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November 17, 2012
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Is this Pc right for 3ds max animation?

:iconanimatingdreams:
AnimatingDreams Nov 17, 2012  Hobbyist Filmographer
I am still kind of use to the whole picking out pc for 3ds max animation. So I went to AVA Directs website and found a PC i believe that might be the one for me and it is reasonably priced. It is a Workstation PC Six-Core Core i7 X79 SFF Computer Workstation


Selection of microATX cases
Intel® Core™ i7 socket 2011 processor
Intel® X79 chipset
Up to 32GB DDR3-2400 memory
Selection of PCI Express x16 graphics cards
Up to 4 SATA hard drives
RAID 0, 1, 10, 5 support
Onboard Gigabit LAN
Optional discrete audio card

Here is the link also if you want to look at it farther. [link]

If this is not the PC please send me some suggestions.
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:iconshadow2k:
shadow2k Nov 17, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm going to echo PR-Imagery and recommend you get a 3930K in there. I was advised (by the same person) to do the same, and I haven't regretted it - it's a beast at rendering 3D animations.
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:iconnervene:
Some responses with this kind of question tend to be along the lines of 'get the biggest, baddest thing possible' - it's common sense that a faster computer will compute faster - but as someone who doesn't live where money grows on trees, I like to consider just what I really do need to get the job done rather than going overkill on hardware I won't actually derive much benefit from. You do not need a computer with a processor that costs $800+ alone to make great animations with great visuals. Unless you are doing Weta Digital levels of rendering insanity you'll be fine with a reasonably powered quad core (or more) processor, a mid-to-high-range graphics card, and 12 GB or greater RAM. The faster your processor, the shorter the render times will be; no surprise there. You don't need to overclock things only to have them fail sooner because of it and cost you more money.

If an expensive rig finishes a multi-thousand frame render job at 3am and a rig less powerful finishes at 6am, but you don't wake up until 8am anyway, it's worth considering just how much benefit you're experiencing for potentially paying significantly more more for the computer.

I'm currently on an i7 1.6Ghz laptop (4 physical / 8 virtual cores) with a mid-low range graphics card and 12 GB of RAM, which in total cost about $1,200 in 2010, and I'd be just fine with it if I was still into traditional offline-rendering 3D work. It takes about 6-10 seconds to do preview-level renders complete with GI. None of this hardware is very remarkable at all, but it's entirely capable of pushing pretty pixels, so when I see the 'make a supercomputer' posts that often pop up in this kind of thread I can't help but imagine they are being written by men in limousines throwing money out of their windows while typing.
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:iconpakaku:
Considering 3DS Max is a program designed and aimed at professional studios...
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:iconnervene:
And works on non-'professional' computers just fine. But I'm sure someone would love if you spent way more money and bought a Quadro card which, at least in the past, was the only 'officially supported' graphics card series for Max despite that it was somewhat of a joke and GeForce worked fine.
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:iconpr-imagery:
PR-Imagery Nov 17, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
If you're making money off your work Quadros are worth every penny. Dedicated drivers, reliability, dedicated support and access to nvidia's driver devs, thoroughly tested and guaranteed compatibility through ISV certification programs...

What even makes a computer "professional"?
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:iconnervene:
Hence the single quotes on 'professional', it's a term used a lot on workstations that seems to suggest magic, but they do tend to have Quadro or FirePro cards. I've known quite a few people who make money using Max/Maya, none that have voiced it have had Quadros or have shown any interest/need for the extra support and certifications that may come with it, as their consumer-grade cards have done perfectly fine in getting the work done.

The original point being that Max works fine on 'gaming computers' that have reasonably fast components versus workstations that can cost 5 times as much. It's what our school's computers essentially were: gaming computers - no workstation video cards, ECC RAM or other fancy bits that would separate them from good machines to build if you wanted to play games, and it's not that we were being light on them as 30M+ point ZBrush models and the maps to match them were common. We did have a render farm, but not many seemed to use it. The average person who is not working at Weta Digital, in my opinion, is not going to require that last stretch of performance increase that adds another 50-100% or more in cost.

If you've got big clients and are dealing with big money, those costs may be trivial; those accumulated saved rendering hours invaluable. For many others, especially someone who is asking online for recommendations (especially on dA), they can save a big chunk of money and still do everything they intend to by realizing that yes, Max is an industry standard program, but it does not require a black monolith powered by cold fusion to use effectively. How pretty the pixels are that come out is much more in the hands of you as the artist than in the hands of that photon count slider you jacked up for your computer to sit and think about. It's very easy to buy something that you'll not benefit greatly from; very easy to spend more money than you really need to.

By no means am I saying that there is no benefit in having a completely loaded workstation; only that it is entirely possible to create great work without one, and it doesn't mean that it will be a pain to do so.
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:iconpr-imagery:
PR-Imagery Nov 17, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Any particular reason why you're going with an SFF?

Upgrade to the 3930k if you can afford it, 4*4GB or 4*8GB for 32GB 1600Mhz (can go to 1866Mhz if it fits your budget), change the PSU to the Antec Earthwatts EA650.

What graphics card do you plan on getting?
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:iconanimatingdreams:
AnimatingDreams Nov 18, 2012  Hobbyist Filmographer
These were just the default piece that came with the PC pack, I was looking at. If I do go with the changes how much would I be looking at as far as price?
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:iconpr-imagery:
PR-Imagery Nov 18, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Would get one from the gaming section, [link]

CPU: 3930k
Cooler: Noctua D14
Motherboard: ASUS P9X79 Pro
RAM: G.Skill 4*4Gb 1600 CL9
GPU: GTX 660Ti
Case: NZXT Phantom
PSU: Antec Earthwatts EA750
OS: Win7 Pro 64bit

(OS defaults to Win7 Home Premium which has a 16GB memory limitation, upgrade to Win7 Pro 64bit, or if OS is not needed select none and pocket the difference or add an ssd boot drive.)

Total: $2043 with Win7 Pro listed configuration / $1943 as listed with no OS or $2007 as listed with no OS with the addition of the 128GB Crucial M4 as boot and Seagate Barracuda 2TB secondary storage drive.
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:iconrayvinazn:
It's been a while since I looked into 3D rendering, but what are the impacts of memory bandwidth on programs like 3DS Max? The GTX 660 Ti is rather anemic in that department (that and ROPs, but I'm pretty sure those aren't used much in 3D rendering),
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