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New Laptop, Desktop, or Upgrade? (Gaming, Video Editing, 3DS Max, Maya, etc.)

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June 1, 2013 8:03:48 AM

Hello everyone!

After summer, in September, I am going to start a "Computer & Digital Animation" class. In the class we use 3DS Max and Maya to make 3d animations and models. Along with that, I am going to do video editing and gaming. I already have a budget gaming PC:
CPU: Intel Core i5 3570k
GPU: MSI Radeon 7770 1GB
MOBO: ASUS P8Z68-V LX
CASE: Zalman Z11 Plus
RAM: Kingston HyperX 8GB
HDD: Seagate Barracuda 2TB
PSU: Kingwin 750w
OS: Windows 7 Ultimate

So my question is, should I purchase a new Laptop, build a new desktop, or upgrade my desktop? I know that workstation cards are better for 3D modeling, but they are pretty expensive, and won't help too much for gaming. I want something that is great in gaming and 3D modeling/rendering, obviously it won't be super fast like a workstation card but it will satisfy my gaming and modeling needs.

My budget is around $850

I looked into a few things:
For laptops: I was thinking about a Lenovo Y500- But I'm trying to find something similar in price and performance to it by another manufacturer.
I'm not really worried too much about SSDs, as I'm fine with the hard drive speed of my Seagate Barracuda at this time- BUT if anyone can provide a good solution with an SSD or hard drive, or a combination, please feel free to share!

So overall:
Budget Range: $850

System Usage from Most to Least Important: 3D Modeling/Gaming (Both equally important at this time to me), Video Editing, surfing the web etc.

Are you buying a monitor: Yes (if new desktop build), No if upgrade or new laptop.

Do you need to buy OS: No

Preferred Website(s) or Store(s) for Parts: newegg.com, tigerdirect.com, bestbuy, microcenter. If you would like to recommend another website or store, please go ahead!

Parts Preferences: Any

Overclocking: Maybe in the future

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe in the future

Your Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080, 1920x1200

Additional Comments: Software I'll be using (Games such as Battlefield 3, Crysis 3, and Metro Last Light. DxTory to record game play. Video editing software such as Adobe After Effects, Sony Vegas. 3D Software such as 3DS Max, Maya, and Cinema 4D.

Most Importantly, I am asking this question for: A new or better system for 3D Modeling, gaming, and video editing

Thank you!
a b 4 Gaming
June 1, 2013 8:54:56 AM

Here's one build without a screen and a GPU which might run Crysis at medium tops.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($279.98 @ Outlet PC)
Motherboard: MSI B75A-G43 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($74.98 @ Outlet PC)
Memory: Corsair XMS3 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($100.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($58.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 650 Ti 1GB Video Card ($119.99 @ Microcenter)
Case: BitFenix Shinobi ATX Mid Tower Case ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair CX 500W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($62.98 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $857.88
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-06-01 11:51 EDT-0400)


Would it be possible for you to make this an entirely editing oriented build and then

upgrade your GPU later on one or both systems?
June 1, 2013 9:09:15 AM

X79 said:
Here's one build without a screen and a GPU which might run Crysis at medium tops.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($279.98 @ Outlet PC)
Motherboard: MSI B75A-G43 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($74.98 @ Outlet PC)
Memory: Corsair XMS3 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($100.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($58.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 650 Ti 1GB Video Card ($119.99 @ Microcenter)
Case: BitFenix Shinobi ATX Mid Tower Case ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair CX 500W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($62.98 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $857.88
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-06-01 11:51 EDT-0400)


Would it be possible for you to make this an entirely editing oriented build and then

upgrade your GPU later on one or both systems?


At this time, I want something powerful as the GPU, maybe around a 660ti or 7950. I'm leaning a bit towards the 7950. Other then that, nice picks!
Related resources
a b 4 Gaming
June 1, 2013 9:34:21 AM

Well it's a little difficult fitting all that into your budget; especially when you need a screen too.

That said, here's a pretty good build, just without the monitor:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-2310 2.9GHz Quad-Core Processor ($179.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Motherboard: MSI B75MA-E33 Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($59.98 @ Outlet PC)
Memory: Corsair XMS3 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($100.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($58.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: PowerColor Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($264.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Cooler Master Elite 431 Plus (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($32.50 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair CX 600W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($64.99 @ Microcenter)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 Professional (OEM) (64-bit) ($129.99 @ NCIX US)
Total: $892.41
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-06-01 12:19 EDT-0400)


And here's some with less RAM and a less spacious HDD AND a screen:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-2310 2.9GHz Quad-Core Processor ($179.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Motherboard: MSI B75MA-E33 Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($59.98 @ Outlet PC)
Memory: Patriot Signature 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Momentus 7200.4 500GB 2.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($52.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Video Card: PowerColor Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($264.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Cooler Master Elite 431 Plus (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($32.50 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair CX 600W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($64.99 @ Microcenter)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 Professional (OEM) (64-bit) ($129.99 @ NCIX US)
Monitor: Acer H236HLbid 60Hz 23.0" Monitor ($169.99 @ Amazon)
Total: $1005.40
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-06-01 12:21 EDT-0400)

If I had to go the AMD route...

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 960T Black 3.0GHz Quad-Core Processor ($141.91 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: Biostar A880G+ Micro ATX AM3 Motherboard ($44.98 @ Amazon)
Memory: Corsair 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($49.59 @ Amazon)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($58.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($282.98 @ Newegg)
Case: Cooler Master Elite 431 Plus (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($32.50 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Rosewill Hive 650W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($59.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 Professional (OEM) (64-bit) ($129.99 @ NCIX US)
Monitor: Acer H236HLbid 60Hz 23.0" Monitor ($169.99 @ Amazon)
Total: $970.92
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-06-01 12:33 EDT-0400)

One tedious thing is that you have to get the pro edition of Windows I believe, to run your 3D stuff.


Can also try:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 960T Black 3.0GHz Quad-Core Processor ($141.91 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: Biostar A880G+ Micro ATX AM3 Motherboard ($44.98 @ Amazon)
Memory: Corsair 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($49.59 @ Amazon)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($58.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon HD 7850 1GB Video Card ($173.98 @ Newegg)
Case: Cooler Master Elite 431 Plus (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($32.50 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair CX 500W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($62.98 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 Professional (OEM) (64-bit) ($129.99 @ NCIX US)
Monitor: Acer H236HLbid 60Hz 23.0" Monitor ($169.99 @ Amazon)
Total: $864.91
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-06-01 12:35 EDT-0400)

Lesser GPU, but the 7850 is equal to the 650 Ti Boost I believe and both run BF3 on ultra or so, with over 30 FPS I think.
December 11, 2013 1:06:07 PM

I'm a Max user and the thing I say is that in GPU go for Nvidia because of cuda and physx that is common in Max. (Like MassFX, nvidia mental ray and nvidia iRay and even VrayRT that even it's opencl mode is supported only on nvidia cards - based on chaos group website).
and personally I've tested many CPU's and I will never go for AMD's in the near future.
!