Building a PC for Compositing


Hi there,

I’m VFX compositor currently using AE, but I’ve just started transitioning into Nuke. I’ve also decided to upgrade from my iMac to a PC, which is where you guys come in. I had someone put together a PC build for me, and I want to know how well this will run Nuke (and also AE) and if anything should be changed or if something isn’t balanced. Here’s the current specs:

Motherboard - ASRock EP2C602-4L/D16 SSI EEB Server Motherboard Dual LGA 2011 CPU

CPU - 2x Intel Xeon E5-2630 V2 2.6GHz 6-Core OEM/Tray Processor


OS/Application Storage - 512GB (2x PNY Optima 240GB 2.5" Solid State Drive RAID 0)

Long Term storage - 2TB (4x 1TB drives RAID 10)

Video Card - PNY Quadro K5200 8GB Video Card



I’m no pro

but based on what i understand this seems like a relatively solid system

terms of motherboards, asus has a pretty decent reputation
(last i checked anyways). if im in doubt i just default to an asus board

xeon processors - arent those usually used for running servers?

if i want to check graphics cards or processors i usually refer to a site like cpuboss or gpuboss
nvidia cards tend to preform better with vector/3d type work - radeon raster type work

should anything be changed is anything out of balance? i dont know; perhaps you would be better off with more hd space but you can always upgrade that in the future.

however from what i see here this seems like a pretty expensive high-end system you shouldn’t have any problems running anything


no. Xeon are also used for workstations. 99.9% of workstations out there for 3D/Compositing should be running xeons (dual/quad CPU if you can afford it).

Nvidia cards preform better over all on a PC. Also, 3D and compositing apps are utilizing GPU cores, namely the CUDA architecture on Nvidia cards. OpenCL on Radeons works but it’s no Nvidia.

For drives:

  • I would remove the RAID 0 for the OS drive. It’s unnecessary. A single 256 or 500GB would work. RAIDs can glitch on very rare occasions. I wouldn’t want to put myself in that situation with my OS drive. Booting up Nuke in 2 sec versus 4 isn’t worth the price/hassle.
  • I would also recommend a separate cache drive (500GB). Dump the cache prior to hitting below 20%.
  • “Long term” storage with only 2TB isn’t a lot. I’m assuming long term means current and archive projects? You’ll burn through it fast when you start to load up footage (especially if it’s 4K) as well as renders. You could think about splitting up into a SSD based project RAID and then a separate large 4TB+ storage drive (traditional HDD) for textures, stock, music, non-work files, and archive projects. After each project, move it from the project raid to the storage drive and back up to an external drive as well for safe keeping.


i would also get rid of the quadro card and go with a GTX. most of the time you wont need the extras that the Quadro can give you (afaik in comp its only for Stereo preview in the viewport). there is no calculation in double precision in CUDA for compositing apps and the GTX will have enough Cuda cores to be fast (in the very few cases where cuda is used), also 8GB of RAM on the card isnt needed in comp.