Thank you in advance for any help you can offer on this. I have built my own machines since the 486 and for the most part they have been for personal use. The systems at the companies I have worked for provided high end workstations for their artists so it's been a while since I've had to build a high end system.
I will be running 3dsmax, CS5 and some multitrack and sequencing software as well (no games). Lots of polys, HDRI/procedurals, atmospherics and particles in max and lots of layers and multiple inputs for video and audio editing so I need a render beast with IO punch. I don't mind spending top dollar on a main board as long as I could grow into it with faster procs, more ram and such down the road.
What boards should I be looking at?
How relevant are multiprocessor boards these days in the type of rig I need? Seems like multi proc boards are not as abundant as they were last time I put a workstation together.
I've always built on Asus but what do you suggest?
I don't know enough about the current tech to give a good answer to that. I typically used Xeon procs on a dual or quad board that boasted the fastest bus speeds and as much fast ecc ram the board could take with the fastest drives on the market. However, that is when I was working for someone else who had alot more dough to work with than I do. Which is why I am trying to get suggestions on a board first.
The right board will allow me to use less expensive, fewer cores or procs than the board can handle, less ram than the capacity, slower drives and still be a formidable entry level workstation that can grow with me. Without knowing the current ups and downs on chip sets, the life cycle on current processer families, the maturity on newer mobo technologies or the availability/relevance of multi proc mobos etc. it is difficult to say.
My apologies for taking so long to reply, I was on a fact finding mission.
Now, Bear in mind that I am a power user and still not so much informed on the latest tech (but learning). Believe me, it's hard enough dealing with what I already have on my plate which makes me very thankful for your help. That being said, I've observed the following (please correct me if I am mistaken).
The system you are suggesting is a possibility and I'm sure it would give me more than sufficient power to tackle my general workloads. However in the case where I have to use an app that benefits from multiple cores and threads (which is often) I'll want more cores. Herein is where the dilemma lies. From what I've read there seems to be allot of very confusing, heated and downright nasty debate over things like "1155 vs 1366" or whether one should invest in 1366 or wait for 2011. This type of discussion is great but then the thread expands with insults, ultra tech geek speak or "mine is bigger than yours" comparisons and I'm left going... HUH... I mo confuse-ed now den I wuz!
In the past when I had to render, I'd take advantage of a farm and continue working. I was trying to get as close to that scenario as possible in my home office so I started looking at using Virtualization and Multi-CPUs until I got your suggestion and started researching the CPUs which led to more questions and finally...
Ok.. so now the questions are more about a conceptual build rather than just a motherboard or CPU suggestion. Can you suggest a build for a hardware setup that meets my needs?
Keep the following types of questions in mind and add some if you think of any.
What makes more sense at this time a board with more CPUs or Multiple single CPU builds? and Why?
Is there another alternative for a build than what I've outlined? Like a poor man's rack mount or something?
Which can be theoretically extended to get the longest life out of?
Which will be more costly to build and subsequently run?
The information derived from these questions would be extremely valuable to me and I'm sure many others with similar needs. I'm gathering that it is a weird time in the "Enthusiast/Power User" market right now. Meanwhile, useful information is hard to come by due to the feudal nature of the relevant posts and that equals to time\money delays.