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$1500-2200 CAD/Revit/3D Rendering Workstation (ADVICE NEEDED)

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December 11, 2013 4:20:34 PM

Hello Everyone,
I work in the field of Architecture & design (small to mid size projects) and this is my very first build. I have learned a lot on my research in the last month, I think I have the basic understanding but I can really use some good expert advice to finish the build!

I am hoping for a strong workstation that is reliable and fast, without breaking my bank. I know my budget isn't a lot for a workstation, I am willing to put a little more/less in some items if it allows for a reasonable gain in performance, or look at options to expand later (2nd graphic card, RAM etc). Biggest bang for my buck so to speak. Any help, advice, opinion or suggestion would be greatly appreciated!
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Purchase Date: within the month or sooner (my current system is not working so well...)

Budget: $1500-$2200

Software I use (most to least): CAD (AutoCAD)~75%, 3d modeling (SketchUp/ 3ds MAX/Revit) ~5%, Rendering (Podium/Vray/MentalRay/Lumion)~5%, Image Editing (Photoshop CS6), Office & Web;

Would like but not a priority: very light gaming (SIMS), Video Editing Multimedia

CPU: narrowed it down to i7 4770k / 4930k (leaning slightly on 4930 for the 6 core- better rendering speed and greater RAM expandability but it is a bit more expensive (& mobo), is it worth it?)

Overclocking: Don't know how to OC, is it worth trying or too unstable to worth the speed trade off?

GPU & SLI: GPU is by far the most uncertain item here…, I have gone back and forth more times than I care to remember. Since most of my work load is in CAD, and 3d modeling/rendering a distant second (would like to do more if I have the right set up, but not what I have now), would having a less costly say GTX now, and then add another one later when I need more power for rendering be a good way to go? Which GTX? Or is it more efficient to just go with workstation card like a Quadro now? If so, which one?

Parts I already have: Keyboard, Mouse & Monitor (though would like a suggestions on a value 22"-27" Flat panel to add in not too distant future)

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Here is what I have so far: (not sure that this is worked out at all, please feel free to make any suggestions that would help with cost & performance or if anything is missing)

CPU: Intel Core i7-4930K / 4770K

CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D14 SE2011 / Cooler Master Seidon 240M 86.2 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler

Motherboard: Asus P9x79 WS SSI / ASRock Z87 PROFESSIONAL ATX LGA1150

Memory: Kingston HyperX 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1866 Memory

SSD: Samsung 840 Pro Series 256gb

Storage: Seagate 2TB Barracuda

Video Card: PNY Quadro 4000 2GB Video Card (or is GeForce GTX 680 be enough for mostly CAD work, and add another card for SLI when more rendering power is needed?)

Optical Drive: LG Black 12x Internal Blu-ray Drive 3D Playback & M-DISC Support SATA ModelUH12LS29 LightScribe Suport - OEM

PSU: nzxt hale82 850w modular

Case: NZXT Phantom (Black) PHAN-001BK

Monitor: Dell UltraSharp U2312HM 23" IPS LED LCD Monitor - 16:9 - 8 ms

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ANY and all feedback and suggestions is so very much appreciated!

RedLime





More about : 1500 2200 cad revit rendering workstation advice needed

December 11, 2013 6:11:59 PM

I would go for the Noctua NH-D14 and the Asus motherboard (Asus make better workstation boards than ASRock).
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December 11, 2013 9:31:19 PM

Nuclear101 said:
I would go for the Noctua NH-D14 and the Asus motherboard (Asus make better workstation boards than ASRock).


Thanks for the feedback! Will this Noctua & Asus mobo fit either 4930k or 4770k build? Any other thought?
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December 11, 2013 9:38:15 PM

For the 4930k, you need to purchase the "special edition", which is the same price but instead of the normal mounting plates, it has the mounting plate for LGA 2011. Other than that, just switch the fan to the other side (the outside fan) if it blocks any RAM slots, which shouldn't happen if you have low-profile RAM.
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December 11, 2013 10:32:35 PM

Nuclear101 said:
For the 4930k, you need to purchase the "special edition", which is the same price but instead of the normal mounting plates, it has the mounting plate for LGA 2011. Other than that, just switch the fan to the other side (the outside fan) if it blocks any RAM slots, which shouldn't happen if you have low-profile RAM.


You also have to keep in mind that some motherboards won't immediately recognize the i7-4XXX chips because a BIOS update will be required before the CPU will be recognized. I definitely agree with the Noctua D14 as CPU fan - it's still the reigning king of air heat sinks - and has been since 2009. The only thing that comes close to topping that would be a dual fan radiator like the Swiftech H220, NZXT X60, or Thermaltake Water 3.0 Extreme would also suffice without the gigantic heat sink.
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December 12, 2013 3:42:19 PM

Nuclear101 said:
For the 4930k, you need to purchase the "special edition", which is the same price but instead of the normal mounting plates, it has the mounting plate for LGA 2011. Other than that, just switch the fan to the other side (the outside fan) if it blocks any RAM slots, which shouldn't happen if you have low-profile RAM.


Thanks Nuclear101 & g-unit1111, good to know! Any thoughts on 4770k vs 4930k, or GPUs (weighting heavily CAD, but wanting the ability to 3d model & render small to mid-size files)?

Any one who might have experience & opinion on this matter, please feel free to share! Many Thanks!
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Best solution

December 12, 2013 4:33:00 PM

redlime said:
Nuclear101 said:
For the 4930k, you need to purchase the "special edition", which is the same price but instead of the normal mounting plates, it has the mounting plate for LGA 2011. Other than that, just switch the fan to the other side (the outside fan) if it blocks any RAM slots, which shouldn't happen if you have low-profile RAM.


Thanks Nuclear101 & g-unit1111, good to know! Any thoughts on 4770k vs 4930k, or GPUs (weighting heavily CAD, but wanting the ability to 3d model & render small to mid-size files)?

Any one who might have experience & opinion on this matter, please feel free to share! Many Thanks!


The 4930k was designed as an "enthusiast" CPU for people who either a. Have a large sum of money and want the best performance or b. For people who are doing very computer intensive video editing. You qualify as option "b" :) 

For GPU's I recommend an Nvidia Quadro (get the best one that fits your budget). Nvidia Quadro's aren't good for gaming, but they were designed and built for video editing. I personally love the Quadro K6000, my uncle has one and it is amazing at multi-monitor setups. I really want a Nvidia Tesla K40 but it is just way too expensive for anyone except for supercomputers.
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December 13, 2013 5:40:09 AM

RedLime,

For a workstation that involves rendering, and using Autodesk and Adobe CS, I suggest a Xeon > ECC RAM > Quadro system. Below is a suggestion for a system of that kind. I recommend against overclocking for this kind of use and anyway, there are some usefully fast OEM server CPU's around, the Xeon E5-16XX series.

CPU > For high memory bandwidth and expandability, LGA2011 will allow an upgrade after a couple of years to a 6, 8, 10, 02 12 core CPU. A Xeon E has double the bandwidth of E3 or i5. In case your budget allows, and rendering is important enough at this point, there are two options for CPU, the second being a Xeon six core that will provide more rendering threads. Most programs are single threaded, -Autodesk and Adobe, but many rendering programs can use all the threads.

GPU > The graphics card choice today is difficult, especially as you're using both applications that are CUDA accelerated and others that benefit from good OpenGL performance. Be aware that most workstation applications do not see multiple GPU's, although I think some can see the memory in both cards and some systems use a pair of cards to run independent monitors, giving better performance than multiple monitors on a single card. Also, a system that has workstation applications as it's priority will not be a screamer in games as the ECC parity checks and the Quadro / Firepro driver emphasis on finishing frames rather than frame rates lower the speed. This can be overcome, but you need to use the very top end cards in the Quadro K5000 / Firepro W9000 league. For the video card, I recommend a Quadro K4000, but would suggest that the careful purchase of a used K5000 would be rewarded. Then in two years, change the CPU for a 6 or 8 core, increase memory to 32 or 64GB and you will have another 3 or 4 years' use.

Drives > I am using my first SSD and actually, I'm not sure it's that valuable in a workstation except if very large files are loaded- video for example. The computer and applications do start faster, but it's whether saving 30 -45 seconds starting in the morningn and 10 seconds starting an application is that valuable. What I would suggest is that to save memory wear on the SSD,- they for example should not be defragged- that you build the system and optimize / update your HD on the mech'l drive using a partition that is slightly smaller than the SSD size. Load the antivirus last. Then when everything is loaded, remove the antivirust, and optmize using something like Perfect Disk, make a pristine system image placed in another partition on the mech'l drive and then either clone the mech'l drive or restore the system image to the SSD.

BambiBoom PixelDozer Cadamodagrapharific Blazomatic iWorkarama 3000 ™$#©™_12.13.13

1. Intel Xeon Quad-Core Processor E5-1620 v2 3.7 / 3.9GHz 0GT/s 10MB LGA 2011 CPU, OEM> $295 (Superbiz) (Passmark CPU score= 9199, rank = No. 38)

1A.____ OPT'L CPU > Intel Xeon Six-Core Processor E5-1650 v2 3.5 / 3.9GHz 0GT/s 12MB LGA 2011 CPU, OEM > $580 (superbiiz)

2. ASUS Z9PA-U8 ATX Server Motherboard LGA 2011 DDR3 1600/1333/1066 >$280

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

3. 16GB (2X 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 ECC Unbuffered Server Memory >about $150. (Check motherboard compatibility list) ( If the budget permits, you might consider starting with 32GB. Note the use of 8GB modules. the ASUS board has 8 slots so this would allow an eventual 64GB RAM.

4. NVIDIA Quadro K4000 3GB GDDR5 Graphics card (PNY Part #: VCQK4000-PB) > $763 (amazon)

5. SAMSUNG 840 EVO MZ-7TE250BW 2.5" 250GB SATA III TLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) > $170

6. WD BLACK SERIES WD1003FZEX 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive > $90.

7. SeaSonic X Series X650 Gold ((SS-650KM Active PFC F3)) 650W ATX12V V2.3/EPS 12V V2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Full Modular Active PFC Power Supply $120.

8. LIAN LI PC-7HX Black Aluminum ATX Mid Tower Computer Case $100.

9. ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM $17.

10. Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit (Full Version) - OEM $140

TOTAL = $2,125 or $2,410 with E5-1650 V2

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OPTIONS > Pushing the budget a bit. If it's necessary to reduce costs, consider a good "new other" Quadro K4000 at about $550, or Quadro 4000 used at about $350, deleting the SSD or to be added later, and possibly using > Motherboard: ASRock X79 Extreme3 LGA 2011 Intel X79 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard at $200. If you're adventurous, and want the perfect GPU, consider a good "new other" Quadro K5000 at about $1,100, or to improve upon a Quadro 4000, a good "new other" Quadro 5000 at about $450-600.

Cheers,

BambiBoom


1. HP z420 (2013) > Xeon E5-1620 quad core @ 3.6 / 3.8GHz > 24GB ECC 1600 RAM > Quadro 4000 (2Gb)> Samsung 840 SSD 250GB /Western Digital WD1003FZEX 1TB> M-Audio 192 sound card > AE3000 USB WiFi // Windows 7 Ultimate 64 > Autodesk Building Design Suite 2013, Inventor Pro2011, Solidworks 2013, Adobe CS6 MC, Corel Technical Design X-5, Sketchup Pro 2013, WordP Office X-6, MS Office Pro+2013 [Passmark system rating = 3815, 2D= 680 / 3D=2044]
Backup > StarTech SAT3510BU33.5" USB 3.0 SATAIII HD Enclosure / Seagate Barracuda 1BD142 500GB (16MB cache) HD > Flash Drive > Adata UV128 / 16GB USB 3.0

2. Dell Precision T5400 (2009) > 2X Xeon X5460 quad core @3.16GHz > 16GB ECC 667> Quadro FX 4800 (1.5GB) > WD RE4 500GB / Seagate Barracuda 500GB > M-Audio 2496 Sound Card > Linksys 600N WiFi > Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit > HP 2711x 27" 1920 x 1080 > AutoCad, Revit, Solidworks, Sketchup Pro 8, Corel Technical Designer, Adobe CS4 MC, WordP Office, MS Office Pro 2007 (Passmark system rating = 1859, 2D= 512 / 3D=1097)

Application > Architecture, industrial design, graphic design, rendering, writing
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