Computer Model and Performance

#61
Isn't the actual mac pro several years old? And I read somewhere that this year a new one will be presented.

I hope, they don't want to lose that market forever (and I for myself don't want to go back to windows ... nooooooooo).
 
#62
The Mac Pro is an odd beast. It's surprisingly modular but no-one makes modules.
I have a MacPro 6.1 and I love it for it's silent operation but I also bought it 3 years ago. Since that Apple increased the price of my configuration by €500 while keeping the same 3 years old components. So the MacPro is ridiculously overpriced and outdated at the moment. Who should buy such a computer today.

Tim Cook just swore that he has something coming out for pro users. My needs aren't urgent so I'll wait.
I'm very very careful with that. Tim Cook has a very funny understanding of Pro hardware. At the end it's just an iPad Pro 2.:wink:

Bye
Martin
 
#63
My iMac i5 2011 is gone this summer (power supply maybe...) so I just 'upgraded' to a Hackintosh Xeon E3 1225 16GB

Rendering/Pig.jas
2000x2000 16x16 samples

C3D V7.3.1
32,56 Sec.
(14 sec. faster than my old i5 with C3D V6.x)
 
#64
Just thinking today of buying a used MacPro (late 2013) from OWC. They are about half price compared to new, and I can't see a difference in specs. Is there a downside to doing this?
 

Shift Studio

Well-known member
#65
Just thinking today of buying a used MacPro (late 2013) from OWC. They are about half price compared to new, and I can't see a difference in specs. Is there a downside to doing this?
Its five year old tech. I personally wouldn't consider it unless it were even less than half price. Another option is the new mac mini. Upgrade it to the the same cost as the MacPro and you'd get a pretty fast machine. I'm unsure about it's GPU though.
--shift studio.
 

Swizl

Well-known member
#66
Just thinking today of buying a used MacPro (late 2013) from OWC. They are about half price compared to new, and I can't see a difference in specs. Is there a downside to doing this?
I think Martin has one of those (or he did at one point).

Those models aren't very upgradeable, but you may not really want/need to at this point. It will probably serve you pretty well. I think you can replace hard drives and maybe the RAM. The GPU's are so custom that none of the Video Card makers ever made ones to replace the originals. So you may want to pay attention to what cards are already installed. Mactracker shows three GPU options that came with those: Dual AMD FirePro D300 (2GB), dual AMD FirePro D500 (3GB), or dual AMD FirePro D700 (6GB). I'm guessing the GB is for each an not combined, but you may want to check on that. As far as rendering in C3d, the higher number of cores will be better. If Martin ever adds any type of ProRender feature, then the GPU's you have will start to make a difference. RAM is good for viewport performance, but my guess is that most machines will have plenty to not worry about that much. You won't be able to really add any other PCI cards (I think) into this one. You may not care about that though.

Is it the quad core or the 6 core one?

Pros:
This one is smaller than it's predecessor.

Cons:
Not very expandable after you buy it. You can probably retrofit GPU's from one model to another, but probably more expensive than buying a new card off the shelf that uses a standard PCI slot. Expandability is one of the biggest issues Pro's have with this machine. Though the specs are still ok, they don't match up with newer hardware.

I actually found a MacPro5,1 on ebay for about $650 including shipping. It already had 36GB RAM in it. I made sure it was one with the dual core slots and bought some X5690 Xeon chips on eBay for around $200. Then I replaced the stock GPU with a GTX 1080 FE (8GB). There is a big problem with the web drivers for that one though, which sucks. There are web drivers up to High Sierra, but none for Mojave. So no upgrading for me until they work that out (if they ever do). I can run full blast CUDA apps on my BootCamp Win10 partition though. This method of course would require a lot more work to sort out. A lot of these "cheese grater" used Mac Pro's you see on eBay are seriously beat up. I don't know what all these people have been doing with them, but a lot of them are beat up and bent. I just waited until the model I wanted came up that was in good condition. The biggest downside to these are that they are heavy and take up a lot of room. No problem for me though as I just have it under my desk. Also, the technology inside them is getting dated of course (no bootable M.2 SSD, no Thunderbolt options, etc.)

Anyway, I hope that helps. I've done a good bit of research, so just ask any other questions if you have them. My advice though is that if the price looks good to you, it's not a bad option to buy one of these MacPro6,1 machines. I'm sure it will perform really well for you for years. I just wanted maximum flexibility in my system is the only reason I went the way I did. I thought about doing a Hackintosh tower, but I need to use it for freelance work, and I don't want any surprises of my system failing at the wrong time.

Edit:
If you wanted to go the route I did, just let me know. The Radeon RX 580's are suppose to be Metal compatible if you want to have a native GPU that runs Mojave. This is suppose to be one of the best cards for the MP5,1's that is still supposedly compatible (I think). https://www.amd.com/en/products/graphics/radeon-rx-580 Just going off what I've read online. I'd have to look into it more to be sure that's true. It's a lot more affordable than the GTX 1080 I bought as well.
 
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Shift Studio

Well-known member
#67
Looks like Swizl put in a lot more thought into his advice than I did. :)
I have a 2013 Mac Pro with the 6-cores, d700s, 1tb ssd, 64gb Ram. It has served me well, but I'm drooling for more.
Sorry I don't have too much time for a thorough review today.
--shift studio.
 

Swizl

Well-known member
#68
Looks like Swizl put in a lot more thought into his advice than I did. :)
I have a 2013 Mac Pro with the 6-cores, d700s, 1tb ssd, 64gb Ram. It has served me well, but I'm drooling for more.
Sorry I don't have too much time for a thorough review today.
--shift studio.
Ha thanks! Any advice on here is good. It's helpful to have more than one persons input. I'm on vacation right now anyway, so I have time! LOL :p

Edit:

I also agree about the price point. That would be the biggest motivator if I bought one of these or not. I got the MP5,1 to hold me over to see what the new Mac Pro's next year will be like.
 
#69
Another option is the new mac mini. Upgrade it to the the same cost as the MacPro and you'd get a pretty fast machine. I'm unsure about it's GPU though.--shift studio.
The integrated GPU in the new Mac Mini (Intel UHD 630) is, at best, mediocre. And from my understanding it is not latest gen. More info from MacRumors thread below:
https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/mac-mini-2018-intel-uhd-graphics-630-pros-and-cons.2150795/

I am myself considering purchasing the New 2018 Mini - it is either that or update my Hackintosh. I love and prefer the Mac OS, but most of my work now is done on the PC. Cheetah is the only program I rely on for the Mac (Adobe After Effects and Premier Pro in latest update even support Apple Pro Res on Windows).

The lackluster GPU on the new Mini could always be offset by using an eGPU. More problematic for me is the fact that the SSD is soldered to the motherboard and not upgradable, which means you have to shell out up front for the largest capacity you think you will need. Not to mention if there is some kind of system crash, it is impossible to simply swap boot drives. Still, a maxed out 2018 Mini with 10G fits into my current needs really well.

Regarding the Mac Pro 6.1 - I personally would never invest in such a machine as it simply offers little over my Hackintosh. The introduction of the trashcan Mac is what drove me to build a Hackintosh in the first place, as I was getting heavily into GPU rendering with Nvidia cards. Also consider Apple will unveil a newly designed Mac Pro sometime in 2019 with promises of “fixing” the mistakes they made with the trashcan Mac Pro. This of course remains to be seen; I’m not highly optimistic. I also know whatever they do come out with is going to be super expensive.

Like Swizel says, trying to find a cheese grater 2012 Mac Pro could be a feasible option. With some minor restrictions, they support OS High Sierra and even 10.14 Mojave when “equipped with a recommended Metal-capable GPU". Those older Mac Pro’s were build to last; I still on occasion use a 2008 Mac Pro!

FYI Swizel: I have been using a Hackintosh for freelance for the last 5 years. And while I did have some issues, it has been remarkably stable. I think that as long as you have a real Mac (even if older) to fall back on then the risks are minimal. To mitigate such issues while on a job, you can also use a NAS to centralize working files so that you can use the other machine to continue where you left off in the event the Hackintosh can’t boot.
 

Swizl

Well-known member
#70
The integrated GPU in the new Mac Mini (Intel UHD 630) is, at best, mediocre. And from my understanding it is not latest gen. More info from MacRumors thread below:
https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/mac-mini-2018-intel-uhd-graphics-630-pros-and-cons.2150795/

I am myself considering purchasing the New 2018 Mini - it is either that or update my Hackintosh. I love and prefer the Mac OS, but most of my work now is done on the PC. Cheetah is the only program I rely on for the Mac (Adobe After Effects and Premier Pro in latest update even support Apple Pro Res on Windows).

The lackluster GPU on the new Mini could always be offset by using an eGPU. More problematic for me is the fact that the SSD is soldered to the motherboard and not upgradable, which means you have to shell out up front for the largest capacity you think you will need. Not to mention if there is some kind of system crash, it is impossible to simply swap boot drives. Still, a maxed out 2018 Mini with 10G fits into my current needs really well.

Regarding the Mac Pro 6.1 - I personally would never invest in such a machine as it simply offers little over my Hackintosh. The introduction of the trashcan Mac is what drove me to build a Hackintosh in the first place, as I was getting heavily into GPU rendering with Nvidia cards. Also consider Apple will unveil a newly designed Mac Pro sometime in 2019 with promises of “fixing” the mistakes they made with the trashcan Mac Pro. This of course remains to be seen; I’m not highly optimistic. I also know whatever they do come out with is going to be super expensive.

Like Swizel says, trying to find a cheese grater 2012 Mac Pro could be a feasible option. With some minor restrictions, they support OS High Sierra and even 10.14 Mojave when “equipped with a recommended Metal-capable GPU". Those older Mac Pro’s were build to last; I still on occasion use a 2008 Mac Pro!

FYI Swizel: I have been using a Hackintosh for freelance for the last 5 years. And while I did have some issues, it has been remarkably stable. I think that as long as you have a real Mac (even if older) to fall back on then the risks are minimal. To mitigate such issues while on a job, you can also use a NAS to centralize working files so that you can use the other machine to continue where you left off in the event the Hackintosh can’t boot.
I was very close to putting together a Hackintosh rig, but my wife is the one that convinced me to go with the 5,1 machine. I've had some experience with hardware mods over the years, so I'm not too afraid of doing it. I may still eventually build a proper one. Like you said, if Apple comes out with something that isn't very impressive for the next Pro one to be released next year, then I could possibly just look into building one.

Good tip on always keeping backups. Right now I have my OS on an SSD and then another 4TB SATA for file storage. Not only can a very powerful PC rig be put together, but the size and energy savings for new towers are much better than the ones that came out a decade ago (including the Mac). So a lot to weigh in on. There have been a lot of people over on the Modo forums that were long time OS X users that switched to Windows because the hardware options just weren't there for them to compete in the field. Even the guy that's from Greyscalegorilla switched after using Macs for decades. It sucks that it's come to this, but Apple has left a lot of graphics pros without many options.
 
#71
Mac mini (2018)
16GB
3,2 GHz Intel Core i7

Rendering/Pig.jas
2000x2000 16x16 samples

C3D 7.3.1
19.10 sec

71.98 sec on my old MacBook Air mid 2011. I'm very happy with the new Mac mini.
 
#72
13" MacBook Pro (2017)
8GB
2.3GHz i5

Rendering/Pig.jas
2000x2000 16x16 samples

C3D 7.2
30.15 sec

@ Uwe
I have been thinking of picking up a new Mac Mini to replace my ageing iMac. The results you posted might just put that higher I my priority list.(y)
 
#73
Mac mini (2018)
16GB
3,2 GHz Intel Core i7

Rendering/Pig.jas
2000x2000 16x16 samples

C3D 7.3.1
19.10 sec.
Impressive! You have the 6 core model I take it? As Daemoc said the acquisition of a Mac Mini 2018 just became a bit more attractive than the Hackintosh route. Clearly a high core count is very beneficial for Cheetah rendering. I was considering building a Hackintosh with the Intel Core i9 9900k, which is 8 cores 3.6 Ghz (not sure if this is too new a chip for an easy Hackintosh intigration though, need to research it more):

https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819117957
 
#74
More problematic for me is the fact that the SSD is soldered to the motherboard and not upgradable
Thanks, Pegot, didn't know that, as I didn't look much into it. But I saw the new mini as an option for the future (those things are quiet expensive, though, for what they really are). Now not so much anymore, especially not together with the junk gpu. And it's not possible to use a retina iMac as Monitor. Together with OpenGl maybe gone, I really don't have the slightest idea of what I will use in the future. I love the Macs and the OS, though.
 
#75
Thanks for all of the input, guys, and especially all of the thought that you put into this, Swizl!

Currently, I'm using an Early 2011 Macbook Pro, quad core i7. I also have an early cheese grater Mac Pro, which I liked, but it is not capable of running the newer operating systems, so it is collecting dust. When I was recently doing a lot of heavy rendering on the Macbook Pro, and saw the kernal_task using half of the CPU, I could really see what a bottleneck the rendering time was. Typical rendering time for a project is 6000 seconds without the kernal_task fighting me. My Macbook Pro is having other issues, now, too, and probably should be replaced. Last February, they "retired" me from my day job a little ahead of when I wanted to, and now have to support myself with the Cheetah3D work. If it was just a hobby, I could wait on rendering times.

The guy who does the repairs on this Macbook Pro tells me that the downside he sees to the MacPros is the limited internal storage expansion options. There is always the option of external storage, but that is not as attractive. The model I was looking at was a 12 core with 48GB RAM and a 2 TB SSD, around $3500 USD, which ought to resolve render times. Since I'm using it to make a living, maybe it helps at tax time, but that remains to be seen with the main income source gone and new tax laws in place. I don't really know what to expect at this point in that department.

The 6 core Mac Mini is an interesting option, but with the small package, I wonder if it can stand up to all-day rendering. Maybe some of you guys have some insight.

Again, thanks for the help!

Bill in MN
 

Swizl

Well-known member
#76
I think the biggest issue with the Mac mini may be just that you are locked into that hardware. Which may not be too big of a deal for you. I’m not so sure about the heat dissipation, but I know they are built pretty well. One of the older models was loved by people making DIY Mac Render Farms. If you do a google search I’m sure you can find some good info.

Sorry about being forced out of your job. It is good that you can pull some money in from C3d. I was able to count hardware and software towards business expenses when I started freelancing. I guess exactly what you can do depends on what state you’re in. I used Turbo Tax Business version to do my taxes. So that helped sort it out. Maybe talking to a CPA can help you get and idea what the tax implications are? You may be able to write some of the hardware / software off as a business expense.

Good luck with the hardware choice.
 
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#77
I've lost all hope that I will see speedy-and-affordable rendering on Macs in my lifetime and (had) built myself a Render PC.
Now I transfer my Cheetah models into Blender and render them on the dark Windows side.

For users who rightfully shy away from evil Blender it would be possibly helpful if there was a new version of the Lux exporter script.
LuxCoreRender recently got back Mac support and sports a vastly improved stand-alone renderer that runs on Linux, Windows and Macs with or without OpenCl.

Then one could model and image texture stuff on old Macs with Cheetah, export a Lux.cfg file that can be speedily rendered on a cheap Linux box with a Ryzen octocore plus RTX 2070.

Also Cheetah3D is well integrated with Unity which has a free OctaneRender plugin (restricted to one GPU though).

Though I will never give up on Cheetah I won't spend any more bucks on Macs given the ways of Apple that smell rotten to me :cautious:
 
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#78
Rumors are that changes are on the horizon for Mac's. It may be that Apple will switch over to their own, custom designed processor chips. If that happens, I doubt these chips will be available to the general public, so there goes any hopes of building a Hackintosh. Not that Apple is designing their chips to thwart people building there own machines (I think), but they are looking for whatever advantages their own product will offer; i.e. OS consolidation, custom instruction sets, etc. One can only hope that the transition will be smooth for software developers and that whatever product offerings come out will be affordable and possibly configurable. But Apple has always been more about control of their products than about being open and flexible. Anybody remember PowerMacs?; the clones Apple licensed and then swallowed up and shut down when clone sales were higher than genuine Apple machines? Quite sad really.
 
#79
Now that misoversaturated has mentioned the dark side, there's another concern of mine, the route microsoft currently is going. That they gave away windows 10 for free was quiet a strong signal. It did herald their new business model which seams to consist of two parts. Now the user's data is part of it. Which is a no-go for me. But even more important is that they are shifting for quiet some time towards cloud computing and AI. This means the renting of software on one hand, the renting of machines on the other. As soon as the latter has enough success less power pcs will be sold and therefore manufactured. It's possible that in a few years you will pay heavily for a good render machine or will not even be able to to get one. Tablets and smart phones took heavily from the market, and there is really a possibility that you will only be able to buy weak machines that are not much more than terminals to access the cloud and the computing power there. And that could be very, very expensive (at the moment it is). Except maybe Apple (so it really could get the other way around than it is now: Professional pcs from apple instead of win-machines).

The rumors of the new mac processors are really very wide spread. I think they are believable as it really makes sense. Not just what Kurt said, that's just another benefit for them, but they are fully dependent on Intel at the moment. And that firm has still some serious trouble, 2018 was a rough year to put it mildly. AMD seems to produce better processors at the moment. Apple has enough clout and money to get rid of this dependency and create something that could be at least as good as intel and amd (they just buy the expertise with the right people).

And the innovation in processor technology is not as big as it could have been since the 2000s. Already there it did slow down a bit, and today you can use computers several years and still have serious power compared to new ones. Some years ago nobody would even have thought of buying a new computer that is already 5 years old, nor would a firm like apple be able to still sell this same old technology for quiet a good price (if I could get my hands on one for a couple of hundred dollars I'd be tempted).

Well, there is Linux, a possible solution to all this problems I still have in mind. But with the decent win-machines gone, it just would be the terminal for the pricey computer power rentend on monthly basis.

And since my crystal ball is broken, I don't have the means to know in which direction it would be halfway sound to invest. In the long run the expensive apple computers could be cheaper than the other options. And there is the OS. With that I had less trouble in a year than with windows in a week in the last years of my being a windows-user. At least I could solve them myself (and to be honest, some of them were hardware related. But still).
 
#80
It is entirely possible that Apple with Metal on their own processors creates something competitive 3D-wise in the future, but at the moment by obstructing OpenCL (AMD rendering) and CUDA (nVidia rendering) at the same time with no powerful Metal based renderer to be seen anywhere they have kicked themselves out of the game in the consumer/prosumer market (of course CPU rendering on 18-cores for 15,000.- bucks is made available).

That's why I was reluctant to buy any traditional (Intel-AMD) Mac hardware right now.

They have not upgraded the iMacs in October.
Was it because Intel currently cannot deliver enough processors or are they finally paving the way for Ryzens to go into Macs?
Or is it really all about making their own chips?

No good times for consumers to make decisions.

I agree that probably the future for rendering is in the cloud and I already hate it.
When I tried to figure out Octane's new subscription model (most ridiculous scheme ever) I had to split myself into a laughing and a crying part and am not entirely sure about fully recovering because exactly this ridiculousness seems to be the direction everyone is heading to...
 
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