Help required with new computer ($3500 budget )


First, let me thank you all for your time (i’ve spent several hours reading this forums though this is my first post), and please accept my apologies for my english as it’s not my first language.

I’m looking to buy a new computer, preferably a laptop to “work” mainly with Maya. I’ve learning for some time now, and I DO NOT try to be a professional, but I know I like this stuff so much and I want a computer that does not make wait 5 minutes for 640x480 mental ray preview quality “quick render”. Also, I AM a gamer. The graphics card perfomance on games it’s important to me.

So, I have about $3000-$3500 to spend on a laptop (IMPORTANT: if there’s no valid set up in a laptop, just tell me and I’ll buy a desktop pc).

Here are some premises that I’m using to make this (for me) important decision:

  • I can keep my actual computer to work with software development (what i’m actually been paid for) and music producing.

  • The new computer will be used only for Maya, RealFlow Zbrush, After Effects, Photoshop (you’ll know, for sure better than me, since I’m only starting) AND playing MMORPG games.

  • MMORPG games MUST perform ok. I don’t need 60FPS, but a constant 24+ FPS would be good.

  • Maya should run without any issues (or the least possible issues) when modeling large meshes with lots of polygons.

  • I don’t mind if a final render takes lots of time, but the “quick render” should be pretty fast, just to see what I’m doing (very important for a newbie).

  • I’m learning to use RealFlow, and simulations are awfully slow even with low resolutions and they use a LOT of RAM. It would be good to speed this up, but it’s not that important.

  • Since I’m learning I’m not sure what speficic CG techniques I’d like to master in the future: modeling, texturing, lighting… so I need and average good computer.

  • I’d like my new computer to be a labtop, but the ones I’ve found don’t seem to be de best choice, so if you tell me “get yourself a desktop computer” that what I’ll do

  • I could buy a Mac, but I definetly prefer Windows PC.

This are the options I have so far, but none of them have Autodesk certified graphic cards (should I worry about that? I’m not sure what that certification means).

Asus G750JX

MSI GT Series GT70 2OD-039US (SOOOO ugly)

Alienware 18

What do you think? I’m on the right path? Thank you all for your time :slight_smile:


Get yourself a desktop. You won’t need to spend 3500$ and you’ll have much better performance and flexibility than a notebook.

Here’s what I recommend based on your descriptions. You’re in spain so you should be able to get all of this without problemo. It’s a pretty damn powerful system. You could even spend less money than this and still be in the green.


The first thing you need to do is answer the laptop vs desktop question and thats one only you can answer. For your money, you will get a very different system for a very different price depending which you pick. Keep in mind, any machine with the high end specs you want will mean going for a heavy, hot and noisy laptop, it will be portable but you wont want to take this to work, to lectures etc.

Chris’ suggestion is good, though given its quite under budget I would bump that geforce 660 card up to the 680.

Overall I would probably suggest getting a good specced desktop as above, then grab yourself an ultralight laptop which can be used for email, web, simple 3d modelling, showing content to people and all your portable needs.


First of all, thank you for taking your time on reading a quite large post.

Desktop 2 - 0 Laptop

I guess I’m going for the destop then!

What about this one? (1569€ / $2,127)

I already have good keyboard and mouse, so only need a monitor.

Do you think I should pay a bit more for a 27"?

Thanks again!


Firstly I need to ask you if you are comfortable with building your own computer? What ChrisCorr is suggesting, is you build your own computer, by buying all the components and assembling them yourself (well you can hire someone to assemble it for you). Do you want to go with this route or do you want a pre-built computer?

The advantages of getting everything yourself and building it youself is that it can cost less with higher spec components, meaning it will be more powerful and you can pick what kind of spec you want your computer to be. Of course there are some disadvantages, you won’t know until you start putting together the computer, if it’s working or functioning and you need to know how to build a computer to begin with. You can find a lot of information on how to build the computer and can learn it quite easily. Alternatively you can always hire someone to build it for you which doesn’t cost too much.


Heh yeah I guess I did assume that he would build it himself. My bad. ^^


Sorry guys, I reply as fast as I can, but as this are my first 2 posts they need approval first :stuck_out_tongue:

I have no problem with assembling my computer (i’ve done it before) but I lack the skills and the tools to do ir proficiently.

Anyhow, the last link I posted is from a site where you can choose every component and they assemble it for you while keeping both the manufacturer’s guarantee and the shops’.

Definetly what I want is the best machine I can afford :stuck_out_tongue:

(this has been posted but not the previous one ouch!)

So… this is the one I’ve been looking at: ($1564)


The best machine is a desktop. And I see no sense in trying to fill a budget just because there’s a budget to fill. That configuration I made is more powerful than 99% of what hobbyist typically have as a workstation. If you aren’t even doing this professionally it would be just silly to spend more. Just take a vacation for that extra 1500$. (not trying to be patronizing here)

What you posted is a 2000$ (1500€) machine that is inferior all-around to the one I posted. You DON’T need a 780 for playing a few MMOs…

Also, why did you say “ouch”? Was the config I made too expensive?

Well after checking some spanish sites, seems like you guys have surprisingly limited component choice and high prices… The configuration I made would be around 2000€ and that’s with some different components that I just couldn’t match.


The “ouch” was because of this weird rule of the forum “the first 2 posts need approval” so i wrote 3, the first which opens the thread, the 2nd which is pending approval,and the 3d that was automatucally posted, because the second was posted but without approval, so I felt dumb for not foreseeing it :stuck_out_tongue:

The website I linked it it’s one of the cheapest you can find here in Spain, and as you say, we have a limited choice on components.

The config you made was ok for me, and “not spending more than I need” seems wise, but I don’t completely understand why is a bad idea to spend a few more in a newer graphic card. Won’t it last longer?

I’ll try to find the most similar components to the setup you posted here and post what I find :slight_smile:


Ah okay :slight_smile:

It would be ok to spend a few more. But the 780 is not a few more. The 780 costs literally 3 times as much.

That’s 213€ vs 633€. That is a huge amount of money to spend on a graphics card. Every single game will run just fine with the 660Ti, almost all of them with maximum settings. The 780 is the second most powerful graphics card avaiable. I honestly don’t think you need that. If you want something a bit more future proof, go with the 760 instead of the 660Ti. But in my eyes, it’s never wise to buy a high-end graphics card.

I’ve poked around on that store and found the configurator.

This would be basically the equivalent config as my original one. Except with faster memory and better graphics card. They’ll even build it for you. :slight_smile:


This is great! I’m definetly going with this.

I get the “not buying high end graphic card”. I guess I was still thinkin about the labtop, but it just don’t make sense in a desktop, since I can (if I need, which probably I won’t) upgrade.

The only thing I’m not sure about is to buy a monitor. I already have a 24" which is ‘just fine’ at best, but I’m not sure if I NEED a better one.

Thanks again for all your time ChrisCorr, you are being incredibly helpful.


You’re welcome. :slight_smile:

If you already have a monitor stick with it. You can always get one later. Which one is it?


That rule has kept at bay such a large amount of spambots and similar things, despite its requirement a bunch of us manually validate or reject a crapload of those, that if you’ll stick around you will come to appreciate how low bot rubbish is on this site :wink:

As for your thread:
Go for a desktop for sure, not that you seem to need any convincing.
Given your list of priorities bear in mind the near entirety of what you listed is very heavily CPU bound and memory hungry, so any offset in the budget should go that way, and get 32GB right away, or if you get 16 make sure you have spare slots to expand.

Nothing out of the ordinary in those specs, and you already received good advice, so I don’t feel I need to do much more than toss the above in.


Thanks ThE_JacO! I get the point of rule, just misunderstood how it worked! :stuck_out_tongue: Also, since everyone advice me in that way, I’m definetly buying a desktop.

ChrisCorr, I have these 2 monitors:



ChrisCorr, I finally bought your recommended set up, thanks!! :slight_smile:

Just one more question… how do I use the SSD for the best performance?


Cool :slight_smile:

The usual practice is to install the operating system and your major applications on the SSD, and everything else on the HDD. But I suggest being careful when you set up your cache folders for things like RealFlow, so that the SSD doesn’t get written on all the time.


I’d second your latest config from pccomp for 1500euros, just would bump up the ram to 32GB 4x8GB, and as for the monitors the ones you have are TN (thermal Neumatic) I’d grab a Dell2713HM IPS one

With the extra cash to your 3500 budget, as imashination suggested I’d get a nice ultrabook with IPS/PLS display and at least 8GB of ram.


That’s “twisted nematic”, Evan :wink:


the new Mac Pro and other Ivy Bridge Xeons will be out soon if you can wait. They will be beasts for rendering with one 12-core CPU. But maybe that’s overkill for your needs

And I have two of those Dell U2713HM screens. really nice


I don’t know why you keep bringing up the new ivy-e Xs. Possibly pre-emptive Apple love? :slight_smile:

They are 6core (12 is HT virtual cores) for the decently clocked ones, and the 2643, the one hexacore with semi decent frequency is 1550$ when you buy tray.
They might be beasts for preview rendering style but only if you have high cycle per die needs, because cycle per buck they are horrendous and close to the absolute worst possible CPU you sould slap into a case.

Given OP’s budget of 3 to 3.5k I’d be more than hesitant recommending one spends more than half of it on what will be a CPU more than thrice as expensive as a top of the line i7 for maybe a 20-30% performance squeeze, if that.
On top of that if you want a single CPU and overclocking is an option they are simply not that good for rendering, and get absolutely smoked at single tasking by even a lowly i5k clocked respectably.
(unless the 2643 will be unlocked, in which case I’ll retract that last paragraph, but I haven’t found any indication either way).

Unless you mean the 2695, which is an actual 12 phys cores, but has a laughable base frequency and is 2.4k tray cost (street price practically the entire floor budget by OP). They are totally NOT meant to be good rendering CPUs, those are webfarm/computational centre CPUs for those with no license bounds and who have footprint and heat priorities.
They would be the only thing worse than the above mentioned 2643 bang for buck for a workstation, so I sincerely hope you weren’t suggesting that.