First Time Build for 3D Graphics & Rendering - I'd Love Some Advice...

So I'm looking to put together a rig for working in motion graphics- I'll be running everything from the CS5 suite to Maya and 3Ds Max. I'll be doing some (not heavy, well maybe a little heavy) rendering out of it. And obviously I'll be using it for gaming too (mostly Starcraft 2 for now. I just. Can't. Stop.) So this has gotta be sort of a beast. Now my budget is somewhere between 1600 to 2000, but I'd rather not spend every penny I have. I don't need the absolute best of everything, but it's gotta be pretty good for the work I'm doing.

So check it out- I've been doing a lot of research and I've decided on the three most important parts. Let me know if these seem ok and if they'll be compatible with each other. Again this is my first time building so I'm pretty nervous about it and want to make sure everything's good.

Motherboard: ASUS Rampage III Extreme
Processor: Intel Core 17-950 Bloomfield 3.06GHz
Video: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 480 (GV-N 480D5-15I-B)

I feel like these three things are the most important- memory and drives and that I can do no problem. I figure since the GTX 480 is SLI ready, if I ever need more graphic power I can get a second card and move on from there. But let me know what you think, or if there's a cheaper but just as effective option somewhere.

You guys are teh best!
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More about first time build graphics rendering love advice
  1. While yes rendering requires lots of firepower CPU wise i would say negative on a GTX 480 - even just the one The higher end Fermis had been roundly viewed as not recommended buys due to heat/noise/power consumption issues and if it's just SC2 i wuld say just the GTX 460 would do fine: HD 6k and Fermi's Kepler means the higher end Fermis even less of an attractive buy @@
  2. The first thing I would do if I were you is check out the websites of the software you propose to use for recommendations on GPUs. I use Solidworks almost daily and from my experience the GPUs recommended for such work are not the same as gamers would use. You probably can find a compromise as there are many "gamer's" cards Solidworks (and I suspect others) don't even test. Personally, I stay completely away from ATI GPUs for any purpose. Their drivers have always been and still are buggy. Others may tell you that Nvidia also has problems with drivers and they are correct however buggy ATI drivers are the rule rather than the exception as with Nvidia.
  3. Ok so I've been losing my mind over this- I've read a million forums and I'm still jumping back and forth between cards. I was looking at the Quadros for a while- mostly the FX 1800, and then just today I saw they released the new Fermi-based versions with the new Quadro FX 2000. Can't find any reviews on it yet though. Basically what I need is a card that will run any current games smoothly, and also keep up in 3d modeling programs.

    Autodesk doesn't really certify the GeForce series but they show that the 400 series will work with Maya. Just not as well as the Quadros. On the flip side I can't seem to find much on if the Quadro (1800 or 2000) can keep up with games.
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