Re: Workstation Help!

Postby Cyberdemon » June 28th, 2013, 11:10 am

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seandavidson wrote:Hey guys! Thanks so much for all the advice and guidance throughout this thread.

After careful consideration I have decided to stay away from a Laptop and am now in the process of detailing a desktop to suit my needs. While it would be great to have a laptop to work where ever I please, I do not feel that it is absolutely necessary and will probably be happier with a more reliable and upgradable machine. Hatts, in an earlier post directed to me to http://pcpartpicker.com where I could piece together my machine, so I think that is where I shall start.

If anyone has any other suggestions for powerful workstations, by all means, lead me to them.

I am planning on using the i7-4770k processor with either a quadro 4000 or geforce 780 card and 32 Gb's of ram. I am lacking a motherboard, cpu cooler and an appropriate power supply, so I need to do some research on appropriate parts for my machine.

Many thanks, once again!


If you aren't overclocking, the OEM CPU cooler is fine. If you want burly or quiet, you can go with a canned watercooler like a Corsair H60 or a Coolermaster Hyper 212 which is plenty of bang for the buck even when overclocking.

I'd go with the GTX760 unless you do a lot of GPU heavy work. If you find it's too slow you can upgrade it, but the 780 will be overkill for most CAD applications. The Quadro will give you some higher end features in certain tools, but you may not need it. Most people CAD on gaming cards these days.

For a power supply I'd go with something like a 600+ watt modular PSU just so you have room to scale. Modular just makes it easier to use only the cables you need.

Make sure to get a good SSD and nice monitor and you'll be all set. If you post your build I can provide more specifics but you should be able to build a nice 4770k system for under $1500 and still have $2k left over for monitors and a Macbook air.

Re: Workstation Help!

Postby van_ID » June 28th, 2013, 1:07 pm

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From reading the previous posts - it looks like the decision has been made... but thought I'd chime in with some related experience.

A few years ago I was in a similar situation and decided I wanted a laptop capable of allowing me to do CAD and renderings "on the road".
I thought that I was going to do a lot of work away from my office/home so I bought a top end Dell 17" laptop. Can't remember how much it was - but it certainly wasn't cheap.

I now rarely use it as it is so heavy, doesn't fit in any standard laptop bags, the power-supply is huge and the battery power drains quickly when used at full tilt. I could also cook an egg on it after a few minutes :) I despise having to lug it around when I do actually need to.

In short - to be really productive with CAD you need a great (large) monitor and a mouse - 2 things a laptop can't offer (at least while plugged in at a coffee shop)

As mentioned by others - get yourself a great (and expandable/updatable) desktop and a nice portable laptop to use with presentations. You'll be set.

RJ

Re: Workstation Help!

Postby seandavidson » June 28th, 2013, 1:37 pm


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This is what I have configured so far, from reading /r/buildapcforme on reddit and PCpartpickers forums, this looks like my best option. Anyone know anything about wireless network adapters? I went with one of the highest rated cards, which will probably be okay.

What do you guys think?

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3930K 3.2GHz 6-Core Processor ($499.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.98 @ Outlet PC)
Thermal Compound: Arctic Cooling MX-2 4g Thermal Paste ($4.98 @ Outlet PC)
Motherboard: ASRock X79 Extreme6 ATX LGA2011 Motherboard ($223.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws Z Series 32GB (8 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($299.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 840 Series 500GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($327.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($64.98 @ Outlet PC)
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 760 2GB Video Card ($263.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Sound Card: Asus Xonar DG 24-bit 96 KHz Sound Card ($27.99 @ NCIX US)
Wired Network Adapter: Intel EXPI9301CTBLK 10/100/1000 Mbps PCI-Express x1 Network Adapter ($28.63 @ NCIX US)
Wireless Network Adapter: Linksys AE3000 802.11a/b/g/n USB 2.0 Wi-Fi Adapter ($48.91 @ Amazon)
Case: Fractal Design Define R4 w/Window (Black Pearl) ATX Mid Tower Case ($74.99 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Corsair Professional 750W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($129.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($17.98 @ Outlet PC)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 (OEM) (64-bit) ($88.98 @ Outlet PC)
Monitor: Asus VG248QE 144Hz 24.0" Monitor ($249.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $2383.34
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-06-28 14:35 EDT-0400)

Re: Workstation Help!

Postby Cyberdemon » June 28th, 2013, 1:51 pm

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Looks Solid.

Get rid of the sound card and the wired network adapter - both of those are built onto the motherboard. You can also get an internal Wifi card if you want, it'll be cheaper and better integrated than the dongle, plus usually the antennas have better performance.

IMO Windows 8 sucks, consider sticking with Windows 7 Professional 64.

If you want to get some more bang for your buck and are willing to put in some time to do the research, the 3930k can overclock pretty easily to 4.5ghz+ - if you go with a heavy duty water cooler like the H100 you can get almost all of the performance of the $1000 chip just by adding a $100 cooler.

Some benchmarks:
http://www.overclock3d.net/reviews/cpu_ ... k_review/6

It's all pretty safe these days as well, the motherboards and chip are designed to prevent themselves from doing anything bad, so you can very easily push the chip using some predetermined settings and get a big performance bump for not a lot of work. You can also torture test it and make sure it'll be rock solid and stable for your work.

Also that monitor isn't really a good monitor for a design professional. You really want an IPS panel that will get you the right color reproduction. Right now the best deal out there is probably these:

http://www.monoprice.com/products/searc ... ps+monitor

Monoprice (and several other vendors) are buying the grade A- (not perfect) monitors that Dell and Apple use in their $1000+ cinema displays and reselling them for fractions of the price. They're still EXCELLENT displays and the super high DPI is fantastic...I currently use the Dell 2711U which the monoprice version has the same panel. I'd highly recommend it for something you'll be staring at for long periods of time. The defects are also usually very limited...there might be 2 or 3 dead pixels or a small backlight uniformity issue but they're usually only the kind of things you'd spot if they were pointed out to you or you were staring at a solid color screen. Best bang for the buck right now.

Re: Workstation Help!

Postby Sain » June 28th, 2013, 1:59 pm

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Also look into your student bookstore and see if they have software discounts. At UC we had Windows 7 there being offered for 7 bucks. Yours school may offer a similar discount.
emmanuel carrillo - emmanuelcarrillo.com

Re: Workstation Help!

Postby seandavidson » June 28th, 2013, 2:26 pm


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Cyberdemon wrote:Looks Solid.

Get rid of the sound card and the wired network adapter - both of those are built onto the motherboard. You can also get an internal Wifi card if you want, it'll be cheaper and better integrated than the dongle, plus usually the antennas have better performance.

IMO Windows 8 sucks, consider sticking with Windows 7 Professional 64.

If you want to get some more bang for your buck and are willing to put in some time to do the research, the 3930k can overclock pretty easily to 4.5ghz+ - if you go with a heavy duty water cooler like the H100 you can get almost all of the performance of the $1000 chip just by adding a $100 cooler.

Some benchmarks:
http://www.overclock3d.net/reviews/cpu_ ... k_review/6

It's all pretty safe these days as well, the motherboards and chip are designed to prevent themselves from doing anything bad, so you can very easily push the chip using some predetermined settings and get a big performance bump for not a lot of work. You can also torture test it and make sure it'll be rock solid and stable for your work.

Also that monitor isn't really a good monitor for a design professional. You really want an IPS panel that will get you the right color reproduction. Right now the best deal out there is probably these:

http://www.monoprice.com/products/searc ... ps+monitor

Monoprice (and several other vendors) are buying the grade A- (not perfect) monitors that Dell and Apple use in their $1000+ cinema displays and reselling them for fractions of the price. They're still EXCELLENT displays and the super high DPI is fantastic...I currently use the Dell 2711U which the monoprice version has the same panel. I'd highly recommend it for something you'll be staring at for long periods of time. The defects are also usually very limited...there might be 2 or 3 dead pixels or a small backlight uniformity issue but they're usually only the kind of things you'd spot if they were pointed out to you or you were staring at a solid color screen. Best bang for the buck right now.


You're probably right, and i'm not sure if there are any compatibility issues between older programs and Windows 8. I haven't used it yet and was going to order it just for the hell of it, so I guess I'll stick with 7.

I'll see what I can find for IPS panels, Thanks!

Sain wrote:Also look into your student bookstore and see if they have software discounts. At UC we had Windows 7 there being offered for 7 bucks. Yours school may offer a similar discount.


Good thinking Sain, I didn't even think about that.

Re: Workstation Help!

Postby seandavidson » June 28th, 2013, 2:40 pm


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Found this IPS monitor from AOS.

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/AOC---27%26 ... Id=6293177

From the reviews I have read, it seems like a great monitor for a great price. Fast refresh rate, good color depth (darkest darks and lightest lights are slightly off) but I think I can get over that for a $300 monitor. What would be the difference between this IPS monitor and one of the monoprice's you suggested?

Re: Workstation Help!

Postby Cyberdemon » June 28th, 2013, 3:22 pm

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That AOC is a 1080P panel (1920x1080 resolution) the Monoprice 27" is 2560x1440 so it's substantially more pixels and much higher DPI. Just think of it as the difference between the Pre-retina and post retina iPhone.

Technically the Monoprice is also a 10 bit (Vs 8 bit) panel for the AOC, (it has a higher ability to reproduce color) but it can't really be taken advantage of.

Re: Workstation Help!

Postby seandavidson » June 28th, 2013, 3:37 pm


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Cyberdemon wrote:That AOC is a 1080P panel (1920x1080 resolution) the Monoprice 27" is 2560x1440 so it's substantially more pixels and much higher DPI. Just think of it as the difference between the Pre-retina and post retina iPhone.

Technically the Monoprice is also a 10 bit (Vs 8 bit) panel for the AOC, (it has a higher ability to reproduce color) but it can't really be taken advantage of.


Ahh I failed to even pay attention to resolution. I could have saved myself the embarrassment.

It seems like all other 2560x1440 are in the 650-1200 price range. Now I just need to search for a good deal on an appropriate monitor.

Re: Workstation Help!

Postby Cyberdemon » June 28th, 2013, 3:55 pm

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The Monoprice is probably the most reputable reseller at the moment. They also have the same monitors coming from Microcenter, and Ebay under the names Catleap, Crossover, Achevia etc. Some vendors will let you pay more for the a monitor with no flawed pixels (AKA they open the box, check to see if theres any pixel issues then seal it back up) - but the monitor is so high res it's very difficult to spot a bad pixel in normal use.

The other main differences are whether or not they have anti glare coating or glossy finish (personal preference, I prefer matte but many people think glossy "looks" better as long as you don't have any awkward lighting in your environment) also some have more inputs than others, the cheaper ones just have a barebones DVI connection and that's it. More expensive ones will have HDMI, displayport, etc.

Re: Workstation Help!

Postby seandavidson » June 28th, 2013, 4:08 pm


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Cyberdemon wrote:The Monoprice is probably the most reputable reseller at the moment. They also have the same monitors coming from Microcenter, and Ebay under the names Catleap, Crossover, Achevia etc. Some vendors will let you pay more for the a monitor with no flawed pixels (AKA they open the box, check to see if theres any pixel issues then seal it back up) - but the monitor is so high res it's very difficult to spot a bad pixel in normal use.

The other main differences are whether or not they have anti glare coating or glossy finish (personal preference, I prefer matte but many people think glossy "looks" better as long as you don't have any awkward lighting in your environment) also some have more inputs than others, the cheaper ones just have a barebones DVI connection and that's it. More expensive ones will have HDMI, displayport, etc.



I may go with Dell's U2713HM. It seems like the best entry IPS monitor and is getting excellent ratings all across the board. The Asus PB278Q also looks like a great monitor, and is 100 bucks cheaper, but doesn't have the color presets or USB ports. Hmm..

Re: Workstation Help!

Postby Cyberdemon » June 28th, 2013, 5:28 pm

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Can't go wrong with the Ultrasharps if you've got the cash. I've run only Ultrasharps since 2002 and never looked back. One thing to keep in mind though is the U2713HM is actually a lower end panel but it does have the resolution, just not the color output. Great for CAD, not quite as good for photo editing or any color sensitive work. The U2711 which has been on sale quite a bit lately for the same price range:

http://slickdeals.net/permadeal/97672/d ... emiercolor

$450 off coupon code (not positive if it's still valid)

Re: Workstation Help!

Postby seandavidson » June 28th, 2013, 6:18 pm


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Cyberdemon wrote:Can't go wrong with the Ultrasharps if you've got the cash. I've run only Ultrasharps since 2002 and never looked back. One thing to keep in mind though is the U2713HM is actually a lower end panel but it does have the resolution, just not the color output. Great for CAD, not quite as good for photo editing or any color sensitive work. The U2711 which has been on sale quite a bit lately for the same price range:

http://slickdeals.net/permadeal/97672/d ... emiercolor

$450 off coupon code (not positive if it's still valid)


Damn, that's cheap!
I'm not too worried about color, as I use my MBP for all my imaging work.

Re: Workstation Help!

Postby Brett_nyc » July 11th, 2013, 8:44 am


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I'm finding myself in a similar situation...

This is going to be a totally new machine probably from Dell or HP, or someplace you guys would recommend over those. I'm not doing a scratch build. It's company money but I don't want to spend where it unnecessary.

I use Alias Studiotools, Solidworks, Keyshot, plus Adobe stuff daily.

-16gb of ram seems fine
-I'll probably get a boot SSD and a big 2nd HDD

-Is a Xeon set up(dual or single) worth it over an i7 proc set up? Should I aim for more cores, or higher clock speed? or both?

-I have dual nvidia GTX 280 video cards right now and they seem to run everything fine. Are the quadro cards worth investing in? I don't really really want to fuss with video drivers too much.

Re: Workstation Help!

Postby Cyberdemon » July 11th, 2013, 3:05 pm

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Brett,

16GB is plenty and easy to upgrade.
-SSD is a must these days. It's the #1 speed improvement you'll get on a computer. SSD prices are also cheap enough to get a 256 gig drive and use it for your working files as well. Will help considerably when saving big files. You can always move them to an archive folder on the HDD when needed.

-For rendering, cores over clock. For day to day usage, it's the opposite - fastest clock speed since all those other tools are only single threaded for most tasks . If renderings is a major time sink and huge part of your workflow, opt for as many cores as you can afford. If rendering is an occasional thing and most of your renderings finish in a few minutes (like most Keyshot renderings will on a quad core I7) then optimize for a 4770k and save the money.

If you are happy with your current GTX setup then don't worry about upgrading to a Quadro. But the 200 series cards are pretty dated, so an upgrade to something like the 760 (or even an older 660) would help.

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