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$1300 3D Rendering and Gaming PC

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January 26, 2010 3:16:41 AM

Purchase Date: Within a month(Sadly, I can't be specific) Budget range: $1300, all the way up to $1500, IF worth it. After any Mail in Rebates.

System Usage: 3D Rendering, Gaming

Parts Not Needed: Monitor, Speakers, OS, Keyboard, Mouse

Preferred Website for Purchase: I like Newegg, but any site will do, including Fleabay. Also, theres a Microcenter no more than an hour away, meaning I'd only have to spend about 10-15 bucks for gas. Country: USA

Overclocking: Yes

Monitor Resolution: 1680x1050, 1360x768

I have one Acer monitor at 1680x1024, for 3d rendering and other art, and an LG HDTV at 1360x768 for most other things(Though, I DO sometimes game on the Acer). I've planned on getting a Logitech G9 mouse, for its customization for the hand, and the Microsoft X6 Sidewinder, for its movable number pad(I should be able to set the keyboard on the right side of my Wacom tablet, and the num pad on the left side, allowing me to macro the num pad for my programs and use my left hand on the numbers, right on the wacom tablet). I will have a dual boot system more than likely, a 320 GB with XP, and the F3 with Windows 7, both in 64 bit.

This PC thread was originally for a $900 system that I would primarily use for gaming, but my requirements have changed a bit. After taking a few classes in career building, I realized that I needed to get on the ball and start learning various 3d design programs NOW, rather than 4 years down the road when I'm looking for a job(Game design).

Therefore, my new priority is to get a PC capable of learning programs such as 3dsmax, Maya, Poser, Blender, and any other 3d design app I can find, smoothly. Of course, I still plan on using this PC for gaming, and definitely want to be able to run games at max on my highest resolution(1680x1050). Especially Oblivion and Fallout 3 modded(I realize that these are older games, Oblivion anyway), as well as newer games like Mass Effect 2 once its launched or even(gasp!) Crysis.

I CAN go over this budget, IF I'm actually getting a valuable increase(IE, NOT 50 bucks more for 9800 gt over 8800 gt), all the way up to a possible $1500. Of course, I'd MUCH prefer to spend no more than $1300, or even less :p 

Here are the pieces I've been mulling over. My biggest argument is whether or not to go with 1156 or 1366 chipset. 1156 is cheaper, but doesn't allow for future upgrade(though, i'm hoping to avoid upgrades to the CPU for about 2 years, hopefully).

Won't let me post links :/ 

CPU:
I5-750 $200
I7-860 $230 (Microcenter)
I7-920 $230 (Micro)

Merely depends on which chipset I run with. 860 and 920 seem nearly identical in many ways, but 1366 has the advantage of better crossfire support(though, this bonus seems negligible unless running in Tri CF). I've been thinking of the i5, due to its extremely good reviews, but, without HT, what sort of performance will I be able to expect in Rendering? Would going for an I7 on the 1156 be worth the difference?

GPU:
XFX ATI 5870 $400
2x 5770 $320
5850 (maybe?)

The 5770 in CF is about $80 cheaper, which is NICE, but, I fear scaling issues with CF, and just how much of a step back the 1156 will force that setup

Mobo:
Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD4P $180

Haven't picked out a candidate for a 1366 build. This mobo was only picked because the general consensus is that its a decent board.

Ram:
G-Skill 4 GB(2x2gb) 240 pin DDR3 1600, timings of 9-9-9-24 $105

Again, haven't picked out anything for the 1366 setup. This ram, again, seemed to be pretty well liked, though the timings seem higher than what some advise.

PSU:
Corsair CMPSU-750tx 750w $100 after MIR

Doesn't seem like i'd need 750w immediately(possibly not ever), but this seemed like a good PSU in case I needed some more power down the line. any advise appreciated.

HDD:
Samsung F3 Spinpoint 500 GB or 1TB $90

Depends on which one is available when I order. Either would probably do me just fine(Though, my current 500 GB is filling up XD)

DVD Drive:
Sony Optiarc $30

Case:
Azza Solano 1000 Full Size Tower $85 after MIR

Most will put this case down as being off brand or something, but after reading dozens of reviews, the general thought seems to be that this case is worth well more than you pay. I must have a full tower for this unit, with good airflow, and a nice look. This Azza, from reviews, seems to have great airflow, and a great size(Though, some have complained that its not QUITE the same size as most Full Tower units). Only downside I've read about this unit is the fact that you can't place a CPU cooler taller than 150 mm in the case, which is why I've picked this last piece.

Cooler:
Corsair Cooling Hydro (H50)

Liquid cooling for the CPU, seeing that the Azza case seems to have good enough airflow to keep the other components cool.



So, any ideas? Is this too little for 3d rendering, or perhaps too much? Would be great if I could get some opinions from renderers. Again, this is a new thing for me. If you can think of ANY components that would be better, cheaper, whatever, let me know. I hope I'm not being a bother, and thank you all in advance.

More about : 1300 rendering gaming

January 26, 2010 3:39:18 AM

So here is my thoughts:
* s1366 I think will last longer, but costs a bit more and I'm not sure if you'll see the benefits w/o spending the extra $.
* s1366 based mobo's are from ~$170-400 depending on what you need/want.
* s1156 based mobo's are from ~$100-200 depending on what you need/want.
* To effectively use a s1366 based system, I think you need to use at least 6 gb's of RAM. These sets are currently at about $160-200.
* I think 4 gb's of DDR3 RAM is plenty right now. Maybe later you can add another 4 gb's of RAM if you think you need it.
* I'd personally go with the i5 750, because of the cost/performance benefits.
* For 3d rendering I'd consider getting an SSD for the "OS/program" HD and a large "data" drive (1 TB or larger). This will maximize your working speeds when rendering your files. This is a bit more $ than your original plan, but should be worth the added cost, IMHO. The problem is, I don't know which SSD to recommend, since I haven't researched them yet. I just know you should get >=64 gb's of space.
* Make sure when getting RAM that you get a set that runs on stock voltages (1.5v). They will run cooler and if you OC, you'll have a better chance at getting a better OC too.
* The Corsair 750tx is a good PSU to have. If you need to adjust the budget a bit, consider the 650tx. It can handle the 5850/5870 or pretty much any single GPU out there. It can even handle 2 x 5770's if you decide to go that way. I just don't think that SLI/X-fire is worth the $ and hassle.
* I'm not sure why you need a full tower case, but I like the Cooler Master 690 case for the size and features that it has. It's usually about $70-90 shipped.
January 26, 2010 3:51:20 AM

Hmm.....Definitely food for thought. Doesn't really sound like the 1366 chipset is worth the difference in price, considering that at present there doesn't seem to be a huge difference between the 920 and the 860, or even the 750.

I'm not too worried about trying to future proof my setup. If I go with 1156, again, I don't plan on upping my cpu till this time 2 years from now. By then, the boards will be cheaper in 1366(if thats even the current board). Meaning replacing the CPU and mobo wouldn't cost too much.

I was thinking that 4 gbs should do the trick. If not, its an easy upgrade :p 

I5-750, huh? Would the I7-860 give me any noticeable advantage? I'm mainly thinking if suddenly programs become more capable of making use of HT.

Ooo, SSD.... Now there's an expense :/ 

If a single 5870 would get the job done, then i'll defitiely look at the 650tx. No need to overkill on the PSU.

I mainly mention a need for a full tower because I HATE having to jam my hands into a small tower. I currently own an acer, which Seems to be a mid tower, though I don't even know(I will NEVER buy another pre built PC!). I've thought of going with a cheaper mid tower, but even if I did, it would have to suit my tastes, and it would have to have good airflow.
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January 26, 2010 4:14:46 AM

Well in 2 yrs. from now I'm sure s1156 will be coming to a close, so I don't know what to say there. Intel usually changes chipsets/mobo's generally more often than AMD does. s775 lasted a long time, but not all of the chipsets supported all of the CPUs', so I wouldn't count on s1156 mobo's still being made in 2 yrs.

I'm not sure the 870 is worth the ~$80 price difference. I think that the i5 750 is the best buy (from Intel) right now. Personally I think that the AMD AM3 based system will have more upgrade paths than s1156 will, but that is just me.

If you go with the 5870, than the 650tx is the perfect fit, IMHO :)  You can even run the 5870 on a quality 450w PSU, but you won't have much left in the tank :) 

Trust me when I say the CM 690 case is quite roomy for a "Mid" tower case. I haven't worked with Full tower's, but I really like the 690 case. It comes w/2 x 120mm and 1 x 140mm fans in it, so there is plenty of cooling there. You can also add more fans, if you like :)  Did I mention that the case is pretty much tool-less??
January 26, 2010 4:39:36 AM

What I'm saying is that by then, 2 years from now, I'll be ready to do an overhaul of the chipset and CPU, if necessary(and it may not even be time for an upgrade then). Even if I had to buy a new 1366(or whatever the current "in" chipset is at that time).

The I7 860 is only a $45 difference for me, thanks to the microcenter close by. Though, if the 860 isn't much of an upgrade, then 45, or 80, still not worth it.

Amd? I was thinking that the I5-750 was the current top of the Price/Performance mark. Would I be able to get a decent AMD cpu capable of performing the 3D rendering I need? Afraid this rendering thing is sort of new ground.

I'm looking at the 690 now. It seems to actually be the same size as the Solano 1000(a little shorter, thanks to the solano's 280 mm fan on top). Plus, I could fit a normal cooler into the unit, meaning I could save 40 bucks off of the 80 dollar H50 cooler. Hmm.... I still love the way the Solano looks, but that IS a nice price difference....
January 26, 2010 5:05:08 AM

Right now the AMD PhII x4 955 Black Edition is the best buy from AMD, IMHO. It's a bit slower than the 965, but since it's a Black Edition (unlocked multiplier), it's easy to OC to 3.6-3.8 gHz w/o touching any voltages!! Under stock settings, I'd say the 955 is about 95% or so of the i5 750 CPU. Now I don't believe all of the benchmarks (Intel has been know to mess with them), but most of them show this relationship. Intel does have HT, but AMD has their version too, so to each his own. The benefit of an AMD system is that the total package is less, without too much of a performance hit. Some benchmarks favor AMD, so there are things that they do well too. I also think that AM3 based system are going to have more upgrade paths. Rumor has it that the 6 core CPU's will be AM3 compatable!! That means you can just drop in the CPU (probably with a BIOS update) and your done!!
January 26, 2010 5:12:32 AM

You've given me some things to think about now. Going to have to check some reviews of the 955. That was a cpu I was looking at for the aforementioned $900 build. Hmm...... Need sleep, and more input! :p 
January 26, 2010 5:17:16 AM

Well I try and "inform" individuals, so they can make better decisions on buying PC parts. Any of the CPU's that we've been talking about will do a fine job, so whatever you get, you won't be dissapointed with :) 
January 26, 2010 4:03:27 PM

Been doing some research on the X4 955. I can get one for a mere $165.00($35 bucks saved over i5). Anyone have any idea on how well it works for Rendering? Reviews seem to show it performing pretty well. Only thing that bothers me is that when put clock for clock, the i5 performs better. In addition, if both CPUs are OC'ed to 3.6, the i5 should perform far better....
January 26, 2010 4:28:30 PM

Wow, I had never seen that chart. An absolute godsend. Lets me compare the i5, i7, and the Phenom. Thanks!

Looks like, outside of Farcry, the only real performance hit I'd take in going AMD would be a little less speed in 3ds max, but most of that looks like only in the tens of seconds, if that.

In addition, the only advantage 860 has over 750 seems to be about 2-5 seconds faster in 3DS.

And I don't think there's any way I'm going i7-920 right now. The board may be more "Future Proof", but the 920 seems to score lower in 90% of the benches.
January 28, 2010 2:05:20 AM

Tentative Build:

AZZA Solano 1000 Black/Black Japanese SECC Steel/Metal mesh in front ATX Full Tower Computer Case - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Might change this case, can't decide

XFX HD-587A-ZNF9 Radeon HD 5870 (Cypress XT) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card ... - Retail

From reviews, sounds great

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASRock X58 Extreme LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Again, sounds good

CORSAIR Cooling Hydro Series CWCH50-1 120mm High Performance CPU Cooler - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Should keep the CPU cool at a strong OC

COMBO: OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ600MXSP 600W ATX12V V2.2 / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC ... - Retail

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

For now the 600w should do me very well, and if I need to upgrade it, i'll sell it and buy a much stronger one. But, I won't need to up it until I go CF with the 5870

COMBO:o CZ Gold 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Low Voltage Desktop Memory Model OCZ3G1600LV6GK - Retail

Rosewill Windows Vista Certified Media center Infrared Remote Control RRC-126

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Remote looks snazzy, and that ram looks pretty good.

Total, shipped: $1075.15-$85 MIR=$990.15

CPU from Microcenter: I7-920 $230, plus tax=$245.

$1235.15

For an I7 build that look pretty darn swell! With I7 and 1366, I get a CPU that can OC to 4.0, Hyper Threading, 6 gbs ram over 4, and the ability to easily upgrade the processor once this PC is too far outdated(Hopefully by then these Gulftown cpus will be down in price, or maybe some other cheap unit)
!