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Workstations For Poor 3D-artists

CmdrTaco posted more than 12 years ago | from the budget-3d-baby dept.

Technology 240

Peter writes: "Ace's hardware has written an 'article for the creative people, who are searching to build or buy an affordable number cruncher to run their favorite workstation application. Maybe you already have an Athlon Thunderbird/XP and you are wondering if a dual Thunderbird/Athlon XP workstation might make sense for you. Or you might be interested in an affordable dual Athlon MP 1800+ workstation.' Included are benchmarks based on almost all available 3D-animation packages."

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FP! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2682036)

FP by ankit!

Re:FP! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2682053)

Now that I have managed to get an FP for the third time, I would like to thank a few people for all the support and the help that they provided along the way. Firstly, my parents for bringing me in this world. Next, it is CmdrTaco for, you know what. After that, last but not the least, the millions of /.ers that were sleeping while I managed to get an FP! HURRAY!!! It is an amazing feeling!!

Scratch that FP. (-1)

TrollMan 5000 (454685) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682082)

AC's are not allowed to particiapte in FP's. Therefore, I seize and claim this FP in the name of hardworking, logged-in trolls everywhere!

Logged-in trolls ==The Giver [goatse.cx]

AC's == The Goat [goatse.cx]

Hope you learned that lesson well, bitch. Class dismissed.

Hurd makes us pure (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2682185)

Advantages of the Hurd

The Hurd is not the most advanced kernel known to the planet (yet), but it does have a number of enticing features:

It's free software

Anybody can use, modify, and redistribute it under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL).

It's compatible

The Hurd provides a familiar programming and user environment. For all intents and purposes, the Hurd is a modern Unix-like kernel. The Hurd uses the GNU C Library, whose development closely tracks standards such as ANSI/ISO, BSD, POSIX, Single Unix, SVID, and X/Open.

It's built to survive

Unlike other popular kernel software, the Hurd has an object-oriented structure that allows it to evolve without compromising its design. This structure will help the Hurd undergo major redesign and modifications without having to be entirely rewritten.

It's scalable

The Hurd implementation is aggressively multithreaded so that it runs efficiently on both single processors and symmetric multiprocessors. The Hurd interfaces are designed to allow transparent network clusters (collectives), although this feature has not yet been implemented.

It's extensible

The Hurd is an attractive platform for learning how to become a kernel hacker or for implementing new ideas in kernel technology. Every part of the system is designed to be modified and extended.

It's stable

It is possible to develop and test new Hurd kernel components without rebooting the machine (not even accidentally). Running your own kernel components doesn't interfere with other users, and so no special system privileges are required. The mechanism for kernel extensions is secure by design: it is impossible to impose your changes upon other users unless they authorize them or you are the system administrator.

It exists

The Hurd is real software that works Right Now. It is not a research project or a proposal. You don't have to wait at all before you can start using and developing it.

Cheap is always good (0, Offtopic)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682040)

Cheap things are good!

Re:Cheap is always good (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2682066)


AMEN! You mother is the cheapest whore I know, and she gives the best blow I have ever had. Nothing like a crack addict to do anything for a 5-spot.

rarh (-1, Offtopic)

PogiTalonX (449644) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682042)

hi.

Re:rarh (-1)

Fucky the troll (528068) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682232)

hello

how are you?





Re:rarh (0)

PogiTalonX (449644) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682345)

Just dandy! How about yourself?

Man (-1)

c_g_hills (110430) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682047)

It ain't fair.

Stephen King, author, dead at 55 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2682052)


I just heard some distressing news on the radio - author Stephen King was found dead in his Maine home this morning. It was just a little news flash without any more details. I'm sure the slashdot community will miss him - even if you don't like his books or movies, you can't deny his contributions to american pop culture. Truly the passing of an icon.

Macs (2, Insightful)

CmdrPaco (531189) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682065)

Ok, this isn't a troll... Many graphic artists uses Macs, as most of us already know. They learn how to use Macs and to use the Mac versions of Photoshop, Illustrator, Painter, etc. I don't see many graphic artists gravitating towards the iX86 platform. I think they would prefer to stick to Macs, even if it is a slower, more outdated machine, because it is what they are used to. Just like many M$ users stick to Winblows, because they are used to it, even though Linux or BSD would be better. Just my 2 cents.

That's gonna fly really well here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2682075)

Yeah, most people don't use Linux, so I don't see many users gravitating towards Linux. I mean, who are WE to question the collective intelligence of CONSUMERS? ;)

Re:Macs (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2682083)


This article is about 3D Graphics..
Not many use Mac for that!
i think the top 3 is like this:

1- Windows
2- SGI
3- Linux

So it makes sense..

Re:Macs (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682101)

As the AC above me said (and he's right), there are few major 3D animation programs made for the Macintosh.

None of the programs they tested have Mac versions, though Maya and (I think) 3D Studio Max are developing Linux versions.

Though now that MacOS X is out with all of the Unix-like functionality, we may see them ported.

Re:Macs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2682111)

from 2 x above AC:

I use Maya for Linux.
Alais already made an version for Linux
thats is complete. about MacOSX it will come
but i think the advatage of Linux is thats is open, free, stable and last but not least FAST!

Re:Macs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2682135)


BSD? BSD does not have the fine 3D accellerations for my hardware, thats why i use Linux really if those Nvidia drivers will become as good as they are under Linux i might take a look.....

Re:Macs (2)

Quizme2000 (323961) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682138)

I will agree with you on the mac debat, but do poor 3D artist by the latest and greatest hardware? I'm thinking the $300 Sgi Indy or $500 onyx workstations you can get on ebay. As far as software goes they already have it, you don't upgrade to main stream pro whatever just because its possiable. Unknown software companies pump out great 3D software. Go to the local compusa and see what they stock in the graphics isle. IANA3DA but my two roomates work at ILM across the street, poor as dirt too.

Re:Macs (2, Interesting)

J05H (5625) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682476)

as a digital artist (3d, 2d and video), I used Macs and Amigas for years, both in school and then professionally. A few years ago, I jumped on the opportunity to switch to WindowsNT for my paying work, and also built a PC for home use. I will NEVER go back to relying on Macs for paying work, to unreliable, to hard to maintain, crash to much, and they are way slow compared to modern PC hardware.

make mine... whatever goes fast and is stable...

Re:Macs (0, Troll)

autocracy (192714) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682524)

Obviously an enhanced spell checker that covered grammar had nothing "too" do with it...

Re:Macs (1)

Ardax (46430) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682527)

You should check out the AskSlashdot story on building an Artist's PC.

The reason Graphic Artists still use Macs is because they're still better. They have little things, like well-supported, OS-level color correction. These people like to know that things are going to print out (at both their proofer and the print shop that runs the job) the same way they look on screen. I mean, who would think that a professional artist would give a fuss over the fact that this red and that red don't match?

If you want to piss off the design dept. at a print shop, send them a Publisher file. :-)

Re:Macs (1)

xyance (455677) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682551)

Sorry, but you forget one thing: this article wasn't about 2D art (as in "Photoshop, Illustrator, and Painter"). Its geared toward the 3D artists and workstations for these artists, which require way more processing power. Yes, Macs have been used by 2D graphic artists for ages, but in the 3D world, SGI has dominated for quite a while, either on the IRIX or NT. What this article was about trying to do was show that one could build inexpensive, yet powerful, systems that could provide the sort of capabilities without shelling out $5000 on an SGI.

(Note: Though SGI was never mentioned in the article, its basically what the writer was hinting at.)

3D Artists? (5, Insightful)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682067)

Cheap box for 3D artists?

What about cheap software for 3D artists?

(BTW - IANA3DA, but I'm pretty sure that all 3D software for modelling and such is mucho dinero)

Re:3D Artists? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2682080)


Simple. Warez.

Re:3D Artists? (0)

EnamelMachineSoca (460270) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682102)

I totally agree. I pay an arm and a leg for good software every time, so I spend a lot more time than I would like to looking for a *cheap* version of everything. But cheap hardware makes a difference when the Visa bill drops in!

Re:3D Artists? (-1)

Fucky the troll (528068) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682119)

3DS Max is stupidly expensive, Lightwave isn't quite so bad, but you still have to pay through the rectum for it.

Once you've bought the machine, you can't afford the software or vice versa.

Besides, Taco is a pigfucker*





* I cannot guarantee the reliability of my sources for this information

Re:3D Artists? (2, Informative)

MrDog (307202) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682120)

http://www.blender.nl

Try this 3D modelling and animation app. It's free, and remarkably full-featured. There are links on the site to some tutorials, as the UI is non-standard. To quickly see what can be done, browse the user gallery and webpages, also linked from the main page.

Re:3D Artists? (3)

underpaidISPtech (409395) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682242)

I tried out blender a couple years ago, when I was seriously shopping for a 3d package. It's interface is a real nightmare, even for a 3d app, and that says something. Further more, the rendering engine (at the time mind you) was primitive. I will admit it had alot of features that you only find in the higher end 3d packages, but overall, the learning curve is pretty steep.

You will spend far more time trying to figure out what you just did, what happened to your view, and how to get it back, then you will modelling.

The only way to figure out how to use it to cough up $199 for the manual (cannot find anything on the site right now).

I admit it's been a couple of years since I checked it out, my info may be outdated, but in the end, I settled for Cinema 4D [cinema4d.com] . The interface is pretty clean, good animation and modelling tools, one of the fastest rendering engines out there, and the price is decent for a commercial app. Good thing too, because not only am I a poor artist, but I am a poor (read: crappy) 3D artist too ;)

Re:3D Artists? (1)

Jacek Poplawski (223457) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682327)

It's interface is a real nightmare,

I believe you can say exactly the same about vim. But I use Blender and vim without problems. How it is possible?

You will spend far more time trying to figure out what you just did, what happened to your view, and how to get it back, then you will modelling.

Yes. When I am writing letter I shouldn't use vim or latex, becouse I must see my fonts in Microsoft Word.


The only way to figure out how to use it to cough up $199 for the manual (cannot find anything on the site right now).


There is a lot of tutorials in the Net. Please look at blendermania ! [blendermania.com]

Re:3D Artists? (3, Informative)

MrDog (307202) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682414)

My experience with Blender goes back only about a year or so, I don't know what it was like then. The interface actually is geared for speed. It took about a day or so before I had some idea where everything was. Now, I spend much more time modelling than pulling down menus (it has a really efficient hotkey + mouse combination). The rendering engine is scanline-based, not raytracing, but the results are pretty good. It also has the advantage of speed over a purely raytraced renderer. There are now plugins developed for export to external raytracing engines.

The "official" manual is $35, and two really helpful tutorial books are $20 each. I've never seen any manual for $199, though.

Recent improvements include a new "bones" animation system including weighted deformation values per vertex, C-C subdiv surfaces, and a python scripting interface for procedural modelling and animation.

Re:3D Artists? (1)

ratbag (65209) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682121)

cheap software:

Blender [blender.nl]

Rob.

Re:3D Artists? (5, Informative)

eric2hill (33085) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682122)

Martin Hash has a product called Animation Master. It's spline based and cheap. Find it here [hash.com] . It's got a little bit of a learning curve, but it's quite full featured and comes with a nice book. "We make software even an artist can afford." It's $299 for a new copy, and $99 for an upgrade. They release a new version about every year or two. They have versions for both Windows and Mac.

Re:3D Artists? (2)

Apreche (239272) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682158)

$299 is not cheap. It's cheap compared to other 3d software sure. But it's still not cheap. I myself am not willing to pay more than 50$ for any single piece of software.

Re:3D Artists? (2)

BluePenguin (521713) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682330)

Animation master is also available for $199 at trade shows and conventions. I don't have their current schedule, but I do know they'll be presenting at Sakura Con [sakuracon.org] and selling the software at the discount rate.

As another note on Hash, the guys who work on Animation Master are about the coolest I've ever met (it's not many offices you see where employees have parots on thier shoulders), and they're great people. Hash Inc owns the Columbia Arts Center [columbiaartscenter.com] and has done some amazing things to support art and culture in the Vancouver (Wa not BC) area.

Re:3D Artists? (1)

fishebulb (257214) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682126)

these companies seriosuely need to release a licensed copy of their software for personal use, with explicit uses such as, you can mess around with it. a lot of them have student licenses, but not everyones a student. Id gladly pay $50 or so for a copy of 3dstudio max or lightwave. I cannot afford to spend more money on a single piece of software then my car is worth. I have old outdated versions of a lot of that, all non legal copies unfortunately, because the company is getting zero instead of atleast a nominal fee, which i always felt bad about

Re:3D Artists? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2682150)

If your car is worth $50, maybe you should walk-it would be safer.

Re:3D Artists? (1)

fishebulb (257214) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682499)

try reading, left to right, my car is worth $2000-3000, most good software, atleast that

Re:3D Artists? (1)

liquidsin (398151) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682254)

Unfortunately for those of us who only like to dabble with 3d artwork, this won't happen. The good folks who make lightwave are already making a mint off of major production houses, and could probably care less about the pirated copies floating around, since they're only used by people who just want a test drive. We're stuck with things like blender (which isn't actually that bad) or ripping a copy off of alt.binaries.warez. Incidentally, if you're not into making huge landscapes, and we're not still supposed to be boycotting Adobe, try out Dimensions - it's pretty nice for making small objects, and simple animations (which can be exported to flash as a movie sequence..)

Re:3D Artists? (1)

Theodrake (90052) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682303)

I like companies that only charge for their current version and make previous versions available for free. I believe this is good for the consumer and it pushes companies to release upgrades that fix major problems and/or provide significant improvements. Why? Because they are competing with their own free software.

Blender? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2682130)

What about blender? http://www.blender3d.com/ [blender3d.com]

Re:3D Artists? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2682207)

What about cheap software for 3D artists?


There are actually several cheap 3d packages out there. Caligari TrueSpace and Hash's Animation Master are both $300 and both are top quality products, which can produce professional quality results. Caligari even sells older versions of their package for a reduced cost.

Sources of DIY 3D software (2)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682285)

You'd do well to check out Comp.graphics.rendering.raytracing [google.com] Look in the FAQ [localhost.ruhr.de] for more info on cheep or free tools.

Re:3D Artists? (3, Informative)

John_Booty (149925) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682329)

What about cheap software for 3D artists?

They pirate it. Seriously. Blender is nice and all but the 3D artists (and wanna-be's) I've known generally would rather find ways to pirate the high-end stuff than use freeware.

Studios generally use big-name software packages. They want you to have experience in the software they use, such as 3DS, Maya, etc.

Re:3D Artists? (2, Interesting)

mati (114154) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682526)

I am a CS student, and my roommate is an art student. He's picked up 3D rendering skills quite fast and shows great potential, but the man cannot afford more than his K6-2 to do his rendering on (I guess he has too much pride to use some cpu time on my box). I'm not trying to justify warez here, but draw your own conclusions. The software must be learned somehow ;)

Of course, another of my more well-off artist friends paid a grand for an educational-discounted version of 3DS MAX...

Free & Low Cost 3d Tools... (3, Informative)

Patoski (121455) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682401)

Choices are getting slightly better with some free and/or inexpensive modeling tools.

The top of my list has to be Blender Creator [blender.nl] which is a free (as in beer but not speech) and sports a very impressive features list.

OpenGL Renderer
Standard Polygon Primitive modeling (w/lattices etc)
Bez Curves
Nurbs
Multi texturing (up to 16 per object)
Texture UV Mapping
Environment Mapping
Bump Mapping
Spec Mapping
Catmull Clark Surfaces for nicely subdivding meshes
Bones and Armature system for character animation
Particle Effects
Global Illumination with radiosity capabilities
Super fast renderer
Very very low system requirements and compact size
Python Plugin Interface for extending Blender
Large and enthusiastic user base eager to answer questions
...and lots of other stuff I'm forgetting


speed bumps for Blender are as follows:

Absolutely bizarre (but incredibly efficient once you learn it) user interface
Limited import and export capabilities (import/export of DXF and VRML) although I hear that improving this area is their 'top priority' to fix


So if after trying a few of the tutorials you decide you like Blender do yourself a favor and pick up the Official Blender Guide. Chances are your local "mega mart type book store" has a copy and you'll save yourself tons of aggravation and time.

Course if you're just into mods for quake type games etc then you should try Milkshape [swissquake.ch] ($20 last time I checked) but its windows only and I didn't particularly like the interface. One the bright side it can import/export just about any kind of format you can come up with.

Discreet has some freebie as well called Gmax [discreet.com] which I've never tried mostly cos I despise 3DS' UI. Its supposedly a character designer / level editor for the mod community to play around with.

You are talking about affordable ... (4, Funny)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682072)

You probably haven't checked the price of those 3d tools lately ... the only one in my pricerange is povray ...

We're not gonna copy those tools illegaly now are we ? ;-)

And btw, 3D studio 4 (the dos version) has a lot of possibilities and renders nearly real-time on an athlon 700 ... ;-)

Re:You are talking about affordable ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2682095)

www.blender.nl

noughsaid!

Re:You are talking about affordable ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2682154)

Uh, any rendering package will render in realtime if you keep the detail level low enough, and have enough system resources.

Forget the MP chipset... (3, Informative)

(H)elix1 (231155) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682073)

Life is about to get real interesting. The MPX chipsets - dual socket A support are rumored to hit the channel this week. While the tyan board had got a lot of positive press, I am really looking forward to having options from Abit, Asus, and a few others.

The original MP board needed a special power supply (due to the vid card specs) - but sounds like all the new boards will use a standard ATX PS. More important, there is a real good chance the price for the non-scsi variant might drop from ~200 to something closer to ~180 or 150 (hoping here...)

I know I have everything but the board, cpus, and heat sinks orded and waiting. Lets go!

Re:Forget the MP chipset... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2682262)

I'm running on the new Tyan board, which has been rock-solid and does not require a special power supply like the earlier server style tyan board does. However, Asys and Abit boards will no doubt be more tweakable for the overclockers out there... I'm going to be keeping a close eye on the new releases too, for a new home system in the next year or so.

Go figure. (5, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682081)

Out of all of the 3D Animation packages they got their hands on, they forgot 2 of the most important ones out there.

Softimage|3D and Softimage|XSI.

Those two give Lightwave, Maya, and 3D Studio MAX a run for their money, considering they're the modeling environment used by most all major CG Effects studios out there (coupled with either Mental Ray or RenderMan).

Haha...funny man makes me laugh (0, Offtopic)

NickFusion (456530) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682149)

What you say is true, if you happen to have a work visa good for the early 1990s.

Re:Go figure. (4, Informative)

Quarters (18322) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682321)

SoftImage took too long to rev from 3D to XSI. Then, when XSI finally arrived it had a very non-standard and unintuitive interface. Couple that with the fact that there was no polygonal modeller in XSI (they included a free copy of SI:3D with every XSI purchase so you could have polygonal tools) and you get a recipe for disaster.

SoftI was good at one point. It's been passed by both Maya and Max these days. SI has a lot of work to do to catch up.

Bad Title (2)

BigumD (219816) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682094)

Yikes. You might want to consider changing the title of that story. I jumped all over this story when I thought it was about poor-skilled 3d artists ;)

Ace's Hardware? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2682096)


John Madden can kiss my ass. I went down there with a paint chip and they were all like, "Sure! We can computer match that!" So they did and I bought a gallon of that crap, took it home, and patched some areas in my house. Well, to make a long story short, it dried and it didn't match at all. It looked like crap. So I went back and tried to get my money back but there is no way in hell I'm going to get computer advice from these mofos.

Thank you,
Cmdr Tuna Taco

I can make one cheaper. (2, Troll)

glowingspleen (180814) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682098)

Man, that's nothing. A really good 3D Modeller can make a cheap PC using nothing more than $20 worth of clay and a few chisels.

The best part? You can usually find free Cyrix chips in most PC Repair trash bins.

Re:I can make one cheaper. (2)

Quizme2000 (323961) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682179)

poor 3-D artist

isn't that bit overboard? Poor people can't afford food, clothing or acceptable shelter. Times have been tough on the creative community with must grant money coming from tourism taxes. I don't think having a computer that can display 68 fps in Unreal while ripping and playing MP3's is not going to help. I know I may be on the verge of troll here but I got 50 karama to burn. Anyone have good ideas on helping our chroniclly out of work artist?

Consider all of your options (-1, Troll)

Walter Bell (535520) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682100)

I'm not sure about you guys, but I noticed a really subtle pro-AMD bias in this article. For instance, the banner ad on the top of the page was for the new Athlon XPs and linked to AMD's page. And the author gave Intel a few token references, and then completely ignored them in the benchmarks.

Well, as a very satisfied Pentium 4 owner and a somewhat satisfied Athlon owner, I can tell you that if you're serious about getting work done (not just overclocking your Unreal box), you'd be best off going with a P4. My Athlon had some heat and manufacturing issues (this is my second chip because the first one was DOA), and really isn't any faster in the real world than my P4. In fact, having rebuilt my kernel with the new Intel compiler, the P4 just screams and leaves the Athlon in the dust. And with the bargain basement prices that PCs from major manufacturers (read: Pentiums - face the truth) are going for, there's no reason why they would be more expensive than a slower Athlon box.

So be forewarned - this article, like those on so many other hardware sites [tomshardware.com] , was bought and paid for by the folks in Austin. Take this infomercial with a grain of salt.

~wally

Re:Consider all of your options (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2682139)

You're just bitter that you paid twice what you should have for a CPU, and all you have to show for it is an "Intel inside" sticker

Re:Consider all of your options (4, Interesting)

doctor_oktagon (157579) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682148)

Considering the parent to this post was marked "intersting", I think "paranoid" would be a more accurate description.

If you are blinkered enough to follow the mighty chipzilla instead of AMD in 2001 for desktop performance then you need to smell the coffee or at least try a fair comparison.

Yes, your P4-optomised build of the kernel will scream, but when I go out and buy 3d tools to run on top of a micro$haft operating system I can't just go recompiling the application to fit the specific hardware it's running on, and that usually means it's much faster on an Athlon by default.

And Athlon-based systems should be *much* cheaper than their Intel counterparts ... if not then your PC manufacturers are shafting you.

The sooner people start realising the desktop processor market is about more than Intel then the sooner people may be ready to consider more than one desktop operating system ... it's the same FUD that holds people back.

cheap to say the least (-1)

ArchieBunker (132337) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682204)

Personally I don't trust a company who makes a processor that catches fire when the heatsinks falls off. Looks like AMD is cutting corners to bring the cost down, bad. How much more do you think it would run to use a better temperature sensor? Maybe a few cents at most.

Re:cheap to say the least (1)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682260)

This is absolutely ridiculous. Go outside and start up your car and then pull the plug in the radiator and see what happens after a while: I think you'll be unpleasantly surprized. Actually, get on the highway and cut the fluid to your brakes and see what happens then. Boy are you in for a treat! Go down and stick peanut butter in your DVD player and see if it automatically cleans itself. Throw a lot of nuts and bolts into your washer machine and see how it survives.

The hilarious thing is that Intel chips "caught fire" if the heatsink was taken off until very recently (since the 486), when they had to put such protection as the 1 lb heatsinks had a high likelihood of falling off, but now to the FUDmeisters this is a MAJOR issue: "EGADS! WHAT IF THE HEATSINK FALLS OFF!". Of course to anyone who has actually tried taking a heatsink off, you know that the probability of that on most systems is about as likely as expecting the system to withstand being driven over by a dump truck.

Re:Consider all of your options (-1, Flamebait)

johnburton (21870) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682286)

YEah and in my opinion AMD systems tend to be unstable. They crash every day or so. People just put this down to windows, but in fact I find that the amd systems I've seen lock up considerably more often than the intel systems I've seen. Probably just down to insufficient cooling on the chips or something, but I'd rather hava reliable system than save a tiny amount of money.

These days, P4s are faster than athlons anyway. AMD are losing the megahertz battle

Re:Consider all of your options (1)

Ardax (46430) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682496)

Maybe you've just never used a well-built AMD system. I've gone through 3 AMD systems now, and the only two times that mine have been unreliable have been: 1. When the memory went south. and 2. When the Heatsink fan died.

Otherwise they didn't (and still don't) crash unless I do something stupid.

And perhaps you didn't notice that in the benchmarks where the P4 does show up, it had it's ass handed to it. In terms of actually getting work done, AMD is winning hands down. The P4 SSE-2 optimizations found in some programs only let them catch up. The only places I've seen the P4 be a runaway winner are in Quake3 and some synthetic benchmarks. Everywhere else, AMD wins.

Re:Consider all of your options (2)

ryanvm (247662) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682491)

You are correct about the CPUs. Historically, AMD has been excellent about acheiving instruction set compatibility with Intel processors.

However, there is more to a system than the CPU. And chipsets for AMD processors are generally far below Intel chipsets with regard to stability - at least initially.

My beef with AMD setups is that VIA and SiS and friends generally turn out pretty shitty chipsets. Performance is usually fine, but it can take them several months before their drivers are up to par with Intel's on stability.

Maybe things have changed recently, but that has been my experience in the last few years.

Re:Consider all of your options (1)

Ziviyr (95582) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682160)

In fact, having rebuilt my kernel with the new Intel compiler, the P4 just screams and leaves the Athlon in the dust.

I may be completely wrong here, but I'm under the impression that the kernel should only be using a very tiny fraction of the CPU. Meaning that most speed gains you get by recompiling it would be quite negligible, and not the 3x speed gains you suggest. :-)

(in any case, what sort of bleeep CPU grinds to a halt like that just because it had normally compiled code running through it?)

karma whore (-1)

neal n bob (531011) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682168)

take your spewing crap elsewhere

Re:karma whore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2682520)

You're an asshole [goatse.cx] . Why can't you post something funny like the other crapflooders, to brighten the days of the -1 browsing slashbots?

Re:Consider all of your options (0)

n3r0.m4dski11z (447312) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682174)

hmm i dont know if i 100 percent agree. The article i think was more talkign abotu dual processor systems. i recently upgraded from my p4 1.4 to a dual athlon mp 1600 and i can say that gddamn win2k boots, runs and shutsdown faster than anything i have ever seen. sisoft sandra [cnet.com] (which i dont particularly trust but needed somethign to test performance) ranks my configuration close to that of quad processor xeon 2ghz and about 1/3 the mflops of a 8 processor 2ghz xeon rig. yes this is probably more power than i need for playign wolfienstien and such but its really nice to know i have a system that will be powerful for at least another year, unless i loose a processor fan and my pc melts ;)

incedently, i have 16 fans and they keep it cool down to about 45*c no load. Dont skimp on fans with these athlons!

oh but on the issue of stability, i would have to say that the p4 just crashed differently. i think they are both very stable with win2k. Tyan however could have included a temp monitoring program in the os but noooo because they are cheap bitches and dont answer my calls or email.

Perhaps I missed it. (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682176)

But I don't think the Intel compiler can compile the (linux?) kernel yet... I know intel has announced support for the GCC extentions the kernel uses but I don't think they have shipped that version yet......

Don't buy an AMD chipset if you will use 3D! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2682184)

AMD 760 northbridges have serious AGP bugs and will lock up when running Quake3 and probably
most 3D programs. Check Dave Miller's (of SPARC/Linux fame) posts on Linux kernel.

I have a Via KT266A board and Linux runs okay on it but Via chipsets are historically full of minor problems (disk corruption w/ DMA enabled, SB Live problems, USB problems with default USB Linux driver (use JE driver)) etc.

AMD CPUs are a better value (and faster usually) than Intel CPUs but the chipset support for AMD CPUs still doesn't match the rock solid stability of intel designed chipsets. Okay, let's forget the Rambus fiasco with the i820...

Re:Don't buy an AMD chipset if you will use 3D! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2682216)

Most blatant troll yet.

Erm, that who article was about testing 3D software on AMD 760MP systems. 100% stable. No AGP problems at all. I have not read of any other AGP problem. Aww, linux kernel people having problems with it - Microsoft didn't.

FUD alert (5, Insightful)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682226)

I'm not sure about you guys, but I noticed a really subtle pro-AMD bias in this article. For instance, the banner ad on the top of the page was for the new Athlon XPs and linked to AMD's page. And the author gave Intel a few token references, and then completely ignored them in the benchmarks.

The author performed benchmarks in a number of major 3D applications, and in all the AMD chips absolutely rocked: If you have a problem with the methodology, or feel that it isn't telling the whole story, then post your own site (that's the beauty of the net). I think it's fairly obvious that putting an ad for a Xeon chip on an article where it was pummeled probably doesn't make an awful lot of sense.

Well, as a very satisfied Pentium 4 owner and a somewhat satisfied Athlon owner, I can tell you that if you're serious about getting work done (not just overclocking your Unreal box), you'd be best off going with a P4

Let me get this straight: You refute an article that is packed full of actual metrics by saying that it's biased, and then you say that people should get a Pentium 4 if they're not going to "overclock their unreal box" (again an absolutely absurd supposition given that we're talking about an article where the AMD trounced the Intel chips in something much more serious than "overclocking their unreal box").

My Athlon had some heat and manufacturing issues (this is my second chip because the first one was DOA), and really isn't any faster in the real world than my P4.

The absolute definition of FUD. "Uh, sure the AMDs are faster, but they have heat and manufacturing issues!". Whatever. Metrics are all that matter, and the metrics in the industry say that the power consumption of upper end Intel's and AMDs are very similar (hence similar heat), and that major manufacturers have roughly equal DOA rates with both chips. The metrics also say time and time again that the "real world performance" of the AMDs are often faster than the Intels.

In fact, having rebuilt my kernel with the new Intel compiler, the P4 just screams and leaves the Athlon in the dust.

I see [tomshardware.com] . Again please tell us when you've put up a site and posted some benchmarks with your platform and methodologies, because as it sits it sure sounds like a bunch of bullshit.

I'm going to shoot in the dark here and make a wild guess: You ran out and bought yourself a fancy new Pentium 4, spending top dollar to be the top dog in the tech arena (of course not doing any research), but now that you have your new purchase you're a little more sensitive whenever you see performance benchmarks, and everytime you see another review that shows the Athlon dominating it just burns at you, so here you are with your "real world" experience. Bullshit. I highly doubt you have an Athlon whatsoever.

I am not biased whatsoever, and if Intel comes out with something that is competitive with the XPs at a similar price then damnit, I'll be there. But I owe nothing to Intel, nor do I owe anything to AMD, so I lack "brand loyalty" and simply go for what is proven the best at the best $. If only more consumers were that way.

Lies and statistics (-1, Troll)

Walter Bell (535520) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682464)

Let me get this straight: You refute an article that is packed full of actual metrics by saying that it's biased, and then you say that people should get a Pentium 4 if they're not going to "overclock their unreal box" (again an absolutely absurd supposition given that we're talking about an article where the AMD trounced the Intel chips in something much more serious than "overclocking their unreal box").

Well, these "metrics" you claim to trust so much also indicate [google.com] that the IBM 75GXP drives have a "normal" failure rate. And we all know the truth about that [slashdot.org] , don't we?

I am not biased whatsoever, and if Intel comes out with something that is competitive with the XPs at a similar price then damnit, I'll be there. But I owe nothing to Intel, nor do I owe anything to AMD, so I lack "brand loyalty" and simply go for what is proven the best at the best $. If only more consumers were that way.

Just as John Wayne Gacy could claim innocence until the day they threw the switch, you can claim that you have no brand loyalty whilst condemning the Intel product (which, by the way, you haven't even tried out). And you can accuse me, who has both systems side by side, of lying. What nerve.

Next time you have occasion to leave your folks' basement, take a ride out to Best Buy and check out the excellent deals on a P4. Maybe even pick one up and try it out. I think you'll like it.

~wally

Re:Lies and statistics (5, Insightful)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682516)

Well, these "metrics" you claim to trust so much also indicate that the IBM 75GXP drives have a "normal" failure rate. And we all know the truth about that, don't we?

You see this really is humorous: You see a Slashdot story with a couple of people saying that their 75GXP failed, and you're sold (obviously just like the AMD issue). I actually HAVE a 75GXP that hasn't failed, and I am prone to believing IBM that the failure rate is normal. Let me put it another way: I know lots of people who are sure that Honda cars are the biggest POS out there because they had a lemon that had 27 faults, but the industry statistics say that they're the exception, not the rule. If there was more than anecdotal evidence (or biased polling) that the IBM drives were unreliable then I would be extremely happy to listen and take action based on it.

which, by the way, you haven't even tried out

I remember back in the BBS days asking a sysop to remove a "CPU Speed Up" program that promised to "convert your 386 to a 486/66!". The Sysop refused claiming that lots of people claimed that it really did vastly improve the speed of their systems. It's called the placebo effect, and it's one of the biggest truisms about people: People are extremely unreliable metrics of anything, because most people go into an evaluation with preconceived notions. As such, I'll be a little more trustworthy of site after site after site after site giving methodologies and performance metrics that show the Athlon XP winning. Again when Intel comes out with a cost effective (meaning cost effective all around: Memory, MB, etc.) high performing chip then I'm there, but as it stands there is a clear winner.

That's not fair! (2, Funny)

JMZero (449047) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682545)

How dare you bring facts into this - even going so far as to suggest others do the same!

For shame - what's left to argue when everything is "statistics" and "valid reasoning"?

Animation Master?!? (2, Informative)

MrAl (21859) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682112)

Where's Hash's Animation Master? This is an app that was written to be "3d for the masses" yet I don't see it highlighted in the article.

For shame - how could you look at animation for the low-end and not include A:M?

"workstations for poor 3d artists" (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2682132)

Isn't the "poor" superfluous? Everyone I've ever met who fancies themself a 3D artist has been dirt-poor.

God, I miss the Amiga...... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2682133)

Just think five years later and the Windoz PC still has not the Graphics and Animation or the comunity the Amiga had....

One solution would be a few Linux machines networked together for a POVray rendering farm.

Blender would also be a good pick for low cost 3D software package.

Nexusone

In the words of Monty Burns... (0, Offtopic)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682141)

Ehh-xcellent.

I'm putting together my list for a 3D workstation/renderer and occasional game playing (but not the Quake variety, think Scorch15 or whatever that really cool EGA risk-type game was years ago (if anyone know what this was and where to find it I'd be in your debt, maybe even order you a pizza delivery if you find the right one))

Leaning toward Athlon MP, 1 processor at first, then add second later. Primary OS will be some flavor of Linux. Shopping list will include:

SCSI drives, CD burner

DVD burner (when prices gets down there)

Pile o' memory

19" monitor

Gyro mouse (providing there's a linux driver for it, if not looking for another wireless mouse)

Decent video card, not necessarily the Game type, but professional graphics quality

Powersupply, case, keyboard, etc.

Re:In the words of Monty Burns... (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682171)

You might as well get a hefty gaming card, because all the professional cards cost $2k and up, and can usually only be bought inside a machine.

I know that some of the best 3D cards out there can do all of OpenGL in hardware (still doesn't look as good as the rendered product), but they require:

Their own power supply, like the later Voodoo 5s.

A special cooling system, because the chips, ram, and system get quite hot.

A seperate bus, usually AGP Pro AND a PCI slot.

Special mounting supports, because the card is abnormally long and wide.

I believe 3D Labs snatched up Intergraph's Wildcat line of cards, which IIRC are the best ones out there. But unless you're willing to fork out the cash, a GeForce 3 Ti500 would PROBABLY give you what you need, since it's polygon handling abilities are inline with the best of the pro market (though it only does a small part of opengl in hardware, and has a fraction of the ram).

Re:In the words of Monty Burns... (2)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682241)

You might as well get a hefty gaming card, because all the professional cards cost $2k and up, and can usually only be bought inside a machine.

My observation as well. I can shave expenses on the workstation, but the OpenGL cards are murder on the pocketbook, equalling the cost of all other hardware.

But unless you're willing to fork out the cash, a GeForce 3 Ti500 would PROBABLY give you what you need, since it's polygon handling abilities are inline with the best of the pro market (though it only does a small part of opengl in hardware, and has a fraction of the ram).

This was why I paid keen attention to this article [slashdot.org] from last week.

Rich in imagination, poor of pocketbook, particularly this time of year.

Do you plan on doing much 3d design? (1)

Wakko Warner (324) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682446)

I ask because Linux is a very bad choice, if that's what you're planning on using. How many professional 3D packages are available for Linux? Besides PovRay and Blender?

cheap software --. (1)

jdog44 (318845) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682161)

linux, windows, macOSX:
user blender:
http://www.blender.nl/

My personal choice for MAC:
pixels3D
http://www.pixels.net

lots of possibilities.

jdog

Dual Athlon XP? (2, Insightful)

willmc (167287) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682167)

Hmm, maybe I just fell comatose for the press release, but as far as I know there are no dual Athlon XP boards out there. From what I understood, that was the whole point of the Athlon MP: multi-processing capabilities.

Re:Dual Athlon XP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2682240)

The only difference between MP and XP cpus are AMD's smp certification for the MPs. The XPs work perfectlly fine in smp configuration.

I got bored a few weeks ago and wrote my own cpuid program to confirm this.

Re:Dual Athlon XP? (2)

Emil Brink (69213) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682263)

Right, there's no such thing as a "dual Athlon XP board", because there is no need. The XP seems to work just fine in a dual configuration using a board designed for the MP, although it is (as the article at Ace's pointed out) not certified or recommended by AMD in any way. They think you should use the MP for duals, since it's actually guaranteed to work. I'm not sure if running an XP on a dual board requires modifications to the CPU (like the "unlocking" needed before it can be overclocked), though. Anyone?

Re:Dual Athlon XP? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2682312)

No mod is reqquired.

There is literally NO difference between an MP and an XP of the same model number (ie 1800+ ect) other than the model string returned by the cpu.

Also since the model strings are programable by the bios, the bios on a single cpu athlon board programs the cpu to return Athlon XP as its model string, regardless of weather the cpu is an MP or an XP.

Conversly, the tyan duely board, programs the cpus to return Athlon MP as the model string, regardless of the cpus being stamped MP or XP on the outside.

Re:Dual Athlon XP? (1)

Kryptonomic (161792) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682290)

I have a Tyan Tiger MP board with two 1.46 GHz Athlon XPs on it.

The difference between XP and MP is that AMD guarantees that the MP versions will do SMP. If you install dual XPs you're doing it on your own. However, I've never had any problems with my setup and apparently very people do since the shop where I bought the board and CPUs builds, sells and guarantees working dual-XP versions (unless you specifically request an MP configuration).

Re:Dual Athlon XP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2682291)

I believe the Althon XP is nearly identical to the Athlon MP, except the MP goes through more rigorous testing to ensure multiprocessor comaptibility, so it costs more. I am personally running a VERY stable Tyan Tiger MP mobo (about $220) with a single Athlon XP 1600+ in it. I figure I'll upgrade to dual when I actually need it (system is hella fast already). Maybe when I try to upgrade I'll be unpleasantly surprised by some sort of XP dual-CPU compatibility issue, but I've read posts from others who have replaced the MP with the XP just fine in dual-proc CPU setups. Just gotta make sure you're buying *registered* DDR SDRAM for this mobo...it requires it.

386/486/pentium (3, Informative)

Jacek Poplawski (223457) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682220)

Povray can work on 386. Blender can work on Pentium. Why could poor artist need (dual) Athlon for modelling? Poor drivers should consider buying Ferrari?
I love all that clever people who buy Pentium4 becouse they want to learn programming .

Re:386/486/pentium (4, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682326)

My first experience with PoV (and dkbtrace) was on a 25MHz 386. Complex scenes (due to objects, textures, solids and such) could take an entire weekend to render, which now take a few minutes on a 933MHz PIII (at work, but can't be doing that here) I'd run thumbnails, which took 10-15 minutes until I was pretty sure of what I was getting then launch it on Friday evening before heading home, one scene finished about an hour after I got in on Monday morning (had to busy myself shuffling paper or something ;) Yeah, you could do this on a 386/486, but why would you want to, when people are throwing away Pentium 133 machines?

I'm serious (3, Funny)

nomadic (141991) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682239)

When I first read "workstations for poor 3-d artists" I thought great, finally a computer that recognizes my artistic shortcomings...

SGI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2682292)

Spend a few hundred on a Indigo2 R10000, I got mine for about 500 bucks and a 21" Fixed frequency monitor for it for 150 bucks. and it does a pretty good job on graphics.

'Poor' graphic artists (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2682297)

Shouldn't they be more concerned with becoming 'Good' graphic artists instead of advertising the fact that they are 'Poor' graphic artists?

My advice... SMP NOT wirth it! (0)

Andreas(R) (448328) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682339)

In my opinion, if you get a cheap dual CPU system just because it has two CPU's, then it's not worth it. Other aspects are far more important than having two CPU's. CPU cache is extremely important with SMP, because cache its used to coordinate operations between the CPUs. That's why cheap dual-Celeron systems perform so poorly.
SMP with two AthlonMps is prabably the best value system, (at least according to the linked article). The AthlonMP has a lot of cache, and doesn't cost that much. But IMHO a single AthlonXP would probably would be even better, because then you could afford more Mhz and RAM (which is what you want). Most also overclock easily :)

Commercial software packages (3dstudio etc) would not be of much use of a very cheap system because of the harsh requirements. There are lots of excellent free software packages that do the job just as good. Blender [blender.nl] and Moonlight3d are free, and they run on Linux! (Blender runs on almost anthing Python runs on).

My experience with running Moonlight 3d in Linux is that there is not much performance difference with SMP. There is simply too much overhead when coordinating two CPUs, so it's a waste of money.

That's a Dual CPU Test? (3, Insightful)

schmaltz (70977) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682364)

I dunno, but decoding an MP3 while playing Unreal isn't exactly a punishing task for two 1.2GHz CPUs, and it certainly isn't one that offers numbers you can use to compare to other mobos.

I keep an elderly PCI Pentium 100 box around as router and to play MP3s -top sez mpg123 usually has less than 10% of the CPU at all times.

In fact, there's nothing in either Slashdot's article or Ace's that really helps poor 3D artists. This is what's keeping Slashdot's editors so busy, eh?

What's up with that?

Compilers only got a quick mention (4, Interesting)

Snowfox (34467) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682468)

Visual C++ was the only compiler tested, which is a shame.

Codewarrior benefits from SMP, as do typical "make -j " project builds under unices.

Programs... (2, Interesting)

Trillian_Angel (542729) | more than 12 years ago | (#2682497)

Well, from a poor starving artist prospective, (and one who has had the terror/(privlidge?) of having to use numerous OS for graphics, the solution is quite simple.
Use paper. Saves time, saves hassle and pencils are only a buck a piece if you are going for the most expensive in the market... and Pencils don't need to be upgraded.
But seriously, I use a gig athlon machine with Debian installed, and I use the GIMP for most of my art stuff... and in all honesty, art takes patience... if you're modelling something and your machine is *that* slow, then go ahead, upgrade, but anything above 800 mhz is and 128 meg of ram can handle it... and the more ram the better. Maybe it isn't a processing problem afterall... ram helps too.
Any athlon would be a expensive paperweight without ram to back it anyway. (And cooling fans.. lots of them)

This was a shockingly poor article (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2682533)

It was nothing to do with affordable, cheap 3D workstations. It was about the latest and greatest x86 CPUs - and the latest and greatest, high-end software.

There are better machines out there - SGI Indigo2s and Octanes with OpenGL (and more!) in the hardware, many decent Macs - all of which are more affordable 2nd hand than the wunderboxen on display here.

And if you're looking for a career in 3D animation/design, are you going to use some x86 toy, or would experience with what the rest of the industry uses be a bit more helpful in your career?

A vanishingly small amount of 3D work requires a fast CPU - it's about shoving large amounts of data around. It doesn't matter how many mhz your bus does - it's still a data bus, and it's inherently unsuited to this type of work.

Look at the Octane's Crossbar. Look at the O2s UMA architecture.

Apple continue to make the same mistake, and are going to cripple their G5 machines. Lovely fast processor, crap bus to the gfx, memory and disk.

And I just loved the way this compares the Shake results to a 4 year old Octane. Nice. I notice we don't see any playback information at high resolution - what's the point of fast render speeds if you can't *view* what you've just created?

Never mind that 4 year old Octane can be bought for a fraction of the price of the systems under discussion.

This was a truly laughable article that, while demostrating an understanding of consumer x86 toys, showed a clear lack of clue about 3D graphics needs.

That this article ever showed up on /. is a pretty sad statement about what has become of this once useful and interesting site.

I'm surprised we haven't see the Linux kiddies moaning about how the tests were run on Windows 2k.
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