~$2500 Workstation - 3ds Max, Video Editing, Digital Art

Be gentle, it's my first time...

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: just as soon as I can figure out what components to get

BUDGET RANGE: ~$2500 after Rebates (for the PC itself, not including monitor and peripherals)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: 3ds Max modeling, animation and rendering along with post-production work in After Effects and Premiere, Flash animation, Photoshop and Illustrator, Capturing and converting analog video to disc, *maybe* some gaming

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: need everything





This is my first build and I’m really not 100% sold on any one component that I’ve initially picked out… all opinions welcome.

ASUS P6X58D - $299.99

Not sure between these two…

PROCESSOR: Intel Core i7-930 2.8GHz - $294.99


I had pegged this as a good choice for a cooler, but it’s no longer available on newegg. Is it so impressive that I should just find another place to buy it from, or is there a solid alternative?

MEMORY: CORSAIR DOMINATOR 12GB (6 x 2GB) DDR3 1600 - $430.99

GRAPHICS: ATI 100-505558 FirePro V8700 1GB - $859.99

It’s difficult for me to go against a Quadro here, but from what I read, it sounds like ATI’s card is very solid and more bang for the buck.
Any opinions one way or there other here would be great.


Too much? Too little? Just right?

DRIVE FOR SYSTEM/APPS: Need advice here. Should I be getting a SSD for the system and apps to run on? Recommendations?

DRIVE FOR STORAGE: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 1TB 7200 - $89.99

OPTICAL: Want a blu-ray burner… need a suggestion.

CASE: Antec Nine Hundred - $99.99
Antec Three Hundred - $54.95
Leaning towards the 900, but this is one area where I’m definitely not 100%.

MONITOR: Dell Ultrasharp U2711 - $999 (I can get that price through customer service rep.)

KEYBOARD/MOUSE: Can figure this out on my own, but open to any impassioned opinions.


OVERCLOCKING: I’d like to try it.

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No - more beneficial to a gaming machine than a workstation as far as I understand. Am I misinformed?


ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I’ve saved up the money for this and now all that’s needed is for some knowledgeable people to generously offer up some opinions to steer me down the right path. I want this to be a solid system that will last… without overpaying for top-of-the-line, current tech that will be obsolete before I get this thing up and running.

5 answers Last reply
More about 2500 workstation video editing digital
  1. Go nVidia for pro graphics ... QuadroFX 1800, if possible.

    NOT Ati

    Everything else looks pretty good ... cooler needs to be swapped for a hyper-212 and YES ... an INTEL 80GB M/G2 SSD for Boot/Apps and one Spinpoint F3 1TB for everything up to 2 streams/layers of HDV ... for uncompressed HD-SDI you will need TWO Spinpont F3 drives in RAID-0

    Here are ALL the CS4 Edit builds, from B&H Photo ... Look at the different choices for GPUs ... Do YOU see ANY Ati cards ?


    = Alvin =
  2. Thanks Alvin.

    The Hyper-212 looks like a good call for the cooler.

    Likewise for the Intel 80GB SSD for boot/apps.

    I'd love to try setting up two Spinpoint F3s in a RAID-0 but I have no idea what I'd be getting myself into... is that a noob-proof process?

    Regarding the GPU, hopefully some more people can chime in on that. I realize that virtually all build-to-order workstations you can buy out there will have a Quadro in it. But the reviews and benchmarks that I've seen seem to suggest that at that price point ($860) nothing in Nvidia's lineup can top the v8700.

    Am I missing something?
  3. el_guapo said:
    Thanks Alvin.

    Regarding the GPU, hopefully some more people can chime in on that. I realize that virtually all build-to-order workstations you can buy out there will have a Quadro in it. But the reviews and benchmarks that I've seen seem to suggest that at that price point ($860) nothing in Nvidia's lineup can top the v8700.

    Am I missing something?

    Well, Jeeez ... Are you missing something? ... CUDA?

    What reviews and benches are you talking about? I would love to see them!

    All I can say is that (traditionally, at least) nVidia has ruled that roost 4-ever and all the "Pro Partner Certifications" specifically name exact models of nVidia/Quadro products and I have never once seen ATi mentionned by any of them anywhere ... but you could show me!

    I view these "certifications" as (often) being aimed at anti-competitive "denial of markets" type activity and I heartily welcome any "compatibilty inroads" which ATi might make, in that Arena ...

    ... As for me ??? ... I START WITH the pro software tools and I attempt to build my system(s) to the developer's preferences and certifications. AVID will not even support you if one component is not certified ... Likewise, if I want to edit using Final Cut Pro, ... I MIGHT be able to make it run on a PC, but it is only certified on a Mac.

    For best performance and broadest compatibility, in the proffessional edit and graphics design tools arena, definately go with QuadroFX and, if you can't afford that, go with a high-end GeForce and, if you can't afford that .... then ... save up your money.

    I will not argue the point. You are preachin' to the choir, here ...
    ... I would LOVE it if ATi were to be embraced by the professional world. ... This process might already have begun ... Please write us and do let us know if you are fully satisfied, after some months.

    In the position of an "expert consultant" (however effective), I cannot, in good conscience, advise anythig BUT upper tier nVidia products, when it comes to the very broad spectrum of pro suites and plug-ins, which can be very finnacky.

    If you wan't to boldly go where very few do ... It is your call!.

    = Let us know how it works out ! =
  4. And ... By the way ... When working with two (or more) monitors, or with two or more GPUs ... nVidia drivers are WAY superior (in terms of assisted configuration and intuitive utilities) ...

    ... I have not tested this but, I understand (have read) that you can mix any combo of quadro and Geforce cards on one system and the drivers will find them all and combine CUDA compute resources and allow you to gang up to 4 monitors (on two cards) ad-hoc.

    Eye-finity, on the other hand, still only works off of ONe (primary) GPU (they say they are "working on it") ... nVidia has been doing that for years ... Even my old AGP8x 7600GT will let me do much of that ... like, without any fuss.

    = Alvin =
  5. Well, here it is nearly a year after the initial post, and I have a similar budget. I am also interested in building a workstation to run 3ds Max, Vue, FumeFX, Afterburn, and AfterEffects. I'm wondering if a dual xeon setup might be a better option than an i7. I'm pretty comfortable with choosing hdds, graphics, and ram, but the mobo/cpu choices are pretty daunting. Help and advice is surely appreciated!
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