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high end build for animation and GAMING!

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January 4, 2008 3:08:19 PM

Hi,

I'm going to be building my new PC soon. First time build, but i've got friends who build and can help me.

I'm going to be doing an animation course at uni (so that means Maya, After Effects, Photoshop and a bit of Video Editing) - It also means Power, Quad Core power to be exact.

My budget is about £1300 (ex VAT) to include 2 monitors (i've got my eye on a couple of 20" samsung syncmasters = £300) so i guess that means £1000 on the box.

I want it to run Maya and CS3 flawlessly. That is the major priority.

I also want to get into gaming again. I left the PC world a few years ago for the sandy shores of Apple Macs (no gaming there!) - I remember the good old days of Hidden and Dangerous, Half Life and, my favorite, Tomb Raider(!!) - but i want to get back into gaming and the new DX10 games/COD4/Crysis look freaking awesome. So i want the build to be able to run these games and those in the future. At good frame rates/resolution, of course.

I've put together this:

Antec Nine Hundred Ultimate Gaming Case £61.99

Samsung SpinPoint T 500GB SATA-II 16MB Cache - OEM (HD501LJ) £56.99

Logitech S-220 2.1 Speaker System - OEM £11.99

BFG GeForce 8800 GT OC 512MB GDDR3 HDTV/Dual DVI (PCI-Express) - Retail £149.99

OCZ StealthXStream 600w Silent SLI Ready ATX2 Power Supply £49.99

Intel Core 2 Quad Pro Q6600 "Energy Efficient SLACR 95W Edition" 2.40GHz (1066FSB) - Retail £141.99

Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro CPU Cooler (Socket LGA775) £14.99

Samsung SH-S202JBEBN 20x DVD±RW IDE Dual Layer ReWriter (Black) - OEM £13.99

Corsair 4GB DDR2 XMS2 PC2-6400C5 TwinX (2x2GB) £61.99

Asus P5KC Combo Intel P35 (Socket 775) PCI-Express DDR2 & DDR3 Motherboard £69.99

Arctic Ceramique Thermal Compound (2.5g) £1.99

2 x Samsung SM-206BW 20" Widescreen LCD Monitor - Glossy Black £147.99 = £295.98

Microsoft Comfort Curve 2000 Keyboard (B2L-00005) £11.99

Sub Total : £1,057.84
VAT : £185.12
Total : £1,242.96

Notes:

Case: This has got good fans etc, so shouldn't need any extra fans, other than CPU cooler

CPU: I want to build around the q6600, also would like to overclock to 3GHz

MoBo: Wasn't really sure about this, too many options!, i like the idea of DDR3 capable for the future, and i've heard Asus P5K is good

PSU: is this going to be powerful enough? I would also like this system to be fairly quiet - the PSU is one of the major sources of noise right?

RAM: Corsair is a good make isn't it and i might want to go up to 8GB in a year or 2 (hence 2GB sticks)

CPU cooler: Good enough, will fit with the board?

GPU: I would love a GTX, and i still can afford one, but is it needed for graphics work really? Games still run really well on the GT don't they?

HDDs: Something doesn't quite sit well with me here, odd number of drives probably. I would like one for the OS and Apps, one as a slave for maya, photoshop etc to be kept clean when not doing work and a third as a place to store all the movies/music/files/anything else. However i don't need 500GB for the OS and apps do i? and 500GB is not quite enough for movies/music in the long term. Advice? Also (terrible question) what is RAID and will i benefit from it?

Monitors: I'm set on these, nice monitors and dual screen is always useful!

keyboard/speakers: I'm not at all fussed on these. As long as they work. I use a tablet most of the time and have a good enough mouse kicking about that will do.

Only other thing i need is the OS, coming back from Mac, i'm slightly nervous about vista, so might be looking at XP64bit. Though vista64 is well reviewed by maya users. Which version though? Home premium?

Any advice on the above proposed build appreciated!!
January 4, 2008 3:37:36 PM

Vista home premium if your going to stay 64 bit......and crysis will need 2 cards in sli mode to run DX10...it freakin kills one card...not even an 8800ultra can handle it....you only need 4 gigs of ram.....anything else is just a waste of money...stay with a ddr2 board....no performance difference at all.....and stay away from the quad cores for now...the dual cores actually perform better....there are no applications which use all 4 cores right now and won't anytime in the future......there good for servers only.....get an E6750...it will do just fine or even a 6600...you would not believe how well they run
January 4, 2008 3:43:23 PM

Running maya get above 4 gig. I am running maya and max 9 and I went from 4 gigs to 8 gigs in which render times dropped.

You will see a difference in those programs with 8 gig mem. Gaming you wont.
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January 4, 2008 3:45:10 PM

Dont animation projects need more power than that? I was thinking he would need something stupid expensive in the 6-8k range

Im not positive but i thought 3d animation took serious horsepower..

If i needed the best..id let these guys do it

http://www.falcon-nw.com/

Not stating facts or have any clue how much horsepower you really need.. It makes me wonder what the guys use to produce Crysis. what specs do they have.. Alien injection processing power? :sol: 
January 4, 2008 3:55:40 PM

Depends on what he is doing. As in my situation I have a render farm on 8 PC's that assist in doing the animation. All they do is render frames for the project. Each are p4 3.0 with 4 gig mem, no video cards, 250 sata drive, 450 wat PS. Just depends what he is doing.
January 4, 2008 4:45:23 PM

hi thanks,

@jackieboy - not sure what you mean, crysis runs just fine on my friends single 8800GT card. Maya certainly uses 4 cores. I was looking at a DDR2 & DDR3 board as i want this to be a system to last for a good 3 years or so.

to the others, cheers for info. I will be doing studenty type projects - not exactly building the next shrek here! - so don't need a boxx system or similar, but i do want to be able to render out short animations at high quality in a reasonable amount of time.

Will look into 8GBs of RAM would be a killer system for years with 8GBs of DDR2.

Can anybody answer any of the points i raise in the 'notes' under the spec. Particularly about the Graphics, HDD, mobo and PSU!

thanks!
January 4, 2008 5:10:13 PM

Your power supply is good. I am running 600 watt in mine. As for it being quiet that might be hard as other cooling fans you will need will bring the noise.

Your HDD question just get a 120 gig Sata drive as your main OS partition and the 500 as the secondary or just buy 2 /250 gig sata's. Dont raid them. Raid is just making multiple drives look like 1 big drive or for reduntantcy. Installing maya you will have to put on the main OS. If you put on the secondary if the OS crashed you will still have to reinstall maya even it it was installed on the secondary.

If using Vista avoid home premium and get either business or ultimate 64bit. If money is an issue XP pro 64 bit is good.

Video is hard to say you can get great results with a gaming card in maya/max but a card meant for animation is going to be best for animation. Just look for card that does great openGL.

As for the MB I cant help you on that as all I use are intel boards.

Even running small animations the PC will work hard and draw heat and power. Just keep everything cooled and ventilated. Mine I have a total of 8 fans and 4 hdd fans. I have to keep the side of the case off when working with heavy render animations.
!