$3000 2D/3D/CAD System, advice needed...


I need to build a new machine for 2d/3D/CAD graphics that I'll be using for architecture school. The programs I use are Sketchup, 3ds Max Design, Rhino 4.0, Photoshop, and AutoCad. I will not be rendering any video sequences just iamges created with these programs.

I would like this machine to render large, high res images (sometimes 5000x5000 pixels @ 300 dpi) quickly! I hate waiting around for images to render! I would also like the machine to handle complex geometries as well, I need the machine to Pan/Zoom/Rotate without lagging. Lastly, I would like the machine to be quiet, as I might occasionally use the machine for audio recording. I will also occasionally watch movies on this system, as well.

Budget: 3000$

Purchase Date: Preferably in June, but I can wait until August if it's worth it.

Preferred Website of Purchase: Newegg in the U.S.

Overclocking: Yes, but I don't want to have to rely on it. Stability is key, so a small amount is fine.

Okay, so this is what I've worked up as a preliminary machine:

CPU: Intel Core i7-875K Lynnfield 2.93GHz 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Unlocked Desktop Processor

Heatsink: CORSAIR Cooling Hydro Series CWCH50-1 120mm High Performance CPU Cooler

Mobo: GIGABYTE GA-P55A-UD7 LGA 1156 Intel P55 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

RAM: G.SKILL PI+Turbulence 8GB (4 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2200 (PC3 17600) Desktop Memory Model F3-17600CL7Q-8GBPIS

Hard Drive 1: OCZ Vertex 2 OCZSSD2-2VTX50G 2.5" 50GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) I plan to get 2 of these in RAID 0 for the OS (Windows 7 ulimate 64 bit) and the software, maybe 3 if it seems like 100GB will be too little.

Hard Drive 2: Western Digital RE3 WD1002FBYS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive I will have 2 of these in RAID 1.

Video Card: PNY VCQFX1800-PCIE-PB Quadro FX 1800 768MB 192-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 Workstation Video Card I'm open to suggestions here. There seems to be a lot of debate as to whether a workstation card is worth it or not...

Wireless Adapter: EDIMAX EW-7728In IEEE 802.11b/g, IEEE 802.11n Draft 32bit PCI Wireless 802.11n Draft 2.0 PCI Card Up to 300Mbps Wireless Data Rates WEP 64/128, WPA, WPA2 Cisco CCX V1.0, V2.0 & V3.0 Compliance

PSU: SILVERSTONE ST85F-P 850W ATX 12V v2.3 / EPS 12V 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply I'll only consider 80 PLUS certified power supplies.

Case: NZXT Whisper Classic Quiet PC Case Unfortunately, Newegg doesn't carry this case, but it seemed to fit my needs. I'm wholly open to different suggestions. I just want something quiet that has as few LED's as possible, none is best.

Monitor: ASUS VW266H Black 25.5" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 1000:1 (ASCR 20000:1) Built in Speakers w/ component connector I'm looking to run my resolution at 1900 x 1200. I'm open to suggestions on monitors with good color and picture as I'll be doing a lot of printing. Height adjustment is also a concern of mine. I like my monitor above me looking down.

The total cost of this machine is: 2820$

These were just my initial thoughts on components. I'd love advice from people who use CAD and 3D programs for architecture themselves. Let me know what you people think and feel free to post what you would do with a 3000$ budget.

Thanks in advance for the advice.
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  1. All looks good, but two things.

    1, The case uses 2 80 mm fans for air out the back and that doesn't seem "silent" to me. I'd read a customer review. Haf 922 really is just a beastly case though you have to deal with a red LED fan in the front, think you can turn the LED's in the fan off though.

    Big fans mean more air flow for less rpms. More rpms means more noise.

    2. I can't really reccomend a raid 0 array of SSD's unless you really just "want" them. The actual saved time rarely accounts to an additional $180 investment imo. 1 Vertex 2 loads quick enough that if you walk in the room and push the computer button, by the time your sitting down and positioned your computers ready to load. On 3ds max boots and the like it may not be instant like browsers, but still bringing it down to 2-3 seconds is still very quick. Is a second or so every load worth $180 investment? Up to you to decide. I understand the Raid 1 array though I think raid 1 array especially working with files that you invest so much work in.

    All your choices are great. Just you could probably save at least $250 or so by switching the case and cutting an SSD, and your performance change would be almost unnoticeable.

    Edit: hm ... just read a review on your video card. Most people are saying the GTX 470 performs on par with it and it is almost $100 cheaper. DX11 improved 2D rendering on graphics cards so a DX11 card may help with 2D rendering if you plan on updating your software over the life of this computer.

    Personally I'd go with a GTX 470, get a haf 922 or case with bigger fans, and cut an SSD. But the SSD and case are more preference and value oriented.
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