New Gear In, Old Gear Out!
While I made my little old Mac mini soldier on for a long while (too long I would say!) the time has come for a brand spanking new computer! New computer day seems almost as exciting as new car day, but it’s a whole lot cheaper. Perhaps this means I should get a new computer more often? Anyhow, I’m very happy to report I’m now swimming in RAM and processor cores. I did quite a bit of research before I bought, and eventually concluded that it would make the most sense to get a gaming machine custom built. I found a relatively local company called Digital Storm who seemed to know what they are doing. Rhino3D is a bit odd in that it does not yet take advantage of multiple cores. So, just strictly on the Rhino side of things, you don’t need a quad core processor. That being said, for things like rendering (more on that later) a very fast quad core is definitely advantageous. Given that you can’t have too much RAM, I opted for 16 gigs. I’ve moved off of Windows XP and onto Windows 7 Pro 64 bit, which frankly I seem to like. I went with a solid state hard drive for the OS and programs, and then a 2 terabyte external eSATA Fantom GreenDrive for all my projects. I’ve also finally gotten on the online cloud backup wagpm and signed up for Carbonite. I have now sent all my data to well…. somewhere! The last consideration was the video card. Rhino runs on Open GL, and according to the McNeel Wiki page the older Nvidia GTX 295 cards are actually superior to the newer 3xx 4xx and 5xx series cards. Not having the budget to go the Quadro route, I found a used GTX 295 on eBay for $175, which has been working wonderfully. All in all, this has been a massive upgrade over my last system – far more stable, and far more performance when editing very dense models.
On the software side of things, I purchased a copy of Luxion KeyShot when I was in Vancouver for SIGGRAPH. I’m just now getting to play around with it, so nothing worth showing at this point. I’m very new to rendering, and it’s clearly an art unto itself. Once I have something worth sharing I’ll happily do that. I must say though, it is a very easy interface, quite intuitive.
So which old gear is going out? Well, I’ve finally decided to part with my FARO arm, and upgrade to something with laser scanning ability. The older FARO arms, like the one I have, is a fabulous tool for the money. That being said, I’ve found that in order to work at the pace I want to work at, there is no substitute for laser scanning. So, I’ve listed my arm for sale on eBay. What will I be replacing that arm with? Well if you wait a week or two, you’ll see, but I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag just yet. Suffice to say, I’m very very excited.