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Workstation/Gaming Rig

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October 1, 2009 5:00:53 PM

I'm looking to build my first system and could use some advice regarding what components to look at.

This system will primarily be used for creative work-- 3ds max, After Effects, Premiere, Photoshop, Flash etc. I'll also be gaming on it, but that's really of secondary importance to its production performance.

My budget isn't set in stone... I just want to get something that gives me a lot of bang for the buck without overpaying for absolute cutting edge. It seems to me that a budget of around $1200 or so should accomplish that for the machine itself (no monitor or peripherals).

The only component I've really narrowed in on is the Radeon HD 5850 (or possibly the 5870) as the graphics card. Beyond that I'm open to all forms of suggestion and influence.

Thanks!!

More about : workstation gaming rig

October 1, 2009 5:24:59 PM

Sorry... I didn't notice the template for this sort of thing until after I posted:

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: sometime in the next month or two

BUDGET RANGE: 1000-1500 before or after rebates... its a bit open ended at this point

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: illustration and animation work (3ds max, Photoshop, After Effect, Premiere, Flash), gaming, movies, surfing the net

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: no strong preference... newegg.com is fine

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: United States

PARTS PREFERENCES: I plan on getting either the ATI Radeon HD 5850 or 5870 graphics card as well as the Dell 24-inch UltraSharp U2410 monitor... beyond that I don't have any strong preferences

OVERCLOCKING: open to suggestion

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1200

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: quiter and lower the power consumption the better, but that's not make or break
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October 1, 2009 6:42:27 PM

No sense not going with an i7 920 build

CPU
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...
279.99

MOBO
ASUS P6T LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
239.99

RAM
OCZ Gold 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Low Voltage Desktop Memory Model OCZ3G1600LV6GK - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
129.99

PSU
CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
99.99

HDD
Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drives - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
94.99

DVD
SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA DVD Burner - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
31.99

Case
Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail a good budget case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
54.95

Video Card
your choice of 5870
379.99

CPU Cooler
XIGMATEK Intel Core i7 compatible Dark Knight-S1283V 120mm Long Life Bearing CPU Cooler - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
44.98



Price 1339.78

Should be able to play everything at your rez and easy overclock to ~3.6ghz


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October 1, 2009 7:05:48 PM

Scubba85 - Thanks for taking the time to work through that. Karma is going to be on your side for that! I really appreciate it.

Anyone else concur? Any other opinions?
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October 1, 2009 7:17:17 PM

el_guapo said:
Scubba85 - Thanks for taking the time to work through that. Karma is going to be on your side for that! I really appreciate it.

Anyone else concur? Any other opinions?

Quite honestly, while the performance for games will be amazing your 3DS Max performance may suffer, better to get a Quadro or FireGL if you are going to be doing huge scenes in MAX. It may not be a huge difference, but working for an Autodesk reseller trust me we get a lot of people who whine about Geforces, IGPs and such. Just my 0.02.
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October 1, 2009 7:28:18 PM

Do you think the performace boost would justify the cost increase for a Quadro or FireGL? Is there a particular one/model that you'd go for if it were you?

Thanks for chiming in.
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October 1, 2009 7:37:26 PM

el_guapo said:
Do you think the performace boost would justify the cost increase for a Quadro or FireGL? Is there a particular one/model that you'd go for if it were you?

Thanks for chiming in.

Personally I use an FX1700 here at work, it does fine for Revit and ACAD, never used 3ds MAX on it, but I can tell you at home on my GTX 260 and 8600M GT the only real difference is a slight loss in "fps" and some weird artifacts (especially Revit), which don't happen all that often. I think I had 3DS Max 9 on my laptop and it was okay, it didn't crash, but it also wasn't as good as it should have been. Then again I wasn't doing huge scenes, just little things here and there. If you mainly use MAX for huge scenes where you need 100% graphics detail performance and reliability all the time then a Quadro/FireGL is worth it, however 90% of the time the Geforce will do fine. It's all up to you, in fact in most of our Workstations that we build use FX3800s, the minimum I would go is the FX1800 to at least retain some gaming performance.
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October 1, 2009 9:24:15 PM

Out of curiosity... what Quadro card would the Radeon 5870 be comparable to? I've heard it's quite the performer and I'm not really familiar with the specific advantages of going with the professional Quadros versus a card like that. (I know... sad for a 3d animator.)
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October 1, 2009 9:39:44 PM

el_guapo said:
Out of curiosity... what Quadro card would the Radeon 5870 be comparable to? I've heard it's quite the performer and I'm not really familiar with the specific advantages of going with the professional Quadros versus a card like that. (I know... sad for a 3d animator.)


You'd need to kick it up to the thousands to get a perfectly comparable card...then again...workstation cards are rarely as powerful in terms of brute force. The advantages (and I'm sure you know of most of them) are that Quadros are simply build for CG and virtual design. They are performance brutes, you'll see fewer, if any, artifacts, and they host many times the variety of color in a standard video card. Look online for "CG design" and you'll see exactly what workstation cards are capable of. They're not good for gaming, and, to answer your question, there are none out there based on as powerful a platform as the new 5000 series, but you won't be sorry.
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October 1, 2009 10:03:13 PM

Any news for the up coming workstation cards? Maybe a good time to wait a bit.
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October 1, 2009 10:56:51 PM

On a second thought you could try and get a 280 or 285gtx cant remember which and flash the bios to a quadro card. Havent tried it or read much about the results but if it saves you a thousand then its worth looking into.
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October 2, 2009 12:08:24 AM

^ You can no longer soft modd the gaming cards to the workstation cards. This ended with the 8xxx cards. HOWEVER, BIOS modding is possible, but VERY risky and not for the noobs (no offense) due to the real risk of messing up.

The only difference between workstation vs gaming are the drivers.
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October 2, 2009 12:59:43 AM

Yeah I thought that the only difference was the drivers, and thanks for clearing up that you can do some real damage. Guess I should have taken that into consideration before suggesting it. Im somewhat new at helping people and I forget that you can really screw your expensive parts up if you're not careful
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October 2, 2009 2:49:20 AM

No offense taken Shadow-- this is my first system build.

So I guess my main question is. Is the difference in drivers between a high end gaming card and a workstation card significant enough, performance-wise, to justify the cost of getting a decent Quadro?

Thanks again to everyone who's chiming in on this. It's quite interesting and helpful.
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October 2, 2009 9:20:24 PM

el_guapo said:
No offense taken Shadow-- this is my first system build.

So I guess my main question is. Is the difference in drivers between a high end gaming card and a workstation card significant enough, performance-wise, to justify the cost of getting a decent Quadro?

Thanks again to everyone who's chiming in on this. It's quite interesting and helpful.


Short Answer- If the machine is used to make money yes.
Long Answer- Yes the different drivers help, but without actually testing it and trying it I can't tell you how much. It could be a huge difference (i.e program crashes and artifacts) or small ones (loss in "fps"). Like the short answer if the machine makes your paycheck it's better to get something certified than not, especially since Autodesk probably won't really help you when they hear Geforce or Radeon.

Again just my 0.02, and hearing about other machines running similar softwares.
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October 2, 2009 10:24:15 PM

^+1. If it's a true pro level system (as in the one you use for your job) go with a workstation card. Else a gaming one.
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October 3, 2009 3:26:02 AM

Again... thanks everyone for your responses. Unless something goes horribly wrong, I will make some money with this machine-- so I guess I should start taking a good, hard look at a Quadro.

So I guess my (hopefully) last question to pose would be... does anyone have a Quadro recommendation? (Looking for the most bang for the buck.)
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October 4, 2009 1:05:33 AM

I have to agree with the guys here. Like they say, it's worth it if you are doing this for a living. It's definitely a more stable system, and suited for running 24/7 with no problems (I'm sure you wouldn't want to do the same with a gaming video card). However, I have heard from many people that the ATI Radeon HD 4850x2 and its sibling, the 4870x2, make decent workstation cards, although I have had no personal experience in the matter.
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