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3d Modelling PC custom build advice

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July 25, 2014 6:07:18 AM

I am looking to build myself a pc capable of running various modelling programmes but primarily 3ds max with the addition of adobe products and the standard windows (7) setup. My budget for the pc without screens is approximately £1300.

I will be using it for advanced 3ds max models and animations. I would like it to have 64gb ram and an i7 but all spec's are open for discussion. Please help as I am truly stuck and wish to start building it soon before I return to do my masters in architecture.

Thanks in advance everyone :) 
July 25, 2014 7:36:15 PM

Does the 1300 include peripherals like monitor, keyboard, etc?
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July 26, 2014 9:14:05 AM

volcanoscout said:
Does the 1300 include peripherals like monitor, keyboard, etc?


Hi VolcanoScout,

No this price is for the pc itself with no monitors, keyboard or mouse etc. I have all of these and they are pretty good so simply want to spend under £1350 preferably under £1300 for a kick ass pc that can handle 3ds max, renders at large outputs and animations.

So what do you think i should do? I feel building it myself might be a bit risky but Ido want to maximise the spec where possible for the money.

thanks in advance
T
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July 26, 2014 9:21:32 AM

I've been through this myself recently and highly recommend building it yourself if at all possible - you'll get twice the performance and quality for the same price as a custom build. Don't have time at the moment, but will post a recommended build in an hour or two. You already have the OS, correct?
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July 26, 2014 10:32:22 AM

haha, no unfortunately not but I want to run windows 7, not 8 and configure it to best suite the modelling needs. i shall build it myself then, just need to get an exact list together, and thank so much or the help buddy - it's nice to speak to someone that knows a fair amount more than me :)  let me know what you think for that price and fyi i am based in the uk so would prefer to keep the products uk based if possible.
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July 26, 2014 10:33:48 AM

i am now thinking that i will source the OS external to that price of 1300 but if any money can be saved on the proposed build then that would contribute to that - id like to do this whole build legitimately :) 
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August 4, 2014 12:36:19 AM

volcanoscout said:
I've been through this myself recently and highly recommend building it yourself if at all possible - you'll get twice the performance and quality for the same price as a custom build. Don't have time at the moment, but will post a recommended build in an hour or two. You already have the OS, correct?


Hey Volanoscout,

Any ideas on an updated solution for my build? :/ , I am wanting to have the parts and have it built by early september.

Thanks
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Best solution

August 4, 2014 10:39:30 PM

ArchiTom,

I thought I sent this to you via PM, but it just disappeared into the ether apparently. It took me a little while to reconstruct it as I had to re-research parts of it. It was much more complicated than I'd anticipated with the pricing differentials in the U.K. and the fact that many of my assumptions about which components would suit your application were inaccurate. With 3DS Max, there are as many opinions about best builds as there are stars, particularly with the "proper" CPU and GPU. I started with LGA 2011 6-core processors and X79 boards with 64GB RAM. Many of the options were non-starters simply because of price. Then compatibility issues eliminated many more. I could go on and on, but the bottom line is when I dug into what "real" architects were using for real-world projects, I ended up ditching the whole build I had put together by that point. Funny though - when I got done, it looked a lot like a high-end gamer. I've checked it over a few times and can't find anything that I would change that would stay in budget (it's actually 22 pounds over, sorry). I'm sure the other denizens of THW will have lots to say when they see this, but as I said, it's the best that I can come up with. I would, however, recommend you vet this with any tech savvy architect friends - they might have some insights that I'm lacking. A nice side-benefit to the build coincidence is that if you decide to play games on it, it will really kick ass.

Here are some notes on the build:
1. You'll see a benefit to applying an overclock to the CPU (bumping the base clock to 4.2GHz should give you a tangible performance increase and you can take it to 4.4GHz easily), so I included an OC-capable board and aftermarket CPU cooler.
2. I left out any SSDs. If you want to add one (or two), it will significantly speed your load and transfer times, but it won't help in-program. 3D rendering is usually strenuous enough on the system that a 7200 RPM HDD shouldn't bottleneck performance.
3. The budget topped out at the 780 TI, albeit a very good one. If you can pry loose the cash, a Titan would be better.
4. You could save a little by getting a cheaper case, but the R4 is excellent - very easy to build in, cools well, and has excellent sound-reduction features. I have a secondary build in one and often have to check the power light to see if it's on. To improve cooling from stock, you'll want to remove the top internal drive bay. I would also recommend replacing the stock fans, but you can try it as is and add or replace fans as needed. I put two Noctua NF-A14 140mm fans in the front and two more in the rear and top/rear mounts. You won't need that many unless you add a second GPU, but two in the front and one in the rear would do nicely.
5. The optical drive is the cheapest reliable one I could find. You can dispense with it if you don't need it, or bump up the quality if you intend to use it more than occasionally.
6. There's only 32GB of DRAM - going to 64 would entail changing the mobo and CPU and increase the price by a large margin. From what I've read, 32GB should be fine for you.



PCPartPicker part list: PCPartPicker part list: http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/p/PGRpzy
Price breakdown by merchant: http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/p/PGRpzy/by_merchant/

CPU: Intel Core i7-4790K 4.0GHz Quad-Core Processor (£236.34 @ Aria PC)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler (£24.98 @ CCL Computers)
Motherboard: Asus Z97-A ATX LGA1150 Motherboard (£104.36 @ Scan.co.uk)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance Pro 32GB (4 x 8GB) DDR3-1866 Memory (£244.00 @ Ebuyer)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 3TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£71.99 @ Aria PC)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 780 Ti 3GB Superclocked ACX Video Card (£496.47 @ Ebuyer)
Case: Fractal Design Define R4 (Black Pearl) ATX Mid Tower Case (£66.80 @ Amazon UK)
Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA NEX 650W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply (£65.58 @ Scan.co.uk)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer (£11.74 @ CCL Computers)
Total: £1322.26
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-08-05 05:58 BST+0100

Edit: I forgot to comment on the PSU. That EVGA model is a top-tier PSU with 80A on the 12+ rails - it'll run quiet and give you headroom for any component upgrades.
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August 5, 2014 12:36:13 AM

volcanoscout said:
ArchiTom,

I thought I sent this to you via PM, but it just disappeared into the ether apparently. It took me a little while to reconstruct it as I had to re-research parts of it. It was much more complicated than I'd anticipated with the pricing differentials in the U.K. and the fact that many of my assumptions about which components would suit your application were inaccurate. With 3DS Max, there are as many opinions about best builds as there are stars, particularly with the "proper" CPU and GPU. I started with LGA 2011 6-core processors and X79 boards with 64GB RAM. Many of the options were non-starters simply because of price. Then compatibility issues eliminated many more. I could go on and on, but the bottom line is when I dug into what "real" architects were using for real-world projects, I ended up ditching the whole build I had put together by that point. Funny though - when I got done, it looked a lot like a high-end gamer. I've checked it over a few times and can't find anything that I would change that would stay in budget (it's actually 22 pounds over, sorry). I'm sure the other denizens of THW will have lots to say when they see this, but as I said, it's the best that I can come up with. I would, however, recommend you vet this with any tech savvy architect friends - they might have some insights that I'm lacking. A nice side-benefit to the build coincidence is that if you decide to play games on it, it will really kick ass.

Here are some notes on the build:
1. You'll see a benefit to applying an overclock to the CPU (bumping the base clock to 4.2GHz should give you a tangible performance increase and you can take it to 4.4GHz easily), so I included an OC-capable board and aftermarket CPU cooler.
2. I left out any SSDs. If you want to add one (or two), it will significantly speed your load and transfer times, but it won't help in-program. 3D rendering is usually strenuous enough on the system that a 7200 RPM HDD shouldn't bottleneck performance.
3. The budget topped out at the 780 TI, albeit a very good one. If you can pry loose the cash, a Titan would be better.
4. You could save a little by getting a cheaper case, but the R4 is excellent - very easy to build in, cools well, and has excellent sound-reduction features. I have a secondary build in one and often have to check the power light to see if it's on. To improve cooling from stock, you'll want to remove the top internal drive bay. I would also recommend replacing the stock fans, but you can try it as is and add or replace fans as needed. I put two Noctua NF-A14 140mm fans in the front and two more in the rear and top/rear mounts. You won't need that many unless you add a second GPU, but two in the front and one in the rear would do nicely.
5. The optical drive is the cheapest reliable one I could find. You can dispense with it if you don't need it, or bump up the quality if you intend to use it more than occasionally.
6. There's only 32GB of DRAM - going to 64 would entail changing the mobo and CPU and increase the price by a large margin. From what I've read, 32GB should be fine for you.



PCPartPicker part list: PCPartPicker part list: http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/p/PGRpzy
Price breakdown by merchant: http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/p/PGRpzy/by_merchant/

CPU: Intel Core i7-4790K 4.0GHz Quad-Core Processor (£236.34 @ Aria PC)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler (£24.98 @ CCL Computers)
Motherboard: Asus Z97-A ATX LGA1150 Motherboard (£104.36 @ Scan.co.uk)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance Pro 32GB (4 x 8GB) DDR3-1866 Memory (£244.00 @ Ebuyer)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 3TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£71.99 @ Aria PC)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 780 Ti 3GB Superclocked ACX Video Card (£496.47 @ Ebuyer)
Case: Fractal Design Define R4 (Black Pearl) ATX Mid Tower Case (£66.80 @ Amazon UK)
Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA NEX 650W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply (£65.58 @ Scan.co.uk)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer (£11.74 @ CCL Computers)
Total: £1322.26
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-08-05 05:58 BST+0100

Edit: I forgot to comment on the PSU. That EVGA model is a top-tier PSU with 80A on the 12+ rails - it'll run quiet and give you headroom for any component upgrades.



VolcanoScout I wish you were in the UK so I could take you for a much needed beer.

Thank you so much for this and for your time. Truly appreciated. I shall let you know how the build goes and keep you posted.

Thanks again buddy.

Tom
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August 5, 2014 5:58:34 AM

We'll stay in touch - I'm planning on bringing the family out in the next year or two to walk Hadrian's Wall among other things and you can buy us all beer. My boys are a little young yet, so we may have to drink theirs for them :) 

I just want to add a caveat and a comment regarding the build:
- There are compromises built in to it because of budget, but also because of sometimes conflicting requirements both within 3DS Max itself, and between 3DS Max and various components of Adobe Suite. Some of them will balance out between components, i.e. non-ideal CPU vs 32GB DRAM and fast GPU, non-ideal GPU vs DRAM and fast CPU, non-ideal amount of DRAM vs...well, you get the idea. There are inevitably going to be some processes that don't work nearly as fast and well as you'd like, but overall it should do pretty well. I opted for as much balance across the board as possible, rather than maxing out one area at the cost of everything else. For example, for many aspects of 3DS, a Quadro K6000 would be ideal...but your system would live in a cardboard box, the CPU would be a Pentium Duo, and you'd have to borrow your neighbor's PSU to power it.

- With the possible exception of the ODD, all the components are high quality and should last a good long while and, if you keep them in good condition, lend themselves to resale to defray upgrade cost or will be upgradeable for at least a few years, i.e. the Z97 board will be compatible with the upcoming Haswell Refresh and Broadwell CPUs, and the DRAM and PSU will work through at least one major upgrade, possibly several.
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