Animation Machine Build - Need Opinions

I will be using this this box to do work from home on Art Assets for Film, Game, and Engineering. I need to know that all hardware will work properly in the current configuration, and if there is any suggestions for making changes to the hardware to get the best performance. I want to keep my budget under $3000 including taxes, so please keep that in mind if you suggest additional hardware to add or swap out.

OS: Windows 7 Ultimate
* I was told to run linux and emulate Windows 7 and run 3ds Max 2011 that way, not sure completely way, maybe something to be with rendering or how the read/write works with 3ds max. Any insight on this would be appreciated.

-3ds Max 2011 - Modeling, Animation, Compositing, Particle Effects, Texturing, Scene Layout, and importing Engineering Data)multipoly- high

-Mudbox/Zbrush - High poly sculpting/texturing

-AfterEffects - Post-production

Minor Audio Recording - Personal use

There will be some lite gaming on this as well, nothing that needs to be amazing. Just to occupy downtime :) and test art assets.


I thank you all, and if this isn't the general practice to post in this area, I am sorry. I just wanted some guidance before spending $3,000.

13 answers Last reply
More about animation machine build opinions
  1. You're right to post in this area, but you need to post a few more details. Check out this template for more details.

    For your system, you will need rendering power, lots of storage space, and at least displays to have enough visual space for your applications. Since I'm assuming you'll be buying from, here's what I'd recommend for the CPU:

    Intel Core i7-980X Extreme Edition Gulftown 3.33GHz 12MB L3 Cache LGA 1366 130W Six-Core Desktop Processor - Retail
    ASUS Rampage II Extreme LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
    $1389.98 (CPU-mobo bundle)

    For storage, get at least two of these:
    Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

    Make sure to get a high-capacity external hard drive as well, for back-up purposes.

    The processor is pricey, and wipes out half your budget, but all the apps you'll use have been optimized to fully maximize it. GPU is a less important consideration for the three apps you listed above; if you want to get things done quickly, you'll need a very powerful CPU.

    I don't understand why you have to install Linux, then use it to emulate Windows 7, instead of just running 3DS directly on a Windows installation?
  2. I think that is a bit overkill for a newly released proc.
    I know the step up to 6 core proc is great, but for $825 of my total cost is a bit much.

    And the reason I am going with SSD is that 3ds Max works off the page file, so the faster read/write that I have, the better performance that I will get.

    Now I am struggling to figure out what GPU I should go with.

    ATI 100-505558 FirePro V8700 / Nvidia GTX 260 / Ati Radeon HD 5870??
    BUDGET RANGE: $3000 After Rebates /Taxes

    SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: 3d art, animation, compositing, scultping, vfx, gaming, audio

    PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Monitor, keyboard, mouse



    PARTS PREFERENCES: I would like to use Intel i7

    OVERCLOCKING: Rather not

    MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1900 x1200
  4. You're going to want 12gb of ram at least for that system. There's a lot of memory intensive stuff happening with those kinds of apps. Get 2 kits of 2x3gb of ram.

    The Intel SSD will be great for the OS and apps. Also pick up 2 WD 1gb Black HDs or bigger. I wish I knew more about the graphics card. I do know that some graphics programs like Premiere take advantage of Cuda cores, which are found with Nvidia graphics cards. But then again, I think that's a good card.

    The motherboard is the one I am going to get as well. Same with the CPU.

    The system I'm looking at for video editing is as follows:

    - Intel Core i7 930
    - Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus (Cooling solution to allow overclock of CPU)
    - ASUS P6X58D Premium LGA 1366 Intel X58 Motherboard
    - Corsair XMS3 6GB DDR3 3X2GB DDR3-1600 CL 8-8-8-24 (2 kits=12gb)
    - Coolermaster CM 690 II Advanced ATX Mid Tower Case
    - Corsair TX750W 750W ATX 12V 60A 24PIN ATX Power Supply
    - Intel X25-M 80GB SSD (Boot Drive and Apps)
    - WD1001FALS Caviar Black 1TB SATA2 7200RPM 4.2MS 32MB
    - EVGA E-GEFORCE GTX 285 648MHZ 1024MB
    - LG GH22NS50 Black 22X SATA DVD Writer OEM
    - Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium
  5. Switch GPU to - SAPPHIRE Vapor-X 100281VX-2SR Radeon HD 5870
    Switch RAM to - 2x G.SKILL Trident 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2000 (PC3 16000) (12gb Total)

    Added 2x Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive

    Added - COOLER MASTER Hyper 212

    I think I might knock my case down to a non-Aluminum case to save money. Not sure though.
  6. Thetyrant said:
    Switch GPU to - SAPPHIRE Vapor-X 100281VX-2SR Radeon HD 5870
    Switch RAM to - 2x G.SKILL Trident 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2000 (PC3 16000) (12gb Total)

    Added 2x Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive

    Added - COOLER MASTER Hyper 212

    I think I might knock my case down to a non-Aluminum case to save money. Not sure though.

    For the case, a LOT of people suggest this one for the spacing, the airflow, and the overall quality for the price. This is the one I will be getting for sure:

    Coolermaster CM 690 II Advanced

    The rest is looking really good. Keep in mind that Nvidia just released their 470/480 series, so cards like the Nvidia 260 and 285 should drop nicely in the next few weeks (or so I would hope).
  7. Made some changes from the suggestions from here and industry friend.
    Feedback please. Thank you for the help.

    1 COOLER MASTER HAF 932 RC-932-KKN1-GP Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case

    1 BFG Tech BFGEGTX2851024OCBE GeForce GTX 285 1GB 512-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

    1 Rosewill BRONZE series RBR1000-M 1000W Continuous@40°C, 80Plus Bronze Certified,Modular Cable Design,Active PFC"Compatible with Core i7, i5" Power Supply

    1 ASUS P6T6 WS Revolution with NF200 3xPCIe true x16 LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard

    1 CORSAIR XMS3 12GB (6 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model HX3X12G1600C9 G

    1 Intel Core i7-930 Bloomfield 2.8GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Model BX80601930

    2 Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

    1 Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders

    1 COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7 compatible RR-B10-212P-G1 120mm "heatpipe direct contact" Long life sleeve CPU Cooler

    2 Intel X25-M Mainstream SSDSA2M080G2XXX 2.5" 80GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
  8. I don't know why Skulpt would recommend a GTX 285. Those haven't been a good buy since the HD 58xx series was released. The 5870 is a much better idea. You get better performance, use less power, and have much lower temps.

    Rosewill PSU's are a very bad idea. You should stick with the known quality manufacturers like Corsair, PC Power & Cooling, Seasonic, Antec, etc... You'll regret not getting a quality PSU. You also don't need anywhere near 1000W. A quality 750W - 850W PSU is more than enough power for this system, even if you upgrade it in the future.

    You could save quite a bit by going with the HAF 922 instead of the 932. They're nearly the same size.

    Hardly anybody actually needs the Ultimate version of Windows. At the most I would get Pro.

    This shows the differences between the different versions.
  9. The GTX 285 isnt a good choise.
    Take a look at this thread:,review-31829.html

    the ATI Radeon HD 5870 would be a much better choise instead.
  10. I think I just said that. Thanks for backing me up.
  11. This is why: ;)

    Adobe Mercury Playback Engine

    Adobe is working on a playback and rendering engine for Adobe Premiere Pro called the Mercury Playback Engine. This new engine is NVIDIA® GPU-accelerated, 64-bit native, and architected for the future. Native 64-bit support enables you to work more fluidly on HD and higher resolution projects, and GPU acceleration speeds effects processing and rendering.

    The Mercury Playback Engine offers these benefits:

    * Open projects faster, refine effects-rich HD and higher resolution sequences in real time, enjoy smooth scrubbing, and play back complex projects without rendering.
    * See results instantly when applying multiple color corrections and effects across many video layers.
    * Work in real time on complex timelines and long-form projects with thousands of clips — whether your project is SD, HD, 2K, 4K, or beyond.

    Ensure your system is ready to take advantage of the Mercury Playback Engine in a future version of Adobe Premiere Pro. The Mercury Playback Engine works hand-in-hand with NVIDIA® CUDA™ technology to give you amazingly fluid, real-time performance.

    If you’re interested in upgrading your system today, the following graphics cards are supported by the Mercury Playback Engine:

    * GeForce GTX 285 (Windows and Mac)
    * Quadro FX 3800 (Windows)
    * Quadro FX 4800 (Windows and Mac)
    * Quadro FX 5800 (Windows)
    * Quadro CX

    Basically, Adobe doesn't care about ATI when it comes to their programs. They've partnered up with Nvidia and the 285 is the cheapest card to take advantage of this new engine.

    Trust me. For the $$$, I agree that in most cases it's not worth it compared to what ATI can offer. But the Cuda cores is what Adobe will be focusing on in the future.

    I need to be honest though... I'm not sure as much with 3D work. I know that Cuda is supported and used for 3DS Max for example, but not sure how the ATIs stack up for that.
  12. I think I will be going for the GTX 285 - One of the reasons is that I will be driving on a machine this weekend that a colleague of mine owns. So I will be able to see the card in action. I am told that is runs hot, and water cooling is a viable option, but that same option comes with a additional cost, and setup. And ontop of that, he is current in a dual-sli mode, and soon to be going with a tri-card setup. So having that option open with multiple GPU's for additional rendering purposes will make me very happy. And during this spec out research, I played around with the idea of purchasing 1 box as a render node, I have a few p4 boxes laying around in my room that I could use too. But I am pretty sure a $1000 spec'd out box will out perform all of them combined. I still have another month or so before I am pulling the trigger on the purchase, I am interested to see the price changes with the new cards.
  13. Good move IMO if you are into graphics, video and rendering. ATI is the best option for gaming, but not per say design.

    As for the GTX 285 pricing right now, it's too high compared to a 470 which is now priced actually lower. I would hope the 285 drops to sub $300 soon. That's why I'm holding off for now as well.
Ask a new question

Read More

New Build Hardware Systems Product