Hello,this is a plea for advice on building a system for modeling. I am using Ashlar Xenon and not doing heavy rendering. I have noticed the newer cheap "professional workstation" graphics cards and am thinking of using the ATI FirePro V4800. (I see that it is a Radeon HD 5670 with different driver and costs a lot more -but don't know what I can do about that.) So I want to build a system because I don't see anything off the shelf I want, but I am new to building and need component selection advice. I want a platform appropriate for this card but happy to spend some extra for a little future-proofing and if I later want to install more powerful graphics option. Everything I read is about gaming -and a little over my head: help?!?
I think it depends on what you are using the system for. If it is for home use then the self build route is a good option, if it is for business use I would say that an off the shelf system might prove less hassle and be more stable.
I've been working on a cobbled together workstation for the past two years, built it myself from new components but I've always had trouble with cooling and noise. I do spend a fair amount of time trying to 'fix' it when I should be working.
prior to this I had a dell workstation that was reliable, quiet and just worked. It probably cost me about a third more to buy but I didn't have the wasted time.
As for the graphics card, what I have found is that the professional cards are more stable than consumer cards. more time has been spent on developing drivers and they are less focussed on FPS grunt. They are also more likely to have specific drivers for common professional software packages (AutoCAD etc).
If you are doing a lot of rendering then a good CPU is more important, the render engines I use have the option of using all the cores of the cpu and a quad is going to be more use than a twin etc..