Is the Quadro necessary?

Discussion in 'OT Technology' started by AnoesisX, Apr 4, 2010.

  1. AnoesisX

    AnoesisX New Member

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    I will be attending school in July and they offer a laptop program, with discounts on laptop with recommended configurations for the your major. I'm taking the BFA in computer animation and one of requirements says 512mb of dedicated graphics card (avoid ATI, intel, or Nvidia GForce series cards) The software we will be using will be Maya, motion builder, among others. I picked the midrange config from the hardware provider through the school. It shows the retail price and then the student price.

    Is this a good deal? And is the Quadro FX 2700M necessary? I would like to get save as much money as I can. Is there any other manufacturer other than dell and hp that have these configs?
     
  2. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    Quadro isn't designed for rendering videogame graphics; it's designed for rendering 3D wireframes. The important difference is the wireframes aren't texture-mapped. You want a GeForce for what you're doing.
     
  3. AnoesisX

    AnoesisX New Member

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    I'm taking Computer Animation that involves making/animating 3d models. that would involve 3D wireframes and rendering them with texture. Why would the school recommend this computer then. (I know i'm sort of answering my own question. But I wanna know if they are just trying get students to buy these pricey laptops cuz they benefit from it or you really need them.)
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2010
  4. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    Well...you definitely want a good dedicated graphics card, no dispute there. And lots of RAM will help if you're going to be doing any rendering work. You don't need the integrated webcam, but that's probably a minor cost. And of course, the extended battery is a nice thing to have since you're going to be pushing the hardware on a regular basis.

    My brother is getting ready to study the same major, and a GeForce 7600GT works fine for the hobby stuff he does. I really don't think the Quadro is optimized for texture-mapping, as opposed to CAD-style bare-wireframe work, but maybe they're all so fast nowadays that it doesn't matter unless you're rendering a movie.

    I dunno; it's your call. In your position, I would spec a couple of comparable machines, leaving out extras like the webcam, and see what price I can get. If you can't beat what they're offering, you might as well get it. Just make sure when you're shopping around, start with machines labeled "portable workstation" or something similar; they have better motherboards than normal laptops.
     
  5. CodeX

    CodeX Guest

    I cannot believe a graphics design school would recommend a laptop for 3D rendering/animation whatsoever...
     
  6. 5Gen_Prelude

    5Gen_Prelude There might not be an "I" in the word "Team", but

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    Once again, Deus is steering someone wrong.

    Maya has very specific qualifications:

    http://download.autodesk.com/us/qualcharts/2010/maya2010_qualifiedworkstations_win.pdf

    Stick with the recommendations. I can tell you that the last thing you want to do is spend money on something that isn't recommended by the software manufacturer. It's not that it WON'T work, it's that it might not work and in that situation, the last thing you want to be doing is having any conversation regarding bugs with the manufacturer because they'll be less than helpful once they realize you're not using spec'd laptops.
     
  7. XR250rdr

    XR250rdr OT Supporter

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    :werd:

    Other 3D design software is the same way. It may work fine on non-approved hardware, but its not worth the gamble.

    I wonder about the laptop recommendation too. I would lean more towards a nice workstation with plenty of screen real estate unless you will be needing the computer in class regularly.
     
  8. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    As someone who works with Autodesk products on a daily basis, I am comfortable saying their hardware requirements are primarily driven by what the video card companies are paying them to advertise. I have Dell Precision workstations from 2001 with RDRAM and nVidia Quadro cards, and I have Core2Duo laptops from three months ago with 4x as much RAM and nVidia GeForce Go cards, and they all run Autodesk's (and ESRI's, and Leica Geosystems') products equally well. The only noticeable difference is the older machines take longer to load the software into RAM, but that has nothing to do with the video card.

    It's certainly true that it's easier to get support for their software if you're using exactly the hardware they recommend, I can't disagree with that, but that's as far as the risk of using other hardware actually extends. I read that "recommended hardware" sheet 5Gen linked to, and there isn't a single sentence anywhere in it that explains how/why a Quadro is better-equipped to run their software. There's a reason for that.

    In fact, if you click here http://download.autodesk.com/us/qualcharts/2010/maya2010_qualifiedgraphics_win.pdf and scroll down to page 5 of 10, you'll see a list of consumer video cards that have been tested for use with Maya. Of course, they change-up the chart legend with scarier symbols and stronger wording, but there still aren't any cards listed that actually have an X next to them, which would indicate they are unsuitable for use.

    And if you click here http://www.nvidia.com/object/quadro_geforce.html, you'll get a PDF published by nVidia themselves, describing the relative strengths of Quadro video cards vs....well, they don't say what they're comparing it to. The reader most likely assumes they're comparing Quadros to GeForces, but they could just as well be comparing them to cheap chipset-integrated video cards. But that ambiguity aside, what is the first thing they say the Quadro is good at? 3D wireframes and 2D overlays. Well, isn't that a coincidence, it's almost like I know what I'm talking about.

    As far as his school recommending a laptop, the reason should be obvious: that way he can bring all his shite with him to class, and the school doesn't need to set up a bunch of computer labs with high-end workstations (and expensive software licenses) for his classes to be taught in. It's actually not a bad idea, though I think it would be much better for him to get a laptop with an internal skeleton, like a Lenovo Thinkpad or something, as long as it has a dedicated video card.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2010
  9. Kieffer87

    Kieffer87 Orly OT Supporter

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    I would recommend a desktop personally. I work with 3ds Max and premier pro all the time for class and although my MBP with 8600M GT handles it fine when building, the rendering really stresses it. I think a desktop would be better especially when you are going to be stressing the hardware for hours on end while rendering.

    Another thing I recommend is going with a fast multicore processor and loads of ram as others have suggested.
     
  10. AbortionSurvivor

    AbortionSurvivor Active Member

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    Video card companies aren't paying autodesk to advertise, but it's rather what Autodesk got for free.

    I work for VMWare and what we put on our Compatibility list is what our partners "loan" to us or what we ask for. But at no time do the partners pay us money to list their equipment on the hardware compatibility list.
     

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