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Best Workstation Computer Build for Animator

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Rachael CurryBest Workstation Computer Build for Animator
by on Aug 4, 2014 at 3:40:13 pm

Hello there!

I am a freelance animator / video editor and need to upgrade to a new machine. My budget is ~$2,000.
Programs I use: After Effects, Cinema 4D R13, Premiere Pro CS6, and Photoshop. I don't usually have to render severely complicated scenes in Cinema, but would like it to run much more smoothly than my Macbook pro (2.53Ghz, 8GB Ram, NVIDIA Geforce 256Mb Graphics Card, 500GB hard drive)

Dell Precision T1700 Small Form Factor Workstation
Processor: Intel Xeon Processor E-3 Quad Core 3.50GH Turbo, 8MB with HD Graphics
Operating System: Windows 7, 64 bit
Ram: 16 GB 2x8gb 1600 MHz DDr3 Non ECC
Graphics Card: 2GB NVIDIA Quadro NVS 510
Hard Drive: Raid 0, 256GB SSD x2

^$2300 with 3 year pro support. This build is a tad over my budget.

My questions:
1. RAM - Is ECC really that important or can I settle for non ECC?
2. Raid - I have 2 SSD's setup for Raid 0, do you think this is absolutely necessary or could I settle for one SSD, no Raid?
3. Is this setup the best for the price?
4. Am I getting the most out of a workstation computer with this build?
5. Does anyone have any criticisms on any of the above?

Thanks in advance!!!!

Rachael


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Walter SoykaRe: Best Workstation Computer Build for Animator
by on Aug 4, 2014 at 5:21:51 pm

Rachael, if you search through this forum, you'll see lots of advice on system builds.

Generally speaking, I think you're spending money on stuff you don't really need here.

Xeons are necessary for multi-processor configurations, I wouldn't recommend a Xeon CPU for a single-processor system. Go for a lower-cost, higher-speed i7 CPU.

For C4D, CPU matters a lot (unless you look into a GPU renderer like Octane, and then you'll need an appropriate GPU).

For Ae, RAM matters a lot, and more RAM lets you use your multi-core CPUs more effectively. With an i7 CPU, you can use non-ECC RAM. Get more of it -- 24-32 GB will be better than 16.

You do not need a RAID for your system/apps drive. If your budget is limited, I'd consider getting the biggest SSD you can afford for your system and cache drive, then supplementing that with a mechanical HDD for your media.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Rachael CurryRe: Best Workstation Computer Build for Animator
by on Aug 4, 2014 at 8:24:10 pm

Thanks so much for the reply, Walter!

-I don't have enough in the budget for 32GB's of RAM, but I thought I could later swap that out easily when I have more to spend.
-I have switched the processor to: Intel® Core™ I7-4790 (Quad Core HT, 3.60GHz Turbo, 8MB, w/ HD Graphics 4600), but the price isn't much different.
-No Raid
-Since I am going with the Small Form Factor Workstation, the biggest option for a SSD on this model is 256GB.. I will pair that with a lower speed drive 500GB 5.4 Rpm just for storing files.

That puts me at $2,070, which is right at my limit.

Question:
*Is a SSD with 256GB even worth it?


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Walter SoykaRe: Best Workstation Computer Build for Animator
by on Aug 4, 2014 at 9:16:33 pm

[Rachael Curry] "I don't have enough in the budget for 32GB's of RAM, but I thought I could later swap that out easily when I have more to spend"

True, RAM is easy to add later.


[Rachael Curry] "I have switched the processor to: Intel® Core™ I7-4790 (Quad Core HT, 3.60GHz Turbo, 8MB, w/ HD Graphics 4600), but the price isn't much different."

It will be faster, though!


[Rachael Curry] "Since I am going with the Small Form Factor Workstation, the biggest option for a SSD on this model is 256GB.."

That's doable for OS and apps.


[Rachael Curry] "I will pair that with a lower speed drive 500GB 5.4 Rpm just for storing files."

Consider a 7200 RPM HDD instead.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Matt OrfaleaRe: Best Workstation Computer Build for Animator
by on Oct 17, 2014 at 4:12:40 pm

I have a 250 GB SSD and am shocked at how quickly it fills up with Media Cache using Premiere and After Effects.

Would it slow me down to use an external thunderbolt - SATA drive for Media Cache Disk?

Thanks in advance!

Matt
http://www.youtube.com/orf


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