Processor And Video Card Recommendations


mscpbd
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I'm looking at a new computer system and I have a few questions. I need something that will give really good raytraces, fast rendering times and last me a few Chief upgrades.

 

What is better for Chief a Xeon double/quad core proccessor or a 4th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 and why?

 

I also need recommendations for video cards. 

 

I'm looking on Dells website, at the deals they have going on this week. ;-)

 

Debra

 

Here is what I have now maybe just need to tweak what I have now or do a full upgrade? 

 

Operating System
    Windows 7 Professional 64-bit SP1
CPU
    AMD Phenom X4 9950 Black Edition
    Agena 65nm Technology
RAM
    8.00GB Dual-Channel DDR2 @ 399MHz (5-5-5-18)
Motherboard
    MSI MS-7375 (CPU 1) 
Graphics
    VA2448 SERIES (1920x1080@60Hz)
    VA2448 SERIES (1920x1080@60Hz)
    512MB NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GTX/9800 GTX+ (BFG Tech)  
    512MB NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GTX/9800 GTX+ (BFG Tech)  
    ForceWare version: 337.88
    SLI Enabled
Storage
    465GB NVIDIA RAID5 465.77G (RAID)
Optical Drives
    ASUS DRW-2014L1T SCSI CdRom Device
    ATAPI DVD C DH52C2S SCSI CdRom Device
 

 

 

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Wow, how magnanimous. $200 off on a $14,500 rig

and a two week build time to boot. I won't go a penny

higher than 14K and I want it by Friday.  ;)

 

Seriously there have been several threads on this topic.

A search of the forums for "upgrades" will lead you to

some of them. This was one of the better ones.

 

https://chieftalk.chiefarchitect.com/index.php?/topic/504-best-computer-for-running-cheif/?hl=upgrade

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SLI doesn't work in chief, maybe in X7! I hope :)

The speed of raytracing is based on your processor speed.

check my specs, I built my rig a little over a year ago. Works great for the sub 2k I spent. Oh and I also ended up adding a SSD primary C: drive

I have it overclocked to 4ghz, was at 4.4 but over time became a little unstable.

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Dell Alienware has been good for me.  Going on three years of almost daily use with high end complicated custom homes and not a single hiccup.  Renders are snappy and working in the plans is quick.  I considered building my own computer, but opted for something ready to roll.  Dell will usually recommend their Precision workstations for architecture / engineering work, but don't get swayed into a system that is set up for AutoCad.  Alienware is great for graphics hungry programs.  Get the most RAM and Video Card you can afford and the i7 chip is great too.

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In that price range you should be able to get a very fast i7 processor and a very fast single nVIDIA card for Chief.  That's pretty much all Chief needs to rock. Then, what YOU might need to rock is a decent capacity SSD (totally puts major zing in your bootup and your Windows) a comfy mouse and keyboard with programmable buttons, and the biggest monitor (or monitors) that will either fit on your desk or can be seen with your eyeballs. If I had $4K to spend I could still get myself a whole new dadgum desk and a kick-butt boss chair.

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To the OP Debra,

 

I've included a chart to compare your current CPU to the newest out there and you can see how far back in technology/speed your current processor is. http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=AMD+Phenom+9950+Quad-Core translation - you really need a new system. Your current motherboard will not support a fast enough processor to really bother with up-grading and the 9800 GTX video cards are dinosaurs as well.

 

The difference between Xeon processors and the current i7's is simply the amount of data each can move (in gigaflops). Here's another chart http://www.cpubenchmark.net/high_end_cpus.html you can see the Xeons kill the i7's and ideally you'd get a couple of high end Xeons in a server motherboard but the cost would kill.

 

I've got a couple low end Xeons in my system that was built by a guy that had them on hand for pretty cheap (system was $2500 complete and the 2 Xeons overclocked moved more data that the then current higher end i7's) I can upgrade the processors to faster Xeons but again the cost will not justify it so I consider myself lucky to get a decent deal on a couple of fast processors and will use this system till it ages past its usefulness. http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Xeon+L5640+%40+2.27GHz&id=1263

 

Here's another part of the web pages from above. http://www.harddrivebenchmark.net/

 

The rules for Chief are very simple. Buy the fastest CPU you can afford. The CPU chews through RayTracing and general system speed. If you don't know which is fastest check the charts (for everything).

 

Same for video cards. The video card handles the 3D rendering chores. Buy the fastest GAMING Video card you can afford. Stay away from the Quadro CAD cards as the bang for buck is simply not there for the way Chief handles graphics. Nvidia seems to be the brand of choice. Check charts.

 

Memory, simple again, get the most, fastest you can afford. I personally would get less, faster memory than more slower memory. 8 GB min 16 GB max as Chief really won't use much more.

 

Hard drive(s) Single SSD and single disc HDD.

 

Power supply HAS to be big enough to power your goodies. 1000 W minimum.

 

Cooling. If you don't know, buy a system from someone who does.

 

Simple.

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I was going to suggest a Boxx, but felt the price may scare people away :P

 

http://www.boxxtech.com/

 

jon

 

Jon, noticed you've recommended Boxx in several threads. I was on a Boxx for about a year before we hired a guy to specifically do our 3D stuff (this was back in 2006), and it was a good machine, solidly built - but, loud as heck and I thought a bit over-priced for what we got. Excellent interior build, though - easy to upgrade and good support - they still have our custom build on file and retrievable via the web. Our latest purchases are from Falcon Northwest, a custom gaming rig builder, and they have been impressive as well:

 

Falcon Northwest Talon.pdf

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Ok, I'll quit being a smartypants and get serious.  Yes, both Xeon and i7 are faster; depends on the task and software used.  Is CA the only software in your workflow?  Or, are there Autodesk products in the mix?  Lumion?  Etc., etc.

 

Next is your budget.  >$15K then it's a dual Xeon and fully Autodesk compliant.  <$5K then it's an upper end gamer rig.  <$2K then an upper end business computer or midline gamer rig with a good graphics card--or a gamer laptop.

 

Everything boils down to what's your realistic budget.

 

@ $2500 your pushing it for a new technology desktop.  Does your budget include a monitor, keyboard and mouse?  A service contract?  Give me details.

 

jon

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Rob, yeah I like Boxx Tech.  Rock solid workstations, great service.  However, HP, Fujitsu, etc., etc. make good workstations as well.  It's just that Boxx makes the workstations for Intergraph video servers, and next to HP Nonstop, they're about the most robust hardware on the market.

 

I put Falcon on par with Digital Storm, Maingear, and even Alienware; they're good, current tech, reasonably priced.  Personally, I've ditched the desktop and use a gamer laptop.  Now if CA would just give us a renderfarm as part of SSA...sheeebang!

 

jon

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Ok, I'll quit being a smartypants and get serious.  Yes, both Xeon and i7 are faster; depends on the task and software used.  Is CA the only software in your workflow?  Or, are there Autodesk products in the mix?  Lumion?  Etc., etc.

 

Next is your budget.  >$15K then it's a dual Xeon and fully Autodesk compliant.  <$5K then it's an upper end gamer rig.  <$2K then an upper end business computer or midline gamer rig with a good graphics card--or a gamer laptop.

 

Everything boils down to what's your realistic budget.

 

@ $2500 your pushing it for a new technology desktop.  Does your budget include a monitor, keyboard and mouse?  A service contract?  Give me details.

 

jon

Great info Jon, but I think $2500 should buy you a great machine for using Chief and that machine should last a couple 3 years.

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