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AMD build for 3D animation 2010

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November 29, 2010 8:21:27 AM

could you go over this configuration and let me know if its adequate (or overkill) for 3d animation.
I plan to use mostly 3ds max 2011, Maya 2011, Mudbox 2011, Photoshop CS5 & After effects CS5.
I plan to make a short animation film on this machine (composite 3D, live video animation)

Gaming for the moment is strictly minimal (limited to mainly battlefront 2) [No crysis, crysis 2]

However once I'm settled in my career I will try out high end games,
hence my priority is for my configuration to be future proof

I have a budget of around 1200$ (Rs 54858) for building a PC (my very first build!).

I will be buying parts from Amazon.com (or is Newegg better?), bringing them to Mumbai, India (where I live) and then buying a Cabinet here for assembly.
(Prices for computer parts in india are always around 40$ (Rs 2000 or so)

source: http://www.primeabgb.com/

Note the questions below each component and suggest any alternatives (please provide links!) All prices from Amazon after discounts. (Please suggest links to less expensive prices if any)

1) Processor:

AMD Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition Thuban 3.2 GHz 6x512 KB L2 Cache Socket AM3 125W Six-Core Processor - Retail HDT90ZFBGRBOX - AMD

$229
You save
$38.99 (15%)

Question:
Is it better than intel core i7 (9xx) for rendering?
Any AMD processors better than this (upcoming)

2) Hard drive:

Seagate Barracuda 7200 500 GB 7200RPM SATA 3Gb/s 16MB Cache 3.5 Inch Internal Hard Drive ST3500418AS-Bare Drive

$39.99
You Save:
$37.00 (48%)

Question:
Is Western digital better?
I will be buying external storage (1Tb usb 3.0). Which company for external storage. And SSD's when the prices come down.

3) Ram:

Corsair Dominator 8 GB 2 x 4 GB PC3-12800 1600mHz 240-pin CAS 9 Dual Channel DDR3 Core i3, i5, i7 Memory Kit CMP8GX3M2A1600C9 - Corsair

$159.99
You Save:
$23.00 (13%)

Question:
Should I go for 4gb or 8gb.
If 4gb, 1 4gb stick or 2 x 2gb sticks?
Also are there less expensive alternatives to corsair which offer comparable quality?
And do I need a cooling fan for the ram?

4) GPU:

Diamond ATI Radeon HD5870 PCIE 1024 MB GDDR5 Video Card 5870PE51G - Diamond
Condition: New

$330.00
You Save:
$68.99 (17%)

Question:
There are a variety of companies offering Radeon cards (sapphire, ASUS), with variable prices
so which company should I buy from?
Should I go for the 6870 card instead so I can crossfire with the 69xx series when it comes out (When will 69xx series be released?!)
With the AMD 6x processor, will I really need a powerful GPU, is one GPU enough (I;m talking making a short animation film here!)
Do Radeon cards support phys-x?

5) Motherboard:

ASUS Crosshair IV Formula - AM3 - AMD 890FX - DDR3 - Republic of Gamers - ATX Motherboard - Asus
Condition: New

$219.99
You Save:
$46.00 (17%)

Question
Too much? I've heard of Motherboards costing near 90$.
Is ASUS reliable?
Is this motherboard more future proof when it comes to adding additional GPU's/ more RAM, a new processor.
Also note that it has usb 3.0 and Sata III

6) PSU:

Corsair CMPSU-750TX 750-Watt TX Series 80 Plus Certified Power Supply compatible with Intel Core i7 and Core i5 - CORSAIR VALUE SELECT

$94.99
You Save:
$26.00 (21%)

Question:
How much power do I really ned? Is 750W's adequate for when I add additional GPU's (maximum 2 in the next 5 years.) Crosshair 4 Motherboard has 4 slots.

7) CPU Cooler

Corsair Cooling Hydro Series H50 All in One High-performance CPU Cooler CWCH50-1 by Corsair

$70.36

Total: $1143

Question
Do I really need a CPU cooler? I've yet to decide on a cabinet, but I'll be going for a very standard (no bling) design that should cost me less than 20$. Any suggestions?



What other components would I need to ensure a build with good performance and longevity?
Any additional components I ought to buy from the US?

Also I've looked up cyberpowerpc for a comparitive build and it costs round $ 880 with cabinet, wireless mouse and keyboard. However note the (corsair or major brand) in the hex core configurator.

http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/system/AMD_Hex_Core_Configu...

Is it better to build my own pc or go with cyberpowerpc (will bring it through customs, duty may be an issue in India.)
a b à CPUs
November 29, 2010 9:05:02 AM

Hmm... Lets see...
1. No AMD CPU expected till Bulldozer in Q2 2011.
I would say if you are a mixed breed (gaming + photo-editing :)  ) then stick with the i7 950. But that would shoot your budget up a bit coz X58 motherboards are quite expensive.
2. WD is definitely wayy better than Seagate. Stick with WD caviar blacks.
3. Stick with CL6/CL/7 1600 MHz RAM's from GSkill/Corsair. That is my order of preference.
4. Get a HD6870/GTX470 rather than HD5870. But if you are in the US for a while then wait for the HD69xx cards.
5. Motherboard depends on the CPU. If you are sticking with the AMD then the board should be enough.
6. That is a great PSU. If you want modular then i suggest you get the Seasonic X650W. By the way for a single card solution a good 550W would be enough with lots of headroom.
7. If you are not overclocking then the CPU cooler, that too a water cooled one is absolutely not needed.

newegg is definitely the No. 1 choice for all in the US. But if you live near a MicroCenter store then do get it from there. The prices are quite cheaper.

Also would like to inform you most of the parts that you would buy don't have global warranty so you may face issues with RMA and after sales support.
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November 29, 2010 9:10:08 AM

Since you are coming to Mumbai, For the cabinet i should suggest CM HAF-X... I think you would get it cheaper at Prime. Its an awesome shop!
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November 29, 2010 9:55:15 AM

"..3ds max 2011, Maya 2011, Mudbox 2011, Photoshop CS5 & After effects CS5, animation film, composite 3D, live video animation......"
That's all stuff that's heavy on the CPU, so the AMD Phenom II X6 1090T will be an excellent choice.
If you want to overclock the CPU hard, the Corsair Cooling Hydro H50 is another good choice.
But if you only plan to do moderate overclocking it could be overkill.
In that case you could save some $ by opting for the Scythe Mugen 2 instead.
AMD 890FX based motherboards are mostly relevant if you plan to use 2 or more graphic cards.
For a single graphic card you could save a lot of $ by going for an AMD 870 based motherboard like the ASUS M4A87TD EVO.
For the cabinet make sure you choose one with good cooling (good space and lots of openings for fans).
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November 29, 2010 11:07:07 AM

@hell_storm200

Is this Ram suitable?

Corsair TR3X6G1600C9 XMS3 6 GB 3 X 2 GB PC3-12800 1600MHz 240-Pin DDR3 Tri-Channel Intel Core i7 Memory Kit

http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-TR3X6G1600C9-PC3-12800-16...

Also XMS3 vs dominator?

How much Ram do I really need, Is 4gb enough?
(1 stick 4gb or 2 sticks 2 x 2gb?)
or should I go in for 8gb (CL9)

will I ever need 16gb?
(I ask cause if I were to buy 2 4gb sticks I could add an additional two 4 gb sticks in the near future)



@ stone-69
@dipankar2007i

Well a workstation card is way, way out of my budget.
(I looked into going for a ASUS M4A87TD, so as to used the money saved for a workstation card but....
o_O 1500 - 3000 $?!!)

Perhaps running gaming cards in crossfire might be sufficient until I can afford a workstation card?

maybe I'll run a workstation card in crossfire with the ATI Radeon though I've read that crossfire is family specific,
i.e 5870 with 5970 &
6850 with 6870?

Is this true?

What's your take?

And customs... well, buying a prebuilt rig from the US is a last option, so Assembling a pc with parts bought from the US is top priority

(I have 3 people coming from the US, will divide the component lot between them and conquer :)  (there's a Rs 25000 per person allowance)

Many thanks for your replies!
Regards.
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November 29, 2010 11:33:25 AM

I defenitely don't think that you'll be able to run a workstation graphics card in crossfire with a mainstream graphics card.
For crossfire (or SLI btw.) use 2 identical grahics cards.
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November 29, 2010 11:36:45 AM

stone-69 said:
For crossfire (or SLI btw.) use 2 identical grahics cards.

Not quite true for Crossfire. Cards only have to be of the same series that all, unlike nVidia where they have to be exactly the same.
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November 29, 2010 11:40:05 AM

I just suggested the model. I am not sure if the OP has decided on the CPU yet.
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November 29, 2010 11:44:58 AM

@dipankar2007i -

Well w.r.t super pricey workstation cards I guess I'm going to have to improvise
(meaning steal it from ATI HQ ;) 

on a more serious note, were I to go for a workstation card,
at the most I could go up to ATI Firepro 5800 ($400) or firepro 7800 (around $450. (ebay, if I get lucky.... are ebay sellers reliable for computer parts)

Just how powerful a workstation card do I need?

I see the entry level 3800 at around $100, would that suffice?

and I bet these workstation cards are duds at gaming? (so gamers would by gamer cards)

w.r.t customs: quite legal if you carried the components this way!

@hellstorm: G.skill seems to be less expensive than corsair, not a difference in quality I hope.

w.r.t lack international warranties,
could you list exactly which components (in my first post) lack international warranties

Also CPU selection (AMD phenom 2 x6 1090t is final)
so 8gb dual (2 x 4gb) or triple channel (3 x 2gb)?
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November 29, 2010 11:45:54 AM

hell_storm2004 said:
Not quite true for Crossfire. Cards only have to be of the same series that all, unlike nVidia where they have to be exactly the same.

So are you saying that a Radeon 5830 will crossfire with a Radeon 5870 ?
And how about a 5770 with a 5970 (they're both 5000 series) ?
And is it okay if the two cards are different brands ?
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November 29, 2010 11:49:01 AM

Almost all. I only know that Sapphire has international warranty (although not sure). For this you have to check individually with all the manufactures from whom you buy.

Intel/AMD may have it, but not sure.

Its better to have a good card rather than getting an entry level workstation card. Its not something like Maya/Photoshop wont run at all now, is it? :) 
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November 29, 2010 11:52:08 AM

stone-69 said:
So are you saying that a Radeon 5830 will crossfire with a Radeon 5870 ?
And how about a 5770 with a 5970 (they're both 5000 series) ?
And is it okay if the two cards are different brands ?

1st case can be done. 2nd case cannot. You see the first two digits (i think, the second digit shows the series and the 1st digit the generation) have to be the same. So a 58xx card can go with any 58xx card. 5870/5850, 5850/5830, 5870/5850 and so on. A 5770 can go with a 5750 and so on.

Refer this:

http://game.amd.com/us-en/content/images/crossfirex/CF_...


Brands have no affect. You can go with XFX with Sapphire, Asus with Asus or Powercolor with Asus.

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November 29, 2010 11:54:03 AM

nikhilR said:

on a more serious note, were I to go for a workstation card,
at the most I could go up to ATI Firepro 5800 ($400) or firepro 7800 (around $450)

Btw - Why are workstation graphics cards so expensive ?
Don't they contain more or less the same hardware as mainstream cards ?
Or, if it's just a matter of drivers, isn't it possible to make drivers for a mainstream card to tune it for workstation jobs ?
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November 29, 2010 12:03:24 PM

hell_storm2004 said:
1st case can be done. 2nd case cannot. You see the first two digits (i think, the second digit shows the series and the 1st digit the generation) have to be the same. So a 58xx card can go with any 58xx card. 5870/5850, 5850/5830, 5870/5850 and so on. A 5770 can go with a 5750 and so on.
Brands have no affect. You can go with XFX with Sapphire, Asus with Asus or Powercolor with Asus.

Thanks. I just learned something today ;) 

Btw. what kind of performance will you get from
pairing two different cards (e.g. 5830 and 5870), versus
pairing two of the same cards, versus
using just one card at a similar price ?

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November 29, 2010 12:05:31 PM

@dipankar

Well, I live in India, I could probably tell my brother (who's coming from the US) to visit a microcenter store (do you get cheaper prices at a store than if you buy online from microcenter?
Also Amazon and microcenter online prices are quite the same

I have a few contacts in the animation industry here in india, I'll ask them about the workstation cards.
They are strictly into outsourced projects having worked on Assasin's creed and the like, so they should know a thing or two.

(no way to hack a Radeons drivers are make it blitzkrieg like a Firepro 9800?)
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November 29, 2010 12:08:41 PM

^^That is around $4000 just for the card.

stone-69 said:
Btw. what kind of performance will you get from
pairing two different cards (e.g. 5830 and 5870), versus
pairing two of the same cards, versus
using just one card at a similar price ?


Well it depends on the cards in question. There was a very nice article on CF/SLI scaling on Tom's that may be quite helpful to you.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/pcie-geforce-gtx-48...

About your question.. it all depends on the cards in question. Default rule is, more powerful the single card, more powerful would its CF/SLI, however some cards do scale better than the others.
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November 29, 2010 12:10:15 PM

nikhilR said:
@dipankar

Well, I live in India, I could probably tell my brother (who's coming from the US) to visit a microcenter store (do you get cheaper prices at a store than if you buy online from microcenter?
Also Amazon and microcenter online prices are quite the same

I have a few contacts in the animation industry here in india, I'll ask them about the workstation cards.
They are strictly into outsourced projects having worked on Assasin's creed and the like, so they should know a thing or two.

(no way to hack a Radeons drivers are make it blitzkrieg like a Firepro 9800?)

The cheap prices are store prices only. If you go to the shop you would be able to get those prices. 2nd choice would obviously be newegg.
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November 29, 2010 12:25:27 PM


I don't think my brother would be very good at bargaining.
Wish I was where he is now....
Online shipping is free to the US (at on Amazon.com) and bargaining probably won't make that much a difference to the price.

Also since workstation cards aren't mainstream cards, seems to me like stores don't seem to stock a great many of them.

I could try buying right here in India, of course a Rs 2000 additional to every component makes the total cost jump to twice the amount.

Also dipankar2007i, are you from India?

(@softmods, if they worked I'm certain AMD would throw a firepro 9800 at a hacker. Won't do much damage, but he might just keep the soft mods to himself :sarcastic:  )


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November 30, 2010 3:59:53 AM

Well, I've decided to raise my budget to accommodate a mid range AMD workstation card.

so my budget is now round $ 1400 allowing me to go (max) for the Firepro 5800

RAM

I've decided to go with corsair 8gb 2 x 4gb
(if I can find it that is, and maintainance for corsair is easier in Mumbai, anyone know G.Skill dealers in India who'll provide support for G.Skill RAM bought in the US?)

PSU

I've looked up the

Modular Corsair CMPSU-750HX 750-Watt HX Professional Series 80 Plus Certified Power Supply compatible with Core i7 and Core i5

What about the Thermaltake modular 750 Watt

Motherboard

Link : http://event.asus.com/mb/2010/m4_6cores/

There's a list of Motherboards here for the hex core AMD processor. Any better alternatives outside the list are welcome!

Which would give me the best value, including USB 3.0 and crossfire for atleast 2 cards.

(would crossfiring 2 Workstation cards be worth in the future?)

Also the mobo should be compatible with the nextGen Bulldozers from AMD
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