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$4000-$4500 budget. 2 PC's better than 1?

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April 6, 2010 6:53:48 PM

Hello People,

I am planning on building a new machine or two for architecture school. The purpose of these computers is to handle graphics and rendering as good as posible from a consumer/enterprise grade stand point. This system needs to hande 3D programs like 3DS Studio Max, Rhino, and Sketchup (especially rendering with these); 2D drawing programs like AutoCad and VectorWorks; and image editting programs like Photoshop and Illusrator.

My Budget is $4000 and I'd like to build this summer (July/August), but I'm willing to wait if it means getting the new USB 3.0 and SATA 6gps technology at a reasonable price.

My first question is this: Should I blow all $4000 on a single machine, that is server style with 2 physical processors? Or should I build 2 whole machines and attach like a render farm?

What would you who do a lot of work with graphics do with $4000?

I'm open to broad suggestions as I'm still determining exactly what i plan to do with such a nice budget.

Thanks!

More about : 4000 4500 budget

April 6, 2010 8:33:02 PM

Here is what I've been working on for the two computer option:

Mobo: ASUS M4A89GTD PRO/USB3 & SATA 6GB/S ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... )

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz 125W ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... )

Memory: Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 12GB (3 x 4GB) DDR3 1866 ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... )

SSD (OS): A-DATA 128GB SATA 3GB/S ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... )

HDD1 (software): WD Raptor 150GB 10,000rpm SATA 3.0 ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... )

HDD2 (storage): 2 in a RAID-1 mirror config--WD Caviar 6 GB/s 1TB drives ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... )

PSU: ABS Majesty 1100W 80 plus Gold ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... )

--As for the GPU I'm torn between getting a workstation card or just a standard gaming card, I don't play games but I do watch and edit video, but here's what I'm thinking:

Workstation: ATI Firepro v7700 1GB ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... )
And that puts the cost, so far, of each rig at $2600.

OR

Gaming: Sapphire Radeon HD 5850 2GB ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... )
And this video card puts the whole rig up to $2400 for each.

Any comments on the graphics card would be welcome.

And I'm still deciding between getting 2 pretty good machines or 1 really killer machine. Let me know what you peoples would do!?
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April 7, 2010 5:24:02 AM

^ For your usage, anytime i7 930 over the AMD Phenom...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

X58A-UD3R
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM
12GB GSkillz DDR3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SSD - Intel 80GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Raptor - I would suggest you wait for sometime as SATA 6GB/s raptors are coming...and they do offer better performance...

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

PSU - You wont need 1100W for that config...
This Seasonic 650W would do...and actually has the best ratings and performance till date for a PSU...
Seasonic X650
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Rest are same...As for the video cards, browse the net to see if the apps that you use will take advantage of Workstation cards...then only get them...else you can stick with Desktop cards too...

IF you want a single powerful PC, then I would get this...but am still not able to warrant the price premium it commands but maybe it for your usage, it might...

CPU - None other than the i7 980X Extreme - 6Core/ 12 Threads
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mobo - Slightly better mobo
X58A-UD5
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM - 2x 12GB Mushkin DDR3 -> 24GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Rest all same as the above...

So first decide what type of setup you want...
If you are willing to research more into rendering farm, then check these out...
http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,2845,1815799,00.a...
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/render-farm-node,23...
http://mos.futurenet.com/resources/3dworld/TDW94.s_farm...

And some components to start with -
CPU - X4 905e -> Has just 65W TDP which would make it a good option for a render node...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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April 7, 2010 5:42:28 AM

Thanks for the reply!

Do you really think that the i7 930 will really do a better job rendering than an X4 3.4ghz AMD?

Also, should I hold out for 6 gps SSDs?

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April 7, 2010 5:49:40 AM

^ Well am pretty sure that the i7 930 would easily outperform the Phenom no doubt...
And as for the 6GB/s SATA drives, there are currently available but they demand very high price premium...
Instead you can get 2x OCZ Vertex/ Agility SSDs which will offer better performance in RAID 0 and also support garbage collection in RAID mode unlike other SSDs...
Or you can check out the new SandForce controller based drives that come in the flavours of 50/ 100/ 200GB...

And do research more about the components and choose which is best suited for your needs - even the type of system...You should know that 4k is a lot of money for the PC and if you are investing that much, then it should be well worth it...
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April 7, 2010 5:50:38 AM

ryanbeitz said:
Thanks for the reply!

Do you really think that the i7 930 will really do a better job rendering than an X4 3.4ghz AMD?

Also, should I hold out for 6 gps SSDs?


Clock speed isn't the most important thing, while the PII and I7 are darn close in games the I7 crushes the PII in desktops apps. the I7 runs better clock for clock and has hyper threading which in image rendering can really give a significant performance boost

As for the 6 gps probably not, performance increases that may occur with gps6 will most likely be like the pci-e sdd's where it's really just a few sdd sandwiched together to make a built in raid, where you can just do that yourself with current sdd's
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April 7, 2010 7:04:10 AM

jonnyboyC said:
Clock speed isn't the most important thing, while the PII and I7 are darn close in games the I7 crushes the PII in desktops apps. the I7 runs better clock for clock and has hyper threading which in image rendering can really give a significant performance boost

As for the 6 gps probably not, performance increases that may occur with gps6 will most likely be like the pci-e sdd's where it's really just a few sdd sandwiched together to make a built in raid, where you can just do that yourself with current sdd's



Have you (or has anyone) heard if there is going to be a price drop in pci-e SSDs any time soon?
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April 7, 2010 8:18:02 AM

^ That is a niche market...So it will take a long time for that...
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April 7, 2010 4:58:07 PM

I'm somewhat unsure as to why you think you may want two physical machines. From what you have said you would be perfectly happy with one machine. For rendering on a budget I would wait for AMDs 6 core cpus to drop.

I would also avoid the old raptor HDs. you can get similar performance from modern 7200 rpm drives. You could also grab one of the 450 gig raptors when they come out. You may want to consider using the two raid SSDs for the OS and applications. 128 gigs should be plenty for both.

From what you have said i dont think you will be rendering animations that often which would be the main benefit or multiple machines. If you intend to only render a few very detailed images a fast quad core or even a hex core should work great.
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April 7, 2010 5:27:35 PM

ewood said:
I'm somewhat unsure as to why you think you may want two physical machines. From what you have said you would be perfectly happy with one machine. For rendering on a budget I would wait for AMDs 6 core cpus to drop.

I would also avoid the old raptor HDs. you can get similar performance from modern 7200 rpm drives. You could also grab one of the 450 gig raptors when they come out. You may want to consider using the two raid SSDs for the OS and applications. 128 gigs should be plenty for both.

From what you have said i dont think you will be rendering animations that often which would be the main benefit or multiple machines. If you intend to only render a few very detailed images a fast quad core or even a hex core should work great.


The reason I was thinking of two machines at first was I wasn't sure if two physical machines linked would be more effective for rendering than a single machine. However, upon further consideration of my situation, I realized that two machines is better because I will need a good machine both at home and in my studio space at school. So, I am pretty sure about two machines.

As for the SSDs in RAID. Should I pick up two 64gb SSDs in RAID-0? Is that what you're suggesting? Or two 128gb in RAID-1?

Also, does anyone see any benefit to putting just the OS on its own drive and having the software on another, or should I just put all the software and the OS on one single drive?

And one last thing, any word on when the 6 cores might drop? And would they be more effective than the i7s for image rendering?

Thanks for the posts!
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April 7, 2010 11:44:17 PM

ssds almost never fail, raid 0 is always the way to go with ssd
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April 8, 2010 12:19:19 AM

bobisgod said:
ssds almost never fail, raid 0 is always the way to go with ssd


Cool, thanks!
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