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New Workstation Build Ideas

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May 10, 2012 3:35:30 AM

I haven't built a computer in a long time. I'm trying to get up to speed on all the new stuff, but I am looking to build a workstation to handle some heavy Adobe CS programs (Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects), Maya for some 3D rendering as well. I am looking for build ideas. Something $1500-$2000 that will be a great work horse. Aside from this I may do a little gaming Diablo 3 probably... Would I be better going with a dual CPU Xenon? Or a single CPU Ivy Bridge i7? Motherboard suggestions? I would love any help on this at all, guidance is welcome too. I realize I could spend 4K on a mac.... Or have fun building one and get the same or better performance for much less. Please help!
a c 79 à CPUs
May 10, 2012 8:28:31 AM

I think SB-E might be the weapon of choice, hex or octo (with HT) depending on rest of build. With regards to the GPU, they can use cuda I believe, so Nvidia again is ideal, perhaps a GTX670 (launched today I think), although if they need double precision grunt then the gtx690/680/670 may not be the best choice compared to the GTX580, as the double precision performance is hobbled, until they release the GK110 parts (whatever they will call those). but for 1500-2000 you should be able to get something decent, unless you literally have nothing at the moment.
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May 10, 2012 8:47:54 AM

Well, your budget is not very different from mine. I built a CS5 system a month ago. It really pays off to purchase everything separately and building yourself. Macs are nice for daily laptops but Mac Pros are a complete rip off that don't make any sense (IMO anyway). It's also funnier :) 

My build was essentially:

i7-3820 (SB-E quad core; you can go hex core for $500 on microcenter, but that's double the price; there is no oct core i7). Price was $270, now is $220 on Microcenter (ouch!)
CoolerMaster Hyper212+ CPU Cooler ($20 on Microcenter)
Asus P9X79 Pro (around $320, Microcenter)
Antec 902 v3 ($100, BestBuy)
PPC Silencer 760W PSU ($80 Microcenter)
16GB G.Skill Ripjaws Z 1600 ($95 newegg)
eVGA Nvidia GTX 570 HDSC ($290 newegg)
Crucial m4 128 gb SSD ($145 amazon)
2x Hitachi 7200 RPM 2 TB ($145 each, newegg/microcenter)
24'' Dell monitor ($180, Bestbuy)
Pioneer BD-R (model is 207 or something) ($80, amazon)

I might be forgetting something.

I am not counting software and other useful accessories (keyboard, mouse, hdmi cable, card reader, speakers, etc., but this is not expensive; I also got an UPS).

I guess it should be around $2100 counting absolutely everything (including the unexpectedly expensive UPS, and excluding software).

I would recommend to get the hex cores i7 only if your budget can be raised as to still get the other quality parts (specially motherboard, RAM, and GPU). Also make sure you get an nVidia GPU for Adobe, because of the CUDA cores.

EDIT: I forgot to mention that this works as a charm with Adobe Premiere Pro and editing HD videos. Also all the games I threw at it, it plays them at max settings with no hassle (didn't try the MOST demanding ones like BF3, but the ones I like, e.g. Skyrim, work great). You can also try with i7-3770k and a Z77 motherboard, overall it will be a bit cheaper and performance will be roughly similar I guess. X79 has some advantages, specially for video editing, but it depends on your needs actually.
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May 17, 2012 3:55:42 AM

Thanks for the input and advice everyone! :) 

I decided to go a little above and beyond my budget (gotta love good commission paychecks!)

CoolerMaster HAF 932 Advanced Full Tower
1200 Watt Toughpower Grand-1200M Power Supply

ASUS P9X79 Pro -- 4x PCI-E x16, 4x SATA 6Gb/s, 4x USB 3.0, On-Board Bluetooth
Intel® Core™ i7 3930K Processor (6x 3.20GHz/12MB L3 Cache)

16 GB [8 GB x2] DDR3-1600 Memory
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 - 2GB - SLI Mode (Dual Cards)

2 TB HARD DRIVE -- 64M Cache, 7200rpm, 6.0Gb/s - Single Drive x 2
[12X Blu-Ray] LG BLU-RAY Re-Writer, DVD±R/±RW Burner Combo Drive

I also got a wiring kit to keep everything nice and neat.

ASUS VW246H Glossy Black 24" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Widescreen LCD Monitor
WACOM Intuos5 Touch PTH850 Large Pen Tablet
Logitech MK550 Black USB RF Wireless Ergonomic Wave Combo

All running... errr (soon to be) on windows 7 Pro 64 Bit edition.

Adobe Master Suite 5.5, got a much better deal where 6.0 just came out :) 
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May 17, 2012 4:28:32 AM

Excellent choices, enjoy :) 
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a c 79 à CPUs
May 17, 2012 8:14:06 AM

no SSD?, really big bang for buck. 120 should be enough for OS and programs, data can then be left alone on another disk for 2TB's
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May 17, 2012 8:24:04 AM

Yeah, you can also add an SSD. I recommend a Crucial m4 128 GB. I think you can get one on newegg for $130 or so. Not 100% necessary but for OS and programs you will get much faster load times.
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a c 79 à CPUs
May 17, 2012 8:27:52 AM

Day to day, it'll give you the biggest boost, and on an otherwise highly powered system it'd be a waste. I've got a 128GB M4, love it, feels like windows in about <15s from cold (old installation full of rubbish). In your situation i'd consider a second one two for scratch space, but thats an easy add afterwards, the OS one is much easier to do now.

feels like 15s, actually 40s, but so so much faster than HDD
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May 24, 2012 2:35:44 AM

Yea I thought about it, but going to wait on the price to drop... The SSD's are going the same route as all other storage... Pricing will drop and bigger better stuff will come out in the next year or so. For now, I got a 2TB for $100. Just seemed like a better choice. I may switch it up later on, but since it's my first build in awhile I probably won't even notice the difference...

My last build was a AMD XP 2800 Barton CPU haha...
Nvidia 4800 I think?
2GB of ram and 120gb HD....
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