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radams
10-13-2009, 03:43 PM
Hi All,

Just wanted to share some info...during my look at designing my own systems.

Just sharing some info on standard mid size cases...that could be used for production based systems (inexpensive- moderate)

1) Thermaltake Element S
http://elements.thermaltake.com/

2) LIAN LI Lancool PC-K58
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QW8QlOcQhw8

3) LIAN LI PC-B25F
http://www.lian-li.com.tw/v2/en/product/product06.php?pr_index=366&cl_index=1&sc_index=25&ss_index=62

4) COOLER MASTER CM-690
http://www.coolermaster-usa.com/product.php?product_id=2710

5) COOLER MASTER HAF 922
http://www.coolermaster-usa.com/product.php?product_id=2919

Now for those who need even more quite...adding additional siliencing materials will assist.

Of course there are more options...but these seem to be a good start.
This is meant for standard ATX MB's....there are other more powerful options.

Cheers,

biliousfrog
10-14-2009, 01:25 AM
I'm using a Lian Li v1000 plus, basically looks like a Mac Pro without the handles, especially with the extra HD cooling kit installed in the lower CD bays. The airflow is awesome and the all aluminium design keeps it cool and light...after rendering for 12hours or so it still feels cold to touch. The Lian Li cases are worth every penny, exceptionally well built and very modular.

BTW it's worth keeping in mind that sound absorbtion materials decrease the thermal efficiency of a case as they trap the warm air and prevent it from making contact with the metal casing where it can dissipate. You're better to have a case with good natural airflow and run larger and/or more fans at lower RPM. The noisiest part of most systems is usually the graphics card fan, especially now that most motherboards are fanless.

radams
10-14-2009, 04:30 AM
Hi Biliousfrog,

Yes Lian does make some nice cases...though many are fairly expensive.
The unit you mentioned is no longer being made...and is $160-250 if you can find it.

I was trying to keep around $100 or less... and to look for both airflow/cool and guiet operations.

Yes larger cases with large fans and properly designed metal components will give you some better results or options...but at a price of costs, space, etc.

I'm in the process of building what is called a personal Super Computer...using the large Coolmaster ATCS 840 case.
This case isn't the largest case I've used...but it is fairly large.
But the motherboard I'm using is a CEB not ATX...thus needing this size case.

Since most of us here are into production and the need to have a quite working environment...I thought a discussion about systems and components to help create cost effective systems for production would be a good topic...

I know everything changes daily...with technologies...but for those who are new to this...I wanted to give them a heads up of what's out there now...and some options to look at.

More later,

Cheers,

cresshead
10-14-2009, 04:49 AM
jef lew's renderfarm for Killer Bean Forever didn't use boxes at all..he just plonked his 5 motherboards on the dining table and opened up the window for fresh air!...he also had HUGE fans on the cpu's as he overclocked them and or had water/liquid cooling.

WCameron
10-14-2009, 06:39 AM
Once upon a time, my plan was to take all the mobos, psu's etc, that I've had and discarded due to upgrades over the years, stick one drive on each of them and mount them all on a thin piece of wood, then separate each one with some wooden dowels and make a tower, then stick a box fan on each side blowing air across them. One USB keyboard and mouse wired into a USB switcher, one cheep old 17 inch LCD wired into a vga switcher....

I have roughly 5 boards that work, have atleast a gig of memory..... i think the slowest is a 2 gig cpu.

One day ....

- Will.

radams
10-14-2009, 07:00 AM
Hi Cresshead,

A render farm is a different matter...I'm refering to a main production workstation.

Maybe lets start a seperate thread inregards to setting up and creating a render farm. For LW, compositing, and other needs.

Thanks,

cresshead
10-14-2009, 07:38 AM
Hi Cresshead,

A render farm is a different matter...I'm refering to a main production workstation.

Maybe lets start a seperate thread inregards to setting up and creating a render farm. For LW, compositing, and other needs.

Thanks,

yeah..i'm just being annoying...as usual!
the bigger the box..the more air is available for heat disapation...
no box=maximum:)

biliousfrog
10-14-2009, 08:16 AM
yeah..i'm just being annoying...as usual!
the bigger the box..the more air is available for heat disapation...
no box=maximum:)

It has a negative effect when it comes to directing airflow though ;) You'll notice that a lot of professional workstations, and especially rack units, have baffles and conduits designed to direct airflow over components such as the CPU rather than just fans blowing over everything.

Think of it like playing blow football with and without a straw.

AdamAvenali
10-14-2009, 08:54 AM
in my most recent build i used a cooler master centurion 534 RC. it's not on the same level as the more expensive lian's by any means, but i really like it and the price is pretty good. i have not had any heat problems as of yet.

i have modded the case pretty considerably as well. the first thing i always do is cut out any mesh grilles that are formed in the case and replace them with the nice round wire ones. i also chose to remove the hard drive bay that the case came with and instead got a 5.25" to 3.5" adapter and have my hard drive up in a cd rom bay which gave my fan blowing air into the case a more direct route. i also installed a 5.25" bay fan unit that had three small fans that helps pull in more air from the front. thats pretty much everything i did for air purposes and everything else was for cosmetic reasons, like replacing the fans with blue LED ones, cutting a side panel window and putting a sheet of plexi in and making a crysis wrap for it (it helped that i worked in a vinyl shop at the time haha).

i can post pics and system specs later when i'm home. :thumbsup:

edit: oops, forgot the link haha Cooler Master Centurion 534 RC (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119106)

edit again: so i was home for a few and snapped some pics. i totally missed the title of your thread and would say my computer is built less for production and more gaming, though it pushes lightwave just fine for what i need it to do.

EVGA 750i FTW Mobo - Q6600 Quad Core - 4 gb Corsair XMS2 ram - EVGA 8800GT superclocked edition video card - Antec Neopower 650w power

i have never had any heat issues with my case, though nothing is overclocked either.

radams
10-14-2009, 12:14 PM
I'm liking the cases with the power supply on the bottom...with ducts or fans on top...it just makes more sense to me.

The airflow seems to be better...and there seems to be more room to work with inside the case...

Cheers,

AdamAvenali
10-14-2009, 12:30 PM
I'm liking the cases with the power supply on the bottom...with ducts or fans on top...it just makes more sense to me.

The airflow seems to be better...and there seems to be more room to work with inside the case...

Cheers,

i'm guessing whoever has designed the case probably has done tests, but wouldnt that mean the heat from the power supply would rise over the entire motherboard?

radams
10-14-2009, 01:09 PM
From what I've seen.

With the power supply on the bottom seems to give much better airflow throughout the case...and allows for a cooler system...if you're using air cool fans vs liquid cooling.

The fans at the top help to dispate the heat better...and there seems to be much more airflow through out.

But that's my take on it.

Also it helps with the cabling to stay out of the way better. IMHO.

Cheers,

AdamAvenali
10-14-2009, 01:21 PM
yeah haha as you notice from my pics, i've got cables all over the place. it did help to go to a totally SATA setup, so no huge IDE cables anywhere, and also a modular power supply.

biliousfrog
10-14-2009, 03:31 PM
i'm guessing whoever has designed the case probably has done tests, but wouldnt that mean the heat from the power supply would rise over the entire motherboard?

The Lian Li cases are in two seperate sections, PSU +HD's at the bottom, everything else at the top with a partition to keep it all seperate. I don't know whether all cases are the same.

radams
10-14-2009, 03:46 PM
The Lian Li cases are in two seperate sections, PSU +HD's at the bottom, everything else at the top with a partition to keep it all seperate. I don't know whether all cases are the same.

It varies with model and manufacturer...Lian has moved away from seperate partitions in their latest models.

Cheers,

MooseDog
10-15-2009, 05:34 PM
thx for the update ray. i haven't built a new box in a while, so maybe i'm missing something:

i did not see on the models you linked to any with a slide out motherboard plate. that feature alone made my old coolermaster wavemaster well well worth the price.

to the point where i'd consider just hacking this one up for better airflow just to keep this feature available to me.

radams
10-15-2009, 05:45 PM
Hi MooseDog,

I agree a removable MB try is great.

Though at the price point I was trying to keep things in some do not have that feature.

My criteria was based on function and use for production day in and day out use.

So

1) To have enough space for Raid's and HDs
2) To fit and work with Next Gen Motherboards and periphials
3) Be able to work with ATX
4) To fit multiple GPUs, Video/Audio Cards, and raid units
5) To have proper airflow througth out the case...and allow air or liquid cooling
6) Have the Power supply on the bottom for better space and airflow
7) To be as silent as possible and allow for additional silencing material if needed.
8) to be sturdy and well built
9) Have anti-vibration attachments
10) be nice looking...(not the most important)
11) Be afordable for anyone

Cheers,

gymcoach
10-15-2009, 08:44 PM
I have all my computers on a rack mount cases that a bought cheaply at Fry's, in a single arm rack that I bought at Fry's. They are housed in a closet that I build out and put a window air conditioner in. When I start doing a lot of work I close the closet door and turn on the air conditioner. Sometimes I have 4 computers running and everything stays cool. THe rack mounts were cheap on sale and provide great air flow.

radams
10-15-2009, 11:28 PM
Hi Gymcoach,

That sounds great!

I agree that if you can seperate and isolate your systems away in a properly cool/airflow..and sound dampened (Isolated) way...

Is perfect...

The reality is though that few have that option to create.

I to have a duckless air conditioner...but it is setup for the workroom and not just a small closet.

For those looking to create renderfarms...I would suggest looking at setting up something like gymcoach has started...

For the need to have a single or dual production workstation(s).

Look to integrate as much as possible...

As for myself...I like to use two workstations per production suite.
This allow for rendering, and many other uses...while setting up a composite..you could then be creating additional elements or doing some photoshop, etc...on the other machine...or offload renders locally to it.

I also work with Network Attached Storage NAS and raided SAN units.

The NAS systems are also raid 5...and give a good backup - offline/online storage...while the SAN units work great for online shared storage...for those working with multiple suites.

Cheers,

gymcoach
10-16-2009, 02:49 AM
Well I don't use it for a render farm. One of the computers is my home, go on the web, do QuickBooks computer. On the same monitor and key board (with a ktm switch) is an old computer that has just India pro on it, but it is networked to my other two computers one has Lightwave on it with 3D Arsenal and the other is my toaster computer with bob's Lightwave Connect (could not get them both to work on the same computer) and other plug-ins. I still use the India pro but it only works with an old version of QuickTime and I am not ready to give it up. I render all to the video drive on my VT workstation over a gigabit network. Oh and the Lightwave and the VT computer share a dual monitor setup with a switch.

MooseDog
10-16-2009, 08:02 AM
Hi MooseDog,

I agree a removable MB try is great.

Though at the price point I was trying to keep things in some do not have that feature.

My criteria was based on function and use for production day in and day out use.

So

1) To have enough space for Raid's and HDs
2) To fit and work with Next Gen Motherboards and periphials
3) Be able to work with ATX
4) To fit multiple GPUs, Video/Audio Cards, and raid units
5) To have proper airflow througth out the case...and allow air or liquid cooling
6) Have the Power supply on the bottom for better space and airflow
7) To be as silent as possible and allow for additional silencing material if needed.
8) to be sturdy and well built
9) Have anti-vibration attachments
10) be nice looking...(not the most important)
11) Be afordable for anyone

Cheers,

right on, cheers!!

SBowie
10-16-2009, 10:52 AM
Over the years I have become a huge fan (np pun intended) of Antec cases. Especially for fit and finish, they're hard to beat - no sharp edges anywhere, soft drive mounts, just lovely workmanship.

AdamAvenali
10-16-2009, 12:00 PM
Over the years I have become a huge fan (np pun intended) of Antec cases. Especially for fit and finish, they're hard to beat - no sharp edges anywhere, soft drive mounts, just lovely workmanship.

i was looking at getting an Antec 900 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129021) because it was fancy haha :D it did look like a nice case and has the psu on the bottom. i dont know how loud all those huge fans would be though haha

radams
10-16-2009, 12:16 PM
Over the years I have become a huge fan (np pun intended) of Antec cases. Especially for fit and finish, they're hard to beat - no sharp edges anywhere, soft drive mounts, just lovely workmanship.

I agree with you on that Steve.

Though the Antec cases that work best for production are $145 and up...I was trying to stay below $100. (except for the Lian PC-B25F).

I've had a Antec P180 case for sometime.
Though I've had some issues with it.

1) the fans that come with it are loud and don't last

2) the plastic fan holders vibrate and make noise

3) the power button is flimsy and can get stuck or brake easily (non-replacable)

4) the front USB, audio and firewire connections are on the middle to bottom front, exposed and can easily be broken/damaged with connections attached. (I broke my USB ports there)

5) the side panels can warp and not hold shape...though when they fit snug they are great at anti vibration and quieting the system.

I used to love their power supplies...but I've switched over to Corsair's

Just a note on the cases I mentioned...is that they do not have a front external firewire port...(which for some is very important)

For that reason I would also suggest looking at the newer Antec cases.
They are also for the most part well designed and built...just expect to change fans in a year or two...and be careful with the power switch.

Cheers,

radams
10-16-2009, 12:30 PM
i was looking at getting an Antec 900 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129021) because it was fancy haha :D it did look like a nice case and has the psu on the bottom. i dont know how loud all those huge fans would be though haha

Actually the larger the fan...the less RPM's it goes...the quieter it is.
So, Large is normally good when it comes to fans :)

The 900 is a good choice so is the 900-2...also the P183, P193.

Though for the money I'ld rather have the Lian Li PC-B25F

The Lian Li Lancool K60 is very close to the 900, but costs much less and is metal rather than plastic.

Also the Thermaltake Element S is very close to the Antec 900..but with some discounts...is almost half the costs.

Thus my original suggestions.

Cheers,

Red_Oddity
10-16-2009, 02:37 PM
We use the old Cooler Master CM-810 Stacker and we now have build system using the Titan 650 cases : http://www.antec.com/Believe_it/product.php?id=MTEzNQ==

Why these cases? well, for one, the Titan 650 comes with an extra back plate so it also supports SSI CEB/EPS boards (dual Xeon and other server processor types) and it still has room to spare for some Thermalright passive Xeon coolers : http://www.thermalright.com/new_a_page/product_page/cpu/hr01x/product_cpu_cooler_hr01x.html
Even with a 120mm fan on those coolers (and we have them in dual setups per computer, they where cleverly enough designed to allow the coolors to turn anyway you like and fit two together on dual boards) they are extremely quiet and they cool 10 degrees Celsius cooler than the standard Intel coolers that came with the Xeon processors.

Right now the idle temp in most of our cases is at an average of around 23 degrees, and our workspace doesn't sound like a bunch of vacuum cleaners are runnning non stop anymore.

TheDynamo
10-16-2009, 02:52 PM
I usually peg myself with the Antec Sonata 3 Case when I spec a workstation out. Unless you get a beast of a video card, a 500 watt PSU should be adequate for most needs. I sometimes just piece together computers for a brain exercise (some do sudoku, I do systems)

-Rob

Right now my sub $1000 workstation (minus monitor) includes

Core i7 860
GIGABYTE GA-P55M-UD2 LGA 1156 Intel P55 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
2x G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333
POWERCOLOR AX4850 512MD3-PH Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit
SAMSUNG HD502HI 500GB 5400 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive
Antec Sonata III 500 Black 0.8mm cold rolled steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 500W Power Supply
Windows Vista Home Premium 64:eek:
SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD Burner Black SATA Model SH-S223B - OEM

Not bad for <$1000

-Rob

SBowie
10-16-2009, 03:02 PM
I was trying to stay below $100...Yeah, I know ... but I sure like it when I don't require a dozen stitches every time I stick my hand inside the case. It's so nice when all the exposed edges are milled. :)


I've had a Antec P180 case for sometime.I've gotten very good service from a P160. I may well re-use it for my next desktop system.

radams
10-17-2009, 12:56 PM
[QUOTE=TheDynamo;937511]...Unless you get a beast of a video card, a 500 watt PSU should be adequate for most needs. -Rob

Hi Rob, (the Dynamo),

Just an FYI, with todays CPUs, Ram, Fans, Graphic Cards, Hard Drives, etc.

I would not recommend using anything less than a 650 Watt Power Supply.
If you are doing anything with video/media production. You'll run into to many issues and if you are running a VT or Black Magic Card, etc...
You'll be right on the edge if not going over.

You will find that you'll have more hangups, lockups and crashes..and put too much stress on the power supply...and thus the motherboard and component.

If you plan on running more than on GPU...I would recomment at least an 850 Watt...and if you're going to run more than two...1000 Watt. And don't forget that if you're running a video card..(VT, Black Magic Design, AJA, etc.) then start with an 850 Watt...you won't regret giving the components a little head room.

It will save you time and money...and less loss of hair :)
Note: 80-90% of problems with systems stems from power supplies, or bad power.

At the moment I would recommend looking at the Corair HX power supplies.
Very nice units.


Cheers,

radams
10-17-2009, 12:58 PM
I've gotten very good service from a P160. I may well re-use it for my next desktop system.

If you're going to use any of the new CPU's you'll need to cut a hole in the Motherboard tray...to allow you to attached the heatsinks, fans, or cooler brackets. ;)

Cheers,

inquisitive
10-17-2009, 01:18 PM
It is interesting that this thread has been started.

I just moved into an apartment and need to figure out how to 'quiet' my loud dual xeon computer self built (Adtronic full tower - supermicro MB X5DA8 w/ dual 2.6Ghz / using the cooler/fan that came with the MB / 4 SCSI 76GB drives - otherwise I wont be able to use it at night (vt5/lw machine)) :( - Previously I was living in a house and the only potential complain came from my wife hehe. They have a quiet time of 8am - 8pm at the new place.

I will have to post the detailed specs later - just started the computer after a lapse of 17days.

I was thinking to get one of those cube cases so I could place the case on the floor carpet instead of the desk (which I read acts as a soundboard).

If you guys have any input/links on what case / material to use to quiet my workstation that would be great.

Thanks

radams
10-17-2009, 01:50 PM
Hi Inquisitive,

Sure, give us the scoop on your system...and your wishes.
Quiet systems for Supermicro boards, power supplies, etc...are tricky.
I hate their power supplies...cause they are like a jet engine taking off :)

I'ld stay away from the Supermicro cases at this time...they are meant not for quiet...but airflow and equipment/rack rooms only, IMHO :)

How many HD's etc...

I've got a coolmaster ATCS 840...which is nice...but there are other cases.
I would also suggest going with a Corsair Power Supply.

What GPU do you have? There are some with heat pipes..and some with out fans onboard...but you'll need to direct large fans on it from the case...

Of course there is always going with liquid cooling...but what a hassle ;)
Though there are some nice rigs...just need to maintanance every so often.

Cheers,

JonW
10-17-2009, 06:51 PM
Firstly, replace the CPU fans, they make the most noise. This will make the greatest difference.

http://newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=100802

I also replaced virtually all fans with the Noctua fans, I even replaced them in my UPS (3 x 80 mm).

Once you have done that & you feel you need extra reduction in sound levels get some acoustic foam.

I bought 20 sheets of pyramid foam & it really deadened the sound. I did some further research after installing the tiles. The flat sheet sound proofing is stacks cheaper & cuts out almost as much sound for the same thickness. You need 25 mm thickness, 50 mm would be better. Extra thickness will do more than contoured foam & its a lot cheaper, live & learn!

Its best to place it on opposite walls. Where you sit in the room, if you had a mirror on any wall & you can see yourself that's the first place to start the insulation.

For a trial run & just to test, get any thick towels, blankets & clothing, & make thick piles of them, hang them up or prop them up against walls, hang over pictures (glass in picture frames reflects sound, not good!), over the monitors overnight, doors etc, be creative. So the room looks like the ultimate laundry or drying room. Thick rug or some carpet on hard floors.

It will give a good idea of what the sound level will be like. This may do if you are only doing the odd overnight renders.

For larger spaces, people use packs of ceiling insulation. You leave it in the pack & place it in the corners of rooms, this in better for base frequencies, just put a cloth over it for a better look. The sound goes through the plastic, its the density & thickness of the unpacked insulation that's absorbing the sound.

I put some of the insulation in the computer cases. It does help somewhat, but you will have reduced air flow. Its better to start with quiet fans, then the room, then under desks. A thick cloth laid over a computer case helps more than sound insulation within the case. Also put some rubber feet on the computers & then sit them on a melamine chipboard on a carpeted floor. It isolates sound transmission & its also useful for sliding out computers & heavy printers etc.

You may have two computer with the same fans resonating off each other, put them at different angle or more one to a different part of the room.

Once I had done all of the above, even I was amazed how quiet the room had become.

http://www.acoustica.com.au/echostop.html
http://www.acoustica.com.au/pyramids.html

radams
10-17-2009, 07:50 PM
Hi Jon W. and all.

What's a little funny...is as good as those pyramid foam panels are...

Go get some of the large egg containers...they will work just as good, for little to no $$...thou they do look a little funky :)

It's a little trick from my audio engineering days :)


You can also add in sound deadening materials into your case...though they keep additional heat in the case.

http://www.acoustiproducts.com/en/acoustipack.asp

Cheers,

JonW
10-17-2009, 10:32 PM
The thickness of the absorbing material must be thicker than the length of the sound wave to deaden the sound. Depending on the frequency of the sound it is can be better to have the acoustic material mounted just off the wall.

Many years ago I had the chance to go in the CSIRO acoustic rooms, one for echoes & one for absorption. The walls were solid concrete 30 cm thick so they would not vibrate & loose any sound through transmission, & only reflect the sound & there was about 30 reflectors at various angles about the room. The echo went on for about 20 seconds.

The other room for sound deadening, I was only allowed to be at the door, never the less when I spoke into the room, the sound was completely dead, as if their was nothing there, just a black hole! It was pretty amazing & almost a bit disturbing.

Personally I couldnít quite get myself to put up egg cartons. Iím not that keen on eggs either.

Useful notes for a quiet room.
http://www.ethanwiner.com/acoustics.html

biliousfrog
10-18-2009, 03:32 AM
Yeah the egg carton thing is a myth. It can help to deaden sound and prevent reverberation or 'bounce' but the only thing that will block sound is mass. Years ago my band completely covered the walls and ceiling of our rehearsal room with carpet and egg boxes to keep the noise down and it didn't do anything...it was a strain to talk because the room was completely 'dead' but the noise level outside the room was reduced by less than 1/2 a decibel.

The sound proof matting sold for computer cases is very similar to what is used inside cars, it is an extremely dense rubber material covered with a thin layer of foam, the rubber blocks the sound and the foam deadens it. I bought some several years ago and it weighs a ton. There are materials used inside walls of recording studios which are around 10mm thick and are layered with dense rubber and lead.

As mentioned, the best way to prevent noise is to minimize it at the source. Use larger fans at a slower speed or at least better quality ones.

radams
10-18-2009, 12:32 PM
Yeah the egg carton thing is a myth. It can help to deaden sound and prevent reverberation or 'bounce' but the only thing that will block sound is mass. Years ago my band completely covered the walls and ceiling of our rehearsal room with carpet and egg boxes to keep the noise down and it didn't do anything...it was a strain to talk because the room was completely 'dead' but the noise level outside the room was reduced by less than 1/2 a decibel.

The sound proof matting sold for computer cases is very similar to what is used inside cars, it is an extremely dense rubber material covered with a thin layer of foam, the rubber blocks the sound and the foam deadens it. I bought some several years ago and it weighs a ton. There are materials used inside walls of recording studios which are around 10mm thick and are layered with dense rubber and lead.

As mentioned, the best way to prevent noise is to minimize it at the source. Use larger fans at a slower speed or at least better quality ones.

Hi all,

Well, yes and no...as I stated from looking at the original foam photo...the thickness of material, you could use egg containers...and still have about the same deadening effect...

I agree that thick foam systems do work better..and you also need to make various planes and angles, etc...but for on the cheap...grab some T foam...and egg containers...and you can do a decent job without the $$$$

Cheers,

TheDynamo
10-19-2009, 11:47 AM
Oh I concur with your quote below Ray. The mental exercise I was going through was merely putting together a system you could use for After Effects and Lightwave creation. Both apps would benefit from an additional HDD or so but not so much from multiple graphics cards. In theory that 500 Watt PS would work with a lower level (i.e. not so power hungry GPU) the one I have listed is borderline.

I agree if you were to add like you said Video I/O cards, Workstation class GPU and Hardware Raid for Video Toaster you would be in for a world of hurt without at least 850 Watts, preferrably 1K. A bonus in the Winter would be you wouldn't need a space heater. :)

Now the fun mental exercise would be to make a quiet PC version of a Dual Nehalem Mac Pro without paying the Mac Pro price. I've never assembled a workstation like that before. Has anyone on these boards? Any words of wisdom?

-Rob


Hi Rob, (the Dynamo),

Just an FYI, with todays CPUs, Ram, Fans, Graphic Cards, Hard Drives, etc.

I would not recommend using anything less than a 650 Watt Power Supply.
If you are doing anything with video/media production. You'll run into to many issues and if you are running a VT or Black Magic Card, etc...
You'll be right on the edge if not going over.

If you plan on running more than on GPU...I would recomment at least an 850 Watt...and if you're going to run more than two...1000 Watt. And don't forget that if you're running a video card..(VT, Black Magic Design, AJA, etc.) then start with an 850 Watt...you won't regret giving the components a little head room.

At the moment I would recommend looking at the Corair HX power supplies.
Very nice units.


Cheers,
__________________
Ray Adams
FX and Production Supervisor

JonW
10-19-2009, 11:04 PM
An over clocked 920 will give you up to 60% of the rendering power of a pair of W55890s, at a fraction of the price.

If you need the CPU power in one box, you can build a W5590 box at about 2/3 the price of a Mac 2.93 V8.

Link for my W5580 near top of this page, #33
(P.S. Its flat out rendering now, & the fan in the printer is making more noise!)

Red_Oddity
10-20-2009, 08:42 AM
If you need the CPU power in one box, you can build a W5590 box at about 2/3 the price of a Mac 2.93 V8.

Or if one lives in Europe, about 1/3 of the price a Mac 2.93 V8.

allabulle
10-20-2009, 08:50 AM
Or if one lives in Europe, about 1/3 of the price a Mac 2.93 V8.

Mmmmh... maybe I need to check it and build a new rig. Sounds great.

Red_Oddity
10-20-2009, 11:53 AM
It does and it is, we rarely have something break, and when it does, it's as simple as stepping into a store and getting a new piece of hardware, rather than begging some corporate drone to replace the broken piece of hardware, rather than having it send of for a week (if you're lucky) for repairs.

Also, Apple's prices have become insane over here, the Mac Pro 2.93 V8 costs $5,899.00 in the US, in Europe (Holland) it costs € 5.339,01, which is $7,985.55...A price hike of over $ 2000.
Also, what planet do they get their Ati 5870 cards? $200 extra to replace the Geforce 120 for a card that costs an average of $120 in a normal retail store?

Anyway, moaning and b****ing aside, building a rig yourself has it dis- and advantages

biliousfrog
10-20-2009, 02:02 PM
It does and it is, we rarely have something break, and when it does, it's as simple as stepping into a store and getting a new piece of hardware, rather than begging some corporate drone to replace the broken piece of hardware, rather than having it send of for a week (if you're lucky) for repairs.

Also, Apple's prices have become insane over here, the Mac Pro 2.93 V8 costs $5,899.00 in the US, in Europe (Holland) it costs Ä 5.339,01, which is $7,985.55...A price hike of over $ 2000.
Also, what planet do they get their Ati 5870 cards? $200 extra to replace the Geforce 120 for a card that costs an average of $120 in a normal retail store?

Anyway, moaning and b****ing aside, building a rig yourself has it dis- and advantages

All very true but I will say that many professional workstation builders will post out any replacement parts via a courier and collect the broken part (at a layer date if needed) rather than require the whole machine. I spoke to someone at BOXX recently when I had a fan fail and it was with me next day...from BOXX HQ in Texas...I didn't even have time to go into the nearest city and buy a replacement in that time.

Obviously you then need to fix it yourself but at least it saves sending the whole computer away. They do always ask if you're comfortable with repairing anything yourself too which is good. They don't mind you fudging around inside and replacing things like graphics cards, it isn't going to void the warrenty unlike a Dell for example.

Red_Oddity
10-20-2009, 03:13 PM
... it isn't going to void the warrenty unlike a Dell for example.
LOL, and let that be the company i had in mind when i mentioned sending in a system. We had some less than usable support back then from Dell, same with Apple, back then when the nice first silver Macs with the first OSX got released we had to send the entire system, when a component broke, back so it could be shipped to Ireland no less for repairs (and they started using standard hardware then, with the exception of the videocards)
Ah, those where the days...oh wait, no they weren't.

JonW
10-20-2009, 04:47 PM
I’ve been using a small computer shop for years & the service is really good. I also recently got new ram & HD for my Mac Mini, which they don’t sell. Saved a bucket load!

I’m not into building my own boxes. but have ripped them apart, changed GCs, HDs, ram, CPUs, HSinks, fans etc that I may as well have. & my supplier knows about it & has given me lots of advise on items to be changed.

The best thing about using a small supplier if you don’t want to build it yourself. Is that you can get exactly all the things you want; this case, that graphics card, specify a velociraptor, even the exact heatsink & fans you want in the box. Or in some situations all the things you don’t want because its only a render node.

Eg, there is no point paying for a graphics card when its not needed.

If things happen to fail in these custom made boxes. Ironically its infinitely easier & quicker to replace the part, even a mother board.

The reality is that custom computers are all standard off the shelf parts.

TheDynamo
10-21-2009, 02:54 PM
Well the new announcement from Adobe making AE only for 64 bit systems forces my hand a bit now. I guess I best start working on convincing my wife about that dual Xeon box I want to make ;). Any caveats with making your own workstation like that? I've built many a smaller box but nothing that big.

-Rob

Red_Oddity
10-21-2009, 03:44 PM
Well the new announcement from Adobe making AE only for 64 bit systems forces my hand a bit now. I guess I best start working on convincing my wife about that dual Xeon box I want to make ;). Any caveats with making your own workstation like that? I've built many a smaller box but nothing that big.

-Rob

If you go the dual quad xeon route, make sure you buy a case that actually fits the form factor of the motherboard (Xeon boards are usually SSI/CEB), the power supply is the right form factor aswell (usually EPS) and make sure you buy the right memory sticks as some xeon compatible boards don't just take any memory (fully buffered or not, ecc or non-ecc)

The rest can be the usual off the shelf hardware.

Offcourse, the new intel i7 9xx series are a very cheap and fast alternative for dual quad systems as they allow for some serious overclocking.
http://www.benchwell.com/

radams
10-21-2009, 04:47 PM
Well the new announcement from Adobe making AE only for 64 bit systems forces my hand a bit now. I guess I best start working on convincing my wife about that dual Xeon box I want to make ;). Any caveats with making your own workstation like that? I've built many a smaller box but nothing that big.

-Rob


Hi Rob,

Actually with how fast technology is moving...and ROI, Return on Investment. I won't build a dual Xeon rig anymore...at least for my main workstation.

It isn't cost effective and doesn't give that processing push for the money anymore.

What I would recommend is to create a good solid workstation base on the i7, Add in all your GPUs, etc...(remember that AE and other apps are now using GPU"s to help parallel process). You can really setup a good system for 2-4 grand depending on what you put into it...vs double for the xeons or more...Also note then you can get a good Motherboard for the i7 with PCIe...
I would recommend the ASUS P6T7 with seven 16 lane slots, and is tricked out. (though it has a price tag it's worth it for the slots and 64 lane bus).

Or go with another board that doesn't use the Nvidia 200 chipset but has 3 or 4 PCIe slots.

For this type of system...I will also recommend the Coolmaster ATCS 840 case.
It has all the room and drive bays needed, and all the airflow and fans...It is also quiet..and looks nice...it holds extended ATX and CEB along with all the other options...

I would also go with Thermalright's heatsink fan for the CPU.

For the money this is the most powerful rig that I've ever put together...and is cost effective.

Now back to your other needs for AE or other apps that need raw CPU computation...yes for that need a dual xeon rig will give you the most cpu power per unit..

For those needs I recommend creating a render farm.
Then it gets those processes off your main system so you can keep working while another system(s) do the work.

So for that there are two ways of thinking.
will a single system with dual xeon's be more effective for the money vs two or more systems based on the i7...

For that you'll need to determine what are the kinds or productions you are working on...how much memory do the systems need to properly do this kind of work (xeon's can hold more memory).

Then price out systems that will do the job...note: that you don't need all the hard drives and powerful GPUs that you do on your main workstation...you need as powerful of CPU's and as much memory that you can fit in....with a couple of drives...etc...

This is how you can leverage your investments and time.

Cheers,

TheDynamo
10-21-2009, 06:16 PM
Thanks, good advice Ray.

The main limitation I'm running into if I put together an i7 system is that if I want to use one of the newer i7 chips like the 860 I'm stuck with a max of 8GB of ram without selling one of my organs for 4x4GB sticks. A workstation board (or server board if you use Newegg's classification) frequently comes with 6 slots. Although then I have to ask myself if the extra 4GB of ram will be worth it price wise or would just getting a dedicated hardware RAID card and some striped drives on a 1156 MB take care of alot of my I/O issues. I just know one thing... I think I would rather keep using my current (albeit slow) box before buying $3300 on a Mac Pro, nice OS or not.

Of course if Apple somehow merges Shake into Motion, I might have to eat that last sentence. That would be one fun app to play with.

-Rob

biliousfrog
10-22-2009, 07:46 AM
Thanks, good advice Ray.

The main limitation I'm running into if I put together an i7 system is that if I want to use one of the newer i7 chips like the 860 I'm stuck with a max of 8GB of ram without selling one of my organs for 4x4GB sticks. A workstation board (or server board if you use Newegg's classification) frequently comes with 6 slots. Although then I have to ask myself if the extra 4GB of ram will be worth it price wise or would just getting a dedicated hardware RAID card and some striped drives on a 1156 MB take care of alot of my I/O issues. I just know one thing... I think I would rather keep using my current (albeit slow) box before buying $3300 on a Mac Pro, nice OS or not.

Of course if Apple somehow merges Shake into Motion, I might have to eat that last sentence. That would be one fun app to play with.

-Rob

The simple solution is forget the 8XX series and get a 9XX series i7. You can then use 12gb Ram which is plenty for most people (24 with 4gb sticks).

Bear in mind that just because 64bit software can access more RAM it doesn't mean that it can access more cores/CPU's. Most software is still single threaded so you're only utilizing one of the cores per application anyway. Unless you often run several apps at once or do a lot of rendering an 8 core system can be a bit overkill. Most people find that a faster CPU is better all-round than two slower ones for that reason.

Currently AE can utilize all CPU's and CPU cores by creating several instances of itself, unfortunately it's a nasty hack and can cause serious stability problems, most people reduce the cores that can be used or disable it all together.

radams
10-22-2009, 01:47 PM
Hi Rob,

I would look at the 1366 motherboards rather than the 1156.

The 1366 will have more life and options to them vs the limited 1156.
There will also be a processing hit on the 1156 vs the 1366.

Also note that there will be a six core processor by next quarter for the 1366 not for the 1156.

The 1156 is for lower end systems...and will have less options and throughput.

For a production workstation I would strongly recommend stay with the 1366 MB's.

Cheers,

inquisitive
07-21-2010, 12:42 AM
Ever since the mention of the Noctua fan/condo cpu heatsinks I have been thinking about them... but they are out of my price range (given the current economic times).

A few days ago, however I found these (see picture). Found them in a local surplus store for $6.50 /ea

Apparently they are Intel AHWPROCHS heatsinks for 4U servers, so now all I need is a pair of fans I can attach to them. (someone suggested to use those plastic tie wraps) - hopefully I can use them.

Some guy back in 2007 said he used these fans with those CPU heatsinks, but so far I have only found an uK site that carries them.
NMB-MAT RB-80-L
http://www.dorothybradbury.co.uk/


In terms of what I currently have:

Addtronic server case
http://www.addtronics.com/7890a.htm

Supermicro X5DA8 with dual 2.6Ghz Xeon
2GB ECC RAM
IDE 80GB system drive
4 76GB ultra320 SCSI (driven via the mobo SCSI controller softRaid 0)
(3 ST373307LW 10k - 1 ST373453LW 15k)
Gforce 6200 - 128MB

I no longer remember how the current heatsinks are attached to this motherboard while I built this machine it has been about 5yrs since I put it together..
I will have to check (if current cpu plastic brackets are screwed to the case or just with plastic pushins to the motherboard) - I did manage to locate one retention metal plate
http://ec3.images-amazon.com/images/I/21NKfxx0lFL._SL500_AA300_.jpg
which hopefully I can use to secure those monsters cpu's to the case.

I imagine most of you moved on to faster non Dual Xeon machines.. however during the upgrade process from this old tech to the new, did you build any 800Mhz bus machines? if so what motherboard/combo equipment did you use?

I am thinking of going the route of surplus/used equipment and do the upgrade from 533Mhz to 800Mhz, and perhaps go the SATA route (I guess first SATA 150 is too slow? which is what older mobo's probably have?)