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CG After Effects, Maya Workstation

by maorlavi


Workstation for a 3D Animation and Post-Production workstation.

Primary software: After Effects, Autodesk Maya Key thoughts: 64 gigs of RAM is really a necessity for After Effects GTX1070 displays viewport 2.0 perfectly in Maya, best high quality GPU for a reasonable price the 6900K / 8c CPU is both fast clocked (After Effects, Maya simulations) and has 8cores for rendering the Samsung SM961 is incredibly fast and is basically the 960Pro on a budget This is my first ever build I've actually build and researched myself, it was a challenging thing to do and as expected took me a long time to complete, however I am very happy with the result, and am working on it flawlessly even since I've completed the build in November 2016.

Stability is the MOST important thing for me, thus at this point I am not overclocking. However, I am using intel's 'Tubo Boost Max 3.0' App to run one of the cores @ 4.0GH. In Post Production, (except rendering) processes are 95% single core anyway, I figure this is the best setup to have a strong WS and have it last. The NH-D15S can easily maintain a moderate overclock if I ever wish to go that route.

This system is INCREDIBLY quiet, I actually went into a computer supplies shop to pic up a Motherboard "beeper" just to feel comfortable that the system posts (shame this motherboard doesn't come with a POST-Code beeper/ LED post code reader)

This was an upgrade from an x58, i7-950, 12gig workstation which held for over 5 years, and is now used as a backup system.

Part Reviews


Well, it's intel HEDT, 8 core, 3.2 GH and Turbo boosts up to 4.0GH using intel's own TBM3.0 software. Excellent choice for a CG Workstation for Generalists (Animations, Simulations & Rendering) Cons: Expensive.

CPU Cooler

I did not stress this cooler enough, I am not OC'ing. However - it can easily handle a good OC, it's super quiet and like me old-school The best air-cooler on the market (Except maybe the D15 which is not going to fit well in my setup), No risk of water leaks. Cons: Expensive. Other thoughts: I bought thermal past, in no where I looked did it say that it comes with it - which is odd, Noctua is well known for A grade products so I don't see why they don't say that the thermal past is included..


Just do your homework with this board, Flashed the BIOS to F5 before a CPU was even installed, then works flawlessly. 64 gigs of ram, NVMe SSD were plug&play, no issues whats or ever. Running smoothly for 3 months now, highly recommended. Used for a workstation.


Excellent product on a reasonable price. Read Speeds: Sequential Read (Q= 32,T= 1) : 3527.141 MB/s Sequential Write (Q= 32,T= 1) : 1682.929 MB/s Random Read 4KiB (Q= 32,T= 1) : 704.348 MB/s [171960.0 IOPS] Random Write 4KiB (Q= 32,T= 1) : 598.572 MB/s [146135.7 IOPS] Sequential Read (T= 1) : 2522.604 MB/s Sequential Write (T= 1) : 1655.284 MB/s Random Read 4KiB (Q= 1,T= 1) : 50.000 MB/s [ 12207.0 IOPS] Random Write 4KiB (Q= 1,T= 1) : 228.201 MB/s [ 55713.1 IOPS] Cons: Lack of support; no Firmware updates; No support for Samsung's excellent 'Magician' Software; Was hoping for better 4K reads.


Clean, Easy installation of hardware, more then enough room, great cable management options, quiet. Not cheap...

Power Supply

I used this for my first ever build, and by far - this was the most challenging part to choose without and true hardware knowledge. After a massive research this was my No.1 pick, it has excellent efficiency, Corsair PSUs are known to be highly reliable and stable. I am not an electrician or hardware expert so I can't completely rationalize my argument, but anywhere I've looked - this averages as the best option for my build.

Comments Sorted by:

PigWithAMustache 2 Builds 1 point 25 months ago

Its a good build, but you could have saved so much money by going with an 1800X.

DayQuil_Man 6 points 25 months ago

"however I am very happy with the result, and am working on it flawlessly even since I've completed the build in November 2016.".

maorlavi submitter 1 Build 4 points 25 months ago

On a side note, I got 50% on it... Besides, AMD Ryzen is completely new, and not tested enough in the community of CG. Being an independent freelancer, I frequently use forums for tech support since I need to quickly be able to fix issues I have, all this community is on intel so support is easy to come by. I am using this system for work and the software I use (tested at studios I go every once in a while) AMD workstations can't match intel's performance. Seems though that they are finally getting there.

JR3538 1 point 25 months ago

he bought his parts in november

PigWithAMustache 2 Builds 1 point 25 months ago

oh i didnt see that...

JR3538 1 point 25 months ago

its all good lol

Justiceinacan 7 Builds 1 point 25 months ago

Love your motherboard choice, looks really cool!

maorlavi submitter 1 Build 1 point 25 months ago


adamriguez 1 Build 1 point 25 months ago

Love the build, definitely good choice with the CPU and GPU for After Effects and animations. As a front-end web developer and designer I dabble a bit in After Effects but don't rely on it heavily. Render times are going to be phenomenal for you.

maorlavi submitter 1 Build 1 point 25 months ago

They are (as mentioned, already using this for 2.5 months) As for after effects - the CPU and GPU (unless using specific plugins such as Element) make little difference, a much cheaper option of both would probably made very little difference). After Effects is very RAM hungry, and disk hungry. When After Effects is required to read in realtime Gigabytes-over-gigabytes of footage, and/or image sequences comming from 3D renders the read speed of the SSD makes all the difference. The truth is that the 960Pro wasn't available anywhere at the time I bought this, so I "settled" for the SM961, but turns out that in some cases it even beats the 960Pro. The one downside of it is the lack of support: Firmware update and Samsung Magician are off limits, unfortunately. Performance-wise it's incredible.

MuchLinux6500 2 Builds 1 point 25 months ago


JoeyRocco 1 point 25 months ago

Hi There!!! This is a pretty cool build. Impressive indeed. I am someone who has experience in the CG field as well, and I currently have a Dell 690 PWS. I am looking to build a new pc to upgrade. I am always looking to see what other people do when it comes to Autodesk apps, such as Maya. I am sort of old school, but, I am used to Xeons, but was looking at i7s. I also was considering the M4 Quadro. Is there a huge difference between a Quadro card as opposed to a GeForce GTX card???

maorlavi submitter 1 Build 1 point 25 months ago

Quadro vs GTX is an endless debate. I am not a hardware expert, so feel free to look at posts at hardware forums such as tomshardware, anadtech, etc. From my 6 years of experience: NO, GTX cards are always going to be faster, and they cost about a third to a quarter of their equivalent Quadro counterparts. Quadro's selling point are optimized drivers - this will result (supposedly) in more accurate viewport display (the window used when actually working in a 3D suite). If money is not an issue - go for it! but as far as speed & rendering - you won't get any value added. Also - note that most rendering is done on the CPU, and even current GPU rendering sends calculations to the GPU - so the results should still be good. If your are using 'Maya Hardware / Maya Hardware 2.0' for final frame rendering and accuracy is extremely important you might want to consider a Quadro as well. Again, I myself am an animator, not a hardware expert so all this is said with my own experience, since I am on a budget, and I purchase a new build every 5+ years I try to both get the best Hi-End system I can without completely breaking the bank, so I use the GTX cards, always had. Both Autodesk and Adobe would still recommend Quadros but testing is still done on GTX cards and some are still certified. Autodesk MAYA 2016 - 2017 Certified Hardware Autodesk Certified Hardware website

JoeyRocco 1 point 25 months ago

Thanks so much for the reply. I am not a expert either. In my system, I actually have a 560 TI and I was really never sure if there was a major difference, I didnt know if there was something I'd be missing, so to speak. I am on a budget, too, but, I want to be modern and go the long haul. I had my current system 10 yrs now, so I just want to be sure I'm not missing out on anything from a money, accuracy, and a speed end of things. Just to share a story, and I'll go the short version, I have a Xeon in my Dell system and for years I was trying to install a second Xeon on the Dell board. As it turns out, the second slot is there for no reason other than show. (Who knows...) So, I have an exact duplicate of the Xeon cpu on a shelf, heat sink and all, and after installing it there really was no sustainable way to keep it on, I always had issues. Its a quad system but I only have one cpu of 4 cores. Its expandable to 64 gigs of Ram, too, with a riser installed. So , knowing what I know, I decided I wanted to build a system that I can expand on over the course of another long time, maybe not 10, but that's the idea. I will keep this Dell, maybe as a project to upgrade w Dell parts I see online, like a motherboard w logic circuits that can sustain the second cpu I have. Anyways, that's my story and that why I am going the route to build a system, as opposed to forking over a ton of money for another Dell or HP. Thanks again!!!

Duttyfoot 1 point 24 months ago

Nice build, I use similar apps at work and home and plan to build a new rig. Would love to step into sims using Houdini. Have been planning a similar build ever since the 6900 processors came out however i might go with an Asus board and 128gigs of ram. My current system is about 10yrs old.

maorlavi submitter 1 Build 1 point 23 months ago

I am not a Hardware expert, I am just a freelance animator - so please advice that my opinion reflects only my own opinion. The board doesn't matter - as long as it's not sub-par and AS LONG AS IT'S WORKING... I chose my board to what had at the time the best reviews / price, and I have been using Gigabyte forever and they were good. Asus has a great reputation - however - whichever board you DO decide on - make sure to check reviews both on NewEgg & Amazon - some X99 boards have been very buggy to many people. Make sure to choose your memory especially from the main board's QVL & that it will support 128Gigs RAM. 128Gigs sound like an overkill just for Houdini - but I might be wrong about that. 128Gigs I would think only heavy editors working on RED and 4K footage might need... In any case - I would go for a 64GIG kit, setup your build and see if in your workflow you use the entire 64GIGS, if so then for sure upgrade to 128 - upgrading RAM is VERY simple, just a simple plug&play so I can't think of any reason not to try 64 first. As for Houdini simulations - check the balance of your CPU, RAM and GPU - find the bottleneck and upgrade THAT component, I doubt it's the RAM....

Vespill 1 point 22 months ago

Do any of your workloads stress the cpu enough to warrant considering a higher model? Can you give an example of a type of thing you created using this machine?

PC_Scoundrel 1 point 21 months ago

going to use this as a reference for my build

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Justiceinacan 7 Builds 2 points 25 months ago

In description, it says November 2016.

[comment deleted by staff]
PigWithAMustache 2 Builds 1 point 25 months ago

aka minecraft builds

[comment deleted by staff]
PigWithAMustache 2 Builds 1 point 25 months ago

yea boi