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My Senior Project Maya/Zbrush/gaming build. Need some advice. All opinions welcome.

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October 11, 2013 12:36:53 PM

Hi, I have been dreaming about building a computer for a long time, so I made it my senior project. my budget is roughly $1000 USD. I do modeling in Maya and hope to learn Zbrush soon as well.

This is what I have so far, the video card has already been purchased, but everything else is subject to change. So any advice would be greatly appreciated.

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($319.90 @ Outlet PC)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme3 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Mushkin Blackline 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($139.98 @ Outlet PC)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($62.98 @ Outlet PC)
Video Card: HIS Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($199.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Corsair C70 Arctic White (White/Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($89.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA 750W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($79.99 @ Microcenter)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 (OEM) (64-bit) ($94.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $1087.80

As you can see I am over my budget slightly and I still don't have any input devices such as a monitor or keyboard and mouse. I would just like to know if there are any ways I can lower my cost without losing too much performance.

Help a young padawan out! :) 

Thanks in advance!
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a c 140 à CPUs
October 11, 2013 12:44:32 PM

Cheaper case, maybe. And your PSU is probably overpowered.
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October 11, 2013 12:56:16 PM

I would consider Windows 7 over windows 8.

You should get an SSD as a boot drive.

I am new to rendering too and I have never used the programs you are referencing but from what I have read it seems that Nvidia GPU's are better at rendering than AMD, so you may want to look at a comparable Nvidia model.

Also I recommend considering a socket LGA 2011 so you have the option of upgrading to a Xeon E5 later if you want.

Isn't Zbrush only 32 bit? So your choice of 16 gb of ram will be fine there, but Maya may need more.
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October 11, 2013 1:07:41 PM

boogalooelectric said:
I would consider Windows 7 over windows 8.

You should get an SSD as a boot drive.

I am new to rendering too and I have never used the programs you are referencing but from what I have read it seems that Nvidia GPU's are better at rendering than AMD, so you may want to look at a comparable Nvidia model.

Also I recommend considering a socket LGA 2011 so you have the option of upgrading to a Xeon E5 later if you want.

Isn't Zbrush only 32 bit? So your choice of 16 gb of ram will be fine there, but Maya may need more.


Planning on getting SSD later when i can afford it.
I already bought the video card though :( 

I'm not sure what a socket LGA is, the motherboard?
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October 11, 2013 1:16:48 PM

get a xeon e3 instead of the i7, geta cheaper psu, and get a cheaper case.

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/1NyBn
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/1NyBn/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/1NyBn/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Xeon E3-1230 V2 3.3GHz Quad-Core Processor ($224.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Motherboard: ASRock H77M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($64.98 @ Outlet PC)
Memory: Mushkin Silverline 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($89.54 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($59.96 @ Outlet PC)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($189.99 @ Newegg)
Case: NZXT Source 210 (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($35.94 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 600W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($57.99 @ Amazon)
Optical Drive: LG GH24NS95 DVD/CD Writer ($15.00 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 (OEM) (64-bit) ($94.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $833.36
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-10-11 16:16 EDT-0400)
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October 11, 2013 1:26:35 PM

shellls45 said:
get a xeon e3 instead of the i7, geta cheaper psu, and get a cheaper case.

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/1NyBn
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/1NyBn/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/1NyBn/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Xeon E3-1230 V2 3.3GHz Quad-Core Processor ($224.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Motherboard: ASRock H77M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($64.98 @ Outlet PC)
Memory: Mushkin Silverline 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($89.54 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($59.96 @ Outlet PC)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($189.99 @ Newegg)
Case: NZXT Source 210 (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($35.94 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 600W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($57.99 @ Amazon)
Optical Drive: LG GH24NS95 DVD/CD Writer ($15.00 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 (OEM) (64-bit) ($94.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $833.36
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-10-11 16:16 EDT-0400)


That is significantly cheaper!
Does the xeon processor work as well for gaming? Because i will be doing a lot of that. Also does it have overclocking capabilities?
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October 11, 2013 8:24:18 PM

Dustin Fox said:
shellls45 said:
get a xeon e3 instead of the i7, geta cheaper psu, and get a cheaper case.

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/1NyBn
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/1NyBn/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/1NyBn/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Xeon E3-1230 V2 3.3GHz Quad-Core Processor ($224.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Motherboard: ASRock H77M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($64.98 @ Outlet PC)
Memory: Mushkin Silverline 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($89.54 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($59.96 @ Outlet PC)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($189.99 @ Newegg)
Case: NZXT Source 210 (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($35.94 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 600W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($57.99 @ Amazon)
Optical Drive: LG GH24NS95 DVD/CD Writer ($15.00 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 (OEM) (64-bit) ($94.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $833.36
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-10-11 16:16 EDT-0400)


That is significantly cheaper!
Does the xeon processor work as well for gaming? Because i will be doing a lot of that. Also does it have overclocking capabilities?


It has the same gaming power as an i7, but cannot be overclocked :( 
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Best solution

October 19, 2013 7:38:43 PM

boogalooelectric said:
I would consider Windows 7 over windows 8.

You should get an SSD as a boot drive.

I am new to rendering too and I have never used the programs you are referencing but from what I have read it seems that Nvidia GPU's are better at rendering than AMD, so you may want to look at a comparable Nvidia model.

Also I recommend considering a socket LGA 2011 so you have the option of upgrading to a Xeon E5 later if you want. they're a bit more pricey.

Isn't Zbrush only 32 bit? So your choice of 16 gb of ram will be fine there, but Maya may need more.


I agree - I'm building a box right now that's an LGA 2011 socket - that socket gets you i7-4930 or e5-1650. (the latter of which I'm building right now. I'm a vfx professional)

zbrush is ok on 64 bit
I also agree with looking at Nvidia cards

I know you're not necessarily looking for recommendations on software but mudbox is easier to learn (if you only know maya) than Zbrush. Also that said, if you're getting into higher end stuff and looking at something like Mari, you're going to want Nvidia cards because the amd cards aren't supported. so you might want to go with nvidia to save yourself that possible future hassle. I have a friend who used the gtx 660 on his computer at work for a large feature film recently (i do lighting in maya for features) so you're not going to be sad with a good gtx. the 770 is a $400 card but is pretty amazing - especially with 4gb of on-board ram. you'll want that higher ram to keep things in zbrush in memory at high res.

better: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/1QQXE
cons: 680 more dollars. (I know it's a lot, I think I had $800 to spend on my first box, I really do understand it's not really easy to just come up with another $700, especially in short order, but if you can wait a little, try)
pros: i7 chip and gfx 770 which is basically unmatched in value, i added a cheap but very good heatsink, i added good thermal paste for you (important also) and I **doubled** your ram to 32 gb. you'll NOT be sad. that said, go make that extra money. you'll be way happier in the end. your stuff will run faster, you won't have to overclock as hard to get results (which maya doesn't like anyway) and you'll have a more upgradable system in the end.

it's your senior project, you want pro results because that's the portfolio you show to employers. no one cares if you get an A. they do care if your stuff looks amazing. put in the time and money now. its a bit more, but it's more of a pro system. get keyboard/mouse/monitor from friends or craigslist - they're not really hard to get a hold of for free. you can totally save money that way, without sacrificing anything in terms of a really solid computer. that is, if getting a job out of school is more important than games :)  *edit* it'll also be good at games. and yeah I guess you already have the graphics card. but you can take these as suggestions for your next box!
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October 19, 2013 10:11:07 PM

also you could go with the quad core instead of hex too, to save a few hundred...
http://pcpartpicker.com/p/1QUn3
the errors part picker throws are because the 4820 is new, and the motherboard might not have the bios for it. simple to update. same effective chip as the 3820, just newer.
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