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Best Workstation for Maya & Adobe CS5: Intel i7-970 or Intel i7-2600K

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March 18, 2011 12:53:49 AM

RE: Workstation for AutoDesk Maya/ Adobe CS5
* Will probably NEVER use this for games
* Cost is not a primary concern (although it is still a concern)

I'm currently researching components in preparation to build my first desktop. Unfortunately, the more information I gather, the more confused I get. I was almost ready to order the Intel i7-2600K with an Asus P8P67 Deluxe (B3) mobo, but now I'm leaning toward the i7-970 with an Asus Sabertooth X58, or Asus Maximus IV Extreme mobo.

Right now, I'm torn between these two CPU's, and I'm stuck. My current understanding is that Maya & Photoshop will benefit from the higher number of threads of the i7-970 and from the stability of the X58 chipset. (By the way, have I misunderstood the concept of "threads" and its importance to Maya and Photoshop?) However, I've also read that the difference between the i7-970 and the i7-2600K may be minimal since the i7-2600K is more advanced technology and is a great deal faster. If this is true, it's hard to justify opting for the older i7-970.

Sooooooooooo, what should I do? Go for the newer, faster, cheaper i7-2600K; the older, stable, more expensive i7-970 for the mega thread-loving rendering software; or
should I hold out a few more months until the LGA2011 Socket, X68 chipset rolls out? (If so, when is this expected?)

Thanks for you help and consideration!
a c 78 à CPUs
March 18, 2011 12:59:59 AM

1) I would go with i7 2600K for your needs... http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/287?vs=157 I would wait for the release of the Z68 boards to go with your setup when released.

2) Though CS5 favors Intel, Maya does favor AM3's Phenom X6 II 1100T. If you utilize Maya most, than AM3 might be a good option to review.
March 19, 2011 12:56:41 AM

Thanks Techmo and Dadiggle -- I really do appreciate your insight and advice!

This reinforces my research -- with half of opinions/reviews divided equally between each cpu. I think it may indicate that both cpu's are likely very close when considering the pluses and minuses, and I probably can't go wrong with either choice. I'm still going to take a little more time and think about it.

Thanks again, guys!
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a c 180 à CPUs
March 19, 2011 1:35:55 AM

Sandy Bridge does it's thing in gaming and many other areas but CS5 and 3D Renderings till lie clearly on the 1366 platform.....until as you said .... the LGA2011 Socket, X68 chipset rolls out. Here's my standard build modified for ya 970 instead of the 950 I usually start with. That change brings the cost up to $2634.

Case - $190 - Antec P193 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
PSU - $110 - Antec CP850 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
MoBo - $782 - Asus Sabertooth http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
CPU - - Intel i7-970 included in above
Cooler - $40 - Scythe SCMG 2100 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
TIM - $5 - Shin Etsu http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
RAM - $250 - 3 x 4GB Muskin CAS 7 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
RAM - later - Now there's room if ya need it in future
GFX - $780 - PNY VCQ4000-PB Quadro 4000 2GB 256-bit http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
HD - $65 - Seagate 7200.12 1TB 7200 rpm http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
SSD - $250 - OCZ Vertex 3 2.5" 120GB Should hit channel ina few days
DVD Writer - $22 - Asus 24X DRW-24B3L w/ LS http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
OS - $140 - Win 7-64 Pro OEM http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
a c 81 à CPUs
March 19, 2011 5:32:52 AM

Get the i7 2600k.. It has HT which is somewhat useful in such application scenarios.. The 4 virtual cores won't fully compensate for the two extra cores on the 970 but it'll surely bring down the difference.. And as you said yourself, the 2600k being based on an improved technology should give a better per core performance which furtheg negates the core deficit..

However, I won't recommend spending highly on the motherboard.. Spend more on ram.. And surely get a Nvidia video card.. They tend to be more stable workstation solutions.. And Adobe applications surely favor them..
a b à CPUs
March 19, 2011 5:45:53 AM

Emperus said:
Get the i7 2600k.. It has HT which is somewhat useful in such application scenarios.. The 4 virtual cores won't fully compensate for the two extra cores on the 970 but it'll surely bring down the difference.. And as you said yourself, the 2600k being based on an improved technology should give a better per core performance which furtheg negates the core deficit..

However, I won't recommend spending highly on the motherboard.. Spend more on ram.. And surely get a Nvidia video card.. They tend to be more stable workstation solutions.. And Adobe applications surely favor them..


the 970 has hyper threading too? so it has 12 threads compared to the 2600k's 8.
March 19, 2011 2:16:51 PM

JackNaylorPE said:
Sandy Bridge does it's thing in gaming and many other areas but CS5 and 3D Renderings till lie clearly on the 1366 platform.....until as you said .... the LGA2011 Socket, X68 chipset rolls out. Here's my standard build modified for ya 970 instead of the 950 I usually start with. That change brings the cost up to $2634.

Case - $190 - Antec P193 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
PSU - $110 - Antec CP850 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
MoBo - $782 - Asus Sabertooth http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
CPU - - Intel i7-970 included in above
Cooler - $40 - Scythe SCMG 2100 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
TIM - $5 - Shin Etsu http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
RAM - $250 - 3 x 4GB Muskin CAS 7 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
RAM - later - Now there's room if ya need it in future
GFX - $780 - PNY VCQ4000-PB Quadro 4000 2GB 256-bit http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
HD - $65 - Seagate 7200.12 1TB 7200 rpm http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
SSD - $250 - OCZ Vertex 3 2.5" 120GB Should hit channel ina few days
DVD Writer - $22 - Asus 24X DRW-24B3L w/ LS http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
OS - $140 - Win 7-64 Pro OEM http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Thank you, Jack! I really appreciate your taking the time to include the component list -- very helpful! Can I assume the PE means you're a civil engineer?
March 19, 2011 2:51:19 PM

Emperus said:
Get the i7 2600k.. It has HT which is somewhat useful in such application scenarios.. The 4 virtual cores won't fully compensate for the two extra cores on the 970 but it'll surely bring down the difference.. And as you said yourself, the 2600k being based on an improved technology should give a better per core performance which furtheg negates the core deficit..

However, I won't recommend spending highly on the motherboard.. Spend more on ram.. And surely get a Nvidia video card.. They tend to be more stable workstation solutions.. And Adobe applications surely favor them..


Thanks Emperus!

I was planning on going with an ATI FirePro V7800 card. But now, from yours and Jack's Nvidia suggestion -- I think I'll go for the Nvidia Quadro 4000. It seems to be preferred by both Adobe and AutoDesk.
a c 81 à CPUs
March 19, 2011 3:55:39 PM

I won't recommend going for a workstation card unless of course you are going to work with huge texture data sets and/or require the finest color accuracy.. For a single user work scenario, desktop cards would actually suffice.. Unless of course your work is mission critical and you require optimum technical support..

Another approach could be that you can try and assemble a dual processor setup.. It should fetch you more performance definitely.. As for recommending a Nvidia card, I did that because I saw Adobe in your application set.. Adobe apps make efficient use of CUDA cores.. Btw, I missed the availability of HT on the i7 970.. So sorry about that.. All the best with your build..
March 28, 2011 11:09:26 PM

Best answer selected by jiroband.
a b à CPUs
March 29, 2011 4:30:09 AM

get i7 970 if you have that budget, 6cores 12threads best choice, but an i7 950 is a wiser choice, its cheaper than 970 and can perform also great running those apps that you mentioned, sandy bridge?, too many flaws, less pci lanes, less memory, no 6 core cpu upgrade support, its sure faster than 1366 series clock to clock speed, also same number of cores and threads to 950, if you are a gamer i7 2600/2600k is your best choice cause sandy bridge runs games better but in heavily threaded apps that require more memory its not as stable as the 1366 processors, i see the sandy bridge as just a turbo version of 1156, but not the intel top gun. i got bloomfield i7 950 overclocked, triple channel memory 18gb ram, a great gpu, i run 3d rendering in 3dmax, adobe photoshop for photo editing and hell it rocks!!! never thought of getting a sandy bridge, its a downgrade in my point of view.
March 29, 2011 6:58:20 AM

Why don't you just skip the GPU altogether and use the 2600k onboard graphics while utilizing Quick Sync, which handily beats CUDA enabled grafix card for any rendering in speed and correctness. The thought of doing this in the past from what I've gathered used to be forbidden but with SB this seems possible and will save you cash and greatly increase rendering speeds.

After all, you said you weren't doing any gaming which I think people forget on these boards.
btw, and if so, I'd wait for the Z68 chipset to come out in May in order to do all this.
June 22, 2011 5:40:58 PM

I just built a system very similar to the one's jiroband and Jack Naylor spec'd out for running many 2d and 3d Design Programs like Maya, Rhino 3D, and Photoshop.

Specs:
Case: Corsair Obsidian 650D $200
MB: ASUS P8P67 $225
CPU: Intel Core i7 2600K Sandy Bridge $315
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus $40
RAM: Corsair Vengeance 4 x 4G (16GB) $180
PSU: Seasonic x750 Gold $160
Optical Drive: DVD Burner Lite-On $25
HD: WD 1.5TB $110
SSD: 128G Crucuial $235
VGA: Quadro 4000 $780
OS: Windows 7 HP $100

So far everything is working fast and reliably.

!