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  #21 (permalink)  
Old October 4, 2008, 01:54 PM
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Lian-Li just isn't my style. I'm sure their great cases, all be it expensive.

As for the card, one of my toughest decisions, I stuck with what I know to be good - ATI - at least it's been good to me. I would like to say there is a very general consensus on the 3D (modeling) boards I visit, that ATI is still the best choice. Even in writing this though, I still wonder... given the fact that ATI sucks a marketing, and Autodesk is a complete clam with reguards to their roadmap, I feel stuck between a rock and a hard place.

EDIT: on a side-note, is there a waiting period to post/reply on XS?
EDIT2: my main reason for concern are the many threads like this: XtremeSystems Forums - View Single Post - Just built a pc for the first time, help please

Last edited by MeltingPoint; October 4, 2008 at 02:32 PM.
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  #22 (permalink)  
Old October 5, 2008, 09:33 AM
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Wow, I smell another nice long build thread! Welcome to HWC, looking forward to watching this thread!

The $900 system is lacking an LCD, quad core, and the PSU comes with the case. The rest of the parts are good choices, low cost good quality. The Sonata III is a fairly quiet case, a little cramped but a good heavy solid box to house anything that will fit. Actually very nice systems for $900 w/ tax included.

Your current running total must be below what you originally figured? Dumping the nV board and DDR3 would take a whack out of the price.

Don't even think about overclocking a system to make a deadline! Even if you already have a config you know is stable, if it backfires on you, you will loose more time than you could possibly save over a month of rendering. Getting a stable overclock can take a long time, and should be done on a system that is otherwise not in use, and fully ready for a complete and utter crash. You will have plenty of horsepower at stock speeds!! Having said all that, once you reach a stable clock speed, I have found it completely safe. My home server runs an E2180 at 3.2GHz, it's uptime is somwhere around 2 weeks about now, it sleeps most of the time and has been running an online game server when I wake it up -- I don't think it has ever crashed.

Lian-Li being all aluminum cases, will typically make more noise anyway. Waste of money for a workstation, really.

I feel your attraction to the Cosmos 1000! I've been agonising over the same thing for quite some time now.

I have an Antec P180, and 1) it is too cramped for my current system, 2) it can't handle the heat of the current vid cards, 3) my version sucks for cable management, and 4) I am bored of it. Yeah, it's quiet, but only when the fans are low/med. It suffers from intake air blockage due to the little doors, filters, and FP door. It does help with dust inside the case, but does not eliminate it.

I think the Cosmos 1000 isn't a problem if you are only using one or two hard drives. I need 5-6 drives in the system, and when you fill all the trays in the 1000 there will be problems. The drives are orientated wrong, the first drive will block any air going to the rest of the drives. The fan only cools the top row, there is no airflow at all for the lower row. So with two drive in the top row, leaving out the bay for the middle drive, things won't be too hot at all imho.

Another option for a case is the Enlight SR506 pedestal server case:

Enlight SR-506 5U Pedestal Server Chassis Black ATX CEB EEB 3X5.25 8 Hotswap HDD Bays No PS - DirectCanada

NCIX.com - Buy Enlight SR-506 5U Pedestal Server Chassis Black ATX CEB EEB 3X5.25 8 Hotswap HDD Bays No PS - SR506101 In Canada.

Despite it's cheap price, it is by no means a cheapo case. It is built like a tank. It has plenty of room inside, and cools extremely well. I use it for my home server. It'll hold 5 hard drives out of the box (4 in the removable bay, 1 in a 5.25 bay adapter) with an optional second 4 drive bay you can buy separate. I made some changes to it's stock cooling, which will bring it's cost up over $100, but will then run extremely quiet and still have the option to turn on the jets for high level cooling. What I did was pull the huge 120x35mm delta fan out of the rear and put in a Scythe S-flex. I then added 2x zalman 90mm fans in the front, one on each of the front drive bay mounts (ZM-F1's, I put the brackets in storage, I must have 10 of them now lol). Lastly, I added a Sunbeam 4 port Rheobus fan controller to control the two front intake, rear exhaust, and cpu fan. It runs quieter than my P180 when the fans are set half way on the dial.

Here's my post in the pics thread on it:

http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum...ight#post84538

The only thing about it is the front bezel is plastic. While not too fragile, I can see it could be broken easy by an errant foot if the case is on the floor. The good thing is, the bezel comes off so easily it is amazing, yet stays on firmly. The door itself also comes off the bezel, and the system doesn't look half bad without the door. I can imagine a lot of these cases in a rack mount would be run without the doors.

For cheap simple reliable and quiet cpu cooling, I still love the Arctic Cooling Freezer Pro. The fan comes off in 2 seconds for cleaning, and has a 6 year warranty. At full speed (~2300 rpm) it is rather loud, but let the mobo control the speed (Asus Q-Fan) or use Speedfan to slow it down just below 2000 rpm and you won't hear it anymore. It performs great at stock speeds under extended loads. It'll falter at high overclocks under load. It can be had for as little as $20.

For another $10, the current champ of cpu cooling around here these days is the OCZ Vendetta 2. There is a review of it here, showing it beat or match temps from heatsinks three times it's price. Very impressive. Similar design to the Freezer, except it's fan is a PITA to remove or install.

Lastly, there is another build thread here some 40 pages long. You may want to sit back with something to sip on and have a long relaxing read. Lots of good info in it that could apply to you. Link:

First actual build, parts figured, couple questions

.
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Last edited by Lithotech; October 5, 2008 at 09:39 AM.
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  #23 (permalink)  
Old October 5, 2008, 11:15 AM
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First off, thank you for that detailed reply, and your time. It's hard to explain, but I much prefer the opinions of Joe Somebody, over the reviews of even the most reputed sites. Thanks again.

As much as I'd like this tread to grow into my personal self-serving base of information, where I can learn and debate what may be best for me, time dictates otherwise, and I'll have to make some decisions without fully understanding there impact.

This is my first real build in some time, I know I'll make mistakes in choice from what pro's might choose - but I'll learn.

So, my cart at NCIX looks like this:

-ASUS P5Q Deluxe ATX LGA775 P45 DDR2 3PCI-E16 2PCI-E1 2PCI SATA2 Sound GBLAN eSATA 1394 Motherboard
-2 x Mushkin XP PC2-8000 Redline 4GB 2X2GB DDR2-1000 CL5-5-5-12 240PIN Dual Channel Memory Kit
-Palit Radeon HD 4870 X2 750MHZ 2GB GDDR5 2XDVI HDTV PCI-E Video Card
-Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 Quad Core Processor LGA775 2.83GHZ Yorkfield 1333FSB 12MB Retail Box
-2 x Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 3.5IN 500GB SATA2 8.5MS 7200RPM 32MB Cache NCQ Hard Drive OEM
-2 x Scythe Ultra Kaze 120MM High Static Pressure Silent Fan 38MM 2000RPM 87.6CFM 32.9DBA
-Scythe S-FLEX SFF21F 120MM Cooling Fan 1600RPM 28.0DBA 63.7CFM FDB
-Zalman CNPS9700NT Copper CPU Heatsink 110MM Fan LGA775 AM2 S939 1250-2800RPM 19.5-35DBA Green LED
-Arctic Cooling MX-2 Thermal Compound Paste NON-ELECTRICAL Conductive 4 Gram
-Coolermaster Cosmos Full Tower ATX Case 5X5.25 6X3.5INT No PS Front USB Firewire Audio eSATA
-Corsair TX750W 750W ATX 12V 60A 24PIN ATX Power Supply Active PFC 120MM Fan
-Samsung SH-S223Q/BEBN TruDirect 22X DVD+R/-R Lightscribe DVD Writer Black SATA OEM


With that crazy expensive ($549 down from $609) card and $140+ in shipping (express) total is $2400, which
gives me some wiggle room on a few tablets that I thought I'd have to forgo.

I'm hoping to pull the trigger for 1 system this week, then purchase the other 2 based on the results.

As far as the whole OC'ing goes, it would be in my spare (ha!) time, and really, I was only
looking for a nice round number.. 3, so nothing serious.

I'll be honest, the hardest part of this whole process, is trying not to second guess myself...

So, thanks again for everyone's help, keep it coming.
Any and all suggestions are taken seriously, researched and drowned in coffee.

MP

Last edited by MeltingPoint; October 5, 2008 at 11:21 AM.
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  #24 (permalink)  
Old October 6, 2008, 10:06 AM
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The cart looks great. Very impressive! Building two more based on the results is perfect, we'd be very interested in any changes you make.

The only thing I'd still query is the vid card. I know it's already been discussed in depth here, but I still don't understand how that card will help you in the software you are using. If you were gaming at high res in your spare time, it would make sense. Otherwise, I dunno, it may still be better to try one of the entry or mid level workstation ATI cards and see how it performs in Autodesk. Of course, you could try that on the second build too.

If you'd like, I can scan and post a benchmark chart from a magazine article I read not too long ago, comparing a number of workstation cards all along with an 8800GTX Ultra (I think). The ultra did so poorly in the pro apps, I just don't see how a 4870X2 will benefit you.

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4GB (4x1024MB) Corsair Dominator 8500
boot: 4x WD Caviar SE16 250gb SATA2 Raid-0
backup: Seagate 500gb 32mb SATA2
eye: eVGA 9800GTX+ SC 512mb 770/2.25ghz
candy: Samsung 940B-HAS | X-Fi XMusic | Pioneer DVR-212D SATA
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  #25 (permalink)  
Old October 6, 2008, 10:25 AM
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Just as Litho said, unless you are running very high resolutions and playing heavy games likes crysis, there is no point spending that much on a 4870x2, a 4870 card should be plentifil for you.

Looking at that Zalman CNPS9700NT Copper, seems rather expensive, why not save some money and settle with the OCZ Vendetta 2 w/ Thermalright LGA775 mounting kit. It will cost less, and the cooling is pretty good on it.

There's 2 things you can bring down the cost, almost about $200 on the video card if you decide to stay with the 4870, and another few dollars on the heatsink.

Hey Litho, I'm just thinking let's say MP decides to get the P5Q-E, will it be a mistake to step down from the Deluxe version, will he loose any "really need" features, or just a wise decision to save money ?.. If it was a budget, I would definitely suggest the P5Q-E, but since it is Autodesk, I wouldn't want to comment very highly.
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  #26 (permalink)  
Old October 6, 2008, 10:57 AM
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I really have no need for the card, and the constant reports of very high temps, and hit and miss drivers, is really bothering me. The "ONLY" reason I thought about it was in case Adsk decided to start using some of the newer GPU technologies - I wanted to be on top :P

Thanks for pointing out the fan... I had planed on a different case (the S series) and heard there might be some height problems with the 120, hence the shorter Zalman. Will get the Vendetta 2 instead (since I sticking to the Cosmo 1000).

Was it the P5Q-E that only had 1 pcix16 - if so, that's why I went for the deluxe - want to keep a few options open - and so far, well under budget.

I truly appreciate the time you guys are putting in. Any thoughts on additional cooling..NB SB?... is it needed (even just as a precaution) for a 24/7 machine?

MP
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  #27 (permalink)  
Old October 6, 2008, 11:17 AM
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If you're not overclocking too much or at all, don't worry about it, good airflow is what matters. The Deluxe imo is a very good board, the only problem on that if you decide to use change out nb and sb blocks, you'll have to take out the whole heatpipe system, which can be a pain sometimes.

You could look at Antec Spot Cool fans, buy 2 or 3 and position it on e.g RAM, SB, NB, video card etc etc..

Hey MP also have a look at the P5Q Pro board, it might seem too low end for you, it is cheap, but it still has some nice features..
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  #28 (permalink)  
Old October 6, 2008, 11:39 AM
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It's unfortunate Autodesk doesn't take advantage of the GPU more there is so much horsepower to be had....especially if you went with the 4870X2...oh well

You could always start using Lightwave/3DMax/Maya..

The build looks really solid though you shouldn't have any temp issues with the Case and Fans you are getting....have you made a final decision on the amount of Ram you are going to get...because if there is one thing you can guarantee if planning for the future let's say 3-4 years replacement plan. More RAM will definitely come in handy for future Autodesk releases.
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  #29 (permalink)  
Old October 6, 2008, 11:40 AM
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Yes, I've pretty much focused only on the P5Q series, and the differences in price (between pro,e,dlx,vanilla,etc) are small enough that I'm comfortable with what seems to be middle ground.

The Diamond 4870x2 just dropped to $499... damn their making this hard - Does anyone have first hand experience with this GPU and/or Mobo combo? It seems a third party tool will be needed to adjust the fans (another reason for the case, as there supposed to be really loud at 75%+), which is fine, but adds another layer of complexity and compatibility.

MP

(Edit for RAM) Yes, I've got 8GB's of the Redline's lined up. As for modeling packages... this will be the last renewal I get for Max unless some major changes happen at Adsks company level. I have no loyalty to the company and others are clearly much more in tune with today's tech, and their customers /end rant

Last edited by MeltingPoint; October 6, 2008 at 11:48 AM.
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  #30 (permalink)  
Old October 6, 2008, 11:53 AM
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I have the Diamond 4870X2 I have ran it on the P5Q-Pro it works wonderfully..I have also used CCC the ATI tool to create 2 separate fan profiles which you could easily do. Setup one for modeling and one for rendering. By editing my default fan speed I brought the temps to a comfortable 53 from 85 at a 35% fan speed which is a comfortable level of noise hardly audible over the 120mm Fans then you could set your second profile for rendering to 50% which brought my full load temps to 57. You can go further but the sound gets pretty crazy above that..I tried 85% it brought my temp at idel down to 38-42 but its crazy loud. Either way I would pick up the X2 if it is in the budget. I think the way things are going you will see more GPU usage in upcoming software to optimize their rendering times it just makes sense.
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