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New workstation for VW rendering & Vision


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Hi All


Im about to invest in a new VW workstation as my poor Macbook Pro is getting hammered with renders. It regularly hangs when doing section viewport hidden-line renders, for starters.


I read this excellent post on benchmarking different setups:


Im keen to stay with Mac OS - despite having to pay a bit more for it.


The rig that ticked all my boxes was a 27" iMac Pro - but its a bit out of my price range.


So, Im looking very seriously at a Mac Mini setup:


3.2Ghz 6-core Intel Core i7 

32GB of 2666MHZ DDR4 RAM



Radeon Pro WX 9100 GPU - 16GB

Razer Core X Thunderbolt 3 External GPU enclosure


I was wanting to go to an 8 core GPU - but the Mac Mini scored very well in the benchmark test.


Does anyone for-see any issues going with an eGPU (external graphics card) - with the Mac Mini??


I work in the entertainment & presentation industry - and I do many renders for clients. I would also like to go down the Vision route at some point - so I need a setup that will cope with this.








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Whats your current specs?

How much ram do you have in your current macbook? When you check your memory usage during your work (while drawing, opengl, hidden-line rendering and renderworks), does it ever get above 80%?

Also check the memory usage of your gpu during opengl navigating.


The hidden line renderings can't get much faster as it is single-core only. Any upgrade of the cpu can't speed up this much. It's possible that your ram gets full and is therefore  limiting the speed of hidden line rendering. Then you'll achieve an improvement with more ram.


With renderworks you can get a lot out of it with a new system. But the MacMini is not the right choice. You need as many fast cores as possible. In the price range in which you orientate yourself, a 6core is much too little. For the same price as the MacMini i7 32GB with AMD RADEON PRO WX 9100 and external case, you can get this for example:


AMD Threadripper 32core CPU @3.0 GHz and boost @4.2 GHz
32 GB RAM @ 3200 MHz
Geforce RTX 2070


The system is about 6 times faster in renderworks, it renders images where you need an hour with the MacMini in just 10 minutes and it's still cheaper. The graphics card is clocked faster and has faster memory, it loads OpenGL models faster and displays them more smoothly. The GPU has less VRAM, but you can't fill 16GB VRAM anyway, if you don't have 64GB RAM.

A comparable but for Vectorworks still weaker system from Apple would be the maximum equipped iMac Pro. But you pay 10'000.- more.

If it's really from Apple, I'd wait for the new MacPros at the moment. They will come sometime this year. Equipping a new MacMini with an external graphics card is a far too expensive solution.  Especially since you spend a lot of money on the compact form and then put a second case next to it... This is only worth it for those who want to upgrade the existing hardware.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator


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