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Workstation: Architecture+Video (have graphics card questions too)

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May 21, 2011 12:37:10 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: 2-4 weeks

Budget Range: <$2000 before rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important:
3D concept drawing (AutoCAD, Rhinoceros, Sketchup, 3ds Max, Revit)
3D Model Rendering (Maya, Maxwell Studio/Vray)
2D Hybrid design with TIFF Scanned Images (Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign)
RAW Photo Processing and managment (Lightroom 3 & Photoshop)
HD Video Editing, Color Correction and (soon) 3D Effects (Premiere Pro & After Effects)
General Tasks (MS Office, Web, etc)
GIS (ArcGIS - Basic analysis, nothing crazy)

Parts Not Required: Have (2) Dell 20” LCD, all software including Win 7 64bit Ultimate (thanks to student access), no speakers (will use headphones)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: (newegg.com, zipzoomfly.com, amazon.com)

Country of Origin: (USA)

Parts Preferences: Have (2) 1TB WD Blacks already and I love them, want a modular power supply, want a discrete case that won't attract attention (hence, no flashy gamer case)

Proposed Build:

1x Antec Performance One Series P183 V3 Black Aluminum / Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

1x OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ700MXSP 700W 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply

1x GIGABYTE GA-Z68X-UD4-B3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

1x Intel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I72600K

1x CORSAIR CWCH60 Hydro Series H60 High Performance Liquid CPU Cooler

2x Kingston HyperX 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 KHX1600C9D3K2/8GX

1x Intel 510 Series (Elm Crest) SSDSC2MH120A2K5 2.5" 120GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

2x Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

Video Card: Can't decide what is better between the Quadro 600 or the 560Ti(the 560Ti has been unlocked for MPE for Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects, unofficially of course)

1x PNY VCQ600-PB Quadro 600 1GB 128-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 Low Profile Workstation Video Card

1x Palit NE5X56T01142-1041F GeForce GTX 560 Ti (Fermi) 2GB

1x 3Dconnexion 3DX-700028 Silver/Black 2 Buttons USB Optical SpaceNavigator SE

1x Logitech MK320 Black USB RF Wireless Standard Desktop


Overclocking: Yes, this would be my first attempt to overclock, but given the ease of UEFI, unlocked CPU and the sealed watercooled system, I would be willing to try to 4Ghz or so to be stable side of things. (any advice on this would be appreciated)


SLI or Crossfire: Maybe


Monitor Resolution: (2x 1680x1050)


Additional Comments: This is a workstation that I will use daily for modeling and production of projects through my program ( 2.5 years left), Have built two PCs in the past but this would be the first one designed to handle serious work.

I am struggling with the video card dilemma. On the one hand, professionals say to use professional certified graphics, and the video at Nvidia's site showing the model rotation with a FX 580 (old version of the 600) is pretty impressive. On the other hand, support for GPU acceleration for Premiere Pro and After Effects is limited to the Quadro 2000 card and above, so to get both video and CAD support from the graphics I apparently need to get the Quadro 2000 or above, but I have not heard great things about this card in general, and the hack that allows the GTX 560Ti to get MPE support in PP and AE is already here with impressive results.

So, do I spring for a Quadro 2000 or even a Quadro 4000, or stay with a GTX 560 Ti and save myself the money for maybe two in SLI? Keep in mind, I am in school where are models are pretty simple, we don't design every part of a building when we only have 6 weeks per project, so complex models are pretty rare, unless we get a city survey.

Also, all of the workstation graphics comparisons are with the older Quadro cards and basically useless for understanding the comparison between the GF100/104 versus the GF110 chipset cards.

Toms Hardware needs to update the charts and do a real professional graphics shootout between the 560/570/580/590, the Quadro 600/2000/4000/5000/6000 and the FirePro 5800/7800/8800 cards!! Please!

Thoughts? Thanks in advance!
May 22, 2011 8:37:18 AM

Ok, making some changes to the parts list:

MB: Changing to the MSI P67A-GD65 P67 Board Because....

1) I am using an Intel 510 120GB SSD for my OS disk and putting my data in a RAID-0 array; SSD caching from the Z68 Platform is thus not taken advantage of and not really worth it.

2) Adobe Premiere Pro/After Effects do not utilize the Quicksync feature from the Z68 north bridge, only consumer level codecs and software benefit from this feature.

3) I was debating between the MSI board and the ASUS P8P67-Pro but some reviews really praised the simplicity of the overclocking on the MSI (I have no experience in this but plan to go to 4-4.2GHZ) and overall better rating on newegg

GPU: Going with the Palit 560 Ti 2GB card because:

1) I can't afford a very expensive Quadro 2000 or 4000 to get both MPE support in Adobe Premiere Pro/After Effects and 'certified' support for AutoCAD/3Ds, so those are out of the question. The 580/570 are getting pretty solid performance in both of these programs themselves but the biggest problem is the low VRAM of only 1.2 GB for the 570. Since the Palit is the only 560Ti that includes 2GB VRAM (apparently more VRAM is better for CAD programs and MPE performance), and the 560Ti is almost matching the 570 performance for $100 less combined with running cooler and being smaller, I'm having a hard time settling on a Quadro 600.
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May 22, 2011 9:28:12 PM

@jbakerlent - thank you for your response. Why do you think the Antec Kuhler would be better than the Corsair HW60?

2) Thanks for the link, z68 may be worth it since I encode h264 for VIMEO
3) Can you elaborate on your recommendation of the ASUS?
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May 22, 2011 11:00:46 PM

Ack, the Kuhler's stuck at $80, when it drops back down to $69 it'll be worth it. That makes me feel inclined to recommend an air cooler. This Xigmatek will save you some money and work as well.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Check out this link and search for "Corsair" to find the H50 (I know not H60). It's handily beat by the air cooler.

For the mobo, I was referring to the Z68 version of both boards - as for you concerns about overclocking, with the UEFI BIOS, all you have to do is spin up the multiplier, so I don't think you'll run into problems with either. Asus, all other things being equal (which they seem to be imo) gets my vote over MSI.
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