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(Urgent please) Video Card for Autodesk Maya 2009

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Hi there, been a while.

Situation's like this: My fiancee needs to buy a laptop, and will be running Maya 2009 in it. I don't know much about the exact demands of this specialised software. I just know it's heavy. And our budget is not exactly big.

We're aiming for Core 2 Duo 2.4-2.8GHz, at least 2GBs RAM (DDR3), maybe 4. That should be enough, considering you cannot go much higher than that on a laptop without spending really big. Keep it all under U$S2000. With student deals from school, she can get one of the new MacBooks Pro with about those specs, for around U$S1500.

My worries are about the video card. It shouldn't be onboard, that's for sure. About the best I can find that's not onboard, is the 8600M GT from nVidia. It's what comes with the MacBook Pro they're offering her. Not the strongest card out there. But I also don't find much variety beyond that.

My real worry is not just about the general specs of the card. After checking online for hours, I'm quite confused as to what card would really suit Maya.

Autodesk's website says "any OpenGL certified hardware accelerated card." (link) Meaning, pretty much any at least remotely decent card these days. That sounds too easy. Too low-end for such heavy software.

On checking further documentation (links for Mac and Windows) on their site, several of the higher-end cards are reported to work buggy with Maya.

Both documents seem to support the idea that a Quadro FX would be best. And that's what I read in some other places.
But which one? I don't find much variety as I said. Not even on mobile GeForce. Mobile Quadro is even tougher.

And back to the "buggy" issues...under Mac, it says *all* cards have certain limits. More troublesome than PC can be, apparently.

Isn't Mac supposed to be better at this kind of stuff? How much reality is behind that ages-old claim? Is it because of Mac OS? 'cos otherwise there's not much difference between the two platforms anymore. The MacBook Pro is an Intel Mac after all.

So, this whole mess is also for whether to buy a Macbook or a notebook. Budget is easier with notebooks, since they're cheaper.

I'm a "PC exclusive" power user and tech guy, but only by dint of experience. Not by any particular preference. I try to be objective.
PC is cheaper, more compatible and flexible...But also buggier, apparently.
Mac is more expensive and less flexible...But also the platform of choice for this business. There has to be a serious reason for it. It cannot be just the insufferable elitism that permeates the platform wars.

So...I don't want her facing all the glitches of PCs and so. With a Mac, she can dual-boot and stick to a safer Mac OS when using Maya for example.

With a PC, a safer idea would also be Linux. I don't know...

What to do? This is beyond my expertise. I want to help her get a video card that will work. So far, I'm not sure which card would be decent, which one optimal, which one too weak, which one too buggy...

If it depended only on general specs of the card, it'd be asier...Yet, we're already limited on that, since it has to be a laptop. And we cannot spend so much on a different card. We may be willing to, but only if we know it's gonna do the job. Right now, the highest-end cards look just as troublesome as the lower-end, for their own reasons.

Hope anyone can help. We've been trying to solve this for days and the deal she's found on the Macbook won't last much longer.

EDIT: Should this topic go on hardware? Since it's about hardware needed...I thought it was better to put it here, to find people that know more than us about Maya's needs.

Edited by DA IMP, 01 December 2008 - 02:20 PM.

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SOLUTION (of sorts)

The MacBook Pro is working just fine with Autodesk Maya 2009 for now. Remember though, that the warnings from Apple are more about "limits and handicaps" than actual "bugs."
She hasn't run into anything like the warnings yet, and further sources suggest that these warnings only apply to older versions of Maya. That 2009 solves most if not all of it, and they patch it up pretty fast between versions anyways.
And that Apple's being a bit exaggerated on their concerns, too. Can't blame them for trying to cover all the bases though. It's just hard to know what to expect, since companies run the full gamut from "exaggerating down for safety" to "exaggerating up for hype."

So, the MacBook Pro. It's the basic one, with the 8600M GT with 512MBs, 2GBs RAM, Core 2 Duo. Not that the 8600M GT *is* listed as about the only card with no issues of its own. So while it may be affected by more "platform-wide" problems, it should be more stable always.

Considering there were zero replies, and the laptop's been bought, you can close this topic.

Edited by DA IMP, 07 December 2008 - 07:22 PM.

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