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$7500 Budget College Gaming/Music/Photo/Video/Media Rig

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July 9, 2012 10:55:06 AM

Hi there!

I'm new to the tom's hardware community, but no stranger to custom built computers. While 4 years ago I knew what I wanted and the best choices, I can't say the same now. I'm a sophomore college student going to Kent State (Kent, OH is where I'll be if any stores in the area have deals, which I doubt), with a number of interests that are guiding my new PC rig specs.

I'm looking for a 4-year futureproof desktop PC with room to be upgraded should the need arise. It must suit doing single tasks at a time (i.e. I'm not gaming and editing HD video at the same time, but it needs to perform as well as possible in my budget in each area respectively). I intend to spend my recreational time doing a lot of hardcore gaming in a dual monitor setup or on a 1080p 55+ inch HDTV. I also produce music in FL Studio 10/Pro Tools 10 and would like to be able to expand my capabilities. Adobe CS6, Autodesk Entertainment Creation Suite Ultimate, Pro Tools 10, FL Studio 10, Google Chrome, Sony Vegas, Avid Media Composer, Final Cut Pro, and countless other programs will be running in varying combinations; sometimes simultaneously, sometimes not.

Approximate Purchase Date: e.g.: Before mid-August 2012.

Budget Range: No more than $7500 (including shipping, power conditioner, monitor, and aesthetics/accessories/external hardware)

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming / Game Server Hosting, Game Development, Music Production, Photo / Video Editing, Programming, Media Streaming (Home Theater), HD Video Online Streaming, School Work (MS Office), Internet Browsing, General Use.

Are you buying a monitor: Yes (Two Monitors + HDTV. Two Monitors are in the budget, HDTV does not count towards my budget)


Parts to Upgrade: I do not currently have an existing system to reuse parts from. Everything will be brand new or bought open-box / B-stock where feasible.

Do you need to buy OS: No (I am a member of Microsoft BizSpark, and have licenses for Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit).

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: NewEgg.com, TigerDirect.com (good relationship with both, have only ever used ZipZoomFly in addition, open to suggestions and options)

Location: Niles, OH / Kent, OH (Northeastern Ohio). Trumbull County. USA.

Parts Preferences: Prefer Intel CPU / nVidia EVGA GPUs. Fan of ASUS and/or GIGABYTE motherboards, interested in EVGA mobos as well.

Overclocking: Yes

SLI or Crossfire: Yes (Dual or Tri depending on budget remaining for GPUs)

Your Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080 (not important, but I'd like to keep a 1080p compliant aspect ratio).

Additional Comments:

I would like the case to be sleek / professional but attractive. This computer needs to function, but also be a bit of a showpiece for various things I have planned. I have no past experience with water cooling, but have researched and examined systems enough to be 100% confident in utilizing it if necessary for my ultimate overclocking cooling setup, however I would prefer passive/air cooling if it is quiet enough.

My questions / concerns with my parts are in a list at the end of the post.

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: Going to college, CyberPower laptop caught on fire, need a future proof PC to last me into the year after I graduate.

Initial Parts List (all NewEgg.com links):

(I am stuck between 3 build paths. Going with either an ASUS board, a GIGABYTE board, or an EVGA SR-X board [which would entail two Xeon CPUs]. Hardware choices that I feel vary based on which path I go I note as such, hardware I intend to use regularless of which build path I go will be after the varying hardware selections)

ASUS Path Mobo:
ASUS P9X79 DELUXE LGA 2011 Intel X79 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS - $359.99

GIGABYTE Path Mobo:
GIGABYTE G1.ASSASSIN2 LGA 2011 Intel X79 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Extended ATX Intel Motherboard - $319.99 ($349.99 - $30 Mail-In Rebate)

EVGA Path Mobo:
EVGA Classified SR-X - $648.99

Processor (ASUS / GIGABYTE):
Intel Core i7-3820 Sandy Bridge-E 3.6GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 2011 130W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80619i73820 - $299.99

Processor(s) (EVGA):
Intel Xeon E5-2609 Sandy Bridge-EP 2.4GHz 10MB L3 Cache LGA 2011 80W Quad-Core Server Processor BX80621E52609 - 2 x $299.99

RAM:
G.SKILL Ripjaws Z Series 32GB (4 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL10Q-32GBZL - $189.99 ($30 Rebate Promo Code)

Video Card(s) (2-Way SLI):
EVGA 04G-P4-2673-KR GeForce GTX 670 Superclocked+ w/Backplate 4GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card - 2 x $484.99

PSU:
CORSAIR Professional Series Gold AX1200 (CMPSU-1200AX) 1200W ATX12V v2.31 / EPS12V v2.92 SLI Certified 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Full Modular Active PFC Power Supply - $284.99 ($299.99 - $15 Mail-In Rebate)

System / OS / Critical Apps / Cache SSD(s) [RAID 0]:
Kingston HyperX 3K SH103S3/120G 2.5" 120GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) (Stand-Alone Drive) - 2 x $139.99

Storage HDD(s) [RAID 0 & 1 Backup Drive]
Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive - 3 x $119.99

Monitor(s):
SAMSUNG S24B750V High Gloss Black 24" 2ms HDMI Widescreen LED-Backlit LCD Monitor 250 cd/m2 1000:1 Built-in Speakers - 2 x $249.99

The total for the EVGA system (most expensive configuration as it stands) comes to $3,833.86. Leaving me a fair bit of room for choices for case, cooling, accessories, modifications to current hardware configurations, more knowledgeable builders to set me straight on any idiotic notions I made when researching and choosing the above hardware selection, etc.

I will continue to edit this post as discussion continues, I decide which case I wish to utilize (though I am really pushing for the CaseLabs Magnum TX10-D Case God of Epic Case running in at $859.95 with plenty of options for customization, bling, cooling, future expansion, power conditioners, UPS, pedestals for my studio rack equipment, future XBOX360 + PS3 integration mod, etc.).

I apologize for the long post and really appreciate any advice and ensuing discussion. I wish to build this to the upmost quality, and if I end up pursuing any sponsorships for some of the more miscellaneous (yet critical) things like cooling, pro wiring, fancy military switch top switches, LEDs, face plates, decals, etc. etc. etc. I will gladly turn this into a heavily advertised and affiliate-garnering system.

Thanks,
Tyler H.
July 9, 2012 10:58:01 AM

My list of hardware questions and concerns:

1.) I am looking at a 32GB set of RAM. All my mobo choices support future upgrading to 64GB should the need (heaven-forbid) ever arise. My questions are: is 32GB even necessary? I do run large instrumental projects, and have definitely seen myself maxing out the 8GB setup I had in my laptop, and am guilty of always having 50+ web tabs, MS Office, and countless apps running while still expecting my priority applications to perform at the drop of a hat. Additionally, I am concerned with the importance of RAM timings, clock speeds, and transfer rates. What is the big deal? Does it matter when you have that much RAM / SSDs?

2.) What is better: 2 Xeon CPUs with lower clocks or 1 i7 Sandy Bridge CPU with a higher clock speed and pushed harder through overclocking? Or am I completely off base here?

3.) To RAID or not to RAID? I have not used SSDs previously, and am eager to experience the speed boost. I am somewhat piqued at RAIDing two 120GB SSDs versys buying one 240GB SSD for the same price to take advantage of some real-life applications of speed increases. Researched this here: RAID 0 of SSDs: Two Kingston HyperX 120 GB SSDs vs. Kingston HyperX 240 GB SSD

4.) nVidia GPUs: 2-way vs. 3-way SLI opinions. 500 series vs. 600 series. If I go 500 series, best bang for buck. Same question for 600 series, ultimately 670 vs. 680.

5.) Will onboard sound be suitable for gaming (my production all utilizes outboard Firewire/USB interfaces so I don't worry about that), or would I really see a benefit in grabbing a 7.1 channel ASUS card or a Creative recon card? Following that, which one is better? And when it comes to game audio, is 7.1 vs 5.1 channel audio that big of a deal?

6.) What are my options for decreasing costs while not cutting back on performance or looks? I see many people posting rigs that are "sponsored" where they have almost all of their cooling or "cool" case bling (and even sometimes the case) given to them for free or at a great discount. I don't mind the cost of the hardware, but I am a marketing consultant, and am always looking for ways to co-promote brands and companies where it can be mutually beneficial. Any advice on pursuing such ventures?

More questions to come!

Thanks again,
Tyler H.
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July 9, 2012 1:00:07 PM

1. Haha I know the feeling, you shouldn't need anymore than 32GB of RAM, it's overkill for people like me who just do gaming and such but for you It's just about right and then some. By all means go for it, you won't be needing to upgrade for quite sometime. Personally, RAM latency and such don't really matter, I would just go for the fastest RAM you can get. I'll be listing parts for your build below.

2. If I was in your place, I would go with an Intel i7-3930K which is second to what is apparently the fastest consumer processor in history, which is the Intel i7-3960X which is only marginally faster by .10Mhz, and that .10Mhz will cost you about a $450 premium over the i7-3930K which is totally not worth it obviously.

3. If I were you, I would setup up a RAID array in a way that (I'm not very experienced when it comes to RAID setups) You have one SSD that is about 256 or 512GB (depends on your needs) and two 1TB hard drives each for your data and your projects. You would also have 4 1TB drives to which the content of the SSD and the two hard drives are backed up to the moment you save something.

4. I would go with a GTX 680 as single cards are 100% of the time better than weaker cards in SLI or Crossfire, as for one, they will consume much less energy, they are more powerful (usually the case) and when you feel the need to, you can always SLI in another GTX 680 (or three more haha).

5. It will be more than enough for gaming but I would get a 5.1 channel sound card just so that you can experience how immersive it is with Battlefield 3 online on really loud speakers haha.

6. You're probably talking about either professional gamers or people on Youtube that review products in exchange to getting them for free or at a greatly reduced discount. Just buy the stuff that you want, after all, you do get what you pay for.

My Version of your Build:

Processor: Intel Core i7-3930K Sandy Bridge-E 3.2GHz (3.8GHz Turbo) - $569.99
Motherboard: ASUS Rampage IV Extreme LGA 2011 Intel X79 - $429.99
RAM: CORSAIR XMS3 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 - $105.99
Graphics Card: EVGA 04G-P4-3687-KR GeForce GTX 680 FTW+ w/Backplate 4GB - $629.99
SSD: OCZ Vertex 4 VTX4-25SAT3-256G 2.5" 256GB SSD - $219.99
Hard Drives: x6 Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM - $719.94
PSU: SeaSonic Platinum-1000 1000W ATX12V - $219.99
Case: LIAN LI PC-A77F Black Aluminum ATX Full Tower - $299.99
Cooling: CORSAIR H100 (CWCH100) Extreme Performance Liquid CPU Cooler - $114.99
Sound: HT | OMEGA CLARO II 7.1 Channels 24-bit 192KHz PCI Interface Sound Card - $184.99
Monitors: x2 SAMSUNG S24B750V High Gloss Black 24" - $499.98

(All Parts Were Sourced From NewEgg)

Total: $3,995.83

This build is an absolute monster and I'd gladly shave my head bald and change my name to anything you want if it chokes on anything lol. I went with the 7 1TB hard drives as I think you'd want to go with maximum redundancy, so if in the event that you SSD and your two main hard drives fail, you always have a back up, if the RAID array is configured properly. If there is anything else you need, feel free to post here or send me a PM and I'll try my best to help you out. :) 
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July 9, 2012 1:29:52 PM

santaclaws said:
1. Haha I know the feeling, you shouldn't need anymore than 32GB of RAM, it's overkill for people like me who just do gaming and such but for you It's just about right and then some. By all means go for it, you won't be needing to upgrade for quite sometime. Personally, RAM latency and such don't really matter, I would just go for the fastest RAM you can get. I'll be listing parts for your build below.

2. If I was in your place, I would go with an Intel i7-3930K which is second to what is apparently the fastest consumer processor in history, which is the Intel i7-3960X which is only marginally faster by .10Mhz, and that .10Mhz will cost you about a $450 premium over the i7-3930K which is totally not worth it obviously.

3. If I were you, I would setup up a RAID array in a way that (I'm not very experienced when it comes to RAID setups) You have one SSD that is about 256 or 512GB (depends on your needs) and two 1TB hard drives each for your data and your projects. You would also have 4 1TB drives to which the content of the SSD and the two hard drives are backed up to the moment you save something.

4. I would go with a GTX 680 as single cards are 100% of the time better than weaker cards in SLI or Crossfire, as for one, they will consume much less energy, they are more powerful (usually the case) and when you feel the need to, you can always SLI in another GTX 680 (or three more haha).

5. It will be more than enough for gaming but I would get a 5.1 channel sound card just so that you can experience how immersive it is with Battlefield 3 online on really loud speakers haha.

6. You're probably talking about either professional gamers or people on Youtube that review products in exchange to getting them for free or at a greatly reduced discount. Just buy the stuff that you want, after all, you do get what you pay for.

My Version of your Build:

Processor: Intel Core i7-3930K Sandy Bridge-E 3.2GHz (3.8GHz Turbo) - $569.99
Motherboard: ASUS Rampage IV Extreme LGA 2011 Intel X79 - $429.99
RAM: CORSAIR XMS3 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 - $105.99
Graphics Card: EVGA 04G-P4-3687-KR GeForce GTX 680 FTW+ w/Backplate 4GB - $629.99
SSD: OCZ Vertex 4 VTX4-25SAT3-256G 2.5" 256GB SSD - $219.99
Hard Drives: x6 Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM - $719.94
PSU: SeaSonic Platinum-1000 1000W ATX12V - $219.99
Case: LIAN LI PC-A77F Black Aluminum ATX Full Tower - $299.99
Cooling: CORSAIR H100 (CWCH100) Extreme Performance Liquid CPU Cooler - $114.99
Sound: HT | OMEGA CLARO II 7.1 Channels 24-bit 192KHz PCI Interface Sound Card - $184.99
Monitors: x2 SAMSUNG S24B750V High Gloss Black 24" - $499.98

(All Parts Were Sourced From NewEgg)

Total: $3,995.83

This build is an absolute monster and I'd gladly shave my head bald and change my name to anything you want if it chokes on anything lol. I went with the 7 1TB hard drives as I think you'd want to go with maximum redundancy, so if in the event that you SSD and your two main hard drives fail, you always have a back up, if the RAID array is configured properly. If there is anything else you need, feel free to post here or send me a PM and I'll try my best to help you out. :) 


Thanks for the quick reply! I appreciate the answers to the questions, and the idea behind the RAID array, since it is within my budget, sounds good. The other hardware you suggested such as the different power supply, the sound card, and the motherboard. I'm not too sure how I feel about that particular ASUS board, from reviews I have read, and am unfamiliar with the PSU and Sound Card brands; however, I'll definitely look into both!

I'm going to leave this open so I can get a fair number of opinions on my original choices and why some may/may not work.

Thanks again,
Tyler H.
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July 9, 2012 2:27:20 PM

The motherboard I selected for you is the top of the line model they have, and I've only heard good things about it. Seasonic is the company that makes PSUs for Corsair, OCZ etc. They are up there in terms of quality.

I've got one in my rig at the moment and it's great, my system runs 24/7 and I havent had a problem at all.
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July 9, 2012 2:51:50 PM

santaclaws said:
The motherboard I selected for you is the top of the line model they have, and I've only heard good things about it. Seasonic is the company that makes PSUs for Corsair, OCZ etc. They are up there in terms of quality.

I've got one in my rig at the moment and it's great, my system runs 24/7 and I havent had a problem at all.



I mean no offense but based off your rig I have no clue how you are helping someone piece together a $7500 machine.

On a second note, this guy has a $7500 budget and peeps are telling him to buy a stupid 680 FTW for $629.99. WOW


Reminds me of newegg reviews.

ps, WD Blacks suck *** compared to the new seagate 1platter's....

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July 9, 2012 3:06:20 PM

Quick thought on the monitors - if you are playing FPS's, two monitors is not a good plan since your crosshair and whatever you are shooting at are split down the middle with the monitor bezels separating them. Better to go with three or one.
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July 9, 2012 3:11:51 PM

zloginet said:
I mean no offense but based off your rig I have no clue how you are helping someone piece together a $7500 machine.

On a second note, this guy has a $7500 budget and peeps are telling him to buy a stupid 680 FTW for $629.99. WOW


Reminds me of newegg reviews.

ps, WD Blacks suck *** compared to the new seagate 1platter's....



Just because he has a lot of money doesen't mean he has to spend it all. Besides the 680 as is will max out any game in existence on 1920*1080. The SLI-ed 670s wouldn't be that much more powerful but they'll cost $200 more than a SINGLE GTX 680. Not to mention that it will consume much more power than one.

Think of it this way, if you went out to buy a car and you had a budget of $70,000; the car itself costs $50,000 but for a small, performance boost, they have a slightly more powerful engine that costs $20k, would you buy it knowing that its slightly more powerful but like 5%? No.
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July 9, 2012 3:13:10 PM

zloginet said:
I mean no offense but based off your rig I have no clue how you are helping someone piece together a $7500 machine.

On a second note, this guy has a $7500 budget and peeps are telling him to buy a stupid 680 FTW for $629.99. WOW


Reminds me of newegg reviews.

ps, WD Blacks suck *** compared to the new seagate 1platter's....



My initial concern so far is that, from what I've searched on NewEgg, the Seagate 1TB drives are lower priced than the WD Black. Ultimately if I was so concerned I would be purchasing larger capacity and enterprise level drives, or Raptors for that matter. I'm just looking for cheap, reliable storage that will work well in RAID and will last me several years.

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July 9, 2012 3:15:16 PM

J_E_D_70 said:
Quick thought on the monitors - if you are playing FPS's, two monitors is not a good plan since your crosshair and whatever you are shooting at are split down the middle with the monitor bezels separating them. Better to go with three or one.


I appreciate the advice.

I have only ever been a fan of single-monitor gaming. I'll either play games in a single monitor setup, or on my HDTV. I do a lot of programming, mixing, etc. where I enjoy having an extended desktop and screens purposed for different things (mixer monitor & tracking monitor when producing, code editor + debug / program running, Photoshop & web browser, etc.)


I'm also running limited desk space to two monitors will be pushing it as it is.
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July 9, 2012 3:17:57 PM

santaclaws said:
Just because he has a lot of money doesen't mean he has to spend it all. Besides the 680 as is will max out any game in existence on 1920*1080.


My overall budget is hovering around $7500, but that includes shipping costs, keyboard, mouse, accessories, headphones, etc. a number of things I haven't decided upon yet and are still kind of in limbo.

To be fair I'd say $6000 is a better budget, while I have $1500 for accessories, input devices, bling, and that sorta thing.




Either way, this thing needs to be a beast of a system. I am leaning towards the EVGA SR-X path I described initially, would like to know some pros/cons of the hardware combos I listed, if anyone can help.
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July 9, 2012 3:30:38 PM

$1500 for accessories? Wow you're gonna buy like a gold plated mouse or something? haha.

Just go with this build, as is, its a beast of a system that any enthusiast would be proud of. It's also cheaper, faster and more power efficient.
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July 9, 2012 3:33:01 PM

santaclaws said:
$1500 for accessories? Wow you're gonna buy like a gold plated mouse or something? haha.

Just go with this build, as is, its a beast of a system that any enthusiast would be proud of. It's also cheaper, faster and more power efficient.


Heh, nothing gold-plated. It's just a budget, so I may not even come close to hitting it. And I mean honestly I'd like to just take the Maximus TX10-D case and go from there. I'd really like to end up with something remarkable, that hasn't yet been done to the extent I wish to do it.
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July 9, 2012 4:11:31 PM

Figure I'd weigh in. I going to go ahead and recommend you stick with the 670's as opposed to a single 680. As benchmarks have shown, a 670 is very close to a 680 as far as performance is concerned, yet it is cheaper AND uses less power. As far as price/performance and performance/watt go, you'll be better off with SLI 670's than a single 680 with another somewhere down the line.

Whichever card you decide to go for, may I recommend a 3 or 4GB frame buffer. With that much power, you're quickly going to run out of steam on a single panel. Using EyeFinity or nVidia Surround is very taxing on VRAM and having a significant amount will ensure future-proofing. You don't want to get stuck with something that has the rendering muscle for a task, yet lacks the VRAM necessary for any degree of smoothness.

The SR2 is an absolute beast, and I'd be the first to admit I'd love to be the owner of such an epic piece of equipment, but from a gaming standpoint, I'd stick with a single socket board. The trouble with those Xeons is that they aren't easily overclockable. They have the same Base Clock limitations as Sandy Bridge did, meaning you won't be able to get much more than maybe a couple hundred megahertz out of it. The i7 is a good option, but I'd strongly recommend going with the 3930K. It'll give you a lot more overclocking headroom and will provide performance more in line with a system with such a large budget. The higher clock speed of the i7 will make a significant difference in games and will be plenty enough to keep your cards well-fed.

As far as storage is concerned, I think it'd be cool to go with an SSD RAID array. While you do lose TRIM in going to RAID, the garbage collection on modern SSD's is good enough. If you join more than 2 together, say 3 or 4, you could run a RAID 5 array, giving you blistering performance AND redundancy should a drive fail.
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July 9, 2012 4:24:31 PM

Xenturion said:
Figure I'd weigh in. I going to go ahead and recommend you stick with the 670's as opposed to a single 680. As benchmarks have shown, a 670 is very close to a 680 as far as performance is concerned, yet it is cheaper AND uses less power. As far as price/performance and performance/watt go, you'll be better off with SLI 670's than a single 680 with another somewhere down the line.

Whichever card you decide to go for, may I recommend a 3 or 4GB frame buffer. With that much power, you're quickly going to run out of steam on a single panel. Using EyeFinity or nVidia Surround is very taxing on VRAM and having a significant amount will ensure future-proofing. You don't want to get stuck with something that has the rendering muscle for a task, yet lacks the VRAM necessary for any degree of smoothness.

The SR2 is an absolute beast, and I'd be the first to admit I'd love to be the owner of such an epic piece of equipment, but from a gaming standpoint, I'd stick with a single socket board. The trouble with those Xeons is that they aren't easily overclockable. They have the same Base Clock limitations as Sandy Bridge did, meaning you won't be able to get much more than maybe a couple hundred megahertz out of it. The i7 is a good option, but I'd strongly recommend going with the 3930K. It'll give you a lot more overclocking headroom and will provide performance more in line with a system with such a large budget. The higher clock speed of the i7 will make a significant difference in games and will be plenty enough to keep your cards well-fed.

As far as storage is concerned, I think it'd be cool to go with an SSD RAID array. While you do lose TRIM in going to RAID, the garbage collection on modern SSD's is good enough. If you join more than 2 together, say 3 or 4, you could run a RAID 5 array, giving you blistering performance AND redundancy should a drive fail.


I appreciate the suggestion on the processor, I do think I'll lean towards that one due to the overclocking ability. A RAID 5 SSD array is definitely an option, depending on how necessary I end up finding it. If you recommend against an SR2 and say stick with a single socket board, of the two I listed, which would you recommend? Or a different one all together?

Thanks,
Tyler H.
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July 9, 2012 4:31:49 PM

GIGABYTE or ASUS? That's a rather tough call. I honestly would go for the Gigabyte for all the Value-adds it has. I'm a sucker for quality audio, so the built-in Creative chipset would be something of interest to me. Same with the Killer LAN chipset. While it hasn't proven to make a significant difference in real-world scenarios, It'd just be an interesting thing to have. Plus, I like the color scheme on the Gigabyte board, but, in reality, it really doesn't make that much of a difference. Boards of that caliber and from those brands are going to be quality products regardless.
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July 9, 2012 4:34:02 PM

Xenturion said:
GIGABYTE or ASUS? That's a rather tough call. I honestly would go for the Gigabyte for all the Value-adds it has. I'm a sucker for quality audio, so the built-in Creative chipset would be something of interest to me. Same with the Killer LAN chipset. While it hasn't proven to make a significant difference in real-world scenarios, It'd just be an interesting thing to have. Plus, I like the color scheme on the Gigabyte board, but, in reality, it really doesn't make that much of a difference. Boards of that caliber and from those brands are going to be quality products regardless.


But are they "the best" of they're respective line? I really tend to have a lot of buyer's remorse once I make a purchase. Even if holding off a month or so might result in something big, I'm not sure where the tech release curve is looking right now.
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July 9, 2012 4:37:55 PM

If you keep holding back for the best, you'll never build this haha. Don't worry about it, they're the top of the line for a reason.
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July 9, 2012 4:50:00 PM

In regards to GPU recommendations, I'm aware the 600 series nVidia GPUs are severely crippled in CUDA and various core performance for uses in Adobe products, rendering, raytracing, etc. compared to the 500 series.

Would I be better off going with, say a superclocked 500 series set of cards in dual SLI that have a significant amount of VRAM? For example:

EVGA GeForce GTX 580 Classified Ultra 3072MB - 2x $549.99

Although the big thing I notice is that since it is a dated card, it has lower clock speeds and is a PCIe 2.0 spec card. Not sure what the trade-offs are for the best value.
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July 9, 2012 4:56:56 PM

Not to mention it will require a 1kW PSU.
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July 9, 2012 5:03:53 PM

It'll consume more power, but the 600 series will eventually mature and get better with drivers etc.
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July 9, 2012 5:05:31 PM

santaclaws said:
It'll consume more power, but the 600 series will eventually mature and get better with drivers etc.


I heard they were crippled at the chip level. The PSU isn't an issue, as the case I intend to use and my setup entailed a multi-PSU functionality (case supports up to 4 PSUs)
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July 9, 2012 5:07:41 PM

For reference, here is the backside of the case in question (this thing is almost human height).

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July 9, 2012 5:07:54 PM

4 PSUs? Wow. I'd be hard pressed to use up 1000W.....
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July 9, 2012 5:10:33 PM

Looks to be an amazing machine you are planning, tylerjharden!

It would be my advice however, if you are really serious about using the Autodesk Entertainment Creation Suite and you want the software components to work well you will have to make a compromise in the graphics department.

The fact is that Autodesk doesn't really commit a huge part of it's resources toward keeping their software optimized for the latest GPU's, especially gaming cards.

Long story short, Kepler architecture doesn't work with 3D apps like 3ds Max very well at this time and may well not till next release. Don't hold your breath!

You mention "buyers remorse", well that's what you will probably feel once you realize that your workstation you invested so much in doesn't live up to expectations.

One way to avoid a huge let down in this area could be to install (at least) two different graphics cards, like one pro (Quadro etc) for 3D design and another for gaming (like the GTX 680 others have suggested).

I couldn't tell you exactly how this would work but I'm sure the experts here could help you out.

That's my 2 cents anyway.

Edit: Reading your more recent post it looks like you understand this. Just wanted to save you some frustration. :) 

Good luck with your build!
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July 9, 2012 5:20:14 PM

Just get yourself two cards, a GTX 690 and a Quadro 5000 :p 

Have one monitor for your GTX 690 and one monitor connected to your Quadro 5000.
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July 9, 2012 5:25:01 PM

Trist_58 said:
Looks to be an amazing machine you are planning, tylerjharden!

It would be my advice however, if you are really serious about using the Autodesk Entertainment Creation Suite and you want the software components to work well you will have to make a compromise in the graphics department.

The fact is that Autodesk doesn't really commit a huge part of it's resources toward keeping their software optimized for the latest GPU's, especially gaming cards.

Long story short, Kepler architecture doesn't work with 3D apps like 3ds Max very well at this time and may well not till next release. Don't hold your breath!

You mention "buyers remorse", well that's what you will probably feel once you realize that your workstation you invested so much in doesn't live up to expectations.

One way to avoid a huge let down in this area could be to install (at least) two different graphics cards, like one pro (Quadro etc) for 3D design and another for gaming (like the GTX 680 others have suggested).

I couldn't tell you exactly how this would work but I'm sure the experts here could help you out.

That's my 2 cents anyway.

Edit: Reading your more recent post it looks like you understand this. Just wanted to save you some frustration. :) 

Good luck with your build!


Thank you! I had been pondering this since the beginning, since it was clear that Quadro is workstation, and GeForce has always been gaming. I've gotten away with using applications back in the day on an 8800 GTX and managing, but to do college projects and start taking on small-time paid projects, maybe it is time to invest in the professional graphics hardware to back it up. My only concern there is the price. I'd like to stay away from having a single piece of hardware utilize 10 - 15% of the overall budget, so a $1,000 - $1,500 mid-range Quadro is going to limit some of my other options.

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July 9, 2012 5:28:05 PM

Just get either a GTX 590 or GTX 690. You don't really need the Quadro, if you get the GTX, you'll essentially be killing two birds with one stone as it's obviously a superb graphics card, and it wouldn't have a problem in AutoCad (Don't take my word on it, but there's no reason why it shouldn't).
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July 9, 2012 5:30:53 PM

santaclaws said:
Just get either a GTX 590 or GTX 690. You don't really need the Quadro, if you get the GTX, you'll essentially be killing two birds with one stone as it's obviously a superb graphics card, and it wouldn't have a problem in AutoCad (Don't take my word on it, but there's no reason why it shouldn't).


Well to be honest I'm not as much concerned about AutoCAD as I am Photoshop and the suites of video and music production apps.

The 690 price tag is unwordly for something that has almost no reviews and justification. It's pretty, but I think I'll look into the 670 series in a dual SLI configuration, with the option of expanding to 3.

Quick question: How many GPUs do you require to utilize PhysX? I did contract programming for AGEIA back when PhysX was owned by them, and our dev team were all sent ASUS PCI cards specifically for PhysX. Mind you this was 4 years ago, I'm not sure how it works with nVidia GPUs to end up with a dedicated "physics" card?
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July 9, 2012 5:35:03 PM

You only need one, you could set up a card for dedicated Physx but there isn't much a point in it. If you want to, just find a cheap GTX 460 or something like that.
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July 9, 2012 5:39:51 PM

I would stay well away from dual GPU cards for 3D design. They get hot, the amount of VRAM actually used by Autodesk applications does not equal the sum of both the GPU's and they are less powerful than a real dual SLI configuration.

You will have to find a compromize somewhere tyler, as you said workstation cards are expensive and IMO arn't worth it (unless you are building a massive VFX studio).

For what it's worth, I do a little freelance animation with 3ds Max running on a GTX 580 3GB and I'm happy with the performance for what it cost me.

Unless you need to do a lot of GPU rendering, a GTX 580 SLI might just work...
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July 9, 2012 5:41:31 PM

OR...

You could build two separate rigs! :p 
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July 9, 2012 5:42:42 PM

Keep in mind that RAIDing SSDs will disable the TRIM function. Not really worth it, just get one bigger SSD. Store your work on a mirrored raid array of physical HDDs.
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July 9, 2012 5:43:30 PM

To max all games on 1080p, all you need is a $2k budget, so along with "1.5k dollars in peripherals", essentially, a 3.5k dollar build is all you need to max everything.
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July 9, 2012 6:06:31 PM

This thread's going nowhere. I'm leaving. :p 
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July 9, 2012 6:12:21 PM

Trist_58 said:
This thread's going nowhere. I'm leaving. :p 


Sorry to hear that. I appreciated your feedback. I'll refine more and possibly go with a new thread or edit this one out. Dual 670's should more than work for me now for what I intend to start using, and as I tend to over-plan, I'll end up trying to convince myself I need 4 690's in quad-SLI for absolutely no reason, so the 670's in dual SLI sound like a great high-end / upper mid-range option for me as it stands now.

Seems like I stand to gain the most from decreasing the CPU bottleneck.
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July 9, 2012 6:14:20 PM

It's beyond me on how a CPU like this will end up being a bottle neck.
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July 9, 2012 6:16:49 PM

@tyler,

No hard feelings, but this thread seems to becoming a little disingenuous.

Good luck anyways, just use your better judgement.
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July 9, 2012 7:10:42 PM

Trist_58 said:
@tyler,

No hard feelings, but this thread seems to becoming a little disingenuous.

Good luck anyways, just use your better judgement.


I completely understand. I started the thread and have been here all day searching online based on things people suggested, as well as what I've found. Just looking for a second opinion.
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July 9, 2012 7:42:08 PM

OP

I agree with you on the shaders of the 6 series being less effective for cuda but the same was true for the 5xx series when compared core per core to the 2xx series, the loss of complexity added more speed and more shaders performing less complex calculations but paying high dollar for a 5xx series over a 6xx series would not be advisable as the difference between them as far as being futureproof so to speak i feel it would be ill advised as in the future the apps will be developed using the newer tech more effectively and that would really negate the issue your seeing with shader performance. New versions of software come out all the time. The development of the apps will be done with the new GPU'd in mind. This makes the investment in newer hardware a good Idea.


For the other suggestions I could see some value in two systems with that budget involving a kvm switch and two boxes. One you could build with a 4 core 2500/3570 K and a single 680/670/660ti/7970/ minimal ram 8 GB and reasonable SSD 256 and a HDD of 1 tb or smaller/greater for media and such. And the other with a 3930K and a real workstation card that wouldn't needd to be quite top of the line (3000 for a GPU) but maybe 800-1200 hundred, the results of which is a massive gain over any amount of gaming gpus. as for workstation raid arrays and such working with SSD as cache I can not really comment as I know very little beyond raid 0 and it sounds like you need redundancy along with SSD performacnce and I am not really anyone who should tell you about that cause I simply don't know much about it.
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!