GB of ram. Just note that even 64GB is going to be a little silly in most environments. 


I also went with single core performance over multi-core because of my previous statements. Multi-core could benefit someone in a very specific environment (but not VW or Vision). Funny enough, even when people compare the 18 core iMac to the 8 core, they are excited about 5 minutes saved on an hour video render.


It's worth noting as well, that basically all of mac hardware is proprietary (but not the good kind of proprietary) stuff made at foxconn.


Here's the list I came up with, at $2451 so the number I pulled out of the air was a little off, but not by much. I added liquid cooling and a 4k monitor for kicks but this is obviously optional. The funny thing is, 5k iMacs are 118ppi. That 4k monitor....is 157ppi. Take that as you will though. iMac displays are pretty. If you want to near that $13,000 price tag a bit, you could add $1500 or so for an actual 5k display.


Without further ado, here's a part list:


PCPartPicker part list: https://pcpartpicker.com/list/kdx7yX
Price breakdown by merchant: https://pcpartpicker.com/list/kdx7yX/by_merchant/

CPU: Intel - Core i7-8700K 3.7GHz 6-Core Processor  ($379.99 @ Amazon) 
CPU Cooler: Corsair - H60 (2018) 57.2 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler  ($59.99 @ Newegg) 
Motherboard: MSI - B360-A PRO ATX LGA1151 Motherboard  ($69.99 @ B&H) 
Memory: G.Skill - Ripjaws V Series 64GB (4 x 16GB) DDR4-2400 Memory  ($519.99 @ Newegg) 
Storage: ADATA - ULTIMATE SU650 960GB 2.5" Solid State Drive  ($136.99 @ Amazon) 
Storage: ADATA - ULTIMATE SU650 960GB 2.5" Solid State Drive  ($136.99 @ Amazon) 
Storage: ADATA - ULTIMATE SU650 960GB 2.5" Solid State Drive  ($136.99 @ Amazon) 
Storage: ADATA - ULTIMATE SU650 960GB 2.5" Solid State Drive  ($136.99 @ Amazon) 
Video Card: EVGA - GeForce GTX 1070 Ti 8GB SC GAMING ACX 3.0 Black Edition Video Card  ($409.99 @ B&H) 
Case: Corsair - Carbide SPEC-04 (Black/Gray) ATX Mid Tower Case  ($44.99 @ Newegg) 
Power Supply: Corsair - CXM 550W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply  ($42.98 @ Newegg) 
Operating System: Microsoft - Windows 10 Pro OEM 64-bit  ($124.79 @ OutletPC) 
Monitor: AOC - U2879VF 28.0" 3840x2160 60Hz Monitor  ($250.99 @ Amazon) 
Total: $2451.66



***NOTE: My views on this matter are my own, and NOT the views of Vectorworks. In fact, VW HQ is full of macs.***

Edited by Edward Joseph
Added 18 core/8 core compare
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Thanks @Edward Josephfor this list!


I am a mac user but have often wondered what would be a very good comparable windows machine, and I think you have definitely given me something to consider.





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