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HELP ME BUILD A SICK RENDERING COMPUTER!

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November 20, 2010 5:12:43 PM

Hi all,
I'm in desperate need of a hardcore 3d rendering desktop computer! (mostly using 3ds Max and VRay)... Currently I use a Dell precision M6300 laptop (Core 2 Duo 2.4 GHz - 4 GB RAM - NVIDIA Quadro FX 3600M) - and I'm bogged down with massive render times... I'm an architect and the time spent rendering is really cutting into my productivity.

I was considering a high end prebuilt Dell or Alienware computer but am thinking I can build my own for less and spec exactly what I need and nothing more. I'm new to building computers but have a base knowledge. I would love some advice... Cost is not a major issue but i'd prefer to keep the total package below 5k. Here is the list of components I've spec'd so far... Am I on the right path? What else should I be considering? Should I be adding supplemental cooling components - and if so, which one, and liquid or air? I'm also a little confused about the Hard Drive (SATA business)

Processor: Intel Core i7 Extreme 980X 3.33 GHZ Hexa Core - $1,000
Motherboard: Asus Rampage III Extreme - $365
Memory: Corsair Dominator-GT 12 GB (3 x 4GB 240-pin DDR3) - $400
Graphics Card: ATI FirePro V8700 - $875
Computer Case: Cooler Master HAF X RC-942-KKN1 ATX Full Tower - $180
2 Hard Drives: 2 Western Digial VelociRaptor WD6000HLHX 600GB 10,000rpm 32mb Cache SATA 6.0gb - 2 x $280
Power Supply: Cooler Master Silent Pro RSA00-AMBAJ3-US 1000W - $170
Monitor: Samsung PX2370 23" 2ms Full HD LED Backlight LCD Monitor - $300

Any help or suggestions would be great... I don't want to throw money at the wrong stuff!

Thanks.

Best solution

a b B Homebuilt system
November 20, 2010 5:24:35 PM

Looks like budget isn't an issue.

I would consider at least one SSD instead of the Velociraptors. With your budget, you can afford the current king of the hill, the Crucial C300 256 GB. It's $525, but the read & write speeds are an order of magnitude faster than Velociraptors. For storage, you could back that up with a couple of terabyte hard drives (probably Samsung Spinpoint F3 or Seagate 7200.12s, both use 500 GB platters for higher data density, which results in streaming reads/writes that approach VR speeds).

I highly recommend reading this Anandtech article about the new Velociraptors.

From the article's conclusion:
The problem is once you take into account solid state storage. The new VelociRaptor boasts a 4KB random write speed of 1.9MB/s. Intel's X25-M G2 is amost 20x faster. The new VelociRaptor averages 178 IOPS in our typical Bench workload, Intel's X25-M can push nearly 800 IOPS in the same test.

While you are getting much more storage for your dollar with the VelociRaptor, a higher performance alternative would be to combine a good SSD with a 1TB drive. Using the SSD for your OS and apps, and the TB drive for all of your music, photos, videos and games. It's this sort of configuration that I use in my personal desktop (except I have two 1TB drives in RAID-1). said:
The problem is once you take into account solid state storage. The new VelociRaptor boasts a 4KB random write speed of 1.9MB/s. Intel's X25-M G2 is amost 20x faster. The new VelociRaptor averages 178 IOPS in our typical Bench workload, Intel's X25-M can push nearly 800 IOPS in the same test.

While you are getting much more storage for your dollar with the VelociRaptor, a higher performance alternative would be to combine a good SSD with a 1TB drive. Using the SSD for your OS and apps, and the TB drive for all of your music, photos, videos and games. It's this sort of configuration that I use in my personal desktop (except I have two 1TB drives in RAID-1).


If you need more convincing, take a look at:
More info on the C300
Value comparison of HDDs vs. SSDs

Personally, I wouldn't bother with liquid cooling unless you're going to invest $300-500 in it. A $70-90 air cooler can provide the same amount of overclocking as low-end watercooling rigs, and they're typically quieter (the air cooling). If you don't plan to overclock at all, I wouldn't bother with an aftermarket cooler, just go with stock.

Have you considered an IPS monitor, like the Dell U2410 or U2311H? Better viewing angles and better color fidelity than a TN panel.

You're probably going overboard on the motherboard, but I can't really fault you there, as I have a ROG motherboard myself. It's likely you could get away with a motherboard in the $200-250 range if you want, of course. One of the Gigabyte UD3r boards for about $210, an Asus X58 Sabertooth for $200, or an Asus P6X58D-E for $240 should be more than adequate.
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November 20, 2010 5:26:00 PM

I would only use one of those HDDs (to boot/install Windows on) and replace the second one with a Solid State Drive.

-GI
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November 20, 2010 6:24:34 PM

Thanks - that's just the kind of help I was looking for! I looked through all the links and those are def changes I'm going to make...
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November 20, 2010 7:02:53 PM

Best answer selected by itowle88.
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 20, 2010 9:33:48 PM

Please feel free to ask more questions, either in this thread or in a new one.

Generally speaking, I think your initial build was a good first draft.

If you're not planning on overclocking, or not overclocking heavily, the Dominator RAM is probably overkill as well (as is the cooler). I didn't think to check the other options for RAM in my first glance.

This G.Skill Ripjaws 12 GB kit has the same timings and runs at a lower voltage. That doesn't really mean much if you're not overclocking, but it is $100 less expensive.

If not overclocking, you could just as easily get this G.Skill CAS 7 1333 MHz 12 GB kit for $280.
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November 21, 2010 1:56:49 AM

Thanks again for that - I have thought about overclocking this system so the extra hundred for the memory is probably worth it then...

Am I missing any other crucial components that need special consideration??? Fans and heatsinks... DVD drive or Blu Ray? Would you just go budget with these? I also want to make sure this system is set up to easily upgrade and expand later - am i overlooking anything for this??? - The tower I picked looked like it was a decent pick for this...

Thanks again.



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a b B Homebuilt system
November 21, 2010 2:05:19 AM

HSF - other people may chime in with recommendations, I'd suggest taking a look at Frostytech's top "5" heatsinks for ideas. Thermaltake Frio, Noctua NH-D14, and Prolimatech Megahalems are generally considered among the best.

Case fans shouldn't be necessary, check if the HSF you buy comes with fans or not. Noctua makes some of the best, but they're frequently in awful colors. :)  Scythe is also highly regarded. (There are probably other trusted brands, I'm not all that well-versed in fan knowledge.) FrozenCPU has a more complete offering than newegg if you don't find what you're looking for at the egg.

Blu-ray really depends on your purposes. I don't know if a Blu-ray burner is worth it yet. For my recent build, I went with a Blu-ray combo drive (reads Blu-rays & burns regular DVDs), retail not OEM, so that I got Blu-ray playback software with it. Something like this LG drive. Blu-ray is really up to you, only bother if you'll watch stuff on it. It doesn't really seem to be mainstream for data yet. Blu-ray burners are still $40-$50 more than combo drives. I guess it may not be a huge factor at your budget, but I'm still not sold on the utility. Your call though.

If you're not going to watch Blu-ray, then just get the cheapest SATA DVD drive (currently the linked Sony when you factor in shipping, but it could change in a matter of days) when you buy.
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November 21, 2010 8:06:06 PM

What actually is important in getting speed in rendering? I noticed the box during rendering = to the amount of the core the processor have. Is that true? Plus is RAM and graphic card play any role?
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November 21, 2010 8:23:49 PM

From everything I've heard and read and seen, the processors are the most crucial for rendering, followed by memory (i've noticed rendering massive 3d files my memory can max out and crash).... i believe the GPU is not as important for rendering, although it's crucial for the modeling side...
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November 21, 2010 8:59:20 PM

itowle88 said:
From everything I've heard and read and seen, the processors are the most crucial for rendering, followed by memory (i've noticed rendering massive 3d files my memory can max out and crash).... i believe the GPU is not as important for rendering, although it's crucial for the modeling side...

Ah, I'm an architecture student. What do you think of my system from your point of view for my system? Is it ok for a student? Currently I am just using sketch-up and vray (average detail) but I am learning 3D Max, and from I saw from my seniors seems like the rendering time is quite, well, long.

Currently I am using a Phenom II X4 925, Sapphire ATI 5750 1GB and 2GB DDR3 RAM.
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November 22, 2010 3:15:06 AM

You know, the other people on this forum will be much better at answering technical questions like that, but I can say a few things... Hopefully your school has a server or render farm that you can have do all the dirty render work to save you a ton of time.... if you're going to be rendering from your machine you may be spending a lot of time waiting (as i'm sure you know all about)...

For some solid info about your specific system rated against other components, a great resource i usually search through is www.tomshardware.com/charts - from there you want to look through the "mobile cpu charts", and "workstation graphics charts (i'm assuming it's a laptop)... inside each of these you can select 3ds max and it will benchmark tons of components agains each other for rendering times graphics performance.

For school you'll probably be ok with your system although i would definitely recommend buying 2GB more ram and running a 64 bit operating system... it's a cheap way to bump up performance.

good luck with school... glad those sleepless nights are behind me!


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November 22, 2010 10:01:27 AM

Haha, I just want to hear opinions from a professional in the same field as mine. Will take note of your advice, thanks for the input.

And I still have 2 years to complete my course. Damn. > <
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