Please Help Me Design a Dedicated Graphics and Video Workstation

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by Linden, Jan 20, 2019.

  1. Linden

    Linden [H]ard|Gawd

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    Hi, Gang,

    I’m seeking the guidance of [H] gurus, please: I need to design and procure all the parts for a dedicated graphics creation and video editing workstation. This will be a new type of build for me. I’ve built lots of PCs and dedicated distributed computing machines (BOINC and Folding) computers – GPU based, CPU based, and multi-CPU based (4Ps), but never a graphics processing beast.


    This is for a friend who is a professional graphics creator who needs a good machine at home. She is highly creative and is skilled at what she does; but she barely knows the difference between a computer case and a hard disk drive (if that). She is essentially hardware illiterate and probably always will be. So, the computer must be rock solid reliable and must be Windows-based. She will not be gaming, benchmarking, overclocking, or hardware tweaking. I need build her a turn-key solution that I simply hand over to her.


    She cannot spend more than $2400. She has no parts in her current home system that I can re-use. The system will be the entire computer, including the computer case, and a new Windows license, but not the peripherals. (We are handling peripherals in a separate process. I will be supplying her an external HDD/SDD caddy with a high capacity drive for backups and large files storage.)


    Anticipated usage scenario is graphics creation and processing and video editing, with a need for significant multi-tasking. She typically opens and uses several applications “at once.” I asked her if she needs double precision or if she uses any math-based applications such as MatLab. I’m pretty sure the answer meant no.


    Here are the applications she uses and must continue using:
    Adobe Creative Suite
    Photoshop
    InDesign
    Bridge
    Illustrator
    Microsoft Office (not extensive Excel spreadsheets, but everything else)
    Internet
    Email

    She frequently has several of the above applications open at once, switching between them. She works with all types of image files, include very large TIFF files. She does some “modeling” with “drawing tools” but does not use CAD tools.

    Please spec out a computer for us, including Win 10 (64-bit, of course). I am not beholden to any manufacturer or brand. I need what will fit the budget and be the best solution for the needs I’ve summarized above, please. I consider it very important for her to have two internal drives – an SSD for OS and programs and a 7200 RPM high capacity HDD for storage.

    My friend will open an account and order the parts I tell her to from Newegg. BestBuy online purchase/pickup locally is also an option for the computer case, as we avoid massive shipping costs (we’re in Alaska). Amazon is an option, but I prefer Newegg due to my long-term satisfaction with them.
     
  2. rhansen5_99

    rhansen5_99 [H]ard|Gawd

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    Well my recommendation for a rendering workstation would be to try to get into a thread ripper build. This will really help getting the multi tasking out there.

    If you live by a Microcenter (which I guess you do not)
    either 1950x or the 2920x ~$550
    Asrock x399 board $260 After combo
    for Ram I would go quad channel either 4x8 or 4x16 (ddr4 3200 if you can) ~$400
    SSD I would say 1tb m.2 nvme (Samsung or Something) Crucial 1tb are $160
    For Mechanical Drive Get WD RED drives 8tb or 10TB (maybe look at shucking from BB External) $180
    For GPU look for a 1070gtx or 1060GTX for acceleration ~$250
    Note with the failure rates on RTX GPU's I would still look to last gen.

    This would roughly get you to $1800 but you would still need case, psu and cpu cooler, and OS (look for a key for $20).
     
  3. Linden

    Linden [H]ard|Gawd

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    Thanks.

    Nope, no computer/parts stores except the $$ mom & pop stores.

    Some questions, simply because as I stated, I have no experience with graphics workstations.

    Not sure what you mean by "maybe look at shucking from BB External." I had intended the external drive to be for backups, both OS/applications and important files.

    You are recommending a GTX 1070 or 1060. Fine video cards, both of them; but are you recommending Nvidia due to Cuda capability? I've read it's important for some graphics and video rendering programs.

    Concerning Windows 10: For the applications she wishes to use, are there any advantages of Professional over Home? As for less flexibility with Microsoft Updates, I really don't want her to have any flexibility. I worked on one of her computers before. She had gone nearly 18 months without any Microsoft updates!
     
  4. rhansen5_99

    rhansen5_99 [H]ard|Gawd

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    For the Western Digital easy store drives from Best buy they are basically 8tb or 10tb red or white drives, so recently bb had the 10tb drives for $180 for 10tb and 130 for 8tb. If you open them you can save a ton of cash over retail for the same drives.

    For the GPU, yes cuda acceleration can help a lot in Adobe applications. The reason to not go with the 2000 Rtx is they are wicked over priced and seamingly dieing in high numbers.


    As for win10 you might as well go with pro, but the updates are hard to stop and the 1809 update can cause issues.

    Hope that helps.
     
  5. rhansen5_99

    rhansen5_99 [H]ard|Gawd

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    Note in looking around ibuypower has a Threadripper configuration page for their custom builds here: https://www.ibuypower.com/Store/AMD-Threadripper-Configurator , I have had good luck with them in the past with laptops, but you could probably build the same thing for less cost, assuming shipping is not ridiculous in AK. Mainly the tool is cool to give you an idea of components and what it will look like.
     
  6. Linden

    Linden [H]ard|Gawd

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    Helpful, thank you. I would imagine the BB external drives are 5400 RPM. I think most plug and play external drives are low speed. Still though, it's worth checking out.
     
  7. rhansen5_99

    rhansen5_99 [H]ard|Gawd

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    Yes the reds are 5400rpm, I have 3 and they transfer at about 180 MB/s, not the greatest but do most of my work on SSD's and really just use them for storage. Speaking of which it might be useful to have 2 ssds in your build one for OS / Appps, one for Adobe Scratch drive, then the storage array. Just a thought though.
     
  8. Linden

    Linden [H]ard|Gawd

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    Good ideas, keep them coming, thanks.

    I have never used Adobe anything, except PDF reader and flash stuff. Is Adobe Scratch easy to set up/configure?

    ? If my friend has dedicated storage off of the OS drive, is 500GB enough capacity for reliable OS and applications usage?
    ? I've noticed that NVMe SSDs have become popular. What's the advantage of them over SATA SSDs? Is it faster on the PCI-e bus?
    ? If I go with NVMe, I suppose it would be best to get the latest, PCI-e 3.0 X 4? the NVMe drives just plug into the mobo M2 slot, right? (sorry, never used one)

    I got the go-ahead from my friend today. We will start ordering parts within a week.
     
  9. Linden

    Linden [H]ard|Gawd

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    Alright then, I've come up with a proposed system for my friend. The system includes the complete computer, a 2K (1440P) monitor, and an external storage solution with a USB 3.0 HDD dock and two HDDs - backup/storage and redundant (off-site) backup/storage. With shipping included, reduced by Premiere, the total cost is right at my friend's budget.

    * The 1TB SSD, the second internal drive, is for working storage and "scratch drive."
    * She would like a 30" high quality monitor, at least 2K; but the cost seems to be a budget buster. If you have a recommendation for an Ultrasharp-equivalent, quality 30" monitor, please let me know.
    * I'm not sure about the CPU heatsink I selected. I'm still looking for a decent cooler for $50 or less.

    Here's the parts list. (I'll post the Newegg Wish list with links when I can get it working.) You are welcomed to nitpick my proposal. At this point, any increase in a part's price will have to be balanced with a decrease somewhere else. We've hit my friend's budget cap.

    PSU: Seasonic focus SSR-650FM, semi-modular
    Motherboard: ASRock 399X Phantom Gaming 6
    CPU: AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2920X, 2nd Generation
    CPU Heatsink: Arctic Freezer 33TR
    OS: Windows 10 Pro, OEM
    Drive, internal, OS & applications: Crucial P1 NVMe CT500P1SSD8; 500GB, PCI-e 3.0 4X, M.2
    Drive, internal, temporary storage and "scratch" drive; Samsung 860 EVO MZ-76E1T0B/AM; 1TB, SSD, SATA
    Memory: Ballistix Sport LT BLS4K16GD240FSC; 64GB, 4X16, quad channel kit, DDR4 2400 (will see if higher frequency quad kits in stock later for similar price)
    Video Card: EVGA GTX 1070 P4-5171-KR; 8GB, dual fan
    DVD Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-14 OEM (yes, she needs it)
    Corsair Carbide Series CC9011107WW: sturdy construction, good cable management/layout, not too large or small (BestBuy, no shipping charges)
    Monitor: Dell Ultrasharp U2717D, 2560X1440
    Drives, external, storage/backup and redundant: Toshiba X300; each 5TB, SATA 6Gb/s, 7200RPM, 128MB cache
    Docking Station, external drives: Vantec NexStar TX NST-D328S3-BK; open, toaster-type slot
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2019
  10. rhansen5_99

    rhansen5_99 [H]ard|Gawd

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    Wow looks like a great build. I think that air cooler actually stands up to some of the aio water soltions out there.

    For my workstation I went from a HP 27" 1440p to a 40" wasabi mango 4k display (note 3years ago) and at the time was one of the few 4k60 displays with 4:4:4 that did not break the bank. I think though now some of the Samsung TVs are equal or better for this and a lot less than they used to be. That being said I had to move the monitor about 2 feet back and wallmount to get a comfortable experience. At the end of the day a 40" 4k has about the same ppi as a 27" 1440p monitor. Just a thought to save over a traditional monitor. There are some good posts in the display forum for more info on this route. Also watch out for 4:4:2 monitors bc txt can get funky, and color accuracy might be important too.

    One more thing check out Kyle's threadripper install video before trying to setup the build as CPU install can potentially be tricky.
     
  11. Linden

    Linden [H]ard|Gawd

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    With all that said, yours and mine, I think I'm ready to tell her to order the parts. Her homework is to find the monitor of her choice and just get it, if the 27" Ultrasharp is not large enough. One of the reasons I selected it is my experience with Ultrasharp, At least in the last few years, the color fidelity, color gamut, and general geometry is excellent. The price difference between the 27" and 30" is huge.

    Thanks for mentioning Kyle's video. I had remembered that the TR could be tricky to install, but I couldn't remember where I had read it. Ah, it was right here. Yes, I'll check it out before installing that bad boy.
     
  12. Linden

    Linden [H]ard|Gawd

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    THANK YOU to everyone who contributed to my build recommendation request. What a sweet, fast workstation my friend has now! It was a bit sad for me to release it to her. It just seemed to have no limits, and it was so silky smooth in operation.

    The final build was fairly close to post #9 above.

    Notes:
    - Same DRAM series, but purchased DDR4 2666
    - I'm really impressed with the Arctic Freezer 33 TR; it cools all cores at full load with ease and is not loud; installation was not difficult
    - Kyle's Threadripper installation video was spot on in accuracy; made installation of the TR 2920X stress free
    - We ended up using this computer case - CyberPowerPC Syber M ATX Mid-Tower - very good quality construction, handsome, great price for the quality; with that said, I would not recommend it for an enthusiast's build - the PSU cover is riveted into place making running the power cables from the PSU to the corresponding parts rather difficult
    - Instead of 2 external 7200RPM HDDs, I installed one HDD as an internal drive with just one HDD remaining as her external

    I don't know if she's done with all of her software installation yet or if she's yet configured the software/system to use the 1TB SSD as a scratch drive.

    Again, thanks, gang.
    Thanks, Kyle, for the forums and for the Threadripper installation video.
     
    Spartacus09 likes this.
  13. rhansen5_99

    rhansen5_99 [H]ard|Gawd

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    Cool glad to hear it went great :)