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$2000 workstation build - comments please

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September 17, 2011 2:09:06 PM

I'm building a Windows system for animation in Cinema 4D and video editing in After Effects and Premiere. My budget is around $2000.

I won't be using it for gaming at all and it won't even be connected to the internet, so I don't need the best graphics card in the world. I have a quadro 3400 now which is old, but the max resolution is 3840x1200, which I use across two 24" DVI monitors.

I'm not going to overclock, I need a stable rig.

cpu: i7 2600K Quad Core Unlocked Hyperthreading Processor LGA1155 3.4GHZ Sandy Bridge 8MB
m/b: ASUS P8Z68-V Pro Z68 LGA1155 ATX 3PCI-E16 2PCI-E1 2 PCI B3
RAM: Corsair CML16GX3M4A1600C9B Vengeance Low Profile Blue 16GB 4X4GB DDR3-1600 CL9-9-9-24 Memory Kit
SSD drive: OCZ Solid 3 120GB 2.5IN SATA3 Sandforce SF-2281
second hard drive: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB SATA3 6GB/S 7200RPM 64MB Cache 3.5IN Dual Proc
video card: MSI GeForce GTX 560 Ti Hawk OC 950MHZ 1GB GDDR5 Dual DVI Mini-HDMI DX11 PCI-E Video
case: Antec Sonata IV ATX Mid Tower Quiet Case 3X5.25 4X3.5 1X2.5IN 620W USB 3.0 120MM Fan -
DVD drive: LG GH24NS70 24X SATA Internal DVD Writer Burner DVDRW Optical Drive Black OEM
OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional Edition 64BIT DVD OEM

I still need to add something for cooling

Total $1,527 (ncix)

I can't decide if I should get dual quad-core xeons or just the i7. My programs can use as many threads as I can throw at them.

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September 17, 2011 2:56:37 PM

What is your timeframe?
In a month, 8 core bulldozer should arrive. Performance is unknown.
November 15 should launch sandy bridge-E; 6 core workstation oriented cpu's.

If your need is immediate, 2600K is as good as it gets, and your proposed build looks good.

Here are some added thoughts:

1) Why not use the integrated graphics? It will run two 1920 x 1200 monitors.
If your apps can use the CUDA capability of Nvidia, then OK with a GTX560, but I think a lower cost card would suffice. Check that out.
I don't like the cooler on the hawk. It does a good job of cooling the gpu, but it dumps the heat back into the case where case cooling has to deal with it. That heats up both the cpu and gpu. I prefer a direct exhaust type cooler on cards like this GTX570:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

2) The Antec SOLO has been a long time favorite for me. It is one of the quietest cases ever. It has been updated to the SOLOii, and it is even better.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Have you considered a Micro-ATX based system? I have only a single GTX580, and a M-ATX motherboard in a Silverstone TJ08. I wanted a short case for my space. It has a 180mm intake fan on low, and it is inaudible. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... It will fit any cpu cooler which is unusual for a M-ATX case.

3) A 600w psu is sufficient for even a GTX580, and the Antec psu's are good. Also, look at Seasonic, XFX, Corsair, and PC P&C for dependable quality.

4) A SSD is great for the OS and some apps. I suggest intel, primarily because they have had fewer issues and returns:
http://www.behardware.com/articles/810-6/components-ret...

5) For a cpu cooler, look at the Xigmatek gaia or CM hyper212. They are effective 120mm coolers, and cost about $30. You can pay twice as much and get a bit better, but it really is not worth it.

6) Is there some feature of Windows 7 professional that you need? Most will only need home premium.

7) If you are comfortable with some overclocking(that's why you are looking at a "K") then the 2600K should serve you well. I think you will get more from a single overclocked cpu with hyperthreading than dual Xeon. And, I would not go with the 1366 6 core gulftowns now with sandy bridge-e just around the corner.
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September 17, 2011 3:50:14 PM

Thanks for the tips, all great. There's always something coming up, if I wait for the next big thing I'll never build. If the new stuff pushes down the price of what I'm looking at now that's great though.

I'm mostly using cinema 4D and photoshop, both of which have cuda support through their plugins.

I would like to have more than 16GB of ram, which is why I need windows 7 pro. Unless there's a heat, power and/or space issue, I'd like to have twice what I listed, 32GB. I still remember paying $100 for 4MB of ram for my 386, so these prices are ridiculous.



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September 17, 2011 4:37:04 PM

8gb sticks are starting to show up, but they are very expensive. You can get a 16gb( 2 x 8gb) kit for $450:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I understand that lots of ram is great for photoshop.

As an alternative, the older 1366 motherboards will have 6 ram slots, and can support 24gb with the current low cost 4gb dimms.
You can use a gulftown cpu with 6 cores and hyperthreading. They will cost $600. If many threads is what you want, you probably can't do better.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
But, If you are interested in 1366, I would try to wait to November for sandy bridge-E. It looks like that is exactly what you are looking for.

If your need is now, get it now.
You can always sell things later if you find that what you bought is lacking compared to the new offerings.

Who knows, Bulldozer might be wonderful for your needs.

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September 24, 2011 12:24:41 AM

Best answer selected by headfirst.
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