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Help regarding a 3d rendering system (animation)

Aceken
  • 72 months ago

I'm trying to make a 3d rendering build for my sister who is looking for a good system for animation purposes.

This is what I have so far:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

Type Item Price
CPU Intel Core i7-4770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor $365.99 @ NCIX
CPU Cooler Noctua NH-D14 65.0 CFM CPU Cooler $84.99 @ Memory Express
Motherboard Asus Z87-A ATX LGA1150 Motherboard $149.94 @ DirectCanada
Memory Corsair Vengeance 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory $169.99 @ NCIX
Storage Samsung 840 EVO 250GB 2.5" Solid State Drive $159.98 @ Newegg Canada
Storage Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive $59.99 @ Canada Computers
Storage Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive $59.99 @ Canada Computers
Video Card EVGA GeForce GTX 770 2GB Superclocked ACX Video Card $349.99 @ NCIX
Case NZXT H440 (White/Black) ATX Mid Tower Case $129.99 @ NCIX
Power Supply Corsair RM 650W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply $114.68 @ DirectCanada
Operating System Microsoft Windows 8.1 (OEM) (64-bit) $105.84 @ DirectCanada
Total
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available. $1751.37
Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-06-10 16:03 EDT-0400

Please critique my current list and please also know that my knowledge about these things have been from this site. I also don't mind lowering the price for the same performance, colour scheme is not a must either.

Comments

  • 72 months ago
  • 2 points

Replacements: Core i7-4790K, currently on preorder. Asus Z97-A.

What applications will she be using? You gotta make sure the consumer graphics card will run it quickly and without glitches. For lots of pro applications, there are advantages to going with a pro card due to driver optimizations and quicker double precision calculations. But for raw power for the price, the consumer cards do win hands down. I run industrial 3D CAD, and currently have a consumer card in my desktop which works fine generally but highlighting in drafting mode does not work properly--therefore I went with a pro card for my build. Presumably it will ensure that all the features work properly. None of our other workstations, which all have pro cards, have the same or similar problems.

Buy an external backup drive for those Seagate data storage drives.

  • 72 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks for the reply, I have no idea what she will be using because she's not in the animation program yet. It's either a Cintiq which costs $2900 or this build that I will eventually make for her in the near future.

What gpu would you recommend?

  • 72 months ago
  • 1 point

The problem with the GPU situation is that it is very software specific. You really need to inquire about what software they use in the program she's going into. Also, you should find out when they start needing it. They probably won't use it the first year of the program, and since the computers get a lot faster every year, you could let her plug on with what she has until she will soon need the high powered rig.

The two main lines of workstation graphics cards are AMD FirePro ( http://www.amd.com/en-us/products/graphics/workstation ), and Nvidia Quadro ( http://www.nvidia.com/object/quadro.html ). The FirePro line is actually generally faster and more powerful than Quadros... but that's where it gets hazy because it depends so heavily on driver optimizations etc. I went Quadro because I have the possibility of using two CAD applications, one of which is very good on FirePro AND Quadro but the other of which is poor on FirePro and good on Quadro. There are certain applications where FirePro is actually MUCH faster than Quadro.

Here are a couple of good reviews/comparisons with benchmarks: http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/graphics/display/nvidia-quadro-amd-frirepro.html http://www.cgchannel.com/2013/11/group-test-amd-and-nvidia-professional-gpus-2013/ http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/workstation-graphics-2013/15-OpenGL-SPECViewperf11-Catia-03,3291.html .....you should look through to see if they have charted for whatever application you would use...

In my case, since I decided to go Quadro, I looked heavily into their prices and concluded that pro graphics cards are bloody expensive! So then I started to use http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/ to look at comparative performance between current and previous generation, and to look at the used market, and concluded that the best thing for me to do was to go to a used midrange card from the previous generation from eBay. Fantastic deals to be had there... I was able to get a Quadro 4000 for $240 -- which benchmarks out significantly better than a new Quadro K2000 which runs $400. You can also get a Quadro 6000, which is a very high performance card in teh category, for $6-800. I'm contemplating that for my next build...

Umm... a Wacom Cintiq appears to be an interactive display, not a computer. Your build above doesn't even include a display! Or are you talking about a Wacom Cintiq Companion? The point being that I'm not convinced you're drawing fair comparisons here. Plus... there are many pro workstations available from various computer makers that might also be candidates... though when I price them it usually costs about double to get the same specs as something I build myself.

  • 72 months ago
  • 1 point

Wow, thanks for the in depth reply, I'll definitely look more about the two and eventually decide.

You're right about the Cintiq, it is quite unfair to compare with a high powered rig. As for the display, that can be decided later on. If I do decide to build this rig, I might just get an Intuos to compliment everything else.

  • 72 months ago
  • 1 point

Note that I wasn't recommending a GPU for you, just giving my experience.

If you can find out more about the applications, don't neglect the consumer card angle too. There are many applications and scenarios in which the consumer card will work just fine. In fact I suspect that system I mention at work might work fine with a newer, better consumer card. It's really impossible to say because it's the only station with a consumer card in it at the office so I've no basis for comparison other than with generally older, lower-end pro cards. And the fact of the matter is that I'm not doing much real rendering work... plenty of approximated shaded viewing for mechanical CAD but it's not really the same class of thing.

  • 72 months ago
  • 1 point

I work with 3D graphics, and I bought the i7-4770K for $270 before tax. But if you haven't got it yet i7-4790K seems the way to go. And I will be getting Asus Z-97 A as my motherboard also.

I am curious why you choose that Corsair? Its cas Latency is 10. As far as I know the lower Latency seems better for 3D graphics than higher speed. So I am going for TridentX with Cas of 7 but at a lower speed of 1600Mhz.

Anyway, I am in same boat as your system for 3D, so just compare notes :)

  • 72 months ago
  • 1 point

CAS latency of RAMs has virtually no effect on system speed. If you have data to the contrary please post it up as I'd love to see it. All I've seen indicates you're talking about speed increases in the range of 0.2-0.3% which IMO is usually not worth the upcharge for low latency RAMs.

  • 72 months ago
  • 1 point

When I mean high speed, I mean speed on the Ram btw, not the system speed. The RAM speed is what I was referring to, as in 1600 vs 1800 vs 2400.

I am no expert, I don't expect the system speed would be a huge difference.

Actually, not only there is no upcharge for low latency - the lower latency RAMs are cheaper than higher speed ones. I am looking at the TridentX, one of the module is $164 at newegg, and the latency is the lowest (7), and cheaper than higher Ram speed with high latency (10).

I am just a consumer trying to figure out which is which. So I gooogled "higher frequency vs lower latency"

And this article comes out at top:

http://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Breaking-the-Hype-of-High-Frequency-RAM-142/

  • 72 months ago
  • 1 point

"lower latency RAMs are cheaper than higher speed ones"

You are neglecting critical variables, based on the linkage between latency and speed. In one area you are flatly incorrect, in that if you keep the speed the same, lower latency RAM costs moar than higher latency RAM (since lower latency RAM is either more costly to produce, or takes time and/or equipment to sort out from the rest -- though this kind of sorting is pretty much standard practice in the electronic part business).

If speed doesn't matter, and CAS latency is all that matters, then my old PC133 RAMs from my P4 should be the best because they were CAS 3. Both the speed and the latency matter, and can't be considered independently.

I believe it's also the case that a RAM stick rated at a faster speed with a higher latency, can generally operate at a lower speed and possibly with a lower latency doing it. This is not always easy to find out as the manufacturers don't really give you a chart of speed vs. latency so you really can't find out unless you read a review of a specific part number or else are willing to try some and use a program to read out the SPD of the sticks. One really might have to program the speed and timings at which to run the RAMs in the BIOS to find out. And if holding latency static, of course having a higher speed is better.

On the Z87-A, 1600 memory is the highest that is not considered overclocking RAM. However, OP seems to be interested in OC'ing since buying Z87 and the K CPU. So 1600 RAM is not exactly high-speed memory in context here.

Time for some actual reduction to practice.

Let's say we want to look at DDR3-1600 2x8GB, for talking purposes. The least expensive CAS 7 sticks on PCP are $195. There's a set of CAS 8 sticks for $176. There is a ton of CAS 9, starting at $150. There is a ton of CAS 10 starting also at $150. Things thin out again at CAS 11 at $155. So certainly if not looking to overclock, it seems to me I'd probably go for CAS 9 sticks, and I don't see your suggest that "there is no upcharge for low latency".

Moving on to higher speeds... in 1866 sticks latencies start at 8 for $210, there's a 9 stick for $170, there's a 10 stick for $160, and 11 sticks start at $205.

I could see the logic in going for 1866-9 sticks, but there is a reasonable expectation that the 1866-10 stick might run at 1600-9. Whereas it's unlikely the 1600-9 stick might run at 1866-10 (or they would have rated it at the higher speed). Better still, though, why not go for the $180 DDR3-2133 CAS 9 sticks on the egg for $180?

Anandtech has some good way to think about this in their article at http://www.anandtech.com/show/7364/memory-scaling-on-haswell/10

Interesting study, though. Based on the results, and seeing that DDR3-2400 cas10 2x8GB kits are available (from Newegg) for $155, it appears that I could have done better than my recent build using DDR3-1866 cas10. Interestingly, one commenter suggests that it's relatively easy to cheaply buy RAM capable of 2400mhz cl8 by researching the ram IC. Wouldn't that be something.... perhaps a target for my next build. Because high performance on a beer budget, that's my bag, baby. Then again, my kind of beer ain't cheap either I guess. LOL.

  • 72 months ago
  • 1 point

As this is a rendering system you should go for xeons they are made for rendering

  • 72 months ago
  • 1 point

Actually they are made for pounding through high multithreaded workloads continuously for years on end. But a 4770 is actually better for such than the Xeons from 3-4 years ago, for example. And you can replace the regular one more often given its likely significantly lower cost. But let's lay it out the right way... do you have any sources for rendering benchmarks for current consumer vs. pro CPUs? It would actually be super interesting to put together a chart of CPU+mobo cost vs. performance with a single application to tie it all together. I bet the knee in the curve is right about at 4970K and the newest generation but lower-end Xeons at roughly the same performance and price level.

The term "Xeon" came from marketdroids, and doesn't really actually mean anything useful in real life.

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