Autodesk 3ds Max and Autodesk 3ds Max Design software are applications for the creations of special effects for TV and movies, video games and design visualization assets. With such broad capabilities, the software's systems requirements reflect the diverse aspects of this powerful tool.
Often I see 3ds Max used to review hardware speeds and capabilities because it will draw on every morsel the hardware can give. So, while the development team here at Autodesk works hard on giving you a good list in their system requirements documents, here are some hints to help you get the most out of your 3ds Max experience.
3ds Max relies on your systems processors for a number functions, and as 3ds Max develops, more and more of these functions should become multithreaded.
The most dramatic use of processor is during rendering. Taping into every processor available on the machine, some rendering technologies like mental ray can actually draw on processors from other PCs through its distributed bucket rendering settings. So when it comes to rendering there’s no doubt that faster and more processors help.
During the course of 3ds Max software’s life, there has been the misconception that the video card contributed to the speed of rendering. With recent releases, the GPU on the video card is just NOW starting to help in the rendering process. Add to that the new viewport capabilities and the value of strong video cards has come into their own. For example, Quicksilver hardware rendering requires additional GPU resources to work effectively. A minimum of 512 MB of graphics memory should be used. A minimum of 1 GB is recommended for more complex scenes, shaders, and lighting modes. This wizard can certainly help narrow down the field.
Another consideration to your video card purchases is the amount of on board memory it will have. When it comes to loading and displaying large texture maps on screen, you will need more video memory the larger and greater the amount of textures.
Also, to optimize their products for the 3ds Max artist, many video card manufacturers develop drivers specifically for 3ds Max and their hardware.
Physical Memory (RAM)
Physical memory needs are directly proportional to scene complexity. To load all of that data into 3ds Max with texture maps, plugins, modifiers stacks, etc., will all require higher and higher amounts of physical or RAM memory. Your operating system will also affect your memory needs. 64 bit operating systems will require more physical memory, but also allow for greater amounts to be installed. So, if you are dealing with multiple objects or high numbers of polygons, you will benefit from both a 64 bit system and lots of physical memory.
What this all boils down to is a solid workstation. The more you work in 3ds Max, the more I encourage you to increase the values in the systems requirements link. 3ds Max and 3ds Max Design will use every bit you give them.
Author: Eddie Perlberg, Autodesk Application Engineer