I'm an arch student looking into buying a workstation for architectural visualization. As I don't have much experience with building my own rig I decided to look for expert advice before I shoot myself in the foot! :D Hopefully, someone can give me a few pointers as to what factors I should consider, or maybe even what specific hardware to buy.
Ideally, I want to avoid buying a computer at all, but, alas, I have already stretched the limits of my poor little 15" macbook pro beyond recognition. Price-wise, the closer to zero it gets, the better, but I'm able to fork out USD1600 max.
My main criteria are speed and reliability for rendering; my top priority is to churn out good quality work within deadlines and not be controlled by rendering times and crashes.
The ability to handle high resolution images, large vector files and complex 3d scenes is definitely a plus.
Software I'm using: 3ds max Design 2013 with MR, Illustrator CS6, Photoshop CS6, Autocad 2011/13, Revit, Rhino 4/5 with Grasshopper and T-Splines, Google Sketchup, Maya.
In summary, I'm trying to find the sweet spot between price and performance as applied to architectural visualization. Thanks for reading and thanks for helping!