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System configuration for 3d modeling/rendering (Revit, 3ds Max)

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October 1, 2008 9:50:37 PM

I would appreciate everyone's suggestions about the best configuration for a system intended for 3d modeling and rendering.

I work in Revit 2009, 3ds Max (and a little in Maya), creating mostly architectural designs, models and photorealistic renderings and some Photoshop postproduction retouching. Quite rarely I produce "walk-through" animations.

I would like to get a good, solid system, to last me 3+ years. I would like to be able to connect 2 lcd screens (about 22"), eventually a 3rd one if it doesn't require extreme additional expenses. At the same time, I do not need the system to play HD movies, play games, or edit video.

If you have suggestions, I would appreciate informed opinions about "must have" vs. "nice to have" configurations. I am willing to pay extra for increased capabilities, but reluctant to push it into the "stratosphere" where an "ultimate" configuration demands a 90% premium for a 5% performance gain. In other words, I want a tricked Mustang, even a solid Corvette, but can't afford a Lamborghini.

Thank you in advance.

Cal
October 1, 2008 10:41:03 PM

Yeah, do you know if you have 32bit or 64bit versions of that software. I know 3dsMax comes in two flavors like that. I know that the more RAM I have, the better it goes, especially when rendering a scene. As you probably know, there are RAM limitations in 32bit OS's, so if you have or can get the 64bit version of the software and then Vista 64, I'd do that.

Hmm, I haven't really been keeping up with all the latest CPU's coming out, although I know a bunch are. I don't really see any reason not to go with a quad core.

A graphics card will be important for real-time shading and just how nice it is to rotate models in the viewports, oh, and for duel screens. Since you're not gaming, something cheap like a Nvidia 9600 or maybe the ATI 4670. Those would give you Shader Model 3.0 for the few things 3dsMax uses that for. Plus, you could probably find those passively cooled if you are big about noise, or just keep the fan speeds really low all the time.

I wish I could be more specific. I guess it just depends how much you want to spend. Maybe set a budget for it, not including monitors, and try to stick close to that. New CPU's are coming out soon though, so either consider those or wait for price drops. Then I'd suggest RAM. Just get it. If you run a 32bit OS, 4GB is as much as it will recognize, and I think around 2GB is all that one application can use at one time anyway, unless you use the 3GB switch.
October 1, 2008 11:56:05 PM

I also work in max, but not very intensively. to start, get a quad, such as the Q9550 or Q9650. Get a good motherboard, probably the X48 or X38 chipset, and get a more than 4GB ram. something around 8GB will be good. You said you want multiple monitors, so pick up a Radeon 4870 (still a good render card, since it has high processing power >1 TFLOP). Overall, I wouldn't spend more than 2000, maybe 2200.

Must have: Quad core, with >4GB ram. Good video card.

Nice to have: very top end quad core, 16GB ram, 4870 VC or better.

As for hard drives, pick up a couple of 500GB or larger, and you may want to look into RAID, possibly.
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October 2, 2008 3:39:08 PM

Thanks for your suggestions. They are very, very helpful. If you suggest that the 64-bit version of the software would show a great improvement, I would upgrade to it... I am on subscription and will upgrade as soon as I have the right hardware to take advantage of the new software capabilities...

What type of performance gain do you think it can be gotten with the 64-bit version? What would be the impact on the hardware selection? are there drivers for all components in the 64-bit version?

Thanks,

Cal
October 2, 2008 5:53:43 PM

zzzagman said:
What type of performance gain do you think it can be gotten with the 64-bit version?


64bit will use more RAM. Get Vista 64 bit as your OS, then pick up the 64bit versions of the software. Like Last Resort said, 4 GB or more of RAM really makes working with that software much smoother.

When you really start getting into picking specific hardware, like the motherboard and CPU, I'd try to find out if there are any weird quirks people have with it. For example, my motherboard supports up to 4GB of RAM, but people have problems when a 4th stick of RAM is inserted. Up some voltages on the RAM and NB chip, and it works, and some people suggest lowering the speed too, but that sucks. Just little things like that are good to research before purchasing.

A good motherboard is good advice....with bios updates they can support newer CPUs and stuff that they didn't on release, so if you do feel like upgrading in a couple years, it's possible to avoid having to redo the whole thing.

Oh, 64bit drivers shouldn't be any problem now.
October 6, 2008 6:16:59 PM

titaniumclud, last resort, thanks a lot for your postings.
October 7, 2008 9:15:15 AM

I would recommend looking into a workstation class video card as they are built for this kind of work and will last years. I would stay away from the gaming/mainstream cards.
October 7, 2008 2:37:41 PM

Crystal_tech, thanks for your suggestion... could you be more specific?
March 4, 2009 3:57:39 PM

the last resort said:
I also work in max, but not very intensively. to start, get a quad, such as the Q9550 or Q9650. Get a good motherboard, probably the X48 or X38 chipset, and get a more than 4GB ram. something around 8GB will be good. You said you want multiple monitors, so pick up a Radeon 4870 (still a good render card, since it has high processing power >1 TFLOP). Overall, I wouldn't spend more than 2000, maybe 2200.

Must have: Quad core, with >4GB ram. Good video card.

Nice to have: very top end quad core, 16GB ram, 4870 VC or better.

As for hard drives, pick up a couple of 500GB or larger, and you may want to look into RAID, possibly.


Hi!

I saw that you gave some suggestions about how to configure a pc for 3d rendering,i work with 3ds max.i need help with my configuration,some suggestions.my budget is around 700$


Motherboard:Asrock P43DE
Processor:Intel Core2 Quad Q8300 2500MHz
HDD: Western Digital 640 GB SATA-II 7200RPM 16 MB Caviar Green CS
DDR:Corsair 4GB DDR2 800MHZ CL5 XMS2 DUAL CHANNEL
GPU: HIS ATI Radeon HD3870 IceQ3 512MB DDR4 256-bit

Thanks in advance!
!