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Thread: Spec Help? (3D Animation/Game Development)

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    Spec Help? (3D Animation/Game Development)

    Hi,

    I've just had to quit my job as a 3D Animator/Game Developer due to moving house and am hoping to work freelance, or on personal projects for a little while... only problem is I have no idea about hardware (work supplied a constant flow of free hardware so I never had to worry, most of the time I didn't even know what I was using) I had to give my workstation back though.

    My home PC is, well, dated to say the least (AMD 64 3500+, 1GB Generic DDR Ram, nVidia 6200 256MB TC ) so working with most software let alone high-poly models in Maya/3Ds Max/zBrush is a nightmare.

    If anyone could spec me a PC I'd really appreciate it, I have a maximum budget of around £1000 so obviously it isn't going to be the best of the best, I just need it to perform well in the tasks mentioned above, and of course, games. I have spec'd one myself, I'm just interested to see how different bits are other people might spec. (If anyone does.)

    Only a few things:

    I was going to go for a cheap quadro/fireGL but firstly only the budget ones are in my price range and those ones seem to be pretty useless for games. (I'd love to hear anyones opinions on this, and how well people get on with Maya/3Ds Max on a none-workstation card such as the 8800 GT/GTX)

    Ideally I'd like to make it as quiet/'silent' as possible, noise is one thing I'm really fussy about, can't concentrate at all with lots of noise.

    ...I think that's it, Thanks in advance! And sorry for the long/boring first post

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    Re: Spec Help? (3D Animation/Game Development)

    I understand that the workstation cards are simply priced as high as they are as that's what the market will pay. Technically, I don't beleive there is *that* much difference between the commercial and domestic products.

    We recently upgraded a customers PC to an NVidia 8600GTS (from an ATi x300) which has made a big difference on her publishing software, as well as AutoCAD LT2008.

    With that in mind, I would suggest a good place to start would be an 8800GT and an Intel Q6600.

    Do you have an operating system in mind? If your key applications are x64 compatible, I would suggest you look at Vista x64 and have 4GB ram in the system.

    Others will recommend mobos etc. I'm an ASUS fan, but I don't know what the current hot favourite is.

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    Re: Spec Help? (3D Animation/Game Development)

    Unfortunately workstation cards in Maya/ZBrush do indeed seem to make quite a difference for high-poly models (3-4x quicker in viewport display according to most benchmarks in SPECapc) but still, I don't think I can afford one yet perhaps have to build another down the line purely for modelling when I have some extra money. If I don't get on well with this one of course, it could be perfectly fine. So thanks for the suggestion on that.

    Also taking your other suggestions into account the current spec I'm looking at is:

    CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad-Core Q6600 G0 OEM
    Motherboard: Asus P5K-E/WIFI-AP
    RAM: 2GB (2x1GB) Corsair TwinX XMS2, DDR2 PC2-6400 (800), 240 Pins, Non-ECC Unbuffered, CAS 5-5-5-12 *x2*
    Graphics: 512MB EVGA 8800GT PCI-E 2.0 (x16), 1800 MHz, GDDR3, GPU 600 MHz, 2 x Dual Link DVI-I, Fan
    Case: Antec P182
    PSU: 520W Corsair HX Series Modular
    HDD: 500 GB Western Digital WD5000AAKS *x2*

    and then... for cooling another bit I'm a little unsure about because I'm hoping to OC the Q6600 to 3-3.4GHz but still hoping for it to be very quiet.

    CPU Cooling: Tuniq Tower... but replace the fan in it with a quieter one.
    GPU Cooling: HR-03a with quiet fan.

    ----

    The total at the moment comes to £805 delivered. I have a spare DVD+/-RW Drive and an MSDN license giving me access to XP/Vista x64. Anything I need to change? (or have missed?)

    Thanks!

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    Re: Spec Help? (3D Animation/Game Development)

    looks pretty much perfect. Perhaps go for corsair ram with 4-4-4-12 timings but it probably won't make that much difference.

    There is better RAM out there though as long as it doesn't need to come from scan.

    OCUK have a deal on OCZ platinum ram this week
    OCZ 2GB (2 x 1GB) PC2-6400C4 Dual Channel Platinum Revision 2 XTC Series DDR2 (OCZ2P800R22GK)

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    Re: Spec Help? (3D Animation/Game Development)

    Yeah - looks good. I'd suggest getting 4gb ram as you'll certainly use it with those apps.

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    Re: Spec Help? (3D Animation/Game Development)

    The deciding factor against a quadro for me was that I simply dont have that kind of cash to spend on gfx alone.
    Are you going to do this build soon? I plan to do a similar one in the new year and I'd be interested to know how you get on with those programs on vista64.

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    Re: Spec Help? (3D Animation/Game Development)

    And if you use OCUK to buy the memory, then you might as well get the Thermalright Ultima-90i CPU Cooler (Socket AM2/LGA775). Smaller, cheaper, equally/more effective than the Tuniq.
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    Re: Spec Help? (3D Animation/Game Development)

    Yeah - looks good. I'd suggest getting 4gb ram as you'll certainly use it with those apps.
    I didn't make it very clear but that ram was 2x(2x1) so it is 4GB but thanks for the suggestion.

    looks pretty much perfect. Perhaps go for corsair ram with 4-4-4-12 timings but it probably won't make that much difference.

    There is better RAM out there though as long as it doesn't need to come from scan.

    OCUK have a deal on OCZ platinum ram this week
    OCZ 2GB (2 x 1GB) PC2-6400C4 Dual Channel Platinum Revision 2 XTC Series DDR2 (OCZ2P800R22GK)
    Since they're only £7 extra (incl OCUK shipping) is it worth going for the OCZ then? I have no idea what difference the timings make... or the brand but I'm fine going with whatever anyone suggests.

    And if you use OCUK to buy the memory, then you might as well get the Thermalright Ultima-90i CPU Cooler (Socket AM2/LGA775). Smaller, cheaper, equally/more effective than the Tuniq.
    The only reason I went with the Tuniq was people told me it had the potential to be very quiet yet keep low-ish temps if you replace the fan, but again, If you think that one is better I'll certainly consider it.

    The deciding factor against a quadro for me was that I simply dont have that kind of cash to spend on gfx alone.
    Are you going to do this build soon? I plan to do a similar one in the new year and I'd be interested to know how you get on with those programs on vista64.
    Yeah, hopefully within the next couple of weeks when I'm done, providing I don't break it while building (knowing my luck I will) I'll let you know how it goes.


    Thanks again for all the suggestions everyone! If anyone has any others please let me know .

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    Re: Spec Help? (3D Animation/Game Development)

    I would definitely go for the Thermalright Ultima 90 over the Tuniq, you will see lower temps which can only be a good thing and its probably a quarter of the size! You will need to get a 120mm (or 92mm) fan to go with it. Scythe S-Flex 1600 fans are good and quiet with the potential for higher airflow if required (you should be able to set the speed of the CPU fan making it temperature dependent, make it go to 100% at say 60oC it should never even get there ). Yate loon fans are also highly regarded and probably cheaper, Akasa amber fans (what I use) are quiet and move a reasonable amount of air.

    As to memory lower timings (so 4 is better than 5) basically mean the ram will run faster have lower latency etc. Basically lower is better but depending on what your actually doing (and I have no experiance with 3d modelling) you may see little or no difference between 4 and 5, applications which are memory intensive should see the biggest gains.

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    Re: Spec Help? (3D Animation/Game Development)

    And there's a deal on at OCUK for the Scythe S-FLEX 1600RPM be worth getting one if you plan on doing some heavy overclocking with that quad further down the line. Or the silent option would be to go for the Noctua 1200's, but Scan has them slightly cheaper.
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