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$2500usd - Digital Artist PC

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April 11, 2012 5:45:45 PM

Hey guys, I am a game artist working mostly in 2D but now expanding into 3D as well. I was hoping to get some advice on building a suitable rig for my needs. Thanks very much for reading and I'd really appreciate your thoughts.

Approximate Purchase Date:
Within the next 6 months. (sorry, I realize that is a huge time span).

Budget Range:
$2000 - $3000 usd. I'm basically aiming for around $2000, but willing to go higher for truly worthwhile returns on my investment. I'd say my upper cap is $3000.

System Usage from Most to Least Important:
-Game and Film production art. Software priority for the foreseeable future will be 1) Photoshop, 2) Zbrush, 3) Maya, and 4) a high-quality rendering package like Maxwell, V-Ray, Mentalray, or the like, and 5) Sketchup. I will need to manage high-res 2D images as well as high poly digital sculpts. Will also need the ability to output a quality render now and again.
-If it makes a difference, I will probably NOT be animating much and will probably NOT be editing high-res video. I am more about high-poly modelling/sculpting and high-res 2D painting.
-Also, I will probably NOT be gaming much either.
-Other functions will be basic computing stuff: Web surfing, word processor, spreadsheets, an occasional movie, etc. and also transferring large files to and from clients.

Parts Not Required:
I will not need Monitor, Mouse, Keyboard, Printer, Scanner, Graphics Tablet, Speakers.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts:
Doesn't really matter tbh - Newegg I suppose? Just want best bang for the buck, and some kind of support/service or a warranty if possible.

Country:
USA, in either New York City or Los Angeles

Parts Preferences:
Brands don't particularly matter. I am leaning towards Intel CPUs over AMD though.

Overclocking:
Probably. I don't feel the need to overclock for it's own sake; only to the degree that it supports my modelling and painting needs. From what I understand, it is relatively easier and lower risk to overclock nowadays, so I'm willing to do it.

SLI or Crossfire:
Not Sure. Again, I'm mostly concerned about high-end modelling and digital painting. I had read somewhere that the graphics card is less important than the CPU and RAM because modelling software does not render in real time (the way a game engine does for example). Don't really know either way and would really appreciate your thoughts here.

Monitor Resolution:
Currently a Wacom Cintiq 21" at 1600x1200. BUT, the rig must be able to eventually support a 30" monitor at 2560X1600 because I will upgrade sooner or later.

Additional Comments:
-I will probably need 12gigs of RAM or better.
-Will want a solid state drive for the main drive. In general, load and save times should be minimal wherever possible.
-Ideally, this thing should perform adequately for at least the next 4 years.
-Will probably need to purchase Windows 64 bit.
-Will possibly want a Blueray/dvd writer. But can live w/o it if need be.
-Will also want some kind of bulletproof virus protection (which I realize is more of a software concern, just mentioning).
-If the machine is quiet, that would be nice, but this is not a top priority.


Ok, I think that covers it. Thanks again for reading and I'm very grateful for any help you can offer.

Best!

More about : 2500usd digital artist

April 11, 2012 6:03:38 PM

Forgot to mention one thing: I will need to support at least two monitors.
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April 11, 2012 6:26:38 PM

Have you looked at current "Workstation" builds? I know a few sites that do pre-built PC's here in canada that carry workstations.
Vesta WS Dual Xeon
If you are looking for something that can handle rendering... I imagine that would be where you want to start.
Keep in mind that the link is for the base model, and that I do not recommend buying that PC, just take inspiration from it.
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Related resources
April 11, 2012 6:32:25 PM

Intel i7 3930K
16GB 2133MHz RAM
ASUS Sabertooth X79 Motherboard
2x(Two) EVGA GTX 680 GPU
Cosmos II case
Hyper 212 Evo CPU cooler
Arctic Silver 5 thermal paste
Windows 7 Professional OEM
1TB Samsung HDD
120GB Crucial SSD
LG BluRay writer

Will post links in a few minutes...
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Best solution

April 11, 2012 6:40:03 PM

Quote:
Have you looked at current "Workstation" builds? I know a few sites that do pre-built PC's here in canada that carry workstations.
Vesta WS Dual Xeon
If you are looking for something that can handle rendering... I imagine that would be where you want to start.
Keep in mind that the link is for the base model, and that I do not recommend buying that PC, just take inspiration from it.


Not sure if I'd go for a Xeon on a CS5 / Revit / Maya build - I think X79 would be better suited as the extra cores and larger RAM capacities will be able to handle the larger files and higher quality required.

Try this setup:

Case: Corsair Carbide 500R - $139.99
PSU: PC Power & Cooling Silencer MKII 950 - $149.99
Motherboard: Asus P9X79 Pro - $329.99
CPU: 3.3Ghz Intel Core i7-3930K - $599.99
Cooler: Noctua NH-D14 Socket LGA 2011 Edition - $94.99
RAM: 16GB (4 x 4GB) Mushkin Enhanced Redline 1600MHz 1.5V - $139.99
SSD: 128GB Crucial M4 - $164.99
HD: Samsung Ecogreen F4 2TB - $129.99
Optical: LG BD-R Burner - $79.99
Video Card: EVGA Geforce GTX 680 - $499.99 - *OR* - Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 - $579.99
OS: Windows 7 Pro

Total: $2,468.98 (w/680), $2,567.98 (w/7970)

If you're looking for a professional card try one of these:

- ATI Fire Pro V7800: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
- PNY Quaddro 4000: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Those will alter the price somewhat.
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April 11, 2012 6:41:37 PM

no need for dual graphics.
Do you need Windows pro to access a Domain?
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April 11, 2012 6:53:16 PM

Maybe he should go for a motherboard than can handle more RAM slots? Or possibly go for 32GB? It's always good to have some leeway on RAM for graphic designers. Also, look for some more RAM on the video card. Possibly two 2TB hard drives, as well... make sure they're 7200rpm.

I'd recommend a blu-ray burner... I know that graphics are digital, but it's a good idea for a graphical design oriented PC to have Blu-Ray capabilities.
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April 11, 2012 6:55:50 PM

obsama1 said:
Intel i7 3930K
16GB 2133MHz RAM
ASUS Sabertooth X79 Motherboard
2x(Two) EVGA GTX 680 GPU
Cosmos II case
Hyper 212 Evo CPU cooler
Arctic Silver 5 thermal paste
Windows 7 Professional OEM
1TB Samsung HDD
120GB Crucial SSD
LG BluRay writer

Will post links in a few minutes...


No need for dual graphics...

g-unit1111 said:


Not sure if I'd go for a Xeon on a CS5 / Revit / Maya build - I think X79 would be better suited as the extra cores and larger RAM capacities will be able to handle the larger files and higher quality required.



Like I said take inspiration from it.

Also, if you want to make a point of extra cores, going for two Xeon quad cores is still 2 more Physical cores than that i7.
But having the extra 4+GBs of RAM could make a big difference.
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April 11, 2012 7:04:26 PM

killermoats said:
no need for dual graphics.
Do you need Windows pro to access a Domain?


I wasn't saying dual graphics - you can use either video card and you'll have the best available.

You don't necessarily need Windows 7 Pro to access a domain but you will need it to do away with Home Premium's RAM limitations - if you're using X79 and power hungry RAM programs you'll need all the RAM you can get and not have to worry about having a 16GB ceiling.

Quote:

Like I said take inspiration from it.

Also, if you want to make a point of extra cores, going for two Xeon quad cores is still 2 more Physical cores than that i7.
But having the extra 4+GBs of RAM could make a big difference.


The only way I'd do a dual Xeon configuration is if you're using the Xeon E5 with 8 cores which would give you 16 total to work with. There won't be much difference going from 6 to 8 - but 6 to 16 would be a huge deal.

The X79 supports maximum 64GB of RAM (92GB on some configurations like the EVGA SR-X) and that's why I recommend it on CS5 and Revit/Maya builds so you can make use of that extra RAM.
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April 11, 2012 7:56:09 PM

You guys are awesome, thanks!

I'll need time to check out the links and digest all this. About a couple things that came up:

Quote:
Do you need Windows pro to access a Domain?

-Not sure exactly what this means tbh. But since someone else mentioned that I'd need Windows Pro to access more than 16gb of RAM, then I'm going with Windows Pro.

-If it makes any difference, I prefer Photshop CS3 and I don't feel the need to upgrade to CS5.

-If it matters, I'm just as concerned (if not more so) about performance in Zbrush as I am in Maya (although I'd think they're both affected by the hardware in the same way).

-About the motherboard supporting more RAM, would I just buy more RAM and slap it on there, or are there any other concerns I should be aware of ?

-And yup, I'll take a look at the workstation configs and see if I can learn anything.

Anyway, thanks again gentlemen. Really appreciate your help.
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April 11, 2012 8:51:11 PM

Quote:
-Not sure exactly what this means tbh. But since someone else mentioned that I'd need Windows Pro to access more than 16gb of RAM, then I'm going with Windows Pro.


That was asking if you needed the additional network functionality of Pro or not.

Quote:
-If it makes any difference, I prefer Photshop CS3 and I don't feel the need to upgrade to CS5.


You'll still be running large files regardless of what version you use, having the extra RAM will be worth it.

Quote:
-About the motherboard supporting more RAM, would I just buy more RAM and slap it on there, or are there any other concerns I should be aware of ?


It's recommended that you use all of the same type of module for speed and latency issues, but other than that just watch tall heat sinks if you're going to be using an aftermarket cooler like the D4 and voltage is extremely important.

Quote:
Anyway, thanks again gentlemen. Really appreciate your help.


No problem, that's what we're here for.
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June 3, 2012 11:11:33 AM

Best answer selected by ArmoredGorilla.
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