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Which Computer Brand Should I Go With?

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Which Computer Brand Should I Go With?

Right now I'm working on an HP laptop. Laptops are just too slow for the computer animation I'm working with.

I am in search of a new machine.

Any suggestions on which companies offer the best bang/buck ratio for what I'm working with?


Either I Buy Power or if you have a friend or are able to build one look at New Egg . Those are pretty good places to get computers, or parts.

I say if you need something powerful, go with a mac g5.

I know some people hate macs... and you might have to buy new copies of some of your software. But, I think they're the way to go.

all the people who hate macs dont really have reasons to hate them in the first place anyway.

I never used one, and i bought myself one. Best comp i ever got. I would definately get a G5 if i had the money to spend. Now im on a powerbook.

But it depends on what you want to do as well. 3D programs, and if they are Mac or PC. 3D max is PC only.

And it depends on what you want to spend. Building your own PC by buying parts off NEWEGG can get you a really good computer at a cheap price.

"who wouldn't want to make stuff for me? I'm awesome." -Bloo

If you go with a windows desktop build your own.


2D: Mac or PC. Really comes down to what do you (or your friends) know how to fix, because it doesn't matter which OS you get, it'll always give you a problem when you need it the most.

3D: If you're doing 3D I'd HIGHLY recommend a PC, and that's from experience, not opinion. Maya was incredible sluggish and buggy on a top of the line G5 (2 gigs memory), it was not a slow machine, but just didn't stack up on using Maya. I got the company to switch over to a similar PC (actually cheaper) and was able to work in texture/lighting mode (heavy scenes, I was lucky if I could work in gray shaded mode on the Mac). You may never need that computing power, but when pushed to the limits in 3D the Mac just didn't stand up (others I know have noted the same thing).

Price: For the same amount you'd spend on getting a fast/heavy duty Mac you could get a comparable (if not faster) PC. Mac's suffer from lack of competition so usually command a premium price.

Customer service: Mac without a doubt. If you often find yourself wishing you had a 'pro' to talk to when you have a computer problem, then you'll want to go Mac. I have friends who claim they've never even been put on hold (and they don't have a 'choose your own adventure' phone system). Not to mention being able to bring it to a Mac store if there's one by you. Consumer reports rates them very highly for this.

If you don't have it in you (or a friend who can help) to build your own machine, Dell tends to offer very nicely built computers. Wait until they offer an upgrade that you actually want (like double the memory) and you'll get a decent deal. You'll also be sure that it will work (sometimes a problem if you don't know what you're doing while building you're own machine).

If you're feeling very adventurous, and plan on doing just 3D, try Linux. You need to have your act together since it's not as user friendly as a Mac or PC, but once you get used to it, it has a lot going for it:
-Low system overhead - ie. not much CPU or memory wasted on fancy expanding/contracting/alpha icons animating on to the screen
- Rock solid - I've had fewer crashes on Linux than any other OS
- Tons of free software
-It's free
-If there's a problem in the software, it doesn't go very long before being fixed by the user community
- The user community is by far one of the (if not THE) most knowledgeable communities involving it's OS. Mostly because the community itself is largely responsible for creating the system
-A number of large companies (like Industrial Light and Magic, Weta, PDI) use Linux as it's core OS

One of the big problems with Linux (aside from the steep learning curve) is the notable missing apps, like Macromedia and Adobe products. Big pain. Photoshop will run under an emulator but it's 'quirky'.

Producing solidily ok animation since 2001.

Now with more doodling!

Hi Parry, and welcome to the AWN Forums.

It might help if you told us alittle more about the type of animation you are doing and planning to do on your computer. Also what types of programs you are planning on using.

the Ape

...we must all face a choice, between what is right... and what is easy."

i think Ape hs a good question. also mention your budget. personally i would recommend 2 things -
1) get more than what you think you need.
2) def get something assembled locally if its possible.

it made more sense for me coz i got almost 12 pc's i ended up paying something hideously low ($1200x12). like $800 for the pc with an lcd monitor+ 50$ for XP+$375 for Flash.
the same deal i was getting from HP was coming to $1700 for the same deal as above. also they were giving me no group discount (too small an order) and they didnt give me any love with extended warranties being $300 a pop.
i had the PC's custom assembled (64bit Athlon, 512DDR, lan card, 128MB GeForce - no input or output devices) the monitors again i sourced from the company directly though i was getting them slightly cheaper from a dealer the company gave me a customer service deal which was way better (replacement warranty for 3 years vs one year for dealers)

the problem is some people have a hard time deciding on an assembled pc coz they think it might not be as good (which is quite possible).

the best thing to do especially for a single pc is find a mate who knows how to assemble (there isnt much to it) go out get everything at comp usa and just do it yerself. thats if you want to save money.

in college i had a $2000 gateway that never went bad for like 4 1/2 years.

Thanks for the tips everyone.

To help even further, I work with 3D animation, mainly 3DS MAX, but am looking to move onto Maya.

My budget is around $2500, give or take a few hundred.

in that case you will need to define specs. a 64 bit machine i think would be appropriate for you. get a 1024MB RAM a nice huge RAID HDD so your backups are sorted.
but i think all this depends on what brand you go for. just about any branded PC should be 30% more expensive in my reckoning.

I recently bought a custom BOXX. I'm pretty happy with it.

64 bit is likely to give you the longest life of the computer. It may even be worth investing in XP 64 (the 64 bit version of windows). Otherwise you won't really be taking advantage of the 64 bit processor (unless you go Linux, which has been 64 bit for a number of years). At the moment there aren't many apps that can really take advantage of 64 bit, but that is due to change very soon. I imagine Maya will, if it already doesn't, take advantage of it very soon.

Put as much money into RAM and a video card as you can. The newer systems using PCI-Express allow you to chain two nVidia cards together for really high performance (I can't remember what it's called) but it sounds very promising. Cool stuff.

3D? Avoid the Mac like the plague. It's way over priced for doing half what a PC of the same price (or less) can do. I still don't get companies that try to run Maya on a Mac. I get it they like Macs, but what they don't get is that they're wasting their money and their employees time. If you don't want to use a Windows, but still want to do 3D use a Linux system.

Producing solidily ok animation since 2001.

Now with more doodling!

I've bought two Dell desk tops and I've never run into problems with them. At least no problems, other than the ones the I created on my own, like downloading viruses. The last Dell I bought a year and a half ago was a Dimension 8400 with a gig of Ram and a PCI express graphics card. I run both Maya 6.5 and very heavy Flash files on it and it's pretty damn fast. Faster than the computers that I use at work. I also just bought a Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet PC and it runs Flash and Maya 6.5 great as well.

I'm not good at hooking up computers, and I'd much rather configure one on line than buy thousands of dollars worth of parts on my own and have them not work together.

What I can reconmend, is buy a computer with at least 1 gig of ram, 2 gigs would be better. A top of the line PCI Express graphics card, I think the Radeon 850X is the top of the line right now. Those are the main things to go for. My take on the processor is to get a mid range chip. Like if they have a 3.6, 3.4 and a 3.2, get the 3.4 chip. The reason, the speed to price ratio between 3.4's and 3.6 isn't that great. The price is way high for no noticable speed increase.

Hard Drives are also not that important. If you run out of room, you can always buy a second hard drive or even better an external hard drive. These are great because you can take your files to school or home or where ever. I dump my files on there when I'm done with them and on to the next project. Once I put them on the external HD, I un-plug it so it won't get ruined if my computer crashes or viruses get on my machine.

Alien Ware has some great features. They have a raid array for both hard drives AND graphics cards. What this does is that you can have two cards or chips and plug them both in, and they will then share the duties between them. So just imagine two Radeon 850X rendering one file. Also they are starting to make dual core processors. These are basicly two processors on one chip. Now just think of getting two of these dual core processors and put them in the Raid, thats essecially four processors! How cool is that?! Just some new cool features now a days.

So awesome Graphics card and tons or Ram.

the Ape

...we must all face a choice, between what is right... and what is easy."

Ape gave you some really good advice. If you can afford an Alienware machine, that's the way to go. Give them a call and they'll ask you questions and you'll end up with a reliable piece of technology. Dells are ok machines, but they are built for the masses. Alienware will take into account your graphic needs and demands.

Pat Hacker, Visit Scooter's World.

For 3D, I would use a Windows PC. In fact, I just bought a Shuttle and am most happy with it. I would also take a serious look at the Dell XPS product family, since they are very good value for money.

Building your own would be the best option. As perviously mentioned, newegg is a great place to pick up the bits. A friend of mine recently got a machine with all of the latest components for around $1400.

good luck!

do you guys prefer notebooks over desktops? and do you guys scan your sketches or do you guys just do it on tablet?


"If life deals you a bad hand... cheat."

My current machine is a Dell Workstation but I'll probably go Alienware next time, because I've read such raves about them on 3D forums and because I haven't been satisfied with the Dells.