New High-end Workstation

Joined
Nov 6, 2010
Messages
19
I recently got a job as a character artist at a video game company. I've got some cash heading my way that is already burning a hole in my pocket and I would really like to upgrade my hunk of junk to something that will have less trouble with what I do.

Any advice would be great!

1) What will you be doing with this PC? Gaming? Photoshop? Web browsing? etc
Modeling, concept, and texture work. We use the unreal engine for all of our games so far.
Programs I use the most often: Maya, Modo, Photoshop, Zbrush, Topogun, Xnormal, etc
Also, gaming :D


2) What's your budget? Are tax and shipping included?
I'm expecting to spend between 2 and 4 thousand usd for a real powerhouse.
If I can get a very powerful machine for cheaper, that would be awesome.

3) Where do you live?
Georgia, USA

4) What exact parts do you need for that budget? CPU, RAM, case, etc. The word "Everything" is not a valid answer. Please list out all the parts you'll need.
Case, PSU, motherboard, CPU & heatsink, GPU, memory, HDD, CD/DVD-RW drive
optional: ssd boot drive (as well as a few programs), cheap soundcard, <$100speakers

5) If reusing any parts, what parts will you be reusing? Please be especially specific about the power supply. List make and model.
Only things like monitors, wacom tablet, usb devices


6) Will you be overclocking?
Yes. But I would some kind of guide to follow.

7) What size monitor do you have and/or plan to have?
I already have 2 24 inch monitors

8) When do you plan on building/buying the PC?
as early as Xmas, as late as march
i expect there will be a ton of new stuff on the market by then, but I would like to have an idea what to look for

9) What features do you need in a motherboard? RAID? Firewire? Crossfire or SLI support? USB 3.0? SATA 6Gb/s? etc.
no clue

10) Do you already have a legit and reusable/transferable OS key/license? If so, what OS? Is it 32bit or 64bit?
No, i will be buying Windows 7 64 bit

Thanks ahead of time!
 

Dangman

Ninja Editor SuperMod
Joined
Dec 15, 2005
Messages
46,062
Yeah no offense but you're doing this too early, especially with a late as March build date. It's pretty much a guarantee that the parts we recommend will not be the same parts we recommend in January let alone in March. So basically, the parts we recommend will not give an idea of what to buy.

So you're better off just making a new thread at least two weeks before you actually buy.
 
Joined
Nov 6, 2010
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Yeah I figured as much. I guess I will just poke around stickies and try to get a general idea of how to actually put one together.

thanks for the quick reply
 

Dangman

Ninja Editor SuperMod
Joined
Dec 15, 2005
Messages
46,062
Yeah I figured as much. I guess I will just poke around stickies and try to get a general idea of how to actually put one together.

thanks for the quick reply

Yah good luck,

You can also check other build threads as well if you really want to know what current parts are good.

Though one piece of timeless advice for ya: Avoid the Antec 900, 902, and 1200 cases. They're overpriced, cramped and there are significantly better cases for the money. That will not change between now and December of next year.
 
Joined
Nov 6, 2010
Messages
19
lol, thanks for the tip. I've heard Nvidia is coming out with new video cards soon, I think it was 6xxx series? I was thinking about getting a workstation card, but I have been told elsewhere to avoid them. Maybe these new ones will be better.
 

Dangman

Ninja Editor SuperMod
Joined
Dec 15, 2005
Messages
46,062
lol, thanks for the tip. I've heard Nvidia is coming out with new video cards soon, I think it was 6xxx series? I was thinking about getting a workstation card, but I have been told elsewhere to avoid them. Maybe these new ones will be better.

6xxx series is AMD and those cards are already out. Nvidia's new cards are the GTx 5xx series.
 
Joined
Nov 6, 2010
Messages
19
alright, thanks man. i wont bug you with any more noob questions.
Ill be back when I'm actually buying this thing
 
Joined
Nov 6, 2010
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19
Bump!

Looks like I will be buying this thing for xmas. All the same info from the original post still applies.
 

plugwash

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Sep 17, 2010
Messages
1,542
Personally given that budget and application area i'd be looking at the top end of single socket systems. You could go dual socket but I don't think it's worth it. Relatively little software can max out more than six cores and you will have to spend a LOT on your processors to get cores*clockspeed of a dual socket pair to to beat the 980x. Dual socket also opens up huge cans of worms such as unusual case and power supply requirements and the fact that most dual socket boards aren't designed to be gamer or overclocker boards. EVGA do a dual socket gamer/overclocker board but it's $600!

Right now top end of single socket systems means an i7-980x. You may as well max out the ram since the difference between 12GB and 24GB is only going to be $200 or so and you are likely to be multitasking quite a bit and possiblly processing some rather big files.

Motherboard is mostly about getting the slot configuration you want and a brand you trust. Since the memory controller is on the CPU and there is only one chipset for LGA1366 processors motherboards are unlikely to be distinguished much on performance.

I don't follow graphics cards so you probablly want someone else to make a reccomendation there.

So roughly speaking

i7-980x $1000
x58 motherboard $200 or so
24GB ram $400 or so
case: $200 or so for a nice one
psu: depends on the power your chosen graphics setup takes (graphics are now the kings of power hogging in a high end gamer build) but i'd think $100 - $300
hdd: $100 or so for 1.5TB
ssd: $240 for a 120GB intel (I belive intel are good but i'm not positive if they are the best
graphics: dunno

Total about $2400 plus whatever you decide to spend on graphics.

edits:

sorry made a few mistakes about the dual socket option (I thought I saw xeons that when paired could beat the 980x in cores*clockspeed for a lower price but it turns out they were 3xxx parts which aren't suitable for dual socket)

added storage
 
Last edited:
Joined
Nov 6, 2010
Messages
19
Thanks Plugwash, def helps give me some places to start looking. I'll be back in a few weeks with a list of specific parts and see if they are good quality/ fit together/ etc
 

mutantmagnet

Limp Gawd
Joined
Mar 13, 2009
Messages
267
Personally given that budget and application area i'd be looking at the top end of single socket systems. You could go dual socket but I don't think it's worth it. Relatively little software can max out more than six cores and you will have to spend a LOT on your processors to get cores*clockspeed of a dual socket pair to to beat the 980x. Dual socket also opens up huge cans of worms such as unusual case and power supply requirements and the fact that most dual socket boards aren't designed to be gamer or overclocker boards. EVGA do a dual socket gamer/overclocker board but it's $600!
The SR-2 Sells for less than that. More importantly there are Xeon cpus that can be had for ~$350 so 2 overclocked xeons on an SR 2 vs a single 980x on e a vastly cheaper mobo are roughly the same in price but the the overclocked cpus will offer better performance. The problem with the SR-2 is that only a handful of cases are appropriate for it and they are in the $200 - $400 range.

Ultimately though it depends on whether or not the extra cpu performance is usable for his work.
 
Joined
Nov 6, 2010
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I put together a couple builds based on some of the advice here as well as reading other threads on this site. I am leaning towards the 3k build because I'm not sure how necessary the dual cpu would be for what I do.
I am also not sure about the difference between the Nvidia cards. Is having the 2 lesser cards in sli much different than having the single better card?

http://andrewcq.com/portfolio/content/3_leveldeisgn/3k.jpg
http://andrewcq.com/portfolio/content/3_leveldeisgn/dualcpu.jpg

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
 

Dangman

Ninja Editor SuperMod
Joined
Dec 15, 2005
Messages
46,062
Neither setup are good for the money.

For both setups, ditch that specific set of RAM and just get six of this RAM instead:
$60 - G.Skill Ripjaw Series F3-12800CL9S-4GBRL 4GB DDR3 1600 RAM

Same RAM stick used in that 24GB G.Skill set but significantly cheaper per GB. You've instantly shaved off $240 by going with six of the above sticks.

For both setups, the HAF RC-942 is not worth the money IMO. If you like the look of that case and can deal with the price, go for it. However, I recommend taking a look at these other case options to make sure that's the case you want to go with:
$140 - NZXT Phantom PHAN-001WT White Full Tower ATX Case
$140 - NZXT Phantom PHAN-001WT Black Full Tower ATX Case
$140 - Cooler Master HAF 932 RC-932-KKN1-GP ATX Case
$160 - Corsair Graphite Series 600T ATX Case
$160 - Silverstone RV02B-W ATX case
$200 - Lian Li PC-B25F ATX Case
$240 - Silverstone FT02B-W ATX Case
$220 - Lian Li PC-A71F Black ATX Case
$270 - Corsair Obsidian Series 800D CC800DW Full Tower ATX Case

For both setups, you can get similar performing brand new hard drives for the same price as those recertified WD Black drives. Dunno about you but I'd rather have new parts than recertified parts if they're gonna be the same price and perform the same:
$70 - Samsung Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive

SSD wise, the Crucial SSD listed in the dual CPU setup is a better buy than that OCZ drive.

As for the video cards themselves, the FX 1800 SLI setup is a incredibly bad buy for gaming. They're based on an significantly older and slower GPU platform than the Quadro 4000 card. So in this case, you're better off with the Quadro 4000 for gaming and 3D work.

However do note that while the Quadro 4000 is a huge stepup in gaming performance over the FX 1800 SLI setup, the Quadro 4000 will not be that good for gaming at 1920x1080 compared to significantly cheaper gaming video cards. So try to find out from someone at your company if anyone at the company is actually using a gaming video card for their 3D work and if it suffices for them for Maya, Modo, Photoshop, Zbrush, Topogun, Xnormal, etc.

Or just ask yourself this: What's more important? Gaming or Modeling performance? If modeling performance, stick with the Quadro 4000 and accept lower settings in games. If gaming performance, then go with the HD 6970 or the GTX 580.

As for the CPU and motherboard, from what I can tell, for modeling work and such. a faster CPU is needed. So that dual CPU setup would be your best bet for that. But again, ask someone at your company whether or not you should go for a dual or single CPU setup. Remmeber that you're basically doing the same work as guys who've done this kind of thing for years. So they should know what kind of hardware is needed for optimal modeling work. Or ask the IT guys.

Do note that the dual CPU setup will require Windows 7 Professional 64bit whereas the single CPU setup will be fine with Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
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