View Full Version : Building a computer...

10-26-2009, 04:41 AM
Ok, i have a question for all you hardened vets. I need to build a new workstation. I'm thinking and i7 processor (975 perhaps, maybe lower, but i want this to be a computer i can hold on to for a while). I'll cram a ton of RAM in there. But should i go all out on a quadro 4800 graphics card? Or can i get by with a consumer grade GFX card, one used more for gaming. Read on so you'll know how to answer. Please stick with me.

I'm a 2d animation professional (storyboards, director, producer), but because I've been drawing on paper i've lagged behind in pretty much all the technical advancements of the past 10 years. And now i've got 3 separate possible projects ahead of me that i'll be in charge of, all CG...

So, i'm gonna start teaching myself, and taking classes when i can, in photoshop, painter, maya, and so forth (suggestions on what programs to learn welcome). I'm not a luddite, I'm fairly technically savvy, and a decent artist, but I'm pretty new all these programs. I know, its crazy. But i really have been a pencil, pen, and paper guy for a LONG time. Photoshop is still in the "advanced-novice" phase of learning for me.

I'm really excited to open my artistic career to this new phase of CG. The truth is, i love gaming as well, and i've read the quadro's aren't really used for that. BUt, I may be ok sticking with my consols for the games and making my CPU really only a workstation. In which case, maybe i shouldn't consider a gaming card. SO...

WHAT SHOULD I DO???? This will be for my home studio, and since i'm a novice of course i won't churning out a ton of fully rendered 3D stuff, YET. I'm imagining that i'll be doing more digital painting than CG animation, but that may change as i learn and do more. AND i want this to be fairly future proof (haha, i know). I haven't worked out a full budget yet, but i'm not looking for a budget system. I'd like it to be fairly robust.

Last note, is the new iMac with the i7 even worth considering? Seems like a nice computer and will be welcomed in the home perhaps more readily by my wife :) but she'd probably be ok with whatever i get. Mac Pro would be nice if it weren't way overpriced.

If you guys waded through that post and still want to answer my questions, you're AWESOME. My brain's been empty. Feed it.

10-26-2009, 07:51 PM
"is the new iMac with the i7 even worth considering?"


"should i go all out on a quadro 4800 graphics card?"

Considering everything you've stated in your post. Definitely No. You will not get your money's worth, you will not utilize it, they are overpriced to begin with, it will not extend the life of your machine. Get a mid-level gaming grade GPU, and I think most would agree currently on going with an NVidia at the moment. I personally recommend this one,


it's the one I use in my machine, it's one of the best bangs for you buck at the moment on the NVidia side of things, it's an award winning card, handles most games fantastically, and works flawlessly in Maya, Softimage, ZBrush, Mudbox and Photoshop.

10-27-2009, 01:36 AM
What kind of computer do you have right now?
Do you have a decent monitor?
Have you considered a Wacom tablet or screen?
Heard about Zbrush?
Got a budget?

Welcome aboard b.t.w.

10-27-2009, 04:58 AM
Thanks a ton for your responses, and thanks for the welcome, this seems to be a great community. I do have a computer and a wacom but it's all a bit out of date. The wacom would work fine, but i'm going to be upgrading to a cintiq (i've started doing digital storyboards at work using toon boom storyboard pro) and i'd like to be able to bring my work home with me, so to speak.
VLAD: My monitor is a decent dell but its a bit old and for more precise color and cg work i may want to upgrade that as well, but it's more of a "wait and see how i feel" thing especially if i get the cintiq. Plus i have an old crt that i could use for color checking if i needed to, but its no nice cinema display or anything.
I've heard of zBrush but have no experience with it. I'm REALLY curious about it though.

Budget is something i'm working out. I think i could go as high as 4 or 5k give or take, less is always better if i can swing it, especially with the cintiq and the programs i'd like to get not being exactly cheap. I don't want to go too crazy, but i don't have to skimp either.

Jettatore, thanks for being frank with me. And thanks for the recommendation, I'll probably do that one or one similar.

Seriously, thanks again guys!

10-29-2009, 12:41 AM
You can build a great i7 system for around $2k (more or less according to options). Skip the 975 and buy the base 920. With some help from a good forum (EVGA has a great one) you can overclock that CPU for some serious performance. The $700 you save can go toward an upgraded CPU next year.

Skip the 4800. A GeForce GTX 260 is only $200. Upgrade to a workstation card later ONLY if you find you need it.

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