Building budget 3D rendering workstation

A friend of mine has entrusted me to building him a system for 3D modeling/rendering and graphic design. He's looking at spending about $600-$800 (without monitor). This is what I have come up so far:

Athlon XP 1900+ Retail - $138
MSI K7N415 PRO nForce 415 w/ LAN, Audio - $100
KINGSTON KVR266X64C25/256 256MB x 2 - $150
PNY Quadro4 NVS 200 Graphics Card - $160
Seagate Barracuda IV ST340016A 40GB 7200rpm - $70
ANTEC Performance PLUS Model PLUS1060 w/ 330 watt PSU - $110
Windows 2000 (already has)

Total - $661 (no shipping/tax)

Now, I have a few questions. I don't really know much about professional workstation graphics cards, so can anyone point me to a good review of the Quadro4 card (it's the budget version), or tell me if it is really worth it. Would it be better to spend $150 on a GeForce4 Ti-4200? How would the two compare performance wise while making 3D models in Maya or 3D Stuido Max?

Other than that, does anyone have any suggestions on what I could change to save money or make a better system? Do you think 1 GB or RAM would be better, or is 512 MB enough? Thanks for any input.

"Trying is the first step towards failure."
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  1. The system is good enough for a budget 3D Rendering system......the Quaro4 Card is geared more towards the 3D Rendering scene so your probably better off with that if his primary purpose for this rig is for doing just far as ram goes......u should be ok with 512 for now.....BUT u might wanan think about getting a bigger Hard Drive.....40GB wont last to long when rendering massice scenes with Maya or 3D Studio MAX.....

    <A HREF="" target="_new">-MeTaL RoCkEr</A>
  2. Not only that, but a CD burner would be very useful for making demo CDs and/or archiving (to free up HD space). If it were me, I'd see about trying to up the HD space and get a CD-R.

    The RAM, of course, would be nice to buff up as well. Good software (and large high color depth images) can really munch it up. The last thing anyone wants to do is be running with virtual memory while trying to render. But if push comes to shove, I'd keep it at 512MB before I'd ditch anything else to save money.

    <A HREF="" target="_new">The corpse you find may be your own.</A> - Black Mage
  3. I just looked and a 80 GB HD is only $25 more, so might as well get that. Plus, add $100 for a 40x8x40 Plexwriter, and its up to $781, which is a little on the high end. What about dropping the video card to like a GeForce4 MX something to save $80?

    "Trying is the first step towards failure."

    Sorry, but that's a biggie.

    You can get a good Lite-on 32x12x48 CR-RW for 70, so that will save you a bit.

    English is phun.
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