5 Replies Latest reply on Jun 6, 2013 1:33 AM by Harm Millaard

    New Computer Questions




      I have two clients who are asking me to upgrade my computer. The type of work I do is slightly different from most people, in that I do content for video projection. Almost everything I do uses a non-standard resolution. For example the current project is 1920x3240. Currently the slowest part of the workflow is previewing and rendering. Typically the final rendering is a photo sequence of some type and encoding is done on the media server and is not part of my workflow. I used limited amounts of video footage, with most of the content created in Cinema 4D and After Effects. I use a fair amount of 3rd party effects like trapcode with high particle counts. Content is almost always broken down into small segments that are then played back through the media server, because of this, the amount of video used is pretty small.


      One of my clients is willing to split the cost of a new system, so I'm willing to spend more than I normally would.


      Based on reading this and other forums's here is what I'm looking at:


        Fractal Design Define  ATX Full Tower Computer Case                                          $129.99
        CORSAIR AX1200i 1200W Digital ATX12V v2.31                                                  $329.99
        Noctua NH-D14 SE2011 140mm and 120mm SSO CPU Cooler                          $89.99
        Fractal Design Silent Series R2 FD-FAN-SSR2-140 140mm 140mm Fan          $17.99

        ASUS P9X79-E  WS                                                                                                                                    $499.99
        Intel Core i7-3930K Sandy Bridge-E 3.2GHz (3.8GHz Turbo) LGA 2011 130W Six-Core                 $560.99
        G.SKILL Ripjaws Z Series 64GB (8 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2133 (PC3 17000)     $679.99
        EVGA GeForce GTX 680 FTW+ w/Backplate 4GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16               $539.00
        areca ARC-1882I-MS PCI-Express 2.0 x8 Low Profile SATA / SAS RAID Controller Card                  $640.00
        Western Digital WD WD5003AZEX 500GB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" (Qnty 4)   $299.99
        Corsair Force Series GT CSSD-F240GBGT-BK 2.5" 240GB SATA III MLC - (Qnty 2)                         $479.00
        areca CB-R87SA-75M Right Angle SFF-8087 MiniSAS to 4 SATA Breakout                                        $39.98



      From a drive setup I would do the following:

      SSD - Boot

      SSD - Cache

      HD Raid - Content

      HD Raid - Content


      I have an external raid that has backup data.



      I have a number of questions regarding the system.

          Does the GTX 680 make sense or should I consider a Titan?

          Will the Areca Controller make a big difference in the system for the type of work that I'm doing?

          I looked at the WD VelociRaptor10K drives, would that get much of a peformance gain?






        • 1. Re: New Computer Questions

          I'm very satisfied with my ASUS P9X79-E  WS.  So far it's been rock solid. 

          Just a word of advice, make sure the memory you get is in their "memory compatibility" list. 


          Here is the link to the list:



          I'd definitely suggest Titan or even the new GTX 780 over the 680.


          Noctua mentions that it does block the top PCI-E slot, in their compatibility page


          This might not be an issue for you since you only have one GPU.

          NOTE: It is likely this compatibility document is not made based on a 8-dimms configuration.

          So the NH-D14 SE2011 might block some of the memory slots. 



          Lastly, thumbs up for SSD caching.  What RAID configuration are you going to use?


          • 2. Re: New Computer Questions
            Harm Millaard Level 7

            Does the GTX 680 make sense or should I consider a Titan?

            No. Your disk setup will hold the 680 back from full performance. A GTX 660 Ti may be the better BFTB card.


            Will the Areca Controller make a big difference in the system for the type of work that I'm doing?

            If you expand the raid with more disks, say 12, yes. But these disks are not suitable for parity raids, due to the TLER problems.


            I looked at the WD VelociRaptor10K drives, would that get much of a peformance gain?

            No. Better get HGST Ultrastar or Seagate Constellation or WD RE4 Enterprise drives.


            The previous concerns expressed by the farmer about the Noctua and the memory are irrelevant. They fit nicely without problems, even on a fully populated board.


            Are you sure about the price of the Corsair Force GT SSD? It is very old, not very good in performance and at this price way too expensive. Better get a Samsung 840 Pro SSD.

            • 3. Re: New Computer Questions
              AfterThoughtVideo1 Level 1

              Thanks for the response!!


              I have a few more questions...


              The price on the SSD was directly from Newegg, however I appreciate the recommendation and will update to the samsung. I've also changed the HD to the HGST 2TB, for me that is more space than I need.


              If I understand correctly, if I'm not investing in a large raid setup, it may not make sense to get the external raid controller? So, would you recommend a software raid setup or I'm I better off investing in one or two high quality drive. A typical project for me is around 100mb - 200MB for the entire project (except for the final render). Would you recommend an extra SSD for rendering?


              Even if I don't have a large raid, does a faster video card help reduce the rendering times? Would a pair of 10 or 15k rpm hard drives make more sense?


              My budget is $4000 and the current build is around $3700, while the savings are nice, I'm only paying 1/2 of the cost as the client is paying the other1/2. While I normally don't work with the thought of spending more than needed, the budget has been agreed upon and I want the system to be as fast as possible (for the type of work I do). What would you recommend the remaining money be spent on. Nothing is a ok answer.


              Last question, is now the right time to buy? Would waiting 3-4 months give me a big jump if I only waited a little bit?


              I lied, one more question... I have seem in a number of posts that you recommend a video card that matches the hard drive, what specs are you using to link the two together? This is more of a geek question than a "what should I buy" question.


              Thanks for your support, you are very generous with your knowledge, it is greatly appreciated.



              • 4. Re: New Computer Questions
                AfterThoughtVideo1 Level 1

                I have one more set of questions.


                I do a benefit project for a group called One Drop. This is a very high end show done at one of the major showrooms in Las Vegas. Typically we pay an external vendor to create projection content, this works except it is very expensive. I have said that I felt we could internalize content creation within the company as we have plenty of talent. The missing piece is cost of hardware and software.


                I am thinking about building 10 computers similar to what I spec that can be used for content creation, then towards the end of the project I would convert to onsite render farm. In this scenario do the spec's still make sense or would you tweak them in some way. For this project I could up the budget to 5k a system if that makes a difference.



                • 5. Re: New Computer Questions
                  Harm Millaard Level 7

                  The Areca ARC-1882i-8 has 8 internal ports, so you could go for two 4-disk raid3 or raid5 or even easier for one 8-disk raid3 or raid5, possibly with a hot-spare. Roughly, a n-disk raid3 or raid5 will give a sustained transfer rate of around 0.85 x (n - 1) x T. So a 4-disk raid3 or raid5 will give around 380 - 400 MB/s. A 8-disk raid3 or raid5 will have a transfer rate of around 900 MB/s. This shows the advantage of more disks in an array.


                  Software raids, whether in BIOS or in Windows are limited to striped or mirrored arrays, parity raids are way too slow. Striping is too risky and mirroring does not help speed.


                  Rendering for previews are helped by hardware acceleration for accelerated effects only. But the effectiveness of the video card depends to a large degree on the speed of the CPU, memory and disks. Unless the CPU is significantly overclocked to 4.5+ GHz, memory runs @ 2133 and the disk setup is very fast (400+ MB/s) a GTX 660 TI will not noticeably be slower than a GTX 680.


                  Rendering for export is only helped by a CUDA card when scaling, blending or blurring are applied. If you start with HD source material and export to HD resolution, there is no scaling and thus no acceleration by a CUDA card. It is all done by the CPU, memory and the disks.


                  If you are talking about Velociraptors 10K, no they are not faster than the HGST Ultrastars.

                  If you are talking about 15K SCSI disks, yes they are faster but require a SCSI controller, both of which make them much more expensive.


                  Despite having made the feature request for a render farm numerous times, I think since CS3, this has not yet been effected for PR. A render farm like you have in Vue would be a nice addition, but alas...


                  If you want to have more room for future growth, I would have a look at the 12+4 or 16+4 port ARC 1882iX controller cards. Not only do they expand on the number of ports to 12 or 16 internally, they also add 4 external ports and most importantly, they can accept up to 4 GB cache on the card, where the 8 port versions are limited to 1 GB fixed cache. Do not forget to add a BBM battery backup module to the Areca controller.


                  If you were to take this step and have all those ports available for future expansion, then it could be wise to have a look at the GTX 780, provided overclocking is applied. The GTX Titan is just too costly to justify.