Author Topic: Mac Studio configuration recommendations  (Read 1167 times)

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Offline zachraven

Mac Studio configuration recommendations
« on: March 22, 2022, 09:31:26 am »
I posted this in Benchmarks, but im not sure if thats the right spot, so im copying it here.

Hello everyone, I'm looking to purchase a Mac Studio and I need some help with the options. Should I go base model? Should I add the 64 core GPU option for $1000? Should I double the RAM to 128gb for $800? Should I do both? I'm really wondering if either option will make a difference especially in render process time. I know keyshot for Mac doesn't use gpu rendering, but maybe it will in the future...

I spend all my time in Rhino 3D and Keyshot. I don't want to move to a Windows machine, so im looking for the best option on the Mac side. Any informed recommendations would be super helpful!

Offline Will Gibbons

Re: Mac Studio configuration recommendations
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2022, 07:05:56 am »
I have no idea if or when KeyShot will run on AMD GPUs. They don't have RTX technology on them and that's what KeyShot GPU requires. So, unless the developers decide to write code for AMD non-RTX GPUS, (which sounds highly unlikely) I'd say no. Not worth spending more on a higher-spec GPU for KeyShot. Only the CPU core count would help you here. Also, while I believe it's in the works, the M1 processors aren't being used to their full potential in KeyShot, so be aware of that.

I'd recommend giving this a read, but if you've already made up your mind, then maybe it's not so relevant. https://www.theverge.com/2022/3/17/22982915/apple-m1-ultra-rtx-3090-comparison-specs-charts-cpu-gpu-performance

There are a few other real-world tests out there too you can watch (not with KeyShot AFAIK) Not saying the Studio isn't a nice/cool computer, but seems like you'd be able to do much better with a PC as far as current technology goes.

Offline Furniture_Guy

Re: Mac Studio configuration recommendations
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2022, 06:13:27 am »
Sorry but I completely agree with Mr. Gibbons (and he would definitely know). I came from the graphics/printing world and worked on Macs my entire professional career but I finally threw in the towel and went with a Windows (and RTX GPU) machine. To this day I pretty much do everything on my MacBook Pro EXCEPT Keyshot. If Keyshot output is your goal then sadly go with a PC. At the end of the day, time is money...

Perry

Offline Will Gibbons

Re: Mac Studio configuration recommendations
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2022, 12:54:03 pm »
I will chime in once more and say I'm not anti-mac. It's just that it seems for anything to really perform well on the latest macs in regards to rendering, the rendering software has to be written specifically to run well on AMD GPU or M1 silicone, neither of which KeyShot does/is.

Basically, I think Apple is working very hard to create super efficient machines (which is awesome) and eventually, if a software manufacturer/developer wants to run well in a Mac environment, then they will need to develop their software to do so. Once this does happen, I'm guessing the performance-to-watt ratio will be amazing!

When or if this will happen with KeyShot is not clear.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2022, 12:56:07 pm by Will Gibbons »

Offline zachraven

Re: Mac Studio configuration recommendations
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2022, 10:16:20 am »
Thanks for the thoughts guys. Will, I've watched your videos for years and bought your masterclass, you have helped me greatly.

As for CPU performance, the Mac Studio would be a big jump up over my current MacBook, especially once keyshot runs natively (which I've been assured Luxion is working on for release by version 12 at latest). How does the GPU rendering compare on pc to cpu? Since I have a Mac, I've obviously never been able to test it. Are there any benchmarks comparing a modern cpu to a modern gpu in rendering? Is the gpu mode 2x faster, 10x, 100x? Something like that COULD push me to a pc...

Offline richardfunnell

Re: Mac Studio configuration recommendations
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2022, 12:05:03 pm »
I can tell you from my own experience that using an NVidia RTX 3090 has been a huge performance boost, even compared to my first Threadripper with 64 threads. There have been some issues, but nothing available today on a Mac can compare to the performance I see using the RTX cards when using KeyShot, mostly because KeyShot isn’t taking advantage of native Apple Silicon. If you’re buying something in the near term, I would highly suggest looking at a Windows machine since it’ll work well for you right now.

If you’re looking for comparisons, there’s a whole section of the forum dedicated to those benchmarks, and you can compare the numbers there. For me, a 3090 feels noticeably faster than my 64 core computer, and massively faster than my 32 core Ryzen.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2022, 12:22:21 pm by richardfunnell »

Offline zachraven

Re: Mac Studio configuration recommendations
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2022, 12:23:05 pm »
Thanks Richard, I'll take a look through the benchmark forum.

What I really need is someone with a Mac Studio w/ m1 ultra to run the keyshot benchmark program so I can compare to my current MacBook, and then compare that to similar (price-wise) windows machines

Offline TGS808

Re: Mac Studio configuration recommendations
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2022, 12:30:07 pm »
You also have to take into account that the NVidia RTX 3090 alone costs nearly as much (or more depending on where you can buy it) than the entire Mac Studio. Then, you still need a Windows machine to install it into.

Offline richardfunnell

Re: Mac Studio configuration recommendations
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2022, 12:35:33 pm »
Very true :/ Availability and premium prices are still a big issue when shopping for a GPU.

Offline smalldogstudio

Re: Mac Studio configuration recommendations
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2022, 12:49:20 am »
Hey there

IMHO I would say that PC is the way to go, as others have said even Apple silicon will not match performance of RTX 3xxx - also consider that at the level of utilization you'll be pushing the system quite hard in terms of thermals as well. I run a (realtively) old AMD ryzen 9 3950x 16core machine with an RTX3060 - benchmarks below. So if my quick maths is correct the RTX3060 is 8.6x the performance of the CPU - without fans running hard, no noise, super fast renders. So you can imagine how much better an RTX3090 would be. I still loathe aspects of Win/PC but it's worth it for the productivity.

And say all of this as a formerly 100% devout mac fan since the 90's - would love Apple to be closer but in truth it would not make sense for me to run a mac. At the end of the day it's your choice of course and I wish you every success

Let us know how you get on

D

Offline zachraven

Re: Mac Studio configuration recommendations
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2022, 07:05:53 am »
thanks guys, some of the gpu numbers are very impressive. Heres my current scores (pretty pitiful). so its pretty eye opening to see gpu scores from smalldog, rough math is about 32x faster than my cpu. there are a couple factors to me still leaning towards a Mac Studio; form factor, I have a hybrid schedule so ill be lugging a desktop back and forth (I no longer want a laptop due to thermal throttling and lower performance). I already own a Mac license key, we have a render slave that I can send jobs to, and I have a budget of probably 3-5k for a new computer, spending most of that on a graphics card wouldn't leave much else for the rest of a windows machine.

seeing some of these numbers really makes me think though...

Offline TGS808

Re: Mac Studio configuration recommendations
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2022, 07:27:14 am »
Another thing to factor in is that while the GPU renderings are good (at this point) they are not the same as what the CPU does. I was pressed for time once and I sent some stuff to a render farm. They sent back sample results from the GPU renderer. The overall quality compared to what I was getting on the CPU (on the exact same scene) was not the same. It wasn't bad. It just wasn't as good. (perhaps things/materials need to be set up differently for GPU?) I expect these differences may improve in time but for now, it seems to be the case. Faster isn't always better. Sometimes, it's just faster.

Offline Furniture_Guy

Re: Mac Studio configuration recommendations
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2022, 11:30:45 am »
Another thing to factor in is that while the GPU renderings are good (at this point) they are not the same as what the CPU does. I was pressed for time once and I sent some stuff to a render farm. They sent back sample results from the GPU renderer. The overall quality compared to what I was getting on the CPU (on the exact same scene) was not the same. It wasn't bad. It just wasn't as good. (perhaps things/materials need to be set up differently for GPU?) I expect these differences may improve in time but for now, it seems to be the case. Faster isn't always better. Sometimes, it's just faster.

Agreed. Even after purchasing my RTX GPU I still have not used GPU rendering due to less than perfect results compared to CPU ones...

Perry

Offline richardfunnell

Re: Mac Studio configuration recommendations
« Reply #13 on: March 31, 2022, 04:39:34 pm »
That’s true, your mileage may vary when using GPU. I definitely have to set up my scenes specifically for the GPU, it’s an “all-in” approach. CPU rendering will definitely look different.  In my case though, the GPU works for 95% of my workflow. But I’m rarely matching existing CPU renderings, which would be an immediate dealbreaker. And my focus is primarily animations which don’t need to be as accurate. Sorry for hijacking the thread on an RTX rave :)

Zach, if you do find benchmarks for the M1 Ultra, I’d be curious to see where they land.