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Old December 23, 2007, 10:43 AM
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Default Advice for new system for digital artist.

Hey folks. A friend of mine suggested I checkout this forum for help on building my system. Not really too sure which forum i was supposed to post this in so sorry if I posted it in the wrong place. Just a side note I've been out of the hardware loop for years so please bear with me.

System Goals: A system which I can do all of my highpoly/rez 3d modelling, texturing and animations as well as play games. Also I would like the system to have the ability to be upgradeable in the future.

Price Range: $2000 - $2500 MAX

Specs:

Processor
  • Intel E6850
  • from what i hear this is the best cpu to get. is it true it out performs quad cores?
  • Thermalright 120 Ultra Extreme

Motherboard
  • the best chipset for the processor
  • don't need sli
  • 1333 fsb
  • 4+ gig ram support
  • room to support future upgrades
  • onboard lan

Ram
  • 4Gigs (can drop down to 2gigs if needed)
  • 1333

Video Card
  • EVGA GeForce 8800GT

Soundcard
  • nothing crazy, just a good stable card
  • SB still any good?

Case + PSU
  • I hate mod cases with lights and big windows. I don't care what my case looks like but it needs to be good with heat and airflow.
  • How much power am I going to need? 650watt?

HDD
  • 500gigs -fast access times but doesnt have to be the fastest out there.
  • I have no idea in regards to raid or sata... my friend explained to me a form or raid (striping I think?) and I really didnt like it. Aside from that I'm not sure what's out there.

DVD-\+R,RW \CD-R
  • nothing LG
  • Liteon possibly

Clearly, not much is there. Any recommendations would be appreciated. Thanks very much!

Just for jokes here's my current system:
  • p4 1.6
  • 1gig kingston pc2100
  • asus p4pu mobo
  • ati radeon 9500pro flashed to 9700
  • 250gig

Last edited by Milt; December 23, 2007 at 11:18 AM.
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Old December 23, 2007, 12:05 PM
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Nothing about a monitor?

Prolly the most important consideration for digital artists.
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Old December 23, 2007, 12:43 PM
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Yes and no. It would be nice to have a kick ass monitor but you can manage with a decent one. Its more important to have your colors set properly than to have an amazing monitor.

Besides, I'll be buying my monitors after I get my tower. I just cant afford to do both atm.
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Old December 23, 2007, 01:12 PM
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I had an SB XFi xtreme gamer on my old pc, great card but this seems to sound better Canada Computers - Sound Cards/Digital Audio : Auzentech AuzenTech HDA X-Plosion 7.1 DTS Connect Sound Card Support Dolby Digital Live DTS Connect. (from Auzentech).

As for the motherboard, go for a P35/X38 chipset if you're not going SLI. The current NVidia 680s don't support the 45nm yorkfields.

If your main purpose is to edit, you might want to look at the ATI cards. The 3870 is a bit slower than the GT, but from what I've read the ATI cards produce a better quality and more accurate picture (I personally can't tell the difference).

I went for the Q6600 (around the same price as the E6850) since I edit and edit/convert a lot of video. It really depends on what you'll be using to render/edit. For video, the quad works great!
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Q6600 G0 @3.5ghz (Thermalright Ultra X 120)
Asus Maximus Formula 903
A-Data DDR 800 4 x 1gb, EVGA 8800GT SSC (Zalman VF900)
Antec NeoPower Blue 650W, Antec 900

HTPC: X2 64 5000+ Black @3.3ghz (AC 64 Pro)
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Old December 23, 2007, 01:22 PM
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What programs are you going to be using? Some (more and more every month) are starting to be able to take advantage of 4 cores. For about the same money you can get the Q6600. Since you seem to be planning on OC'ing (judging by the thermalright 120). Even a moderate OC will get you to 3ghz and 4 x 3ghz is a sight to behold ;>
Heres my recommendations:

1 x Western Digital Raptor 150GB SATA 10KRPM 16MB NCQ 5YR MFR Warranty Hard Drive
6 x Scythe S-FLEX SFF21E 120MM Cooling Fan 1200RPM 20.1DBA 49.0CFM FDB
1 X Scythe S-FLEX SFF21F
1 X Thermalright extreme 120
1 x Microsoft Multimedia Keyboard & Optical Mouse PS/2 OEM (With System Only)
1 x 1 Year Parts & 1 Years Labour Limited Warranty On System Components
1 x Sony Black 1.44MB 3.5IN Floppy Drive
1 x Samsung SH203b DVD writer
1 x Western Digital SE16 500GB SATA2 7200RPM 16MB Cache 8.9MS NCQ Hard Drive OEM 3YR MFR Warranty
1 x Corsair CMPSU-620HX 620W ATX Triple 12V 50A 24PIN ATX Modular Power Supply 120MM Fan 2X PCI-E
1 x Coolermaster CM 690 Mid Tower Black ATX Case 5X5.25 5X3.5INT No PS Front USB Sound Firewire & eSATA
1 x XFX GeForce 8800GT XT 650MHZ 512MB 1.94GHZ DDR3
1 x Mushkin XP PC2-6400 4GB 2X2GB DDR2-800 CL4-4-4-12 240PIN DIMM Dual Channel Memory Kit
1 x ASUS Maximus Formula LGA775 X38 ATX DDR2 2PCI-E16 3PCI-E1 2PCI 2GBLAN SATA RAID 1394 Motherboard
1 x Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Quad Core Processor LGA775 Kentsfield 2.40GHZ 1066FSB 8MB Retail Box

Spend the $150 to become a Premier Partner @ncix and this should easily fit your budget.

And if you really want/need a Sound Card pick a SB X-FI. The Auzentech's are great BUT their drivers can be a 'lil wonky, and are not as nice as the X-Fi's for gaming (but better for everything else).
As for the monitor the NEC S-IPS 26inch lcd is very sweet (has a 12 bit internal Look Up Table)....if you can afford it. If not the NEC 24inch is very nice (i have one on order myself)
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Last edited by AkG; December 23, 2007 at 01:32 PM.
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Old December 23, 2007, 01:30 PM
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Though I think you are overlooking a good burner by saying no LG's. The newer LG's are actually very nice. Liteon...if you get a good one you get a GOOD one...if you get a bad one, it is a TERRIBLE one.
Another good burner option is the new Pioneer. It really comes down to personal preference. I've used all 3 and I dislike the Liteons. However, nothing is as good as the old Plextors so if you can find a New In Box px716/755/760 BUY IT!
Now its all cheap and disposable units, and once you get past 1k burns throw 'em away and buy a new one.
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"If you ever start taking things too seriously, just remember that we are talking monkeys on an organic spaceship flying through the universe." -JR

“if your opponent has a conscience, then follow Gandhi. But if you enemy has no conscience, like Hitler, then follow Bonhoeffer.” - Dr. MLK jr
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Old December 23, 2007, 01:32 PM
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I'd make a list, but I like most of AkG's.

I might change the HDD - if you need 500 GB, then the Raptor obviously won't cut it. A 7200 rpm drive (i.e. THIS ONE) is your next best single-drive alternative. I'm a fan of Western Digital drives, since I find them to be a little quieter, but I've heard good things about other brands as well.

Edit: nvrmnd, didn't catch the 2nd drive you had in there. A Raptor for boot and the 500 for everything works great.

You can get away with the HP line of the Mushkin memory as well, if there's a significant cost difference.
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Old December 23, 2007, 01:34 PM
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Yup the Raptor for the OS drive AND a WD Se16 500gb for storage, in my opinion a Great combo.
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"If you ever start taking things too seriously, just remember that we are talking monkeys on an organic spaceship flying through the universe." -JR

“if your opponent has a conscience, then follow Gandhi. But if you enemy has no conscience, like Hitler, then follow Bonhoeffer.” - Dr. MLK jr

Last edited by AkG; December 23, 2007 at 01:50 PM.
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Old December 24, 2007, 06:11 AM
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Nice, thanks for the suggestions. This is going to help me out a lot. I'm a video game artist so the programs ill be running (aside from games) will be 3Dmax, Maya, XSI, zBrush, Mudbox, Photoshop, Painter, and anything else my studio is asked to use.

I'll look up those suggestions and post back any questions/changes I have. I noticed that the system fsb speed you suggested isn't 1333. I cant comprehend the speeds at this level (my current is pc2100 rofl) so how large is the speed difference between 1066 and 1333?
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Old December 24, 2007, 07:42 AM
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Milt, the Q6600 "runs" at 266mhz quad pumped (4 x 266 = 1066'ish). BUT it should easily OC to 333 mhz(333x4=1333'ish) and some can go as high as 400mhz...or "1600" fsb..or better but no guarantees. The Asus Maxi motherboard is supposed to be able to take the newer 1666fsb cpus coming out late Q1 so it won't be a limiting factor. Personally I would OC the snot out of it until the max temps get too hot for your comfort level (or the core voltage needs to be turned up to "deep fryer" levels).

Merry Xmas!
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"If you ever start taking things too seriously, just remember that we are talking monkeys on an organic spaceship flying through the universe." -JR

“if your opponent has a conscience, then follow Gandhi. But if you enemy has no conscience, like Hitler, then follow Bonhoeffer.” - Dr. MLK jr
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