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Animation workstation (~$1600), first build

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March 7, 2014 9:11:43 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: e.g.: This week

Budget Range: 1600-1700 USD

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Animation (Maya 3D, other 2D based ones), Adobe products (Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash) and gaming is an added bonus but not important.

This is my first build and so I am very interested in opinions for all parts. I bought the monitor and like it a lot so far. As you will see, I have left out the graphics card. This is due to the fact that I need to save up for it (my computer just died, and the graphics card on the Intel looks adequate for now). I would love suggestions for that as well.

CPU: Intel Core i7-4771 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($319.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Asus Z87-DELUXE/QUAD ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($327.49 @ Amazon)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance LP 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($146.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital BLACK SERIES 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($154.99 @ Newegg)
Case: NZXT Source 530 ATX Full Tower Case ($99.98 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Rosewill Fortress 550W 80+ Platinum Certified ATX Power Supply ($59.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: LG WH14NS40 Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer ($53.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($84.99 @ NCIX US)
Monitor: Asus MX279H 27.0" Monitor ($309.42 @ Amazon)
Sound Card: Creative Labs 70SB157000000 Sound Card ($30.99 @ Amazon)
Wireless Network Adapter: Rosewill RNX-N250PCe 802.11b/g/n PCI-Express x1 Wi-Fi Adapter ($21.14 @ Amazon)
Keyboard: Microsoft Arc Wireless Ergonomic Keyboard ($39.99 @ Amazon)
Mouse: Logitech M325 Wireless Optical Mouse ($15.48 @ Amazon)
Total: $1632.43
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-03-08 00:04 EST-0500)


I know the parts are compatible, but will they work for a starting animation workstation? Which parts could be better? Thank you for any and all suggestions!!

More about : animation workstation 1600 build

March 7, 2014 9:21:37 PM

WAAAAY over paying for the motherboard. Get an asus z87-A for about 130

And I doubt you need the sound card, an integrated one should work fine.

Other than that seems pretty good, just need to get that graphics card.
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March 7, 2014 9:58:00 PM

With i7 4771, there is no need for a z87 motherboard at all. Without overclocking, any old 1150 motherboard will do. By getting a sub 100$ motherboard, you will have over 200$ to get a decent GPU. Since Maya started using DX11, there is no need for a silly old quadro card anymore so you get the fastest GPU money can buy- gaming GPU.

GTX 760 is as a fast GPU as Maya can handle, and it is above decent in all the latest games.

Consider getting an SSD. As fast as your new system will be, relying on HDD for windows/main apps will still make it feel sluggish. A Samsung ssd 840 evo 250gb is a nice midrange SSD with plenty of storage for all your current work, windows and main apps. This one thing will make your new computer feel "new".

Good luck!
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March 9, 2014 9:01:13 AM

So I agree with you both and will be going for a cheaper motherboard-- a z87 Pro and I will be picking up an AMD FirePro W5000 for my graphics card. And I am looking into an SSD right now. Thank you :) 
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March 9, 2014 11:59:32 AM

I would suggest you get a gaming GPU and not a workstation one. It's both cheaper and faster. For example, a gtx760 is over 3x faster than w5000 -not that you will notice it in Maya, but still.

You only want a workstation GPU if you will be using an older version of Maya or you would be using Maya under a non Windows OS. As I've pointed out in the previous post, with DX11 there is no need to overpay for mediocre GPU performance anymore.

It's only under OpenGL that a gaming GPU is artificially limited to make it appear slower than a workstation GPU. Under DX, there are no such limitations.
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March 9, 2014 4:05:54 PM

However, gaming gpus from what I've read are not the correct match for doing animation work. Like the GTX760 is not supported by Maya at all, while the FirePro is a certified card.
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March 9, 2014 4:20:19 PM

I'll try to keep it as simple as possible. There are 5 times more variety in gaming GPUs than there are workstation ones- and that is not considering all the variations that individual vendors actually put up for sale with many variations within each GPU chip.

Autodesk only bothers to certify the workstation cards. In a big studio you go for the high end workstation card- no problem. It really is a simple choice when money is no issue- for everyone else- this logic is just not feasible.

It's a known problem and Autodesk defended themselves that they simply don't have the manpower to certify all the gaming GPUs so they just gave up. As a Max user I know that gaming GPUs are much better than workstation ones as you get all the high-end speed and none of the cost.

I suggest you head over to the official Autodesk Maya forum and check out other Maya users experience:
http://forums.autodesk.com/t5/Maya/ct-p/area-c2

However, since Maya joined the DirectX party, there is little room for doubt. GPU is unable to differentiate 3d work app from a game so it works at peak speed with no artificial limitation. Quality is higher too (compared to a low end workstation GPU) since 3d app recognizes that the GPU is powerful and gives it full access to all the bells and whistles DX11 brings.
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