Here's the deal. I've been builing custom PC's for more than 20 years but not a system anything close to the one I'm planning to build next and need some expert advice and information from anyone up to it. I am looking to build a system specifically for video editing, creating motion graphics, and 3D modeling, and have some rather advanced questions about what components would be best for my specific needs (mainly about the graphics card & disk drives).
First is the video card(s). And I say 'card(s)' because I'm not sure if I need more than one card for what I'm trying to accomplish. I will be creating many long, complex 3D animations using Blender and After Effects, in addition to editing a variety of projects in Premiere, and want the best bang for my buck. My projected budget for this system is pretty high (from $5k to $10k) and I know I can get amazing performance at that price point if I get the right equipment. So onto the cards. From what I've gathered, briefly searching Google, is that I want an Nvidia card with CUDA for video editing. My main question in this area is, would dual or quad graphics cards using SLI be benificial in anything I'm trying to do, or is SLI mainly for improved gaming performance? From what I've gathered, I believe that rendering (at least video, not sure about 3D animation) is done mainly using the CPU, and not the GPU; although CUDA helps. I basically need to know how much it helps. If I purchased two or four GTX 980's would I see a significant improvement in After Effects, Blender, or Premiere? I'm planning on getting one of the top (if not the top) i7 CPU I can find, so there will not be a bottleneck with my CPU performance, so please don't anyone suggest to put the money into the CPU instead of the GPUs, because I will already be putting in the maximum amount there.
My other main question is in regards to hard drives (or solid state). I'm currently doing a bit of editing and 3D modeling on a laptop and it's actually done alright for the few little projects I've worked on so far, but as I start working on projects that have strict deadlines, I'll need a system that can basically render as fast as possible. My main question in this area is, should I use any sort of RAID array. I've looked at numerous forums but none of them specifically answered the question for my unique situation. Most of the other forums said "well if you're only going to be using it for editing and not any animation", etc. but I am going to be doing 3D animation as well, so I need to know what the answer is in that case instead... I also know that other posts, in regards to editing systems, recommend using like three drives for things like scratch disks. I have a feeling I'm going to get some recommendations here saying I need like seven drives for what I'm trying to accomplish, which are the responses I actually really look forward to hearing about. I've looked mainly at RAID 5, 6, & 10 but don't completely understand them and have actually never implemented it in any system I've built so far. From what little I've gathered, I believe RAID 10 would work best for my needs as it offers excellent read & write speeds which is important, and also provides redundancy, which imo is even more important. I can't have the system down for an hour, or worse a week because one of my drives fails. My other question in this area is, would an array of SSDs greatly improve performance in a RAID 10 array? Would it be cost effective? I read in one post recently that HDDs actually handle larger files better than SSDs, and was concerned about putting SSDs in the rig because they wouldn't be able to handle the larger video files I'll frequently be using as well as HDDs would. I imagine I will be shooting and editing many 4K projects soon, and need a system that will handle that resolution well. If I should use 4 HDDs in a RAID 10 array for my OS drive (the RAID for speed & redundance), a small SSD for a scratch disk, and a large SSD or HDD for an video output drive, please list the exact drives/configuration you would suggest I use and why. I am very interested in a bit of a discussion here to get the best possible setup for the money, and will respond to any sincere responses as quickly as possible.
I know that I've asked several pretty complex questions here but am hoping someone with quite a bit more experience than I have in building editing systems can provide a bit of advanced advice and help out myself and anyone else that may try to build a similar system in the future. I also know this question isn't specifically aimed at AE, but it does have to do with it and because AE is editing and motion graphics program, believe I will find the best advice for a system that will edit video and create animations. Thanks a million (in advance) to anyone that provides educated input in response to the questions I've asked!