10 Replies Latest reply on Mar 30, 2011 8:44 PM by JAKE JONSON

    Workstation Build. Can I get some advice?



      Hello all, I am hoping I can get some advice on my build to be. Been reading as much as I can from this site and it has helped immensely. With the following machine I plan to edit 30min+ projects with some light compositing using NukeX. I do plan on doing some gaming here and there but essentially this will mainly be for my personal film projects. A lot of the stuff I shot is on a Canon 5D MKII and Canon 7D.




      ASUS Rampage III Gene LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard


      I really like the 2 usb 3.0 poorest as I plan to purchasing, sometime in the future a Drobo with a USB 3.0 interface to archive my projects. The PCie 2.0 lanes will help me keep one lane for my video card and the other for the raid controller.



      Intel Core i7-970 Gulftown 3.2GHz


      I plan to OC to 4ghz in the near future and cool it with a water-cooling kit from swiftech because is less noisy than air cooled. For now I will leave at stock and cool it with the stock fan and just add some arctic silver thermal compound.


      System Memory:

      x6 CORSAIR XMS 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 = 24Gb


      I am happy with the CAS timing 7-8-7-20 timing. Since I have room in my budget I decided to go all out and max my motherboards limit.


      Power supply:



      I plan to expand to an x68 mobo in the future so I wanted to give myself as much room as possible so all I have to do is just swap out the mobo and cpu.


      Video Card:

      EVGA 012-P3-1571-KR GeForce GTX 570 HD



      System Harddrive:

      Corsair Force CSSD-F180GB2-BRKT 2.5" 180GB SATA


      I've read lots of good thing of the SandForce SF1200 controller.


      Raid Controller:

      3ware Internal 9750-4i SATA/SAS 6Gb/s PCI-Express 2.0 w/ 512MB onboard memory


      I've read some good things on these forums about this controller. I plan to setup my system with a raid 5 configuration.

      This gives me good enough speeds while giving me some piece of mind at the same time.


      Raid Hard Drives:

      x4 Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive = 4Tb




      Windows 7 64bit



      COOLER MASTER HAF X RC-942-KKN1 Black Steel


      Very nice case with lots of space and quite fans for optimal airflow.



      I was really hoping Intel would have had the x68 chipsets out by now. Rumor has it they wont be out until Q4 2011. I personally cant wait that long as I have a few projects about to kick start soon and I need to have something to work with. If the x68 mobos come out this year, I can just simply replace and sale the current mobo and cpu, probably memory too. As to how I plan to run Premiere, taken from the "Generic Guideline for Disk Setup Link" Link:http://forums.adobe.com/thread/662972 article, I plan to go with the 5 disk option. I do plan on expanding to more drives in the future as well.


      So far all of this is costing me $3,240.00. This is great because I set out to keep things below 3,500. Well thats it, so what do you all think?

        • 1. Re: Workstation Build. Can I get some advice?
          Harm Millaard Level 7

          I miss a third party CPU cooler like CoolerMaster, Noctua or Prolimatech. If you intend to overclock to around 4.0 GHz, you will definitely need one.


          If one has had less than stellar experiences with brand A but great experiences with brand B, there is a tendency to advise brand B over A. Consider my next remarks in that light.


          Instead of 3Ware consider Areca. Also consider an 8-port version to have room to grow.


          Check out eXtreme Power Supply Calculator Pro v2.5 and get the Pro version. Enter all your current and planned components, put CPU load at 100% and capacitor aging at 30%. Calculate the suggested Wattage and add 10 - 15% for safety. BUT, carefully check the suggested power on all rails and compare that to the Enermax. When I build my system, I initially had the Enermax in mind, but found that the power on the 3.3 V rails was insufficient in my case, so I had to get another PSU.


          Keep in mind that the Caviar Blacks have the WDTLER feature, making them less desirable for parity raids. Samsung F3 may well be the better choice.


          If you run over budget with an 8 port raid controller, you could exchange the SSD for a conventional HDD, It will save you money, you will not lose performance, but you lose bragging rights.

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Workstation Build. Can I get some advice?
            JEShort01 Level 4



            My comments will be lenghthy, not because your are on the wrong track in my opinion, but as your build is so similar to mine, I have various small tips here and there...


            Water Cooled - what a pain, but it is indeed VERY quiet and stable once you are done; my Swiftech is the 655 non-variable speed model and is suspended from a 1/2" hose to keep it quiet; mounting it to anything - I repeat, anything - really increased the audible sound. Why "wait until later"? I did that bloody first so I did not have to come in later rebuild all cable routing, etc.


            Controller - strongly agree w/ Harm on two accounts here; get 8 or MORE channels and lean towards models proven on the top of his and Bill's PPBM5 benchmark (Areca, Intel, and LSI). You even talk of swaping out a 970 for faster, but I suspect that with 4 channels, even w/ RAID 0, your controller would be the weakest link for a PPro CS5 build.


            Work drives - suggest more spindles and RAID 5; love the new big-cache drives, but if budget prevails, getting more drives on your RAID probably needs to be a priority. I benched with 12x 1TB RAID 0 and backed off to 8xRAID 5 for my final build with a 950 running at 4.3. If you stick with the 970, you may event want/need more spindles than 8, but I'm only guessing. Regarding RAID 5 - just do it! Or at least some other RAID other than 0 so you can loose a drive and not loose EVERYTHING (RAID3, 30, etc.).


            Boot drive - suggest 2 (or more) smaller SSDs in RAID 0; your read speed will soar and you will see a noticable difference. If you have to cut funds and eliminate the SSD all together, again to fund drives and controller as mentioned above, I really like a 2x1TB RAID 0 OS/Program setup for performance and BFTB (bang for the buck); just partition the first 150GB or so and leave the rest alone (this short stroking will help seek speed and you will be using the fastest area of the large drives). The older gen. 1TB 7200 rpm drives are a great deal since they cost approx. half of what the current gen. drives tend to sell for.


            Intel i7-970 - wonderful choice; I wish they had lowered the price of this CPU BEFORE I had purchased a 950! That being said if your budget is really firm, you NEED lots more funds for a stronger controller, you are planning on WC'ing, and the 950 (purchased from a Micro Center store) would save you $400.


            Memory - 24GB all the way! You may have to run these at 9-9-9 OC'd as you plan, but no worries, it will be fast.


            Motherboard - I'm not terribly familar with this choice, but just looking at how cramped it is I would suggest a different one. Putting a controller into PCIe slot 2 will really cramp your video card's ability to pull in fresh air. You will also loose the PCIe x1 slot (covered by the video card) and if you ever need to add another card for any reason - firewire compatibility, USB 4.0 (!!!???), etc. you would not be able to.


            Case - love it! Wish the HAF-X would fit in my study cabinet; I went with the HAF-932 Black edition (solid side door) myself due to a height limitation .


            Enermax REV85+, EVGA GTX 570, Win7 64-bit - all sound fine to me.


            Good luck!



            • 3. Re: Workstation Build. Can I get some advice?
              Scott Chichelli Level 3

              """If you run over budget with an 8 port raid controller, you could exchange the SSD for a conventional HDD, It will save you money, you will not lose performance, but you lose bragging rights."""




              a big +1 lose the SSD.



              i dont like your ram..

              get the Intel Raid controller, if you are going to buy one an 8 port minimum is wise. hate to see you drop $ on a 4 port.


              if doing raid 3,5,6 you need the WD RE4 if raid 0 you will be fine with what you picked. is it really worth taking the chance?

              any Parity raid needs enterprise drives...


              as Harm mentioned if OCing (and you will) you need a better cooler. skip the silly water cooling, and a good CPU fan can be quiet. (noctua)





              • 4. Re: Workstation Build. Can I get some advice?
                arcadiabc Level 1

                Thank you for the input thus far guys. I greatly appreciate you taking the time to read through my list.



                Power supply:

                -@Harm Thank you for that link. I decided to change it and go with a CORSAIR Professional Series AX1200:http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139014

                While the Enermax I already had was good, this one gives me more room for any future expansion, specifically on the 3.3v rail.


                Raid Controller:

                -I am definitely listening on the controller card. So I decided on an areca ARC-1222 PCIe x8 SATA / SAS:http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816151039


                Raid Hard Drives:

                -As for the hard drives, I read you can disable TLER on the RE models. Either way I will stick with the Samsung F3s and save myself the hassle and are cheaper too.


                CPU Cooling:

                -@Jes Thanks for the heads up on the Swiftech cooler. Its hard to beat water cooling at ~25 dBA. I work off my apartment in NYC and summers here can get quite hot. Fortunately I live on the ground floor so temperatures are not that bad without AC. With the warm ambient temperatures, going water cooling will help keep things more in check. If I do skip water cooling this kit might be my other option:http://www.quietpc.com/us-en-usd/products/cpucoolers/nh-d14


                Mother Board

                -Since my case allows more room, I will try to re-evaluate my choices as I wouldn't like to have everything so cramped. I Believe this Asus P6X58D-E gives me that extra room: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131641 With this board I can put the raid controller in the white bottom slot.


                Boot Drive:

                To keep things simple and low cost I decided to go with just one 128GB SSD from A-DATA. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820211471

                I really like bragging  ;-) lol.


                Width these changes I am at a nice $3,485.00

                • 5. Re: Workstation Build. Can I get some advice?
                  JEShort01 Level 4

                  Great updates!


                  Love it all except the A-data; suggest if you must go SSD bust your budget a bit and get a bigger brand name drive (higher rated choice for support, drivers, etc.).


                  From what I hear the 120GB Intel 510 series would be a really sound single-drive boot/OS choice, and yes, I realize that it is almost $100 more than the A-data!


                  If you cannot bust your budget, go with 2xCrucial 64GB 6MB/s C300's. They are pretty awesome! Your reads would be upwards of 600MB/s and the less critical (for OS/programs) writes would be arond 140MB/s.



                  • 6. Re: Workstation Build. Can I get some advice?

                    Have you looked at the F3R instead of the F3?


                    A little more $, but supposed to be better for RAIDs.

                    • 7. Re: Workstation Build. Can I get some advice?
                      Powered by Design Level 4

                      Make sure to get Windows 7 Pro so you can run 24GB ram.


                      Also buy your ram in sets of 3 or a hex set if possible.



                      • 8. Re: Workstation Build. Can I get some advice?
                        JAKE JONSON Level 1

                        What's wrong with putting an SSD in a video processing machine? I'm a bit confused by all the claims here that an SSD won't offer improved performance over a spindle hard drive.  Raided SSD's should smoke their spindled counterparts, no?


                        thanks -

                        • 9. Re: Workstation Build. Can I get some advice?
                          Harm Millaard Level 7

                          Tests with 8 SSD's in raid0 versus conventional disks have not shown any discernible performance difference. At around 40 - 50 times the price per GB without noticeable performance gains the only advantage of SSD's is bragging rights. But for the same expenditure conventional disks offer way more storage space and better performance than SSD's. The same hype with USB2 with the theoretical bandwidth of 480 MB/s now happens with SSD's. Great marketing promises, but that is where it starts and ends. The next generation may be different,


                          I've gotta see it, before I believe it, said the blind.

                          • 10. Re: Workstation Build. Can I get some advice?
                            JAKE JONSON Level 1


                            I see your point about the USB 2.0 claims as long as you stipulate that the USB 2.0 rating is 480 megabit/sec and not 480 MB/sec :-)


                            And, yes, I can see how that can be that 4 or more spindle HDD's could keep up with a similar number of SSD's in a Raid Array.  However, you'd think that a really fast Raid controller could better utilize the higher speed of the SSD's.  Theoretically, at least.


                            Took me a few minutes to see how the OP's initial 3ware card would only accomodate 4 SATA drives.  The punchline is that SATA adapter cable you have to buy (extra $30 w/shipping) only has 4 SATA plugs on it!  This despite the Newegg specs saying something about being able to 'Connect up to 96 SATA and/or SAS devices'.  Of course, the cited Areca card is good for 8 SATA's.  Tough call, though, in that the 3ware has twice the on-board memory and faster memory at that.


                            I hope the OP keeps this thread updated with his experience of putting together this configuration, along with his final decisions on the components.  Buying a $270 power supply might seem a little extreme but let's hope its the 'ultimate' power supply that Newegg holds it out to be.  The $30 price difference with the Enermax is made up for in the 2 extra years of the Corsair's 7-year warranty.  The 16 SATA connectors don't hurt either.


                            And, TLER, of course, is something that is *enabled* on Raid Edition drives because it prevents the drive's own error recovery process from lasting long enough for the Raid controller to declare the drive down.  In single drive configurations, you want to disable TLER so that the drive's error recovery process works as it was meant to, on bad sectors.