Please help me make sure I'm not screwing up - high end workstation

Ok here goes.

Will be picking this up so important to get parts from either MicroCenter, Ultimate Electronics, or Best Buy (cringe). First system built in over 10 years, previously haven't had much experience with overclocking and am looking to change that. This will be a pretty high end workstation mostly for Adobe Creative Suite Master Edition (all products) and Maya. Also potentially some gaming but that is secondary. Ultimate need is to be able to run 3d modeling and animation software and handle rendering in a somewhat timely manner. Also since this will be a prime workstation I will be running a RAID 5 and taking a monthly image backup (hopefully not too difficult in a RAID configuration) because loosing data would be significant to say the least.


SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: (3D Animation/Rendering, Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Flash, Illustrator)

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Build currently doesn't include mouse/keyboard/monitor as those are on a separate budget


PARTS PREFERENCES: Have read Nvidia cards do a bit better with Adobe products but please correct me if I am wrong.


MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1024x768, 1280x1024

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: quiet would be nice I suppose, but I guess I'll be blasting music most of the time so no biggy. Biggest concern for me is re-usability in future builds of Case and Power Supply (plan on upgrading in 2 years and rotating these parts into a backup workstation)

OS - Windows 7 64bit

$229.00 Intel Corporation Core i7 920 Processor Boxed SKU: 930933

$239.99 Asus Computer International P6T X58 1366 ATX Motherboard SKU:

169.99 x2 339.98 OCZ Technology 6GB DDR3-1600 (PC3-12800) Obsidian Triple Channel Memory Kit (Three 2GB Memory Modules)

3.99 Arctic Silver Arctic Alumina Premium Ceramic Thermal Compound 1.75 gram
cream action

149.99 ($20 rebate) Cooler Master HAF932 High Air Flow Full Tower
Tower Case

$69.99 x3 $209.97 hitachi - Global Storage Technologies Deskstar 1TB 7,200RPM SATA Hard Drive SKU: 220186
3 hard drives

$149.99 Corsair Memory TX750W 750 Watt ATX 12V Power Supply SKU: 374868
Power Supply

$169.99 x2 $339.98 BFG Technologies GeForce® GTX 260 OC MAXCORE 55 896MB GDDR3 PCIe 2.0 Graphics Card SKU: 171207
Double graphics cards

$59.99 Xigmatek Dark Knight S1283V Heat-Pipe Direct Touch Air Cooling System SKU: 034819
Dark Knight heat sync

SUBTOTAL $1,723.87
TAX $125.41
TOTAL $1,849.28
8 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about please make screwing high workstation
  1. Most everything looks good, but I would recommend a couple of things, considering your stated use for the computer.

    1. The Dark Knight is a pretty good air cooler, but if you spent a little more money on a Thermoelectric cooler, such as a CoolerMaster v10 or an ULTRA ChillTec, you could push your overclock a bit farther. Your processor has a lot more to do with your rendering times in those sorts of programs than your video card does, unless of course you...

    2. Get a workstation video card. With what your planning on using the machine for, gaming cards really aren't the way to go. Drivers for workstation cards are optimized for workstation applications rather than gaming, and therefore will work better. Workstation cards don't necessarily boast the "ZOMG HUGE FPS" that gaming cards do, but instead they are designed to provide stable, graphics processing power in the interest of speeding up rendering times and the like. Look specifically at the Nvidia Quadro card lineup, or ATI Fire cards.
  2. On overclocking I doubt I will be trying to push the 4ghz line that most people have had issues with.

    I must admit to being a bit perplexed by the Quadro and Fire card lineup. It seems that the costs for these cards are near double the "OMG HUGE FPS" cards. Could someone point me down the right path at what I should be looking at within that lineup to stay within budget and still maintain performance or is it my budget that needs to be looked at again?
  3. Looks pretty good, but I'm with djg on the GPU. I'm not sure on the exact differences, but I do know a lot of work builds may suffer if they use a gaming card. As for nVidia being better for work builds, that only matters if you use a lot CUDA/PhysX.

    I would change the HDDs. I don't know a whole lot about Hitachi's drives, which is saying something in itself, but I do know that Samsung's Spinpoint F3 are the best drives available. Doesn't look like Microcenter has them though. A close second is the Seagate 7200.12s.
  4. Best answer
    jbot2k said:
    On overclocking I doubt I will be trying to push the 4ghz line that most people have had issues with.

    I must admit to being a bit perplexed by the Quadro and Fire card lineup. It seems that the costs for these cards are near double the "OMG HUGE FPS" cards. Could someone point me down the right path at what I should be looking at within that lineup to stay within budget and still maintain performance or is it my budget that needs to be looked at again?

    In many cases workstation cards are going to cost twice, or three times as more than gaming cards with the same specs. So what are you paying for with a workstation card? A couple of things:

    1. Better drivers. Workstation cards are much more carefully and slowly developed than gaming cards. No manufacturer is rushing to push out a new workstation card every couple of months like they do with gaming cards. As such, the drivers for these cards tend to be better refined, and more stable. In addition, workstation card drivers are designed specifically to decrease rendering times in applications, whereas a gaming card relies on the "brute force" method to try to power through everything at breakneck speed.

    2. More stable hardware. Same reason as above really. Development of workstation cards is more carefully done, and as such, the hardware has had more time to be tested and refined.

    3. Better customer support. A LOT better customer support. Manufacturers know that workstation cards are being used primarily by professionals, who are much more likely to have A LOT of money to spend than your average Joe Schmo gamer just looking to increase their FPS in Crysis. With a workstation card, you are more likely to speak with a real person right away, and should anything happen to the card, it will much easier to get technical support, or get sent a new one.

    It's essentially a battle between quality and quantity. In one second, you can either render 300 frames, none of which are perfect (gaming), or render 150 frames perfectly (workstation).

    As far as *which* exact card you should get, that is entirely up to you. I would suggest taking a look at the workstation card benchmarks here. Click a program on that list that you plan on using (or the type of program you plan on using), then look at the benchmark scores. Find a card that is within your budget, and get it. From above, it looks as though your budget for the cards is around $340. This is an awkward price range for workstation cards. Because there are relatively few workstation cards on the market compared to gaming cards, you're going to see a lot bigger price difference in between models, as intermediate models don't exist. You will likely have to bump down and get something in the $280-$300 range or go up the $400 price point, there's not much in between.
  5. I would love if Microcenter had some Spinpoint F3's but I'm working with what they have available. I may consider shifting my buy out over a few days and having a few things shipped with the way things are going though as they have almost no workstation cards that I can find. The Hitachi drives came in right behind the Seagate drives I thought when looking at the benchmarks for 2009 but maybe I'm too much of a newb to read it right.
    Benchmarks 2009
  6. The Seagate 7200.12s are going to be your best choice. You'll notice in the benchmarks that all the cards near the top, aside from the Samsung SpinPoint F3s and the Seagate 7200.12s are pretty expensive VelociRaptors and whatnot. Therefore, it follows that the SpinPoint F3s would be your best choice, but since they are very hard to find, the 7200.12s are your next best choice.

    As far as where to get them from, you're probably going to have to get the workstation card shipped. If you can, get your hard drive locally though. UPS wreaks absolute havoc on hard drives. UPS has frequent conveyor belt jams and pileups in their distribution center, resulting in boxes falling from high heights onto concrete floors, at which point they may or may not split open. When boxes do split open, UPS has been known to just shove things back into boxes willy nilly, without any regard for what actually should be in the box. This can result in a Staples order for a printer arriving as four pairs of Levi's jeans (happened to me). But I digress...

    Get your hard drive locally :)
  7. Thanks a lot to everyone. I swapped the hard drives and purchased everything but the GPU yesterday and put it together. Will be ordering a Quadro FX 1800 and once it shows up if I can get things up and running I'll try to post some pics.

    Thank you!
  8. Best answer selected by jbot2k.
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