Advice on Current System & Potential Upgrades


Another “what computer should I get” post to add to the mix here from a hardware novice…any and all advice is welcome! First, a quick summary of my current situation.

I work on a 2014 bootcamped Macbook Pro with the following specs: 3 GHz 4-core Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, integrated Intel Iris GPU, 1TB SSD.

Rhino 6 64bit + Vray 3 are running consistently and I sometimes work in Grasshopper. Photoshop or Illustrator may be open as well. My models vary in complexity from simple single parts to large scenes full of geometry, bitmap textures, etc. I’m familiar with Rhino blocks and Vray proxies and use those techniques as much as possible.

The common issues I encounter are severe viewport lag (even in wireframe mode) when selecting, moving or rotating objects, very long wait times running certain commands or baking in Grasshopper, sometimes a total crash when I get fancy with displacement maps, the list goes on…

My first thought would be to blame the integrated Intel graphics for this usability nightmare, however, the task manager tells a different story. While working with a 5MB model, the GPU utilization rarely goes above 45% while the CPU bounces between 80%-100%. This is one example.

Beyond solving these current problems, I’d like a machine that can increase rendering speeds and handle more complex materials/texturing, allow me to take full advantage of Vray RT, help me multitask (it’s unusable while rendering), manage more complicated Grasshopper geometries, and take on other tasks like photogrammetry with ease. Oh, and possibly support up to two 4K monitors.

Questions for the forum:

  1. I thought my 3.0 GHz i7 is a pretty powerful processor, is it not? What is slowing me down?

  2. While Rhino/Vray/Grasshopper are CPU intensive applications, is it right to assume that an upgrade with a powerful graphics card would help significantly? For example, I could offload the Vray rendering onto the GPU, freeing up the CPU for other tasks.

  3. How would you compare these similarly priced systems? Xeon vs. i7? Quadro vs. GTX? I haven’t come across these configurations in the Holomark threads, but I’ve got their Vray benchmark results.

  1. At what point does CPU or GPU hardware become overkill for my typical Rhino/Vray/Adobe workflow?

Thank you!