Could I do so with only the computer I'm writing this message
with, and nothing else? Could I just go to a site somewhere to
sample? Do I have to have umpteen gigamathingies worth of power
It really depends on what program you plan to use and whether or not
you intend to run a mill or RP machine with your computer and what
your computer's spec's are before you can decide on whether or not
you need more power than what you have.
For the record, I am running Rhino on the machine I'm typing this
note with. It is a custom built computer of 1999 vintage running on a
Pentium 3 processor, with a 19 gigabyte hard drive running at 250
megahertz ( very slow processor and not much memory by today's
standards) and my RAM is only 128K. I also have an ATI All-In-Wonder
graphics card with 128K on board RAM. This slow machine runs Rhino as
well as most new laptop computers I've used Rhino on.
Rendering with Flamingo (the Rhino plug-in for ray tracing) is
slower than I'd like, especially if I am rendering a ring with
multiple side stones or complex highly polished surfaces; but it
works. Keeping simple backgrounds and as few add in lights as
possible helps speed up the rebdering on my dinosaur.
I am going to be upgrading to a better computer, myself, as soon as
I get the time to install it. But what I have has suited me well to
Rhino itself is inexpensive at $1295.00 for the Rhino/Flamingo
package or just $895.00 for Rhino alone. Flamingo really helps to
create more realistic images than the renderer that comes inside
Rhino. A Rhino trial version can be downloaded for free from there
web site; the only limiting factors in it are the number of saves you
can do (25) and the fact that you can't use the copy/clip functions.
Hope this helps!