I was recommended to join TH to get help building a desktop for my brother. He's a graphic designer, works with high demand graphic computer software. He wants to do 3D design and simulation, along with the Photo shop stuff.
He got $2k to spend.
Please give me some recommendations on all the needed components. I've build computer before, but have not really keep in touch with computer hardware and stuff for almost 10 years... =(
CPU - AMD vs Intel, how many cores does he really need?
GPU - Nvidia vs ATI, which suits high demand graphic design, not necessary for gaming, physic card or not. dual cards or single?
MoBo - brand? model?
storage - Sata3 or 2?
anything else important i'm missing? please give me your input.
Well, first off, I will not pretend to be an expert in this area but I can say that I have a bit of experience with graphic design programs, I've taken a few classes and have gotten some good insight from my teachers. From what I know, most 3D design software such as Vue6 xStream and Maya can see at least four cores, if not more. And with a budget of $2,000, I would say go for a nice quad core processor and the ones that seem to be at the top of the market now performance (and unfortunately also price) wise, are the Intel Core i7s. Given his line of work, I believe this would be the best suited for him. As for the GPU, ATi and Nvidia are both fantastic companies, and I'm not too sure about more recent cards, but I know ATi used to have some solid cards designed specifically for workstations like this. You'll have to look into workstation graphics cards to find out if they continued with this... and I'm a bit of an ATi fanboy so I will always recommend them first. They offer great performance at a cost that is usually a bit less than Nvidia. My favorite motherboard brand that I love and trust is ASUS, never had a problem with the ones I've purchased in the past or the one I'm using now, not to mention that most of them have overclocking options that will automatically overclock your components for you if your brother would choose to do so. I guess I've been out of the loop for awhile storage-wise, I wasn't even aware that SATA III was around yet, but I don't think that the actual rendering of files such as in Photoshop and in 3D design software will be affected by the storage speed, but saving large files might be, so I say go with the fastest that you can, which I suppose would be SATA III. Also, with graphic design software, fast RAM and possibly a solid amount of RAM will be necessary. Make sure your motherboard supports faster RAM such as the DDR3 1600, and I would say a minimum of 4GB should be sufficient, depending on how many of these programs he has open at once. I have 4GB and have been able to keep Maya and Vue 6 xStream open together and running smoothly. If your brother runs into problems, go for more, maybe 8GB.
Sorry about the lengthy reply... if you don't feel like reading it all, I'll try to sum it up for you without my personal experience nonsense intertwined in there haha.
Intel Core i7 processor, ATi OR Nvidia card (check out the charts on this site for good comparisons and price checks), ASUS for a motherboard, fastest storage speed you can get (probably SATA III) and possibly a fast drive (at least 7,200 maybe even 10,000+ RPM), and at least 4GB of the fastest RAM you can get (probably DDR3 1600).
I wish you and your brother the best of luck with your build!
What are the specific programs he will be using? I built a PC last month for 3d rendering in Autodesk 3ds Max 2009, modeling in Rhinoceros, maya sketchup, revit, autocad, post processing in adobe CS4. It was outfitted very close to this:
CPU - Intel i7-930 Works great with the adobe suite and autodesk max, maya and rhinoceros.
GPU - Save some money and ditch the more expensive professional workstation cards and go with something from nvidia's consumer line, possibly the GTX 480 or my fav the GTX 470. I hear too many horror stories from designers who opted for ATI cards, so better safe than sorry. Also, you won't need dual cards unless he's thinking of a dual monitor setup.
Well, I'm absolutely positive that an AMD processor like the new Phenom II X4s will do the job just fine, they'll be able to handle everything that your brother will throw at them with his graphic design stuff. But, given the fact that he has quite a large budget, the core i7s will give you a slight edge over them. So if you've got the cash, go for it. A six core Phenom would also do a fine job for what he needs, such as this one.