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Building a workstation for 3D

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January 8, 2012 9:28:13 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: (Next month or two)

Budget Range: (~$5500) Before / After Rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: (3D modeling, texturing, animating, rendering, video editing, light gaming on the weekends)

Parts Not Required: (keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: (newegg.com)

Country: (US, Texas)

Parts Preferences: by brand or type (Need Quadro 5000, need a secondary consumer card for occasional gaming and to keep the Quadro 5000 on 1 monitor and the consumer card running 2 monitors. Need best CPU performance available so I am looking at an i7-3960X. Also need 8 DIMMs for the option of 64GB RAM later on, but I would like to start with 32GB.)

Overclocking: Yes, if it will be stable and easy

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe in the future, but not very important form the start. Will need two separate GPUs from the start though.

Monitor Resolution: (1920x1080 (2), 1920x1200)

Additional Comments: (I am new to overclocking and am open to it. If I can get a stable system that will last a while with overclocking to improve render times, I will do it.)


This would not be my first build, but will be my first build to be used as my main machine and first overclocking experience. Here are some of the main components I am looking at:

Intel Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition Sandy Bridge-E 3.3GHz (3.9GHz Turbo)
CORSAIR H100 (CWCH100) Extreme Performance Liquid CPU Cooler
ASUS Rampage IV Extreme LGA 2011 Intel X79 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Extended ATX Intel Motherboard
CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) * 4 for 32GB
Quadro 5000 2.5GB 320-bit GDDR5
MSI GeForce GTX 560 (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5
COOLER MASTER CM Storm Series Trooper
Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5
Western Digital Caviar Green 3TB 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5
OCZ Vertex 3 120GB SATA III
Antec 1200W 80 PLUS GOLD Certified

This will be my main machine and I need stability and performance. Also, I have a few questions:

1. Would overclocking the CPU to 4.3 GHz be easy and run stable?

2. Will I have any problems with two different GPUs in the same system?

3. Will the case support a push/pull configuration on the H100? Not a big deal if it doesn't. The case looks to have good airflow anyways.

4. Would overclocking be easier on a different motherboard?

5. Do you recommend using overclocking presets for those who are new to it?

6. Do you recommend overclocking the RAM too? Or do I have to overclock the RAM if I am overclocking the CPU?

Thanks in advance for all the help, I really appreciate it!

More about : building workstation

January 8, 2012 9:47:15 PM

strausd said:
Approximate Purchase Date: (Next month or two)

Budget Range: (~$5500) Before / After Rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: (3D modeling, texturing, animating, rendering, video editing, light gaming on the weekends)

Parts Not Required: (keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: (newegg.com)

Country: (US, Texas)

Parts Preferences: by brand or type (Need Quadro 5000, need a secondary consumer card for occasional gaming and to keep the Quadro 5000 on 1 monitor and the consumer card running 2 monitors. Need best CPU performance available so I am looking at an i7-3960X. Also need 8 DIMMs for the option of 64GB RAM later on, but I would like to start with 32GB.)

Overclocking: Yes, if it will be stable and east

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe in the future, but not very important form the start. Will need two separate GPUs from the start though.

Monitor Resolution: (1920x1080 (2), 1920x1200)

Additional Comments: (I am new to overclocking and am open to it. If I can get a stable system that will last a while with overclocking to improve render times, I will do it.)


This would not be my first build, but will be my first build to be used as my main machine and first overclocking experience. Here are some of the main components I am looking at:

Intel Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition Sandy Bridge-E 3.3GHz (3.9GHz Turbo)
CORSAIR H100 (CWCH100) Extreme Performance Liquid CPU Cooler
ASUS Rampage IV Extreme LGA 2011 Intel X79 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Extended ATX Intel Motherboard
CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) * 4 for 32GB
Quadro 5000 2.5GB 320-bit GDDR5
MSI GeForce GTX 560 (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5
COOLER MASTER CM Storm Series Trooper
Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5
Western Digital Caviar Green 3TB 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5
OCZ Vertex 3 120GB SATA III
Antec 1200W 80 PLUS GOLD Certified

This will be my main machine and I need stability and performance. Also, I have a few questions:

1. Would overclocking the CPU to 4.3 GHz be easy and run stable?

2. Will I have any problems with two different GPUs in the same system?

3. Will the case support a push/pull configuration on the H100? Not a big deal if it doesn't. The case looks to have good airflow anyways.

4. Would overclocking be easier on a different motherboard?

5. Do you recommend using overclocking presets for those who are new to it?

6. Do you recommend overclocking the RAM too? Or do I have to overclock the RAM if I am overclocking the CPU?

Thanks in advance for all the help, I really appreciate it!


Thats an awesome set up already. Just a few changes i would really do if you put a little research and just try.

Dont use the h100, instead buy yourself a full custom water cooled loop. Then you can Overclock that i7 much higher than what you wanted and you will see large changes in 3d renderings.
THe motherboard is good. You dont really need to overclock ram. with quad channel 64gb it was be amazingly quick and smooth. i would just stick with the 1600.
What are you going to be using this machine for?
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January 8, 2012 9:52:21 PM

andrey64 said:
Thats an awesome set up already. Just a few changes i would really do if you put a little research and just try.

Dont use the h100, instead buy yourself a full custom water cooled loop. Then you can Overclock that i7 much higher than what you wanted and you will see large changes in 3d renderings.
THe motherboard is good. You dont really need to overclock ram. with quad channel 64gb it was be amazingly quick and smooth. i would just stick with the 1600.
What are you going to be using this machine for?


The machine will be mainly used for Maya, Boujou, ZBrush, AE, Premiere, Photoshop, Lightroom, and the occasional gaming.

I am sure that a custom water cooling setup would provide for a higher OC. However, I am new to overclocking and new to water cooling. Because of that, I want to at least start out with the H100. Also, I want to keep a fairly conservative OC for the CPU to keep maximum stability and life, and that is why I chose an additional 1 GHz. Do you think that is not enough?

Also, do you know any answers to some of my previous questions?
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January 8, 2012 9:53:50 PM

if this is serious bussiness and you do this for a living you should really look into dual socket motherboards. I dont care how high you overclock that cpu, two zeons with dominate it.

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January 8, 2012 10:09:35 PM

cbrunnem said:
if this is serious bussiness and you do this for a living you should really look into dual socket motherboards. I dont care how high you overclock that cpu, two zeons with dominate it.


I am actually coming from a 12-core Mac Pro. The biggest problem I have is the GPU limitations with OS X and awful GPU drivers. Running a Quadro 5000 under Boot Camp is an idea, but too much of a hassle and I would rather customize my own build. So I am looking to sell my current system and use the money to help pay for a custom build.

So basically I want to get the best CPU performance out of one CPU that will best compete with the dual CPUs I have now. I have thought about dual Xeons, but that would go over budget.

I was looking at this CPU benchmark and it looks like the 3960X completely kills the Xeon 5670. Since I have two 5670s, my best estimate of my CPU performance in relation to that chart would be around 9214 X 2 = 18428. Now that is still ~3000 away from the 3960X, but I am assuming that the gap will be smaller when overclocked to 4.3 GHz.

I am not worried about increasing CPU performance at the moment, just getting as close as possible to my current CPU performance. That is why I want to know if a 4.3 GHz OC would be stable enough to run whenever the computer is in use.

Also I am curious as to how easy it is to overclock. I have watched tons of YouTube videos where the people from Asus demonstrate overclocking a 3960X. They briefly mention OC presets, one of which is 4.3 GHz. I just want to know if that is a good route and if I would need to make any additional changes to the preset. For that, I may need to consult the Asus forums.

The big thing will be the addition of a Quadro 5000 for 98235728975 X better viewport performance.
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January 8, 2012 10:48:40 PM

I wouldn't use water cooling in this system give the cost of the card. Maybe get CM 212 EVO for 44.99. You will also need a COOLER MASTER 2011 Retention Bracket for $4.99


I suggest the i7 3930 if you plan to OC as its the same chip and OC'ed should be about equal.

I suggest dropping the WD black drive for 2x Crucial M4 256GB for $729.98. If you could I would suggest putting off buying any HD till the prices come back down.

Lastly I suggest getting different RAM as those may cause problems with most heatsinks due to their height.
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January 8, 2012 10:56:06 PM

elbert said:
I wouldn't use water cooling in this system give the cost of the card. Maybe get CM 212 EVO for 44.99. You will also need a COOLER MASTER 2011 Retention Bracket for $4.99


I suggest the i7 3930 if you plan to OC as its the same chip and OC'ed should be about equal.

I suggest dropping the WD black drive for 2x Crucial M4 256GB for $729.98. If you could I would suggest putting off buying any HD till the prices come back down.

Lastly I suggest getting different RAM as those may cause problems with most heatsinks due to their height.




Thanks for the advice. I have heard good things about the H100 and like that you can press the button for 3 different speeds. If I decide to go with air then I will definitely look into the CM 212 EVO.

Do you think you would be able to answer any of my questions from the original post about overclocking, like questions 1, 4, and 5? And how easy is it to make sure the CPU is not constantly running at 4.3 GHz? For example, when idle, there would be no need for the CPU to be running that fast. But when rendering, the CPU would need to automatically go to 4.3 GHz.

Also, do you know if I will have any issues running a Quadro 5000 and a GTX 560 in the same machine?

Ya, it sucks that HD prices are as bad as they are right now. I would definitely like at least one SSD and have looked into the Crucial M4. As for the mechanical drives, I may be able to just reuse my Caviar Blacks that I have now if I do not include them when I sell the Mac Pro.

As for the RAM, I totally agree. I will be on the lookout for well priced RAM that is not too tall. If I can't find any that are as well priced, do you think I would even encounter any problems? Especially if I use the H100, I assume I will have enough room, although maybe not for push/pull. But the case looks to provide sufficient airflow so that I wouldn't need push/pull.
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January 8, 2012 10:58:05 PM

dual 5680's are 25 percent faster then then the 3960x. also comparing old cpu's to new isnt really fair. you could wait till the new intel server boards and cpus come out. the 6 core variants would be just as fast and could be overclocked as well.
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January 8, 2012 11:00:33 PM

cbrunnem said:
dual 5680's are 25 percent faster then then the 3960x. also comparing old cpu's to new isnt really fair. you could wait till the new intel server boards and cpus come out. the 6 core variants would be just as fast and could be overclocked as well.


Dual 5680s would be $3280. That in addition to the Quadro card and a motherboard would already be at the top of my budget. And considering a 3960X is already so close to dual 5670s, I assume that overclocking it to 4.3 GHz will help close the gap.
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January 8, 2012 11:39:22 PM

Quote:
1. Would overclocking the CPU to 4.3 GHz be easy and run stable?

There is no absolutes in overclocking but many have stated its nearly effortless to hit 4.3GHz.

Quote:
2. Will I have any problems with two different GPUs in the same system?

With a Nvidia GPU you should have no trouble. The 560 is a fine choice.

Quote:
3. Will the case support a push/pull configuration on the H100? Not a big deal if it doesn't. The case looks to have good airflow anyways.

The case maker states the top cooling converts to 2X120mm. This is were you must mount the H100 radiator. The corsair H100 is a system and you simply set it to low or high. The H100 must me installed inside the case is why I suggest an air cooler like the CM 212 evo.
http://www.coolermaster-usa.com/product.php?product_id=...
Here is a link showing some other possible choices for cooling.
http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1801/12/

Quote:
4. Would overclocking be easier on a different motherboard?

No the ASUS ROG motherboards are designed for extreme overclocks.

Quote:
5. Do you recommend using overclocking presets for those who are new to it?

No. The i7-3960 and i7-3930 both have unlocked multipliers and I suggest simply raising the multiplier slowly. Test each increase with prime95 and speedfan. If prime95 finishes the first 9 to 11 tests on all cores without error and the CPU temp is not near its max thermal then move up to the next increment. If you make it to your desired 4.3GHz then you need to do a longer test for stable operation. If the system is stable then great if its not you may need increase voltage a very small bit. I suggest staying under 1.38 V and no more than 66c for long term use.

Quote:
6. Do you recommend overclocking the RAM too? Or do I have to overclock the RAM if I am overclocking the CPU?

I suggest only changing multipliers up their smallest increment till you understand the software needed to test.

DO you know of the i7's c1 stepping software virtualization only problem? I suggest waiting till you get a c2 stepping for hardware support.
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January 9, 2012 12:33:17 AM

Quote:
With a Nvidia GPU you should have no trouble. The 560 is a fine choice.

Do you know if there would be any problems with a Quadro 5000 and an AMD 6870? Or would it be best to stick to NVIDIA for both the professional and consumer cards?

Quote:
The case maker states the top cooling converts to 2X120mm. This is were you must mount the H100 radiator. The corsair H100 is a system and you simply set it to low or high. The H100 must me installed inside the case is why I suggest an air cooler like the CM 212 evo.
http://www.coolermaster-usa.com/product.php?product_id=...
Here is a link showing some other possible choices for cooling.
http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1801/12/

Thank you for that second link! That is extremely helpful! And I know the H100 has 3 separate speeds, a low, medium, and high. And I think it will be safe to assume that the temperature will be a little bit lower than the second graph since I don't plan on overclocking as high as 4.5.

Quote:
No. The i7-3960 and i7-3930 both have unlocked multipliers and I suggest simply raising the multiplier slowly. Test each increase with prime95 and speedfan. If prime95 finishes the first 9 to 11 tests on all cores without error and the CPU temp is not near its max thermal then move up to the next increment. If you make it to your desired 4.3GHz then you need to do a longer test for stable operation. If the system is stable then great if its not you may need increase voltage a very small bit. I suggest staying under 1.38 V and no more than 66c for long term use.

Is there a specific reason you suggest staying under 1.38 V? Or is it just because too much will reduce the life span of the CPU?

Quote:
I suggest only changing multipliers up their smallest increment till you understand the software needed to test.

So just to be sure, I don't need to overclock my RAM at all, correct? If so, then it sounds like I wouldn't need to worry about any sort of RAM settings in the BIOS.

And in response to your previous mention on SSDs, I am starting to like the idea of two SSDs on a RAID 0 the more I think about it. Right now I have a 120GB SSD in my Mac Pro and I have only used ~60GB of it. I am able to easily fit all of my Autodesk and Adobe programs along with ZBrush and Boujou on the SSD without a problem. Because of that, I think two 256GB SSDs would be a little over kill for me. However, I do know that Windows will take up more space than OS X.

Another question I have is would you recommend two 60GB SSDs in a RAID 0 or a 120GB SSD for my boot drive? It looks like the motherboard supports RAID on SATA III ports, so that shouldn't be an issue. But will RAID cause any problems with TRIM?
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January 9, 2012 1:11:14 AM

strausd said:
Thanks for the advice. I have heard good things about the H100 and like that you can press the button for 3 different speeds. If I decide to go with air then I will definitely look into the CM 212 EVO.

Do you think you would be able to answer any of my questions from the original post about overclocking, like questions 1, 4, and 5? And how easy is it to make sure the CPU is not constantly running at 4.3 GHz? For example, when idle, there would be no need for the CPU to be running that fast. But when rendering, the CPU would need to automatically go to 4.3 GHz.

Also, do you know if I will have any issues running a Quadro 5000 and a GTX 560 in the same machine?

Ya, it sucks that HD prices are as bad as they are right now. I would definitely like at least one SSD and have looked into the Crucial M4. As for the mechanical drives, I may be able to just reuse my Caviar Blacks that I have now if I do not include them when I sell the Mac Pro.

As for the RAM, I totally agree. I will be on the lookout for well priced RAM that is not too tall. If I can't find any that are as well priced, do you think I would even encounter any problems? Especially if I use the H100, I assume I will have enough room, although maybe not for push/pull. But the case looks to provide sufficient airflow so that I wouldn't need push/pull.


if you are going to go air cooling then drop the 212 and look into the D14 or silver arrow. Much better.

Also heres an answer to your previous question you had about overclocking.

That i7 can do much more than a 4.3 stable. If you wanna be safe just go with the MB preset and you will be happy. But that CPU can handle much higher clocks at stables speeds. My 2500k is stable at 4.5 air cooled idling at 34 and topping during gaming at around 50c

im sure that storm trooper can do a push pull h100. Its a fairly large case. If your not sure about cases then the HAF X or the OBSIDIAN 800D are awesome full towers . They can fit EVERYTHIng!
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January 9, 2012 1:19:02 AM

andrey64 said:
if you are going to go air cooling then drop the 212 and look into the D14 or silver arrow. Much better.

Also heres an answer to your previous question you had about overclocking.

That i7 can do much more than a 4.3 stable. If you wanna be safe just go with the MB preset and you will be happy. But that CPU can handle much higher clocks at stables speeds. My 2500k is stable at 4.5 air cooled idling at 34 and topping during gaming at around 50c

im sure that storm trooper can do a push pull h100. Its a fairly large case. If your not sure about cases then the HAF X or the OBSIDIAN 800D are awesome full towers . They can fit EVERYTHIng!


Thanks for the advice! Before, I thought an additional 1 GHz was a big leap. But now I am hearing that is not very big at all. Right now I am thinking that I will start with 4.3 GHz and probably go to 4.5.

The thing I really want in a case is plenty of internal 3.5" slots. That is one thing I really do not like about the Mac Pro. I only have 4 internal 3.5" slots! All of them are full and I have my SSD mounted in the second optical bay. The thing I like about the Storm Trooper is that it holds 8 internal 3.5" drives and has a smaller cage for 4 2.5" drives.

If my budget allows it, I might go with a Lian Li V2120. That is one sexy case! However, I like the handle and XDock feature on the Storm Trooper. And the fact that it is less than half the price doesn't hurt either :) 
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January 9, 2012 1:26:42 PM

strausd said:
Quote:
With a Nvidia GPU you should have no trouble. The 560 is a fine choice.

Do you know if there would be any problems with a Quadro 5000 and an AMD 6870? Or would it be best to stick to NVIDIA for both the professional and consumer cards?

Quote:
The case maker states the top cooling converts to 2X120mm. This is were you must mount the H100 radiator. The corsair H100 is a system and you simply set it to low or high. The H100 must me installed inside the case is why I suggest an air cooler like the CM 212 evo.
http://www.coolermaster-usa.com/product.php?product_id=...
Here is a link showing some other possible choices for cooling.
http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1801/12/

Thank you for that second link! That is extremely helpful! And I know the H100 has 3 separate speeds, a low, medium, and high. And I think it will be safe to assume that the temperature will be a little bit lower than the second graph since I don't plan on overclocking as high as 4.5.

Quote:
No. The i7-3960 and i7-3930 both have unlocked multipliers and I suggest simply raising the multiplier slowly. Test each increase with prime95 and speedfan. If prime95 finishes the first 9 to 11 tests on all cores without error and the CPU temp is not near its max thermal then move up to the next increment. If you make it to your desired 4.3GHz then you need to do a longer test for stable operation. If the system is stable then great if its not you may need increase voltage a very small bit. I suggest staying under 1.38 V and no more than 66c for long term use.

Is there a specific reason you suggest staying under 1.38 V? Or is it just because too much will reduce the life span of the CPU?

Quote:
I suggest only changing multipliers up their smallest increment till you understand the software needed to test.

So just to be sure, I don't need to overclock my RAM at all, correct? If so, then it sounds like I wouldn't need to worry about any sort of RAM settings in the BIOS.

And in response to your previous mention on SSDs, I am starting to like the idea of two SSDs on a RAID 0 the more I think about it. Right now I have a 120GB SSD in my Mac Pro and I have only used ~60GB of it. I am able to easily fit all of my Autodesk and Adobe programs along with ZBrush and Boujou on the SSD without a problem. Because of that, I think two 256GB SSDs would be a little over kill for me. However, I do know that Windows will take up more space than OS X.

Another question I have is would you recommend two 60GB SSDs in a RAID 0 or a 120GB SSD for my boot drive? It looks like the motherboard supports RAID on SATA III ports, so that shouldn't be an issue. But will RAID cause any problems with TRIM?

For the first question many with setups with both Nvidia and AMD often their screens go black when both are tied into monitors. The only setup that works well with both are using the Nvidia as a pure physic/FPU with no monitor. As for the third question the 1.38v is important both in longer life and keeping the thermals down. Voltage affects thermals more than higher frequencies in most instances.

On the RAM OC you need to learn what your CPU can do first. Think of overclocking like trying to find a bad part. Making sure the CPU works correctly at your target OC is first and for most importants. After you have proven your CPU work correctly then lower your CPU multiplier and work the motherboard/RAM's. Again low increases on the motherboard while lowering the CPU's multiplier as needed to keep it near the target OC. While we are on the subject you may want some much higher rated RAM. The 1600 DDR3 will hold you back as the motherboard can OC to 2400 but the price doubles with each increase. I suggest this RAM kit as you really want quad channel and g.skills is know for overclocking.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

On the SSD's I suggest skipping the 64GB models as they are slow in many tasks. You would be nearly as well off with 1x 128GB. Note the link below as you see a major drop in performance going from the 128GB down the the 64GB. The 128GB is the sweet spot for performance in crucial's m4 design. Windows 7 installs are often around 50~60GB's and will rise as more updates come.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/tests-ssd-review-so...
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January 9, 2012 1:51:24 PM

most people now a day are saying 1.4 volts max but when you get to those voltages your looking at clock speeds around 4.7 which in your situation i wouldnt recommend cause it sounds like your tasks are going to be long renders in which case prolonged temps of over 65-70+ will shorten the life. how much no one really knows but it wont last as long.

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January 9, 2012 8:49:21 PM

elbert said:
For the first question many with setups with both Nvidia and AMD often their screens go black when both are tied into monitors. The only setup that works well with both are using the Nvidia as a pure physic/FPU with no monitor. As for the third question the 1.38v is important both in longer life and keeping the thermals down. Voltage affects thermals more than higher frequencies in most instances.

On the RAM OC you need to learn what your CPU can do first. Think of overclocking like trying to find a bad part. Making sure the CPU works correctly at your target OC is first and for most importants. After you have proven your CPU work correctly then lower your CPU multiplier and work the motherboard/RAM's. Again low increases on the motherboard while lowering the CPU's multiplier as needed to keep it near the target OC. While we are on the subject you may want some much higher rated RAM. The 1600 DDR3 will hold you back as the motherboard can OC to 2400 but the price doubles with each increase. I suggest this RAM kit as you really want quad channel and g.skills is know for overclocking.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

On the SSD's I suggest skipping the 64GB models as they are slow in many tasks. You would be nearly as well off with 1x 128GB. Note the link below as you see a major drop in performance going from the 128GB down the the 64GB. The 128GB is the sweet spot for performance in crucial's m4 design. Windows 7 installs are often around 50~60GB's and will rise as more updates come.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/tests-ssd-review-so...


Ok, so I will definitely be going with NVIDIA for both of my cards then, I don't want to deal with any black screens. Also, I will most likely be dual booting and NVIDIA has much better drivers for Linux.

I really don't plan to OC my RAM if I don't have to. I just wasn't sure if OCing the CPU required me to OC the RAM as well.

Alright, it definitely sounds like a 120/128 GB will be the way to go. I do have another question regarding SSDs and Windows 7. OS X works with 4 main folders: Applications, Library, System, and Users. And of course under Users is each users home folder where you will find all of your music, movies, and your desktop folder. In OS X it is extremely easy to change the location of a users home folder to a second hard drive and only takes a few clicks. That way, whenever you copy something to the desktop, it will not go on the SSD, but will instead go onto the second hard drive because that is where you set the new home folder for that user. This means that you are not constantly writing and deleting from the SSD and are saving more space. My question is can you do this on Windows? Very often I will drag a file to the desktop for quick access, but I do not want it to go on the SSD.

@cbrunnem
Thanks for the info! I definitely do not want to do anything that will work towards killing the life of the CPU. And also I want it to be as stable as possible.
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January 10, 2012 4:44:05 AM

strausd said:
Thanks for the advice! Before, I thought an additional 1 GHz was a big leap. But now I am hearing that is not very big at all. Right now I am thinking that I will start with 4.3 GHz and probably go to 4.5.

The thing I really want in a case is plenty of internal 3.5" slots. That is one thing I really do not like about the Mac Pro. I only have 4 internal 3.5" slots! All of them are full and I have my SSD mounted in the second optical bay. The thing I like about the Storm Trooper is that it holds 8 internal 3.5" drives and has a smaller cage for 4 2.5" drives.

If my budget allows it, I might go with a Lian Li V2120. That is one sexy case! However, I like the handle and XDock feature on the Storm Trooper. And the fact that it is less than half the price doesn't hurt either :) 


if you realy like good looking cases look into the Silverstone FT02
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January 10, 2012 4:57:19 AM

strausd said:
Ok, so I will definitely be going with NVIDIA for both of my cards then, I don't want to deal with any black screens. Also, I will most likely be dual booting and NVIDIA has much better drivers for Linux.

I really don't plan to OC my RAM if I don't have to. I just wasn't sure if OCing the CPU required me to OC the RAM as well.

Alright, it definitely sounds like a 120/128 GB will be the way to go. I do have another question regarding SSDs and Windows 7. OS X works with 4 main folders: Applications, Library, System, and Users. And of course under Users is each users home folder where you will find all of your music, movies, and your desktop folder. In OS X it is extremely easy to change the location of a users home folder to a second hard drive and only takes a few clicks. That way, whenever you copy something to the desktop, it will not go on the SSD, but will instead go onto the second hard drive because that is where you set the new home folder for that user. This means that you are not constantly writing and deleting from the SSD and are saving more space. My question is can you do this on Windows? Very often I will drag a file to the desktop for quick access, but I do not want it to go on the SSD.

@cbrunnem
Thanks for the info! I definitely do not want to do anything that will work towards killing the life of the CPU. And also I want it to be as stable as possible.

As long as the CPU in question has unlocked multipliers you only need OC the CPU. Both CPU's for the 2011 socket are unlocked.

Windows does have a users folder on the boot drivel but you can have your files go anywhere. In other words windows doesn't ties its user to the account. The only restriction is a user account cant access another account area without the admin password. I save everything to my 2 storage drives.
There is one possible way of using the SSD for more than the OS. You can set up part of the drive as a cache.
Quote:
ASUS SSD Caching: provides solid state drive speeds with traditional hard drive capacities for three times faster performance at a click – no reboot needed!

http://event.asus.com/2011/mb/X79_AllSeries/
Here is a video on the SSD caching for ASUS X79 motherboards.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=...

Here is a video on overclocking ASUS x79 motherboards.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=...
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January 10, 2012 6:11:51 AM

andrey64 said:
if you realy like good looking cases look into the Silverstone FT02

Ya, that is nice but I definitely need a full tower to hold an EATX motherboard.
elbert said:
As long as the CPU in question has unlocked multipliers you only need OC the CPU. Both CPU's for the 2011 socket are unlocked.

Windows does have a users folder on the boot drivel but you can have your files go anywhere. In other words windows doesn't ties its user to the account. The only restriction is a user account cant access another account area without the admin password. I save everything to my 2 storage drives.
There is one possible way of using the SSD for more than the OS. You can set up part of the drive as a cache.
Quote:
ASUS SSD Caching: provides solid state drive speeds with traditional hard drive capacities for three times faster performance at a click – no reboot needed!

http://event.asus.com/2011/mb/X79_AllSeries/
Here is a video on the SSD caching for ASUS X79 motherboards.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=...

Here is a video on overclocking ASUS x79 motherboards.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=...


How would you rate the life of a 3960X OCed to 4.3 GHz with a H100 cooler? I just don't want the CPU to die after only 3 years...

Sorry, I didn't explain what I was wanting very clearly, hopefully I can do better this time.

Basically what I was looking for was to change the default location of a user profile, which I found a guide to. This way, when I install my applications, those will go on the SSD, but whatever I put in my documents, music, videos, and even the desktop will go on a separate drive, in this instance a WD Caviar Black. That way all the temporary files I put on the desktop will never take up space on the SSD.

I am just glad that you can do this on Windows 7. It is good to see OS X flexibility, but sadly with the usual Windows overly complex and unnecessary amount of steps for a simple task :D 

Thanks for those videos! I will watch the SSD caching ones when I get a chance. I watched the auto overclocking feature video a week ago. Sadly, that feature is only on their P9X79 series of boards and not on their Sabertooth or Rampage 4 Extreme. However, I do know that the R4E has different OC presets, including a "Normal OC Profile" and a "Gaming OC Profile," which OC the CPU to 4.3 GHz and 4.7 GHz respectively. However, these are presets that will also adjust voltages and do not take into account that every CPU is a little different. I would like to try OCing myself, adjusting just the multiplier to 43 and see if extra voltage is even needed. If a higher voltage is needed, I will adjust only the VCore accordingly and in the smallest increments possible. That way I can get a stable and modest OC with the least amount of additional voltage required.

Is that a good way to get a modest OC or should I do it any differently?

EDIT: That ASUS SSD caching does look pretty sweet. But I would much rather just have my whole OS and applications on a full SSD.

Do you know if it would be possible to get a 64 GB SSD and have that do its SSD caching with a 2TB drive while a 128 GB SSD holds the OS and apps? Would there be any benefits to that when the most important things are already on an SSD?
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January 10, 2012 2:19:15 PM

strausd said:
Ya, that is nice but I definitely need a full tower to hold an EATX motherboard.


How would you rate the life of a 3960X OCed to 4.3 GHz with a H100 cooler? I just don't want the CPU to die after only 3 years...

Sorry, I didn't explain what I was wanting very clearly, hopefully I can do better this time.

Basically what I was looking for was to change the default location of a user profile, which I found a guide to. This way, when I install my applications, those will go on the SSD, but whatever I put in my documents, music, videos, and even the desktop will go on a separate drive, in this instance a WD Caviar Black. That way all the temporary files I put on the desktop will never take up space on the SSD.

I am just glad that you can do this on Windows 7. It is good to see OS X flexibility, but sadly with the usual Windows overly complex and unnecessary amount of steps for a simple task :D 

Thanks for those videos! I will watch the SSD caching ones when I get a chance. I watched the auto overclocking feature video a week ago. Sadly, that feature is only on their P9X79 series of boards and not on their Sabertooth or Rampage 4 Extreme. However, I do know that the R4E has different OC presets, including a "Normal OC Profile" and a "Gaming OC Profile," which OC the CPU to 4.3 GHz and 4.7 GHz respectively. However, these are presets that will also adjust voltages and do not take into account that every CPU is a little different. I would like to try OCing myself, adjusting just the multiplier to 43 and see if extra voltage is even needed. If a higher voltage is needed, I will adjust only the VCore accordingly and in the smallest increments possible. That way I can get a stable and modest OC with the least amount of additional voltage required.

Is that a good way to get a modest OC or should I do it any differently?

EDIT: That ASUS SSD caching does look pretty sweet. But I would much rather just have my whole OS and applications on a full SSD.

Do you know if it would be possible to get a 64 GB SSD and have that do its SSD caching with a 2TB drive while a 128 GB SSD holds the OS and apps? Would there be any benefits to that when the most important things are already on an SSD?

To answer the life expectancy question I would have to ask someone at Intel. I can guess its based on a bell shape curve. Going from stock to half way between its max OC you may lose at most 30% of its life. Why would anyone overclock knowing this? The answer is useful life. At 4.3GHz you will not affect the CPU's useful life any. The average stock CPU will last more than 10 years which makes your OC over 7 years. By this time you would have surely upgrade once if not twice.

On the caching that really bits but you will be able to as crucial will be releasing a ssd to cache. If you choose to later on here is a post about the SSD cache drive. This drive tho is only a 50GB but would be great if you can focus it only on the HD and not end up caching parts of your SSD.
http://www.tomshardware.com/news/Crucial-Adrenaline-SSD...

I understand and yes you can move the user folder to your D drive. I wouldn't suggest this on the admin account. You should setup a normal account using the link below as a guide if you run into any problems with the one you found.
http://www.windows7hacker.com/index.php/2009/05/how-to-...

This still can change as in each program saves can be placed anywhere on any drive. In windows you mainly set up the program in question to save where you want. Windows was never designed to hold the user with in a profile.

On the OC its important to know how to recover from a failed overclock. On the back IO panel there is a clear CMOS switch just below the usb mouse and ps2 keyboard plugs. If the PC will not start press the button. You will need to set you bios up again to your last know good settings.

One other point worth noting is Intels 22nm CPU's should launch in April. I dont know if this will affect your choices but here is a link with some CPU model numbers. The i7-3770K is a quad but 8 threads over 5GHz on air possibly could give these 6 cores a hard run.
http://www.legitreviews.com/news/12094/
http://www.cpu-world.com/CPUs/Core_i7/Intel-Core%20i7-3...
http://www.techpowerup.com/img/11-11-30/graph1-01122011...

With this you may could possible get the Quadro 6000.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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January 10, 2012 2:34:03 PM

as long as you keep your voltage under 1.4 and temps under 60 degrees you should have no life hit. atleast not a noticable one. but to say you could do that at 4.3 idk. your voltage will be fine but idk about temps since it has an extra two cores.

i would look into a top of the line air cooler though as they are maybe 2 degrees warmer and much easier to work with. that is if you are on the fence about water coolers.

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January 10, 2012 9:48:22 PM

elbert said:
I understand and yes you can move the user folder to your D drive. I wouldn't suggest this on the admin account. You should setup a normal account using the link below as a guide if you run into any problems with the one you found.
http://www.windows7hacker.com/index.php/2009/05/how-to-...

This still can change as in each program saves can be placed anywhere on any drive. In windows you mainly set up the program in question to save where you want. Windows was never designed to hold the user with in a profile.


Why do you not suggest this on an admin account?

If I can just move the user folder to a separate drive and still have all my apps install to the SSD, then I would be fine with that. I would much rather that then having to set an install location for every single app I install. Again, that would just be an unnecessary amount of steps when changing the user folder location would basically allow that to happen on its own.

elbert said:
On the OC its important to know how to recover from a failed overclock. On the back IO panel there is a clear CMOS switch just below the usb mouse and ps2 keyboard plugs. If the PC will not start press the button. You will need to set you bios up again to your last know good settings.


If there are slots to save settings, would that clear those saved settings? Or would it just clear the current settings and restore them to the default?

elbert said:
One other point worth noting is Intels 22nm CPU's should launch in April. I dont know if this will affect your choices but here is a link with some CPU model numbers. The i7-3770K is a quad but 8 threads over 5GHz on air possibly could give these 6 cores a hard run.
http://www.legitreviews.com/news/12094/
http://www.cpu-world.com/CPUs/Core_i7/Intel-Core%20i7-3...
http://www.techpowerup.com/img/11-11-30/graph1-01122011...


The main thing is I want 1 CPU to provide comparable performance to dual Xeon 5670s. And it looks like the 3960X will do that with a slight OC. I may wait to see what the early benchmarks say about the 3770K though.

elbert said:
With this you may could possible get the Quadro 6000.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Trust me, if my budget allows, I will definitely go for a Quadro 6000. That thing is a beast and will handle almost any high poly scene you through at it.

cbrunnem said:
as long as you keep your voltage under 1.4 and temps under 60 degrees you should have no life hit. atleast not a noticable one. but to say you could do that at 4.3 idk. your voltage will be fine but idk about temps since it has an extra two cores.

i would look into a top of the line air cooler though as they are maybe 2 degrees warmer and much easier to work with. that is if you are on the fence about water coolers.


The Corsair H100 is one of the simplest water cooling solutions. Not to mention it has great reviews and everybody seems to like it. I also like how a single button can change between 3 different settings. Also, it is not as bulky and in the way as a high performance air cooler.
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January 11, 2012 5:00:19 AM

the FT02 is a full tower case
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January 11, 2012 5:11:47 AM

andrey64 said:
the FT02 is a full tower case


That is definitely a mid tower case. A full tower case will house many more drives and support larger motherboards. Check out a Lian Li V2120 or a Cooler Master Cosmos 2 to see a real full tower.
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January 11, 2012 11:49:07 AM

strausd said:
Why do you not suggest this on an admin account?

If I can just move the user folder to a separate drive and still have all my apps install to the SSD, then I would be fine with that. I would much rather that then having to set an install location for every single app I install. Again, that would just be an unnecessary amount of steps when changing the user folder location would basically allow that to happen on its own.



If there are slots to save settings, would that clear those saved settings? Or would it just clear the current settings and restore them to the default?



The main thing is I want 1 CPU to provide comparable performance to dual Xeon 5670s. And it looks like the 3960X will do that with a slight OC. I may wait to see what the early benchmarks say about the 3770K though.



Trust me, if my budget allows, I will definitely go for a Quadro 6000. That thing is a beast and will handle almost any high poly scene you through at it.



The Corsair H100 is one of the simplest water cooling solutions. Not to mention it has great reviews and everybody seems to like it. I also like how a single button can change between 3 different settings. Also, it is not as bulky and in the way as a high performance air cooler.

For the admin account its really is not needed. You shouldn't be working in the admin account anyways. Its a security risk like working in root. Even after coping the user account to D there are programs that may not adhere to windows 7 changes. I have 7 programs I had to change save locations. These programs were not made for windows 7 but do run on windows 7. Handbrake is one I had to change which may apply more to your setup.

The button will clear all CMOS setting back to default but your saved profiles should on your drive.

With the 3770k being only $332, 77/75 1155 for around $300, the g.skills kit, and the rest of your choices should be under $1500. You should have the budget for the Quadro 6000 with the 3770K build. The 3770k at the same clock beats the current 2700k by a good margin. The only problem I would see is the 77/75 chipsets supporting 64GB's. I'm thinking about getting a 3770k build and hoping the z77 boards are quad channel or support 64GB on the 4 dual channel slots.
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January 11, 2012 6:34:35 PM

elbert said:
For the admin account its really is not needed. You shouldn't be working in the admin account anyways. Its a security risk like working in root. Even after coping the user account to D there are programs that may not adhere to windows 7 changes. I have 7 programs I had to change save locations. These programs were not made for windows 7 but do run on windows 7. Handbrake is one I had to change which may apply more to your setup.

The button will clear all CMOS setting back to default but your saved profiles should on your drive.

With the 3770k being only $332, 77/75 1155 for around $300, the g.skills kit, and the rest of your choices should be under $1500. You should have the budget for the Quadro 6000 with the 3770K build. The 3770k at the same clock beats the current 2700k by a good margin. The only problem I would see is the 77/75 chipsets supporting 64GB's. I'm thinking about getting a 3770k build and hoping the z77 boards are quad channel or support 64GB on the 4 dual channel slots.

Well the main thing will be keeping all the programs and OS on the SSD without unnecessary steps. And looking at some reviews, it looks like the Samsung 830 may be the way to go.

Ya, that will be an option. I will be trying to find the best balance between CPU and GPU. Of course, the best balance would be both a 3960X and a Quadro 6000 ;)  but that's $5K just for those 2 components.

I really appreciate your help! I'm new to the forums here and everybody, for the most part, is really helpful. I was kind of expecting a lot more PC fanboys that would cringe at just the letters M, A, and C. Thanks for all your time and your help!
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January 11, 2012 8:38:28 PM

strausd said:
Well the main thing will be keeping all the programs and OS on the SSD without unnecessary steps. And looking at some reviews, it looks like the Samsung 830 may be the way to go.

Ya, that will be an option. I will be trying to find the best balance between CPU and GPU. Of course, the best balance would be both a 3960X and a Quadro 6000 ;)  but that's $5K just for those 2 components.

I really appreciate your help! I'm new to the forums here and everybody, for the most part, is really helpful. I was kind of expecting a lot more PC fanboys that would cringe at just the letters M, A, and C. Thanks for all your time and your help!

I would suggest against the Samsung 830 as it really hasn't had time to prove dependable. The Crucial M4 128GB has proven itself to be the most dependable performance SSD on the market.
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