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Help with a VFX PC

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October 12, 2012 1:24:15 AM

Hey Guys,

I've decided to spend a bit of money on a VFX based PC, as my old DV5 laptop really isn't cutting it. I'd love some help optimizing this system for the most value for money. My main concern at this stage is whether to get an i7 or a Xeon. I've heard Xeon's are better for rendering and CPU intensive tasks, but that the i7's are faster.

Approximate Purchase Date: This week

Budget Range: around $2000

System Usage from Most to Least Important: I primarily use Autodesk Maya, Nuke, Photoshop and zbrush - I'm basically an all round VFX guy who also wouldn't mind playing a few games like BF3 (But VFX is priority!)

Are you buying a monitor: Yes

Do you need to buy OS: Yes

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: I'll be buying parts from PC case gear
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php

Location: Melbourne, Australia

Overclocking: At this stage no

SLI or Crossfire: No

Your Monitor Resolution: 1920x1200 would be good, but I'm open to suggestion

My Build so far:

Mother Board
ASRock X79 Extreme4-M Motherboard
$235
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

CPU
Intel Core i7 3930k
$585
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...
OR
Intel Xeon E5 2630
$599
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

PSU
CoolerMaster Extreme 2 725W
$89
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

CPU Cooling
Arctic Cooling Freezer i30 CPU Cooler
$38
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

GPU
Galaxy GeForce GTX 670 2GB
$399
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

RAM
G.Skill Ripjaws Z F3 32GB (4x8GB) DDR3
$195
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

Case
Sharkoon T28 Blue Case USB 3.0
$65
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

Hard Drive
Seagate Barracuda 1TB ST
$79
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

Monitor
Samsung S20B300B 20in Widescreen LED Monitor
$119
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

Sound
Edifer P3060 2.1 Multimedia Speaker
$65
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

Windows 7 professional 64bit
$139
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...


Please critique this, if there are any incompatibilities, if I've missed anything or if cheaper alternatives can be found I'd love to know now and not later on :) 

Cheers guys

More about : vfx

October 12, 2012 2:31:39 AM

You're overpaying quite a bit. An i7-3770K would be sufficient for your needs, there's not much difference with the 3930K other than more cores, but then there's hyperthreading.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($335.00 @ PCCaseGear)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($36.00 @ PCCaseGear)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme6 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($175.00 @ PCCaseGear)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance LP 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($109.00 @ PCCaseGear)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Green 2TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive ($105.00 @ PCCaseGear)
Storage: Plextor M5S Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($179.00 @ PCCaseGear)
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($439.00 @ PCCaseGear)
Case: Antec Nine Hundred Two V3 ATX Mid Tower Case ($135.00 @ PCCaseGear)
Power Supply: OCZ ZT 650W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($99.00 @ PCCaseGear)
Optical Drive: LG GH24NS90 DVD/CD Writer ($22.00 @ PCCaseGear)
Monitor: Asus VE248H 24.0" Monitor ($195.00 @ PCCaseGear)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional SP1 (64-bit) ($139.00 @ PCCaseGear)
Total: $1968.00
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

You might not need 32gb of RAM as well. I'm pretty sure 16gb would be enough.
I gave 2 modules though so you can add more if ever needed, but I doubt it. Gave Low Profile as well for easier CPU cooler installation.

Added an SSD. This is where you'll install your favorite games and softwares for faster boot and loading. And a 2TB HDD as a storage drive for your large files and creations. You can downgrade the 256gb SSD to 128gb if you think it's too much.

Gigabyte GTX 670 for Windforce x3. Though anything else should be fine just not EVGA since most of their cards use reference cooling. I would usually suggest an AMD 7970 since it performs better on most things, but BF3's architecture is Nvidia-optimized so you'll get relatively more FPS from the 670.

CM PSUs have a bad reputation for having high failure rates, got you a better one. I put in 650w in case you'll want to add another card for SLI/CF(EDIT: just noticed you said no to SLI/CF, I would leave the option open since your budget and motherboard can support it, but if you're really sure you won't, you can drop the PSU to a 550w). That OCZ has maximum amperage for its wattage, so you can get the most out of it.

The Antec Nine Hundred v3 has everything you'll ever need, and 4 pre-installed fans for great cooling.
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October 12, 2012 2:47:50 AM

Thanks Excella1221,

I should probably mention I was planning on buying 2 of the samsung LED's, though the second would be purchased a week or two later once my pay comes in. I was also going to buy extra HD's as I needed them, as I already have some additional storage options.

Also, do you have any knowledge on the Xeon vs i7? You suggested a 3770k which uses the 1155 socket. Iv'e heard these don't have options for Hexacore and are less sought after compared to socket 2011 (Especially for animation and rendering)

I also really don't mind not having an SSD as this computer would probably rarely be turned off and having low boot times for the OS (and other programs) really doesn't phase me.
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October 12, 2012 2:54:56 AM

Yeah that might've been good first post info. :p 

If memory serves me correctly, Xeon CPUs are for servers. Yes, LGA1155 so far only has quad cores, but like I said- there is hyperthreading. Basically it converts the 4 cores to 8 half-cores for faster performance. This is also available for the 3930K, and I guess it rests on you if you think your work usage really needs a hexacore.

I would suggest you at least try a 128gb SSD just to see the difference. You sound like someone who hasn't tried them at all yet(no offense meant). :p 
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October 12, 2012 3:17:09 AM

Thanks,

You're right that I haven't tried them yet ha, I feel anything new would have a faster boot than what I'm currently working off. I reckon i'll give it a go though, my friends love them to death.

Are there any reasons why you chose a Gigabyte 670 over the Galaxy variant, or is the extra $40 just the brand?

Also is there anything wrong with the Sharkoon case? Its a lot cheaper than the antec 900.

Thanks for your help :) 
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October 12, 2012 5:15:51 AM

I'm sure you'll be very satisfied with the SSD. I assure you. :) 

The Galaxy you chose uses a reference cooler, hence the cheapness. We don't usually recommend reference cooling here since it's really bad and there's a lot of benefit in OC'ing the clocks. In your case though, the amount of workload you have and BF3 might push the 670 to some high temps. The stock cooler can probably handle it, but custom ones like Gigabyte's Windforce x3 brings temps a lot lower. You can choose other custom ones like MSI, ASUS, etc.

EVGA uses reference cooling too, which makes me wonder why exactly are they still expensive.

You can get this one if you want,
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

Oh and I just picked the Antec 900 'cause I didn't notice the Sharkoon. Casings are mostly preference so I usually leave that to the end user. Feel free to get the Sharkoon, it looks great. :lol: 
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October 12, 2012 6:53:25 AM

i7-3770K vs i7-3930k.
It purely comes down to if you need and can utilize the extra cores and HT
If your VFX software can handle 6core + 6 HT threads, then the 3930K will really shine over the 4cores + 4 HT threads of the 3770k. Plus the 3930k has access to much higher memory bandwidth thanks to the Quad channel ram.
Of course though if your not doing something really intensive the 3770k is going to just as good.
LGA2011 / X79 has its uses for a lot of workstation grade work, but it comes with a pretty significant cost over LGA1155, for very little gain base performance.
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October 13, 2012 1:53:00 AM

My workload tends to be the rendering of large files (Often 5k images as we use Red Epics) Mental ray and V-ray are used so the combination of these two factors often results in really high render times. I mainly use Maya and it can support over 6 cores as well as 6+ HT. I feel any speed increase is going boost render times, especially when its 4 cores vs 6. If I do go ahead with the i7 3930k, would the ASRock X79 Extreme4-M Motherboard suffice?

Thanks for your help guys :) 
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October 13, 2012 2:17:07 AM

It would be compatible, but get the full ATX version, not the micro.
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October 13, 2012 2:39:48 AM

Okay cheers Excella.

Here's an updated build list

Motherboard
ASRock X79 Extreme4-M Motherboard
$235
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

PSU
Cooler Master Extreme 2 725w
$89
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

CPU
Intel Core i7 3930k
$589
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

CPU Cooling
CoolerMaster Hyper 212 EVO CPU Cooler
$35
http://pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&...

GPU
Gigabyte GeForce GTX 670 Overclocked 2GB
$439
http://pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&...

RAM
Corsair Vengeance CML16GX3M2A1600C10 16GB (2x8GB) DDR3
$109
http://pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&...

Case
Sharkoon T28 Blue Case USB 3.0
$65
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

Hard Drive
Seagate Barracuda 1TB
$79
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

Monitor
Samsung S20B300B 20in Widescreen LED Monitor
$119
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

Sound
Edifer P3060 2.1 Multimedia Speaker
$65
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

Windows 7 professional
$139

Total
$1963

Note: I will be purchasing a 128gb SSD to boot from after my next pay.

What do you guys think? Any tweaks that would make this system any better and keep me under the $2000 mark?

Cheers

Edit: Added the link for the MB
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October 13, 2012 3:02:30 AM

You're still on the microATX. Get the Extreme3 instead since i can't see the full Extreme4 in pccasegear.

Don't get any Cooler Master PSU. They have a bad reputation of being unreliable and having high failure rates. You'll be risking your components frying.

Everything else looks good. You kinda sacrificed a lot on the storage.



Hun, AU.
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October 13, 2012 3:21:48 AM

excella1221 said:
You're still on the microATX. Get the Extreme3 instead since i can't see the full Extreme4 in pccasegear.

Don't get any Cooler Master PSU. They have a bad reputation of being unreliable and having high failure rates. You'll be risking your components frying.

Everything else looks good. You kinda sacrificed a lot on the storage. :lol: 



Hun, AU.



I'm guessing the above were not related to my build. I know its AU the prices will be different but that's the general idea of the build.

Here:
http://pcpartpicker.com/au/p/kah0
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October 13, 2012 4:30:45 AM

Thanks so much for the help guys,

Just another quick question, if the Cooler master PSU is a no go, what would you recommend for this type of system? How many watts would be needed roughly?

Cheers
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October 13, 2012 5:12:41 AM

That would depend if you're going to SLI/CF in the future or not, and the GPU's power consumption.
In this case, the card in question is the 670, so...

W/ SLI/CF
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i... (I don't really like more than 1 +12v rail, but prices are crazy there XD)

W/o SLI/CF
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...
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October 13, 2012 5:43:18 AM

Thanks Excella.

I'm 99% sure that I won't use SLI or Crossfire. Are you sure 520w will be enough if I choose the Seasonic 520w psu? Anyways I'm pretty happy with this build and think I settle on it providing the psu is good :)  )

Motherboard
ASRock X79 Extreme3 Motherboard
$209
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

PSU
Seasonic S12II 520W Power Supply
$99
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

CPU
Intel Core i7 3930k
$585
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

CPU Cooling
CoolerMaster Hyper 212 EVO CPU Cooler
$35
http://pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&...

GPU
Gigabyte GeForce GTX 670 Overclocked 2GB
$439
http://pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&...

RAM
Corsair Vengeance CML16GX3M2A1600C10 16GB (2x8GB) DDR3
$109
http://pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&...

Case
Sharkoon T28 Blue Case USB 3.0
$65
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

Hard Drive
Seagate Barracuda 1TB
$79
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

Monitor
Samsung S20B300B 20in Widescreen LED Monitor
$119
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

Sound
Edifer P3060 2.1 Multimedia Speaker
$65
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

Windows 7 professional
$139

Total
$1943

Am I missing anything? I am planning on purchasing these parts tonight. :D 

Cheers

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October 13, 2012 6:13:57 AM

Yes, it'll be enough. You'll have ~100w headroom left.
Happy building!
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!