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I'm not playing games

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July 10, 2008 1:50:51 PM

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.
Thanks.

More about : playing games

July 10, 2008 2:09:21 PM

Thanks, but everything I've ever heard about this says get the best most powerful card for 3DS Max, modo, XSI etc. The cpu and RAM must also be high.
July 10, 2008 2:11:21 PM

3d prog workstation needs a Quad CPU as well as 4gb of ram, and i am suggesting a 4850 ($170 after MIR). 4850 should be your best bang for the $200. You get those you should be golden.
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July 10, 2008 2:17:08 PM

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?
July 10, 2008 2:22:38 PM

If you're only using a single 4850, then an Intel P35 board is probably a good idea.
July 10, 2008 2:27:13 PM

For you I'd go with a P45 chipset motherboard, and for a CPU a Q9450 and then give yourself a nice overclock. And you'd have a very effective system for what your doing.

What is your budget for the motherboard?
July 10, 2008 2:27:43 PM

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.
July 10, 2008 2:29:18 PM

Briefly, what is it about QuadroFX or FireGL cards that make them more suitable for 3D content-creation?
July 10, 2008 2:30:11 PM

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:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

$200-$300 range cards:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...


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.
July 10, 2008 2:34:02 PM

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.
July 10, 2008 2:41:19 PM

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.
July 10, 2008 3:14:33 PM

Shokan,

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:

CPU: Q9450/Q9550
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....

CUP: QX9770
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.


gl


b
July 10, 2008 3:22:22 PM

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.

http://www.aecmag.com/index.php?option=com_content&task...
a b U Graphics card
July 10, 2008 3:24:12 PM

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).
July 10, 2008 3:32:04 PM

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.
July 10, 2008 3:51:39 PM

Heard you can soft mod an 8800gt very easily making 3ds max performance very good....not for rendering just displays. Was a link i saw but forgotten...google.
July 10, 2008 3:57:32 PM

What is "soft mod" ?
July 10, 2008 6:15:07 PM
a b U Graphics card
July 10, 2008 6:55:05 PM

And you even forgot the video card...
July 10, 2008 7:20:33 PM

no I didn't.
a b U Graphics card
July 10, 2008 7:43:52 PM

Oops...
July 11, 2008 12:22:40 AM

Since I would not be making animations (where frame rate is key) and since I just want excellent speedy rendering of 3D stills in large size/resolution... maybe the workstation type card would be best, FireGL or QuadroFX.
Do you agree?
a b U Graphics card
July 11, 2008 12:55:30 AM

Entirely possible, especially if the program is selective, like SolidWorks. Also, the drivers tend to be a bit more stable and better supported on a workstation card.
July 11, 2008 1:12:03 AM

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.


and another...

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.

Any thoughts?
a b U Graphics card
July 11, 2008 1:15:50 AM

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.
July 11, 2008 1:31:22 AM

Yeah, OK, got it.
Thanks.
July 11, 2008 10:47:06 AM

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)
July 11, 2008 12:51:10 PM

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

http://www.techarp.com/showarticle.aspx?artno=539&pgno=...
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