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System for Animation and Motion Graphics (£500)

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May 15, 2012 9:03:53 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: Within one month

Budget Range: £400 - £500 ($650 - $800)

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Animation and Motion Graphics (After Effects), 3D Animation (Cinema 4D), Photo Manipulation, Gaming

Parts Not Required: HDD, Keyboard and Mouse (both USB) , 2 Monitors (26" HDMI/DVI input) and (19" DVI input), Case

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: UK distributor preferred, but just want an idea of best components and pricing

Country: UK

Parts Preferences: by brand or type: Intel i5/7 Quad Core

Overclocking: No, unless recommended.

SLI or Crossfire: No, I understand that a high-end GPU is not too important

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1200 (also, multiscreen setup planned)

I have been out of the loop hardware-wise for about 5 years or so, but built my own systems until then, please forgive my ignorance for the latest hardware, but I guess that's why I'm here. It's finally time for an upgrade. The requirements for this build will be slightly different to the standard gaming rig so I will do my best to describe my needs.

I use primarily the Adobe CS6 suite, After Effects mostly and a sprinkling of C4D are what I use the most. Both support multicore processing and I know that After Effects launches multiple instances of itself in the background, one for each core (with the option to leave a core free for other processes if multitasking demanding programs). RAM is split between the cores with some needed for background processes so at least 16GB is a must. This is for working at home, my system at work has 4 cores (2 physical) with 12GB RAM, which isn't quite enough to be efficient.

I understand that a good GPU is not necessary for faster renders, which is what I'm mostly concerned about although I would like to be able to play a few games on it. I don't really mind about fancy eye candy, just that they're playable. I have Battlefield 3 in mind.

This is what I'm looking at to buy:

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD4 LGA1155 Intel Z68 DDR3 ATX
RAM: 16GB (4x4GB) Corsair Vengeance Dual Channel DDR3 1600MHz
CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K, 3.30GHz
Corsair A50 High Performance CPU Cooler

I've got my eye on this bundle, which seems to be cheaper than the individual parts I would buy the extra 2 identical sticks of RAM.

PSU: CORSAIR TX 650W V2

So that leaves me with a graphics card. Like I said, it's not too important and I'm running out of money in my budget. Apparently a top end one will increase display performance in my 3D software a bit, but I'm not ready to invest in that yet as I mostly use After Effects right now. It's only requirement is that it supports OpenGL 2.0


This one looks OK to me
Gigabyte GV-N460OC-1GI GeForce GTX 460 1GB HDMI

But if anybody has any different, cheaper option then I'm open to suggestions as this takes me a little over my budget.

My case has pretty standard cooling, just one fan. Will this, along with the others mentioned here be enough?

Do these look like sensible options to you? Like I said I don't know too much about the latest hardware so any advice would be very appreciated. Thanks in advance for your help!

Jonny
May 18, 2012 2:41:44 PM

Sooooo nobody really has any thoughts... its OK enough people have read it and nobody has called me an idiot so I'm just gonna go ahead with this, but gonna fork out and extra £80 for a 120GB SSD to install my OS and to keep my AE cache on. seems worth it, even if it is pushing the £650 mark now! super excited!
May 18, 2012 4:58:24 PM

first thing which i noticed is you would either need 2 of those GeForce 460s or 1 GeForce 600 series or higher or a AMD card as you said you want to run multiple monitors and that is only possible with the AMD cards and the nVidia 600 series unless you want to go with a professional grade card in which it will not run as well for your games, not work as well in general in the same money bracket but have the ability to run multiple monitors so i would suggest running this instead

Motherboard - £108.95
Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD3
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0057XNC5U/ref=ox_sc...

CPU - £157.00
Intel i5-2500
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B004FA8NNW/ref=ox_sc...

CPU Coller - £25.40
Corsair CAFA50 Air Series A50 Performance CPU Cooler
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B003IT6RDE/ref=ox_sc...

RAM - £78.97
Corsair CMZ16GX3M4A1600C9B 16GB (4x4GB) 1600MHz CL9 DDR3 Vengeance Blu Memory Four Module Kit
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B004RFBIUU/ref=ox_sc...

Graphics Card - £116.11
Asus 1GB Radeon HD 6850 DirectCU PCI-E 2
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B004HXW5OU/ref=ox_sc...

Power Supply - £174.52
Netzteil ATX 750W Enermax Platimax EPM750AWT
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B005SAXOL4/ref=ox_sc...

Sub-Total being £ 660.95 then you can get a Amazon.co.uk Gift Certicate thing for an extra £ 5.00 off

Now for the reasons why i changed some of the parts. I changed the Power Supply to be overly powerful enough to meet the Graphics card in order to get closer to the 50% power usage amount in which the power supply is the most efficient saving on power and on money in the long term. I changed the Graphics card to an AMD Radeon HD 6850 as it can do multiple monitors without having to have mutliple graphics cards plugged in at a single time also it is only £116.11 instead of the £319.99 the cheapest GeForce 670 card would be and the 680 and 690 are even more. The AMD Redoen 6850 will still give you similar performance with the mutliple monitors you said you want to use while still not going over budget. For the change in the CPU overclocking the CPU is the only advantage i have seen in the i5-2500K so getting an i5-2500 instead will save you on a few pounds in which if you did overclock it you would have lost some of the life span of the CPU from more heat and more voltage.

I only searched Amazon.co.uk thus there might be better deals for the parts on the net and/or around where you life but this is a round estimate of how much you will spend on the parts for your computer.
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May 21, 2012 1:20:23 PM

Thanks for the great advice yumri - especially for the Graphics Card, which I really didn't have much clue/preference about and the power supply, although when I started thinking about the budget I didn't realise just how important a good PSU would have to be to the build so that's where I had under-estimated the cost.

I am wondering about the PSU though, I can find a 750W corsair PSU for about £85
and I'm tempted to go with this, saving me about £90 - which is obviously very tempting for me. I know it isn't ALL about the Watts in a PSU but I've been told that Corsair are a very good, high quality manufacturer of power supplies. Can you see anything wrong with using this?

Corsair CMPSU-750TXV2UK Enthusiast Series TX750 V2 High Performance 750W Power Supply
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Corsair-CMPSU-750TXV2UK-Enthusi...

Thanks for the help :) 
May 28, 2012 1:50:46 PM

OK, just in case somebody comes across this with similar questions about graphics cards..

I just found this info on the abodetv website that sheds light onto the best hardware for After Effects CS6, I think it's just been released but i wish I'd seen this first!

In order to take full advantage of the 3D in After Effects CS6 I now know that I should have gone for an nVidia card with OPTIX functionality, based on CUDA architecture - as the speed of real time rendering will be greatly increased.

He recommends a Geforce GTX 470 as a budget option. He also says to consider an Nvidia Tesla companion processor to increase the amount of cores that can be used to process the renders.

the video is here: http://tv.adobe.com/watch/learn-after-effects-cs6/optim...
May 28, 2012 9:10:13 PM

I'll put a build together for you in a moment but i do want to clear a few things up.

Nvidia cards can do dual display but no more than 2 (this has been fixed on the available 600 series cards though)

While you could go for a 750W PSU, it would be fine but complete overkill for a HD 6850/ 2500k, 650W is more than enough and will get you closer to 50%.
May 28, 2012 9:28:52 PM

From aria.co.uk

CPU Intel Core i7-2600K 3.40GHz (Sandybridge) Socket LGA1155 Unlocked Processor - Retail
PSU 630W be quiet! PURE POWER CM L8-CM 80PLUS Bronze Modular Power Supply
RAM (x2) Corsair Vengeance Low Profile 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 PC3-12800C9 1600MHz Dual Channel Kit (CML8GX3M2A1600C9)

from DABS.com

Mobo Asus P8Z68-V/GEN3 S1155 Intel Z68 DDR3 ATX
GPU EVGA GeForce GTX 460 V2 867MHz 1GB PCI-Express 2.0 HDMI SC
SSD Sandisk 120GB Extreme SATA 6Gb/s 2.5" Solid State Drive

Total cost with P&P and VAT from both stores: £652.17

Reasons (feel free to call me on them):

CPU, you'll need more cores for better performance, while you could do bulldozer the 2600k can give you better performance per core overall giving better performance (in most cases). ALso the K version gives you headroom to overclock later on, although an after market heat sink is recommended

PSU 630W is more than enough for this build even if you stress it it is unlikely to use more than half.

RAM great RAM uses it myslef bought 2 sets so you have 16GB again more RAM less time wasted while you're doing your work.

Mobo: ASUS are very reliable and has the nicest UEFI apparently.

GPU, got a GTX 460, I would normally go AMD as they have the best cards in this bracket but a 460 is a solid choice and does have CUDA for accelerating your work.

SSD: cheap, fast reliable what's not to like. There are better SSD's out there but the gains are minimal really.
!