Turn Key 3d animation lab for cheap with SGI?

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CDG
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Turn Key 3d animation lab for cheap with SGI?

Unread postby CDG » Sat Apr 15, 2006 11:28 am

Hello. I am posting on behalf of my best friend from High School. He's going to be attending Drexel University to do 3d graphic design. Anyway he does a lot of big work. He's been asking me about SGI, but since I only have an Indy, and really know nothing about 3d design, I can't help him much.

So he wants to sort of build his own studio so to speak. I remember at high school he would steal all the G5s we had and net render on like 4 or 5 of them using Cinema4d. I don't think Cinima 4d is available for IRIX is it? He can also use Maya pretty well.]\

So I guess he's looking for workstation recommendations to do heavy duty design. He doesn't want to spend tons of money. Probably a few hundred bucks, possibly up to a grand but not all at once. I was thinking maybe a few R10K Max Impact Indigo2s, or maybe a few R10k or R12k Octanes.

Anyway can anyone comment on recommendations for hardware and software solutions for a 3d design lab? I know nothing about this stuff, but talk as technical as you want. I'll be linking him to this topic so he can watch what comes out. I'm sure if he invests in any SGI gear he'll be getting his own account here.

It has to be able to render with reasonable, if not fast speeds. 4 G5s linked together barely cut it so it seems. However it must be a lot cheaper then 4 G5ss...

Thoughts/suggestions are appreciated. Thanks!

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joerg
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Unread postby joerg » Sat Apr 15, 2006 12:25 pm

To make it short... one valid maya licence cost more than a few hundred $$$. You only talk about hardware.... from my experience the software cost the same and i special case much more than the hardware.

regards
Joerg

GIJoe
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Unread postby GIJoe » Sat Apr 15, 2006 1:53 pm

you realize that there is a 1:7 or even worse performance ratio between a dual r14k600 top of the line octane system and some whitebox athlon x2, let alone dual opteron?
there's really no sense in buying and set-up a pile of old octanes, a single modern pc will kick their butts easily in rendering.

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SiliconClassics
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Unread postby SiliconClassics » Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:11 pm

Very true. If you're looking for a low-cost, reliable setup for 3D rendering, cheapo PC's are hard to beat. SGI machines are great for their cool factor or if you need to run a specific Irix-only application, but for Maya you'll get the most bang for the buck out of a plain old Athlon rig.

CDG
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Unread postby CDG » Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:44 pm

Hm, discouragement I hear?

I do not know much about 3d, but I know that Maya is expensive. Can anyone comment on other potentially professional grade 3d animation suites that may be cheaper and more available for IRIX? Something that might be similar to Maya or Cinema 4d?

How about net rendering like what he did with the G5s. Is this even possible on SGI?

As a secondary thing, he currrently uses an Athlon 64 (3200?) I think with a gig of RAM, and all the latest/greatest hardware pretty much. However he likes to game, so he's looking for a setup for cheap that might free up his Athlon for gaminig while he's rendering a project.

Any other words of wisdom? So far I hear the vote in favor of just building another PC and forgetting about things.

Any SGI out there that could be competitive with a PC for a reasonable price? Maybe something on par with a high level Pentium 3/ low end P4 rig?

Since he's a computer hobbyist anyway, I suspect I'll steer him toward a high end Indigo2, since they're cheap, plentiful, and have enough power to give him a good feel for IRIX 6.5. That way if he decides he really doesn't like IRIX, or is especially disappointed in the performance, he will have invested a minimum of money in the whole project. Anyone have a different view on this? It's hard because I don't have any 3d design experience.

Thanks for the input so far, please keep it comming.

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kshuff
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Unread postby kshuff » Sat Apr 15, 2006 5:20 pm

Blender and Equinox 3D come to mind for IRIX, and I believe they are still free.
-ks

:Onyx: :Onyx: :Crimson: :O2000: :Onyx2: :Fuel: :Octane: :Octane2: :PI: :Indigo: :Indigo: :O2: :O2: :Indigo2: :Indigo2: :Indigo2IMP: :Indy: :320: :540: :O3x0: :1600SW: :1600SW: :hpserv:

See them all >here<

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Unread postby GIJoe » Sun Apr 16, 2006 9:08 am

the only desktop SGI that may match a modern PC's rendering speed, assuming a renderer is used that can utilize four CPU's, is a fully maxed out tezro. and i guess it could only beat a single CPU/dual core PC, none of those dual CPU/dual core or bigger setups.
a highend fuel > 600 mhz might come close to some quite old 1.x ghz P4 though. an octane2 2x600 will be even faster, maybe at athlon 2000xp level or a tiny little beyond that. what for? coolness of looks? difference in interactivity will be very noticeable as well, gui runs on single cpu's. pc graphics are much more advanced by now.
the reason to still run one of those is that you're either a fanboy or have some software that has never been ported.

and i doubt that a student of 3d could get his hands in a legally approved way on irix versions these days. whereas it's cheap to get student packages for any other common platform.
the type of software should be dependant on what program they use in his course. though, personally if i was just starting out, i'd go for XSI these days. 500 dollars/euro for the commercial entry level and slicker than most apps on the market.

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Unread postby hamei » Sun Apr 16, 2006 9:44 am

GIJoe wrote: the reason to still run one of those is that you're either a fanboy or have some software that has never been ported....

fanboy ! fanboy ! that's us ! :-)

CDG
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Unread postby CDG » Sun Apr 16, 2006 2:58 pm

Ah well, I will pass this along. I'll get him into an Indigo2 cheap and see if he becomes a "fanboy". But can anyone comment on net rendering? I'm still dying to know if it's even possible.

As for "legal", there are many different levels of legality. :twisted: No further comment in that area.

Edit: myself, I am a fanboy. I use my Indy for some light video capture. If I need something done, I do it on my P3 1.0 primary rig. Yes, I'm still using a Pentium 3. You wanna start a rumble? :lol:

GIJoe
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Unread postby GIJoe » Sun Apr 16, 2006 4:04 pm

of course net rendering is possible, as long as your app/renderer supports it. it's not as effective as having a single fast machine though, since all the scene and output data has to be distributed between machines.

just set up a little maya scene on a p3 and an indigo2 and let it render away *cough* a little hands-on experience will quickly settle this...

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Unread postby VenomousPinecone » Mon Apr 17, 2006 9:58 am

GIJoe wrote:just set up a little maya scene on a p3 and an indigo2 and let it render away *cough* a little hands-on experience will quickly settle this...


You could probably do the same thing with an Octane2 r12k and get the same results... Sad but true.

CDG wrote:Yes, I'm still using a Pentium 3. You wanna start a rumble? :lol:


Sure thing, but only because it is a Intel system. :P

GIJoe
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Unread postby GIJoe » Mon Apr 17, 2006 10:49 am

VenomousPinecone wrote:You could probably do the same thing with an Octane2 r12k and get the same results... Sad but true.


everything beyond - but maybe not including - a dual300 should well be able to burn this P3 :D

CDG
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Unread postby CDG » Mon Apr 17, 2006 8:27 pm

I appreciate the time everyone has put into replying here. I have little experience with this stuff, so I rely on others to give a more hands-on perspective of how things could work out.

I think I'll introduce my friend to SGI by gifting him a high end Indigo2 at some point and see if he likes the "different" nature or not.

Venemous Pinecone, I will ignore that last remark. :lol:


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