RTX ADA or Mac Studio?

My RTX6000 seems to be getting a bit flakey lately ie freezes, flash frames, strange renders, crashes, especially when working CG, same setup works fine on my iMac but take 3-4 time longer to render.The RTX is in a Z8 (1st gen).

Should I invest in a RTX 5/6000 ada or just go Mac Studio?

What do you think?

What do you mean working with CG? Do you have geometry in action or are you compositing CG passes?

I’m on mac studio and it’s fine for CG passes and most everything else. The only thing I would want on the linux side is working with actual geometry and PBR in action. That is definitely slower on mac.

I don’t see memory leaks, graphics memory filling up, stuff like that on the mac side. And I have photoshop, web browser, etc all open at the same time as well.

compositing CG passes

One thing to think about is that If you buy the Mac Studio, everything will be new and under warranty. If something dies on the Z8 it will mean spending more. Mac is easier to administer too and more software options.

In saying that though, if it was me then I’d probably be buying the ADA card.

On the one hand I would like to go towards minimising lightweighting my kit, Mac seems like the way to go, BUT M4 is on its way and it could go like iPhones every year with hardware updates,.like .m5,m6… …etc. On the other hand I love the feeling of the raw power of an Nvidia Card. Its bit like Tesla vs Ferrari or something like that,…im pretty literate in both setups,…but want to work towards minimalist setup,… feel forced to go Mac just for that reason. I suppose equally there will be a new quadro nearly every year too…

Full disclosure, I haven’t invested a ton of time on my Studio in Flame and do all my heavy comp work on my A6000 - so my experience with Flame on Apple Silicone is limited.

That being said, a lot of people love it for its heat, sound and cost profiles, and find it does the job in Flame. I have always found the Intel Macs were buggy and slow. Lots of beachballs and freezes - sometimes doing simple things.

Some things I think that might help to consider:

  • How much VRAM do you use? Will that be a limiting factor on the Studio

  • How quick are your turnarounds normally? Are you working supervised? Do you have time to wait for the longer renders (especially the machine learning stuff that really leans into CUDA?)

  • Do you need the flexibility to upgrade in the future? (most people really don’t and don’t mess with their system much after purchase)

My partner and I work in quick turnaround promos and he’s ditching his Intel MacPro for a Z8. Just too many unsolvable hangs and weirdness of the years in tight spots - especially with the larger, more iterative projects we tend to work on.

Also, know it doesn’t help you much now, but when I got my Z8 G4 from HP spent the bit of extra cash to get my A6000 through them. And for ~$300 on top of that got the extended 5yr warranty. My A6000 was on the fritz a couple of months ago and I had a brand new part in hand the very next day.

There’s something to be said for the fun, cost saving experience of building your own, but sometimes spending a bit more on these higher end pre-builds up front might save you A LOT more down the line.

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Another quick note on the Studio - which others might be able to provide more experience with…

I’ve seen videos that it unfortunately can suffer from Apple’s history of valuing form over function. When you push them, if they get too hot, Apple has no problem throttling them back instead of risking a bit of unwanted fan noise. Not sure if this is a real issue in Flame world, but it gave me pause. And trust me, I love my Apple products.

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but I thought the benchmarks prove Mac Studio is faster than a z8/rtx., no? the z8 fury beats it… I think ,…and so does Lenovo pxxx ? or I think any pcie 4 systems, …give it go … I got my rtx6000 from eBay 4 yrs ago

I’ve got both… on VRAM… the Mac Studio wins hands down… simply because of it’s architecture allows all memory to be used as VRAM… (which means no restarting the software every hour the free up vram) … overall, the performance is on par and some things render even way faster on the MacStudio (motion blur among others) … funny thing is… My linux box feels ‘snappier’… My main consideration when replacing (when the time comes) the Linux box would be, what system does ML stuff best/ fastest. For now, that’s the Linux box… Apple needs to do a little catch up I guess…

My 2cts…



So even though your Mac studio wins is has not yet replaced your Linux box? Just becos of ML?

That and I like Linux… :slight_smile: … Also… it’s still plenty fast…

This is a complicated question. It used to be price per performance ratio wasn’t all that great for Mac. In 2020 you’d spend 2-3 times on a Mac for a third of the performance on the Flame benchmark. Now, you can spend about the same and get minus 20-40% ish. Since the M’s came out, it’s now a much, MUCH more difficult question…less on performance, and more about style/comfort/other more interesting questions.

Of course the whole ML/AI/WHATEVS on Linux/Nvidia will likely be a continuing favorable situation for the LInux side. But hey, who knows. Maybe they’ll be some dope Flame tools built in one day that help make the decision even harder to make. That’d be fun.

In the meantime, you really shouldn’t be choosing Mac vs. Linux. Everybody needs a second machine anyway. If your Mac dies, do you really want to be beholden to Apple Genius to help you deliver your silly yogurt ad on time before The Oscars? Do the Studios have enough active cooling/ventilation/serviceability to jam on 6k/8k footage while being choked by dust and cat hair?

I like knowing full well that even though I haven’t, I can take my P620s out to the garage and shake all the cobwebs out.

Cheap P620s and Dell boxes on eBay from CERTIFIED RESELLERS AND EVEN LENOVO/DELL THEMSELVES make it cheaper than ever. The fact that you can Amazon Prime and get next day on Highpoints, RAM, SSDs, and hell even professional GPUs (3090s ain’t professional) in 2 days is a great place to be. Unless you ain’t in a great place to be. In my head a great place to be is somewhere along major railroads for internet fast lanes and less than a 20 minute drive from Amazon/FedEx/UPS distribution facilities.

I need to go outside more.

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This more about should I spend 6-7k plus on new RTX or should just spend 10k on a Mac, its more about Nvidia cards not really about Lenovo/dell/hp… and its bout your first machine not your second, it easy to get second or a temp, back in the day when flame was tied to hardware its was not.

im talking about your main box, and the way forward. where should I put my money, im not into having a rack full of shit, I like small footprint, easier to move around. I’ve always been linux with a rack full of shit.
And you have to add Mac or a pc to run other stuff anyway.

But im still skeptical about Mac which is why I ask the question, its not complicated, … In not too worried about AI/ML, …seems Nuke has got that sown up on M chips so I assume so will Flame eventually. I dont use it much anyway.

But it sounds like M is for real, but I think I might hold on for the M4 Studio…

currently rendering an element on my iMac taking 5 mins that my RTX was failing on but rendering 1 min… this is where im coming from,…

What kind of iMac do you have? The difference btwn Apple Intel & Apple M is absolute night & day. If you are coming from an Intel iMac… even an M1 is going to feel noticeably faster.

You sound mind made up… I agree apple studio = minimalist. Just do it! Could always sell that puppy later.

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i9/16gbvram/128ram (fastest Intel Mac 2020)

The argument can also be:
Disposable vs. future burn node

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This debate seems to come up every other month. The reality seems that there isn’t a clear-cut answer. The tradeoffs are now in the nuances and come down to personal preference, some specific workflows that might benefit, how you like to manage your hardware.

If this is your own business, it’s quite helpful to have two systems over time. There’s always a chance that something breaks while you’re on a deadline, and too risky to just have a single point of failure.

Thus a decent strategy may be to alternate between them every 3-4 years. You have a Linux system, buy a Mac. 3-4 years later, once this amortized, buy a new Linux box and retire the old one or turn it into a NAS/burn-node, etc. That way you get real-world experience with your specific workflows. Maybe over time you’ll develop a preference.

I think the M1-3 Macs are pretty phenomenal for what you pay and efficient they are. If the M4 holds up to the rumors and prediction, that may be another step up. So if I had to bet on Mac, I’d do one more Linux box and then switch to Mac in 2-3 years.

Keep an eye on where the Snapdragon Arm chips and Intel/AMD go. There may be a viable Linux platform with Arm and all that’s good about it, yet still utilize NVidia cards and Linux goodness. Another variable is how USB4/TB4 is evolving. There’s a nice simplicity to Apple peripherals, but there are also limitations.

These are all solid perspectives, but don’t discount cloud offerings.
Do the job, get paid, turn it off, do something else.


What I think this thread shows is that there is no bad choice. Consumerism has lead to a maximist approach to things like this, where you agonise over a decision thinking that there is one choice that is going to be the ultimate so you want to get it exactly right. In the end there are pros and cons to both. Go with your gut and be done with it and don’t sweat the small stuff. Either option will be pretty good and you can’t worry about the what-ifs when they are unknowns.