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#1
david17tym

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Dear all,

I'm investing in a new PC shortly and would like your opinions on the following:

I'm going to be using it for some freelance (occasionally heavy - geoprocessing/grids/high res satelitte and
aerial imagery) work and as a home entertainment hub.

On the work side I use Manifold, ArcGIS and CS3.

My plan is to buy a MacPro and install Vista Ultimate64 booting up with BootCamp when I need the GIS.

I've looked at Dell and HP machines for comparison but for the money in the UK (and considering potential resale
value) I can't see anything coming close to the MacPro (as long as you don't buy many 'extras' direct from Apple).

Also, with Manifold's development direction (inc NVIDIA CUDA) firmly towards Win64bit operating systems I'm
keen to be as prepared as possible to harness this promised future potential.

And I get the delights of OSX when I'm off duty...

I guess I'm trying to "future proof" (I know, I know) what will be a substantial investment.

Any flaws in the plan?

Thanks,

Dave

#2
Hans van der Maarel

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David,

I've been using Vista (64-bit) on my MacBook Pro through VMWare Fusion. Haven't tried Manifold yet on it (want to wait until the next major upgrade and then move to a 64-bit license) but Global Mapper and FME run just fine.

One thing with Vista in this configuration is that for some reason it has issues with USB drives. I can only connect them through a USB-hub (USB 1.0 unfortunately) and not copy files from them from within Vista. Funny enough, I can drag files from the Mac Finder directly into Windows Explorer and they'll copy just fine, at USB 2.0 speed.
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#3
vW Maps

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On the work side I use Manifold, ArcGIS and CS3.
My plan is to buy a MacPro and install Vista Ultimate64 booting up with BootCamp when I need the GIS.


Hi David,

I think I'm about to go down this road, too. Do you have any news about how things are running? Many thanks in advance. Best,
MvW
Martin von Wyss
vW Maps
Publisher of Australian Wine Maps and The NPR Map
twitter: vwmaps

#4
Unorthodox

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David et al.

It seems like a few of us are on the same map (boat didnt seem to fit) when it comes to hardware decisions :P

I too am looking to put together a future minded work station and here are some things I noticed:

With the exception of Manifold, nobody is using multiple cores. There is no distributed computing, no parallel processing, nothing, all the other GIS programs out there execute sequentially. What will happen though is the OS scheduler will try to efficiently domino the processes from one core to another, working from core 1 to core n in sequence. OR you can manually set your own process affinity and delegate a core to a particular process which could in effect give ArcMap its own processor to execute its sequential commands on at whatever the clock speed of the processor is. Now with your MacPro what Id be afraid of is having 8 2.9Ghz cores sitting there and never having enough running processes to use even half of them. But of course the grapevine says ESRI has an eye towards parallel processing so maybe once we get ArcMap 10 it will be able to leverage all that power.

The CUDA support in Manifold certainly makes for an appealing Youtube Video, if I were to recommend any particular card it would be one with the 9800gt chipset, giving you 112 usable CUDA cores for about $100. Of course the number of CUDA cores on other cards goes up above 300 but unless your doing allot of work with DEM's and the handful of other CUDA supported functions I think the law of diminishing returns would kick in. (I havent gotten to use Manifold w/ CUDA myself and the demonstration doesent let us know what hardware was used so for all intents and purposes they could very well just be taking us for a ride)

Personally I have my eyes on all the "student" desktops that are so affordable in the $400-$600 range that all seem to come standard with Core2 Quad processors and 4gb or RAM. The way I figure it is that unlike allot of other software out there with "enthusiast" supporting hardware, the big customer for GIS and Cartography applications is always going to be government and corporations, which dont like to buy new hardware all too often and where all work is "good enough for government" work. So if I were buying myself a workstation today id probably stick with the top of the middle of the line to 1) save me some money and 2) still be a few years ahead hardware wise than the software developers were targeting for.

But thats just my take with 2/3 of a geography degree under my belt, I hope I wasnt too pretentious for my first post!


Corey
Geographers know where to do it.

#5
Clark Geomatics

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Running Windows 7 on a MacPro via Bootcamp - incredibly stable. Software - Adobe CS4 suite, ArcGIS 9.3, Manifold and Global Mapper - all running without a hitch.
Cheers,

Jeff Clark
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#6
david17tym

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Afternoon everyone,
I invested in the MacPro/Vista64 (with 8Gb RAM) combo and it's never let me down.
I didn't think it was worth getting the 8 processor version so bought a single quad core.
Very fast, reliable and stable and no issues with peripherals, touch wood.
The only niggle is using the mac keyboard with a Win OS.
Thanks for the info on Win7, I'm about to upgrade to Snow Leopard and may take the Win7 plunge too....
Now just got to wait for the software engineers to catch up....
Dave

#7
Martin Gamache

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Running Windows 7 on a MacPro via Bootcamp - incredibly stable. Software - Adobe CS4 suite, ArcGIS 9.3, Manifold and Global Mapper - all running without a hitch.


Sorry to jump on to this thread so late...

Jeff,

Can you tell us if you are running Manifold 64 bit or 32bit. I'm also interested in performance when running Manifold, Arc, and the creative suite (Acrobat, illy, Photoshop and indesign) all at the same time?

I've been asked to look into going to Mac only hardware and my initial reaction was a big NO but from what I can read things are not as bad as I feared??? Anyone running Manifold 64bit on bootcamp? on a Powerbook???If so do tell, and I'd like to know detailed specs such as Ram, number of processors, and speed of the drives.

Currently I have a PC and a Mac which allows me to run all these application at the same time and remain productive. My desk looks like mission control however and it would be great to simplify.

Thanks

mg

#8
Hans van der Maarel

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I've been asked to look into going to Mac only hardware and my initial reaction was a big NO but from what I can read things are not as bad as I feared??? Anyone running Manifold 64bit on bootcamp? on a Powerbook???If so do tell, and I'd like to know detailed specs such as Ram, number of processors, and speed of the drives.


I'm using Manifold 64 bit (and Global Mapper 64 bit for that matter) on my Mac Pro in Vista 64 bit through Bootcamp. 10 Gb of RAM, 2 quad-core processors so 8 cores to play with. Hard drives are the standard models that Apple supplies, Hitachi 750 Gb models. Bootcamp is on a partition on the second disk (i.e. not the Mac boot disk). I haven't noticed any issues with this setup, but I have to admit I haven't been using a whole lot of Manifold lately as I'm trying to migrate all of that work to ArcGIS.
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#9
Martin Gamache

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I'm using Manifold 64 bit (and Global Mapper 64 bit for that matter) on my Mac Pro in Vista 64 bit through Bootcamp. 10 Gb of RAM, 2 quad-core processors so 8 cores to play with. Hard drives are the standard models that Apple supplies, Hitachi 750 Gb models. Bootcamp is on a partition on the second disk (i.e. not the Mac boot disk). I haven't noticed any issues with this setup, but I have to admit I haven't been using a whole lot of Manifold lately as I'm trying to migrate all of that work to ArcGIS.



Hans,

Do you run Manifold or Arc simultaneously with Photoshop, Illustrator and Indesign with large files open? If so how does the system perform with both OS runing software with large files opened?

mg

#10
Hans van der Maarel

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Do you run Manifold or Arc simultaneuosly with Photoshop and Illustrator and Indesign with large files open?


Not commonly, because I do the bulk of my work (including Illustrator and Photoshop) in Mac OS but I'll see if I can run a little stress test for you.
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#11
Hans van der Maarel

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Okay... here's some preliminary results on the Windows side.

Vista x64 running on a Mac Pro with 2 quad-core 2.8 Ghz processors, 10 Gb of RAM.

I first tried loading all the Natural Earth Vector 10M shapefiles in ArcMap, Manifold x64 and FME at the same time. No problem whatsoever. So I decided to ramp it up and take a really heavy dataset... I have a shapefile with LIDAR points, courtesy of the city of Munster in Germany, 5.2 million of them to be precise, about 140 Mb in total. Loaded that into Arc, Manifold x64, Global Mapper x64 and the FME Viewer. Now things are indeed getting sluggish and Arc seems to have choked on it when I tried to export the points to a new shapefile (I tried to set up an edit session but it wouldn't let me, probably because of a permissions issue). However, editing the points in Global Mapper works fine, same thing for Manifold. Zooming in and out is (as expected) somewhat sluggish again.

I restarted Arc and reloaded the LIDAR data, then for good measure threw 4 TIFF's of 300 Mb each into Photoshop CS3

So at this point, there's 7.1 Gb of memory in use, with Manifold using the most at 2 Gb and Photoshop coming in close behind with 1.6 Gb. All applications are still responsive, albeit somewhat on the slow side, but let's face it, juggling 5.2 million points is a pretty hefty thing in its own right.
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