Anyone using a newer Mac for VFX work?

Hey, just out of curiosity, is anyone usng a newer Mac for VFX work? Something Post-Cheesegrater, I have one of those :smiley: I’m not looking for a bash on Mac thread (or a BASH on Mac thread), but a more constructive discussion.

I really like Mac OS, but it took so long for them to come out with a new Pro level system, it feels like they were left behind by the industry they helped create. It was completely self-inflicted, I have no delusions about that. But my Macs are all at least 10yo and are really only used for surfing and iCritter support these days.

Does anyone have a new one, like the New Improved Cheesegrater or maybe a MBP 16 or something with a serious ext GPU? I’m just wondering if there’s a viable path forward on the platform? The AMD cards even the new ones have are fairly behind the RTX offerings.

I see Nuke and Resolve seem pretty involved in supporting them. The holy trinity on Mac these days seems to be Premeire, AF, and C4D for Mograph work; based on what I see anyway.

Just looking for other perspectives?


I haven’t personally done any intense VFX work on a Mac, but Hugo (Hugo’s Desk) works in Nuke on a Mac and he has a studio tour video where he talks about his setup.Hope this will help you out some!

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Thanks Zac, that’s very helpful. I’ll check it out!

I’ve used just about everything that ever went beep**boop in a box, but I’ve always liked Macs. I’ve been a fan since System 6, so a few years, at least.

And I find myself playing on my mac, then ‘getting to work’ and booting my PC. I’m trying to decide if I invest in another generation of Macs.

I was able to fix the boring box look of my PC, so that helps some :smiley:


Whoa! That’s awesome! Certainly not a boring looking workstation haha

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That looks sooo awesome!

Thanks, it has a little brother, my old AW13 R3.


Dude, these are crazy cool!

Thanks! I was finishing a Studio Fine Arts degree when Covid dumped on that process. Mostly painting and sculpture. I have a 200 lb chunk of marble, sitting, waiting for my return. That dept won’t reopen until Jan '22 at the earliest. So if you leave a geek trapped at home with computers and paint…stuff’s gonna happen!

So now I’m exploring other interests, digital art and VFX are on the list. Probably a little Unreal Engine for recreation. I’ve done some casting work for sculpture, helped my daughter make some props this summer. So keeps me sane!

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I’ve been using Macs for a loooong time. Started with System 7, then spent some time on NeXT (yes, I actually owned one of these things :)) and when Steve returned to Apple, so did I. I started with software development (for ~20 years) and some time ago switched to graphics/video/3D.

I’m currently still on a Mac Pro 6.1 (the trashcan) and happy that I did NOT upgrade to the IMHO overpriced cheese grater. If I had to realize that I very recently spent a whole sh…load of money for a platform that is not only difficult to expand but also fundamentally outdated in a product line that now uses a whole different CPU architecture I would kick myself around the block…:grimacing:

So I’m finally (after ~30 years of using Macs) at the point where I will buy a PC. I’m done drooling over the awesome GPU power PC users can utilize and I can’t just because Apple doesn’t like Nvidia’s face. And for the money I am going to save I can put together another small machine as render slave…

I’m pretty sure I am going to have a hard time with Windows but I hear it has gotten much better than when I last tried it. And, to be honest, macOS is not what it was quality- and stability-wise…

But: I’m going to miss the look of that Apple hardware…When I finally get my PC, can I send you the chassis @zaubermac to go nuts on it? :rofl::rofl::rofl:

I’m not above it… Let me know when you leap, I’ll see what my time’s looking like. :smiley:

It always makes me laugh when Mac users make ugly beige box jokes. There are those of us who know the Dark Truth of our heritage.

Also, there are a fair number of project guides for using cheese grater cases for PC’s, if you’re a roll you own guy. MP 1,1’s are often 100 or less these days. Not for the faint of heart, you have to cut the case, but not too bad if you’re patient and have the time/tools.

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I feel your hesitancy as we are undergoing the same. We are a Mac shop, and have been since 1993. We are currently on the Trashcan Macs running Cinema 4D with Octane Render using Nvidia cards in external gpu boxes. This means we have to remain on High Sierra for our OSX version. We also use the Adobe Suite of products. I’ve got two PCs as my render slaves (one with two nVidia gpus, and the other with 4 nVidia gpus). I try to get comfortable with Windows, but am always running into deadlines, and just haven’t gotten to the point where I know how to navigate the Windows OS to make the leap. I’m also keeping an eye on the Apple M1 and forthcoming M2 chipsets as I hear lots of good things about them. So, for now, we continue to use our Macs and honestly they get the job done. We do a lot of 3D animations for NASA, USCSB, NOAA, ExxonMobil, etc.

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Hey Troy, thanks for the response!

Windows can be a PITA; fortunately, I’ve pretty solid PC skills, but it certainly brings it’s own complications.

I find it ironic that the people who have been drawn to Macs (and supported Apple) for decades on the promise of simple, elegant solutions to computing, now find themselves Unix Mad Scientists; cobbling together Frankentosh systems, from information and misinformation gleened from the internet. A computing innocense torn away like letting Google teach middle school reproductive health. We’ve become Tech Ambassadors, bringing together warring tech, making uneasy detente where even the parent companies fail.

My favorite Mac is my 2010 Macbook Pro 17. Runs my two fav Mac OS’s, 10.6 and 10.13. Both the best and last, most useful version of their hardware generations. But, with a 1st gen i7 and a Geforce 330M, it fails solidly for current VFX.

It sounds like your doing large data set visual models or simulations? Or more infographic type material? Lots of GPU horsepower it sounds like; I’m a little envious. :smiley:

I’m glad to hear the Macs are still viable and I like the idea of the cross platform renderfarm, even my MBP would benefit from that. From what I’ve heard, using TB eGPU’s that are different from your internal chipset can be a real thrash. Has that been stable? How are the trashcans holding up? I’ve toyed with getting one, now that the price has plummeted. All those ‘replaced my 2013 MP with an M1 Mini’ tubers created a free fall. And, I’ve got an extra E5-2687w v.2 8C Xeon as an engagement gift. But yeah, I’m not sure about the M class cpu’s just yet. Is there any dignity in a cell phone render farm?

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