$2500 CAD + Animation Workstation

Building a CPU heavy machine now with expandability for GPU-based CUDA Rendering and animation support down the road. Working off the Build your own Tesla Supercomputer template. I'm looking for people to shoot holes in this setup as far as component compatibility and flexibility for the occasional gaming (fully aware there's no SLI on the mobo).

Purchase Date: This Week (hopefully with some Black Friday deals)
Budget: 2500+
Usage: Animation rendering and CAD (Vray, Solidworks, Alias, 3ds Max, Adobe)
Parts not req'd: Monitor, KeyB, Mouse, speakers, Hard Disk
Part Preferences: complying with Nvidia Tesla Build
Overclocking: hopefully
Monitors: at least a dual setup, looking at options for third monitor

____The Build____
Mobo: Tyan s7025
CPUs: 2x Xeon E5520
Video: Gigabyte GTX 260 Super Overclocked
Memory: 6x2GB DDR3 1066mhz ECC Registered Kingston Memory (two for each channel)
Case: HEC 98 Series (need 8+ slots with EATX/SSI EEB)
CPU Fans: 2x Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 (couldn't find anything else that's compatible)
Power Supply: Coolermaster 1250w
SSD: Crucial CT64M225 64GB

est. Total: $2609
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More about 2500 animation workstation
  1. If your looking for some GPU performance, you'll be able to lower your cost, and likely increase your performance by going with an ATI GPU. Look into the 5800 series, or a dual 4870 config
    I would also go with a 1TB HDD. Or bigger. The money saved on your HDD will be substantial, and although its not an SSD, 7200 RPM is pretty snappy. With that money saved, you could probably buy another monitor, so definitely consider it.
    I would also see if you can stretch your budget for some faster RAM. I would recommend 1333.
  2. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139007

    ALOT better PSU, tested to handle overloads greatly too, if you ever need the surge. You won't need the extra power anyways. This is a BEAST
  3. Thanks for the suggestions.

    @Ckaz: CUDA is a proprietary Nvidia technology, so i'll unfortunately be burdened by their cards forevermore. (Incidentally, I've heard their focus on CUDA is why their video performance has been lagging behind ATI). Also, unless i want to blow 3 large on CPUs, the e5520s are limited to 1066mhz memory.

    @stopthe_bomb: Nvidia requires 1200w and suggests 1350w for a tesla system. I'm not sure if the 1000w corsair will be able to keep up. Is there a reliable way to gauge power usage for a system to evaluate different PSUs?
  4. The case doesn't have sufficient airflow for when you get all those hot Teslas in there, not to mention the case doesn't have enough fans to begin with.

    Lucky you, the Lian-Li PC-B80 is on sale at newegg in a combo with the Intel X25 80GB SSD for $275 off til 11-27. The Intel is much better than the Crucial anyways. This Lian-Li case has great airflow and the best quality case you can get.

    I am in Motion Graphics (Cinema 4D, Adobe AE & Premiere and Nuke 5) but have yet to see any of the major 3D apps begin to implement CUDA in a substantial way. The only thing I know as of now is that Adobe's CS5 due out this Spring will really use CUDA to its fullest. I saw a video on fxguide.com showcasing a desktop PC with a nvidia gfx card and Premiere with 5 full res 4k R3D layers playing in real time. This is amazing because a setup like yours couldn't play even a single 4k in real time.

    So, what have you heard or read about CUDA and 3D apps?

    For ram: since that Tyan only has 8 total slots, don't limit yourself to 2GB sticks.
    Here are 4GB x 2 for slightly less money per GB.

    Back to CUDA: have you heard about nvidia's new "Fermi" architecture due out in a couple of months? Its supposed to take CUDA and GPGPU processing to a new level. Now that I think about it, Tesla has been designed for the scientific community, not the video/animation community so I don't see any reason to build for Tesla. But building for CUDA while using Quadros or normal GPUs does sound more realistic.

    I will warn you now about installing all of those complex 3D apps and Adobe: if you install other normal 'everyday' use apps, you are looking for trouble. There is a reason pros in Hollywood and NYC DON'T have their computers connected to the internet and ONLY install the apps they need to do their job.

    For the 3D apps you mentioned, a Quadro FX4800 would be far better than any regular Geforce. I began using Cinema 4D with an 8800GT and quickly moved to a FX4800. If you render video from Premiere (MPEG2 and H.264), you can get the Elemental Accelerator for an extra $100 with a FX Quadro card.
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