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Looking to build a workstation, $4-10k

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January 20, 2013 1:07:19 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: e.g.: Sometime March-May time frame

Budget Range: $4-10k after or before shipping

System Usage from Most to Least Important: This computer is going to be my main workstation for game programming and animation. Starting a studio with some friends and I need this PC to work and run smoothly with Autodesk's software line (Maya, 3D Studio Max, and more), Unity, UDK, CryEngine 3, Visual Studio 2012, IBM Rational, and much more. I also wanted this PC to be able to run my games. I have a spare gaming PC but in the case that the gaming PC is not working I need to be able to use the workstation to test and play games. This is the big reason why I am torn between the GTX 680 x4 and the Quadro K5000 x2.

Are you buying a monitor: Yes x3

Do you need to buy OS: No

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: I prefer Amazon because in the case that something does not work I can return with little hassle unlike Newegg BUT I do understand if I need to buy something somewhere else so list any site.

Location: Florida, USA

Parts Preferences: by brand or type : I prefer Intel CPU and Nvidia GPU, I do not like G.Skillz RAM.

Overclocking: If possible, if not no problem

SLI: Yes please

Your Monitor Resolution: 2560x1440 to 1920x1080

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: Starting a game studio with friends and this is sort of our first step. We are all students in game software development and have a strong passion to work for ourselves and this is the reason we want to start our own studio. Any help would be great and I thank everyone ahead of time. I made a kick ass gaming PC from everyone's opinion here and I have been happy ever since, hope the same happens. Here is what I have so far:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3930K 3.2GHz 6-Core Processor ($499.99 @ Microcenter)
Motherboard: Asus Rampage IV Extreme EATX LGA2011 Motherboard ($419.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance LP 32GB (4 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($184.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance LP 32GB (4 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($184.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Hitachi Ultrastar 7K3000 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($207.85 @ Newegg)
Storage: Crucial M4 512GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($379.00 @ Adorama)
Storage: Intel 520 Series Cherryville 240GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($189.99 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Corsair 1200W 80 PLUS Platinum Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($329.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Asus BC-12B1ST/BLK/B/AS Blu-Ray Reader, DVD/CD Writer ($55.98 @ NCIX US)
Monitor: Asus PB278Q 27.0" Monitor ($648.00 @ Amazon)
Monitor: Asus PB278Q 27.0" Monitor ($648.00 @ Amazon)
Monitor: Asus PB278Q 27.0" Monitor ($648.00 @ Amazon)
Keyboard: I would love a mechanical keyboard that is ergonomic :p 
Mouse: Just a responsive mouse would be great, also do you think a drawing pad will help for animation?
Other: Unity Pro (Software) ($1500.00)
Other: Caselab Magnum STH10 (Case) ($671.00)
Other: Swiftech H2O-320 Edge HD Triple 120mm Liquid Cooling Kit (Cooler) ($300.00)
Other: Walker Edison 3-Piece Contemporary (Desk) ($100.00)
Total: $7481.70

I am stuck between the GTX series and Quadro also the Xeon verse i7.

Update 1/20/2013:

I am leaning more towards the PNY nVidia Quadro K5000 Graphics Card x2

I am looking into the Mionix Naos 3200 USB Wired LED-optical 3200 dpi Mouse and Mionix Zibal 60 Mechanical Keyboard

More about : build workstation 10k

January 20, 2013 8:13:51 AM

As for quadro vs GTX, the GTX often are more powerful and faster yet the quadro are known for their driver stability. GTX can give more trouble with drivers, more compatibility trouble then quadro yet may deliver better performance for the cost. Although many quadro card are getting older now and are starting to fall behind a bit I think.
This page is good for finding what GPUs are recommended: http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/syscert?siteID=123...

Also, xeons are geared for 24/7 running at cooler temps than i7's and again the improved reliability/compatibility. If you want to go mulit-socket board, xeons suport it much better.
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January 20, 2013 11:34:11 AM

go for xeon's ^_^ and quadro's are great.
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January 20, 2013 11:43:03 AM

Gte 2 690's instead of 4 680's, and check out the mouse I have. The Mionix NAOS 3200. You can get the NAOS 5000 Or 8200 If you want (they offer high dpi and some extra features you might find useful on 3 27" monitors) I loveeee my naos. me and 2 of my friends have it, and we all love it. Also check out the Zibal 60 mechanical keyboard (also from mionix.)
also I don't like thermaltake. get this psu: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You'll be much happier with this^
also what case are you getting to fit all this? I suggest waiting a month or so for the new corsair 900D to come out. would be 10/10 OP.
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January 20, 2013 3:41:09 PM

@MichaelSP

So from that list I see the GTX 680 but I see the Quadro K5000 is certified.......so that might make the difference. I am still torn for the CPU, I do not know if I want to go multicore cause honestly I do not know much about it. I have just heard that Xeon are usually in a workstation and I have done research but still couldn't see why the Xeon is over the i7 (yes I understand newer isn't always better lol).

@Zed_Spooge

This is the case I was going with: Caselab Magnum STH10 (Case)
The mouse and keyboard seem nice.

I have also updated the list to match.
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January 22, 2013 12:44:05 AM

Any other recommendations?
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January 22, 2013 1:07:05 AM

There's not much point in Quad GPU's, as you add more cards you get less performance each time, by the time you get to the 4th card you can expect to see a ~30% performance increase.
I advise Triple cards at most, since you have the monitor setup to really stress these cards.
Also if your applications can take advantage of OpenCL, might be better off considering Radeon cards, which have significantly better OpenCL performance.
Sapphire Vapor-X HD7970 Ghz 6GB. $580
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Not much point in RAM faster than 1600Mhz, performance difference is negligible for the massive price increase.
Also the hair combs they glue to Vengeance RAM could become a problem. I see that you'v decided to go with water-cooling, so this isn't a massive issue, but it will just generally let you have a cleaner tubing run around the CPU socket.
Corsair Vengeance Low Profile 32GB (4x8GB) 1600Mhz CL10 1.5v. $185
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
The kit is almost half the price of the one you had listed and its the same performance.

Considering you'v got the case and budget for it, you might as well go full out water-cooling. Graphics cards and everything.
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January 22, 2013 1:31:38 AM

manofchalk said:
There's not much point in Quad GPU's, as you add more cards you get less performance each time, by the time you get to the 4th card you can expect to see a ~30% performance increase.
I advise Triple cards at most, since you have the monitor setup to really stress these cards.
Also if your applications can take advantage of OpenCL, might be better off considering Radeon cards, which have significantly better OpenCL performance.
Sapphire Vapor-X HD7970 Ghz 6GB. $580
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Not much point in RAM faster than 1600Mhz, performance difference is negligible for the massive price increase.
Also the hair combs they glue to Vengeance RAM could become a problem. I see that you'v decided to go with water-cooling, so this isn't a massive issue, but it will just generally let you have a cleaner tubing run around the CPU socket.
Corsair Vengeance Low Profile 32GB (4x8GB) 1600Mhz CL10 1.5v. $185
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
The kit is almost half the price of the one you had listed and its the same performance.

Considering you'v got the case and budget for it, you might as well go full out water-cooling. Graphics cards and everything.


I meant to fix the GPUs, I thank you for the tips. So you really think AMD over Nvidia? :o 
I agree with the RAM, I do hate the fins and if I do not need the extra I will get those low profile, nice find.
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January 22, 2013 1:42:28 AM

For gaming performance, the 7970Ghz performs better, and as you can see on these graphs.
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/AMD/Catalyst_12.11_P...
Gradually pulls further ahead of the 680 as the resolution increases.
At 2560x1600 there is a 10% performance difference, you will be running roughly three times that resolution.

And for Compute performance, Radeons just have Nvidia beat in this gen, particularly where OpenCL is used.
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/618?vs=555
Scroll down to to the Compute Civilization V and SmallLux GPU benchmarks.
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January 22, 2013 1:49:35 AM

manofchalk said:
For gaming performance, the 7970Ghz performs better, and as you can see on these graphs.
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/AMD/Catalyst_12.11_P...
Gradually pulls further ahead of the 680 as the resolution increases.
At 2560x1600 there is a 10% performance difference, you will be running roughly three times that resolution.

And for Compute performance, Radeons just have Nvidia beat in this gen, particularly where OpenCL is used.
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/618?vs=555
Scroll down to to the Compute Civilization V and SmallLux GPU benchmarks.


I see, I would have never thought AMD over Nvidia Quadro. Okay looks like I need to compare those two now. For me it really comes down to that computing for rendering. Thank you for all the information, I have some hard searching and studying now.
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January 22, 2013 1:55:26 AM

Oh, I though it was competing against the GTX680. The Quadro is a different beast altogether.
If your after just purely compute performance, best off with a workstation card. Quadro, Firepro and Tesla are the Workstation card series. How they stack up against each other I dont really know, so you'l have to do a bit of research on that.
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January 22, 2013 5:34:10 AM

manofchalk said:
Oh, I though it was competing against the GTX680. The Quadro is a different beast altogether.
If your after just purely compute performance, best off with a workstation card. Quadro, Firepro and Tesla are the Workstation card series. How they stack up against each other I dont really know, so you'l have to do a bit of research on that.


Ahahah Okay I will still do research on the Pro cards. The information you provided still helps. Good to know about the AMD card beating the GTX 680s.
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