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New rig for 3D Animation

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January 23, 2011 2:39:00 PM

I'm planning on building a new machine within the next few weeks. I'm not in a huge rush but I've been putting this off for a long, long time. As I type this, my poor P4 3.0 is ticking away resentfully. She's been a dependable old horse, but it's time to put her to pasture...

Anyways, my main needs are 3D rigging and animating. Mainly in Maya. I do model/texture etc. but that is secondary to animation. I seldom render and have a small farm available when it does come up. I do occasionally do a bit of gaming but I'm not someone that needs the best bench ever in Crysis or anything of that sort.

After doing some research and through lots of good advice from this forum and others, I've found that I need more CPU power to push the deformers in Maya for animating.

Looking to spend around 1200-1500USD (be great if it were on the lower side of that)

Here's what I've come up with so far, looking for help to fill in the gaps:

Intel I7 SB 2600K - I'll be overclocking this and need to know about cooling, I've seen great results with the stock air cooler, wondering if water cooling is worth it. Never water cooled before.

Motherboard - I know I'll need something P67 based but that's about as far as I've gotten. I don't plan on SLI but wouldn't rule it out (the specs further down may dictate what MB to get)

RAM - 8GB or more of something reputable. Last time I built something that was Kingston and Corsair... not sure what's changed. Don't know much about timings/latency etc or if that matters with Sandy Bridge

SSD - I'd like a decent SSD for the OS and applications as I've seen this helps with load times and stuff, any other input on why this is beneficial would be great. (I have a 1TB WD drive that I've already purchased for storage, its not SATA3 but I would like to consider that in the motherboard for the future)

Video Card - Here is where I'm most clueless. I know the nvidia 4xx series does not fair well in the many 3D applications. I have a friend I can buy a gtx285 off of for little money and will probably do this. But am open to arguments otherwise. gtx580 seems like a lot of money to spend on something that has little impact on my primary parameter.

Power supply and system/cpu cooling - no ideas

Case - just really want something quiet and not too expensive. I've never owned a quiet case/computer. My computer at work is super quiet and it's a nice break from the jetliner I have now.

Already have a couple monitors that I'm happy with for now. Likewise with my mouse/keyboard.


Sorry for my long-winded post Looking forward to any suggestions.

More about : rig animation

January 23, 2011 7:10:36 PM

I would go with the gtx 570 over 580. The gains for a 580 are not really worth the extra money in my opinion. I also decided to stick with 1366 because of its maturity and extra ram. You can pick up the 570 for about $350. Keep in mind 3D apps and adobe apps like we use do not support SLI so don't plan on getting another one to boost your performance later. Any 4XX series will outperform a 2XX series and any 5XX series will outperform the 4XX series in almost every case.
I am in the middle of putting together a 1366 workstation for 1500 right now and i put a 570 in it and 12gb of ram.

I'm NOT going to try an make the argument that 1366 is better then 1155(sandy bridge) I just trust what intel says about it. If you watch the videos on newegg about sandy they actually say its meant for gaming and media and not meant to be better then 1366. Its weird that they say that when Sandy (2600K) does beat almost all 1366 in benchmarks but over my years i have learned that 98% of benchmarks are done from a gaming standpoint or with no real world basis, soooooo, for people like us.... its hard to know what is best.

Another thing you may want to research is what components (ram,gpu,cpu) are actually being used with tasks like you want to do. If I'm not mistaken gpu, ram and vram are the most important components for what you do in that order. I believe the processor does not play a main role until rendering. Don't trust people on here as a sole source of info! i cant stress this enough.

for the cooler I'd recommend the Cooler Master RR-B10-212P-G1 Hyper 212 Plus. Its super cheap and works very well. Its not a super hard core solution but its cheap and performs well.
If you want a more hard core solution the Noctua 6 Dual Heatpipe with 140mm/120mm Dual is the, go to.
At that price point you could also go with a corsair h50 or h70.

OH.... I got the Lancool K62 case. Its very nice and price is very good too ($118shipped). Only complaint i have is no external fire wire.

Hope this help
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January 23, 2011 7:38:42 PM

Noxtreme thanks for the reply.

I am still weighing in between the 5xx and just getting that used 2xx. I don't want a 4xx as I've read numerous threads that show they are problematic with viewport rendering. The main thing I do with Maya is character animation. Maya's deformers (unfortunately) do not offload anything to the GPU. It's also a single-threaded task so I'm looking for the best bandwidth/clockspeed available. Most other tasks I do take a backseat to animation playback in Maya's viewport.

The 2xx I'll be purchasing is going to be cheap and I could always upgrade the card later if needed. I may put that savings toward more ram and a larger/better SSD

Any caveats with Sandy Bridge I should know about? Ram/motherboard features/brands? I'm all ears folks!
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January 23, 2011 9:40:36 PM

ncorrao said:
Noxtreme thanks for the reply.

I am still weighing in between the 5xx and just getting that used 2xx. I don't want a 4xx as I've read numerous threads that show they are problematic with viewport rendering. The main thing I do with Maya is character animation. Maya's deformers (unfortunately) do not offload anything to the GPU. It's also a single-threaded task so I'm looking for the best bandwidth/clockspeed available. Most other tasks I do take a backseat to animation playback in Maya's viewport.

The 2xx I'll be purchasing is going to be cheap and I could always upgrade the card later if needed. I may put that savings toward more ram and a larger/better SSD

Any caveats with Sandy Bridge I should know about? Ram/motherboard features/brands? I'm all ears folks!


There is a fix out there for the view port issue with the 4XX cards. I cant remember what it was but it wasn't a huge deal. But stick with the 5XX if your going to go that rout. No point in spending over $200 on something that will need an upgrade later when you could spend 150 more and get something that will last a while. 2X 460 will outperform a 580 in games though. No good for our work though

Caveats with sb
- You must have a P67 mobo and a "K" cpu to effectively overclock. BUT with a P67 you loose the built in GPU functionality effectively killing all benefits of SB with the exception of raw clock speed.
- duel channel ram means 4 dims where X58 has 6 dims. I believe you are going to have to spend more money to get 12gb+ of ram on P67. There is slightly better performance with trip channel but what the difference equates to is pretty much unmeasured in real world performance.
-You have to spend a bag of cash to get a p67 mobo to do 16X by 16X but this point is pretty much null if your going to do a single video card.
- Lastly, a matter of opinion; SB is a brand new release which means a few things to me. Do you remember when Duel core first came out? Remember the insane progression that happened. Tons of early adopters got left in the dust within 6 months. The same thing kinda happened with 1155 when 1366 came out (1155 fanboys are going to flame me for that). I wont go into the intel "tick tock" stuff but people like us should always stick with the high end stuff (i think its tock) If your in no rush wait for socket 2011. I think its going to be lga 1365 but many people refer to it as lga2011 or socket 2011 which just shows they are operating on hear say rather then research.
SB has also come with the release of a new graphical bios. I honestly know very very little about it but a completely new bios scares the crud out of me because a bad bios can cripple a machine and there is NOTHING you can do to fix it except wait for the co to fix it.
The integrated GPU is going to be dropped from the next socket later in 2011. YES the next socket will not have on die gpu as i understand it! This tells me intel is making this chip for a specific reason. THE REASON THEY MADE THIS CHIP IS for extremely thin, small, light laptops and for media center pc's to put in your living room. As soon as i learned more about SB i made the perdiction we would see IPad type laptops and low and behold ASUS just release the first batch. SB is not intended to be high end workstation chips ACCORDING TO INTEL even though they seem to outperform most the 1366 chips in GAMING BENCHMARKS AND NON REAL WORLD TESTS. These chips have very very low power requirements and a integrated gpu. That means 1 large component can be completely eliminated and another can be drastically downsized. bla bla bla im rambling.... let me know if you want more of my opinion on sb

So here was my buying logic in short. I went back and forth about 150 times and finally locked on 1366 and i feel good about it.
- 1366 is built for the high end user according to intell and is a tock (like the P4 which has remained OK for a LONG time, I AM UPGRADING FROM A P4 3ghz ALSO)
- I don't want to go with a chip that intell themselves calls calls the gamers choice and not the high end users choice. Intell is not hiding the purpose for these chips, and its not what we do. what does that mean??? I dont know but time will tell.
- Im going with a I7 950 3.06ghz at $289 which i will oc to 4.0ghz (Its going to be possible to do this for 24/7 use with an aftermarket cooler if i want but i will probably just oc when i'm in production mode; 3.8ghz is easy:)  The 2600k is 3.4ghz at $329 it can go to 3.8 turbo but i have seen over 4ghz safely(i have seen the 950 over 4 safely too). I have seen the 2600k at 5ghz but the reviewer says it is not safe for 24/7 use and recommends not doing it. I look at it like this. The 950 will do 4 safely and so will the 2600k. Overclocked beyond this both chips are in jeopardy. The Sandy bridge may have a .25 to .5 ghz advantage for safe OC but since it has not been tested for long term who know, SB's could start dropping like flies where the 1366 I7 have been running way overclocked for years now. LOL i saw a youtube video of a SB doing 5.45ghz... lol I wonder how long that lasted. Again most benchmarks are for gaming or in no way represent real world use. Ill admit i get all excited when i see numbers like that too though.
-when you factor in triple channel memory that .25ghz gets less then when factoring in "tried and true" and the small savings a 1366 rig will bring the choice becomes obvious for me. Excitement of having the newest and growing your e peen is tempting lol. The excitement of the unknown capabilities of SB is exciting. BUT just stick to facts. Beyond this you still have 16X 16X if you do decide you want to increase game performance, You have triple channel 6 dim... oh i already said that .
-I'm scared of the new bios. It may be easier to use but BUGS will exist. Not a reason for you to avoid but it was a factor for me.

MOVING ON

I'm in the market for a ssd to go with my new rig as well and what im thinking about doing (today ;)  is buying a nice mechanical for cheap
this one
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001CW9NL2/ref=ord_car...
just to use until ssd's drop in price.
SSD's are starting to drop in price and some red flag indicators for future price drops are showing up.
1. Sata III SSD drives are hitting the market (crucial c300's)
2.The first high capacity SSD's are just hitting the market
3. Companies are just finishing payment for production facilities and there are some advancements in production happening. There is also some new ssd tech coming.

4. not sure if this is related but MANY ram manufactures seem to be out of their high performance ram. TOTAL SPECULATION but I'm hoping it has something to do with SSD manufactures grabbing up all the chips but i very well may be completely and totally wrong about this.
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