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A Computer for a Motion Graphics Designer (3000 - 4000$~)

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April 25, 2011 8:48:22 PM

Hey

We're a small new Motion & Design Studio with about a size of 20 people. We're looking for two work stations to surprise our two Motion Designers that are on a bussiness trip in China at the moment of writing this. Untill now we've let them work with some real trashy iMacs due to our budget but we are now able to afford two work stations for a total of maximum 8000$ for both of them (4000 each)

Here are the requirements:

Approximate Purchase Date:
They will be back next month, so something we can order within this week.

Budget Range:
4000$ Max for each computer.

System Usage from Most to Least Important:
Motion Design (After Effects, Flash etc), Video encoding, 3D modelling, Image production, Audio production.

Parts Not Required:
Keyboards, Headsets, mouses, speakers and monitors.


Preferred Website(s) for Parts:
We are located in Sweden and we would rather prefer to order from Swedish retailers. We have VAT etc over here which adds alot to the cost but in general 4000$ turns out to be 40000 SEK or a slightly bit lesser. As long it turns out to be lesser than 4001$ it should be OKAY.

Country of Origin: Sweden

Parts Preferences: None.

Overclocking: Probably not.
SLI or Crossfire: We plan to run a three monitor setup in the future. So as long it can take HDMI x3.

Monitor Resolution: 1080p and eventually three monitor setup

Additional Comments: A quiet PC would be ideal for us aswell a case that goes well with our office (our office is quite apple inspired. White walls and floor etc.

Thank you!
April 26, 2011 10:53:03 AM

So I am a little unsure about how many "Herbs" you shall need under this computer's bonnet. Are you considering an actual "Workstation build" using workstation class hardware such as the Intel Xeon processors, AMD Opteron processors and Workstation class graphics such as the AMD Firepro and the Nvidia Quadro!

Perhaps if you posted the specifications of your current Macs which are being used for this work then I could get a better idea of what is expected of these machines!


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Anyway I won't even pretend to be an expert in Swedish computer stores but I shall give a parts list of items that should be obtainable in a computer store! I'll give the Newegg links as that give good user reviews on the part's quality!

CPU --- Figuring that you don't want to go for a Xeon or Opteron I'll recommend a Core i7 2600K edition! This CPU matches and actually beats the $1000 CPUs on intel's LGA 1366 platform which makes the 2600K excellent value for a $300 processor. You might wish to overclock this processor actually as they overclock very easily on air cooling and this will accelerate the tasks that you are doing on it! http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115070

GPU --- This is a hard one as you have to go SLI or Crossfire in order to get a tri-screen setup, but the actual performance is not enhanced by the SLI system in those types of rendering and computing applications. I'd recommend the GTX 570 for a couple of reasons.
1. CUDA cores will accelerate the applications that you are using!
2. Compared to the Quadro GPUs they use the same GPU architecture!
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814121412

MotherBoard --- In order to SLI the GPUs at full speed You'll be looking at the Gaming Motherboards. At the moment the ASUS motherboards have the nicest BIOS tools making it very simple to Overclock your CPU from the GUI of the BIOS and you can comtrol just about everything on them! For this the ASUS Maximus IV would be in order
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131700

RAM --- In order to squeeze the best performance possible some low latency DDR3 would do - GSKILL ripjaws X http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231431

HDD --- A Western Digital 1TB should do http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136533

SSD --- This part is for your Operative System AND your program files to make everything load real quick! http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227551

Power --- Seasonic X850 would be necessary to run both GPUs http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817151102

Case --- Gotta be a Lian Li for this ... Take a look on their website http://www.lian-li.com/v2/en/contact_us/index1.php You'll require an Extended ATX for that motherboard but other than that these computers should be nice and Shiny!http://www.lian-li.com/v2/en/product/product06.php?pr_index=338&cl_index=1&sc_index=25&ss_index=61
Sadly they don't seem to have their white/silver ones in the E-ATX and the only choices are Black and Red (which would send your artists round the loop)! In that case you might have to change the motherboard out for a ASUS P8P67 DELUXE, and then change to a Case such as this one: http://www.lian-li.com/v2/en/product/product06.php?pr_index=555&cl_index=1&sc_index=25&ss_index=62&g=f



Other than those important things; for a DVD drive just get a white burner that will fit in ... and that should be about done!

Those designers are going to be really happy! Just keep an eye on them so they don't start gaming with that!

Happy computer building!


Luke
April 26, 2011 4:15:28 PM

ukee has great points with almost all of his suggestions. One of the only things I would change would be adding two solid state drives in a RAID0 on one controller and two 1 TB drives in a RAID1 on another controller. It's well within your budget and the speed is freaking amazing; well worth every penny. If you're working with big files, two 256 GB SSD drives should give you the space you need.

I'd also look into the Antec 1200 case. Lian Li makes great stuff, too... so it pretty much comes down to personal taste.

You should keep in-mind that Intel is releasing a new socket next month based on Sandy Bridge. It's set to replace socket 1366 as the upper-end desktop segment. There will be a few benefits to waiting such as being able to use both a discreet GPU as well as the built-in encoder. Tom's did a benchmark/article a while back so if you need a source, let me know and I'll find it.

Based on your demands for this machine I'd wait for the upcoming goodness that Intel is about to bestow. Just my two cents...
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April 26, 2011 4:29:46 PM

Pretty much what ukee1593 said. These are my suggestions:

Consumer hardware: Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD7-B3, Intel Core i7 2600K, AMD Radeon HD 6970, 8GB DDR3 RAM (from Gskill or Corsair), a 850W or better PSU (from any of the high-end brands), a big SSD (no bad brands, really), and a decent case (as far as I know, Lian Li, Corsair and NZXT all make cases with white as their main color).

Workstation hardware: Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD7-B3, Intel Xeon E3-1280, Nvidia Quadro 4000, 8GB DDR3 RAM (from Gskill or Corsair), a 700W or better PSU (from any of the high-end brands), a big SSD (no bad brands, really), and a decent case (as far as I know, Lian Li, Corsair and NZXT all make cases with white as their main color).

I think the workstation build is more expensive, but it should offer noticeably better performance. For $4000, you could build a ridiculously powerful PC, but once you went past, say, $2000 it would be like throwing money in a trash can, unless you are a Pixar employee or some *** like that.
April 26, 2011 9:17:44 PM

Hi! Thank you all for the great answers. I feel like i've even learned a few things lol.

The old iMacs they use are core 2 duos at 2.6 ghz 24 inches.

I read about this intel quick sync technology which seems quite ideal for video encoding but only works on a few select motherboards. Is this something to have? And does those mobos support it?

Thank you:)  dont worry, we're moving them to our room with only glas walls and i'll be sitting outside and watch them from my desk if they are playing games. Hehe
April 26, 2011 11:16:29 PM

Well these computers will most defiantly beat the crap out of those old imacs!

The intel Quick Sync is basically a specialized video and audio encoding engine in the processor which works by running the data through the Sandy Bridge onboard GPU core! Sadly this feature only works with the H67 chipset as the P67 disables the onboard GPU! Going for a H67 chipset is not a very good option however as they lack a few of the features of the p67 boards.

In my opinion, just stick with the discrete graphics as that supports both CUDA and OpenCL (not just OpenCL like Intel Quicksync and AMD Stream) and these should be faster at video encoding than a Quicksyn based system anyway.

So in short, you don't need Quicksync and the boards selected don't support it!

Also I recommend ignoring the Nvidia Quadro as they just use the same GPU cores as the Geforce (and they seem to be more expensive for no reason!)

++ there is no new intel socket next month, Just the Z68 chipset which allows Quicksync and overclocking support AT THE SAME TIME!! Socket 2011 comes out in Q3 2011

I also doubt that the Workstation hardware will offer better performance as it is the same architecture, similar clock speeds and the same socket!
April 27, 2011 1:10:56 PM

The Greater Good said:
ukee has great points with almost all of his suggestions. One of the only things I would change would be adding two solid state drives in a RAID0 on one controller and two 1 TB drives in a RAID1 on another controller. It's well within your budget and the speed is freaking amazing; well worth every penny. If you're working with big files, two 256 GB SSD drives should give you the space you need.

I'd also look into the Antec 1200 case. Lian Li makes great stuff, too... so it pretty much comes down to personal taste.

You should keep in-mind that Intel is releasing a new socket next month based on Sandy Bridge. It's set to replace socket 1366 as the upper-end desktop segment. There will be a few benefits to waiting such as being able to use both a discreet GPU as well as the built-in encoder. Tom's did a benchmark/article a while back so if you need a source, let me know and I'll find it.

Based on your demands for this machine I'd wait for the upcoming goodness that Intel is about to bestow. Just my two cents...

I definitely agree with his comment about the case. I've had a system with an Antec 1200 for 3 years now and it has been a absolutely incredible case. Just to give you an idea of how much I like this case, even if I won the lottery and had 200 million in the bank and were going to build a $5000-$10000 uber computer with the best of everything, I would get Antec 1200 case. I love this thing!
!