$3k Adobe CS5/C4D/Maya + Starcraft 2 work/gaming system, build opinions.

kastachu

Junior Member
Dec 11, 2006
19
0
0
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1. What YOUR PC will be used for. That means what types of tasks you'll be performing.

Main use will be for work: Adobe CS5 (After Effects, Premiere Pro, Photoshop, Illustrator), Cinema 4D, Maya, Nuke. Lot's of working with really large files, HD clips, long 3D renders, etc. However, I'm also kind of a Starcraft 2 addict. Don't play too many other games anymore, but looking to pickup Portal 2 once I build.

2. What YOUR budget is. A price range is acceptable as long as it's not more than a 20% spread

$3000. With all the time I spend staring at my apps loading, waiting for After Effects RAM previews, or twiddling my thumbs while waiting for renders to finish, I figure it's worth it to spend a bit extra on a really solid machine.

3. What country YOU will be buying YOUR parts from.

USA.

4. IF YOU have a brand preference. That means, are you an Intel-Fanboy, AMD-Fanboy, ATI-Fanboy, nVidia-Fanboy, Seagate-Fanboy, WD-Fanboy, etc.

Whatever currently has the best performance combined with reliability.

5. If YOU intend on using any of YOUR current parts, and if so, what those parts are.

Only my two LCD's. Clean, new build.

6. IF YOU have searched and/or read similar threads.

I've been reading threads for the last few months or so, delaying the inevitable. After plenty of research, I'm pretty much ready to buy. Looking for any last minute advice or tweaks. The straw that broke the camel's back was a recent project I'm wrapping up that took forever to render; in addition, handling the HD video was agonizingly slow - both in After Effects and in Premiere Pro.

7. IF YOU plan on overclocking or run the system at default speeds.

Looking to get 4.5ghz out of the 2600K. Not looking to go overboard; rather have what's easiest and safest.

8. What resolution YOU plan on gaming with.

Looking to play Starcraft 2 at 2560x1600 with maxed out settings. Also, would like to play Portal 2 at 2560x1600 w/ close to max settings if possible.

9. WHEN do you plan to build it?

Within the next two weeks.
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Current System:
Q6600 @ 3.0ghz
Thermalright Ultra-120
Asus P5K Deluxe
8gb Patriot Extreme DDR2 RAM
EVGA GeForce GTX 260
EVGA GeForce 210
Corsair 620HX PSU
500GB Samsung 7200
1TB WD 5400
2x2TB WD 5400
Antec P182
Logitech G7 Wireless Mouse
Dell 30" WFP3007 LCD
Samsung 2343BWX 23" LCD
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[size=-1]My old system has served me well since building it way back in August of 2007. The only upgrades have been going from a dead GTX 8800 Ultra to the GTX 260 via EVGA's warranty, as well as some of the HD's. I've resisted the upgrade urge for the last couple of years, but now the itch must be scratched! The performance increase over the Q6600 is too great now to ignore. I'm doing a lot more work than gaming these days and if I can save a lot of time with a good upgrade, it'll more than make up its cost in time saved/increased productivity. At the same time, I love Starcraft 2 and am getting tired of playing it at 2560x1600 with all the settings set to the lowest.

Ok, so after a few weeks of research, here's my current build plan:
http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx?WishListNumber=23473948

CPU: Intel Core i7-2600K 3.4ghz - $314.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819115070

This was the obvious CPU choice for me. Making the step up to workstation level hardware wasn't really within my budget. Also, the price/performance ratio didn't seem to align too well either. If it's affordable/compatible, I'd like to upgrade to a 6-core SB down the line next year.

HSF: Hyper 212+ - $39.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16835103065

I was considering a H60 or H70, as I've never tried water-cooling and it looked interesting/easy. However, I don't really plan to push my OC very high. Decided to stick with the 212+

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws 24gb (6 x 4gb) - $284.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820231357

Can never have enough RAM. Would have liked to go 32gb here, but doesn't seem to be possible right now?

Power Supply: Corsair AX850 PSU - $182.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817139015

Seems to be a solid choice for a PSU. I think this also gives me the upgrade path of SLI'ing another GTX 580 down the road.

Motherboard: Asus P8P67 Deluxe - $229.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813131701

Didn't actually do too much research on motherboards - this one seems to be a popular choice though.

Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 580 1.5gb - $479.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814130587

This took a few nights of research - at first I was pretty set on SLI'd 6950's. However, nVidia's got Mercury Playback GPU support in Premiere Pro now. Since I only really play Starcraft 2, I don't think I really need to go SLI (the cost is also kind of exorbitant). The GTX 580 seems to be the best card for me in particular; it has the most CUDA cores for the Premiere Pro acceleration, as well as being beefy enough as a single card to handle Starcraft 2 at 2560x1600 with maxed settings.

I might go 3gb here instead, after doing some more research into how VRAM comes into play with Adobe apps. It seems that increasing VRAM helps with 4K Red footage and other really large stills.

HD 1: OCZ Vertex 3, 240GB - $549.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820227707

This is another one that took a while to decide on. Over the last week, I've had to reboot at least 15 times and reload all my Adobe CS apps. Patience is a virtue, but I was really starting to feel the sluggishness of having to reload multiple apps after every 1-2 minute reboot. Maybe 4-5 minutes total each time I needed to reboot due to a memory leak or crash. I'm aware of the unreliability of SSD's and OCZ in particular, but I plan to do the OS + Apps + Games on SSD plan, with all my work/data files on the two Caviars.

HD 2/3: 2x WD Caviar Black 2TB 7200rpm - $319.98 ($159.99 x 2)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822136792

I'm aware that RAID0 offers much enhanced performance with HD video editing, but after losing a handful of RAID0 setups in the past, I'm kind of over them. One of these drives will be used for work/project/video files, while the other one will be more of a storage drive. I've also been looking into getting a 4th drive dedicated to being a scratch disk. Adobe recommends using an SSD for a scratch disk, but I've yet to find too much hard info on this subject (did lots of Googling).

Case: Corsair Obsidian 650D - $199.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811139006

Convenience and clean design helped me make my decision here. I've grown to love easy-to-build cases, after dealing with so many razor-sharp finger traps in the past.

Mouse: Logitech M510 Mouse - $39.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16826104382

Surprisingly, it's been difficult searching for a nice wireless mouse that has a good middle mouse button. The middle button gets used a lot in 3D apps and I find that a lot of current mouse designs are poor in this regard. What'll happen is that I try to middle click, and instead I'll scroll the wheel, causing undesired results. My all time favorite mouse was the MX1000, with the old school Intellimouse Explorer a close second. Any advice here would be appreciated.

Subtotal: $2,642.89

So I've done most of the legwork. Seeing as it's a particularly large purchase, I thought I'd run it by the forums first and maybe make any last-minute adjustments and fine tunings. Any advice, critique, tips, is greatly appreciated!

Sites used for research:
www.anandtech.com - Various forums.
www.hardocp.com - Various forums.
http://ppbm5.com/Benchmark5.html - Machines with fastest Premiere Pro benchmarks.
www.adobe.com - Various forums.
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mfenn

Elite Member
Jan 17, 2010
22,400
5
71
www.mfenn.com
Ooooooook. First things first: you've got some components in here that aren't compatible, as well as a bunch that are expensive just to be expensive.

I'll go down the list:
CPU: Good, but be aware you've got pretty much the fastest socket 1155 processor that there will ever be. I'm sure that there will be a 2700K at 3.5GHz, but don't expect a hexa-core.
HSF: Good
RAM: Not (fully) compatible. You've only got 4 DIMM slots on that (or any 1155) motherboard. Get two of these 8GB DDR3 1333 kits instead.
PSU: Extreme overkill. Even a GTX 580 SLI setup barely pushes 650 watts, not that you will ever need one with your gaming habits. The S12II 520W is more than enough.
Mobo: Overkill. For what you've described, a normal high-quality P67 board like the GA-P67A-UD3 will work just as well.
GPU: This is one place where you can truly spend a lot. I can see two options: (a) the Quadro 4000 has gobs of VRAM and is officially supported or (b) the GTX 570 is a lot less expensive, has plenty of horsepower for SC2 and MPE doesn't scale that well with CUDA cores.
SSD: Fine
HDD: Those drives aren't very good values. You'd be better off with four F3 1TB drives. They would have the same aggregate capacity, cost less, and more performance (4 spindles is better than 2).
Case: Fine, though you don't need to spend that much to get something quality.
 

kastachu

Junior Member
Dec 11, 2006
19
0
0
Awesome, mfenn! Exactly the kind of critique I was looking for. The build did feel a bit bloated and overpriced and I have taken all of your recommendations into consideration and have revised my build as follows:

Newegg Revised Wishlist: http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx?WishListNumber=17367686

CPU: Intel Core i7-2600K 3.4ghz - $314.99 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819115070

HSF: Hyper 212+ - $39.99 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16835103065

RAM: G.Skill Value Series 4x4GB - $159.98 ($79.99 x 2) - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820231422
I feel pretty dumb about the original memory I had selected; I think my eyes saw it as 4x6gb. Kind of disappointing that 1155 motherboards max out at 4 DIMM slots.

PSU: SeaSonic 520W Bronze - $69.99 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817151094
It seems to be common to overdo it on PSU and after some quick research, it looks like 520W will be sufficient for my needs. Is this an instance where going to 620W would be safer in anyway?

Motherboard: Asus P8P67 - $154.99 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813131705
Went with the Asus over the Gigabyte for the added Firewire support.

Video Card: EVGA SuperClocked GTX 570 - $359.99 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814130595
GTX 580 was probably overkill due to my limited gaming habits, I've downgraded to the GTX 570. Considered the Quadro but I think I came slightly back to my senses after your post as far as reducing costs here and there.

HD 1 OCZ Vertex 3 240gb - $549.99 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820227707

HD 2 Samsung Spintpoint 1TB x4 - $279.96 ($69.99 x 4) - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822152185
Good call here again, these drives look to still be kicking ass after many years. Forgot I had one in my current system that is doing great.

Case: Corsair 650D - $199.99 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811139006
Splurging a little bit here as I really like the design of this case. Might browse some more for some cheaper cases, but kind of set on the 650D.

DVD Asus DVD Burner - $20.99 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16827135204
Forgot to add a DVD burner.

Subtotal: $2,150.86 (Down from $2,642.89)

Shaved $492.03 off the system with your advice, much appreciated! Any other comments on the revised build are welcome!
 

PhantomTrooper

Junior Member
May 6, 2011
20
0
0
I would go with this power supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817139005

520W may be enough for some power supply calculators, but Newegg.com's power calculator recommended at least 650W. If you ever want to get another 570 and run SLI, you would need at least 1000W. I would go with a Corsair power supply. They are the highest rated power supplies on Newegg.com (look at number of reviews and still 5 stars). You don't wanna skimp on the power supply and fry your $2000 system.

Everything else looks really good. I would definitely stick with Nvidia if all you play is Starcraft 2. Nvidia usually has a big advantage when it comes to strategy games, and Adobe CS5 will use the Nvidia GPU for sure. I'm not sure if CS5 will use an ATI card for computing.

As for the memory, 16GB is all you can put in for the time being. Sadly no 8GB stick are available.
 

kastachu

Junior Member
Dec 11, 2006
19
0
0
I tried the NewEgg PSU calculator just now and got around the same results. I've decided to swap out the 520w with the 650w you've recommended. I'm pretty sure I won't ever go SLI - I'd rather just get another upper mid-range next-gen card in a few years, so I probably don't need to future proof my PSU there.

I've made two adjustments to my revised build:
http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx?WishListNumber=17367686

- Removed DVD burner (-$20.99)
- Removed Seasonic 520w PSU (-$69.99)

+ Added Blu Ray Burner (+$79.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16827136181
+ Added Corsair 650HX PSU (+$84.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817139005

Sub-total now stands at: $2,224.86

Just noticed the RAM I had selected went out of stock.. doh! I'm really glad I posted my build plan as I would have made some pretty big mistakes without both yours and mfenn's critique. I'm planning to purchase all my parts sometime this week, so any feedback is still greatly appreciated!
 

sgrinavi

Diamond Member
Jul 31, 2007
4,537
0
76
I'd be hard pressed to spend that much on the SSD... I don't think the bang/buck is there yet.

Your OS and software will fit on one of these for $200 with promo code INTELSSD5X3
 

Davidh373

Platinum Member
Jun 20, 2009
2,428
0
71
650W is ok, but the 520 would be fine for Sandy Bridge. Never listen to anyone selling you a PSU about how much PSU you need.

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/306

Here, the total system power in watts is 361. through in three more HDDs at a (very generous) 10W and you get 391W?
 

kastachu

Junior Member
Dec 11, 2006
19
0
0
Thanks for the thoughts guys. I've decided to scratch the exorbitantly priced Vertex 3 and go for the Intel 320 - 120gb. I took a look at my current file setup and I think I'll be able to manage with 120gb for OS/apps/games.

In addition, I figure in a year or two, SSD technology will have made significant improvements. The leap from standard HDD to SSD should be pretty significant for me regardless of if I went with a 3gb/s or 6gb/s SSD. This is how I'm rationalizing it to myself anyhow. Also, $549.99 is admittedly kinda crazy to spend on a 240gb drive.

As far as the power supply, I think I'm gonna stick with the Corsair 650W. Maybe just a gut feeling, but at only a $15 price difference from the 520W Seasonic, I'd rather go with the Corsair.

- Removed OCZ Vertex 3 240gb (-$549.99)
+ Added Intel 320 120gb (+$219.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820167050

New Sub-Total: $1894.86

Wow, now that's a huge difference ($-748.03) from my originally researched build! Enough of a difference that I might even purchase this puppy within the day... (*Thanks for the coupon code sgrinavi. It expires today, but I might purchase today anyhow!)

If only that RAM hadn't gone outta stock...

Edit: Didn't want to bump the thread again, but I've made a few more tweaks.

- Removed 1x Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB (-$69.99)
- Removed 2x G.Skill Value Series 4x4GB (-$159.98
+ Added 1x Samsung Spinpoint F4 2TB (+$79.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152245
+ Added 2x G.Skill Ripjaw Series 4x4GB (+$179.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231312

New sub-total: $1,914.87
Updated full wishlist: http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx?WishListNumber=17367686

Reasoning: I decided that this will be my HD setup. 120gb SSD for OS, apps, games. 1x 1TB dedicated scratch disk for Adobe apps. 2x 1TB for active project files. And 1x 2TB for weekly automated backups of my 2x 1TB project file drives.

As for the RAM... well, that's mostly just because it's what is in stock right at this moment.

So I'll probably be purchasing sometime before the end of the day so that I can make good on that $20 coupon for the Intel SSD, as well as increasing the chances that all my parts will arrive in time for a weekend build. I'm quite pleased with where this build has gone in the span of 12 hours, awesome advice all around guys! Thanks for all the recommendations and tips! I'll be checking this thread throughout the day in case I've made any last minute mistakes or if any more improvements can be made.
 
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wwswimming

Banned
Jan 21, 2006
3,702
1
0
what will you be using for backup ?

that system would support USB3 external hard drives and also my guess is you've got a DVD-burner in there.

i also suggest off-site back-up. this doesn't have to be expensive, you can just mail back-ups to a friend or relative, or if you live near a bank, you can keep HDD's in a safe deposit box.

your Q6600 system, since it already has all your files on it, is a good start for back-up. you have the option of sticking SATA drives in there & transferring them over the network, then moving the back-up-drives off-site.
 
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titan131

Senior member
May 4, 2008
260
0
0
Nice build I'm glad u went with the 650w psu, that's what I would have gone for as I like to err on the side of caution. gl with the build :)
 

kastachu

Junior Member
Dec 11, 2006
19
0
0
Thanks betasub and titan131! The clock is ticking... starting to get really excited to order!

wwswimming, I currently have a media center with 4x2 TB that I use for my backups as well. 4TB of data and then 4TB of backup. I plan to retire that machine once I order the Sandy Bridge; after which, I'll turn my current Q6600 machine into my new media center/network render box.

Looking to combine my current 2x2 TB in the Q6600 with the 4x2TB from the old media center, to have 6x2TB total. 6TB for storage and 6TB for redundancy. Also, my new build includes a Blu-Ray burner so that I can keep another layer of redundancy for my most important files.

I haven't gotten into the habit of doing off-site backups, but it's something I really should start doing. With the ease of hooking up additional drives and the cheap cost of 2TB drives, there's really no excuse! I'll probably have some extra drives left over after this build, which I will use to for off-site back up purposes. Thanks for your comments!
 

mfenn

Elite Member
Jan 17, 2010
22,400
5
71
www.mfenn.com
Thanks betasub and titan131! The clock is ticking... starting to get really excited to order!

wwswimming, I currently have a media center with 4x2 TB that I use for my backups as well. 4TB of data and then 4TB of backup. I plan to retire that machine once I order the Sandy Bridge; after which, I'll turn my current Q6600 machine into my new media center/network render box.

Looking to combine my current 2x2 TB in the Q6600 with the 4x2TB from the old media center, to have 6x2TB total. 6TB for storage and 6TB for redundancy. Also, my new build includes a Blu-Ray burner so that I can keep another layer of redundancy for my most important files.

I haven't gotten into the habit of doing off-site backups, but it's something I really should start doing. With the ease of hooking up additional drives and the cheap cost of 2TB drives, there's really no excuse! I'll probably have some extra drives left over after this build, which I will use to for off-site back up purposes. Thanks for your comments!

You've probably already ordered, but I'll chime in here anyway.

(a) Don't listen to anyone who doesn't know that Seasonic is the top quality PSU manufacturer. There is a reason that everybody else gets Seasonic to build their high-end PSUs. The S12II 520 that I originally recommended would be fine, but it looks like the price has jumped $15 since yesterday.
(b) This G.Skill DDR3 1333 8GB is $80 and is the same memory as the 4x4GB Ripjaws kit that you have picked out, only cheaper and without silly heatspreaders.

EDIT: Here's a good deal on an Earthwatts 500 for $50.
 
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kastachu

Junior Member
Dec 11, 2006
19
0
0
I actually haven't purchased yet, but plan to quite soon. So all this talk about PSU's got me to actually research PSU's a little bit. I learned that the 80-Plus Bronze/Silver/Gold is only related to power efficiency, rather than any sort of measure of quality/safety of the PSU. In addition, I've gathered that Seasonic are the go-to company for PSU's and that many PSU's (like Corsair's) are actually made by Seasonic.

So anyways, I've decided to go with a Seasonic PSU; however, the one catch is that I prefer modular PSU's. So it was between the 520W and the 650W Seasonics, listed here:

SeaSonic M12II 620 Bronze 620W - $99.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817151095

SeaSonic M12II 520 Bronze 520W - $91.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817151093

So I Googled some more threads regarding 520W supplies combined with GTX 570's and SB's. The general consensus seems to be that 520W is -probably- enough, but people don't seem to realize that it is. After about 30 minutes of reading, I decided, "Ya know what? It's literally an $8 difference, so I'll just pay for the 620W and peace of mind!" I know I'll be getting a top quality PSU with either of those two Seasonics.

Also, I've dropped the RAM back down to what you originally recommended, mfenn. It was out of stock the other day, but appears to be back in stock now. Hoping that $20 SSD coupon still works as I plan to think over/double check everything for another hour or two and then hit order!
 

DominionSeraph

Diamond Member
Jul 22, 2009
8,391
31
91
unledoe.jpg


Is I stupid?

Edit: darn, breaking the bank:
no PSU or case :(

wi64u8.jpg
 
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kastachu

Junior Member
Dec 11, 2006
19
0
0
Checked my thread the minute after I hit "Confirm" on Newegg.. and then I see Seraph's post. Haha. I considered server-level hardware, but I needed to spend too much to get what I "really" wanted. Therefore, I decided to settle with the 2600K and it's high price/performance ratio.

I told myself that I'd wait until I earn more than the cost of a God-box through only side work, before I invest in that kind of machine for myself. The machine I "really" wanted was something more like... 2x6 core Xeons, 48gb RAM, Quadro, some ridiculous HD setup, another 30" LCD, etc.

Here is the final list that I purchased:
http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx?WishListNumber=17367686

Grand Total (including the $20 SSD coupon, tax, shipping): $2093.77

Can't wait to build this weekend! I'll probably snap some pics of the build process/finished build and post 'em up too, just for the hell of it. Very appreciative of the community support in helping me get the best bang for my buck! Thanks again everyone for all the tips!
 

DominionSeraph

Diamond Member
Jul 22, 2009
8,391
31
91
Checked my thread the minute after I hit "Confirm" on Newegg.. and then I see Seraph's post. Haha. I considered server-level hardware, but I needed to spend too much to get what I "really" wanted. Therefore, I decided to settle with the 2600K and it's high price/performance ratio.

Yeah, that E5649 would be around the same speed as the i7 2600k for $400 more -- the only benefit is the ability to go dual (and 96GB RAM, paying twice as much for RDIMMS).

And throwing that much money into it would make it hard to upgrade when Ivy comes out. The i7 2600k is very prosumer so you should be able to turn it over with ease.
 

mfenn

Elite Member
Jan 17, 2010
22,400
5
71
www.mfenn.com
Checked my thread the minute after I hit "Confirm" on Newegg.. and then I see Seraph's post. Haha. I considered server-level hardware, but I needed to spend too much to get what I "really" wanted. Therefore, I decided to settle with the 2600K and it's high price/performance ratio.

I told myself that I'd wait until I earn more than the cost of a God-box through only side work, before I invest in that kind of machine for myself. The machine I "really" wanted was something more like... 2x6 core Xeons, 48gb RAM, Quadro, some ridiculous HD setup, another 30" LCD, etc.

Here is the final list that I purchased:
http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx?WishListNumber=17367686

Grand Total (including the $20 SSD coupon, tax, shipping): $2093.77

Can't wait to build this weekend! I'll probably snap some pics of the build process/finished build and post 'em up too, just for the hell of it. Very appreciative of the community support in helping me get the best bang for my buck! Thanks again everyone for all the tips!

Looks good! I'm sure that you'll like it. Don't be afraid to update this thread with any problems that arise during the build or just to post pics!