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$2000 workstation PC for freelance 3D illustrator & video editing

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December 17, 2012 9:08:30 PM

Following the "How to ask for advice" sticky...

Approximate Purchase Date: Dec 26-28th

Budget Range: $2000 After Rebates; Before Shipping

System Usage from Most to Least Important: (e.g.: GPU & CPU Rendering, Video Editing & Encoding, Gaming

Are you buying a monitor: No



Parts to Upgrade: New Build (mostly from scratch)

Do you need to buy OS: Yes

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg, Amazon, other (e.g. tigerdirect) if the discount is good enough and the vendor reputable

Location: Grand Rapids, MI, USA

Parts Preferences: NVidea GPU for CUDA rendering

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: Yes

Your Monitor Resolution: 1680x1050x2, may upgrade in 6-12 months

Additional Comments: Goals in order of importance are: 1)Performance, 2)Reliability (temperature), 3)Quiet, 4)Efficiency, and 5)Aesthetics

Why Are You Upgrading: Started freelance 3D Illustration & Video editing business earlier this year. After using my old gaming rig for the last several months, I've made a modest profit and feel it's time to get serious about hardware.

Proposed System:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3930K 3.2GHz 6-Core Processor ($569.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Corsair Hydro Series H60 74.4 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock X79 Extreme6 ATX LGA2011 Motherboard ($194.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 16GB (4 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($74.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($156.99 @ SuperBiiz) x2 (one already owned) for RAID 3 array
Storage: Intel 335 Series 240GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($169.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($339.99 @ Newegg) x2 (one already owned) for SLI
Case: Fractal Design Define R4 w/Window (Titanium Grey) ATX Mid Tower Case ($102.99 @ NCIX US) - was torn about getting the one with the window, but if I'm spending this much money, I want to see what I'm getting...
Power Supply: SeaSonic X Series 850W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($139.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Asus BW-12B1ST/BLK/G/AS Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer ($55.73 @ NCIX US)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 Professional (OEM) (64-bit) ($139.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1945.63
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-17 17:55 EST-0500)

Specific Questions about this build: 1) Would I be better off buying a less expensive MB or other part in order to pack in another 16 GB of RAM? 2) I'm not planning to OC, but I've specified this on the assumption that parts recommended for overclocking will also work for keeping the computer cool & quiet at default speeds. Is this a fallacy? 3) Should I be seriously considering overclocking with a build like this? Why?

Thank you!
December 17, 2012 9:34:17 PM

Build looks great but I would scratch that 670 model. One fan don't cut it, it runs way too hot, and even hotter in SLI. I would really reconsider for http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Would you be better off buying a less expensive MB or other part in order to pack in another 16GB of ram? I would say no as 16GB is plenty. More means more money so unless you are actually using 16GB of ram with your programs and I cant see you doing that, I would not downgrade MB for more ram. Downgrade the MB if you A: want to save a little cash, and B: don't plan on OC. Your h60 should keep everything cool and quiet at stock speeds and at OC speeds. You should definately be considering overclocking with a build like this. Why? Render faster, thus more efficient, and better gaming performance. The real question is why not?

And PS Why the Intel SSD? Why not a Corsair OCZ or Samsung? Spec wise they win in every category yet people still buy Intel SSD. What am I missing?
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December 17, 2012 10:37:21 PM

Thanks for the advice! I'll check into that GPU. I was thinking more RAM for programs such as Premiere or Aftereffects, but 16 will probably be enough, and that MB will let me add more later if I want/need.

I'm not set on the Intel SSD by any means - I think it was just the best deal in stock at the time when I was putting the spec together. A quick check this evening, and I've swapped it out for a 250GB Samsung 840.
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December 17, 2012 10:42:09 PM

Is it the 840 pro? That should be 269.99, best SSD on the market. They have 2 models though, makes sure it's the pro, or just go with a Corsair GS/GTX / Vertex 4
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December 17, 2012 11:29:10 PM

Praxeology said:
Is it the 840 pro? That should be 269.99, best SSD on the market. They have 2 models though, makes sure it's the pro, or just go with a Corsair GS/GTX / Vertex 4


Good Catch. I think the drives you're recommending fall outside the price/performance sweet spot for me. What do you think of the Mushkin Chronos Deluxe? I know TH has been using it for their system builder performance builds...
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December 18, 2012 12:03:06 AM

The Mushkin Chronos are very nice on paper, and even nicer on price/performance. That said I would probably go for Corsair's version. Before Samsung came out with the 840 the best SSD on the market performance wise was the Corsair GTX, followed by their GS series. So with all of that said my recommendation list for you particular situation would be the following:

240GB Corsair GS series $199.99

180GB Corsair GS series $169.99

240GB Mushkin Enhanced Chronos 164.99

Spec wise these are completely equal on paper. I follow the SSD market pretty closely and remember when Corsair was the top dog which was basically pre Vertex 4 and Samsung Pro 840. Back then, and now, Intel SSD still sold,which is why I asked you why Intel?, even though Corsair had the best performance somehow, but I digress. Mushkin finally creeped in out of no where with a copy of Corsairs GS series, with 240GB, 90K Write IOPS, 0.1 seek time, and the 555/525 r/w yet at a much cheaper price. The reviews were pretty good and people were buying them so I liked them then and now for their competitiveness. In real world benchmarks though Corsair smoked the mushkin on every benchmark I could find, and reliability wise don't get me started. For these reasons I would definitely go with Corsair's 240GB and if 200 is too much, grab the 180GB. Finally, if you want the cheapest with 240GB then the Mushkin is for you. Ultimately, provided you get a good batch of Muskins xD, you will enjoy either or.
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December 18, 2012 3:40:12 PM

Thanks again for the advice & warnings. After further research (into user reviews, etc), I've decided to go with the 240GB Vertex 4, which at ~$210 from Amazon puts me slightly over budget, but I won't loose sleep (or productivity) over the BSOD & other issues with Sandforce drives.

I'm pretty satisfied with the build now, but of course, things are subject to change depending on prices/breaking news once it's time to purchase...

Praxeology said:
The Mushkin Chronos are very nice on paper, and even nicer on price/performance. That said I would probably go for Corsair's version. Before Samsung came out with the 840 the best SSD on the market performance wise was the Corsair GTX, followed by their GS series. So with all of that said my recommendation list for you particular situation would be the following:

240GB Corsair GS series $199.99

180GB Corsair GS series $169.99

240GB Mushkin Enhanced Chronos 164.99

Spec wise these are completely equal on paper. I follow the SSD market pretty closely and remember when Corsair was the top dog which was basically pre Vertex 4 and Samsung Pro 840. Back then, and now, Intel SSD still sold,which is why I asked you why Intel?, even though Corsair had the best performance somehow, but I digress. Mushkin finally creeped in out of no where with a copy of Corsairs GS series, with 240GB, 90K Write IOPS, 0.1 seek time, and the 555/525 r/w yet at a much cheaper price. The reviews were pretty good and people were buying them so I liked them then and now for their competitiveness. In real world benchmarks though Corsair smoked the mushkin on every benchmark I could find, and reliability wise don't get me started. For these reasons I would definitely go with Corsair's 240GB and if 200 is too much, grab the 180GB. Finally, if you want the cheapest with 240GB then the Mushkin is for you. Ultimately, provided you get a good batch of Muskins xD, you will enjoy either or.

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December 18, 2012 7:16:30 PM

JLeckrone said:
Thanks again for the advice & warnings. After further research (into user reviews, etc), I've decided to go with the 240GB Vertex 4, which at ~$210 from Amazon puts me slightly over budget, but I won't loose sleep (or productivity) over the BSOD & other issues with Sandforce drives.

I'm pretty satisfied with the build now, but of course, things are subject to change depending on prices/breaking news once it's time to purchase...


Gl on you're build, I have said my peace.
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