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Choosing a new computer mainly for AE

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David LaRockChoosing a new computer mainly for AE
by on Jan 3, 2013 at 4:35:21 pm

Hi everyone,

I need some help picking a new computer. I will be using it for 3D modelling and a lot of after effects animation

I don't know much about computers but I picked two that I thought are good.

https://www.arbico.co.uk/product.php?pid=100333
This computer has a primary and secondary hard drive, is there a reason for this? I heard somewhere something about running the operating system off of a solid state hard drive...
It also comes with a TFT screen, is it a good screen? And do I need to buy a cable to connect it? If so, which one?


I found another computer by mesh that I thought looked good

http://www.meshcomputers.com/Default.aspx?PAGE=PRODUCTCONFIGPAGE&USG=PRODUC...


This one doesn't come with a screen but I have an option to add a HD LCD screen. Would that be any good? Would I also need to get a cable for that?

I don't really understand the PSU - CPU Coolers - CPU Overclocking part of the customization.

Would I need a CPU cooler? If so, what one?
Should I get an overclocked CPU?

I also want to know what processor and how much RAM is good for what I want to do.

I hope you understand my questions and this isn't too much to ask for.

I don't really know too much about computers so I want to get a pre built one. My budget is £1300 with two screens.

Thanks in advance


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Walter SoykaRe: Choosing a new computer mainly for AE
by on Jan 3, 2013 at 4:57:43 pm

[David LaRock] "I need some help picking a new computer. I will be using it for 3D modelling and a lot of after effects animation... I don't really know too much about computers so I want to get a pre built one. My budget is £1300 with two screens. "

You can get a workable system with this budget, but it's unfortunately a little low for a performance machine.


[David LaRock] "It also comes with a TFT screen, is it a good screen? And do I need to buy a cable to connect it? If so, which one? "

TFT [link] is a very broad term. Monitors included for free with the computer are usually not particularly good, but this is an item you could use now and very easily upgrade later.

I'd hope it would come with the right cabling -- best to call the vendor and ask.


[David LaRock] "I don't really understand the PSU - CPU Coolers - CPU Overclocking part of the customization. Would I need a CPU cooler? If so, what one? Should I get an overclocked CPU? "

Overclocking is a way to make a processor faster. You can get better performance from a CPU by pushing it beyond its rated speed. However, this causes the processor to use more energy and generate more heat; if the processor overheats, the system will crash. The coolers are used to keep that from happening.


[David LaRock] "I also want to know what processor and how much RAM is good for what I want to do."

Minimum, I'd be looking for a third-generation quad-core intel Core i7 and at least 16 GB of RAM -- but if you can go for 24 or 32 GB, so much the better.

If you want to use the new Ae CS6 ray-tracer, make sure you get an NVIDIA card. See the system requirements [link] for a list of supported cards.

Good luck!

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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David LaRockRe: Choosing a new computer mainly for AE
by on Jan 3, 2013 at 5:16:16 pm

Thanks for the reply.

Are any of the computers I linked to third-generation quad-core intel Core i7?

When customizing those PCs I only have options for NVIDIA GTX650 to GTX690 does that mean ray-tracer won't work?

Thanks again!


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Walter SoykaRe: Choosing a new computer mainly for AE
by on Jan 3, 2013 at 5:21:29 pm

[David LaRock] "Are any of the computers I linked to third-generation quad-core intel Core i7?"

Yes, the i7-3770 is the CPU to get in this price range.


[David LaRock] "When customizing those PCs I only have options for NVIDIA GTX650 to GTX690 does that mean ray-tracer won't work?"

The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 is on the supported list.

A GPU like this is not necessary for ray-tracing (it will use the CPU if a suitable graphics card is not present), but it's much, much, faster.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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David LaRockRe: Choosing a new computer mainly for AE
by on Jan 3, 2013 at 5:41:19 pm

Oh, I didn't realise you answered my other questions. Haha Thanks!

Do you think I could get a decent computer for about £1300 with just one monitor?

How much would a fairly good monitor cost? and is there one you'd recommend? preferably 24"

Would you recommend getting an over clocked processor for AE?

I couldn't find GTX 690 on the list. Would GeForce GTX 650 be okay for ray tracer?

The help is much appreciated mate!


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Chris BrearleyRe: Choosing a new computer mainly for AE
by on Jan 3, 2013 at 5:39:58 pm

Tek Syndicate have some great advice, have a look at this





You use pounds so I'm assuming you are based here in the UK. Have a look at the 3XS systems by scan. They are amazing value and will build and configure (including overclocking) it for you to get the most bang for your buck. This system would be a good place to start http://3xs.scan.co.uk/ShowSystem.asp?SystemID=1206

Hope this helps.

Chris


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David LaRockRe: Choosing a new computer mainly for AE
by on Jan 3, 2013 at 6:14:03 pm

Thanks for the reply mate.

Still a little lost after watching that video.

When I configure that computer you linked to have
Intel Core i5 3570K
16gb ram
2GB EVGA GTX 660
128GB Samsung Solid State HD
1TB Seagate Barracuda
with no monitor
it comes up to £1,246.97

I configured a similar spec PC here

http://www.meshcomputers.com/Default.aspx?PAGE=PRODUCTCONFIGPAGE&USG=PRODUC...

Intel® Core™ i7-3770K Quad Core Unlocked Processor
16GB DDR3 1600MHz Memory
2GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660
120GB SSD - OCZ Agility 3 Solid State Drive
1TB SATA III
also with no monitor and
it comes up to £1125.50

The processor on the second computer is better right?
Is there a reason why the second computer is coming up cheaper?

Thanks


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Chris BrearleyRe: Choosing a new computer mainly for AE
by on Jan 3, 2013 at 8:44:41 pm

Yes the i7-3770 is the faster of the two processors and the reason why the second computer is cheaper is because Mesh are cheaper than Scan it seems... If only I'd have known before dropping 3 grand on my new machine! Oh well... The motherboard and power supply unit in the scan machine are of slightly better quality but there's nothing wrong with the ones in the Mesh - they will do the job.

Looks like you've specced yourself a pretty good machine. The only thing I would suggest if you are doing a serious amount of After Effects work is to get 32gb of ram as I find an HD timeline will soon gobble 16gb and a second SSD drive for disk caching if you can stretch to it. If not these are both things you can get at a later date if you wish anyway. If you do get 16gb ram, get the 16GB DDR3 1866MHz Memory (2x8GB) Kit [£ 54.00] as opposed to the 16GB DDR3 1600MHz Memory (4x4GB) Kit [£ 36.00] so you still have two slots left open for upgrades later.

Chris


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David LaRockRe: Choosing a new computer mainly for AE
by on Jan 3, 2013 at 9:07:40 pm

Yeah, I added in 32gb ram.

Do you think the "2GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 - 960 Cores,DVI,HDMI,DP - 3D Vision Ready" is a decent graphics card for what I want to do?

With the solid state drive, how does it work?

Would it come with the operating system on the SSD? Should I install AE and programs on the SSD and use the other drive for my files?

Cheers for all the help mate!


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Chris BrearleyRe: Choosing a new computer mainly for AE
by on Jan 3, 2013 at 9:28:17 pm

The 660 should come with enough clout, but you can obviously get more performance by spending more but you are better spending money elsewhere to be honest. There is a TI version which is overclocked and comes with more cuda cores - incidentally this is the one that is in the Scan system - it's an option...

If you select an SSD as the boot drive then yes windows will come installed on that as well as all your other software which is definitely what you want. Your programmes will launch in an instant and everything will be a lot snappier.

If you get a second SSD you can tell AE to use that for disk caching in it's preferences. This will help to speed up the performance of AE. It's not vital and you could use your 1TB Sata drive instead but every bit helps. Disk caching does help slightly but not as much as Adobe would have you believe, processing power is still what it's all about.

If you wanted to go crazy you could get a 3rd SSD for your footage which is what I have. If you have really big uncompressed image sequences than you will see the benefit of this but for most footage a Sata drive is fine. A third drive is a good option as ideally you want your AE disk cache on a separate drive to your footage. Just to confuse you further, you could get 2 sata drives and RAID 0 them together instead of an SSD.

Chris


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David LaRockRe: Choosing a new computer mainly for AE
by on Jan 3, 2013 at 10:07:19 pm

Ah I see.

How would I select the SSD as a boot drive?

Could you select the same SSD drive that AE is running off as a drive for disk cache? Or would it be better to use the 1TB Drive?

Cheers mate.


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Chris BrearleyRe: Choosing a new computer mainly for AE
by on Jan 3, 2013 at 10:16:43 pm

I would phone Mesh to complete my order rather than do it online and specify that you wanted the SSD as the boot drive. They would probably do this anyway but it's best to make sure.

By the time Windows is installed as well as your other software you're only going to have 70Gb or so left on that drive and you DO NOT want to fill up your boot drive. I find ideally you want 100Gb+ plus for disk caching as well but you can specify any amount in the preferences. See how you get on using 40-50Gb using your boot drive. It would be faster than the 1TB sata but I myself do not like to use the boot drive for such things. Instead I prefer to have one drive for one job - Boot, disk cache, footage, backup. If you find that you need more than 400-50gb then use the 1TB sata or get a second SSD later on - the price of them is dropping all the time.


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David LaRockRe: Choosing a new computer mainly for AE
by on Jan 7, 2013 at 9:53:58 pm

Thanks mate! I see what you're saying.

What do you think of getting 2x 2gb GeForce GTX 660 graphic cards?
Also, would that work? Getting two graphic cards?

I don't think I'll have enough to get anything better.


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