$3,000 - $3,600 Budget, Building a 3D Render Beast.

Hey all,

I work with a group of 3D artists and I have been picking their brains about custom building the beefiest PC setup for fast 3D renders.

Why I'm doing this:
I've had a MacPro since 2006 and was looking to upgrade as soon as the new models for 2012 were announced, but it seems that Apple really pissed off a lot of MacPro users with the lousy excuse for an upgrade recently.

I grew tired of their delay and outrageous prices and decided to take my money back to the PC world rather than blow it on an overpriced brand.
So here I am, taking a huge step into the world of custom PC builds again and I've been out of the game so long that I realize I have a lot
of catching up to do.

Anyhow, about my co workers 3D rigs and what I would like for my own...

They are all running machines with 2 of these CPU's for a total of 24 cores: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819117256
They said that I could get more CPU core power from getting 2 AMD Opterons like this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819113038
The issue they said with the AMD is that I would not have as many options with as I would with the Intel in terms of compatibility with other hardware...

Then there is the question of motherboards, once I choose one of these CPU setups with your help, I would like to get a dual CPU motherboard w/ USB 3.0 technology onboard and either 8 or 16 RAM slots.

What is the best RAM configuration for this setup? (Brand?, Increments?, Price?)

Graphics Card:
As much as I would love a Quadro series card, it's just not in my budget at the moment, so is there a card out there that is suitable for working with heavy 3D such as Maya, Cinema 4D, Real Flow, etc.. "The Quieter, the Better!"

Cooling System:
I want this rig to run cool, should I go liquid or are there any alternatives?

With a cool running system, I would also love a quiet work station too, any recommendations on fans?

Power Supply:
I know that going overkill on the power supply may be ridiculous, but I have plans to upgrade to a Quadro card later on and I know that they are known for high power demand, what's a good and quiet unit?

My budget for building a big rig like this is sitting somewhere between $3,000 to $3,600. I could try to stretch it to $4,000, but ideally $3,600 would be awesome.

Okay, that's about it, thank you in advance for your replies!
5 answers Last reply
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  1. If you fancy running water pipes through your $4000 workstation then it's up to you, you won't see much benefit though.
    Also a render node will not require a decent GPU, as there are very few programs that render on gpu. If you require the ability to create as well as render then perhaps you need to consider your needs again. you're looking at $1000 just for the 2 cpus and mobo. Then 8-16 modules of registered ram, decent hard drives, a redundant power supply, cooling... It's a lot of money. LGA 2011 offers quite a lot of ram but no dual cpu setups, for them you are looking at 1366 or older, or opteron...
    I built a 3D machine last year, lga 1155. £4500 with a decent quadro, but them im not rendering video or anything... I know autodesk will allow you to render on a network, so you could opt for 1 high budget creative workstation and one or two lesser machines set up as headless render nodes...
  2. im not much of a server guy but i will try to build the best single CPU system out there right now....


    if you figure out that the programs you are using needs compute power (single or double precision compute), you should get 7970s instead. gaming oriented cards from nividia are the same thing as quadros other than the software that is driving it. the geforce cards are very all around so there isnt much point of blowing too much money or a quadro

    if you need the 2 cpus (generally speaking 6 cores is usually enough), id recommend getting a full server system. i know that evga makes their SR-X board but it will cost you way more than what you can pay for (the board itself is 600 dollars)
  3. also, g-unit1111 maybe able to help you out as he does alot of video rendering.
  4. I think he's needing the dual cpu setup for rendering. Rendering 3D on 6 cores is pretty pointless unless it's minor work or you have a lot of time to render overnight.
  5. not exactly. it will take around lets say 10-20 tops mins for the six core since it does have hyperthreading which means that it has 12 virtual cores.

    hell no it doesnt take overnight to render a 3d video. i tried that on my laptop and it took 2.5 hrs and its 6 years old
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