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$1500 Dell or home build for 3DS Max system

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March 2, 2013 8:36:09 PM

Hello,

I'm in the market for a system used for 3DS Max and video editing only, no gaming neccesary. I want to spend around $1500 CDN but would go a bit higher if its really worth it. I'd tack a nice monitor on top of that (that I can pair a 2nd one with)

I've been looking at the Dell XPS 8500 desktop system or possibly a Precision T3600 even though its a little more. Is it worth spending so much more on a Dell system or would I be able to get a much better system if I build it myself?? This would be my first build.

The XPS 8500 "Special Edition" is:
- 3rd gen. i7-3770
- 16GB Dual Channel DDR3 1600MHz - 4 DIMMs
- 2TB 7200 RPM SATA Hard Drive 6.0 Gb/s + 256GB SSD SRT
- AMD Radeon HD 7870
= $1649

Any direction or system specs would be great as of course I'd like a faster system for less money :)  I'm in Toronto so I'd need to find somewhere that's in Canada to purchase from.

Thanks all!!

Jason
March 2, 2013 9:13:05 PM

You should check the system requirements for 3DS Max (http://usa.autodesk.com/3ds-max/system-requirements/) and your video editing software. For 3DS win7 Professional and a NVIDIA graphics card with CUDA support is recommended. That may also significantly speed up the video encoding. Personally i always recommend a workstation setup, like the Precision with ECC RAM and other features, that make it reliable for daily work.
March 2, 2013 9:58:25 PM

Hi Noidea_77,

You're quite right about a CUDA compatible card! Dell has a NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 660 that's actually $50 cheaper than the AMD Radeon HD 7870 that I originally selected for the XPS 8500 system.

I created a similar setup with the Precision T3600 XEON E5-1603 with a Quadro 2000 & 16GB ECC RAM and it was $2499, significantly more than the i7 system, pushing my budget to the very max.

So you would go for a Dell system over a home built one with a similar configuration?

Thanks again!
Jason
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March 2, 2013 9:58:44 PM

Nope, its not worth spending more on the Dell system if you can build it yourself. This is an equivalent rig priced if you built it yourself (likely with better parts as well).

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($289.79 @ DirectCanada)
Motherboard: ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($119.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws Series 16GB (4 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($106.49 @ Newegg Canada)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($89.79 @ DirectCanada)
Storage: Samsung 840 Pro Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($231.38 @ DirectCanada)
Case: Fractal Design Define R4 (Black Pearl) ATX Mid Tower Case ($109.99 @ Memory Express)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 500W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($59.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224BB DVD/CD Writer ($23.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.45 @ DirectCanada)
Total: $1120.86
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-03-02 18:57 EST-0500)

If you were to spend $1600 on a custom build and did it right (by not including a pointless gaming GPU on a workstation rig) you could easily build a rig that outperforms the Dell.

EDIT: Also about Nvidia cards and CUDA, just remember that Radeon cards have far superior OpenCL performance. Figure out which technology (CUDA vs OpenCL) will benefit the application your using the most before you make a decision.
March 2, 2013 11:23:16 PM

all I can say is that building it yourself will save you nearly 300 USD/CDN. I know my gaming rig would have cost me 1200 when it only ran me 900 to build it myself.
March 3, 2013 9:54:30 AM

manofchalk said:
Nope, its not worth spending more on the Dell system if you can build it yourself. This is an equivalent rig priced if you built it yourself (likely with better parts as well).

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($289.79 @ DirectCanada)
Motherboard: ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($119.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws Series 16GB (4 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($106.49 @ Newegg Canada)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($89.79 @ DirectCanada)
Storage: Samsung 840 Pro Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($231.38 @ DirectCanada)
Case: Fractal Design Define R4 (Black Pearl) ATX Mid Tower Case ($109.99 @ Memory Express)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 500W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($59.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224BB DVD/CD Writer ($23.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.45 @ DirectCanada)
Total: $1120.86
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-03-02 18:57 EST-0500)

If you were to spend $1600 on a custom build and did it right (by not including a pointless gaming GPU on a workstation rig) you could easily build a rig that outperforms the Dell.

EDIT: Also about Nvidia cards and CUDA, just remember that Radeon cards have far superior OpenCL performance. Figure out which technology (CUDA vs OpenCL) will benefit the application your using the most before you make a decision.

The software he want's to use (3DS Max) is not certified for Win8 so far and you left out the ECC RAM that is alway recommended for graphical work. The CUDA support for 3DS MAX and most video editing software has nothing to do with the OpenCL performance of the Radeon cards.
March 3, 2013 10:07:06 AM

^ they are different technologies to achieve the same thing, GPU rendering to offload work from the CPU. Was just saying the because the workload is slightly to do with 3D modelling and video editing doesnt mean he is locked to Nvidia because of CUDA, AMD have their own competitor to CUDA in the form of their OpenCL performance.

Also that rig was just a comparative build against the Dell machine he listed to show the price difference, though I seem to have forgotten to include the 7870 somehow :/ .
March 4, 2013 1:41:13 AM

Thanks everyone for your feedback, much appreciated!

I've always used Nvidia cards at work, specifically Quadro. I've looked around and think the Quadro 2000 might be a good fit here.

I'm considering going with Xeon as from what I've read, its more reliable in performance for 3D modeling and rendering. What do you think? If its worthwhile, I'd pay for the performance gain over an i7 if it would make that much of a difference.

Jason
!