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Thread: A new PC for Lightwave...

  1. #1
    May the sauce be with you starbase1's Avatar
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    A new PC for Lightwave...

    It's still a couple of months off buying, but that gives me time to get things right! I'm planning on buying a seriously good PC, with one of the main aims, if not the main aim, of making something very good for Lightwave (and other 3d graphics).

    I don't play games, and I don't think there is anything else I do that would stretch the hardware. I have a budget of about 1500 UK pounds. Here's what I have so far, all suggestions and comments very gratefully received!

    ASUS P5Q Pro motherboard. It's got good reviews, and it will take:

    4 x 4 Gb of DDR2 Ram, for a whopping 16 Gb. This should let me work on seriously big stuff, and run multiple virtual machines without swapping. The price of this much is seriously eye watering, but I really want it...

    Akasa Eclipse 62 Case. Again good reviews. Plenty of room inside.

    CoolerMaster 700W REAL POWER PRO MODULAR PSU.

    Philips 24" WIDE 240BW8EB 5ms DVI TFT. Apparently a 24" monitor which gives unusually realistic colours, (according to a review).

    Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1TB hard drives, 2 of them.

    Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad Q9450 2.66GHz 12M Cache S775 1333MHZ

    I'm not sure about going upmarket with this - It does seem that you pay a lot more for not much extra speed. I'd welcome some advice.

    Graphics card I am 100% clueless on, but I figure on spending 100-150 pounds, and want something that works well under Linux too. (I am planning on dual booting Ubuntu Studio 64, and XP 64 Pro).

    I'm also looking for a good hi-fi type sound card, (By which I mean 2 channels for producing stereo music as the producer intended, not something with 11.3 subwoofer channels to loosen the fillings from your teeth).

    All suggestions for alternate hardware received with great interest!

    Nick
    Faith is the opposite of Intelligence.

    Touched by his noodley appendage!
    My Lightwave Graphics & Downloads!!!

  2. #2
    Only one quad proc? Will this not be used for a lot of your rendering? Perhaps get 4-8gb ram for now if funds are an issue, add more later.
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  3. #3
    May the sauce be with you starbase1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by neverko View Post
    I'm afraid that all you'll get from that monitor is unusual colours and bad viewing angles. It's a TN panel based monitor as far as I can see. The contrast is also pretty weak. TN panels almost always have image uniformity (brightness) issues from top to bottom when you sit in front of them in normal use.

    Since you mention colours, I take it that colour reproduction is of importance to you. In which case I'd steer well clear of anything with a TN panel.

    At least get a decent LG with a MVA panel (sorry, I can't recall specific models at the moment). Those are cheap and a far better choice than anything TN.

    Preferably get something based on variant IPS or PVA panel technologies. You will like the colours much better. IPS has the best viewing angles and PVA the greatest contrast (deepest blacks). Both panel types calibrate well to top notch colour reproduction.
    Well, I'm probably not that critical as I find the one I have at the moment acceptable, and it's a TN. I suspect I will value size over quality. How much more are we talking about for alternate technologies at 24"? This is 300 pounds, and got the best buy in the most recent PC World. So I'm assuming its a relatively good example of the type.
    Faith is the opposite of Intelligence.

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  4. #4
    May the sauce be with you starbase1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toby View Post
    Only one quad proc? Will this not be used for a lot of your rendering? Perhaps get 4-8gb ram for now if funds are an issue, add more later.
    Can you point me at any good motherboards that will handle multiple processors, and do 4 x 4 Gb? (I already have 8 Gb on one machine and it's really good for having a lot of stuff on the boil!) This one also takes DDR3, so I can upgrade in that direction when the price comes down.
    Faith is the opposite of Intelligence.

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  5. #5
    It's a big budget for a quad system, I've just finished building a dual-quad system for less than your budget & I think you'll kick yourself for only going 4 cores.

    An Intel Skulltrail board [D5400XS] plus two Xeon Harpertowns [5420s] offers a good bang-per-buck, 8-16gb will also be no problem on that mobo.

    If you don't do games then a mid-level quadroFX is a pretty good solution.


    "You will see nothing that’s certain, but lots of action; plenty of defects, little that’s pretty, and nothing of any worth." GB 1582

  6. #6
    May the sauce be with you starbase1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by glebe digital View Post
    It's a big budget for a quad system, I've just finished building a dual-quad system for less than your budget & I think you'll kick yourself for only going 4 cores.

    An Intel Skulltrail board [D5400XS] plus two Xeon Harpertowns [5420s] offers a good bang-per-buck, 8-16gb will also be no problem on that mobo.

    If you don't do games then a mid-level quadroFX is a pretty good solution.
    That does seem to be a VERY expensive motherboard - anything cheaper that will do 2 CPU's and 16 Gb? Remember this includes buying a monitor, and I really don;t see how I can follow your suggestions and stay within budget...
    Faith is the opposite of Intelligence.

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  7. #7
    Kamehameha Chameleon BigHache's Avatar
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    Yes, there are cheaper solutions for dual 771 boards. Most of what I've seen available are server mobos, so you might want to pay specific attention to the form factor.

    This is one I'm looking at for example:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813182146

    Not that this is the best board by any means, but my case won't hold an E-ATX board and I'm trying to use what I have as much as possible.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by starbase1 View Post
    That does seem to be a VERY expensive motherboard - anything cheaper that will do 2 CPU's and 16 Gb? Remember this includes buying a monitor, and I really don;t see how I can follow your suggestions and stay within budget...
    Well, you WILL get what you pay for.

    mobo: £335
    8Gb ram: £298
    2x 5420s: £425
    Eatx case: £105
    500GB drive: £46
    PSU: £74

    total: £1,283

    That leaves you around £300 for a GPU and screen........fail to see why you really need a 24".......you can get an excellent 20" monitor for about £160.

    Bighache makes a good point about re-using as much kit as you can, is there anything you intend to strip from your current PC?


    "You will see nothing that’s certain, but lots of action; plenty of defects, little that’s pretty, and nothing of any worth." GB 1582

  9. #9
    Go for an Eizo CG421W. Good quality for money and you can calibrate the hardware way. About 1600€.

  10. #10
    I know what you mean neverko, I use a 20" widescreen @1680px wide and it's way better than a 19" 5:4 @1280.............but costwise, that extra 4" is the equivalent of an extra 4-cores at rendertime........so gimme the extra cores anyday.


    "You will see nothing that’s certain, but lots of action; plenty of defects, little that’s pretty, and nothing of any worth." GB 1582

  11. #11
    May the sauce be with you starbase1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by neverko View Post
    You'll probably have to shell out at least 450-500 pounds for something in a better league.

    I'd say that a TN is adequate for most uses, I lived with 19" TN panel for a good while, though I had a 19" IPS panel alongside for colour proofing. The weak colour reproduction was my biggest issue with the TN tech. I need better colour reproduction than that. But it's also quite possible that TN panels have improved in this area.
    I'm sure you are right and they are better... But I was seriously surprised at how much difference a bigger screen made to my working, so I think I am going to put size over quality in this case. It's depressingly easy to find expensive stuff I want, harder to work out where to cut the corners!
    Faith is the opposite of Intelligence.

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    My Lightwave Graphics & Downloads!!!

  12. #12
    May the sauce be with you starbase1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by glebe digital View Post
    Well, you WILL get what you pay for.

    mobo: £335
    8Gb ram: £298
    2x 5420s: £425
    Eatx case: £105
    500GB drive: £46
    PSU: £74

    total: £1,283

    That leaves you around £300 for a GPU and screen........fail to see why you really need a 24".......you can get an excellent 20" monitor for about £160.

    Bighache makes a good point about re-using as much kit as you can, is there anything you intend to strip from your current PC?
    Well, that is half the memory, and a quarter the disk space! Also a bit less on the PSU I had in mind. I'll certainly give it some thought though, after all with a state of the art motherboard it would be easy to upgrade CPU's later as the price came down.

    Nothing much to be recovered - I have 2 PC's at the moment and would abandon the older one which is a bit geriatric... (Actually I'll probably just virtualise it!).
    Faith is the opposite of Intelligence.

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    My Lightwave Graphics & Downloads!!!

  13. #13
    May the sauce be with you starbase1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by neverko View Post
    For me, the biggest productivity booster in a while was going from a 19" 5:4 to a 24" 16:10 monitor. The higher resolution and extended workspace is worth every penny! Especially in applications where you utilize menus on both the left and right hand side of the screen. For me that's everything ranging from InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator to LightWave, modo and ZBrush. All of these applications are so much better with the added space and widescreen layout.
    100% agree. It's also great to have reference pics onscreen right beside your version, without switching.
    Faith is the opposite of Intelligence.

    Touched by his noodley appendage!
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  14. #14
    May the sauce be with you starbase1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas M. View Post
    Go for an Eizo CG421W. Good quality for money and you can calibrate the hardware way. About 1600€.
    Which would leave me about enough cash for a ZX81 and a ram pack...
    Faith is the opposite of Intelligence.

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    My Lightwave Graphics & Downloads!!!

  15. #15
    May the sauce be with you starbase1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by neverko View Post
    Of course, if you're completely loaded, you don't have to find and operate with your own justification principles. You simply go for it
    I do find it tempting to go for the screen - not least because a good monitor is likely to stay cutting edge for a LOT longer than things like processors and motherboards and disks...
    Faith is the opposite of Intelligence.

    Touched by his noodley appendage!
    My Lightwave Graphics & Downloads!!!

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