Need Advice on 3D Animation Workstation Build

Just a quick note, I’ve read almost every article and forum post I could find on building your own machine, and have read everything I could get my hands on that describes the technologies, as well as the supported technologies PDFs and sites from 3D Studio Max, and Maya. So I am posting this to see what all of you advanced system builders think of this build and can advise me on. Thanks!

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Over the next few months. I will be purchasing in “groups”, and will not mind fluctuations in price provided its not some crazy difference.

BUDGET RANGE: I’ve tried to keep each group down to $300-400 so I don’t have to save up for a long time for each group (I’m not good at saving large amounts of money :p)


PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Mouse, Keyboard, Speakers, Sound card (Also I have dual monitors currently, but the list includes a new one with an IPS panel that will be used as my main monitor once I purchase it)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Generally go with, but have the option of using Amazon Prime 2 day shipping so when Amazon carries the part and its not far off from newegg I will get it from there.

OVERCLOCKING: Yes (but only moderate OC’ing)

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Below is a list of all of the components I have already selected.


Group 1:
Antec Twelve Hundred Black Steel ATX Full Tower

CORSAIR CMPSU-750HX 750W ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 2.91 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply

Group 2:
AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor

GIGABYTE GA-790FXTA-UD5 AM3 AMD 790FX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard

Group 3:
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (4 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666)

ZALMAN CNPS9900ALED 120mm 2 Ball Low-noise Blue LED CPU Cooler

APEVIA CF12SL-UBL 120mm Blue LED Case Fan x2

Group 4:
ATI 100-505560 FirePro V5700 512MB PCI Express 2.0 x16 Workstation Video Card

Group 5: (Already have HDDs, will add this one when get it)
Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

Group 6: (Put here as I don’t need this immediately)
ViewSonic VP2365WB 23-Inch IPS LCD Monitor

Group 7: (Last because I don’t “need” it, just want it)
Pioneer BDR-205 - Disk drive - BD-RE - 12x/2x/8x - Serial ATA - internal - 5.25"
11 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. I don't understand why you need to divvy up your purchases into seven groups. Personally, I'd spend a few months to save up enough to buy a complete system, then continue saving if I still wanted those "add-ons".

    Whatever the case, concentrate on your CPU, not the GPU, when building 3D modeling and animation workstations. Rendering requires power; so you can get away with buying a cheaper GPU card and use the savings to finance a more powerful CPU. At the very least, consider an i7 920.
  2. Best answer
    So... You're spending $2,100 to $2,800, monitor included, and sticking with AMD? That's a really bad build...

    Here's what you should be buying:

    CPU/Mobo: i7-930 and Asus P6X58D Premium $570. Much, much faster than anything AMD makes.
    RAM: 2x G.Skill Pi 3x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $380
    GPU: Workstation GPU. I'm calling it about $400
    SSD: Corsair Nova 128 GB $369. For the OS/apps only. Or if the total is too much, leave it out.
    HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB $90. Can leave this out if you don't need more storage. It would be faster than the WD, and is cheaper.
    PSU: Corsair 750W 80+ $90 after rebate
    Case: HAF 922 $80 after rebate
    Optical: Cheap SATA DVD burner $22
    HSF: Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus $35

    Total: $2,036 w/ SSD, $1,767 w/o SSD. Leaves plenty of room for the monitor.
  3. ^Agreed. Well done.
  4. Best answer selected by The_Spave.
  5. Thanks for the help. The place I read it must have been smoking crack then because they said go with AMD since I only use 3ds max 2010 at the moment.

    Anyways, Im going to save up to start building it soon, so this will come in handy.

  6. ^ Good luck. AMDs not "bad" but with your budget I'd most certainly would have gotten the i7. Now if your budget was ~$1k, then an AMD is a good choice.

    For LCD info:
  7. Case / PSU: With the 1200 case, it's real hard to ignore this combo for $229:

    The PSU is the equal of the HX series you originally listed. Both are a significant improvement over the TX series. And this will be a production system, I gotta think the CP's acoustical advantage will be of significant interest.

    MoBo / CPU: the P6X58D / 930 is the way to go

    RAM: I'm down on tall RAM heat sinks like the Dominators and Ripjaws, ...enough of a problem when filling just 3 slots but filling 6 is too often an interference issue with the HS.

    HD: 7200.12 or F3 ....each wins it's share on benchmarks. The 7200.12 excels in gaming, multimedia and pictures whereas the F3 wins at music and movie maker. See the comparisons here (copy past link in manually, link won't work in forum):


    Buying in groups is a very bad can't test MoBo till RAM arrives and your opportunity to RAM is gone.

    Ya blue ray player is $25 cheaper on newegg.

    Again, as a production machine, I'd look for a quiet CPU cooler like the Prolimatech Armageddon
  8. As I have often had to do, I'll point out the problems of the CP-850. First, it locks you into only three cases, all of which are rather small and overpriced. Second, it's not as efficient as most of the other 850W that are out there, especially modular units. I believe that these two problems alone are enough to out weigh the price difference (which really isn't that much).

    As for buying in groups, to some degree it's not a good idea. Basically, you can safely buy the PSU, case and optical ahead of time. After that, I would want to buy everything else at the same time to ensure you can test the parts to make sure they're good.
  9. Thats true, well the whole group thing is a moot point now cause Im getting a big enough tax refund to cover everything at once, including an SSD. :)

    So some of the changes I will make are to go with the P6X58D / 930 mobo/cpu combo, 2x G.Skill Pi 3x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7, Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB, gonna look for a quiet CPU cooler like you mentioned, and as for the PSU, I still have to look for one I like.

    I like the CP-850 but I did read some comments about its issues. Any advice on another good PSU or is the original one I picked ok?

    The GPU I pick will be one of the Nvidia or ATI workstation ones, havent picked it out yet but will be a decent one (but not the high-end). Anyone have comments on which is better with the i7? From what 3ds max says both work well, but of course they "say" they prefer Nvidia.

  10. The one you had originally is great. Or you can get a non-modular one if you want to save a little.

    To be honest, I have no idea on workstation GPUs. I would just go with the biggest one you can afford...
  11. Awesome thanks :) Any advice on monitors? I have one good one right now, but my 2nd monitor is a cheap crappy one. So Id like to replace it with one that uses an IPS panel as well so my work looks good on either monitor and not just one. Doesnt need to be huge, 17" is plenty for my secondary.

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