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Higher End 3D Design / Animation Box

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July 25, 2012 7:56:16 PM

-- Introduction -----

Hey folks. I'm looking to build a new work machine for my wife. She's a freelance graphics designer/animator and will be using this machine with/for the following applications:

1) Work
- Adobe Production Suite
- Autodesk/Maya Creation Suite
- A few different specialty video editing tools.

2) Play
- 3d MMO's <primarily>
- Isometric RTS's <though its mainly when I'm addicted to a one or another>

Any help or advice on good hardware pairings and vendors would be greatly appreciated. (Particularly processor and motherboard combo's .. difference between the Asus board I have listed and the WS seem minor if your not looking at going Quad-SLI down the road.)

Thanks!

-- Nitty Gritty -----

Date of Purchase
* 2012.07.26

Budget Range
* $2500~3500 <Flexible as this is her primary work machine>
!! NO MAIL-IN-REBATES PLEASE !!

System Usage from Most to Least Important
* 3D modeling & video composition, 3D MMO's, & Isometric RTS gaming.

Are you buying a monitor
* No

Preferred Website(s) for Parts
* Amazon, NewEgg
- It would be ideal to be able to get all of the parts from a single vendor to save on shipping/RMA issues. While my preferred vendor is Amazon, they rarely have what I'm looking for in-stock at a competitive price to NewEgg, so feel free to base the build off of NewEgg.

Country
* U.S.

Preferred Parts Reference
* Intel CPU
* nVidia Graphics
* Antec Case
* SeaSonic Platinum PSU 860 or 1000 (?)

Over-clocking
* Light / Moderate

SLI / Crossfire
* Plan with it in mind but feel free mark for later purchase a second card. (She drives 4 1920x1080 monitors at the moment)

Additional Comments
* Secondary to performance would be SOUND. Basing the build off of quite/silent components would be ideal.

-- Current List / Options / Thoughts -----

Antec P280 Black ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Question: Will the 860 be enough to drive 2x 670 GTX cards or should I get her a 1000watt PSU right from the start?
Spoiler
SeaSonic Platinum Platinum-860 860W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS PLATINUM Certified Full Modular Active PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

vs.

SeaSonic Platinum-1000 1000W ATX12V / EPS12V 80 PLUS PLATINUM Certified Full Modular Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


CORSAIR H100 (CWCH100) Extreme Performance Liquid CPU Cooler
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Intel Core i7-3930K Sandy Bridge-E 3.2GHz (3.8GHz Turbo) LGA 2011 130W Six-Core Desktop Processor BX80619i73930K
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS P9X79 DELUXE LGA 2011 Intel X79 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Question: The P9X79 supports 64GB of Ram. I know both Autodesk and for the most part Adobe's applications will take advantage of this. Is it worth doubling up on the G.SKILL Ram below?

G.SKILL Ripjaws Z Series 32GB (4 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 (PC3 14900) Desktop Memory Model F3-14900CL10Q-32GBZL
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS GTX670-DC2-2GD5 GeForce GTX 670 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Question/Comment:
I currently have some SSD's in my own box, and I love them. However I know they traditionally have issues with compressed data like the images/animations she will be working on. So having said that, she will need 1 app/os drive (or drive set), a scratch disk, and at least one large mechanical storage solution for post-process file storage. If SSD won't work a Raid solution seems to make a lot of sense but that will require a different Motherboard ... thoughts??
Spoiler
SAMSUNG 830 Series MZ-7PC128D/AM 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) Desktop Upgrade Kit
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD / Mechanical Storage
????


ASUS Black Blu-ray Burner SATA BW-12B1ST/BLK/G/AS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

-- Closing -----

That should leave us right around the $2500-$3500 range for a build. Any thoughts, comments, questions, pointing & laughing would be appreciated (though, it would be nice if you backed up the pointing & laughing with a well articulated reason why).
July 25, 2012 8:33:12 PM

Quote:
Question: The P9X79 supports 64GB of Ram. I know both Autodesk and for the most part Adobe's applications will take advantage of this. Is it worth doubling up on the G.SKILL Ram below?
\

You might not need it, you can always add more if you do.

Quote:
I currently have some SSD's in my own box, and I love them. However I know they traditionally have issues with compressed data like the images/animations she will be working on. So having said that, she will need 1 app/os drive (or drive set), a scratch disk, and at least one large mechanical storage solution for post-process file storage. If SSD won't work a Raid solution seems to make a lot of sense but that will require a different Motherboard ... thoughts??


That's what the mechanical storage is for. You load your OS and a couple of main programs on the SSD, use the HD(s) for everything else.

Quote:

CORSAIR H100 (CWCH100) Extreme Performance Liquid CPU Cooler
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6835181017


I'd skip this for now - I'm in the minority on this board with my stance on liquid cooling - a closed block will give you almost the exact same results that strong air fans like the D14 will. Either go with a real custom loop or not at all.

Try something like this:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3930K 3.2GHz 6-Core Processor ($569.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D14 SE2011 CPU Cooler ($82.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Asus Sabertooth X79 ATX LGA2011 Motherboard ($328.49 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws Z Series 32GB (4 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($199.99 @ Newegg)
Hard Drive: Samsung Spinpoint F4 2TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Hard Drive: Crucial M4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($124.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($409.99 @ Newegg)
Case: NZXT Switch 810 (White) ATX Full Tower Case ($189.98 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: PC Power & Cooling 750W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($89.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On IHBS112-04 Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer ($64.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional SP1 (64-bit) ($139.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $2301.38
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-07-25 16:33 EDT-0400)
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July 26, 2012 2:43:06 AM

g-unit1111 said:

You might not need it, you can always add more if you do.


I'm of the same opinion. She's getting a 2x bump there and if need be we can always shell out for an additional 32GB later on.

g-unit1111 said:

That's what the mechanical storage is for. You load your OS and a couple of main programs on the SSD, use the HD(s) for everything else.


Alright, so if I do this, should I just aim for a 3-drive solution?
* OS/App Drive <SSD>
* Scratch/App Drive <SSD>
* Mechanical Storage HDD for media storage, etc.

And if so, whats the current recommendation on an OS drive? 40~80GB?


g-unit1111 said:
Quote:

CORSAIR H100 (CWCH100) Extreme Performance Liquid CPU Cooler
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6835181017


I'd skip this for now - I'm in the minority on this board with my stance on liquid cooling - a closed block will give you almost the exact same results that strong air fans like the D14 will. Either go with a real custom loop or not at all.


Heh, I have a D14 in my box at the moment .. and wasn't aware of the SE2011 model (when I bought mine, you still had to order the kit to support the new socket type ... so didn't even bother to look). I'd definitely prefer to go that route if possible ... I've heard a few horror stories about the closed loop systems.


g-unit1111 said:

Try something like this:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3930K 3.2GHz 6-Core Processor ($569.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D14 SE2011 CPU Cooler ($82.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Asus Sabertooth X79 ATX LGA2011 Motherboard ($328.49 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws Z Series 32GB (4 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($199.99 @ Newegg)
Hard Drive: Samsung Spinpoint F4 2TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Hard Drive: Crucial M4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($124.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($409.99 @ Newegg)
Case: NZXT Switch 810 (White) ATX Full Tower Case ($189.98 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: PC Power & Cooling 750W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($89.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On IHBS112-04 Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer ($64.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional SP1 (64-bit) ($139.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $2301.38


That's looking pretty close to what she needs. Can the 750 watt support a second nVidia 670 down the road? And why the 1600 ram vs. the 1866. While I don't plan over over-clocking her workstation much, I'll more then likely boost it up a bit.

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Best solution

July 26, 2012 3:28:52 AM

Quote:
I'm of the same opinion. She's getting a 2x bump there and if need be we can always shell out for an additional 32GB later on.


RAM is way less expensive than it used to be - $199 for 32GB is not that much, I remember paying $110 for 2GB of RAM in 2007. :ouch: 

Quote:
Alright, so if I do this, should I just aim for a 3-drive solution?
* OS/App Drive <SSD>
* Scratch/App Drive <SSD>
* Mechanical Storage HDD for media storage, etc.

And if so, whats the current recommendation on an OS drive? 40~80GB?


I guess I don't get what the second SSD is for - why not just go for a 128 - 256GB SSD and use that for your OS and apps?

Quote:
Heh, I have a D14 in my box at the moment .. and wasn't aware of the SE2011 model (when I bought mine, you still had to order the kit to support the new socket type ... so didn't even bother to look). I'd definitely prefer to go that route if possible ... I've heard a few horror stories about the closed loop systems.


Yeah I'd rather go with a real loop than a closed loop, but I'd prefer to stick with air - far safer and less risky.

Quote:
That's looking pretty close to what she needs. Can the 750 watt support a second nVidia 670 down the road? And why the 1600 ram vs. the 1866. While I don't plan over over-clocking her workstation much, I'll more then likely boost it up a bit.


Yeah the 670 uses like 1/2 the power that the 580 and 480 did - that's the beauty of Keppler, you can SLI a 670 combo and not even come close to using 800W.
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July 26, 2012 10:48:53 AM

I remember paying $400 for 16 MB of ram and thinking i was getting a deal.

Do your scenes use 64 GB of RAM? True, the extra $200 isn't much...

The faster scratch disk access would be nice, but i'd have to have a setup where i can test the difference... sigh


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July 26, 2012 4:24:23 PM

Draven35 said:
I remember paying $400 for 16 MB of ram and thinking i was getting a deal.

Do your scenes use 64 GB of RAM? True, the extra $200 isn't much...

The faster scratch disk access would be nice, but i'd have to have a setup where i can test the difference... sigh


$400 was a scream for 16MB of ram not all that long ago. The extra $200 for 64 doesn't bother me all that much, I can hear her current scratch disks fire up and stay that way while she's working so I know they are larger then 16GB ... and I'm 99% sure that they are greater then 32GB as well (Didn't look last night when I was back at home.).

At any rate, I'm having to change a bit of things today as she decided that a dedicated work box and a side box for Gaming is, 'OK'. So I'm off to find a Quadro to throw into the mix and then look up what the recent $500-1000-2000+ box builds articles have to say about dedicated gaming boxes.

Thanks again to everyone who took the time to respond.
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July 26, 2012 4:31:17 PM

Best answer selected by CellDPXZ.
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July 26, 2012 4:41:01 PM

CellDPXZ said:
$400 was a scream for 16MB of ram not all that long ago. The extra $200 for 64 doesn't bother me all that much, I can hear her current scratch disks fire up and stay that way while she's working so I know they are larger then 16GB ... and I'm 99% sure that they are greater then 32GB as well (Didn't look last night when I was back at home.).

At any rate, I'm having to change a bit of things today as she decided that a dedicated work box and a side box for Gaming is, 'OK'. So I'm off to find a Quadro to throw into the mix and then look up what the recent $500-1000-2000+ box builds articles have to say about dedicated gaming boxes.

Thanks again to everyone who took the time to respond.


The thing is even if you have a scratch disc - if you need to restore your OS, you still have to reinstall all your programs, you can't expect to keep them on a dedicated drive.

Quaddros are good but any decent one is going to cost some serious money - at minimum you're looking to pay $700 - $800 for the 4000 or 5000. :ouch: 
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July 26, 2012 6:30:26 PM

Uhm... if you're going to be looking at Quadros, I'd wait two weeks.
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