Upgrading or building a new PC? This is the thread for you!

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PolyHertz polycounter lvl 11
If you need a new computer, or just want to upgrade your old one, this thread is for you!

Building a PC can get very expensive, and many simply don't know enough about computers to make an informed decision on what to buy.
This thread aims to help those who are less tech savvy, or whose knowledge is simply out of date, get the best PC their budget allows.

Below you'll find several component categories, each with information you should know before deciding what to buy, and a small select list of quality parts that have been well reviewed on major online retailers such as Amazon, Newegg, etc.
At the very bottom there is also a list of PC builds for various budgets. Note that these are 'balanced' setups, and not necessarily the best for everyone within that budget.

(If you have any suggestions for parts or information to be included in the first post, let me know!)


---Retailers---

What to know:
    -Return policy; Do they accept open box returns, do they charge for returns, how long after purchase can returns be made?
    -Where do they ship from? Shipping costs, taxes, and return policy can all be greatly affected by this.

USA:
    Amazon.com
    Newegg.com
    ncixus.com
Canada:
    Amazon.ca
    Newegg.ca
    ncix.com
    memoryexpress.com
UK:
    Amazon.co.uk
    aria.co.uk
    scan.co.uk
    overclockers.co.uk

Other:
    pcpartpicker.com (Should probably only be used for quick price/compatibility overview. Not all retailers it links to are reliable)
    store.cablemod.com (Custom order PC cables. any color, any length. Useful for building a PC with a clean interrior / better airflow)
    nowinstock.net (Cant find the newest GPU/CPU/etc. in stock anywhere? This site shows hour-by-hour who has stock)
    siliconlottery.com (Offers CPU delidding service, for those who really care about CPU temps, but don't want to risk opening one themselves)


---CPU---

What to Know:
    -Performance is generally measured in two parts; Single threaded, and multi-threaded.
    -The better a CPUs single threaded performance, the better it'll be for physics simulation & most modeling tools (bevel, extrude, etc.)
    -The better a CPUs multi-threaded performance, the better it'll be for rendering/baking/multitasking.
    -Roughly speaking; The more GHz the better single threaded performance, and the more cores the better multi-threaded performance.
    -CPUs can run faster by 'overclocking' them, but they will run hotter and need better cooling. 'Deliding' can significantly lower temps.
    -Intel CPUs must have a 'K' or an 'X' at the end of their number to be overclockable (ex: i7-8700K).
    -AMDs Ryzen CPUs are vastly superior to their FX series. Don't waste your money on an FX CPU.
    -If rendering a lot, it's best to build a dedicated PC for it with as many cores as possible...
    -...Price vs. performance running old used Xeon CPUs (E5-2670 / E5-2695 v2) in a dual-socket system makes the most sense for this.
    -If buying a used CPU; avoid ones labeled ES (Engineering Sample), which are often found cheap on ebay, as they can have a TON of issues.
   
Intel (Xeon):
    $2600     - Intel Xeon W-2195 (18 cores, 2.3~4.3 Ghz) (Socket LGA 2066)
    $1500     - Intel Xeon W-2155 (10 cores, 3.3~4.5 Ghz) (Socket LGA 2066)
Intel (6 core+):
    $1400   - Intel i9-7940X (14 cores , 3.1~4.3 Ghz) (Socket LGA 2066)
    $1200   - Intel i9-7920X (12 cores , 2.9~4.3 Ghz) (Socket LGA 2066)
    $1000   - Intel i9-7900X (10 cores , 3.3~4.3 Ghz) (Socket LGA 2066)
    $600     - Intel i7-7820X (8 cores , 3.6~4.3 Ghz) (Socket LGA 2066)
    $380     - Intel i7-8700K (6 cores, 3.8~4.7ghz) (Socket LGA 1151, Intel 300 series chipset)
    $260     - Intel i5-8600K (6 cores, 3.6~4.3ghz) (Socket LGA 1151, Intel 300 series chipset)
Intel (4 core):
    $350    - Intel i7-7700K (4.2~4.5ghz) (Socket LGA 1151, Intel 100/200 series chipset) (Basically a 6700K slightly overclocked that runs hotter)
    $350    - Intel i7-6700K (4.0~4.2ghz) (Socket LGA 1151, Intel 100/200 series chipset) (Basically a 7700K slightly underclocked that runs cooler)
    $340    - Intel i7-4790K (4.0~4.4ghz) (Socket LGA 1150)
    $180    - Intel i3-8350k (4.0ghz) (Socket LGA 1151, Intel 300 series chipset) (same performance as i5-7600K , but cheaper)
    $120    - Intel i3-8100 (3.6ghz) (Socket LGA 1151, Intel 300 series chipset) (same performance as i5-7400 , but cheaper)

AMD (8 core+):
    $999    - AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X (16 cores, 3.4~4.0ghz) (Socket TR4 / X399 Chipset)
    $799    -AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1920X (12 cores, 3.5~4.0ghz) (Socket TR4 / X399 Chipset)
    $549    - AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1900X (8 cores, 3.8~4.0ghz) (Socket TR4 / X399 Chipset)
    $460    - AMD R7 1800X (8 cores , 3.6~4.0ghz) (Socket AM4)
    $350    - AMD R7 1700X (8 cores , 3.4~3.8ghz) (Socket AM4)
AMD (4~6 core):
    $250    - AMD R5 1600X (6 cores , 3.6~4.0ghz) (Socket AM4)
    $190    - AMD R5 1500X (4 cores , 3.5~3.7ghz) (Socket AM4)
    $130    - AMD R3 1300X (4 cores, 3.5~3.7ghz) (Socket AM4)

---GPU---

What to know:
    -Consumer GPU benefits; Faster in all but a handful of cases, much cheaper.
    -Workstation GPU benefits; Higher max VRAM, 10bit+ color support in OpenGL, much better SolidWorks performance.
    -NVIDIA cards labeled as 'founders edition' are not special in any way, they can be considered the 'stock' version.
    -GPU-based rendering; Some renderers (like Octane) let you run multiple GPUs together for improved performance.
    -Multi-GPU setups are limited only by your systems number of PCIe x16 slots and PCIe lanes (8x minimum per GPU).
    -SLI/Crossfire does NOT improve viewport performance in modern 3D modeling apps like Max, Maya, Blender, etc.
    -GPUs with 'blower' style coolers (default Geforce cooler, and some 3rd party ones) should be used for ITX cases.
    -Large GPUs may sag due to weight, which can cause damage to the PCIe socket. If necessary, use a 'GPU brace' for extra support.
    -GP102 based GPUs (Geforce 1080ti, Titan XP, or Titan X (Pascal)) should use drivers 385.12 or newer. Adds Quadro-like optimizations.
    -Do not get a Geforce 970; The last 500mb of its '4gb' of vram is extremely slow and can cause problems in memory intensive apps.
    -WARNING: EVGA GPUs made early-mid 2016 can have major overheating issues (multiple peoples cards caught fire). More info here.

Workstation:
    $5000   - NVIDIA Quadro P6000, 24gb VRAM
    $2000   - NVIDIA Quadro P5000, 16gb VRAM
    $7000   - AMD Radeon Vega Pro SSG, 16GB VRAM + 2TB of onboard NAND Flash memory
High End:
    $1200   - NVIDIA Geforce TITAN XP, 12GB VRAM (2017 Pascal-based model. Performance just slightly above 1080 Ti)
    $700     - NVIDIA Geforce 1080 Ti, 11GB VRAM
    $???      - NVIDIA Geforce TITAN X, 12GB VRAM (2016 Pascal-based model. Performance just below 1080 Ti)
    $500    - NVIDIA Geforce 1080, 8GB VRAM
    $500   - AMD Radeon RX VEGA 64, 8GB VRAM (between Geforce 1070 and 1080 performance, but much higher power draw)
    $400   - AMD Radeon RX VEGA 56, 8GB VRAM (between Geforce 1070 and 1080 performance, but higher power draw)
    $400    - NVIDIA Geforce 1070, 8GB VRAM
    $???    - NVIDIA Geforce TITAN X, 12GB VRAM (2015 Maxwell-based model. 1070 performance, but with more VRAM)
Mid Range:
    $400    - NVIDIA Geforce 980ti, 6GB VRAM (High end performance, but only 6gb vram)
    $250    - NVIDIA Geforce 1060, 6GB VRAM
    $???    - NVIDIA Geforce 980, 4GB VRAM (slightly faster then a 1060, but with less vram)
    $280    - AMD Radeon R9 390, 8GB VRAM
    $240    - AMD Radeon RX 480, 8BG VRAM
Entry Level:
    $200    - AMD Radeon RX480, 4GB VRAM
    $200    - NVIDIA Geforce 1060, 3GB VRAM
    $180    - AMD Radeon RX470, 4GB VRAM
    $???    - NVIDIA Geforce 780, 6GB VRAM (somewhere between a 1050Ti and a 1060 in performance)
    $140    - NVIDIA Geforce 1050 Ti, 4GB VRAM (About as fast as a Geforce 680, but much more energy efficient)

   

---RAM---

What to know:
    -PCs meant for 3D art these days normally have 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB of RAM. Anything less then 16GB is not recommended.
    -Depending on the motherboard, RAM sticks should be installed in sets of two (LGA 1150 / 1151, AM4), or sets of four (LGA 2011-3, TR4).
    -Memory performance; "DDR4 3200 7-7-7-24", The 3200 is the max speed (higher is better), 7-7-7-24 is the latency (lower is better).
    -Generally, ram speed only matters in heavily multi-threaded or CPU bound tasks. Systems with many cores should use faster ram.
    -Xeon CPUs, with the right motherboard, can use RAM that automatically corrects errors/corruption known as ECC RAM.
    -ECC RAM, in general, is not important for 3D work. However, some motherboards require it, and will not work with standard RAM.
    -RAM prices have more then doubled since 2016 due to global memory shortages, but are expected to come down by mid 2018.


---SSD/HDD---

What to know:
    -Most setups these days use an SSD or M.2 drive for the OS, and a cheap mechanical drive for file storage.
    -M.2 drives can be up to 6x faster then traditional SSD drives, and are the new standard for fast data storage.
    -M.2 drives come in two varieties; Slow (SATA based), or fast (NVMe based / PCIe 3.0 x4 / "Ultra M.2").
    -M.2 drives can be difficult to get working on any OS older then Windows8.
    -M.2 NVMe drives speed advantage over SSDs isn't typically noticeable due to other PC bottlenecks. Mostly just for future-proofing atm.
    -For improved reliability, you can set up two drives in whats called a RAID1 array, where data is mirrored across both drives in case one fails.
    -Mechanical drives live longer the less often they spin up / spin down. (i.e. "Turn off Hard Disk after" = Never)
    -For data backup, you want a NAS (Network Attached Storage) which stores your data both locally and offsite (in case of fire/flood/etc.)
    -For long-term data archiving, M-Discs are likely your best bet. They are special DVD / BR discs rated to last 1000 years by the US DoD.
 
M.2 (NVMe):
    $630   - Samsung 960 PRO (1TB ; 3500mb/s read, 2100mb/s write)
    $330   - Samsung 960 PRO (512GB ; 3500mb/s read, 2100mb/s write)
    $480   - Samsung 960 EVO (1TB ; 3200mb/s read, 1900mb/s write. release date = December 2016)
    $250   - Samsung 960 EVO (500GB ; 3200mb/s read, 1900mb/s write. release date = December 2016)
    $130   - Samsung 960 EVO (250GB ; 3200mb/s read, 1900mb/s write. release date = December 2016)
SSD:
    $250    - Intel 730 Series (480gb ; 480mb/s read, 270mb/s write)
    $140    - Crucial MX200 2.5" (500GB ; 480mb/s read, 340mb/s write)
    $160   - Samsung 850 EVO SSD (500GB ; 490mb/s read, 380mb/s write)
    $90     - Samsung 850 EVO SSD (250GB ; 490mb/s read, 380mb/s write)
PCIe:
    $370   - Intel 750 series (400GB ; 1780mb/s read, 900mb/s write)
   

---Motherboard---

What to know:
    -Things you MUST check; CPU Socket and chipset (does it support your CPU?), form factor ('normal' sized desktops use ATX)
    -Things you SHOULD check; Maximum RAM supported (32GB minimum), M.2 socket (boot drive)
    -Almost all motherboards use Realtek audio, but some give it a different name for marketing purposes (ASUS's 'SpremeFX').
    -Micro ATX and Mini ITX boards are all generally supported by standard ATX Mid/Full PC towers, they don't need special towers.
    -Thunderbolt 3 is a feature that piggybacks on USB ports, and via a USB-C cable allows for sending data more quickly on supported devices.
    -Thunderbolt 3 is only supported on Intel boards (AMD users are out of luck on this one).
    -Other then with MSI motherboards, installing Windows 7 on socket 1151 boards must be done via disc w/PS2 based keyboard/mouse.
    -AM4 motherboard should be updated with the latest bios by buyer after purchase, as the platform has been getting many updates.
    -WARNING: Socket LGA 1151 needs to be an 'Intel 200 series' to work with Kaby Lake CPUs out of the box. 100 series needs a bios update.

Intel (LGA 2066):
    $300    - ASRock X299 Taichi
Intel (LGA 1151):
    $230    - ASUS ROG Maximus IX Hero Z270
    $160    - ASROCK Z270 Extreme4
    $100    - ASRock H270M-ITX (mini ITX)

AMD (Socket TR4):
    $350    - ASRock X399 Taichi
AMD (Socket AM4):
    $250    - ASRock X370 Professional Gaming
    $200    - ASRock X370 Taichi
    $100    - ASRock AB350 Gaming


---Power---

What to know:
    -A 600 watt power supply is enough for the vast majority of desktop PCs, the main exception being if running high-spec GPUs in SLI.
    -You should always use a surge protector. (preferably one where you can tell when it needs to be replaced, which they all do eventually).
    -Be aware that power surges can come through your ethernet cable.
    -A cheap/poor quality PSU can result in the early death of other components in your PC, as well as affect general stability/performance.
    -"80 PLUS" ratings (Bronze, Gold, Platinum, etc.) measure efficiency, i.e. how much power is wasted. Higher rating = lower power bill.
    -The wattage rating (ex: 650W) Is how much it can output to your system, not how much it will draw from the outlet at peak load.
   
Titanium rated:
    $250    - EVGA 220-T2-1000-X1 (1000W)
    $190    - EVGA 220-T2-0850-X1 (850W)
    $160    - EVGA 220-T2-0750-X1 (750W)
Platinum rated:
    $250    - EVGA 220-P2-1000-XR (1000W)
    $160    - SeaSonic SS-760XP2 ATX (760W)
    $150    - CORSAIR AX760 (760W)
Gold rated:
    $120    - EVGA 220-G2-0750-XR (750W)
    $110    - SeaSonic SS-650KM (650W)

    
 

---Cooler---

What to Know:
    -Air cooling is the cheapest and most reliable form of cooling.
    -High end air coolers are massive. They wont fit in all ATX cases, may block RAM sockets, and can damage the motherboard when PC moved.
    -Water cooling is best for those who intend to have their PC render for days at a time, or do overclocking.
    -Water coolers can be bought pre-assembled (all-in-one/AIO), or built from individually chosen parts yourself (custom).
    -"Closed loop" AIO water coolers are designed to never be refilled or require maintenance. They are set-and-forget just like air coolers.
    -Custom water coolers can perform much better then AIO coolers, but are expensive and require occasional maintenance.
    -Water coolers if leak can destroy your PC.
    -With a custom water cooling setup, mixing parts that use different metals (copper, aluminum, etc.) can result in galvanic corrosion.
    -Thermal paste; Use no more then a grain of rice worth at a time for best results.
    -Case fan size (120mm, 140mm, etc.) is measured from one screw to the next along the border, NOT diagonally.
    -Case fan power connectors are universally compatible with all motherboards no matter if they have 4-pins (PVM), or 3-pins (FLX/ULN).
    -Liquid LN2/CO2/LHe & Phase cooling; Only used for the most excessive of overclocks. Not viable as every day cooling solutions.

CPU Air Coolers (fans):
    $90     - Noctua NH-D15 (get the SE-AM4 version if using an AM4/Ryzen motherboard)
    $80     - Noctua NH-D15S (fits better on X99 boards, but one fan less then regular NH-D15)
    $90     - Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3
    $90     - Cryorig R1 Ultimate
    $60     - Noctua NH-U12S (get the SE-AM4 version if using an AM4/Ryzen motherboard)
    $35     - Cryorig H7
    $30     - Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO
CPU Water Coolers (All-in-one):
    $120    - NZXT Kraken X61
    $110    - Corsair H100i v2 (requires a special bracket that's sold separate to work with AM4 systems)
    $90     - Corsair H80i
Case fans:
    $30     - Corsair ML
    $20     - Noctua NF-S12A
    $15     - Be Quiet! Silent Wings 2
AM4/Ryzen compatible Coolers:
    $90     - Noctua NH-D15 (SE-AM4 version)
    $60     - Noctua NH-U12S (SE-AM4 version)
TR4/Threadripper compatible coolers:
    $80    - NH-U14S TR4-SP3
    $70    - NH-U12S TR4-SP3
    $70    - NH-U9 TR4-SP3
Thermal paste:
    $8     - Arctic Silver 5
    $8     - Arctic MX-4


---Tower/Case---

What to check:
    -Will it fit all the parts you've chosen? (i.e. be sure to check both the overall dimensions and internal layout)
    -Does it have optical bays? (This is very important for some, and not at all for others)
    -Is it designed with water cooling in mind?
    -How good is the ventilation?
    -Does it have sound dampening? (For many people, a noisy PC is annoying)
    -Does it have both USB Type-A and Type-C ports at the front? Type-A is common, but Type-C is the new & increasingly popular standard.
   
Towers (optical bays):
    $190   - Be Quiet! DarkBase 900
    $130   - Corsair Carbide Series Air 540
    $120   - Corsair Carbide Series 500R
    $100   - Phanteks Enthoo Pro
    $90     - Nanoxia Deep Silence 3
Towers (no optical bays):
    $140    - CoolerMaster H500P
    $120    - Phanteks Enthoo Evolv
    $100    - NZXT H440
    $90     - Phanteks Eclipse P400S
    $90     - Fractal Design MESHIFY C
    $80     - NZXT S340
    $60     - Phanteks P300
Mini ITX cases:
    $280    - DAN A4-SFX (upcoming competitor to NCASE M1. Only available through overclockers.co.uk)
    $190    - NCASE M1 V5 (Community designed, funded via kickstarter. Only available through ncases.com)
    $170    - IN WIN 901

---Screen/Monitor---

What to know:
    -Common Issues; back light bleeding, dead pixels, ghosting, yellow tinting.
    -Screen types; IPS (best color accuracy), VA (best contrast but suffer from ghosting), and TN (fast response times, but worst color accuracy).
    -Adobe RGB support is only important for print work. sRGB is all you need to care about for games/video.
    -Panels can reproduce more colors the higher their bit depth. They generally come in 6, 8, and 10-bit variants.
    -Manufacturers regularly lie about panel type / bit depth. Some 'IPS' panels are actually VA panels, some '8-bit' panels are 6-bit, etc.
    -Only Quadro/FirePro GPUs support 10-bit with OpenGL.
    -Avoid paying a lot for DVI-only monitors, as the standard is being phased out by GPU manufacturers in favor of HDMI and DisplayPort.
    -Color calibration almost always has to be done by the user.
    -For color calibration devices, if you have trouble using the included software, try this: displaycal.net

IPS screens (1440p, 99% sRGB minimum)
    $950    - NEC PA272W-BK (27 inch. 99% Adobe RGB)
    $600    - BenQ SW2700PT (27 inch. 99% Adobe RGB)
    $500    - ASUS PA279Q (27 inch. 99% Adobe RGB)
    $520    - ViewSonic VP2770 (27 inch)
    $400    - Samsung S27D850T (27 inch)
    $350    - Dell U2515H (25 inch)
    $330    - ASUS PB258Q (25 inch)
    $320    - ASUS MX MX25AQ (25 inch)

Table screens (1080p unless otherwise stated):
    (NOTE: Wacom tablets are considered the best you can buy, cheaper alternatives are more likely to have build quality and/or driver issues)
    $2,000  - Wacom Cintiq 27QHD (2560 x 1440)
    $1,700  - Wacom Cintiq 22HD
    $950    - Wacom Cintiq 13HD
    $660    - Huion GT-220 v2
    $650    - Yiynova MVP22U
    $600    - Ugee UG-2150
    $460    - Ugee HK-1560
    $500    - XP-Pen Artist16
    $450    - Artisul D13

Color Calibration devices:
    $90      - X-Rite ColorMunki Smile
    $130    - Datacolor S5X100 Spyder5EXPRESS


---Audio---

What to know:
    -Onboard audio has reached a point where it will be good enough for most people. But for everyone else...
    -Years ago, for good audio quality, you would get a dedicated sound card (i.e. an internal DAC / Digital to analog convertor).
    -These days, for good audio quality, you get an external DAC.
    -Windows OS only requires drivers for a USB DAC if it can go above 96khz. Many DAC's avoid going over 96khz for this reason.
    -Linux and MAC/iOS don't require a USB DAC to have drivers unless it goes above 192khz.
    -CD audio is all 44.1khz, and iTunes/Spotify audio is all 44.1khz to 48khz (but not lossless unfortunately).
    -For extra durability, get a DAC with a 6.3mm audio plug and use a 3.5mm adapter if needed (6.3mm plugs are FAR more durable).
    -If you want to convert analog to digital (that is, to record audio), look into getting an external "Audio Interface".

External DAC's (Outlet power):
    $500    - Denon DA-300USB (192khz / 6.3mm)
    $280    - AUNE X1s (192khz / 6.3mm)
    $270    - Mayflower Objective 2 + ODAC Rev. B (96kHz / 3.5mm)
    $110    - Micca OriGen+ (192kHz / 6.3mm + 3.5mm)

External DAC's (USB power):
    $290    - Apogee GROOVE (192khz / 3.5mm)
    $200    - AudioQuest DragonFly Red (96khz / 3.5mm)
    $170    - Audioengine D1 (96khz / 3.5mm)
    $150    - Audioengine D3 (96khz / 3.5mm)
    $150    - JDS Standalone ODAC Rev B (96kHz / 3.5mm)
    $100    - AudioQuest DragonFly Black v1.5 (96khz / 3.5mm)
    $60     - Zorloo ZuperDAC (192khz / 3.5mm)


---Laptop/Notebook---


What to know:
    -CPU speed; Intel laptop CPUs are much slower then their desktop variant of the same number (ex: 6700HQ is 40% slower then a 6700K).
    -GPU speed; Pascal-based NVIDIA GPUs have near identical performance on both desktops and laptops. atm, AMD is not competative here.
    -GPU upgrades; Limited to your existing GPUs generation (ex: 1060>1080), but laptops w/Thunderbolt3 can use external desktop GPUs.
    -RAM; Most laptops max out at 16GB of RAM, but for modern 3D workloads it's recommended to get one that can handle 32GB or more.
    -Storage; Avoid mechanical drives on laptops as they use more power then SSDs, and are slower + more damage prone then on desktops.
    -Screen; You'll want 1920x1080 or better, and IPS for color accuracy. Touch screens are normally only available on slower laptops.
    -Screen vs battery; G-Sync/120hz screens can't switch to an integrated GPU so battery life is much worse for web browsing and such.
    -Keyboard; Many laptop keyboards lack the right side 'number pad', but some 3D apps (such as Blender) use it extensively.
    -Ports; You'll likely want 2+ USB-A ports, a USB-C port w/Thunderbolt 3 support, an ethernet port, HDMI, and 3.5mm headphone/mic jacks.
    -Cooling; A cooling pad is recommended to increase the lifespan of your laptop, especially if regularly maxing out the CPU/GPU.
    -Battery; Extend battery life by lowering recharge threshold (ex: only perform full rechange when charge goes below 60%).
    -Theft/Recovery; Keep the serial number for police in case the laptop is stolen. An internet tracking app can also help them.



----------Suggested Desktop PC setups----------


Budget: $4400
    $1000   - CPU:  AMD Threadripper 1950X (16 cores , 3.4~4.0ghz)
    $800    - GPU:  NVIDIA Geforce 1080ti, 11gb vram
    $700    - RAM:  64GB (4x 16GB)
    $600    - SSD:  1TB, Samsung 960 PRO M.2
    $150    - HDD:  4TB
    $200    - MOBO: ASRock X399 Taichi
    $160    - CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-U14S TR4-SP3
    $190    - Tower: Be Quiet! DarkBase 900
    $140    - Power: EVGA 220-P2-0850-X1 (850W, Platinum rated)

Budget: $2800
    $380    - CPU: Intel i7-8700K (6 cores, 3.8~4.7ghz)
    $800    - GPU:  NVIDIA Geforce 1080ti, 11gb vram
    $650    - RAM:  64GB (4x 16GB)
    $240    - SSD:  500GB, Samsung 960 EVO M.2
    $60     - HDD:  2TB
    $160    - MOBO: ASRock - Z370 Extreme4
    $60     - CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-U12S
    $130    - Tower: Corsair Air 540
    $100    - Power: EVGA 220-G2-0750-XR (750W, Gold rated)

Budget: $2100
    $380    - CPU: Intel i7-8700K (6 cores, 3.8~4.7ghz)
    $560    - GPU:  NVIDIA Geforce 1080, 8gb vram
    $300    - RAM:  32GB (2x 16GB)
    $240    - SSD:  500GB, Samsung 960 EVO M.2
    $60     - HDD:  2TB
    $160    - MOBO: ASRock - Z370 Extreme4
    $60     - CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-U12S
    $130    - Tower: Corsair Air 540
    $100    - Power: EVGA 220-G2-0750-XR (750W, Gold rated)

Budget: $1600
    $200    - CPU:  AMD R3 1600 (comes with cooler)
    $450    - GPU:  NVIDIA Geforce 1070, 8gb vram
    $300    - RAM:  32GB (2x 16GB)
    $120    - SSD:  250GB, Samsung 960 EVO M.2
    $60     - HDD:  2TB
    $200    - MOBO: ASRock - AB35 Pro4
    $130    - Tower: Corsair Air 540
    $100    - Power: EVGA 220-G2-0750-XR (750W, Gold rated)

Budget: $1100
    $200    - CPU: AMD R3 1600 (comes with cooler)
    $250    - GPU: Geforce 1060, 6gb
    $130    - RAM: 16GB (2x 8gb)
    $120    - SSD:  250GB, Samsung 960 EVO
    $60     - HDD: 2TB
    $80     - MOBO: ASRock AB350 Pro4
    $65     - Tower: NZXT - S340
    $90    - Power: EVGA G2 220-G2-0650-Y1 (650W, Gold rated)

Budget: $700
    $110    - CPU: AMD R3 1200 (comes with cooler)
    $160    - GPU: Geforce 1050ti, 4gb
    $150    - RAM: 16GB (2x 8gb)
    $60     - HDD: 2TB
    $80     - MOBO: ASRock AB350M Pro4
    $40     - Tower: Deepcool TESSERACT BF
    $60     - Power: Corsair CXM (550W, Bronze Rated)

Replies

  • beefaroni
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    beefaroni interpolator
    Going to toss this in here as well.

    General computer/pc/laptop discussion thread.

    http://polycount.com/discussion/159021/general-computer-pc-laptop-discussion-thread#latest
  • ZacD
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    ZacD greentooth
    I'd rename low end GPUs to entry level, low end GPUs are more like $100. 

    The monitor or display section probably needs to be expanded upon greatly, there's color calibration, frame rates, latency, gsync, etc to consider.

    Looking at the midrange , 32GB of ram with an i5 seems a bit unbalanced to be, but that's going to depend a lot on the workload and applications. The $140 PSU and $160 with that is complete over kill though, you can easily get by with spending $50 less on each.
  • PolyHertz
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    PolyHertz polycounter lvl 11
    Yea a lot of this needs to be expanded on, but I thought it's a good enough starting point for now to be worth posting.

    I looked into G-SYNC monitors, and only came across three with IPS panels running at 1440p:
        $715    - Acer XB270HU (1440p, 27 inch, 144hz)
        $760    - Acer XB271HU (1440p, 27 inch, 144hz)
        $750    - ASUS ROG PG279Q (1440p, 27 inch, 165hz)

    I changed a few things on the entry/mid setups and bumped their GPUs up to something better. Not really sure if a Geforce 960, even with 4gb vram, should be getting recommended these days...
  • Eric Chadwick
    Great initiative! Moving to Tech Talk, and marking as a Sticky.
  • Mehran Khan
  • PolyHertz
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    PolyHertz polycounter lvl 11
    @Eric Chadwick
    Thanks!

    @Mehran Khan
     Nope. Its a relatively good card, but at the price it goes for there are just better options these days. Plus, it has an issue with its vram that can cause problems for various apps (mentioned in the "What to know" part of the GPU section).
  • Mehran Khan
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    Mehran Khan polycounter lvl 3
    @PolyHertz how do apps differ between available vram and Ram, I mean if I have 32gbs of ddr4 and 4gb of vram how will substance designer use this ram?

  • PolyHertz
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    PolyHertz polycounter lvl 11
    Generally, anything that needs to be read/written and processed multiple times per-second (such as vertex/edge/face/pixel data) will be stored in VRAM, and everything else that doesn't need to be accessed so rapidly will be stored in the standard RAM.

    For Substance Designer, the RAM usage is primarily tied to graph complexity, while as the VRAM usage is tied to displayed texture resolution.
    Substance Painter especially benefits from large amounts of VRAM if you want to work above 2K texture resolution.
  • ZacD
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    ZacD greentooth
    VRAM has much higher bandwidth which allows 4k textures stream in at 60 fps, desktop RAM would struggle to keep up with that kind of workload.
  • Cuvey
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    Cuvey polycounter lvl 4

    Hi! I was wondering, since you seem to know so much, if you could help me to understand what to get for my new computer, because I’ve done quite a lot of research but I’m not exactly tech-savvy

    I’m primarily a 3d modeler, but most of the time I also do all the textures, materials and rendering. I mostly work in Zbrush, 3dsMax, Maya, V-ray and Keyshot

     

    Right now I have:

    CPU: Intel Core i5 750 2.67GHz

    Graphic Card: NVIDIA GeForce GT 240

    Storage: 2 Western Digital WD Green WD10EARS 1TB 5400 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5

    RAM: x2 4gb Kingston DDR3 9-9-9-24 (right now I can’t open my case so I don’t have the details)

    Motherboard: ASUSTeK P7P55-3

    Power Supply: Sentey BXP600-PS 600w

    Case: Vitsuba Master

     

    I don’t know the rest. Everything is about 6 years old except for the power supply that is new because last week my old one decided to explode and damaged the motherboard too, so that’s patched up as well

    It’s not up to even your entry level set up, but believe it or not I’ve been working with it professionally for years. I can sculpt millions of polygons with no problem and manage to render big scenes with many layered complex vray materials, if I have enough time. What I absolutely can’t do is use Vray RT and play videogames. Also I render very very slow, but still it’s manageable, and I have some trouble when dynameshing a whole model in a high resolution to prepare for 3d printing. Viewport in 3dsMax and Maya lags a lot when dealing with big scenes but I manage freezing everything, that somehow makes it work fine

    So, what do you think should I get considering what I do? I live in South America and will try to slowly buy the parts from the USA, so budget is quite important. And if I’ve managed so far with this specs it seems to me that what you describe as high end might be a bit overkill, but I’m not sure

    I understand that for Zbrush, Keyshot and Vray CPU is what’s used and that for viewport and videogames you need a good GPU. But then there’s CUDA, and Vray RT using GPU instead of CPU and people claiming Quadro cards are pricely and not worth it, and bandwith, and clock speed vs how many cores, and SLI (What’s SLI?), and suddenly I don’t know what to do anymore. Also, specifically what do I need a lot of RAM for?

    I’ve been told more than once that the difference between Quadros and GTXs is that one is for gaming and the other is for professionals, but then I was told one was for rendering and the other for animation, and in general people don’t make up their minds.


    You can see I’m pretty lost here, so I’d appreciate any help

    Sorry for the long text, and thanks!

     

  • ZacD
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    ZacD greentooth
    Quadros are not needed for game artists, and can actually be more trouble than beneficial. They are good for very specific workloads and use cases, that don't really apply to the games industry.

    Don't worry about SLI, it's not supported by a lot of games and software.
  • PolyHertz
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    PolyHertz polycounter lvl 11
    @Curvey

    Quadro cards are NOT important except for very specific uses. They are designed for accuracy (64bit double precision math) over speed. They can be beneficial for people in the CAD / Solidworks side of the industry whose software is designed with that level of precision in mind, or for scientific applications. But, for everyone else, the only real benefit workstation level GPUs offer is in their sizeable amounts of VRAM (on the more expensive models), which is simply not something that's worth the price/performance trade offs for most artists.

    SLI is a system where you link two or more identical GPUs together in a single case for increased performance. The only real reason to use it as an artist is for GPU rendering, as it's generally not well supported for anything else (outside playing games, but even those can get what's known as 'micro stutter' with an SLI configuration).

    RAM, having large amounts of it will allow for VASTLY improved performance (with a good GPU/CPU) in 64bit programs that can take advantage of it, such as Substance Designer or ZBrush 64bit. Basically, if you run out of / max out your RAM, your PC will then be limited performance wise by how fast your had drive is, and hard drives are -extremely- slow.

    Fyi, the 'entry' level PC is what I'm suggesting in order to comfortably run all of the most modern 3D apps like UE4, Marmoset Toolbag 2, etc. for at least the next 2 years.
    You can absolutely do 3D with a weaker computer using programs that were designed to take advantage of very old PC components like 3DSMax, Maya, and ZBrush, but if you want to do modern high-end 3D it's best to build a PC that will be able to handle everything that's available now and in the very immediate future.
  • Cuvey
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    Cuvey polycounter lvl 4
    ZacD said:
    Quadros are not needed for game artists, and can actually be more trouble than beneficial. They are good for very specific workloads and use cases, that don't really apply to the games industry.

    Don't worry about SLI, it's not supported by a lot of games and software.
    Actually I work more on animated shorts than video games, does it make a difference?

    Cool, one thing less to worry about

    @PolyHertz

    It seems I've been told erroneously that Quadros were the way to go for animators (I'm not an animator though). You're one of many that, since I've began researching lately, told me I should not get one. So I guess I won't

    Thanks for explaining what SLI is, at least I won't have to think about that

    And thanks for clarifying about the "entry" level PC. I thought it meant something like what I have know, that lets you work fine if you've got patience to wait for things to get done. So I think maybe a mix bewteen the mid range and high end should do fine for me. I don't have enough knowledge to make a list of parts myself, so I'll have to trust a list made by someone else
  • RevoMA
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    RevoMA null
    PolyHertz said:

    High End 'Extreme' (Budget:$3700)
        $1100   - CPU:  Intel i7-6900K
        $1200   - GPU:  NVIDIA Geforce TITAN X, 12GB VRAM (2016 model)
        $220    - RAM:  64GB (4x 16GB)
        $320    - SSD:  Samsung 950 PRO M2 512GB
        $110    - HDD:  2x 2TB in RAID1
        $230    - MOBO: MSI X99A SLI PLUS
        $90     - CPU fan: Noctua NH-D15
        $190   - Tower: Be Quiet! DarkBase 900
        $160    - Power: EVGA 220-T2-0850-X1 (850W)


    Hi, many thanks for writing this extensive guide. I have a question about the high end build quoted above. 

    With regards to cpu choice, could you expand on why you chose the 6900k as opposed to the 5960x? 

    I am currently thinking about which processor to get out of these two and my line of thinking is that the 6900k is newer and has IPC gains whereas with a 5960x you get a much better overclocker, so my understanding is that if one was to overclock a Haswell E is the better choice. 

    Any thoughts on this? 

    Many thanks again! 
  • PolyHertz
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    PolyHertz polycounter lvl 11
    Well, the 5960X is generally going to be the better choice for those that want to overclock their system, but my assumption is the vast majority of buyers wont be doing that (either because they don't know how, or they're worried about messing with such an expensive part). The 6900K offers much better out of the box performance, the reason I chose it is as simple as that.

    Though, the air cooler I listed (NH-D15) is complete overkill for anyone not doing overclocking :p
  • RevoMA
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    RevoMA null
    I see, that makes a lot of sense. Would you also advice the NH-D15 for overclocking (vs an AIO like the H100i or X61)? 

    Would you recommend a different motherboard for overclockers? (I have no idea if motherboard choice makes much of a difference). 

    Would getting 2 kits of 4x8gb (32gb x2) be equal to the single kit of 4x16 you have in the build?

    Many thanks again! 

  • PolyHertz
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    PolyHertz polycounter lvl 11
    Yes, the NH-D15 will do just as good of job as those coolers, while also being quieter. Here's a comparison: http://www.relaxedtech.com/reviews/noctua/nh-d15-versus-closed-loop-liquid-coolers/2

    The motherboard should be perfectly fine for overclocking, and has a section in the BIOS specifically for that purpose.

    For RAM, yes you could do that. There is a small speed advantage in using all your RAM sockets as opposed to leaving some open, however it'll also be more expensive if you choose to upgrade later on as you'll need to replace all your RAM sticks instead of just adding a few more.
  • ryebot
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    ryebot triangle
    This thread has been a huge help to me as I've been piecing together my own workstation build. Thanks!

    The word "overclocking" scares me. Are the performance gains worth buying a more expensive cooler and the extra effort? I've been on the Mac side for years, but building a PC for the first time, so I've never really gotten deep into hardware stuff like this.
  • PolyHertz
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    PolyHertz polycounter lvl 11
    The main benefit is for those that do a lot of rendering / baking, which can often take a very long time (especially on systems with a basic 4 core CPU). Even if you're not overclocking, the more expensive coolers can be worth getting just to have a very quiet system.
  • ZacD
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    ZacD greentooth
    You don't even need a very expensive cooler to do some overclocking, a $30 cooler will get you close to the same overclocks as an AIO liquid cooler, maybe .3 GHz less at most. 
  • DyrusNotSmurf
    @PolyHertz how do you feel about the new X99 gigabyte designare http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=5812#ov . I was watching alot of videos over CES and this motherboard popped up, I was thinking of getting one since one of the selling points was it can be used for a workstation and a gaming pc ( Which would be nice running UE4, Maya, Painter, Zbrush, and Keyshot, along with playing games on ultra with a nice gpu ), but I had doubts since this mobo is for the new Intel extreme 6900 cpu they just made that's like 1500$ and I don't have that in my budget.

  • PolyHertz
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    PolyHertz polycounter lvl 11
    @DyrusNotSmurf That motherboard will work fine with any socket 2011-3 CPU, not just the 6900K (which is actually an 8-core CPU priced around $1k, you're thinking of the 10-core 6950X). It will also work fine for the purposes you listed. However, other then Thunderbolt support, metal PCIe/RAM shielding, and LED lights, I don't see anything listed that really sets it apart from boards half its price.
  • EarthQuake
    Hey, this is really cool, thanks for putting in the effort!

    If you want to go further with the monitor section, it would probably be worth pointing out differences between 6-bit and 8-bit color, and different types of panels. For instance, the Dell P2416D is a 6-bit VA panel rather than an IPS, and there are many forms of IPS, like e-IPS which is a cheaper, usually 6-bit panel. 6-bit IPS/VA panels tend to have good viewing angles (good for art) but worse color accuracy than 8 or 10 bit H-IPS panels and such. Perhaps best not to get too esoteric, but maybe just list the specific panel type and bit depth of the screen.

    Also seems silly to put a GTX 980 in "low end" considering it is a $400+ card and performs between a 1060 and 1070, but I guess if I were building today I would get a 1070 rather than a 980. I would say something like a GTX 960 4GB at ~$160 is low end, along with 1050 if/when it comes out.
  • PolyHertz
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    PolyHertz polycounter lvl 11
    Yea the 980 performance wise is a mid-range card, but only having 4gb of vram puts it in a weird spot when even cheap $250 options now have 6gb or 8gb of vram. I'm not entirely sure how to classify it as a result.

    Good call on the monitors. I'll add some extra info about VA and the various types of IPS panels, and 6/8/10bit.
    I actually intended to add some info about higher refresh monitors too (120hz / 144hz), since I figured they could be useful to animators, but I wasn't able to find anything online about animators using them at all.
  • EarthQuake
    Yeah, I don't think animators care about that, animation content is typically authored at 24 or 30 fps, 60 fps at most. I think it's more gamers who get worked up about 120hz.
  • Elyaradine
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    Elyaradine polycounter lvl 8
    I just wanted to say thank you for putting this up!

    I'd been looking for a home workstation in the $2000 range, and what you've got here is a little better than what I was going to get otherwise.
  • RevoMA
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    RevoMA null
    @PolyHertz can I get a second opinion on this partlist please? 

    http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/list/94Zz7h

    I am thinking of it as a starting point really. Which is why I got the X99-e WS there, with view of populating all PCI-e slots with graphic cards at some point. It was either that or the Deluxe II. Actually, this is a point I am very confused about. At the moment I work with Zbrush, Modo, C4D, Keyshot and Octane. How many gpus do I need for optimal performance? Does having 2-3 1080s work well enough for viewport + rendering (in which case I would save some money and get the Deluxe II) or do I need all 4? I dont mind waiting on renders, its the live performance that I am worried about.
    I am on a Mac at the moment so have no idea really. 

    I went with 2400mhz RAM for price and stability. At the moment I am undecided between the Savage currently in the partlist and the Corsair Vengeance LPX http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/product/RVnG3C/corsair-memory-cmk32gx4m4a2400c14

    The cpu cooler was chosen because the two fan version (D15) would block one of the expansion slots, so went with the single fan version.

    I only have SSD in this build. How important is having M.2 drives for painting, modelling and rendering? If my understanding is correct, faster drives would be ideal for editing more so than CG (?).

    And finally, would the case be OK with 4 gpus? It has 8 expansion slots, so would populating them with blower-style, double-slotted gpus work temperature?
    Another option for the case would be the 750D which has 9 expansion slots, but I am reading that it allows a lot of dust and the use of internal space is not so efficient like the Luxe. 

    Help me please! 


  • PolyHertz
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    PolyHertz polycounter lvl 11
    @RevoMAThe build looks good. To address your specific questions;

    For the best viewport performance, you'll want to get the best single-GPU solution you can afford. SLI is only really useful for GPU rendering, as basically no 3D modeling programs viewport supports it. In fact, only dual-GPU SLI is officially supported anymore by Geforce cards, starting with the new 1000/Pascal series chipset. Tri and quad SLI can still be achieved, but support will likely be very hit or miss going forward.

    For RAM, Corsair is generally considered the higher quality brand, but you should be fine either way.

    M.2 drives are more useful if you're working with apps that rely heavily on scratch discs, such a Mari or Quixel DDO. ZBrush can benefit in some instances too, particularly if you're still using the 32bit version. For most apps though you wont notice a difference except when loading them.

    The Luxe case should be OK for a quad SLI setup, but not great. It's going to be a tight fit. Again though, I don't recommend quad SLI unless you are doing a ton of GPU-based rendering and are OK with the fact that it's being phased out.
  • beefaroni
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    beefaroni interpolator
    I think you'll end up getting a full size case and not really utilizing it completely. @PolyHertz said, you probably won't ever utilize more than 1 GPU on a day-to-day basis. Here's what I would recommend and you'll probably save some $$ too. Save up all that extra cash and then upgrade whatever you need to 2 years down the line.

    http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/list/cNtTJV


  • RevoMA
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    RevoMA null
    @PolyHertz @beefaroni ,

    Thanks a lot for the replies and input, really appreciate it. Will definitely reconsider the multi gpu setup. I keep reading that for octane the more gpus you have the better, and I had just assumed it was for viewport. Maybe I will settle for two cards if the viewport is smooth, I am not particularly worried about render times.

    Much appreciated guys!  
  • m4dcow
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    m4dcow polycounter lvl 7
  • jderiggi
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    jderiggi polycounter lvl 6
    Thanks so much to PolyHertz for this original post and to everyone else for their thoughts as well! Been really useful while trying to choose parts. I'm a character artist doing heavy Zbrush sculpting and Keyshot rendering, but also real time painting in Substance Painter and real time rendering in Marmoset.

    I plan to grab either a GTX 1070 or 1080 graphics card, with at least 32GB ram, but I'm mostly stuck on a CPU. i7 6800K or Xeon e5-2620 v4. Both are similar costs, but Xeon's are known for more CPU power hungry apps like Zbrush. Don't want Substance Painter to suffer though in real time painting. Thoughts? Here's a part list on pcpartpicker.com - http://pcpartpicker.com/list/psqLsJ. Thanks in advance!

    John


  • wirrexx
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    wirrexx polycounter lvl 6
    After my GF got sick and we we're in trouble with money, i had to sell my PC, she left me after that and i have no money or PC, so my question is, with the money coming in (from selling a couple of gaming stuff), i have to go for a laptop while finding a job and place to live in, any tips on what laptop should do me 3D work good? 

    Ue4, 3ds max, photoshop and zbrush.

    HAVE A NICE SUNDAY LOVED ONES! :D
  • ZacD
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    ZacD greentooth
    What's your budget? For UE4, I'd suggest trying to get something with a 860M or 960M or better. Which is going to start at around $700. 
  • wirrexx
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    wirrexx polycounter lvl 6
    Zacd its about 800 Euro!
  • MikeWal
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    MikeWal vertex
    Hello, first of all, thanks for this thread, really helpfull for me, since i haven't upgraded my pc in years. I'm planning on buying entry lvl pc, and everything is fine, except i can't find  Tower: Corsair Carbide Series 100R and Power: Corsair CX600 in my country stores. Couldn't find Roseville either, can you suggest something for similar price (tower and power)? I found Aerocool KCAS-600 and it looks pretty ok, but i'm still not sure.
  • PolyHertz
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    PolyHertz polycounter lvl 11
    jderiggi said:
    I plan to grab either a GTX 1070 or 1080 graphics card, with at least 32GB ram, but I'm mostly stuck on a CPU. i7 6800K or Xeon e5-2620 v4. Both are similar costs, but Xeon's are known for more CPU power hungry apps like Zbrush. Don't want Substance Painter to suffer though in real time painting. Thoughts? Here's a part list on pcpartpicker.com - http://pcpartpicker.com/list/psqLsJ. Thanks in advance!
    @jderiggi I would personally go with the 6800K over a single e5-2620 due to the large differences in clock speeds (3.4ghz vs 2.1ghz when using all cores, or 3.6ghz vs 3.0ghz Turbo Boost). Some apps might be better with the Xeon, but I think the vast majority will run better with the 6800K.

    About GPU/RAM ; The 1080 isn't that much better then a 1070, and has the same amount of vram. On the other hand, in ZBrush 64gb of ram can make a huge difference over 32gb (assuming you're using 64bit zbrush).

    MikeWal said:
    i can't find  Tower: Corsair Carbide Series 100R and Power: Corsair CX600 in my country stores. Couldn't find Roseville either, can you suggest something for similar price (tower and power)? I found Aerocool KCAS-600 and it looks pretty ok, but i'm still not sure.
    @MikeWal The tower honestly isn't that important, as long as it can fit your parts and has at least somewhat decent ventilation. I added a good cheap NZXT model in the first post though. If you can't find that either, just pick whatever yo think looks nice and seems sturdy (a $50 budget for the case wont allow for many choices either way).

    For power supplys it's generally enough to just go by brand when on a budget. Aerocool is not considered a good brand, and If there are no Corsair ones around, maybe see if you can find one under the Cooler Master brand instead.
  • jderiggi
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    jderiggi polycounter lvl 6
    @PolyHertz Thanks very much! I was considering doing just what you recommended for those exact reasons. Thanks again!

    John
  • nechasto
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    nechasto polycounter lvl 2
    Hi, does anybody have experience with 2x 4k monitor's running on QUADRO K5200 8GB. I am mostly using 3ds max, z-brush, v-ray, keyshot (no gaming). I know that it is supported via DP 1.2 on 60 Hz but how does it perform. I don't want to buy a second 4k monitor just to find out that it is overkill for the Quadro k5200 8gb.
  • MikeWal
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    MikeWal vertex
    Thanks, PolyHertz, one more question, is it good idea to buy GTX 1070 instead of 1060 for entry lvl pc? Cause in my country it costs only 100$ more. Or it's not worth it?
  • lukx
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    lukx null
    I'm thinking about 2 x Xeon E5-2630 v4 or i7-6900k build. But I heard that with Xeons things aren't that responsive as with i7 cpu. Also what about gaming. Will Xeon be as strong with geforce 1080 so I'll be able to play games with ultra settings?
  • ZacD
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    ZacD greentooth
    The E5-2630 only turbos to 2.80 GHz which is a bit slow for ultra gaming.
  • PolyHertz
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    PolyHertz polycounter lvl 11
    Hey guys, just a heads up; Apparently a lot of EVGA cards are having issues with screen artifacts, black screens, and in some rare cases; bursting into flames:

    http://wccftech.com/nvidia-gtx-1080-1070-evga-cards-dying/
    https://www.reddit.com/r/nvidia/comments/56ydth/evga_gtx_1080_ftw_caught_on_fire/
    https://www.reddit.com/r/nvidia/comments/5dly01/exploding_evga_1080_ftw/
    https://www.reddit.com/r/nvidia/comments/5e5723/evga_gtx_1080_ftw_exploded_vrm/
    http://forums.evga.com/EVGA-1080-FTW-Caught-fire-with-some-parts-exploding-m2558654.aspx
    http://forums.evga.com/1080-FTW-exploded-now-dead-and-took-other-parts-with-it-m2583259.aspx

    There's also some concern that the cards may have what could be considered a design defect, where the VRMs are not properly cooled (which may or may not be the cause of the above issues). EVGA has responded by essentially saying 'nothing is wrong with out cards', and making thermal pads available for those that want better cooling (and feel comfortable enough to take apart and put back together their card).

    UPDATE Apr-2017 : https://www.reddit.com/r/nvidia/comments/65015u/evga_vrms_are_still_exploding/
  • Eric Chadwick
    This thread is so full of win.

    I'm looking at upgrading my 3 yr old laptop, which is my main home setup for doing freelance work. Sometimes I need to bring it with me to do onsite work with clients.

    The best option for me, balancing performance & portability, so far seems to be the ASUS GL502 with the GTX 1070.
    http://cukusa.com/asus-rog-gl502vs-db71-15-6-full-hd-gtx-1070-gaming-laptop.html#specs
    + 32GB RAM
    + 1 TB SSD

    1080 seems to be better if you're running a 4k monitor, which I'm not. I have a 27" second display, and I don't want 4k on a 15.6" laptop display, that makes things way too small. I was thinking about a 17" but those are too heavy to move around.

    They don't seem to offer the Windows 7 downgrade option. I have two desktop PCs at home for family use with Windows 10 on them, and they seem to crash quite a bit, getting hung on the Win10 BSOD. Maybe it's just because they're older spec PCs (HP Pavilion Elite, GTX 260). Anyhow, not relishing the thought of having Windows 10 to depend on.

    Any thoughts or input would be great to hear.
  • PolyHertz
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    PolyHertz polycounter lvl 11
    @Eric Chadwick

    A GTX 1070 should be perfectly fine. The 1080 atp is overkill for any resolution below 1440p.

    For Windows 7, it should be possible to install it yourself, but you'll probably need to create a custom boot image to do it (one with USB3 and NVMe drivers built in). Here's a guide for doing that: http://forum.notebookreview.com/threads/guide-installing-windows-7-on-an-nvme-ssd-from-a-usb-3-0-thumbdrive.783921/

    Also, about the SSD, make sure you get an NVMe based M.2 for your OS drive, as it will be several times faster then a SATA based M.2 . The site you linked to doesn't mention brand/model of the M.2 drives though, so they might be junk...I'd get in contact with them to confirm what brand/model drives they include with the laptop, and if they're poorly rated see if you can get the laptop without an M.2/SDD at all and just buy/install one afterwards.

    Alternatively, you could look for companies that sell newer laptops with Windows 7 included and list brand/model for their drives. GentechPC is one I've used before that does this (though its been a few years).
  • Eric Chadwick
    Thanks PolyHertz!

    I have Win 7 Pro on an unused extra HDD, sounds like I can use that to make the boot image.

    Is NVMe really that much faster for the kind of work we do? Not sure if it's worth the doubling or tripling in price. Especially if I'm going for 1TB SSDs.
  • PolyHertz
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    PolyHertz polycounter lvl 11
    Honestly, it's a real crap-shoot as to whether you'll see significant improvements or not; Most programs are going to be CPU bound when it comes to loading files on these faster drives. Saving large files or editing 4K video should benefit from it, but I really couldn't say if the difference will be worth it to you.

    If you really want a 1TB drive for your OS/Apps, I wouldn't bother with NVMe at the current prices. If you do however decide to go with one instead of SATA, I would wait for the new 960 EVO drives to be released as they should be both faster and cheaper then the current 950 PRO drives.
  • m4dcow
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    m4dcow polycounter lvl 7
    Thanks PolyHertz!

    Is NVMe really that much faster for the kind of work we do? Not sure if it's worth the doubling or tripling in price. Especially if I'm going for 1TB SSDs.
    Technically the NVME drives are quite a bit faster 2600MB/s vs 530MB/s (the limit of sata 6) but in general real world scenarios the improvement is modest. Although things like reading multi million poly zbrush sculpts are done quicker than a regular SSD.

    Whether that sort of performance is worth it is up to you really.
  • throttlekitty
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    throttlekitty Polycount Sponsor
    Thanks PolyHertz!

    I have Win 7 Pro on an unused extra HDD, sounds like I can use that to make the boot image.

    Is NVMe really that much faster for the kind of work we do? Not sure if it's worth the doubling or tripling in price. Especially if I'm going for 1TB SSDs.
    It really depends on the work and pipeline; basically anything disk I/O related. Working with many, many large files in Photoshop would benefit from a faster scratch read/write. Or in 3d, having many referenced or cached files and textures would be a benefit in raw speed and parallelism.

    Incidentally, I've a coworker installing a new NVMe this week (the new one from samsung), and is in the process of an annoying pipeline change where he needs to open some 50 heavy scenes to make a few small changes by hand. He decided on doing half now and half later to see the effect it has.
  • PolyHertz
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    PolyHertz polycounter lvl 11
    @throttlekitty Let us know how it goes. :)
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