15 Replies Latest reply on Feb 6, 2017 11:40 AM by Smith.Brandon

    [Build] 3D Animating & Video Editing System. $5000 Budget.

    Smith.Brandon Level 1

      Hi guys,


      Over the next 3 days, I hope to have a solid build spec'd out to recommend to my boss. I've done some research, and came up with this current build.


      I currently have 3 monitors, KB/Mouse. We do not have extra internal system cables, so all contents will need to be retail instead of OEM.


      The programs I currently use: Adobe CC17: After Effects, Premiere Pro, and Photoshop.


      My job intends to have me get into Cinema 4D in the near future, and may invest in OctaneRender. We currently have an unlimited Google Drive cloud server that syncs all local files to the cloud, so I am not as concerned with drive failures & raid. My boss wants all components listed from a single retailer, and he is not against using pre-builts if there is something cost effective that achieves everything I'm trying to do at a reasonable price point. I could use some advice and tips. The $5,000 number is not a target, it is simply our cost ceiling. Ideally it should be lower than that. I've been debating the Titan X Pascal, 1080 GTX SLI, and the 128GB of RAM... but we can always purchase a second GPU later if required, but I do not know if the benefits from 64GB to 128GB RAM is a better choice than spending the $500 on a second video card. After Effects can use the RAM, so I've leaned on the single GPU 128GB setup.


      Thank you all for your patience and understanding.

        • 1. Re: [Build] 3D Animating & Video Editing System. $5000 Budget.
          RoninEdits Most Valuable Participant

          for parts:

          gpu- i would change the evga video card to any other brand. there were some problems with evga cards in the news a while ago and they are now in the process of releasing new updated models with fixes.


          ram- you could save some money here, kits of 64gb can be bought for about $100 cheaper, so x2 could be upto $200 savings.


          mbd- the asus x99-a ii is a decent mbd, but its also towards the entry level side. the deluxe version would be a better match to the system for more expansion options and should be higher build quality.


          storage- the 960 evo is overkill for os/apps alone, it would make more sense to use a sata ssd for os/apps. if you really want the 960 evo and need the large os/apps+cache drive sizes, you could get the 1tb 960 evo and then use it for os/apps/projects/cache and drop the 525gb mx300 sata ssd. i would also suggest switching any crucial mx300's to samsung 850 evo's for faster speeds and longer lifespans. for the media drive, one way to increase performance would be to get two 1tb sata ssd's and use motherboard or windows raid-0 for a speed boost. with raid-0 there is a small increase to risk, but with your backups you should be ok, and if one drive does fail you would still have one 1tb to work with temporarily till another 1tb can be purchased. if you want a more reliable backup/archive hdd, then you may want to get an enterprise version hdd.


          case- i think that case is nice overall, but i am concerned that most or all of the hot air inside the case is going thru the psu to exit the case. that just puts extra demands on the psu. personally i would switch cases to avoid doing that to the psu. fractal design and phanteks are some other brands with excellent cases, with several models around the $80-100 range.


          heatsink- if you are going liquid for extreme overclocks, it should be 280mm or larger. otherwise the noctua d15S will perform better than smaller liquid coolers, will be quieter, and more reliable. the noctua is what we recommend as there is no chance of leaks damaging other components, and will last longer than liquid setups. the noctua also comes with good thermal paste.


          psu- you may want a 1k watt psu if you are planning on overclocking and room for expansion with two gpu's.





          ram vs gpu- if you are using that much ram in AE, then its a matter of priority for AE with ram vs any other software that might benefit from the dual gpu's. generally the two gtx 1080's should be faster than a single titan xp, but it will depend how well whichever software you are using can scale performance with two video cards. there are some rumors the gtx 1080 ti might be released in a while, which might help push down prices on the gtx 1080 or just might be better value than the titan xp.

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: [Build] 3D Animating & Video Editing System. $5000 Budget.
            RoninEdits Most Valuable Participant

            just to add another point, if you are planning on using dual gpu later and want to run them at x16/x16 pcie lanes, there will only be 8 lanes left over for any expansion and the m.2 pcie ssd will need at least x4. some motherboards when using the m.2 slot will force one of the gpu slots down to x8, and some will leave the gpu's at x16 but won't have any pcie slots available for another card like adding a display i/o or thunderbolt 3 card etc. switching the m.2 pcie ssd to a sata ssd would help keep an x8 pcie slot open with a motherboard like the asus deluxe ii while running dual gpu's at x16/x16. if you are fine with a bit of performance penalty by running the gpu's at x16/x8 or x8/x8 then there will be more options for expansion with m.2 pcie ssd, but all configs depend on the motherboard design.

            1 person found this helpful
            • 3. Re: [Build] 3D Animating & Video Editing System. $5000 Budget.
              Bill Gehrke Most Valuable Participant

              As Ronin pointed out do not waste a PCIe M.2 for your OS/Applications as your OS and applications are designed to run out of RAM.  But things like media and associated project files should be on the fastest drives available like the PCIe x4 M.2 drives

              1 person found this helpful
              • 4. Re: [Build] 3D Animating & Video Editing System. $5000 Budget.
                Smith.Brandon Level 1


                1. GPU: I could switch to a Gigabyte 1080 Extreme edition. Same price.

                2. RAM: I could switch to this G.SKILL Ripjaws V DDR4 3200. Thoughts? That's a $230 savings.

                3. Motherboard: I could switch to the ASUS X99 Deluxe for future proofing. (We're not overclocking). That's $166 more.

                4. SSD OS / Cache: I can switch both the Samsung 960 Evo 500GB M.2 + Crucial MX300 Sata 512GB for one drive. The 1TB Samsung EVO Sata. That's $80 more.

                5. SSD Media: I can switch the Crucial MX300 2TB for the Samsung 850 EVO TB. That's $150 more. I can get a second one in the future for increased performance, as this is a large expense and will go over budget.

                6. CASE: I can swap my current case out for a Fractal Design case. That's a $40 savings.

                7. HEATSINK: I can swap my current liquid HS for the Noctua d15S. Is this the correct product? That's $40 more.

                8. PSU: I can swap my current PSU for the EVGA SuperNOVA 1000W. That's $30 more.


                Total Increase: $199. Still under budget. Whew. Can't tally it up exactly at the moment.

                Question: I have only ever had a single GPU in my personal systems, and have never understood the "x16/x16, x8/x8, x16/x8 PCIe lane." Basically what I'm wondering is: If we upgrade to the Deluxe version of the motherboard's design, and I later upgraded to another GTX 1080, is it your recommendation that I remove the M.2 PCIe SSD in favor of a SATA then?


                Bill Gehrke:

                RoninEdits recommended that I could make my C:\ drive a 1TB Samsung 960 EVO that acts as a OS/Programs/Cache. Is it your opinion that this is an OK way of operating? I have a feeling I misunderstood what he was saying and I've got this all mixed up. M.2 = Good for Cache/Media Files = Bad for OS. Sata = Good for OS/Apps. So I'm assuming then: 512TB Samsung 850 Evo for OS/Apps, 512GB Samsung Evo 960 for Cache, and 2TB Samsung 850 for Media. I need at least 2TB for media, as I do a lot of projects in parallel and I believe moving large project files between drives will become cumbersome over time.

                • 5. Re: [Build] 3D Animating & Video Editing System. $5000 Budget.
                  Bill Gehrke Most Valuable Participant

                  As I said I think it is a mistake to waste the high performance of the M.2 960 on the OS/Programs as as soon as you are up and running the important stuff is in RAM  All my testing I leave the Premiere Cache in the default OS/application "USER" folder.  Then I put the all the project files/media on the fastest 960.  I believe that Adobe Effects is more sensitive to cache speed so maybe that needs to be on the M.2 960.


                  Here is a recent build that was tested with my Premiere Pro BenchMark (PPBM) the results for this user were great.  Below those recent result on a very similar configuration to what you are considering are given and the simplified explanation follows.



                        "22","58","15","262", Premiere Version:,


                  The results in the artwork above are my results.  Slightly better that but explainable.

                  1 person found this helpful
                  • 6. Re: [Build] 3D Animating & Video Editing System. $5000 Budget.
                    RoninEdits Most Valuable Participant

                    gpu - i don't research every part, i can only say i haven't seen any bad news on that gigabyte card. looking a some pictures, it appears the card might be 2 1/2 slots tall, so it may block two pcie slots on the motherboard below it, instead of the normal 1 slot.


                    ram - gskill has a good reputation for a value brand with pretty low failure rates. most ddr4 memory will work with any motherboard, but above ddr4-3000 motherboards can be more picky. if you want you can double check the memory qvl on the motherboard mfg website and/or search online for the motherboard and memory kit to see if anyone is using them together ok or having problems.


                    storage - for premiere, bill's testing has shown little to no benefit with using the m.2 drive for a os/apps/cache drive. m.2 drives are typically recommended for cache/media drives here, the focus on the media drive performance, and sometimes os/apps/cache/media when room allows. since they are so crazy fast they can do that. normally a sata ssd is fine for cache, but if you are doing large resolution raw/uncompressed media cache in other software it might benefit from the faster m.2. my first recommendation was to replace the m.2 with a sata ssd, but that if you insisted on having the m.2 (as some folks do), for a little more money you could get a larger m.2 drive and it would be like upgrading the cache drive. you could also go with sata ssd all around, one for os/apps, one or two in raid-0 for cache, and another one or two in raid-0 for media. also, i looked on newegg and the WD gold enterprise hdd was only $10 more when i looked.


                    case - that's a decent case. its built with liquid cooling in mind, but still works good for regular builds. the solid side panel version will have extra noise dampening material, if that matters to you, and will also hide any ugly or mismatched color components like the brown noctua fans. the solid side panel also has another fan spot. i don't think the case has a fan hub in it, so depending how many case fans you have, you might want to get one or two fan cable y-splitters so you can plug all the fans into the motherboard.


                    heatsink - that link to the d15s isn't the main one available. the main page/link should have more sellers, reviews, and priced around $80.


                    psu - that's should be fine, they get good reviews.



                    pcie lanes - it depends on the motherboard as to how the pcie lanes are used/split. with the asus deluxe ii, the m.2 slot shares pcie lanes with the third x16 size pcie slot (where a second video card at x16 would go). so to have two video cards at x16/x16, you couldn't use its m.2 slot. otherwise using the m.2 slot will force the second video card to x8. anything in the last pcie slot on the deluxe ii motherboard won't interfere with the two gpu's at x16/x16, so its possible to use the last pcie slot to hold a m.2 in a pcie x4 m.2 adapter. i'm not sure if that makes any difference for allowing it to boot, getting m.2 drives to boot on the x99 platform can be a bit tricky. the asus x99-a ii is different, with that 40 lane cpu it can run two video cards at x16/x16 and still use the m.2 slot. the m.2 in that x99-a ii is isolated from the pcie slots. however, adding another card in the last pcie slot will drop the video cards from x16/x16 to x8/x16. all of this is in the manuals, you can download and read them to help pick the motherboard. x16/x16 isn't mandatory, so if you don't mind a slight performance hit, having one video card at x8 can open expansion options if needed.

                    1 person found this helpful
                    • 7. Re: [Build] 3D Animating & Video Editing System. $5000 Budget.
                      Smith.Brandon Level 1

                      Thank you Bill and Ronin for your replies thus far. So I've re-made the original post with new components based on my understanding of your recommendations, and I apologize in advance if I appear not to be understanding your recommendations.



                      RAM: I believe after Googling a little bit I saw people discussing the ASUS X99 Deluxe with G.SKILL Ripjaw V ram and having a good experience.


                      • SSD/M.2 Performance: Ronin mentioned that in Bills tests the Cache/Media drives benefit most from m.2 rather than SSD, but moreso on the Media drives. The difficulty I have, is that I have 12-15 on-going projects at the same time, taking up an average of 1TB for raw files (not including Cache). This drive is also my sync'd Google Drive. Once a project is complete, the raw files get moved to an Archive Drive and deleted from the Media Drive. While it is true most of those projects aren't opened every day, they are opened at least once every 3 days or so, pending client feedback. So I do not think it is practical to purchase a 1TB M.2 drive for both Media + Cache. I suspect I'd be transferring raw files & projects to the Cache drive regularly just to save M.2 Drive space, I see that becoming annoying quickly. Though, maybe it's worth doing that for the extra speed the M.2 provides I don't know. So what I've done in this build, is dedicate one 500GB SSD drive to Cache and one 1TB M.2 drive to Media. Perhaps I could just use the M.2 drive for the few, large projects and animation files I'm not sure yet.
                      • HDD: You mentioned the 6TB Western Digital Gold Edition being only X dollars more than my current black Drive. Being the layman that I am, what does a Gold "datacenter drive" do better than the black "creative professionals drive."? More reliability?


                      Thanks guys for spending the time you have thus far. I hope to have this concluded by Monday at noon when we will be making the purchase.

                      • 8. Re: [Build] 3D Animating & Video Editing System. $5000 Budget.
                        RoninEdits Most Valuable Participant

                        thermal paste -  i suggest dropping the arctic silver 5, its slightly conductive which could lead to problems if too much is applied. the thermal paste that comes with the noctua cooler is very good.


                        drives -  the black hdd is for performance, but its still hdd speeds and you are using it for backups/archive. enterprise hdd's tend to have lower failure rates and lower data corruption.


                        some more food for though on m.2 vs sata -  m.2 drives can be 2-4x faster than a single sata ssd, are a good way to avoid raid (some folks do not want to raid), and are good for extremely large bitrate media, or multiple layers of medium to high bitrate media. however, at those bitrates 1tb will usually only hold one or two small projects. if you are worried about space on the media drive, samsung does offer the 2tb 960 pro, or you could windows raid-0 two 1tb 960 evo's. but those might break your budget, and two m.2's would take more expansion options up. if you ever needed more space, adding a third m.2 for more space would take even more pcie lanes and may end up dropping a dual gpu setup to x8/x8. whereas sata ssd raid-0 will still be fast, would keep pcie card expansion options open, and would be cheaper.

                        1 person found this helpful
                        • 9. Re: [Build] 3D Animating & Video Editing System. $5000 Budget.
                          Smith.Brandon Level 1

                          I have dropped the Thermal Paste in favor of the Noctua Cooler's. I understand the purpose of the gold drive now and will stick with that.


                          How about if I drop the Samsung EVO 850 SATA 500GB cache drive for two Samsung EVO 850 1TB drives in RAID0. This way I'll have 2TBs in faster SSD Cache/Media storage and I can use the m.2 for animation/bigger projects? I could also schedule the archive drive to make daily backups. I'm at $4,981.57 with that.

                          • 10. Re: [Build] 3D Animating & Video Editing System. $5000 Budget.
                            RoninEdits Most Valuable Participant

                            i think that is a good compromise, it would give you lots more space. and anytime you find the sata ssd raid not fast enough, for either cache/renders or media, the m.2 can pick up the slack.

                            1 person found this helpful
                            • 11. Re: [Build] 3D Animating & Video Editing System. $5000 Budget.
                              Smith.Brandon Level 1

                              Cool. So then I think I'm almost ready to fire the trigger on this system. The only major sticking point I think is coming up with a backup solution. I'll be the first to admit, for the past 2-3 years we've exclusively used a Google Drive directory to upload & backup all video content in real time. With two active directories, my assumption is we'll have to find a program that copies the contents of both the m.2 drive and RAID0 SSD Drive to the HDD Drive, and then use the Western Digital drive as the new Google Sync directory.


                              I've gotten used to the immediacy of a rendered file being instantly uploaded to Google Drive. I suspect there is a way I can have my Rendered Video Output directory automatically copy rendered files over to the archive drive to be uploaded to Google Drive and the raw files can be scheduled to upload every evening when I am not at work.

                              • 12. Re: [Build] 3D Animating & Video Editing System. $5000 Budget.
                                RoninEdits Most Valuable Participant

                                with any sync software being used for backup, you want to make sure that when the original file is deleted that the sync/backup software will keep its copy of the file, or when a file is overwritten it will version the file instead of overwriting. those are key features to automated backup/sync software that keeps the backups safer.


                                if you are doing background exports, like from adobe media encoder, it may not be as important to have it write to a fast drive. so it could be set to write to the hdd and let google drive catch it to sync. if you are exporting from premiere or AE, then depending on the project and export codec the hdd may still be fast enough. if not, then perhaps you can have multiple folders and locations in google drive? or you would have to use a local sync program to have it automatically copy the export files from the ssd to the hdd.

                                1 person found this helpful
                                • 13. Re: [Build] 3D Animating & Video Editing System. $5000 Budget.
                                  Smith.Brandon Level 1

                                  As far as making sure Google Sync does not automatically delete a given archive project, absolutely. The method I've exercised over the past several years is to move the Project file (on Google Drive) to an un-sync'ed Google Drive folder, this deletes the file locally from my system automatically and ensures it being backed up safely.


                                  Unfortunately, from what I've read, Google Drive does not allow for multiple sync directories. So I'd have to come up with a method to back up raw video immediately between both media drives. I guess it doesn't make sense to assign the Google Drive to ether of the Media drives but instead only to the Archive drive.

                                  • 14. Re: [Build] 3D Animating & Video Editing System. $5000 Budget.
                                    RoninEdits Most Valuable Participant

                                    there are lots of software folder sync programs, with varying options like skipping deleted files and versioning. some also run in the background and constantly watch folders, so it automatically starts when it see's new files, which sounds like what you want. while some can run on scheduled times to check for new files. some are free, some are paid, i haven't tested enough to make any recommendations.

                                    1 person found this helpful
                                    • 15. Re: [Build] 3D Animating & Video Editing System. $5000 Budget.
                                      Smith.Brandon Level 1

                                      In any case, I think that solution can be found in the near-medium term. Thank you for your assistance Ronin, you've been instrumental in helping me determine this hardware. Thanks!