View Full Version : Want To Spec A 3D Workstation

12-29-2004, 06:32 PM
Okay I am officially confused...

I come hat in hand to ask help in specifying a system for 3D Animation,Modelling and Rendering. I use Maya,ZBrush,Modo,Photoshop and AfterEffects.

I have been looking at:
1Dell(because that was my old computer...but there service is driving me up a wall)

2:Boxx(cause all the cool kids seem to have one)

3:GamePC(cause it's cheaper than box..or seems to be)

I am confused also about intel vs amd and would love to get at least a 21' inch monitor.

Money is no object!---I AM KIDDING! Money is definately an object...but I'll bite the bullet for a kick ass system that can also play Half Life!!

Any thoughts about where I might start???

Confused(and getting rained on believe it or not)In Los Angeles


12-29-2004, 06:49 PM
I'd go for Alienware, they are cheaper than Boxx - and are very good workstations. Dells are very "cheap" in the way their built. You can also build your own, but it isn't necessarly cheaper than buying an Alienware.

12-30-2004, 11:59 AM
I'd go for Alienware, they are cheaper than Boxx - and are very good workstations. Dells are very "cheap" in the way their built. You can also build your own, but it isn't necessarly cheaper than buying an Alienware.
What Dell's are you talking about? I have a Dell Precision Workstation and it certainly isn't built cheaply.

12-31-2004, 12:33 AM
So I am hearing from pro-alienware people..pro-boxx people, pro dell people(I lke my dell but want to upgrade and HATE dealing with dell support...impossible to change an order...a friend just went through hell trying to upgrade a 19' monitor to 20'...anyone use gamepc??? (game pc.com)

Any recommendations on monitors...20" at least and amd vs.intel..

Inquiring Minds Want to Know..

And I am Itching to Buy..


12-31-2004, 01:28 AM
At my work we had 6 Dell Precisions. We trashed them due to endless failings of hard drives, RAID cards, Power Supplies, etc. We now have BOXX and won't be turning back. Ever.

If you don't have the cheese for a BOXX you can build you're own and save a few bucks, but you won't have BOXX support. There are plenty of threads here that can help you with that.

As for AMD vs Intel, for a heavy Maya user I'd go Opteron. Mental Ray loves opteron the memory bandwidth is wicket.

12-31-2004, 06:20 AM
Dell uses some pretty cheap parts in thier builds. Not performance wise mind you, but they will opt for poorer quality if it'll save a few bucks and they can sell it for more. At least in the desktop market thats how they are. In the professional market I cant tell you. But all I know is when I get a call to fix a Dell (which is fairly often) the first thing that pops into my mind is "Dude you bought a Dell"

12-31-2004, 07:30 AM
heres a couple of links to do with large size CRT's



Having some trouble myself finding help on the subject. LCD related info = much easier to come by since it's all the fad now........

12-31-2004, 05:00 PM
Thanks for all the replies...it definately has helped a lot...

As far as some replys:

dmyer: How did you spec out the Boxx's at your work...their web site actually seems a little confusing to me..I want to Animate/Render with Maya and was wondering how you chose your config. And thanks for the optron suggestion..I have always used Intel...so makes me research more..

anevsky:I REALLY want an LCD...I am sick of a monitor being two inches from my face in my house...or maybe I need a bigger house...besides they look cool and I want to impress the relatives ; )

Al-X:any specific config for Alienware that you would choose??? And do you have one yourself?...

Finally-Any Ideas on Graphics boards...seems like the NVidia but which one???Again think Maya :)

Thanks Again...
It's been very interesting Researching all this with all your help

Andrew(It's RAINING again in LA)

Happy New Year

12-31-2004, 05:30 PM
dmyer: How did you spec out the Boxx's at your work...their web site actually seems a little confusing to me..I want to Animate/Render with Maya and was wondering how you chose your config. And thanks for the optron suggestion..I have always used Intel...so makes me research more..

We went with 3dboxx 7208's, dual Opteron 248's, 2 gigs ram, QuadroFX3000, and SCSI drives. If you hit their site and go to the workstation section you can customize to your heart's content.

Ed Caracappa (Boxx Director of Sales) also frequents this board. He can hook you up with the right people at Boxx to get something just right for you.

As for LCD's i'd check out the Samsung 213T. It's not the newest kid on the block but you can pick them up at Best Buy for < $1K.

Ed Caracappa
01-03-2005, 12:25 PM

Feel free to call me anytime. I'd be happy to help you with a configuration that will suit you well whether you buy from BOXX or someone else.


01-04-2005, 07:53 PM
Thanks Ed...Can you email me your number?


Any Alienware users out there ...any pro's/cons about them?


Ed Caracappa
01-04-2005, 07:55 PM
That's my direct line in my signature. 512-225-6313 or, in the US, you can call 877-877-2699 ext 313.


01-05-2005, 03:24 AM
i recently built my own workstation and it turned out much cheaper than dell and i know that all the quality parts when into it. what kind of m/bs does dell uses anyway or what kind of ram ? anyway

2 x 3.2 xeon 800fsb 1mb cashe
supermicro x6dal-g
ati firegl v 5100
2x Western digital 120gb SATA HDD
2 benQ 17" LCD screens
plus odds and ends

final price 3200 canadian

01-06-2005, 02:07 PM
Okay this is probably only relevant for UK readers, but I'm pretty sure it's the same in the US - a recent calculation of how much it would cost to build a machine with the same specs as the Alienware (http://www.alienware/Configurator_Pages/mj-12_4500.aspx?SysCode=PC-EU-MJ12-4500&SubCode=SKU-EXTREME) MJ-12 4500 worked out loads more expensive than just ordering it from Alienware (a lot of their parts are much cheaper than retail), even before I took into account shipping for all the separate parts and the hell of incompatibility issues, upgrades and no support - and they let you configure your machine, choose what graphics card/processor/hard drive/memory you want, choose to include or exclude extra optical drives, monitor, keyboard, etc - plus they just look so cool!

So now I'm waiting for my super-powerful machine that I probably won't have to upgrade for at least 3-5 years, can play games on plus run Maya, 3dsmax, etc, and if something goes wrong I have 24 hour online and telephone support, a 3-year warranty, and I know the thing's going to work properly! The entry level machines go for less than 1000, they're pretty impressive, and if like me everything working properly and being easy to upgrade is a priority, I'd say it's a good investment - I'll have to wait and see if it matches my expectations though, but I know how much trouble a self-built machine can be unless you're really really sure it'll be stable (I've been building my own for 4/5 years and still keep coming up against frustrating problems).

Of course it's all down to your abilities and your budget! Check out some of the components on their site too, even if you don't buy a system from them some of their stuff is pretty cheap compared to other retailers (and there's a much bigger range than in the UK).


Ed Caracappa
01-06-2005, 03:36 PM

You may have made a mistake. Either that or individual parts are very expensive in the UK. I work at BOXX and still build my own machines all the time. If you configure an MJ12-4500 on Alienware's UK site with dual Opteron 248 processors, 2GB of memory, a 120GB hard drive, a CDRW/DVD combo drive, and an nvidia FX3000 graphics card, it will cost you 3,291 pounds or, about $6,175 US. As always, a good deal from Alienware (and surely a reliable machine) but, I don't understand how this could be cheaper than building your own.....


01-06-2005, 05:11 PM
I would think about importance. Is gaming more important, cool looking or working?
Optimised for working with cg would be some expensive graphical card - and those are not optimised for gaming. And the same with gaming PCs.

I would prefer some Dual Xeon (Dell), much RAM (> 2 GB) and some 1500 $ graphical card - if money is no question.

01-06-2005, 05:38 PM

Be sure to check here: http://www.cgtalk.com/showthread.php?t=147058

(btw, I use an IBM T42 laptop and I built my own server/desktop to handle anything the lappy cannot which isn't much.)

01-06-2005, 07:08 PM
Ed -
I guess it depends on the configuration you're after - the Nvidia FX 4000 costs about 1500 and I'd rather leave that in the hands of the experts! The FX 3000 will set you back about 800, already more than a quarter of the Alienware system price. Get half of that 2 gig of memory separately and you'll shave anither 200 off the total. All that said I do know it's not what you've got, it's what you do with it - I'm constantly impressed by the standard of work produced by people on crappy systems running lowest-of-the-low-end software and I'd advise anyone on a budget to use alternatives to buying a ready-built system - that's how I got started, and without the kind of knowledge and support from cool sites like this that makes it so much easier!


Ed Caracappa
01-07-2005, 02:10 PM

You are so right. People forget that the workstation is just a tool.


01-10-2005, 11:23 PM
still looking for feedback...trying to make a decision by end of week...


Ed Caracappa
01-11-2005, 12:12 PM
My offer is still open...call anytime.


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