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3D Rendering Build Advice.

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August 22, 2012 4:20:00 AM

Hey there, i'm currently a university student studying 3d design, and i'm looking at a new workstation/ render-machine. I also intend on doing some gaming with it as well. With all this in mind my price range is $1500-2200 for said machine. I'm new to building my own rig, and this is what i have for parts so far.

CPU:Intel Xeon E5645 Westmere 2.4 GHz, 6 Core
Motherboard : EVGA Classified SR-2 Motherboard
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 166b 240pin DDR3, SDRAM DDR3 1600.
Storage: Hitachi ST Deskstar 7k3000 2TB 7200 ROM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0gb/s
Power Supply: EVGA 100-PS-1200-6R – Classified SR-2 1200W Power Supply
GPU: EVGA 015-P3-1480-KR GeForce GTX 480 (Fermi)
Sound: Asus Xonar DGX 5.1 Channels 24-bit 96KHz PCI Express-
Cooling: Corsair CWCH60 Hydro Series H60 High Performance Liquid CPU Cooler
Case: Rosewill Blackhawk-Ultra Gaming Super Tower

This set up right know puts me at my max budget of $2100. i would like to bring that price tag down a but without sacrificing to much render power.

I was told by a couple of people on the forums that Intel Xeon chip is a overkill, and i have to agree, they said look for an i7. My question is which i7 would be good for my purpose, and also then also a motherboard. And with those changes i could also go with a lower priced power supply. Or even if i could find a different less pricey motherboard that could still run Intel Exon chip.

Thanks any advice would be greatly appreciated!
- Velo

More about : rendering build advice

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a b B Homebuilt system
August 22, 2012 1:45:58 PM

I would go with a i7 3930K, ASRock X79 Extreme6 LGA 2011 Motherboard and 16-32GB of G.SKILL DDR3 1600 Memory (Corsair Vengence LP works too). I would also update your GPU to a GTX 670. you can drop down the PSU to the 550-650 w range (Corsair, Seasonic, XFX, Silverstone, Antec, or PC Power&cooling).

the Sandy-E i7's will out perform and similarly priced Xeon CPU and render faster.

additionally you should run separate disks for the system software and the work area. I suggest a 128-256GB SSD (Samsung 830 or Crucial M4) for a Boot/Apps drive and a WD Velociraptor 1TB drive (or 2) for the work area.
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August 22, 2012 10:57:20 PM

saw your question an just had to put in a few considerations. A gaming system and a graphics workstation are two completely different platforms. Sure you want fast cpu's lots of ram and storage for both but here are a few other things to think about. Your going to want more ram, a different type of gpu, and more storage space in a workstation than in a gaming system. Just because the workstation has much higher specs on paper dosn't mean however it will play games faster though. For example Take a look at this video of a quadro 600 vs a Geforce GTX 560 ti in a rendering app.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQu1z-1_bm8&feature=play...

its in japaneese so don't mind that, but if you watch the video you will get the idea.
On the other hand if you were playing games, the Geforce will have a much higher frame rate and better gaming eperience. So the big question for the system is which will you be doing more playing games or rendering? As far as the processor goes its pretty much the faster the core clock the better it is for games but graphics design software loves to use multiple cores so if again your going for gaming a faster clock dual core processor for example may outperform a slower clock quad core but its just the opposite for a workstation. Also while you are setting up your render you may be multi-tasking a lot and having more cores definately helps out with this process. With all this to take in and if you are running both types of software an equal amount of time what I would recomend is that maybe you look at the biggest i7 processor your budget can afford at a minimum 8gb of ram but more like the 16-32 that was recommended by jerreddredd. a minimum of a 1TB HDD for programs and a SSD For your 64-bit OS. Do not use a 32 bit os or you will never utilize the ram. You also may want to run 2 different video cards in the system at the same time with 2 different monitors. That way you can select the proper display for what you are doing. When you do this though remember both cards will be active at the same time so make sure you get a big enough power supply to handle what you are doing. a 700w-800w should do the trick nicely unless your going crazy on video cards or other devices in the computer. You could use a quadro 600 and a Geforce GTX 560 ti in the same system or if you like another brand you could use a FirePro and a Radeon togther. Just don't try to SLI them in either configuration. I hope some of this helps and if nothing else makes you think about what you really want to acomplish with this system in real world application.
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August 23, 2012 12:37:56 AM

spectrevr4 said:
saw your question an just had to put in a few considerations. A gaming system and a graphics workstation are two completely different platforms. Sure you want fast cpu's lots of ram and storage for both but here are a few other things to think about. Your going to want more ram, a different type of gpu, and more storage space in a workstation than in a gaming system. Just because the workstation has much higher specs on paper dosn't mean however it will play games faster though. For example Take a look at this video of a quadro 600 vs a Geforce GTX 560 ti in a rendering app.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQu1z-1_bm8&feature=play...

its in japaneese so don't mind that, but if you watch the video you will get the idea.
On the other hand if you were playing games, the Geforce will have a much higher frame rate and better gaming eperience. So the big question for the system is which will you be doing more playing games or rendering? As far as the processor goes its pretty much the faster the core clock the better it is for games but graphics design software loves to use multiple cores so if again your going for gaming a faster clock dual core processor for example may outperform a slower clock quad core but its just the opposite for a workstation. Also while you are setting up your render you may be multi-tasking a lot and having more cores definately helps out with this process. With all this to take in and if you are running both types of software an equal amount of time what I would recomend is that maybe you look at the biggest i7 processor your budget can afford at a minimum 8gb of ram but more like the 16-32 that was recommended by jerreddredd. a minimum of a 1TB HDD for programs and a SSD For your 64-bit OS. Do not use a 32 bit os or you will never utilize the ram. You also may want to run 2 different video cards in the system at the same time with 2 different monitors. That way you can select the proper display for what you are doing. When you do this though remember both cards will be active at the same time so make sure you get a big enough power supply to handle what you are doing. a 700w-800w should do the trick nicely unless your going crazy on video cards or other devices in the computer. You could use a quadro 600 and a Geforce GTX 560 ti in the same system or if you like another brand you could use a FirePro and a Radeon togther. Just don't try to SLI them in either configuration. I hope some of this helps and if nothing else makes you think about what you really want to acomplish with this system in real world application.



Thanks alot it does help alot, i'm mostly going to be rendering and using it as a workstation. Gaming is more of a hobby which is pretty low on my hobbies list, and of the games i do play i play older games so i'm not to worried about the computer not being able to handle them. Again thanks for explaining the difference's between a gaming comp and render comp.
-velo
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August 23, 2012 1:29:58 AM

Best answer selected by velomedia.
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August 23, 2012 2:10:59 AM

jerreddredd said:
I would go with a i7 3930K, ASRock X79 Extreme6 LGA 2011 Motherboard and 16-32GB of G.SKILL DDR3 1600 Memory (Corsair Vengence LP works too). I would also update your GPU to a GTX 670. you can drop down the PSU to the 550-650 w range (Corsair, Seasonic, XFX, Silverstone, Antec, or PC Power&cooling).

the Sandy-E i7's will out perform and similarly priced Xeon CPU and render faster.

additionally you should run separate disks for the system software and the work area. I suggest a 128-256GB SSD (Samsung 830 or Crucial M4) for a Boot/Apps drive and a WD Velociraptor 1TB drive (or 2) for the work area.


Thanks alot your input was extremely helpful. I found everything i needed plus more. :) 
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August 23, 2012 2:44:43 PM

jerreddredd said:
I would go with a i7 3930K, ASRock X79 Extreme6 LGA 2011 Motherboard and 16-32GB of G.SKILL DDR3 1600 Memory (Corsair Vengence LP works too). I would also update your GPU to a GTX 670. you can drop down the PSU to the 550-650 w range (Corsair, Seasonic, XFX, Silverstone, Antec, or PC Power&cooling).

the Sandy-E i7's will out perform and similarly priced Xeon CPU and render faster.

additionally you should run separate disks for the system software and the work area. I suggest a 128-256GB SSD (Samsung 830 or Crucial M4) for a Boot/Apps drive and a WD Velociraptor 1TB drive (or 2) for the work area.


I actually have one more question on the gpu. Is there something wrong with the gpu i have picked out now? Whats your reasoning behind the upgrade to the gtx 670. Would it be suited better for my render machine?
Thanks again, velo
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 23, 2012 3:19:38 PM

velomedia said:
I actually have one more question on the gpu. Is there something wrong with the gpu i have picked out now? Whats your reasoning behind the upgrade to the gtx 670. Would it be suited better for my render machine?
Thanks again, velo


the GTX 480 is old, user an extreme amount of power, is loud and produces a lot of heat.
The GTX 670 is new, Faster, uses less power, it much quieter, and produces lest heat.

the GTX 670 would be my pick, it would not affect rendering (a CPU based function) except in certain software that would use the CUDA cores, in that case it would render faster on a 670 than a 480.

the GTX 670 has 1344 Cuda Cores, the GTX 480 has 480.
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August 23, 2012 5:23:52 PM

just to follow up on this post you would greatly benifit from the extra cuda cores on the 670 because a lot of the higher end rendering software will let you use the cuda cores on a video card to render instead of using a cpu to render. This benifits you because using coda cores to render is much faster than using raw cpu power unless you are using a server farm and thats a whole other topic that you can look into if you get extremely serious about animation work. I think Jerreddredd has got you on the right track here. The 670 will also be better in gaming performance than if you were to use a lower end professional graphics card designed for rendering. So basically it will give you the best of both worlds. Take a look at this video as a compairson of rendering on raw cpu power against rendering with cuda cores.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&...

This should give you a idea of what kind of differences to expect. The other big benifit of rendering with cuda cores is that it saves your cpu power so you can run other programs while waiting on your render and they will run faster. This is very benificial in animation and as far as that goes pretty much any field of graphic design as you do tend to run more than one program at a time. For example lets say you were going to do a green screen cut for a movie. You may have a program open for rendering your 3d animation work, a program with a 3d background or seperate video of the background you want to use for background, another program to compile your video of actors on a green screen and your 3d animation and background togther, and a 4th program to edit sound. This is just an example as some software packages all of this togther but if it's not or you like specific features of a program this can happen pretty commonly. Just make sure that if you go this routh that your software for rendering is able to utilize the cuda cores to take advantge of this feature your system would have. I hope this helps.
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August 24, 2012 12:33:09 AM

mosca_jacob said:
Hi, would you mind posting your build? I'm looking into a kind of similar one here http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/360046-31-advice-game... .


Here's the build:

CPU:Intel Xeon E5645 Westmere 2.4 GHz, 6 Core
Motherboard : ASRock Intel x79 DDR3 1600 LGA X97 Extreme6/GB
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 166b 240pin DDR3, SDRAM DDR3 1600.
Storage: Western Digitial VelociRaptor WD1000DHTZ 1TB 10000 RPM SATA 6.0
Storage: Crucial 256 GB m4 2.5inch SSD SATA 6gb
Power Supply: Seasonic ss-560KM ATX12v2.3/EPS 12v v2.91
GPU: EVGA 015-P3-1480-KR GeForce GTX 670
Cooling: Corsair CWCH60 Hydro Series H60 High Performance Liquid CPU Cooler
Case: Thermaltake Chaser MK-I Full Tower

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August 24, 2012 12:41:01 AM

spectrevr4 said:
just to follow up on this post you would greatly benifit from the extra cuda cores on the 670 because a lot of the higher end rendering software will let you use the cuda cores on a video card to render instead of using a cpu to render. This benifits you because using coda cores to render is much faster than using raw cpu power unless you are using a server farm and thats a whole other topic that you can look into if you get extremely serious about animation work. I think Jerreddredd has got you on the right track here. The 670 will also be better in gaming performance than if you were to use a lower end professional graphics card designed for rendering. So basically it will give you the best of both worlds. Take a look at this video as a compairson of rendering on raw cpu power against rendering with cuda cores.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&...

This should give you a idea of what kind of differences to expect. The other big benifit of rendering with cuda cores is that it saves your cpu power so you can run other programs while waiting on your render and they will run faster. This is very benificial in animation and as far as that goes pretty much any field of graphic design as you do tend to run more than one program at a time. For example lets say you were going to do a green screen cut for a movie. You may have a program open for rendering your 3d animation work, a program with a 3d background or seperate video of the background you want to use for background, another program to compile your video of actors on a green screen and your 3d animation and background togther, and a 4th program to edit sound. This is just an example as some software packages all of this togther but if it's not or you like specific features of a program this can happen pretty commonly. Just make sure that if you go this routh that your software for rendering is able to utilize the cuda cores to take advantge of this feature your system would have. I hope this helps.


Thanks a lot, your explanations are very in-depth and well explained. It helps alot in understanding why i'm purchasing something rather then just being told to buy this, this and this. No offense to Jerreddredd, you have also been a huge help. One more question, so if im rendering with cuda cores, would in the future, adding an additional GPU speed my render times up even more instead of say adding another cpu (which with this motherboard isn't possible im pretty sure)? In theory it makes sense but theory is theory.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 24, 2012 5:25:04 AM

velomedia said:
Here's the build:

CPU:Intel Xeon E5645 Westmere 2.4 GHz, 6 Core
Motherboard : ASRock Intel x79 DDR3 1600 LGA X97 Extreme6/GB


these are not compatible. the MB is for LGA 2011, the CPU's Xeon E5645 Westmere 2.4 GHz, 6 Core is a LGA 1366 CPU
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August 24, 2012 12:56:04 PM

velomedia said:
Thanks a lot, your explanations are very in-depth and well explained. It helps alot in understanding why i'm purchasing something rather then just being told to buy this, this and this. No offense to Jerreddredd, you have also been a huge help. One more question, so if im rendering with cuda cores, would in the future, adding an additional GPU speed my render times up even more instead of say adding another cpu (which with this motherboard isn't possible im pretty sure)? In theory it makes sense but theory is theory.



No problem I'm glad I can help, and to answer your question yes. Adding a 2nd video card in SLI configuration in the future will drastically speed up performance. SLI stands for Scan Line Interleave. basically what it means is that each line of pixels on your screen is alternated between video cards so each card is only having to draw half of the screen at a time. So you can see why this would speed up things so much. The important thing to remember when doing a SLI setup though is make sure you have 2 of exactly the same video card from the same manufacture. Someties for example you can pair up two cards of the same chipset from different manufactures like say a EVGA and an ASUS if they are both geforce gtx 670 cards. However this is not recommended as the drivers for the cards from the manufacture are different which means you would have to use a generic nvidia driver to acomplish it. Although the generic drivers are great you may lose some performance or features as compaired to the original manufacture drivers. Also some cards just don't like to play nice with eachother and you could physically damage one of the cards by doing this or at minimum void your card's warranty so it is best to buy two of exactly the same cards from the same manufacture to get the best results. With that in mind if you are not buying both cards at the same time make sure you are buying a popular name brand card with a popular chipset to ensure you have the most time available to get your second card down the road. Also make sure you have a large enough power supply to add a 2nd card in the future. You don't want to have to remove one and upgrade it in the future if you can avoid it. It will save you money in the long run because a used power supply dosn't sell for much. Also my recomendation for this system would be...

Asus P8Z77-V Pro LGA 1155 with a Z77 chipset
Intel Core i7 3770K 3.5Ghz Quad core with IVY Bridge and Hyper Threading (Retail includes CPU Cooler)
4x Visiontek Red Label 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 2133 (PC3 17000) Memory Module
2x Asus GTX670 2Gb
Western Digitial VelociRaptor WD1000DHTZ 1TB 10000 RPM SATA 6.0
Crucial 256 GB m4 2.5inch SSD SATA 6gb (don't forget to get an adapter plate to make it fit in the 3.5 slot)
NZXT HALE82 HALE82-850-M 850W Power Supply
Your chioce of case, Optical Drive, and 64-bit O/S

The motherboard will support up to 4 videocards in SLI so if you want to go extreme you have the option in the future to do just that and it also can be equippd with thunderbolt (look up Thunderbolt interface in wiki) if you wanted to build a server farm in the future to run in the background it would just get insane what you could do with this in a studio environment. I know the processor is a quad core instead of the 6 core Xeon you were looking at but it is cheeper, runs at a lower wattage, and will have more potential growth in the future as it is a more mainstream setup. Plus with both of them having hyper threading tech and the i7 being much faster cores the will be very close in performance...especially if you are using your GPU's to render. This motherboard /CPU combo can be bought at newegg.com for about $550 which is the price of just the Xeon processor so the extra money saved will help offset the cost of the 2nd GPU and stay close to budget. The ram here is just insane fast and with the motherboard you can even overclock it and the cpu to get more performance. The motherboard has a utility in the bios as well as a switch on it that lets you auto overclock and I wouldn't be supperised if you get the cpu over 4Ghz and the ram above 2400Ghz. Asus claims they have had ram overclocked on this board above 3100ghz and stable but that's pushing it real hard and you want stability as well as performance so lets stay a bit conservative...if you call 2400Ghz conservative. Your choice for drives is right on and I wouldn't change a thing. The power suply however you will need the extra wattage for the 2nd vdeo card in SLI and if you want to overclock. As far as the case goes any quality built case will do just fine but I would sugest staying with a full tower to keep as much air flowing as possible. Thermaltake, Coolermaster, NZXT, Lan-Li are all excellent choices. All of these parts can be bought at newegg.com You can use them for a price reference. If the system I put togther is a little over budget just remove one of the video cards and you can add it in the future. Again Hope this helps. Oops almost forgot, Make sure you setup your SSD/HDD configuration correctly in the bios or you will shorten the lifespan and performance of the SSD greatly. There are lots of threads and videos on it so check into it before you set it up. HEH after looking at the specs of what I just put togther here I want to build it...lol.
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August 24, 2012 1:10:27 PM

One more thing I thought of. If your new to all of this you may want to check out a program called Blender. It has the ability to utilize everything here and has some pretty awesome results...besides that it is completely free which makes it even better. Just got to blender.org and you can download it. it has a pretty steep learning curve but there are lots of video tutorials on how to do things in it and they also sell instructional books on their site if you really like the software. It's at least worth a look.
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August 24, 2012 7:07:51 PM

jerreddredd said:
these are not compatible. the MB is for LGA 2011, the CPU's Xeon E5645 Westmere 2.4 GHz, 6 Core is a LGA 1366 CPU


Ah yeah sorry i forgot to change it too the i7 you suggested!

Thanks!
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August 24, 2012 7:09:04 PM

spectrevr4 said:
No problem I'm glad I can help, and to answer your question yes. Adding a 2nd video card in SLI configuration in the future will drastically speed up performance. SLI stands for Scan Line Interleave. basically what it means is that each line of pixels on your screen is alternated between video cards so each card is only having to draw half of the screen at a time. So you can see why this would speed up things so much. The important thing to remember when doing a SLI setup though is make sure you have 2 of exactly the same video card from the same manufacture. Someties for example you can pair up two cards of the same chipset from different manufactures like say a EVGA and an ASUS if they are both geforce gtx 670 cards. However this is not recommended as the drivers for the cards from the manufacture are different which means you would have to use a generic nvidia driver to acomplish it. Although the generic drivers are great you may lose some performance or features as compaired to the original manufacture drivers. Also some cards just don't like to play nice with eachother and you could physically damage one of the cards by doing this or at minimum void your card's warranty so it is best to buy two of exactly the same cards from the same manufacture to get the best results. With that in mind if you are not buying both cards at the same time make sure you are buying a popular name brand card with a popular chipset to ensure you have the most time available to get your second card down the road. Also make sure you have a large enough power supply to add a 2nd card in the future. You don't want to have to remove one and upgrade it in the future if you can avoid it. It will save you money in the long run because a used power supply dosn't sell for much. Also my recomendation for this system would be...

Asus P8Z77-V Pro LGA 1155 with a Z77 chipset
Intel Core i7 3770K 3.5Ghz Quad core with IVY Bridge and Hyper Threading (Retail includes CPU Cooler)
4x Visiontek Red Label 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 2133 (PC3 17000) Memory Module
2x Asus GTX670 2Gb
Western Digitial VelociRaptor WD1000DHTZ 1TB 10000 RPM SATA 6.0
Crucial 256 GB m4 2.5inch SSD SATA 6gb (don't forget to get an adapter plate to make it fit in the 3.5 slot)
NZXT HALE82 HALE82-850-M 850W Power Supply
Your chioce of case, Optical Drive, and 64-bit O/S

The motherboard will support up to 4 videocards in SLI so if you want to go extreme you have the option in the future to do just that and it also can be equippd with thunderbolt (look up Thunderbolt interface in wiki) if you wanted to build a server farm in the future to run in the background it would just get insane what you could do with this in a studio environment. I know the processor is a quad core instead of the 6 core Xeon you were looking at but it is cheeper, runs at a lower wattage, and will have more potential growth in the future as it is a more mainstream setup. Plus with both of them having hyper threading tech and the i7 being much faster cores the will be very close in performance...especially if you are using your GPU's to render. This motherboard /CPU combo can be bought at newegg.com for about $550 which is the price of just the Xeon processor so the extra money saved will help offset the cost of the 2nd GPU and stay close to budget. The ram here is just insane fast and with the motherboard you can even overclock it and the cpu to get more performance. The motherboard has a utility in the bios as well as a switch on it that lets you auto overclock and I wouldn't be supperised if you get the cpu over 4Ghz and the ram above 2400Ghz. Asus claims they have had ram overclocked on this board above 3100ghz and stable but that's pushing it real hard and you want stability as well as performance so lets stay a bit conservative...if you call 2400Ghz conservative. Your choice for drives is right on and I wouldn't change a thing. The power suply however you will need the extra wattage for the 2nd vdeo card in SLI and if you want to overclock. As far as the case goes any quality built case will do just fine but I would sugest staying with a full tower to keep as much air flowing as possible. Thermaltake, Coolermaster, NZXT, Lan-Li are all excellent choices. All of these parts can be bought at newegg.com You can use them for a price reference. If the system I put togther is a little over budget just remove one of the video cards and you can add it in the future. Again Hope this helps. Oops almost forgot, Make sure you setup your SSD/HDD configuration correctly in the bios or you will shorten the lifespan and performance of the SSD greatly. There are lots of threads and videos on it so check into it before you set it up. HEH after looking at the specs of what I just put togther here I want to build it...lol.


Yeah thanks alot, ill take alook over the build you've set up and see if it meets my price range. Thanks for all the information. I'm inbetween the build i currently started with and the one you have just made. Hmmmm decisions decisions.
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August 26, 2012 2:53:10 AM

One more thing if you please. If i wanted to say upgrade to 3-4 gtx 670 at some point in the future, would be cpu be able to handle that or would i also look at upgrading that?

Thanks
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August 26, 2012 10:22:15 AM

CPU would be just fine. Power supply may need to go bigger a that point though depending on other installed components at that time. Good Luck with your build. Hope the info helped.
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August 26, 2012 4:49:06 PM

spectrevr4 said:
CPU would be just fine. Power supply may need to go bigger a that point though depending on other installed components at that time. Good Luck with your build. Hope the info helped.


It did thanks alot!
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