View Full Version : Advice on ~$2k workstation build

12 December 2012, 02:41 AM
Hi, I would like to tap this forum's expertise on workstation hardware.

I am an architect that does lots of visualization work. I am planning to build my own PC that is roughly equivalent, or better, in power to the Dell T3500 I use at my workplace.

I've ordered components off of Newegg before to construct my own cheaper PC, but when it comes to these very expensive components I'd like to be sure I'm optimizing my components, and selecting ones that synergize well with each other.

Thus I've looked at Newegg's DIY kits, but they aren't quite what I'm looking for. Here is a workstation for $3,600,

And here is one for about $1,000:

I was hoping to spend something in between... around the neighborhood of $2,000. Would anyone mind suggesting a build, or pointing me to a resource where I might find 3d workstation builds in the price range I'm looking for? Thank you so much!


12 December 2012, 10:40 PM
Hi, i'm thinking to buy a new computer around march (waiting for next generation intel processer)

I think the in between those two is :

I don't know about the other, so this thread is interesting for me too.

12 December 2012, 04:01 AM
what will you be spending most of your time doing on the workstation.. modeling, rendering, or IPR for your visualization?

reason why i ask is because you need to consider what you do most on a daily basis with your workstation, and with what applications. Nearly all applications will not utilize a dual processor system to their full capability and will actually benefit more from a higher clock speed single processor system with more cores.

answering that question will also help determine what type of video card you'll need.

but, at a 2$k limit, you're not going to be able to build a complete dual xeon system that is worth the salt in sweat you put into building it... if anything, your budget for that would need to be more like 5-7$k... and in general, it is a waste of personal resources.

will you need a monitor? if so, a professional grade or would a consumer level like 20" do?.. its' a different in $100s, so you might want to think about that.

i was able to put together a solid workstation using a i7-3930k processor with 64GB ram, plenty of storage, a new case, new PSU, cooling,SSD for OS, 1TB backup storage, and a pro-grade monitor for 2700$... parted using newegg. this did not include graphics cards, as i had two geforce 560's sitting on a workbench (that i got a sale a month before for 79$ each).

it run solid, does what i need it to do.. but for IPR, it will probably fall flat on its face due to the crappy video cards. (not sure, haven't tried it really)

12 December 2012, 01:09 PM
Hi tswalk, thanks for the reply!

I will be equally modeling and rendering on the machine. I'm most concerned about its rendering efficiency.

I already have an IPS monitor... so am just looking to build the tower itself. The machine you built sounds tight!

I found a $2500 build here:

What do you think of it?

12 December 2012, 06:51 PM
i think you would be very disappointed with its' performance.

look at this chart, the value/cost is very low.

and if you look at this chart and find the dual xeon E5620...

i think you start to get the idea and notice that until you invest in something like the
X5650 dual xeons (~800$ USD each)... will you get better performance versus the 2nd generation i7-3930k or better single processor.

12 December 2012, 07:10 PM
Oof, you're absolutely right. I think I will go with the i7-3930k. Any other hardware recommendations? Is that processor compatible with the rest of the $2500 build I linked earlier?

12 December 2012, 10:25 PM
Hey man,

Any MB from this list would hit the spot. Just make sure its socket 2011.

That 850w PSU is probably overkill. Anything around 500w and in the $70 range should do fine.

Grab a SSD for sure if you've got the cash. Looks like a 120GB can be had for around $120 nowadays.

The stock cooler on the Intel 6 core should be fine to start with.


12 December 2012, 12:04 AM
the i7-3930k doesn't come with a stock cooler.. you'll need to buy an aftermarket one with it.

12 December 2012, 12:44 AM
Ouch, that sucks. It looks like it should come with one based on the size of the box. $600 and they cant throw in a $15 stock cooler to act as box filler.

It does come with a free Rubik's cube though, so your set in that department. ;)

12 December 2012, 01:03 AM
Ouch, that sucks. It looks like it should come with one based on the size of the box. $600 and they cant throw in a $15 stock cooler to act as box filler.

It does come with a free Rubik's cube though, so your set in that department. ;)

lol.. ya no doubt.

12 December 2012, 04:50 PM
It doesn't come with a fan because people who are buying this cpu use or buy their own Fan. (And they dislike the included fan)

12 December 2012, 09:09 PM
Thanks guys, for your help.

So I've done some shopping and here is my list so far:

Intel Core i7-3770K Quad-Core Processor 3.5 GHz 8 MB Cache LGA 1155

Asus LGA1155/Intel Z77/DDR3/Quad-CrossFireX /Quad-SLI/SATA3/USB3.0/A/2 GBE/ATX Motherboard P8Z77 WS

CORSAIR Vengeance LP 32GB 240 pin DDR3 SDRAM 1600

Prolimatech Genesis CPU Cooler + Rosewill 120mm fans x3 w/ x3

Do ya'll have suggestions for a graphics card and PSU? I don't know much about those components... I mean to do alot of 3d visualization work with this machine.

12 December 2012, 04:14 PM
If you do lots of rendering, you really should go for the 3930k. A 250$ expense for an additional 2 cores (4 in HT) is money well invested imo, especially if you plan to keep it for more than a year. You could also save 100$ by going with an Asus P9X79 PRO mobo over the Intel. I have no idea how the Prolimatech heatsink performs, but the Noctua NHD14 reaps all honors in that department and wouldnt be much more expensive than the Prolimatech + those 3 fans. As for the PSU, something like the Corsair HX750 should be more than enough. For the gpu, that's the most subjective one. Depends on what software you use, if you do any gpu rendering, how many monitors you have etc.

12 December 2012, 04:34 PM
i agree with Vlad... the LGA 1155 series, while ok for general stuff... will not hold a candle to the LGA 2011 series i7's 2nd gens...

you would definitely be much better off with the 3930k investment.. it currently has the best price/performance out of all series.

12 December 2012, 02:59 AM
Yea, go for the LGA 2011 if you can afford it.

Are you planing on over clocking your system?


12 December 2012, 11:52 PM
I'm an architect 2, and also gonna build my own workstation for rendering. I just read you guys post and i think they are very helpful.

Any advices on choosing the gpu? I think for me the most work are using 3dmax and vray.

Thanks a lot :)

12 December 2012, 05:08 PM
I'm an architect 2, and also gonna build my own workstation for rendering. I just read you guys post and i think they are very helpful.

Any advices on choosing the gpu? I think for me the most work are using 3dmax and vray.

Thanks a lot :)

you might want to start your own thread instead to get a better response... also include some details about what you do, software, current hardware.. and what you've been looking at so we can make a better call.

12 December 2012, 07:05 PM
Sorry I didn't say it very clearly. I have a very similar situation. I want to build my own computer too.

I'm considering using the computer to do some rendering and animation as the same quality as Alex Roman.

I also heard some interview with him about his computer, not much:

"The level of realism in the TheThird&TheSeventh is stunning. Your render times must be incredible. What software and hardware do you use? How long is an average render?

I use 3DS Max and Vray for rendering, Photoshop for texture work, AfterEffects for compositing and color grading and Adobe Premiere for edit it all.

My desktop PC (i7 920) itís now the only hardware i have. Every frame rendertime may vary from 20 sec to 1:30 hr (720p) It all depends on how complex the scene is.

However, i invested a lot of time in scene optimization for rendering. I think itís the key for a flexible workflow."

And I find some information here very helpful based on the discussion between qwatkins and vlad.

I think i will go with vlad's choice for the main one only. About the render slave maybe i will consider it later. Here i got some price from newegg.

3930K OC'ed to 4.8ghz 569.99

H100 cooler, 94.99

32 gb of Corsair Vengeance DDR3, 159.99

Evga 3gb gf580gtx video card, 499.99

120gb Corsair SSD 114.99
+ 2TB WD storage 239.99,

850W Corsair PSU, 139.99

Asus P9X79 WS mobo, 379.99

Corsair Obsidian 650D case 189.99

TOTAL: 2390

The money is a little over my budget 2000 too, but still acceptable.

Please put some comments and advices, really appreciate

Best and happy holiday~

12 December 2012, 06:45 PM
I don't plan on overclocking. I'm worried about causing undue stress to my cpu---I'd like it to remain alive for as long as possible. Don't all the pros overclock, though? Maybe I should look into it...

Ok, so here is my revised build:

Intel Core i7-3930k Sandy Bridge-E 3.2GHz (3.8GHz Turbo) LGA 2011 130W Six-Core Desktop Processor
ASUS P9x79 WS LGA 2011 Intel X79 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 SSI CEB Intel Motherboard
EVGA Superclocked GeForce GTX 660 2GB 192-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x 16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
CORSAIR HX Series HX750 750W
CORSAIR Vengeance LP 32GB (4 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
Intel 320 Series 3.5" 120GB SATA II MLC SSD
Noctua NH-D14 120mm & 140mm SSO CPU Cooler

Look good?

12 December 2012, 06:53 PM
I'm on a similar rig, and what I'd think about is the PSU. I have a 480 W PSU with two HDD and one SSD. Runs perfectly fine for me!

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