Question Upgrading Desktop PC for Use With Maya and Mudbox

Mar 31, 2019
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I am studying computer animation and I realized I can't use my home computer for homework for Maya. I thought to buy the same computer that my school uses; Dell Precision T5500. It still didn't preform well with Maya, so I checked their specs and I upgraded the memory to 48GB and the video card to NVidia Quatro M400 ( same as the school's computer). However, the computer seems only slightly better but it's still very slow, especially when adding lights and textures in Mudbox or using PTex to paint on the models. Maya is even worse. Simple animation like walk cycle is really slow.
What else am I supposed to upgrade with the PC I already bought? This is what it has so far:
Intel(R) Xeon (R) CPU & X5690 @ 3.47 GHz ( 2 processors)
Installed memory: 48.00 GB (40.0 usable)
System Type: 64-bit operating system, x-64 based processor

I appreciate any input, as I know very little about building computers.
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
Do you have the installation media for Maya and Mudbox?

What VERSION of Windows are you running on that machine?

My thought is that it's likely that the machine has come with a poor Windows installation that contains a lot of bloatware, just like most prebuilt systems, and that doing a clean install of Windows along with clean installations of the applications and the system and graphics card drivers would probably go a long way towards speeding things up.

Also, what kind of storage media does that machine have? You don't mention anything but if it has a normal mechanical hard drive then upgrading to an SSD would likely improve things considerably as well as perhaps an additional small SSD to use as the cache drive for your 3D applications.

48GB is a strange amount of memory as well. Normally, you want multiples of 8 or 16, like 8, 16, 32, 64 etc., so that all memory is operating in some kind of multi-channel mode.

What is the motherboard model on that system? You can run msinfo32 in any run or search box to bring up the system information applet which should give you a lot of the hardware information including mainboard model etc.
 
Mar 31, 2019
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Thank you for your response :) I didn't know how to find the motherboard, so I uploaded the picture I took of the screen. I hope that's OK. Why do you think the memory is not good not to be in multiples of 8s? How do I fix that?
Thank you, again very much

image
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
Yeah, I realized after I said that, that you likely have a triple or quad channel board, so six 8GB modules is fine.

However, showing 48GB with 40 "usable" indicates to me that there is a problem. There is nothing I know of that could reserve 8GB of RAM for the system hardware so it's likely that one of those sticks is not working or playing nice with the rest.

As far as the motherboard goes, the model isn't listed in those specs so you are likely going to need to take off the side panel and find the model number directly on the motherboard itself. Usually you will find that printed along the top edge of the board or somewhere in the middle somewhere. In any case, it WILL be printed somewhere on the motherboard itself.

Honestly, most of the recommendations I would make about how to go about fixing things seem like maybe they are outside your comfort zone? Are you comfortable working in the BIOS or reinstalling Windows? Because those are likely things you are going to need to be able to do in order to track down and resolve the issues you are having with lack of performance.
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
I'd probably start though, with trying a clean install of the graphics card drivers. While the guide I wrote is intended for gaming cards, it's the same process. Be sure to FIRST download the DDU, AND the latest driver package for your graphics card from the Nvidia website.


Here are the first steps to take when trying to solve these kinds of hardware problems. If you have already tried these steps, all of them, exactly as outlined, we can move along to more advanced solutions.

If there are any you have NOT done, it would be advisable to do so if for no other reason than to be able to say you've already done it and eliminate that possibility.


First, make sure your motherboard has the MOST recent BIOS version installed. If it does not, then update. This solves a high number of issues even in cases where the release that is newer than yours makes no mention of improving graphics card or other hardware compatibility. They do not list every change they have made when they post a new BIOS release.

Second, go to the product page for your motherboard on the manufacturer website. Download and install the latest driver versions for the chipset, storage controllers, audio and network adapters. Do not skip installing a newer driver just because you think it is not relevant to the problem you are having. The drivers for one device can often affect ALL other devices and a questionable driver release can cause instability in the OS itself. They don't release new drivers just for fun. If there is a new driver release for a component, there is a good reason for it. The same goes for BIOS updates.

IF you have other hardware installed or attached to the system that are not a part of the systems covered by the motherboard drivers, then go to the support page for THAT component and check to see if there are newer drivers available for that as well. If there are, install them.

The last thing we want to look at, for now anyhow, is the graphics card drivers. Regardless of whether you "already installed the newest drivers" for your graphics card or not, it is OFTEN a good idea to do a CLEAN install of the graphics card drivers. Just installing over the old drivers OR trying to use what Nvidia and AMD consider a clean install is not good enough and does not usually give the same result as using the Display Driver Uninstaller utility. This has a very high success rate and is always worth a shot.

If you have had both Nvidia and AMD cards installed at any point on that operating system then you will want to run the DDU twice. Once for the old card drivers (ie, Nvidia or AMD) and again for the currently installed graphics card drivers (ie, AMD or Nvidia). So if you had an Nvidia card at some point in the past, run it first for Nvidia and then after that is complete, run it again for AMD if you currently have an AMD card installed.

Here are the full instructions on running the Display driver uninstaller and CLEAN installing new drivers.

 
Mar 31, 2019
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I really appreciate you take your time to answer my post. I will try doing what you suggested when I find the time...I have so many school projects at the time. When I did try to install the new drivers from NVidia, it kept asking me to install Java for their graphic cards detection tool. I uninstalled it using the java uninstall tool but for some reason NVidia is not seeing it. And sorry, I never answered your question. Yes, I have Mudbox and Maya installed(student versions).
 
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