3D / Adobe CS4 - RIG (700 - 1000)

Hello All,

This will be my first foray into building a computer from parts. I've been reading like crazy and its damn overwhelming. I usually buy a Dell and call it day, I'm done with that. I don't like Michael anymore... Looking to get a few more eyeballs on this system to help me not screw up.

That said, I DO NOT GAME. I don't have time nor the desire, so this will be a work computer. I own a mac and a PC, but haven't used vista up to this point. I'm debating on putting this purchase off until Win 7 is officially released. I do 95% of my work on a mac at this time.... no mac fan boy here, btw.

I think we'd all like to future proof our machines, but realistically we can expect 2 - 4 years before we need a significant upgrade (due to speed or software), right? I'm looking to get the most bang for my buck. Yes, I'm writing this off on my taxes, but its still money I have to spend which comes out of profits.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Sept. 09 or wait until Oct 09 for Win 7

BUDGET RANGE: US$ 700 - 1000

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: 3D (Rhino, Solidworks, Alias) -> Adobe CS4 (photoshop, Illustrator) -> Storage

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers,

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: The cheapest place with the best service :wahoo: ? Newegg is where I've been researching.

CPU: Correct me where I'm wrong but its seems obvious that everyone and their brother is falling over themselves to get some i7 love. They appear to be fast as heck, but you pay a premium for that speed it seems. If the difference between rendering a scene is < (less than) 1 or 2 min, I'm not worried. Please tell me that it will make a bigger difference and run a i7 into the mix or maybe a sever chip(s)?

So I'm looking at these two;

Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Kentsfield 2.4GHz LGA 775 Quad-Core Processor Model BX80562Q6600 - Retail

AMD Phenom II X4 940 Deneb 3.0GHz Socket AM2+ 125W Quad-Core Black Edition Processor Model HDZ940XCGIBOX - Retail

Memory: min 6GB of something...

Mobo: Not sure...

Graphics card: Gaming or Workstation? That is the question, it seems. I've run solidworks on a gaming card for a few years at work. I just recently looked at the entry level Quadro and FireGL cards and they've really come down in price... which makes this decision more difficult.

1. Will the software utilize the gaming card to its full potential? I don't know, but it seems to "work" fine at this point.

2. The software is supposedly optimized for workstations cards, will I give something else up in return for that optimization? Would I be able to watch a movie if the fancy hit?

I've also heard that many a software developer is turning to OpenCL and directx while getting away from openGL. My gut tells me to stay with a gaming card (more options), head says the opposite (bigger smile while I model), torn at the moment.

PSU: No fracking clue... I don't even know what to look for. I read the reviews on newegg and it says "AWESOME!", only to come here and see people write; "CRAPPY!" Show me the way, por favor!

OPTICAL DRIVE: Cheap and fast? LG makes a cheap/fast dvd lazer... $25 bones.

CASE: No clue, other than its needs 1000 PINK leds.... just kidding. I really don't have a clue.

HDD: Again, no real clue other than the West Dig. Black caviar 640gb at newegg seemed like a good deal. But I'm not totally confident in my picks.

OVERCLOCKING: Sure, if its stable and will increase render times.... (how do you safely overclock, anyway)

MONITOR RESOLUTION: I have 1 x 20" monitor right now. I will be adding another, but its not necessary to add this into the calculation.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I really appreciate communities like this who selflessly and virtually spend each others money. :D I hope that I can give back in time, but I'm worthless as far as hardware goes, at this time. Also, thanks for putting up with my 15 year old sense of humor, I'm twice that in age, I swear.
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  1. The Phenom 2 945 is a non BE but comes in 95W TDP and runs cooler from reports ^^

    Might as well got them Win 7 free upgrade versions of Vista while u at it hehe You want AM3/DDR3 just swap to a nice $89.99 MSI 785G and some low CL6 DDR3 1333 2 X 2 and its all good
  2. thats a good one
  3. Most workstation and gaming GPUs share similar if not the same chipsets. The difference is how they are used. Drivers are what make the workstation cards so much more effective for what you are doing. So your software won't be getting the most out of a gaming card. If you do get a gaming card, get Nvidia. CUDA is making slow progress to use the GPU to do some render calcs, but looks like that still largely sits with the CPU for the commercial products you plan to use.

    Here is your answer to what the i7s can do for a rendering rig

    Now for the build, Don't get the Q6600. It had its day and its done. For $20 more you can get a Q9550. But before looking at building your own, this might be an option for you for a cost effective i7 system. It doesn't make any sense for the 9500gt for a gamer, but since you just need video output, it can work. The only thing to check first is if there are 3 more ram slots available for upgrade. There's another CYberpower i7 thats $90 cheaper, but it looks like it uses the entry level gigabyte board and only had 4 ram slots. The first 3 run in triple channel, but if you add another chip, it all goes to dual channel. With the kind of work you do, 6 gigs can be too little. Just something to watch.
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