I do a fair bit of AE and C4D work as well as standard editing in Adobe CC and some older projects in FCP 7.x.
I currently own a Mac Pro 3,1 with dual quad core 3.0 GHz and 16GB RAM and a Quadro 4000 Mac graphics card. It's pretty long in the tooth.
I've contemplated purchasing a Window PC with i7 4930 CPU, etc. from ADK.
However, I've been reading up on the new Haswell-E that's supposed to come out Q3/Q4 of 2014. There is a lot of hype out there about how this is a 'game' changer for PCs.
Here's the deal. I need something now. I'm contemplating purchasing something like this: Apple Mac Pro 3.46GHz 6 Core QX 5.1 16GB RAM as I'll always have a Mac in my office even if I eventually go the PC route. I'd use this as a stop-gap.
Here's what I recently did. After having worked on a souped up gaming machine which did the job, but was getting long in the tooth, I knew it was time for a new machine. I had been looking at the HP Z8xx line of high-end workstations, drooling over them, but never thinking I could afford one.
So I did a bit of searching on *Bay, and found a couple of companies selling refurb'ed Z800s, the last, not the latest generation of their workstation. I found a guy in Texas, Peter Neiman, who sells off-lease HP Workstations, in all sorts of configurations, and has a 100 percent feedback rating. I bought a Z800 with dual W5590 3.33GHZ QUAD CORE processors, 48GB of RAM, two 2TB hard drives, and an older NVidia graphics card (FX3800 with 1GB of RAM) for $1299. plus $60. shipping (it was packed in custom foam - very nicely). Peter's systems come with no OS, so I purchased Windows 7 Ultimate, and an Intel SSD for my OS drive. The thing absolutely screams, and this is the last generation HP machine!
A couple of things to bear in mind - you need to be comfortable configuring the beast - once I got the OS installed, I had to reconfigure the BIOS a bit to undo the RAID configuration, but I'm no IT guy, just technically savvy, and I did it. It took me a while, and having a desktop machine still connected to the web helped a lot. These machines are enterprise quality, can be rack mounted if need be, and everything in the case is tool-less. You can replace a drive in 30 seconds using the four drive sleds which come in the machine.
I had a couple of problems with a missing air deflector cowling, and one drive sled was missing, but I hopped on the phone with Peter, and he had the parts to me very quickly. He's an honest seller, and I have absolutely no monetary ties to him, other than being a very satisfied customer. It may not be your cup of tea, but it sure was mine - for under 1500 bucks I bought a killer, enterprise quality workstation - and if I need more RAM, it can be upgraded to up to 96GB (not likely). I'm running the CS6 Master Collection, 3DS Max 2011, Terragen 2, and they have never been faster. I would say that my AE renders have sped up by at least 300 percent (no science here - just gut feeling). Here's a link to the store on *Bay:
I used the Newertech AdaptaDrive. As usual, I did way too much homework, and there are a lot of solutions out there, but this one seemed to be built like a tank, and at a very good price (about 25 bucks):