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I want to build a computer up to $4000 ish for After effects

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December 21, 2010 12:32:46 AM

Hi Everyone,

I do a lot of work in Adobe After Effects, some Premiere, some 3ds max, quite a bit of Photoshop, and most other Adobe products. I want to build a bit of a beast computer that shortens render time, and preview time. I have read that After effects likes Ram, and the i/o speed of the hard drives matters. I am thinking of buying about 24gigs of ram, having a a drive for the programs, and some scratch drives. Any suggestions would be appreicated
December 21, 2010 12:55:48 AM

WIth that sort of budget, I'd probably be demanding a Dell 30"! Any single GTX570 would be nice, i would think....

I still have 'ethical' problems recommending Intel's $900+ 6 core cpus, but, they are good performers, and, most of the X58/1366 mainboards have 6 mem slots, allowing the 24 GB you wish.

(The socket 1156 mainboards and associated quad core i7 cpus are very good processors!)

YOur dream budget affords leaving a nice amount of money for 'splurging' on a RAID 5 array of 4 or 5 ea 1 TB drives, giving some fault tolerance/data protection, as well as good speed... (With a large budget, many might consider a 128 GB or larger SSD, which might be valuable as an OS drive...)
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Best solution

December 21, 2010 1:01:05 AM

ok, at your price:

i7-980x 6-core processor
X58 motherboard with 16x/16x PCIe16
6x 4GB DDR3-1600 (24 GB total) triple channel memory
2x GTX 570 in SLI
Samsung spinpoint F4 2 TB drive
120-160 GB SSD
DVD Burner or Blu-Ray Burner


should come in under $4000
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December 21, 2010 8:45:51 PM

Thanks for your replies. Food for thought. In the meantime I have been checking a few things. I want this machine to be specifically made for what I do, not just souped up for the sake of it.

I was thinking about the i7 - 950. The latest cpus always seem to me not to be the value for the price. It is $1200 for the i7-980x, the next generation down is about $600, then the i7-950 is about $350 - nearly a quarter of the price. I know it isn't as good but it is a big money saving that can be put somewhere else.

I was thinking the extra money saved from the cpu could go on an nvidia quaddro graphics card for the speed of rendering in after effects. That is going to be a bit of cash - probably between $1000 and $2000. I don't know why i would need 2 graphics cards. I thought that was for gamers? I may be not understanding something about the graphics card.

I have an apple 27 inch display already, I usually use two displays, so I may have a little not so good monitor for the email and word programs where resolution and quality do not matter.

Looking at the asus 3 formula MoBo as it can handle the ram and has an esata port. For me storage is always a problem - now with esata I can plug in external drives and archive them as I go.

I don't know about doing raid. I have found it a pain before and when something does go wrong ( and it always does) then it is a big problem. Maybe I am an old fashioned computer guy, but I like having the program files on one drive, work on another, and scratch drives. I ghost the program and os drive, and back up the others as I go. In the past when a computer blows up I have been able to pull out the work and stick it in a USB case and still access the job on another machine - pretty crucial for me. Raid scares me in that regard. This could be my ignorance, but I suppose it needs to be something I can deal with when things go wrong.

Solid state drive is an interesting idea. I hope it will be large enough for all the programs.

Hope this makes sense, just woke up and putting coffee into mouth. Thanks for the help.
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December 21, 2010 9:03:28 PM

SLI is in fact just short of useless except for applications designed to use both cards....(save for heating up your basment and driving up the power bill, usually not advantageous!)

A single video card usually already has 2 DVI outputs, allowing you to use both displays as long as you are not running a 30", which requires both, and, best run at it's native 2560x1600 resolution.....

I agree on your assessment of the 980x's price/performance ratio....great cpu, but, $500-$600 more dollars for 4-5% more performance over the mid range processors? Pass....! (Even if I had the money to blow, I do not like blowing it...)
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December 21, 2010 9:06:36 PM

(Quadros are ultra-expensive, and unnecessary, IMO....(and in fact are usually nearly identical to other mainstream units save for a bridge or cut on the circuit board to 'magically' brand the unit, and identify it to the drivers as a $1000 Quadro...)
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December 21, 2010 9:11:26 PM

incidentally RAID 5 can tolerate a single drive failure, and still allow you to get to your data, albeit at a tad more slowly.....; it does have the potential for making the initial install not quite as rapid/'seemless', however, but does have good read/write speed advantages over a single drive, and for fairly low cost given the low cost of the plethora of 600GB -1 TB /7200 rpm drives these days...
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December 21, 2010 9:27:32 PM

Thanks for prompt replies.
interesting what you say about the quaddro. what would you reccommend instead?
haven't had second cup of coffee so still taking in your other comments about raid. i suppose i would have to look at the speed differences.
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December 31, 2010 11:45:16 PM

Best answer selected by oblong1.
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February 17, 2011 10:53:50 AM

The Quadro's:
it is true that the hardware is almost identical to the geforce GPU's, the thing is, and I have been trying for quite a while to figure it out, since most forums are run by high-demanding gamers, in GAMES there will be no difference, the quadro cards are there to enhance professional's, mostly in 3d/Cad/Motion graphics fields:
if you log into Autodesk's recommendations for Maya / 3D Studio MAX, they clearly state that the quadro's are the recomended cards for these progs.
I, like you am more into After Effects, the new version - CS5, the new "mercury playback engine" - supports these cards:

GeForce GTX 285 (Windows and Mac OS)
GeForce GTX 470 (Windows)

Quadro 4000 (Windows and Mac OS)
Quadro 5000 (Windows)
Quadro 5000M (Windows)
Quadro FX 3800 (Windows)
Quadro FX 4800 (Windows and Mac OS)
Quadro FX 5800 (Windows)
Quadro CX


officially, only the GTX 285 and the 470 are supported, so if not quadro, i'd recommend them.

another note - Maya is known to have problems with ATI cards, and since adobe is officially starting developing in CUDA, go for a NVidia-based card


check these links out:
http://forums.adobe.com/thread/622278?tstart=0
http://www.adobe.com/products/premiere/performance/
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