I'm not playing games
I need a graphics card in the $200 range for 3d content-creation using 3DS Max, modo etc.. I won't be playing games. I have seen nVidia 8800GT, 9600GT. I'm wondering though if there is a better card in the same price range for what I will be doing. Or, are these cards that are good for gaming automatically also good for 3D work? BTW, I need 512Mb or above.
That's a gamer's card through-and-through. Shouldn't we be suggesting a QuadroFX or FireGL/MV card?
$100-$200 range cards:
$200-$300 range cards:
shokan said:Thanks. In fact, I looked up ati 4850 just now at techreports.com and here's a quote:
The Radeon HD 4850 kicks more ass than a pair of donkeys in an MMA cage match.
Thanks for the suggestions. Sounds good about the cpu and RAM. Any thoughts on what mobo for the quad cpu?
I think the best thing for you to do is check Anandtech's forums as most of the people here really do not have enough real hands-on knowledge of 3d rendering requirements to make an educated comment; Anandtech does however.
We can all guess and we know the basics: quad core, 4 gb ram, gpu. But thats really all that anyone here will be able to tell you unless someone with actual first-hand experience speaks up. From what I am told, depending on the 3d rendering app itself is going to significantly change your requirements.
qwertycopter said:That's a gamer's card through-and-through. Shouldn't we be suggesting a QuadroFX or FireGL/MV card?
$100-$200 range cards:
$200-$300 range cards:
True, HD 4850 is meant for gamers, but that doesn't mean it can't perform 3D work. In fact, I believe the most major difference between gamer-made cards and workstation cards are increased VRAM and drivers.
Quadro and FireGL cards are geared towards 3d Rendering tasks such as CAD, Maya, 3DS Max, etc. A gamer's card tries to give the best framerate whereas a workstation card tries to give the best rendering performance.
Read about them here:
shokan said:Briefly, what is it about QuadroFX or FireGL cards that make them more suitable for 3D content-creation?
Couldn't tell you except that even Quadro/FireGL cards also will perform better in certain apps depending on which card you use.
I'd really recommend you seek at least an upper end 3d amateur if you are serious about building a 3d workstation.
mathiasschnell said:True, HD 4850 is meant for gamers, but that doesn't mean it can't perform 3D work. In fact, I believe the most major difference between gamer-made cards and workstation cards are increased VRAM and drivers.
The underlying chips are often the same, but the firmware gears the cards either more towards gaming or rendering. I think there are some mods out there to make a gamer card function more like a workstation card minus the extra vram.
if you're on a budget $1000-1500
CPU: Intel Q6600
Mobo: any p35/p45 Intel based boards that has 5+ SATAII ports (see HDD below)
GPU: ATI HD4850
RAM: 4 gb (namely: Crucial, G-Skill, Corsair, and Kingston)
HDD: 4x 250/500gb harddrive in RAID 10 (depends on how tight the budget's are) RAID10 (STRIPING and MIRRORING) is the best setup for any workstation purpose machine. STRIPING improves your overall data performance and MIRRORING creates an exact copy of whatever you have just in case one of them crash and burn
PSU: 600W+ power supply from any here (Corsair/Thermaltake/SeaSonic/PCP&C/Coolermaster/Silverstone)
HS: do get a quality aftermarket heatsink for your CPU namely Zalman 9500/9700, Thermalright Ultra 120, and many others, do make sure their compatibility for LGA775 socket.
CASE: any that can house lots harddrives will do.
P.S. any $$$ buy you a happy meal, better yet, buy me one too
if you have $2000-$3000 to spare:
Mobo: ASUS or Gigabyte x38/x48 boards
GPU: (2x) ATI HD 4870 in Crossfire X
RAM: 8gb (of any brand name mentioned above)
HDD: 4x 750/1000gb harddrives (in RAID10 again..)
PSU: 1000W+ power supply (from brands mentioned above)
COOLING: liquid cooling system namely: KOOLANCE maybe?
CASE: a SilverStone TJ series that people recommend for in use with a liquid cooling system.
P.S. any $$$ left over get a ASUS Xonar sound card works similar to GPU - takes the load from your CPU for better overall performances...
if you use cash for napkins....
Mobo: an Nvidia SLI 790i chipset board that costs at least $300
GPU: (3x) Nvidia GTX 280 (for triple sli-though buggy but talking about bragging rights here...)
RAM: 8gb Corsair Dominator DDR3 1800
HDD: (4-8)Fujisu 300GB SAS drive (im not even sure if you can run RAID10 on this now, with or without you are running on 15000 rpm rockets... you are flying already)
PSU: 1000W-1200W PSU (any above)
COOLING: well you can do Phase Change here (any other suggestions other than maybe liquid nitrogen?)
CASE: you really deserve a custom made case here... anything commercial is just cruelty.
Best advice I've gotten for a build in a nutshell. Thanks.
BTW, about what makes a workstation card from ATI work for 3D content-creation (and, I assume applies in general for the QuadroFX line), here's a thread explaining the architecture. It's all greek to me, but getting a little clearer after reading this.
Actually, with what he's doing, the cash for napkins solution would be a dual socket workstation board, a pair of quad core xeons, 8gigs or more of ram, and a FireGL V8650 or similar. Kind of irrelevant though, as the stated budget is rather smaller than that.
Also, I'm not sure about 3dS max or anything like that, but I know Solidworks won't let you use any 3d accelerated features unless your graphics card is on a certain list (only FireGL and Quadro cards). If 3DS max is similar, you'd be better off with a low end FireGL or Quadro, despite them being much slower for the price than a similar gaming card (so something like this, or if you can stretch your budget, this).
One question though...
Instead of the ATI 4850, is the ATI FireGL V3600 a better choice for a workstation? Not knowing much, I see the lower (256Mb) of the FireGL card versus the 512Mb of the 4850 and I get spooked. They're both in the same $ range.
In truth, either one would probably be fine for what I'll be doing, but I would like to know if I should go for the lower Mb card that is made for 3D work as opposed to the higher Mb card tailored for gaming.
CPU: 2 x http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819117138
HDD 1-4: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148278 in RAID 10
HDD 5: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136260
External HDD: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822101083
RAID Card: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816103058
Blu-Ray / DVD drive: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827136137
Monitors: 2 x http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824136036
CPU Fans: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835114053
That'll run you about 15,000. Sorry that I went a little over your budget, got too excited.
changed gfx card.
cjl: solidworks selective? I know there is something about shaders in a workstation card that a 3D app benefits from. Is that what you mean?
I will be using Luxology modo and Zbrush. Here is one answer I got in the modo forum today about workstation vs gamer card:
Well Zbrush is easy, all it cares about is ram, id say start at 4gigs.. I'm not sure if it sees more than two CPU's yet. I also assume anything your building today is gonna have 4-8 cores.
As for Modo I think you want atleast a 512MB card for texture painting. I have an 8800 that works well. I'm not sure about modo's performance with fire and quadro cards, others will ahve to comment.. i dont think they will gain you much in modo. Zbrush will not make use of it at all. I'd personally get a cheaper card and upgrade more often then drop 1000$+ on a pro card which is written for maya and CAD apps. But I could be wrong.
Don't get a ATI card. Luxology has them red flagged due to a limitation with Opengl and image-maps over 1k. I don't think that red flag was ever lifted. At any rate Nvidia is your friend... and 8800's are dirt cheap now that they are technically 2 generations old now with the 280/260 out now. Even the 9800gt/gx2's are coming down in price quickly... both of which literally dropped 100usd overnight.
No, I mean that solidworks looks at your drivers to see if you have a Quadro or FireGL, and if you don't have one, the hardware accelerated graphics features are disabled (even though a gaming card would be perfectly capable of doing the required work). As far as SolidWorks is concerned, you either have a Quadro, a FireGL, or you don't have any graphics card at all.
The last time I checked, rendering in a 3D-app is entirely done by your CPU. The graphics card is only used to display your different views while working on your scene.
In heavy scenes (with millions and millions of vertices) a regular consumer graphics card will have a hard time rendering those views, especially the 3D-view. That's where the NVidia Quadro and ATI FireGL come into play.
(PS: I'm working with XSI 6.5 from time to time)
Softmodding in this case is where you force the card to use drivers designed for the quadro series of gpus...These are cards designed for opengl performance...ie 3dsmax, lightwave etc.
Opengl performance of standard cards is deliberately crippled so as to keep a market for the professional (and very expensive) quadro cards designed for CAD work. However by forcing the standard cards to use quadro drivers you can see a big gain in opengl performance that will help give you better framerate when designing. However these drivers wont enable the card to do any rendering, that will still be done by the cpu.
Real quadro cards (or the ati equivalent) can do the rendering, and they will do it much quicker than a cpu can.
Here is a link