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HELP!! Computer for Animation

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June 17, 2009 2:22:54 AM

I'm building a computer for my fiance, she is an animation student in college and uses Maya, Flash, and Photoshop and needs a faster system.

I am thinking about building a computer on the Intel i7 platform, but need some help picking components. I've built many computers for general use and for gaming, but never one designed for animation.

What components deserve attention concerning animation work? Does she need more memory, fast hard drives, a large cpu, powerful gpu, a mix of these, or all of the above!!

Help me out!

More about : computer animation

June 17, 2009 2:51:22 AM

Budget?

I believe animation requires good GFX power. If you have to budget for your fiance, you can buy her a Quadro or Firestream :p 
June 17, 2009 2:57:09 AM

Haha, I wish. Those would be a bit above my budget. I'd like to keep the build sub $2000, hopefully closer to $1,500.
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June 17, 2009 2:20:56 PM

Any other help??
June 17, 2009 2:27:15 PM

For animation the keys are fast processor (i7 is great), more ram (at least 6gB) and a large hard drive (>500gB). Quadro's and Firestorms are for professionals and since she's only a student any good system will do.

You don't need a high end video card unless the programs she's using utilize CUDA (which I doubt), a middle range graphic card will do just fine.

A large monitor is always nice, 1600x1200 or 1650x1080.
June 17, 2009 2:37:41 PM

siliconvideo said:
For animation the keys are fast processor (i7 is great), more ram (at least 6gB) and a large hard drive (>500gB). Quadro's and Firestorms are for professionals and since she's only a student any good system will do.

You don't need a high end video card unless the programs she's using utilize CUDA (which I doubt), a middle range graphic card will do just fine.

A large monitor is always nice, 1600x1200 or 1650x1080.


Thanks for your input!

These are the specs she currently has. I think the CPU might be the most limiting factor:

Core 2 Duo E6600
6 GB DDR2 800
250 GB SATA II Western Digital (windows and apps)
1 TB Western Digital Green (storage)
Nvidia 640MB GeForce 8800GTS
Windows Vista Ultimate 64bit

Would a RAID 0 array improve performance for animation? She works with incredibly large files, so access time does take a while.
June 17, 2009 2:40:19 PM

Possibly RAID 0 might be good =)

If you DO plan to go the route of i7, you have to overhaul that computer. Also, you definitely need to get a new GPU. I found that GPU is one of the biggest factors in doing animation cause if your GPU renders the picture slow, then its hell to render.
June 17, 2009 2:44:43 PM

Your right, the CPU is the limiter on that list. I have a E8400. The internal cache doubles which help CPU intensive applications.

I don't know how much a Raid 0 drive would help

The rest of the components on the list are fine, wish I had a system like that for school work.
June 17, 2009 2:45:09 PM

armi said:
Possibly RAID 0 might be good =)

If you DO plan to go the route of i7, you have to overhaul that computer. Also, you definitely need to get a new GPU. I found that GPU is one of the biggest factors in doing animation cause if your GPU renders the picture slow, then its hell to render.


If we do go i7, I'm looking at a system along these lines:

Antec P183
Antec CP-850
Asus P6t SE
12 GB DDR3
2X Nvidia GeForce 260 896MB
Intel i7 920
2X WD Black 1TB (RAID 0)
Generic DVD Burner
Scythe Mugen Cooler.
June 17, 2009 7:22:41 PM

Are you sure you want that case? Its tad expensive. @$160~ ish for a case, you can get a full tower and have easier cable management and stuff. On the other hand, you can save 70 bucks if you move to the infamous Antec 900.

Also, I recommend Corsair 750TX. as you can guess its 750W. I think that should be enough for your computer.

I'm not sure if 12GB DDR3 will help much. DD3 timings are all higher right now.

I believe 4870 outperforms the 260. They're the same price. I don't know if it'll help for animation though.
June 18, 2009 3:24:48 AM

Thanks for all of your help! I've been working on her computer today and discovered that settings in the bios had been defaulted. This caused the bios to only utilize 3 of the available 6 GB.

Once the settings were fixed, everything worked better!

My finace said that it was running much better (go figure), so we'll see how it goes from there.
!