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unstable
03-30-2014, 09:33 AM
In planning for a new system, Iíve read a lot of threads here covering various options, but my question is slightly different. Iíve seen comments about Xeons are best if you have two, otherwise use a i7 4930. An SSD drive is really good for your main drive to reduce boot up time and use a large SATA drive for storage. Iím not a great hardware knowledgeable guy and Iím thrown off by the price of workstations and what they have compared to a gaming rig. Why is this? What am I missing? I looked at Dellís workstations and if they have dual Xeons, you are immediately in the $7000 range, which is too much for me. To me, option 2 doesnít provide enough even though itís less money. Would option 2 really be that much faster at rendering in Lightwave? ZBrush, 3dCoat and others that use the GPU would benefit, but is a Xeon that much better than the 4960? Option 3 is way overpriced in my opinion. Option 1 looks like it could do just as good a job at rendering and animating, but still provides sound and entertainment. Iíve thought about building my own system, but thatís a lot of money to invest with no warranty if I screw it up. Iím not a pro artist, Iím still learning. When Iím on the computer, I spend 90% of my time using Lightwave, ZBrush, Photoshop, etc. and maybe 5% gaming and 5% for our family business. I want something to meet the 10% while still being able to crank out good renders and have a responsive VPR. Thoughts appreciated as always.

Example:
Option 1: Alienware Auraro
Windows 7 Ultimate
i7-4960X Extreme (6 cores, 15MB Cache, Overclocked up to 4.3 w/Turboboost)
Dual NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 with 6GB (2x 3GB) GDDR5
32 GB Quad Channel DDR3 1600MHZ RAM
512 GB SSD 6GB main
1 TB 7200 RPM Storage
Integrated Sound Card 7.1
Total price: $4307.00

Option 2: Dell Precision T3610 (Recommended for 3DS Max) Ė no options to customize items below
Windows 7 Professional
Xeon E5-1620 v2 (Quad Core HT, 3.7 Turbo, 10 MB)
3 GB NVIDIA Quadro K4000
16 GB DDR3 SDRAM at 1866 MHz
1 TB Serial ATA 7200 main drive
No second drive
No Sound
Total price: $2280.00

Option 3: 3D Boxx 4920 Xtreme
Windows 7 Ultimate
i7 (I assume 4920) 6 core 4.5 Ghz
Dual NVIDIA GTX 780 video cards
32 GB DDRE 1600 MHZ RAM
240 GB SSD SATA 6gbs main
1 TB SATA storage
No sound
Total price: $7385.00

hazmat777
03-30-2014, 10:26 AM
Check these guys out while you are researching...

http://www.pugetsystems.com/workstation.php

unstable
03-30-2014, 10:52 AM
Hey, thanks for that link hazmat777. They seem like they might be a very viable option. Thanks again.

hazmat777
03-30-2014, 11:33 AM
No problem. :)

My system is a bit long in the tooth, but is solid and built on one of their older Serenity configs. (I'm really sensitive to sound)

spherical
03-31-2014, 01:35 AM
Here's what we do:

Two systems. One is a workstation the other is a general system that routinely connects to the Internet, has sound, games, etc. Many benefits for splitting these tasks up and the cost isn't prohibitive; especially of you don't buy the farm and get sucked into the latest and greatest and try to roll them all into one system. Once that one system is tasked to running a render sequence, you're done for the remainder of the time left. A serious kill to productivity, unless all you do is rendering.

i7-4960X = $1,050.00
i7-3930K = $579.00

That much more bang for the buck? Don't think so. Yes, it's incrementally better; but only by a really thin margin. That's their game. Don't play it. Be smart. For less than what is quoted for Option 1, we built [I]two systems and, with the ability to completely dedicate the workstation to its specific task and go do other stuff while it does the heavy lifting, the efficiency in the studio is far above that which may be possible by spending all of that cash on only one system and then twiddling our thumbs.

Ernest
03-31-2014, 02:40 AM
There is no comparison between the QUADRO K4000 which only has 768 cores at 800MHz and the GTX 780 which has 2304 at up to 900Mhx with more than twice the memory bandwidth. Only go for the Quadro is you will be doing engineering and need the certified drivers. But you only need dual if you're going to add a GPU renderer like Octane for LW. Otherwise save both the money and the electricity. I also would not get a Xeon unless the motherboard (and CPU model) allowed you to install a 2nd one later on. I don't see any difference between the Boxx and the AW specs that would justify the difference in price.