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Thread: Buying PC for learning 3D Studio Max

  1. #1
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    Default Buying PC for learning 3D Studio Max

    Hello everybody,

    I am used to using Maya/Vray for most of my work, but recently I have been offered an interview for a job that also requires some knowledge of 3d Studio Max. I am a Mac user and so have little experience with Max except through parallels which I found did not work well.

    So I am thinking I should purchase a cheap PC just so I can quickly learn some Max skills. As I know virtually nothing about PCs, what would you advice me to purchase? Can I just buy a machine from the local PC store, or will I be required to build something myself?

    I only have about $2000 AUD to spend. I hope that will be enough.

    Thank you in advance.

    Ian

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    Senior Member redvella's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying PC for learning 3D Studio Max

    What specifically did you find troublesome with Parallels?
    Whats the specs of the machine you are currently using?
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    Default Re: Buying PC for learning 3D Studio Max

    Thank you for responding, James.

    Yeah I have been getting some strange issues in Max on Parallels. Sometimes the model etc will just disappear for no reason. Moving around the scene is slow and jumpy, which I can only assume is a graphics card or CPU issue. It is also maxing out on RAM even when there is very little loaded in - and I already have 32GB of RAM installed.

    My current specs are.

    Mac Pro (Late 2013)
    Processor: 3.7 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon E5
    RAM: 32GB
    Graphics: AMD FirePro D300 2048 MB

    Do you have any suggestions?

    Thanks James.

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    Senior Member redvella's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying PC for learning 3D Studio Max

    To properly evaluate whats going on ensure you have the correct video drivers and test them with Passmark or similar software.

    How much RAM is being used when you load up Windows initially without 3dsmax running? Check the task manager (right click on start > task manager)

    The CPU looks fine.

    The GPU card is a little low on RAM but for learning Im sure it should not be an issue as long as your not doing anything too intensive.

    In regards to software comparison to Maya, the viewport will feel much slower in 3dsmax - however jump's may either be due to Parallels or the Video Drivers. I also have heard the valuebox sliders can be an erratic or mouse issues with Parallels and 3dsmax - you will have to test this yourself.

    In regards to the model disappearing, can you describe this? Im thinking this could be a few things. Press Z (F equivalent in Maya) when it disappears you may have shifted the viewport off centre. Ensure you are also using the latest service packs for the 3dsmax version you are using - without them you may be experiencing bugs that have been fixed with the viewport. Which 3dsmax version are you using?
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    Default Re: Buying PC for learning 3D Studio Max

    Quote Originally Posted by redvella View Post
    To properly evaluate whats going on ensure you have the correct video drivers and test them with Passmark or similar software.

    How much RAM is being used when you load up Windows initially without 3dsmax running? Check the task manager (right click on start > task manager)

    The CPU looks fine.

    The GPU card is a little low on RAM but for learning Im sure it should not be an issue as long as your not doing anything too intensive.

    In regards to software comparison to Maya, the viewport will feel much slower in 3dsmax - however jump's may either be due to Parallels or the Video Drivers. I also have heard the valuebox sliders can be an erratic or mouse issues with Parallels and 3dsmax - you will have to test this yourself.

    In regards to the model disappearing, can you describe this? Im thinking this could be a few things. Press Z (F equivalent in Maya) when it disappears you may have shifted the viewport off centre. Ensure you are also using the latest service packs for the 3dsmax version you are using - without them you may be experiencing bugs that have been fixed with the viewport. Which 3dsmax version are you using?
    Thanks James.

    So I did as you described and got some strange response from the RAM. I turned on Parallels and viewed iStat and Activity Monitor on the mac. It show the RAM usage jump from 6GB to 28GB when I open Parallels. So I go into task manager on Windows and surprising it said it was not sucking up much RAM.

    In Mac’s activity monitor, it shows you a list of all applications that are taking up RAM and nothing much was there!!!???!!! I would calculate maybe 8GB yet 28GB is wired to something but I have no idea what. This only happens when turning on Parallels.

    The best way I can describe the disappearing models is I will click off the viewport and sometimes, actually quite often, the model disappears for no reason. I then click back in the viewport, orbit around a little and up it pops again. It will also do this when modelling in the viewport sometimes when I click off the model into open space. I assumed it was a graphics card issue. I also used to get a lot of errors that I think were connected to the graphics card too but since upgrading, they seem to have gone. I am using Max 2017.

    Thanks again for your response. I really appreciate it.

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    Senior Member redvella's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying PC for learning 3D Studio Max

    Max 2016/2017 had weird disappearing issues with models, make sure you get the latest service packs for it. (sounds a lot like what you have described)

    I cant really help you with the RAM issues as Im unfamiliar with whats going on there. If I was to take a stab in the dark, my first thought would be something to do with Parallels settings managing the RAM reservation. My second thought would be Windows Page file. I normally dont recommend playing with the Windows Page File these days however in this instance it might be worth investigating.
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    Default Re: Buying PC for learning 3D Studio Max

    Ah I think I may have found the RAM issue. I am not too well versed in Parallels but I checked the preferences and I noticed the RAM allocation looked pretty high. I think it may have been maxing stuff out and causing slow downs. I have reduced it and will test to see if the performance is better.

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    Senior Member redvella's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying PC for learning 3D Studio Max

    Ok great, tell us how that goes. Ignore playing with the Windows Page File if you can. After you update the service packs let us know how things go
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    Default Re: Buying PC for learning 3D Studio Max

    Quote Originally Posted by redvella View Post
    Ok great, tell us how that goes. Ignore playing with the Windows Page File if you can. After you update the service packs let us know how things go
    Thanks James. I will do. I really appreciate your help.
    redvella likes this.

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    Default Re: Buying PC for learning 3D Studio Max

    Hi Ian,

    Why don't you try Bootcamp? I ran it on my macbook pro for several years and it seemed to work fine. The issue with Parallels is it has to load in the mac operating system and then has to load in the Windows OS on top of it. If you run bootcamp it just seems to run as a PC.

    Best, Tom

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