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3D animation and Gaming System Build

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February 11, 2009 2:54:20 PM

I am a CG artist and I am putting together a system build that will be able to handle 3d modeling and animation rendering and play pretty much any game I through at it...Money isnt a big concern but I want to try and stay under $2500.00.

This is the plan so far:

Motherboard: EVGA 790i Ultra SLI.
Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad Q9650.
Video Card:2 EVGA Geforce 9800 GTX +1GB 256bit GDDR3
Ram: Mushkin 6GB 3(3x2GB) DDR3.
PSU: Xclio Stable Power 1000w.
Case: Cooler Master HAF 932.
Optical Drives: Lite-on x20 DVD Burner, Lite-on x18 DVD ROM.
Storage: 300GB Velociraptor in RAID 0, WD 1TB in RAID 1.
Sound Card: Creative Sound Blaster XFI.
Cooling: Not decided.
Monitor: 22" ACER.
OS: Windows Vista Home 64bit.

So this is what I was thinking. I am not sure about the Video Card setup and the benefits of running dual. Not sure on the cooling setup and what is best!

Question #1: What is the best video card setup for what i want to do and what benefits do i get with a dual SLI setup?

Question #2: What heatsink would be best?

Any suggestions or improvements PLEASE!!
February 11, 2009 3:42:01 PM

What are the advantages of the i7 to the core2 quad q9650?
Related resources
February 11, 2009 3:55:16 PM

Intel Core i7 920 2.66GHz 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1366 Quad-Core Processor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $289.99

GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD4P LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $259.99 - $20.00 MIR

G.SKILL 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $152.99

EVGA 01G-P3-1281-AR GeForce GTX 285 1GB 512-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $354.99 - $20.00 MIR

SAMSUNG 22X DVD Burner Black SATA Model SH-S223F - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $23.99

2x Western Digital VelociRaptor WD3000HLFS 300GB 10000 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $459.98 ($229.99 each) - $30.00 MIR

2x Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $259.98 ($129.99 each)

CORSAIR CMPSU-850TX 850W ATX12V 2.2 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $139.99 - $20.00 MIR

COOLER MASTER HAF 932 RC-932-KKN1-GP Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $149.99

SAMSUNG T220 Rose-Black 22" 2ms GTG Touch of Color series Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 DC 20,000:1 - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $269.99 - $30.00 MIR

Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit English for System Builders 1pk DSP OEI DVD - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $99.99

COOLER MASTER V8 RR-UV8-XBU1-GP 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $69.99

$2,531.86 - $120.00 MIR's = $2,411.86
February 11, 2009 3:56:50 PM

castorbonaparte said:
What are the advantages of the i7 to the core2 quad q9650?

The i7 is quite a bit faster for your intended use. Check the benchmarks. It would be a shame to spend $2,500 on a build and not get an i7.
February 11, 2009 4:07:06 PM

Thank you for your input, the build that I had listed was about 1800.00.

I seems that everyone is pointing towards the i7, so I think I will go that route.

My other Question. Do you think it would be better to run 2 9800's instead of running a single 295?
February 11, 2009 4:09:21 PM

Nimble, Thank for your list. I will definitely make some changes on what I will be running, Do you think that the 285 video card is better then the 295, or 2 9800's?
February 11, 2009 4:13:52 PM

I'd forget about the SLI 9800GTX's. If you go with two GPU's right off the bat you've taken away your upgrade path. I'd get the best GPU you can afford right now so you still have the option of SLI down the road. That's why I chose the GTX 285. The GTX 295 is quite a bit better, but would have put the build over budget. The GTX 295 is also currently out of stock. If you can fit the GTX 295 into the build, do it. It's a great GPU.
February 11, 2009 4:20:34 PM

shortstuff_mt said:
I'd forget about the SLI 9800GTX's. If you go with two GPU's right off the bat you've taken away your upgrade path. I'd get the best GPU you can afford right now so you still have the option of SLI down the road. That's why I chose the GTX 285. The GTX 295 is quite a bit better, but would have put the build over budget. The GTX 295 is also currently out of stock. If you can fit the GTX 295 into the build, do it. It's a great GPU.


Makes sense, But I already have a 22inch ACER monitor, so I do not need that. What are the advantages to running two hard drives on raid 0?
February 11, 2009 4:24:02 PM

castorbonaparte said:
But I already have a 22inch ACER monitor, so I do not need that.

Don't need what? I'm afraid I'm not following your here. Do you mean you don't need the Samsung 22" monitor in my list?

I just put the Raid 0 because you mentioned it in your original post. Raid 0 provides a little faster throughput, but isn't worth it IMO. I'd just use a fast single drive as your system drive and use the Raid 1 for storage.
February 11, 2009 4:29:58 PM

Sorry I wasnt clear...

I just meant i would be saving money since I already had a monitor!

I listed raid 0 but wasnt sure on the benefits, thats why i asked you.

I would like to run the EVGA 790i Ultra, but people keep mentioning
the X58, what would be the major factor in switching to the ASUS?
February 11, 2009 4:40:39 PM

The 790i chipset isn't compatible with the i7 CPU's. It's also an inferior Nvidia chipset. The Intel chipsets are much more stable. I'd completely forget you ever saw the 790i board. If you like EVGA, get this board:

EVGA 132-BL-E758-A1 LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $299.99

I personally would get the Gigabyte board instead. The X58 EVGA board is EVGA's first attempt at designing their own motherboard. All the previous EVGA boards have just been reference Nvidia boards. EVGA did a pretty good job on the X58 board, but it does have a few quirks.
February 11, 2009 4:44:24 PM

The X58 is required for the i7 processors. Asus is a fantastic motherboard brand, along with Gigabyte. The P6T Deluxe is great for overclocking, and that coolermaster V8 will let you push the i7 quite far. Since you do not need the monitor, get the GTX295, its currently the fastest card out there.
February 11, 2009 4:47:37 PM

shortstuff_mt said:
The 790i chipset isn't compatible with the i7 CPU's. It's also an inferior Nvidia chipset. The Intel chipsets are much more stable. I'd completely forget you ever saw the 790i board. If you like EVGA, get this board:

EVGA 132-BL-E758-A1 LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $299.99

I personally would get the Gigabyte board instead. The X58 EVGA board is EVGA's first attempt at designing their own motherboard. All the previous EVGA boards have just been reference Nvidia boards. EVGA did a pretty good job on the X58 board, but it does have a few quirks.


Well I am glad you told me that, a buddy of mine said that the 790i would work great for the new intel processors shows how much he knows.

I really appreciate or help thank you!
February 11, 2009 4:50:56 PM

Transmaniacon said:
The X58 is required for the i7 processors. Asus is a fantastic motherboard brand, along with Gigabyte. The P6T Deluxe is great for overclocking, and that coolermaster V8 will let you push the i7 quite far. Since you do not need the monitor, get the GTX295, its currently the fastest card out there.



I will be sure to run the X58 (for obvious reasons) and yes since I will be saving money on the monitor I will by buying the 295.

In the future i am planning on going dual video cards, should i just buy 1000w PSU now, since I am sure to need it to run the two cards?
February 11, 2009 4:54:47 PM

Yea, if you plan on going quad SLI (even though one GTX 295 is already major overkill for a 22" monitor), you should get a PSU that won't need upgraded when you add the second GPU.

CORSAIR CMPSU-1000HX 1000W ATX12V 2.2 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $259.99 - $20 MIR

Edit: LOL, Transmaniacon beat me to it!
February 11, 2009 5:08:21 PM

That OCZ ram is nice. I personally like the G.Skill kit in my original post. Either kit will work fine.
February 11, 2009 5:17:57 PM

Ok so this is what I am going with let me know if GUYS agree!!

Intel Core i7 920
ASUS P6T Deluxe
EVGA Geforce GTX 295 1GB (if i can get it)
OCZ Platinum 6Gb (3x2GB) DDR3 1600.
WD Velociraptor 300gb for Raid 0.
WD Caviar Black 1TB for storage.
Corsair CMPSU-1000HX
Cooler Master HAF 932 Black case.
Cooler Master V8 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler
Samsung 22x DVD Burner Black
Windows Vista Home 64bit.

What do ya think?

February 11, 2009 5:18:53 PM

Looks like one badass system!
February 11, 2009 5:22:21 PM

I have a Q9550 Maya render machine and an i7 940 render box. Both are DDR3 and have comparable vid cards. I find on the Q9550 box I get about 4:15 per frame renders on my current project. The same project nets me 2:30 on my i7.

I understand there are other factors but this is the relative difference.
February 11, 2009 5:22:47 PM

Yup, looks great! :) 

Just keep in mind that with the Raid 0, if one drive fails you'll lose all your data. Be sure to back up all your important files to the storage drive.
February 11, 2009 5:25:43 PM

blazelet said:
I have a Q9550 Maya render machine and an i7 940 render box. Both are DDR3 and have comparable vid cards. I find on the Q9550 box I get about 4:15 per frame renders on my current project. The same project nets me 2:30 on my i7.

I understand there are other factors but this is the relative difference.


So your saying that the i7 is a better setup?
February 11, 2009 5:27:58 PM

shortstuff_mt said:
Yup, looks great! :) 

Just keep in mind that with the Raid 0, if one drive fails you'll lose all your data. Be sure to back up all your important files to the storage drive.


so is that why they run two drives on Raid 0? all i really have to is install my OS on a raid 0 drive and keep my files on raid 1?
February 11, 2009 5:29:53 PM

Raid 0 = Speed

Raid 1 = Redundancy
February 11, 2009 5:32:20 PM

Transmaniacon said:
Raid 0 = Speed

Raid 1 = Redundancy


That says it all!! lol..
February 11, 2009 5:35:28 PM

Well thank you all for your input....I am pretty sure that I will be back on the thread when I start putting this all together.

I will upload picks on my progress as I go!

Thanks GUYS....
February 11, 2009 5:35:52 PM

Raid 0 requires at least two drives. If you want Raid 0 for your system drive, you might want to get the 150GB Velociraptors since two 150GB drives in Raid 0 will show up as one 300GB drive on the system.

Western Digital VelociRaptor WD1500HLFS 150GB 10000 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive (bare drive) - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $179.99 - $20 MIR

Raid 1 is called mirroring because it keeps an exact image of one drive on the other one, so that if one drive dies you don't lose any data. You might want to Google Raid to make sure it's what you want. I can't really explain all the details in a forum post.
February 11, 2009 5:38:19 PM

shortstuff_mt said:
Raid 0 requires at least two drives. If you want Raid 0 for your system drive, you might want to get the 150GB Velociraptors since two 150GB drives in Raid 0 will show up as one 300GB drive on the system.

Western Digital VelociRaptor WD1500HLFS 150GB 10000 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive (bare drive) - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $179.99 - $20 MIR

Raid 1 is called mirroring because it keeps an exact image of one drive on the other one, so that if one drive dies you don't lose any data. You might want to Google Raid to make sure it's what you want. I can't really explain all the details in a forum post.


I see what you mean and i will be sure to look it up....

what would you guys do in this situation?
February 11, 2009 5:38:21 PM

A good combination is:

x1 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... (OS and Applications)

x2 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... (Storage)

Its a little on the expensive side, but you will have a very fast drive for your programs, and then 1TB of redundant storage for everything else. You could lower the price by going with something like a 150GB Velociraptor, and 2 640GB HDDs.

Edit: I think the single velociraptor not in RAID is plenty fast, but if you have a little extra money, you could go with the 2 150GB Velociraptors in RAID 0, and 2 WD640GB in RAID 1.
February 11, 2009 5:52:33 PM

Transmaniacon said:
A good combination is:

x1 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... (OS and Applications)

x2 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... (Storage)

Its a little on the expensive side, but you will have a very fast drive for your programs, and then 1TB of redundant storage for everything else. You could lower the price by going with something like a 150GB Velociraptor, and 2 640GB HDDs.

Edit: I think the single velociraptor not in RAID is plenty fast, but if you have a little extra money, you could go with the 2 150GB Velociraptors in RAID 0, and 2 WD640GB in RAID 1.


I agree with the single Velociraptor and dual Black 1TB drives. That's what I was trying to say before, but didn't make it clear.

shortstuff_mt said:
I'd just use a fast single drive as your system drive and use the Raid 1 for storage.

February 11, 2009 6:09:42 PM

For i7 benchmarks, go to the tomshardware home page and click on the $1250 systembuilder marathon machine that they just posted. It actually uses the core2quad instead of the i7 but they compare that processor with the machine they built last month using the i7, and you can see which benchmarks the i7 runs away with.
February 11, 2009 6:24:53 PM

i7 is definitely more powerful, my own tests put it at 2:30 per frame versus 4:15 for the Q9550. So yes, the i7 rig will be better without a doubt.

But then there is also a $400 or so price tag difference just for the processor. Depends on what's important to you. I built my Q9550 system for $850 or so. My i7 was closer to $1700. Understand the prices can vary wildly as can the benchmarks. If you want my system specs I can find them.
February 11, 2009 6:32:01 PM

blazelet said:
But then there is also a $400 or so price tag difference just for the processor.

The i7 920 is only $10 more than the Q9550.

Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 Yorkfield 2.83GHz 12MB L2 Cache LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $279.99

Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $289.99
February 11, 2009 6:36:53 PM

blazelet said:
i7 is definitely more powerful, my own tests put it at 2:30 per frame versus 4:15 for the Q9550. So yes, the i7 rig will be better without a doubt.

But then there is also a $400 or so price tag difference just for the processor. Depends on what's important to you. I built my Q9550 system for $850 or so. My i7 was closer to $1700. Understand the prices can vary wildly as can the benchmarks. If you want my system specs I can find them.



This is what i came up with that i will be running:

Intel core i7
ASUS P6T Deluxe
ASUS Geforce GTX 295
OCZ Platinum 6GB (3x2GB) DDR3 1600
WD Velociraptor 300gb 10000
WD Velociraptor 1tb
Corsair CMPSU 1000HX
Cooler Master HAF 932 black case.
Cooler Master V8 120mm Rifle CPU cooler
Samsung 22x dvd burner Black
Windows Vista Home 64bit
February 11, 2009 6:41:50 PM

It looks like you will have a killer system. Which i7 are you going for?

The only recommendation I would have, if your budget can swing it, it to do a bit more RAM. I am not sure how intense your 3D projects get but in some of these complex scenes with week long renders an extra 2GB can make a big difference.

But you can always add that later :) 
February 11, 2009 6:43:30 PM

blazelet said:
It looks like you will have a killer system. Which i7 are you going for?

The only recommendation I would have, if your budget can swing it, it to do a bit more RAM. I am not sure how intense your 3D projects get but in some of these complex scenes with week long renders an extra 2GB can make a big difference.

But you can always add that later :) 


I am going for the intel core i7 quad 2.66

and i was thinking the same with the ram!

Thanks
February 11, 2009 6:49:07 PM

Quote:
The i7 920 is only $10 more than the Q9550.


Sorry I didn't make myself more clear, I had two seperate posts and the first one mentioned I had the 940. There's a $300 difference now between the Q9550 and the i7 940 - when I bought it they were closer to $400.
February 12, 2009 3:01:20 AM

RAID 0 your drive that the raw data is on-not the OS drive. RAID 0 the OS is not going to speed up the rendering time. Save the final rendered data on a single drive or RAID 1 drives.

MAIN single velociRaptor 150GB or 300GB
DATA drive RAID 0 2x300 VelociRaptor
FINAL Product drive RAID 1 HD>1TB


For serious 3D animation/creation you would need a workstation video card like a FireGL. 3D modeling and animation require a lot of wire frame and polygon manipulation, which a gaming card is not design to handle. The FireGL can handle more data procesinng at once vs a gaming card. The driver for workstation card are proven, certified and has maximum image quality and pixel precision. The certification is what make the card really expensive. Therefore, driver aren't updated as often as game cards.

You can't be both serious Gamer and 3D animation on a single PC. The driver are totally different for each card.
February 12, 2009 11:25:12 AM

jivdis1x said:
RAID 0 your drive that the raw data is on-not the OS drive. RAID 0 the OS is not going to speed up the rendering time. Save the final rendered data on a single drive or RAID 1 drives.

MAIN single velociRaptor 150GB or 300GB
DATA drive RAID 0 2x300 VelociRaptor
FINAL Product drive RAID 1 HD>1TB


For serious 3D animation/creation you would need a workstation video card like a FireGL. 3D modeling and animation require a lot of wire frame and polygon manipulation, which a gaming card is not design to handle. The FireGL can handle more data procesinng at once vs a gaming card. The driver for workstation card are proven, certified and has maximum image quality and pixel precision. The certification is what make the card really expensive. Therefore, driver aren't updated as often as game cards.

You can't be both serious Gamer and 3D animation on a single PC. The driver are totally different for each card.


Thank you for your input. Those cards are not cheap, with that said what do you think would be the best bang for my buck! Many people think that Geforce GTX 295 would be plenty, my buddy runs a geforce 8800 with a intel core 2 quad Q6600 with 4 gigs of ram, he is also a animator and 3d modeler!

My Question is: Is there a video card FireGL or equivalent for around 500.00 that would be better then the Geforce GTX 295, which would also be able to handle both gaming and modeling!?
February 12, 2009 1:02:18 PM

You need to look at the requirements for the software you use. The workstation cards are better because they excel with open GL based graphics, AutoCAD for example used to be this way but recently switched to DirectX. Any DirectX program will benefit from a "gaming" card, so if this is the case, the GTX295 will be the most effective.
February 12, 2009 1:05:41 PM

Transmaniacon said:
You need to look at the requirements for the software you use. The workstation cards are better because they excel with open GL based graphics, AutoCAD for example used to be this way but recently switched to DirectX. Any DirectX program will benefit from a "gaming" card, so if this is the case, the GTX295 will be the most effective.


I am working with 3ds max 09, Maya 2009, and the Adobe Creative Suite CS4...
February 12, 2009 1:32:52 PM

Question: Would a Quadro fx 1500 or 1700...handle game play! like Crysis, far cry...games like that...if not could i run my geforce GTX 295 with the quadro in a dual setup?
February 12, 2009 1:53:28 PM

castorbonaparte said:
Makes sense, But I already have a 22inch ACER monitor, so I do not need that. What are the advantages to running two hard drives on raid 0?



Maybe I skipped something but are you going to use 22inch ACER with this type of beast (at 16x10)? :non:  Such a waste of GTX 295. Buy at least some serious 24inchy at 1920*1080, if you have money go for something bigger (26-28inch at 1920x1200). GTX 295 will be overkill for that monitor.
February 12, 2009 2:12:02 PM

Thanks for the advice..

I am building this system so I will not have to upgrade it again in 6months, For now I would rather spend money on great hardware instead of a larger monitor. My 22 will work fine for now, as I will be upgrading to two 24inch monitors and dual Video Cards later on down the road!

I am stuck on what to do about the video card, I am looking to do both 3d apps like Maya 2009 (openGL) and also run games like Crysis.

Unfortunately The Geforce GTX 295 is a DirectX card which I do not think i will benefit from in Maya.

To run my 3d apps it is preferred that I run a Quadro FX card (which the price is to high) I would have to buy a Quadro FX 1500 and I am not sure how this card would handle my gaming!

February 12, 2009 2:27:21 PM

Workstation video cards are NOT designed for games and will function quite poorly. I am not sure of the performance in 3d apps from video cards like the 295, but if running crysis, etc. is a requirement, then you will need a gaming card. I would assume that the 295 would do a better job with 3d apps than any workstation card would do for gaming. So you can not play games and have a great workstation, or take a performance hit on the 3d apps and be able to do everything else.
February 12, 2009 2:36:09 PM

Transmaniacon said:
Workstation video cards are NOT designed for games and will function quite poorly. I am not sure of the performance in 3d apps from video cards like the 295, but if running crysis, etc. is a requirement, then you will need a gaming card. I would assume that the 295 would do a better job with 3d apps than any workstation card would do for gaming. So you can not play games and have a great workstation, or take a performance hit on the 3d apps and be able to do everything else.


well this is what I was thinking:

Buying both cards the GTX 295 and also the Quadro 1500.

Now what I am trying to figure out is if there is a way to use them both in a dual setup. For this to work they (Nividia) said that I would have to have the same driver loaded on both, but as for now there isnt a driver that supports both cards.

I have also read up on softmod, it looks like it is possible to softmod a Geforce 8800 ultra to a Quadro FX 5600. I am thinking that it might be worth buying the 8800 and softmod it, that way I can get THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS!

What are your thoughts??
February 12, 2009 4:01:08 PM

I wonder if you could install both cards, and then just enable/disable the one you need? I dont know if this would create conflicts, but I am sure someone here would know.

The only thing about the softmodding is it has mixed results, and in the end, you are going to have an older card to run the new games with.
!