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New PC for CG, 3D modeling and AI

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March 10, 2008 8:06:53 PM

Hi,

I need a new PC to meet my academic needs related Computer Graphics, 3D Modeling and Artificial Intelligence.

Graphics card

I thinking about nVidia Quadro or GeForce serie 8/9. Which is suits more my needs and what are the advantages?

CPU

Xeon or Quad Core? Which one in each category?

Motherboard

I have no idea.

Memory

What type of memory (DDR2, DDR3, etc)?

Regards,
Alexandre

More about : modeling

March 10, 2008 8:47:34 PM

Do you have a budget in mind?
March 10, 2008 9:02:56 PM

Ah yes, I forgot to include that.

Well, I live in Portugal and my budget should be around 1300€ which in turn is 1,995.24 USD.
Related resources
March 10, 2008 9:37:44 PM

My recomendations:

CPU: Q6600 (helps in CAD, 3D,etc)

Motherboard: P35-DS3x or P5K-x

RAM: 2GB+ DDR2 800 RAM (Good manufactures include: Crucial, Corsair, OCZ, G. Skill) I personally like the Crucial Ballastix and Corsair XMS2. More than 4GB would help greately if doing some intense 3D work. Be warned that you need a x64 OS to gain full access to 3.5GB+ RAM. No need for DDR3 for now.

GPU: 3870/8800GT 512/ 8800GTS 640/3870X2/9600. You don't need to spend more money on a Workstation card. The performance gain is negligible or non existent for the price you will pay. I have found out that cards with more RAM tend to be better than cards with lower RAM, but you will have to consider clock speed,etc.

PSU: Corsair 450VX/520HX//550VX/PP&C 610. Please don't skimp on the PSU. See Official XS Tiered PSU Manufacturer Brand Listing for PSU tire listing and pick one from the top tires listed there.

Case: One that fits your budget and you like it. Keep in mind air flow, easy access, size, etc when selecting a case.





March 10, 2008 9:46:15 PM

I read some things about Quadro cards and I guess I'm giving up on it. It's just for acamdemic purposes, now and I want to play games.

8800 GTX(Ultra?) 768, HD 3870 X2, GF 9600 - which one is better?

Thanks!
March 10, 2008 9:58:39 PM

In order from best to lowest based on pure performers: (high to low)

8800Ultra
3870X2
8800GTX
9600

For your needs a 640MB 8800GTS would be good (3D, CAD,etc) for gaming a 9600 would be more than enough. Imo, unless you specificaly run software that benefit from more GPU RAM, etc. a 9600 or 8800GT 512 would be more than enough.
March 10, 2008 10:08:30 PM

- Western Digital - CAVIAR SE 250GB 8MB 7200RPM SATA II;
- GF 8800ULTRA 768MB DDR3 XLR8 OVERCLOKED DVI TVOUT PCI-X
- Intel - Core 2 Quad Q6600 2.4GHZ
- Gigabyte - P35-DS3R
- Samsung - CW-21Z503N SLIMFIT TV 21pol

What about that? There's also the Core 2 Duo E8500 for the same prize and the P5K.
March 10, 2008 10:09:21 PM

in some theoretical testing,3870X2 is more powerful than 8800Ultra ,it means when you do some extremely arithmetic in pure X2 is great. and it's gamming performance just a little behind the 88Utra
March 10, 2008 10:10:46 PM

It's 200€ cheaper also.
March 10, 2008 10:31:52 PM

Get a 8800GT or 3870.

Don't go for ultra or SLI cards. No 3D app uses SLI or Crossfire.

Go for the q6600 and overclock to 3-3.2 or more. It's a life saver for rendering. If you decide to overclock it would be good to buy and better HSF.

Also get some DDR2. You dont really need some expensive stuff. DDR2-800 will be enough.
March 10, 2008 11:08:58 PM

^Agreed. Like I said before the Ultra is kind of an overkill. If planing on OCing make sure you get a good cooler.

Forgot to add:

Get a 320GB+ 7200.11 HDD its almost as fast as a Raptor in most benchmarks.
March 10, 2008 11:10:11 PM

alexin said:
- Western Digital - CAVIAR SE 250GB 8MB 7200RPM SATA II;
- GF 8800ULTRA 768MB DDR3 XLR8 OVERCLOKED DVI TVOUT PCI-X
- Intel - Core 2 Quad Q6600 2.4GHZ
- Gigabyte - P35-DS3R
- Samsung - CW-21Z503N SLIMFIT TV 21pol

What about that? There's also the Core 2 Duo E8500 for the same prize and the P5K.

?!?!?! Are you sure it's PCI-X? PCI-X is a completely different socket from PCIe. Never knew they made PCI-X. 8800s.
March 10, 2008 11:19:37 PM

Off-topic: What means OC? I googled but it only returned results about the TV serie...

I copy that specification from a shop's website. I think the 'X' means "put what you want here", as in 'e'
March 11, 2008 6:08:30 AM

OC means to overclock.

You get a q6600 and overclock it from 2.4 to 3.2GHz (or even more).

A 3.2GHz quad core CPU would cost you a 1000$ and this is just as good.
March 11, 2008 6:18:38 AM

Quadro vs Geforce dabate.

Get Geforce over quadro, quadro isn't worth it at all.

To really put it simple

Q6600 2.4 overclock to 3.0-3.2 GHz
Better heatsink+fan (AC Freezer 7+)
Gigabyte P35-DS3R
8800GT or HD3870
2x2GB DDR2-800 (5-5-5-8 - cheap stuff)
500W PSU (2x12v at 18A at least)
A case of your choise with a couple of fans running at 7v.
(There is a 7v fan mod, it's for silence)

You really can't go any better on this and in my opinion everything beyond this is really a waste of money.
March 11, 2008 6:39:03 AM

I might be totally of here but aren't nVidias Tesla series going to help calculating physics and thus help in Global illumination renderings such as raytracing and radiosity calculations?
March 11, 2008 7:49:38 AM

1790362,15,78700 said:
Quadro vs Geforce dabate.

Get Geforce over quadro, quadro isn't worth it at all.

To really put it simple

Q6600 2.4 overclock to 3.0-3.2 GHz
Better heatsink+fan (AC Freezer 7+)
Gigabyte P35-DS3R
8800GT or HD3870
2x2GB DDR2-800 (5-5-5-8 - cheap stuff)
500W PSU (2x12v at 18A at least)
said:

I'd go with at least this PSU for your build. It has plenty of amps on the 12V rail (allows for a better GPU later too). Has a 5 yr. warranty and is probably the best at its price point. $85 - $20 MIR = $65!!!
Corsair VX 550W ATX Power Supply - CMPSU-550VX
http://www.buy.com/prod/corsair-vx-550w-atx-power-suppl...

I'd also go with a bit faster memory (CAS 4, 4-4-4-12 timings) for about the same $ after MIR. $108 - $15 MIR = $93!!
Patriot Viper 4GB(2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And definately go with a good HD. The 7200.11 Segate's seem to have some benefits, from what I've read, but I haven't researched it fully to recommend it yet.
March 11, 2008 10:07:25 AM

Those PSU and RAM, I'll have to check them here in Portugal. I'm not comfortable with ordering them from the US. I don't know how much the shipping will cost, if the material doesn't get damaged, etc. That isn't an information I can get easily, nobody seems to know about that...

Well, I'll make a list, check prices, products and let you know something. I'm very satisfied with you help, everybody.
Thanks!

March 11, 2008 10:22:03 AM

Shadow703793 said:
In order from best to lowest based on pure performers: (high to low)

8800Ultra
3870X2
8800GTX
9600

For your needs a 640MB 8800GTS would be good (3D, CAD,etc) for gaming a 9600 would be more than enough. Imo, unless you specificaly run software that benefit from more GPU RAM, etc. a 9600 or 8800GT 512 would be more than enough.


the old 8800GTS??? any reason for that? instead of even a 1gb 8800GT (LOL@1gb)
March 11, 2008 12:34:55 PM

I checked the price of those Patriot Viper:

- Portugal: 148€ = 227 USD
- USA: 107 USD = 69€!!

The problem is knowing the shipping cost and hope the product doesn't get retained in the customs.
March 11, 2008 6:26:40 PM

For a Quad Core, a Dual Channel RAM is better, right? Does it matter if it's 2x2GB or 4xGB?
March 11, 2008 8:17:48 PM

3870 is 3x faster in vertex/polygon performance than 8800ultra. So, if you’re worried about that, ati is the way to go since it has 320 stream processors vs nvidas 128. For some reason they actually work (up to) 3x better aside from being slower in mhz and only 2.5x physical more.

Why are games better on nvidia cards? I’d say its because game are not ready for unified processors yet and this is best seen with the arrival of 9600gt that has nearly 2x less shaders than 8800gt (64 vs 112). In some games 9600gt is actually faster than 8800gt(?!) simply due to faster clocks on it(650mhz vs 600mhz).

So, while games are nowhere near to accept 320 streaming things, 3ds max, on the other hand is.

There is something to note though. While 3x better performance seams nice and useful. See this link-

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/video/display/radeon-h...

Note that for most purposes 2900xt(reviewed on the site) is just a bit slower than 3870 and that 8800gt is a bit slower than 8800gtx.

My other point is, 3x better performance seams nice, but the thing to note is that over a million polygons are used for that geometry +8lights test. And even though 200fps is 3x slower than ~600fps, even 200 is waay more than you really need.

So if you plan on gaming 8800gt 512 is the most cost effective card you can get.

And as for quadro insecurities, here’s a list
“under SPECViewperf in 3ds Max in openGL:
gforce 8800ultra gets 43.02
gforce 8800gt gets 43.18
quadro 5600fx gets 37.03
quadro 4600fx gets 37.07 “
If you can afford it 8800gts 512 is even better due to having full 128 shaders vs 112 of 8800gt.

Xeons are not usefull by themselves. They are basically the same core2 procesors you can get for fraction of the cost, but Xeons can interconnect so you could have an 8 core system or more.

Most cost effective solution today is core2 quad 6600 2.4ghz that can reach 3+ghz speeds easy.
Less than 4gb of ram is vasted. 8gb can be had for ~200$ and win xp x64 is the best work/game platform you can get today. Vista is still a toy, so for the moment stay clear of it, unless you want to game in dx 10.
What I have is a dual boot, one for vista 32 for dx 10 games, and win xp x64 for work/ other games. I spend 90% in x64 ;) 
!