This is my first build, a workstation for my architecture drawings and modeling and rendering with Octane via Rhino. This workstation is solely for 2d and 3d drawings and GPU-based renderings.
After a quite extensive research, I have found that the following components will satisfy my needs, particularly for Rhino, AutoCad, Adobe CC and GPU-based Octane Render from OTOY and iRay Render from Nvidia.
Octane and iRay renders are based on CUDA calculations and its performance is linear to the amount of CUDAs used (the more the better). I have been rendering with my old mid-2010 macbookpro in maxwell (cpu-based) 5 years ago but I have switched my gear as I have returned to the U.S. finally finish my degree in architecture.
Hope this may be some help to new architecture students who are considering purchasing either a laptop or a workstation for their studio work.
I have chosen the skylake i7-6700k processor over the haswell 4790k processor despite the same clock speed at 4.0ghz. Testing results show that 6700k is roughly 10 percent faster than the previous generation considering the extra cost, I still decided to go with the new Z170 - LGA 1151 board that supports newer technology with upgraded usb ports and ddr4 memory.
Also, I chose the highest clockspeed since Rhino and AutoCad including some adobe softwares do not support multi-threading. Please do your research by figuring out whether your software can take advantage of multi-threading. Previously, I used to render with CPU-based Maxwell Render but I am now seeing a shift in trend from cpu to gpu based renders.
In a nutshell, gpu-based renders are more cost-efficient and you can get high quality-noise-free renders in a matter of minutes to an hour or two depending on what graphic gear you have.
I chose the 110i GTX which was easy to install but the pipes are quite hard and stiff but it was easy to work with. I was careful about the CPU when installing, but Asus Z170 deluxe provides an installation kit which prevents from bending the pins which may lead to RMAs... By the way, the 110i GTX manual does not include or mention anything about the power cables. They will connect to the PSU using the cables provided by the PSU package that you have bought.
I am not much of a clocker but I still decided to go with the Z170 series as I have found that Asus AI suite and BIOS allows quick and simple upgrades for cpu and memory clock speeds.
For the graphic cards, I was considering two Titan X Hybrids at first but after some research, I decided to go with the 980 ti hybrids instead. They are much cheaper considering Octane benchmark shows only 10 percent increase in performance using Titan X versus 980 Ti.
I went with the Hybrid cooling since it is hassle free and perfect for people who do not have any knowledge with water-cooling, like me. I have not had any leakage problems or air bubbling as some have displayed their concerns regarding them.
I bought the 760T case which I enjoyed the design and the overall look. It is a full tower with plenty of space. I took out the bottom hard-drive bays which there were two of them for optimal air flow. Since my two hybrids have a radiator, I used them as intakes from the front, allowing cooler air to come through the front-bottom of the case flowing towards the rear-top. The h110i gtx cooler is also an intake, and the only exhaust is the rear NF-A14 fan. I was debating whether to use the h110i gtx as an exhaust but decided to go with the intake..
I replaced the hybrid stock fans with two NF-S12 pwm which has more static pressure and the h110i gtx fans are replaced with two NF-A14 fans. The rear case fan is also a NF-A14 fan.
CPU temperature is at 25~30 degrees celcius at normal usage and I have yet to test when rendering heavy loads. I will update my post and upload temperature changes. Noctua fans are quiet and the color scheme may not match with the overall black theme but I like it nonetheless.
Corsair HX1000i is a good power house except the stock cables that come with them are extremely stiff. It may require some pressure to bend and planning before grouping and tying cables together for a neat overall-look. I was thinking on purchasing nicer ones from corsair but after unplugging all cables and reconnecting them neatly, it seems to do the job without paying an extra 100 dollars premium.
I am using a apple cinema display with apple keyboard, which are products I used with my old macbook system. The monitor is great for design work and I have kept it for this workstation. For those who are using an Apple Display and Apple Keyboard, to use the brightness/sound controls on the keyboard including iSight camera, you need to install bootcamp drivers on to your windows. You can download them on the apple website but you will be unable to install them unless you do the following steps:
- Open CMD in administrator mode.
- Locate the \drivers\apple folder in your bootcamp folder in Command Prompt using the commands 'cd..' to go to the previous folder or type 'cd (folder name)' to enter the folder.
- Once you are in the 'apple' folder, execute the following command: msiexec /i bootcamp.msi
After installation is done, reboot and you should see 'bootcamp icon' in your control panel and you should be able to use your apple keyboard to control your apple cinema display's brightness and sound!
Finally, I have chosen the 950 pro as my main OS drive and design storage. It has a remarkable read/write speed for its cost and it is the next new technology of SSD. It has good reviews and I highly recommend it.
I have some pictures of my workstation. Please enjoy and feel free to ask me any questions!
Thanks for reading my post!