New machine for 3d wanted

Started by Walli, June 18, 2010, 09:31:16 am

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Walli

Hi,

I know, thats just another request for hints concerning hardware ;-)
I plan to get a new machine and I am interested in some opinions - as I am not really a hardware geek ;-)

I was thinking about a Core i7 machine, motherboard with at least 4 RAM slots (6 would be better), 8 to 12GB of RAM.
GFX I would like to go the "gamer route", as almost none of my applications really benefit from a quadro or firegl card. I think I would prefer nvidia, as some renderers support rendering via cuda on gfx board.
Harddisks - either two big drives, perhaps one small (for fast system) and two big datatanks
USB3 support would be nice, but not important.
Budget - I don´t think that it can be less then 1600,- Euro, so I am prepared to rob the next bank ;-)

thanks,
Walli
P.S What do you think about overclocked systems? Some shops offer tested overclocked systems, running at 4GHz (instead of 2.8 or similar). This is of course significantly more...

FrankB

good choices so far.
As for disks, for such an expensive machine, another 80€ for a RAID disk isn't a big deal. It doesn't substitute the need for backup but it's comforting to know that when one disk dies, the other one will be there to take over immediately.

As for tested overclocked, I'd say it's tempting, but you need to be in peace with having to buy a new CPU much earlier than with normal speeds, as it's likely they'll crap out earlier in their lifetime. So, mentally, you need to be prepared to be ok with having "wasted" 500€ or so within a year. That being said, I don't know IF it dies early, but it could happen.

What about a two socket board, Walli?

Cheers,
Frank

Henry Blewer

I have thought that 12 GB of ram is the minimum. This would be enough for about 2 years. I would not go with overclocking. Frank is right about the CPU burning out. Get a 1 TB drive and an external for backup.

Right now the ATI graphics cards are better (in some ways) than the Invidia cards. A system in the price range you have would have a good one included.
http://flickr.com/photos/njeneb/
Forget Tuesday; It's just Monday spelled with a T

Walli

I had bad experience with ATI, the drivers often made problems. And Photshop5 needs a Geforce for example. I am still on CS2 but at some point I ill have to update. And some renderers offer GPU rendering, but only on nvidia card. I also heard that at the moment ATI is better, but I am reluctant.

Two socket boards are of course great, I am just using one here. But then you easily hit the 2500-3000 range which is a bit hefty. I would like to find a good compromise of speed/price.

Henry Blewer

Frank B bought/built a really nice system. He probably will have the best advice.

I would go to the Dell, and HP to see how you can configure a factory built. I think Dell is the more flexable route.

CNET, aka Download.com, has great reviews for computers. They also have pricing from various venders. There may be a more European version of CNET. CNET is run by CBS.
http://flickr.com/photos/njeneb/
Forget Tuesday; It's just Monday spelled with a T

antti

I think Core i7 (as fast as possible based on the budget) with LGA1366 socket would be a good choice. RAM (2GB modules) is not extremely expensive, so I would go with 12GB and a motherboard that makes all this possible. 4GB modules are still pretty expensive so two sets of 3*2GB modules could be nice. LGA1366 based Core i7 processors have triple-channel memory architecture so two sets of three RAM modules should be a good combination. For GFX I also have to recommend nvidia for your usage because of the cuda. As you said, there is relevant software that can utilise cuda (e.g. Adobe CS5, 3D Coat and Octane render). The new GeForce 400 series seems to be running quite hot (which also means noise) and taking quite a lot power and it is not yet fully supported (at least not yet by e.g. CS5 Premiere Pro's Mercury playback engine) so maybe an older GTX285 could be a good choice. I would prefer Ati's 5800-series due to more modest power requirements and less noise, but as you said, at the moment, cuda may bring some advantage for 3D work.

For the hard drives, if budget allows, one might consider an SSD disk for system and software and a couple of more traditional spinning hard drives for storage and backup. RAID 1 configuration would give extra safety against data loss and RAID 0 would give better performance which might help e.g. with HD video editing. External hard drives, e.g. with external sata connection, can of course also help with backups and are easy to add later. I do not know, which are the best drives, but for some reason, all the 3.5" drives I have bought lately are Western Digital drives. At least to me, their present line-up had the most appeal.       

Walli

thanks, there´s already a lot of good insights and I think my plans are "stabilizing" ;-)


Kadri

June 18, 2010, 03:29:12 pm #7 Last Edit: June 18, 2010, 04:49:18 pm by Kadri
Stay away from Raid !
If you absolute need the speed and reliability you have to use many Hard Disks !
In a corporate environment there aren't the same circumstances !

As a home user the benefits doesn't justifies the hassle it brings in my opinion ! Your mileage may vary , Walli!

Edit: http://www.bestpricecomputers.co.uk/reviews/home-pc-raid/
       I think this is a little old article .
       I had ones a Raid 0 array . One Hard Disk fried . I lost everything on these two disks !
        http://www.storagereview.com/guide/why.html

FrankB

I don't understand this advice, Kadri. I can see little sense in Raid 0, but Raid 1 is a great choice for normal consumer hard disk usage. Since years, on more than one PC, I had 2 identical disks on Raid 1. Never anything happened. For my last PC I almost dropped the idea, but then thought otherwise and now I have Raid 1 again. And guess what? One of the two HDs had a hardware failure just 2 weeks ago. I am so happy I had Raid 1, I just unplugged the damaged HD and continued working.
OF COURSE you have to have a backup, because an HD mirror is not a the same thing as a backup. It is just a guarantee for seamless continuation if one HD dies. I had more than 1 HD die in my lifetime. It happens, and it's ugly when it happens, even IF you have a backup.

Regards,
Frank

FrankB

I think you should be able to get your machine with two sockets and two xeon at around 2500. It's a lot of money, but wait time is also money. I imagine that it will have payed for itself after half a year of work, assuming increased productivity for yourself.

Regards,
Frank

Kadri

It is mostly about , if you know exactly what you do or not . For only little speed advantages in homely used PC's it is not worth it !
But if you work with very big files  like video editing and so it is significant .

So it is up to your use of your PC .

Ones you setup a raid changing anything on it is more complex.
If you are a "hardware" guy this is not a problem. But most users aren't .
I tend to think that Raid is overrated especially for home use. But as i said this is a complex issue !
The little speed disadvantage i now have without Raid doesn't bother me .
These are my thoughts about it and as i said you are right to have other opinion about it of course  :)

FrankB

Quote from: Kadri on June 18, 2010, 06:25:48 pm
...and as i said you are right to have other opinion about it of course  :)



Thanks, but the thing is, I don't just have another opinion - I'm simply right :D

No kidding aside, it's great to know that you're much much much less likely to have the HD die on you, leaving you blank, stopping your work, etc... IF you have Raid 1. I don't mean any other form of Raid, but just a simple Raid 1, supported by your motherboard and bios. And additional backup of course.

Cheers,
Frank

Kadri

Quote from: FrankB on June 18, 2010, 06:31:26 pm
... And additional backup of course.
Cheers,
Frank


Mostly nobody do this until a critical failure . It would be interesting to know how many users here do backup all the time.
Anyway my stand on this is in a way like my stand on SLI or Crosfire or such more complicated setups.
I think as the system gets more complicated the failure risk gets up too .
But with backup and so , you are right of course  :) Did you read the links by the way Frank?

FrankB

Yes I did read the content behind the links. Even these articles only warn of a false sense of safety with users of Raid 1 thinking its a backup - which it is clearly not. You have to have a backup in addition. I have a backup of my most important data. I've learned this the hard way, too, 10 years ago. Actually I have a mutiple redundancy.

Regards,
Frank

EDIT: actually you don't add complexity with Raid 1, you add redundancy.

Kadri

Quote from: FrankB on June 18, 2010, 06:41:48 pm
...I have a backup of my most important data. I've learned this the hard way, too, 10 years ago...


I've learned this too the hard way ,13 years ago  :) 3 months of hard work (3d , video and such) gone in seconds...
In the Raid 0 loss i had later , i was going to buy a big HD nearly a month later for backup . I guess very bad luck there :D
Don't rely on luck guys  ;)