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Mac Pro Replacement for $1800

jonadamsvt
  • 55 months ago

Hello,

I am in need of a new computer. I was looking at the new mac pros but didn't want to spend $4500. The PC will be used for graphic design, photoshop, and lightroom. I have been a Mac user for 10 years but would like to switch to PC.

Is a Xeon processor necessary? Budget is around $1800 (give or take).

Thanks.

Comments

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

Which peripherals would you need included in the budget? I'm assuming OS would need to be included as well.

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

I have a copy of Win 7 Pro already so I should be good. Just the tower is all I need. Thanks!

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

Also, what you you recommend if I wanted a full ATX tower (instead of Mid)?

[comment deleted by staff]
  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

Will this blow the Mac Pro out of the water or will it be comparable?

[comment deleted by staff]
  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

Xeon is not necessary, however, it reduce a lot of risk of data corruption, which is why it's preferred by professional video/graphic designer. Here's my suggestion on the build, with Xeon core and Firepro W8100 (you can drop the card down to W7100 and it'd be within your budget) PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

Type Item Price
CPU Intel Xeon E5-1630 V3 3.7GHz Quad-Core OEM/Tray Processor $369.99 @ SuperBiiz
CPU Cooler Cooler Master Seidon 120V 86.2 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler $49.99 @ B&H
Motherboard ASRock X99 Extreme4 ATX LGA2011-3 Motherboard $184.98 @ Newegg
Memory Crucial 16GB (2 x 8GB) Registered DDR4-2133 Memory $145.98 @ Directron
Storage Samsung 840 EVO 250GB 2.5" Solid State Drive $98.98 @ OutletPC
Video Card AMD FirePro W8100 8GB Video Card $999.99 @ B&H
Case Cooler Master Storm Scout 2 Advanced ATX Mid Tower Case $89.99 @ NCIX US
Power Supply EVGA SuperNOVA NEX 650W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply $78.99 @ SuperBiiz
Optical Drive Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer $17.75 @ OutletPC
Operating System Microsoft Windows 10 Home OEM (64-bit) $91.88 @ OutletPC
Prices include shipping, taxes, rebates, and discounts
Total (before mail-in rebates) $2158.52
Mail-in rebates -$30.00
Total $2128.52
Generated by PCPartPicker 2015-11-05 22:27 EST-0500
  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

Hello Jonadamsvt,

In reviewing your previously created topic, which appears to be the same subject, you work with photoshop files as large as 2GB.

A 2GB photoshop file can eat over 40GB of RAM (or spill heavily into scratch space).

Given your intended use (assuming working with very large complex images of high resolution with many layers), the Xeon would be a much smarter approach as it supports a lot more memory, and supports ECC memory, which is a good idea for any system implementing large amounts of memory. With large amounts of memory comes a higher risk of memory failures/errors/problems. Enterprise grade ECC/registered memory and a Xeon to support it is the solution.


Here's how to do this properly:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

Type Item Price
CPU Intel Xeon E5-1650 V3 3.5GHz 6-Core OEM/Tray Processor $564.99 @ SuperBiiz
CPU Cooler Silverstone AR01 81.4 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler $33.99 @ SuperBiiz
Motherboard SUPERMICRO MBD-X10SRA $270.00
Memory Samsung 32GB (1 x 32GB) Registered DDR4-2133 Memory $269.99 @ SuperBiiz
Memory Samsung 32GB (1 x 32GB) Registered DDR4-2133 Memory $269.99 @ SuperBiiz
Storage Sandisk X210 250GB 2.5" Solid State Drive $94.00 @ Amazon
Storage Toshiba X300 5TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive $151.93 @ Amazon
Video Card AMD FirePro W5100 4GB Video Card $323.99 @ SuperBiiz
Case Fractal Design Define R4 (Titanium Grey) ATX Mid Tower Case $69.99 @ Newegg
Power Supply EVGA SuperNOVA G2 650W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply $84.99 @ Newegg
Prices include shipping, taxes, rebates, and discounts
Total $2133.86
Generated by PCPartPicker 2015-11-06 03:41 EST-0500

This build would actually work very well with an E5-1620 V3, saving ~$250. These applications just aren't scaling well beyond 2-4 cores. I went with the 6 core option here because that was requested in your other build thread. Just keep in mind that this could be reduced.

C612 chipset workstation motherboard with support for up to 256GB ECC registered memory (or up to 512GB with reduced load RDIMM's) has been chosen to support your described usage.

Starting off with 2 X 32GB to stay close to the budget but I would advise continuing to buy and add more of these same Samsung RDIMM's, eventually running 4 or 8 of them for 128GB or 256GB of system memory. 128GB would allow you to work on multiple "huge" photoshop files simultaneously.

The W5100 is chosen here for 10 bit color support, this would assume that you intend to use a proper 1440P or 4K "billion color" IPS monitor (or multiple). If you don't have such a panel at this time, substitute this for a GV-N75TOC-2GI or GV-R726XOC-2GD (~$120 either way) to use temporarily until you can upgrade the monitor and GPU. (this will cut about $200 from the build cost). A W4100 is also an option here for 10 bit color support, however, it is leaning on the border of where performance scaling drops off for discrete GPU's in these applications and uses mini-displayports rather than full size ports. If I had my pick I'd go with the W5100 to effectively eliminate the GPU as a source of performance limitations. A W7100 or greater is not useful for this.

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you very much for the info. Do you think I would be better off doing a i7-6700 4 core processor instead of the 6 core? That would be a 4.0GHz clock speed instead of the 3.5GHz 6 core.

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

No, I do not think it would be a good idea to build a workstation for your described use on the 1151 socket platform. It does not support anywhere near as much system memory and does not support ECC memory, which is important when dealing with SO MUCH memory. (when talking about systems with 64GB+ RAM, which you SHOULD have if you're working on 2GB photoshop files, the odds of having a memory related failure or error increase significantly. ECC is the solution to this issue).

Furthermore, the clock speed differences will actually be narrower than you think in actual operation due to the way these workloads are going to scale into turbo speeds and power envelope limits. (basically, the E5 will spend more time at its top turbo speeds than the 6700K will while running photoshop,). Furthermore again, clock speeds can't really be compared here, as they are different architecture CPUs, skylake is a bit more powerful per cycle per core.

If you throw in any sort of parallel workflow to the mix (multi-tasking), the E5 build will be advantageous.

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you Allan! That makes sense. So I will stick with the E5. The other question is how would the E5 hold up with a x99 motherboard. The reason why I ask is I have never heard of the SuperMicro brand. Have you had experience with them? How easy is their bios configuration?

Thanks again for your time. I really appreciate it!

  • 55 months ago
  • 2 points

Supermicro has been building enterprise grade, server and workstation hardware for as long as I can remember. They have been the "go-to" alternative to HP/Dell/IBM/Apple enterprise grade hardware for a long time. They are well respected, and heavily used standard in the industry. They use very high quality PCB's and components. Basically, if you know how to build a computer rather than buy a computer, and are in the market for something like a Z800 series HP workstation but would rather not pay the HP pemiums, SuperMicro is the answer.

The BIOS interface on most enterprise type hardware should be pretty familiar to anyone who has navigated the BIOS of a machine built prior to the advent of UEFI / GUI BIOS's, which, when you really get down to it, are just nicer looking arrangements of the exact same controls we used to get from grey and blue menus with check box's etc.

You'll use arrow keys, Function keys, space bar, and numerical input etc to navigate and adjust BIOS settings on an enterprise motherboard, and it will be a logical menu oriented interface. The documentation for these boards if often superior to the documentation you'll get with consumer boards anyway.


You could use an X99 board for this, but the memory support is going to be more hit and miss, and less clearly defined, since this chipset was never really intended to be used with ECC/registered memory. Support for these configurations is basically a "hack" being performed by some hardware vendors (ASRock, for example).

By using a C612 chipset board, you're effectively lifting any of the possible obstacles that the X99 may introduce in memory compatibility. Just as an example, the build I've proposed above, uses 32GB ECC RDIMM's. Those same DIMM's very likely wouldn't work on an X99 board.

[comment deleted by staff]
  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! How does this board compare to Asus or ASrock?

[comment deleted by staff]
  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

Makes sense. I have very little experience with this so thank you! Adobe use to recommend Nvidia. Now does it really matter Nvidia vs AMD?

[comment deleted by staff]
  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

Makes sense. Thank you! What is the difference between a workstation graphics card and a gaming card?

[comment deleted by staff]
  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

How will the geoforce perform instead of the AMD FirePro?

[comment deleted by staff]
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[comment deleted by staff]
  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

Does this motherboard support the full capabilities of Xeon processors?

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

No

[comment deleted by staff]
  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

No

[comment deleted by staff]
  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

Try putting 512GB of load reduced DDR4 in the MSI X99 Plus.

TXT and Vpro are also unlikely to work on X99.

Granted, this is probably largely inconsequential, but the point remains.

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