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michaelb-01

Custom PC build advice

Hi, I'm looking to build a PC at home and I don't know a huge amount these things so I'm looking for some advice. 

 
My budget is around £3k. The main uses will be Houdini, Maya and Nuke. I do a fair amount of heavy fx work and I'm planning to do gpu rendering with redshift. My main questions are to do with which cpu and gpu to go for:
 
CPU
- the AMD threadripper looks very interesting, is it worth waiting to see how much that costs and how it compares to intel i7/i9?
- are the i9 chips worth it?
- or is it better to go for a dual cpu (e.g. dual xeons)? Would that fit in my budget? is it possible to use just one cpu on a dual socket (with the option to add another at a later date)?
 
GPU
- I would ultimately like to have 2 or 3 gpus for rendering but, so I guess this influences which motherboard I can get (with enough pci-e lanes)
- I think the 1070 seems like a really good option to start with for price/performance

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16 minutes ago, michaelb-01 said:

the AMD threadripper looks very interesting, is it worth waiting to see how much that costs and how it compares to intel i7/i9?

The pricing is speculated to be $850 which makes it a compelling option (around half the Intel equivalent). I think it's worth waiting to see the numbers and pricing.

18 minutes ago, michaelb-01 said:

are the i9 chips worth it?

I personally wouldn't spend that much on a processor for a build in that price range because you'd have to make sacrifices elsewhere to come in on budget.

33 minutes ago, michaelb-01 said:

or is it better to go for a dual cpu (e.g. dual xeons)? Would that fit in my budget? is it possible to use just one cpu on a dual socket (with the option to add another at a later date)?

You can use one processor in a dual processor motherboard but you lose half of everything else that the processor controls (like memory slots and PCI Express lanes). When you get around to getting a second processor chances are it'll be outdated by then and not a good use of money. I think it's a much better option to get what you need when you need it.

35 minutes ago, michaelb-01 said:

I would ultimately like to have 2 or 3 gpus for rendering but, so I guess this influences which motherboard I can get (with enough pci-e lanes)

If you haven't yet I'd try Redshift for a while before plopping down lots of cash on graphics cards. The Houdini support is still in alpha stage after all.

53 minutes ago, michaelb-01 said:

I think the 1070 seems like a really good option to start with for price/performance

I'd go for fewer cards that are higher end. They'll have more memory and they'll be more useful for other tasks that use a single GPU like OpenCL simulation and viewport drawing.

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Hey, thanks very much for your reply, really helpful! 

2 minutes ago, lukeiamyourfather said:

I'd go for fewer cards that are higher end. They'll have more memory and they'll be more useful for other tasks that use a single GPU like OpenCL simulation and viewport drawing.

Ok, do you think 1080ti is the best option? (better than say a quadro p4000?)

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2 minutes ago, michaelb-01 said:

Ok, do you think 1080ti is the best option? (better than say a quadro p4000?)

Yes, if I were building a workstation right now I'd go for a GTX 1080 Ti. It represents good value despite the fairly high price tag. The Quadro products like the P4000 offer first class technical support and driver development but it comes at a huge expense relative to the performance. The Quadro P4000 is on par with the GTX 1060 in terms of performance.

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Ok thanks, also there are rumours that the geforce 20 series with Volta may be released this year (Q3), do you think its worth waiting for these to be released?

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I recently built a $3k workstation with this in it:

i7 6850  (6 cores/ 12 threads, but high clock speed and potential for overclocking)
gtx1080ti  (11Gb video ram - evga founders edition)

samsung 500Gb M.2 (for fast caching, a bit pricey but this thing is really fast)

samsung 1tb solid state (intermediate speed)
seagate 4tb data
quiete base case (very quiet - big case so I have room to expand)
noctua NHD15  (cpu cooler - air based)

64 gb ram

I come from a dual xeon background - and you could get some older xeon chips on ebay as an alternative, but for more single threaded things the i7 6850 hits a sweet spot in terms of number of procs vs clock speed).

I also think that in the future the industry will move towards a gpu rendering approach, if not a real-time (unreal-engine) approach. Depends a bit on your needs, for me this workstation is aimed at development work mostly. Not so much at rendering sequences... If I need to render really heavy final sequences I would do that on a farm (gridmarkets or at work depending on what I am doing).
 

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Thanks Peter, thats really helpful. A lot of what you went for is what i'm looking at, so good to know i'm on the right lines!

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On 06/07/2017 at 9:11 AM, michaelb-01 said:

Ok thanks, also there are rumours that the geforce 20 series with Volta may be released this year (Q3), do you think its worth waiting for these to be released?

Volta is looking to be only 50% more powerful than a 1080ti. Not worth waiting for.

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Anyone know how a Ryzen solution stacks up against at 1080ti for simulations?

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