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New Spec Build - Primarily After Effects for Motion Graphics (but also Cinema 4D)

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David Byrne
New Spec Build - Primarily After Effects for Motion Graphics (but also Cinema 4D)
on May 6, 2016 at 11:47:29 am

Hi folks, hope this is okay in this forum, please let me know if not I'll move it.

I'm after getting a new desktop PC for professional use as a freelance motion graphics artist. Having done as much due diligence as I can, and based on my own experience I put together this list and would appreciate any advice from you guys and gals out there regarding my plan.

My primary goal is fast, interactive previews and response to my animating in After Effects. Secondary use will be Illustrator, Photoshop, Premiere and increasingly, Cinema 4D. I have seen a lot of people now seem to be sending off renders to render farms as the perceived wisdom (unless I'm wrong) is to that you can have a machine that's great for interactive displays, fast working OR a machine thats great only when rendering in 3D. Since 90% of my work is After Effects, any time I can save previewing, and getting projects finished quicker there will be the aim.

My principle idea is to have:

240GB SSD for the OS
240GB SSD for the pagefile.sys and Media Cache

1 or 2 TB SSD for all Projects and Media and Renders.

(Project files only backup up offsite / Large Media backed up to secondary drives or already backed up by clients).
It seems to be that I could get three 512GB drives and link them via a RAID 5 configuration to counteract any redundancies for a 1TB overall drive.
Or get a 2 x 2TB SSD drives, mirror it. Massively increases price. But the extra space for projects would be useful.

So here, importantly, I will have all project files backed up offsite overnight. And any media will be backed up most times before I get it by my clients. But I will also want a backup through RAID 5 or 1 for my own piece of mind.

After each project ends, its collected and archived onto Blu-Ray (and any drives the Client wants it backed up to).

A 3TB system drive (Western Digital?) for a Graphics repository of Images, Stock Footage, Sound FX, HDRIs, 3D Models etc.
So the question here is will pulling from this drive significantly reduce my render / RAM preview speed? ie If I'm using this drive regularly for assets within projects is it going to bottleneck my performance to an extent than I should either make this drive another SSD or make this and the Project drives all high speed SATA? Will mix and match be pointless?

I would consider having this mirrored... though I will have most of these assets all on external drives anyway so maybe save some money and a drive bay here.

Finally another Sata Hard Drive, maybe just a storage drive for personal documents, music, films/tv and photos.
Will set Photos and docs to backup offsite as not a heavy job (the offsite backup I use is fairly slow so don't want to be sending large video files to it). Probably have this mirrored too.

Graphics card: Titan Black X? Maybe GTE980 or is the difference in price worth the speed boost? OR even maybe 2x GTE980.
It seems for my requirements Quadro isn't worth the phenomenal cost!

- Motherboard - Asus 99 Deluxe / Rampage V Extreme USB 3.1 - Not sure if worth extra cost.

CPU - It seems Xeon like the Quadro is a cost I don't need to take as the performance won't be significantly better.
So really then its between the following:

Intel Core i7 5960X Extreme Unlocked, Haswell-E, 8 Core, 3.0GHz, 3.5GHz Turbo, 40PCI-E Lanes, 20MB Cache, Retail [Optimised Overclock - (CPU overclocked up to 4.0GHz] )


Intel Core i7 5930K Unlocked, Haswell-E, 6 Core, 3.5GHz, 3.7GHz Turbo, 40 PCI-E Lanes, 15MB Cache, Retail ( Optimised Overclock - CPU overclocked upto 4.2GHz )

So the issue here is the cost - but also am I wrong in thinking that I'd be better getting the 6 core as they are 3.5GHz rather than 8 at 3.0GHz or does the overclocking of both make it worthwhile,

Also will likely Add on Thunderbolt ports for ease of access and they're fairly cheap.

For the monitor I think I'll get this:

Thanks for looking and all advice hugely appreciated, from places to buy (I'm in the UK), or other sites / threads to look at for recommendations. Also any ideas for things like cases which to be honest I have very little idea about! And whether this is worth water-cooling or normal CPU Fans, again not got great knowledge here!

Also anything you think I'm doing which is kind of redundant please let me know, last desktop PC I had built was a good few years back, been surviving on work machines and my spec built laptop which is great, but time for something quicker!

Any system setups you guys have for balancing projects/archiving/speed and stability would be really interesting.

Cost wise I'm looking between £2000 - £4000 really. (Monitor cost excluded)

Cheers everyone!

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