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$1500 3D Animation/Illustration build

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April 6, 2010 8:22:06 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Not sure

BUDGET RANGE: <=$1500

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: 3D Animation, Illustrating in Photoshop, Gaming

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com

PARTS PREFERENCES: None, really.

OVERCLOCKING: No

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: A friend of mine who is a freelance 3D Animator/Illustrator asked me to help him put together a new system. I built myself a mid-range gaming PC back in late 2007, but haven't kept up with the latest hardware since then. I've picked most of the components already, but I would like to get some feedback on what I've thrown together. I have no idea about which power supply to purchase.

What I have picked out:

Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

EVGA 512-P3-N871-AR GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB 256-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS P7P55D EVO LGA 1156 Intel P55 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Intel Core i7-860 Lynnfield 2.8GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80605I7860 - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBRL - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total cost so far: $1,157.89

Additional notes:

I had a really hard time choosing between a Core i7-860 and a Core i7-920. I went with the 860 based on the benchmarking articles I found on this site, but I still feel like my choice was a random pick between the two. When putting together the components, I started out by determining what processor I wanted, then motherboard, then RAM, and the rest fell into place from there. Once my friend has some more money, he'll get a second 8 gig RAM kit.

Thanks in advance!
April 6, 2010 8:31:05 PM

I have no idea how you did that so fast, but thanks!

Is there any particular reason why I should go for the i7-930? Or is it "just better"?

Thanks.
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April 6, 2010 8:35:35 PM

The 930 is a newer version of the 920. And both the 930 and 920 would be drastically faster than the 860. The 860 is an extreme budget option to the "real" i7s.
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April 6, 2010 10:11:33 PM

I don't do this often, but I'm going to have to disagree with MadAdmiral's statement that "both the 930 and 920 would be drastically faster than the 860". The i7 930 and the i7 860 both run at 2.8GHz at stock speed, but the 860 has a more aggressive turbo mode. The max turbo speed for the 930 is 3.06GHz, while the max turbo speed for the 860 is 3.46GHz.

http://ark.intel.com/Product.aspx?id=41447

http://ark.intel.com/Product.aspx?id=41316

My last workstation build used an i7 860 with a mild overclock and 8GB of RAM and my customer is VERY happy with the performance.

P.S. - The 860 is actually $15 cheaper than the 930 on Newegg, so there's nothing "extreme" about its budget.
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April 6, 2010 10:32:49 PM

Getting the 930 will get you a free game (Assassin's Creed) for $6 more than the 920
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

A GTS 250 can be had for $89 ...but if ya discount the cost of the free game you get with that, that costs ya $39.

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

To see how the various vid cards stack up
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-graphics-card,...

Note that gaming and 3D animation basically require two different approaches to GFX card design....what is good for one is bad for the other. Animation and rendering generally calls for workstation card like the FX 580.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

If your pal thinks his rendering usage will be minimal and doesn't need a rendering card, the 5770 is a good choice, however it must be noted that the ATI 5xx series cards suffer from a 2D Graphics problem which will seriously affect performance in Illustrator, AutoCAD and things like that. ATI reports that they will fix this in the 10.4 driver release. If gong ATI, you might wanna wait to see how this shakes out.
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April 7, 2010 4:35:32 PM

if you don't need triple channel RAM, crossfire or sli, higher speed of SATA3 and USB 3.0, just go for 860. It is much better than 920 in most rendering jobs since it has higher clock rates.
The differences between the two are only the use of chipset and clock speed. X58 handles SLI, Crossfire, SATA3 and USB 3.0 better than P55.
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