Best computer for open gl preview on Harmony.

Dear all.

I would like to buy a new computer for Harmony and i would like to know what should be the fastest for previewing in open gl and rendering?

New imac 27 inch with i7 7700k /amd card / ssd/16 gb ram

Desktop i7 7700k / 16 gb ram 2400/ nvidia gtx 1080

Ryzen x1800/ 16 gb ram 2400/ nvidia gtx 1080

I ask this because from what i read ryzen is really good in rendering but seems to lack in open gl.
Imac has an amd card and apple seems to be known to not optimize its pilots like windows desktops do.

It s also not so clear to me how open gl is calculated in TB Harmony: mostly through the cpu or gpu?

Kind regards and thx for the future answers!

Ps: i already read the TB page with specs for computer running Harmony but it is not really exhaustive.

OpenGL view and preview rendering are handled by the graphics card. File rendering is handled by the CPU.

I prefer the OS X platform. Unfortunately, Apple has made that a challenge. With the move to soldered in RAM and graphics you initially have to invest in the hardware that will be all you get for the life of the computer. There will not be any option to upgrade. The regular iMacs do not offer the stronger graphics cards. The Mac Pros are pricey and targeted at something other than graphic design. The new iMac Pros begin at $5000 and you are in the same boat having to initially invest in the maximum resources that will serve for the life of the computer with no option to upgrade in the future.

That leaves Windows or building your own system that can run OS X (hackintosh). They can be customized and upgraded but the smallest change can present problems to troubleshoot. It takes a lot of patience to track down some pesky problems that can arise but they can be properly eliminated. If you like, do not mind or the benefit is worth it then I recommend this path. I went this route and will build my own systems to run OS X as the need arises. I will have to replace my Macbook Pro with another MBP at some point though.

Between the two Windows systems in your post, either would be sufficient to run Harmony. I chose the 970 over the 980 at the time. You could also consider using an SSD as your operating system boot drive. But one is only a luxury that provides significantly noticeable increases in speed.

You may or may not already know that when you are setting up your animation system you will need a video editor like Premier, HitFilm or Final Cut Pro. Build your animation in small pieces then export the animated sequence as images to assemble in the video software. Harmony will choke on multiple scene files regardless of powerful hardware. Things may have changed but 16GB RAM was enough for Harmony. More than that was unnecessary when I was researching.

The new iMac comes with a middle-class Radeon Pro 570 (4gb video ram) or 580 graphics card (8gb video ram), while the Nvidia (Windows) systems are equipped with a high-end GTX 1080 (standard 8gb video ram). In terms of opengl performance the 1080 win hands down - no comparison. Also, drivers on Windows are generally of a much higher quality, although Nvidia has stated that they are now focusing more on creating better Mac drivers (but no Nvidia GPU in that new iMac, so…).

If you intend to do a spot of 3d work, the Nvidia 1080 is again the clear favourite.

And on Windows with a 1080 you get Cuda support, which is great for 3d rendering and video rendering. You will not get that on a Mac, unless you opt for Final Cut.

Anyway, support for Nvidia is just plain better at this point compared to AMD. Just for that reason, and the Mac’s idiosyncrasies in regards to OpenGL. I’d avoid the new iMac. Besides, with a Windows tower/desktop it is simple to upgrade your memory or even your video card, etc. later - completely impossible with an iMac.

Ryzen is relatively new, and, compared to Nvidia’s CPU line, slower with single thread software. I am pretty sure Toonboom makes use of a single thread while animating/working with it. During output rendering the AMD may be faster, but here’s the thing: export single uncompressed frames and a sound file, and then use Premiere, Blackmagic Davinci Resolve, or any other video rendering that supports either CUDA or OpenCL to render those frames to a video file - faster than that Ryzen.

The iMac has a really nice screen - although excellent alternatives are available.

So, in my opinion you’d be far more flexible and have a faster workstation when you go with the i7 7700K 1080GTX machine. And get a tower case for easy expansion later.