May 7, 2017 at 2:12PM

11

My first PC build for 3D - Suggestions Pros and Cons?

So I'm looking to build my own PC for with 10X the power and fraction of the price of a standard imac.

Has anyone built their own PC and what are the pros and cons?

4 Comments

Hey Hoss,

I've built plenty of PC's over the last dozen years or so and as an animator I have to use it for professional and personal work, so I hope this helps!

Pros:
Bang for buck - $2000 on a PC will have significantly more horsepower than $2000 on a pre-built
Control - Need 6 harddrives? Want 32+ gigs of ram? You can build and configure any way you like
Modularity - New Video card come out? you can swap it with no problem

Cons:
No overall support - individual pieces have warrantys, but you cant just walk into an apple store and walk out all fix and done
Daunting - It can be daunting to start sourcing parts with no prior knowledge, plus first time assembly can be intimidating
Linux or Windows - If you like linux/windows your good to go!, But If you love macOS it gets more difficult, you can setup a hackintosh but that can get complicated and have some compatibility issue

Since High school I've built my own desktops and I don't think I could ever go back to not building. I use my home rig for animation and other 3D work and its been great! (being able to play games is a nice benefit)

I Recommend these builds http://www.mmo-champion.com/build-of-the-month/ I would look at Dolphin/Narwhal and stick with nVidia for 3D work, don't know why but its been better than AMD in that respect. And don't forget to factor the cost of a monitor or two :)

Cheers

May 10, 2017 at 12:52AM

3
Reply

Hey Hoss,

I've built plenty of PC's over the last dozen years or so and as an animator I have to use it for professional and personal work, so I hope this helps!

Pros:
Bang for buck - $2000 on a PC will have significantly more horsepower than $2000 on a pre-built
Control - Need 6 harddrives? Want 32+ gigs of ram? You can build and configure any way you like
Modularity - New Video card come out? you can swap it with no problem

Cons:
No overall support - individual pieces have warrantys, but you cant just walk into an apple store and walk out all fix and done
Daunting - It can be daunting to start sourcing parts with no prior knowledge, plus first time assembly can be intimidating
Linux or Windows - If you like linux/windows your good to go!, But If you love macOS it gets more difficult, you can setup a hackintosh but that can get complicated and have some compatibility issue

Since High school I've built my own desktops and I don't think I could ever go back to not building. I use my home rig for animation and other 3D work and its been great! (and for playing games)

I Recommend these builds http://www.mmo-champion.com/build-of-the-month/ I would look at Dolphin/Narwhal and stick with nVidia for 3D work, its been better than AMD in that respect. Don't forget to include the price of a monitor in your build :)

Cheers

May 10, 2017 at 12:53AM

6
Reply

First question... will you be working in 3Ds Max? If so, then you needn't worry about cons, since you can't use 3Ds on macs unless you dual boot it... why bother.

I build a new pc in 2015 after having been stuck in mac land for 10 years or so. Haven't looked back. I still use mac at work because workflow with colleagues.

3D applications these days are very GPU friendly and love cuda cores. So if you are planning to do Maya or Houdini or similar, it's worth splashing out on a proper video card. Doesn't have to be Titan XP... infact don't waste money on it since it's still new and overpriced, but if I had to buy a new pc today, I'd do a 1080ti hands down.
At the very least, don't go cheap and get something with low amount of ram. It will strike down on the viewport refresh rate and drive you nuts when modelling and will also affect something like Davinci Resolve if you do colorgrading / editing.

In terms of cpu, I'd look at a either an old xeon dual cpu with semi low clock, but lots of cores. You can probably still buy cheap used 12 core xeons. I have a mate running a dual 12-core xeon system with 48 threads... :o
Otherwise i7 with 6-8-12 cores to give you as many threads as possible.
Do NOT buy i3 or i5........

32gb of ram... doesn't have to be ecc.

ssd

You're set.

I bought a 32" uhd monitor and while big, it gives me a nice big viewport while still having all the necessary menus open at the same time.

May 12, 2017 at 12:06AM, Edited May 12, 12:08AM

9
Reply
avatar
Torben Greve
Cinematographer
1072

I've built 3 PC's at different levels - a $600 build for my daughter, a $2000 build for my son, and a $3200 build for my work. I'm a freelance VFX artist working with Maya and After Effects etc. and highly recommend building your own. I will never buy a pre-built computer again. It can be an intimidating project to think about doing but it's really actually very easy with the help of a few websites and a couple of youtube videos. I highly recommend it!

The most useful website for figuring out the correct parts is http://www.logicalincrements.com/
This website is constantly updated and breaks builds down to various price points. They make sure that the parts listed all work together.

Another website that can be helpful is https://pcpartpicker.com/ although I've found this not to be as useful as logical increments.

As far as build videos, these guys at Newegg are awesome and break it down in an easy to follow way: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIF43-0mDk4

I'm running an Intel i7-5820 @3.30GHz, 48GB Ram, Nvidia GeForce GTX 980, Windows 7, SSD for C drive (operating system and programs), SSD for main project drive, SSD for After Effects scratch disk, regular platter drives for bulk storage. This is a very powerful setup.

Good luck!

May 12, 2017 at 10:28AM, Edited May 12, 10:35AM

0
Reply
David Summers
VFX Supervisor/Artist and Filmmaker
286

Your Comment