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Thread: Building a Workstation. Please help !!!

  1.    #1
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    Building a Workstation. Please help !!!

    Hi all, I am building a desktop - workstation for the first time, for my working purpose as an architect - So I am quite a newbie when it comes to building a workstation.

    This desktop-workstation will be only use for Work purposes. ( I don't game )
    List of Programs I will be using are :
    1) Adobe CC - Photoshop, illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver, etc
    2) Autodesk - AutoCAD (Intense), Revit (Intense-used), 3DSMAX + Vray ( These are the MOST important programs that will be used daily)
    3) SketchUp + Vray (Often used program as well)
    4) Rhino + Vray
    5) BIM
    I will be running Windows 8.1 pro 64bit

    This is the part list (socket 2011-3) I have at the moment (incomplete)
    Intel Core i7-5820K, Phanteks Enthoo Luxe - System Build - PCPartPicker Australia

    I also tried to build one with socket 1150 initially
    Intel Core i7-4790K - System Build - PCPartPicker Australia

    I need help from experience user.
    Questions :

    So, Should I go with 1150 socket build OR 2011-3 Socket Build. I want this build to last me for the next 5 years++ without changing anything (maybe upgrade RAM). While after 5-6 years, I want it to be able to easily upgradable and not to replace everything.

    1) Please give me some comments on the pc parts that I had chosen. Is it recommended for my use? Or I should go with other parts? (Reason I go with 2011-v3 socket is that I read it is for enthusiast and I want something powerful enough, to not mess with the programs while I work. And I did not choose a Workstation motherboard because is too expensive and I don't think I need it yet)
    (With i7-5820K, I choose it because it is well-worth the money with that specs, compared to other CPU, except for the i7-4790K of course)

    2) Stuck with Graphic Cards. - So like I said, I am a newbie and did a lot of research on this build, but still can't decide on the GPU. I would prefer Nvidia GPU to be honest. So, I am stuck with GTX and Quadro. So, which will suit my needs? I read somewhere that rendering uses CPU instead of GPU, I am not clear about that. I also read that getting mid-range GPU that have higher GB (Memory) will be better off than getting the highest end GPU like the GTX 980 with 4GB.
    So, which GPU should I go with that is well-worth the performance and money? And also Faster Rendering Time.

    One important thing is that, I am frustrated with laggy, slow computer. So, I want something that could run really smooth for me for my work.

    I hope to get help from here. Hope to hear from you all. Thanks in advance for everyone's suggestions/opinion/comments.

  2.    #2
    Forum Co-Founder iru69's Avatar
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    Hi Bryan91u - welcome to RFO!

    A few things...

    Purely from a modeling/drawing standpoint, the i7-4790K is the way to go. Almost all CAD/design software is still mostly single-threaded, and the i7-4790K offers the fastest single-threaded performance. Pair that up with a great GPU, add the RAM you need and an SSD, and that’s about the best you can do.

    What complicates that is “rendering” and how important that is to your workflow. As you’ve noted, “traditional" rendering software (including Revit) is CPU based. If you do a LOT of traditional renderings, then the i7-5820K or better should be considered (if you really do that much traditional rendering, you should bump up to the i7-5930K or even the i7-5960X). However, these days, if you do a LOT of renderings, then you should really consider GPU rendering, which is many times faster than CPU rendering, and it’s generally less costly to get a faster GPU than it is to get a faster CPU (and you’re getting much faster rendering performance with the faster GPU regardless).

    “Standard” V-Ray is CPU-based. I understand there is V-Ray RT which is GPU-based. iRay for 3DS Max is a popular GPU rendering. I don’t have much personal experience with these.

    However, I would think very carefully about what proportion of time you really spend on the modeling/drawings versus doing renderings. If you’re doing renderings every day (or even multiple times a week) on a consistent basis, then rendering performance can be critical. The reality is, unless your primary job is presentation materials, most architects get into the rendering stuff briefly, realize how much time it eats up, and end up only doing renderings once in a while… in which case, is it really worth giving up the daily performance benefits of working on the model/drawings in order to reduce a 2 hour rendering to 90 minutes (e.g. by getting the i7-5820K instead of the i7-4790K)?

    The difference in GPU is even more dramatic, though it mostly comes down to money (you’re not really giving anything up other than your cash by getting a faster GPU). If you’re serious about GPU rendering, then you should be looking at the Nvidia Titan/GTX 780Ti. Again though, how much money makes sense to spend to reduce a GPU rendering time from 300 seconds to 150 seconds is a question of how often you’re actually doing renderings.

    Here’s my general advice on your setup...

    • Stick with the i7-4790K.
    • If you only do rendering occasionally (whether CPU or GPU-based), get something like a Nivida GTX 760 (even a GTX 750 should be plenty). If you really plan on doing a lot of rendering (whether for actual work, or just for hobby), get a Nvidia Titan or GTX 780Ti.
    • Skip the water-cooler and stick with a traditional air-cooler (e.g. Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO is a well-balanced solid choice)… you are just wasting money on a $150 water-cooler, and they are more prone to problems.
    • Unless you go with the i7-5820K, or you’re planning on some significant OC’ing, you don’t need anything more than DDR3-1600 memory for the i7-4790K.
    • The Samsung 840 Evo is less expensive and will serve you just as well.
    • Forget about getting 5++ years out of any CAD computer system… that’s just not realistic. 2 years on the short end, 3 years is pretty typical where you really start to notice a difference. Spend less upfront if you have to, but upgrade more often. Along the same lines, in 5-6 years, likely the only thing you'll be able to keep is the case...



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    Hi iru69,

    Thank you for your reply and suggestions for my built. Really appreciate a lot for your time.

    Yes. You are right. I spend more time on CAD/design (Drawing Plan CAD and 3D Modelling) and only render when needed, mostly fortnightly or so.
    So, I will sure choose the Daily Performance over the less rendering time.

    So, between i7-4790K and i7-5820K, I know you advice to stick with i7-4790K because it gives better (FASTEST) performance now in the market. And in your post of CPU, I learn that Revit uses Single-Core, so the speed is very important when doing CAD/Design; While Revit rendering uses all the CPU Cores. And GPU rendering is available using 3rd party software (good to know that other Rendering Software uses GPU instead of CPU).

    So, I was wondering, with this Video Guide (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nj4ixZE7EWo), it shows that the i7-5820K can be OC to higher than 4.0GHz which is almost same as i7-4790K (Although I know i7-4790K can be OC as well, to become even higher speed).
    But with that said, having i7-5820K OC to 4.XGHz, meaning I still get the daily performance (like with i7-4790k) and i7-5820K has 6-core, which at some point, it will be pretty useful and faster if I needed to render in Revit, compared to the Quad-Core i7-4790K. Right?
    (And NOT choosing the i7-5930K and i7-5960X, because both are over-priced and 5930K is just 0.2GHz faster while 5960X is actually slower with only 2.XGhz, which is slower in single-threaded performance (based on your explanation)).
    So, my question is, what are the PROS and CONS of getting 1150 socket and 2011-v3 Socket (besides the Price) ? Is DDR4 any better than DDR3, especially when I do multitask a lot ? This is very important to me as choosing either socket, means changing my build and using it for the next few years.

    And for the GPU. (I read on your post on GPU as well).
    But I do have some question. As you recommended to me, to go for GTX 750 or 760 which will be plenty for me, and the price is really cheap (in Australia), I will keep that in mind.

    But if I were to go with 780TI (A$7XX), why wouldn't you recommend 980 (A$7XX) instead, since both are around the same price (in Australia). ?
    And for Titan, I only could find Titan Black and Titan Z which both are expensive. I heard is some Hybrid between Geforce and Quadro ( I am not sure ), but is there any advantages of getting Titan?
    And, if I am to get 780TI or 980, would it be even better to get a Quadro K2200 (A$6XX), which is cheaper ? Or even add a few hundred to get the Quadro K4200.

    I would love to hear your comments. Hope to hear from you soon

    Thanks for your advice.

  4.    #4
    Moderator cellophane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iru69 View Post
    Hi Bryan91u - welcome to RFO!
    • Skip the water-cooler and stick with a traditional air-cooler (e.g. Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO is a well-balanced solid choice)… you are just wasting money on a $150 water-cooler, and they are more prone to problems.
    out of curiosity - would a more expensive water cooling system be worth the money? I'm not overly familiar with them but it would make sense that you get what you pay for...

  5.    #5
    Forum Co-Founder iru69's Avatar
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    Hi Bryan,

    If you’re going to OC, then all bets are off. But in my opinion, you’re headed down a rabbit hole. And you may find the results with the i7-5820K in particular to be underwhelming and a crapshoot as to whether you’ll get a chip that is highly overclockable. And practically speaking, spending significantly on OC'ing is a poor value. If it's a hobby, that's different, but I don't think it makes sense to discuss keeping a system for 5+ years at the same time pouring money into OC'ing.

    From a platform standpoint (i.e. Haswell which uses the 1150 socket and Haswell-E which uses the 2011-v3 socket), Haswell-E allows for more PCIe lanes (which aren’t going to be of any practical benefit for your usage) and the 6/8 core Haswell-E CPUs (e.g. the i7-5830K).

    DDR4 is a natural evolution of DDR3 that allows for faster speeds, larger capacity, and less energy. Eventually all platforms will switch to DDR4, but the perceivable benefits of that are down the road a bit. More importantly, memory speed is just one factor in overall system performance - it should never dictate what platform to get. Again, for single-threaded performance, the i7-4790K is faster with DDR3 memory than the i7-5xxx is with DDR4. Also, the platform really shouldn’t figure into your future plans either - by the time you’re ready to upgrade the CPU, it will need a different motherboard, and potentially different RAM, hence my earlier comment about no point in trying to future-proof your system.

    The reason I recommended the GTX 780Ti over the 980 is because presumably if you’re getting a high-end card like that to do GPU rendering (via CUDA), the 780Ti will perform slightly better than the 980. I know it’s counterintuitive because the 980 is a newer version of the the 780, but there are complicated reasons having to do with the GPU architecture (or the more cynical minded would say the simple reason is that the 780Ti competes too closely with the more expensive GTX Titan and Nvidia wants to steer buyers to the Titan).

    Yes, the GTX Titan can sort of be thought of as a cross between the GTX and Quadro. It’s basically designed for compute tasks (e.g. GPU rendering). The Titan Z is insanely expensive, so that’s not really even worth talking about. The Titan Black is a good value if you doing a ton of GPU rendering - it’s generally at or near the top of the single-card GPU benchmarks (along with the GTX 780Ti).

    The Quadro K2200 is a huge step down in GPU rendering performance… I don’t have actual benchmark numbers to compare, but an educated guess is that it’s somewhere in the GTX 750/760 range. It’s a nice card, but you’re mostly paying for the “Autodesk certified” distinction. The price of a K4200 is creeping up on a Titan, and again, if you’re getting it for GPU rendering, you’re probably better off withe 780Ti/Titan.

    Hope that helps.


    Hi Cellophane,

    I don’t think it’s about spending more money - a $150 liquid cooler kit should get you one of the better ones (and frankly, the world of custom parts lists are beyond my interest level). The question is - what’s the point of getting one? There are usually four main “pros" I hear people cite:

    • Overclocking: There is a point in extreme OC’ing where air cooling can’t keep up with liquid cooling. However, just about any decent air cooler can keep up with push-button OC’ing. Also, it makes more sense to me to invest in a faster CPU than OC’ing.
    • Size: Since liquid cooling doesn’t rely on the mass of a heatsink to dissipate heat, the units are smaller and can allow for smaller form factor cases. However, just about any case that is appropriate for a CAD system is going to have space for a decent sized air cooler (I even recently put together a mini-ITX Revit workstation).
    • Quietness: While a liquid cooling pump still makes noise, they can eliminate fans inside the case. However, practically speaking, this is a non-issue in day-to-day work - the fans are only going to noticeably ramp up during extended full load (e.g. rendering).
    • “Bling" factor: Some people just like the look of them - running loops of neon lighted colored liquid tubes inside their case that has the bitchin plexiglass window on the side.

    The typical cons:

    • Less reliable... pumps can be temperamental or stop working, and if the tubes leak, it can mean catastrophic system destruction.
    • Complexity... pump, heatsink, fittings, tubes, liquid.
    • Cost... generally makes more sense to put the money into a faster stock CPU.

    That’s my take on it, particularly in the context of a CAD workstation. Enthusiasts who are just looking for something fun and different are welcome at it.
    Last edited by iru69; December 7th, 2014 at 04:44 AM.

  6.    #6
    The Moderator with No Imagination MPwuzhere's Avatar
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    This is the CPU cooler I have at work, Cooler Master Seidon 120V ? Compact All-In-One CPU Liquid Water Cooling System with 120mm Radiator and Fan - Newegg.com, it's only $50 and pretty much the same price for most heat sink fan types. I'd love to get one for at home as my Zallam is quite loud. The only issue I had when putting it together is you have to hook up both fan wires on the system. One is for the actual fan and the other is for the pump. I thought I made a horrible decision when I didn't hook up both and it sounded like my newly built computer was about to take off!!

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    Hi iru69,

    Thank you once again for your comments and explanation on everything.

    So, if I were to end up with either 780ti or titan black, which one would you recommend to CAD user ?

    And, just for my own question. (I know you did mention on your CPU hardware post, but I just didn't fully get it).

    If a CAD user is to build a workstation for Autodesk programs used (not only Revit, but AutoCAD, 3DSMAX etc), would he be better off with Core i7 CPU or a Xeon CPU, assuming that both CPU has around the same speed and number of Core in it, and that the user only plans to have ONE CPU and NOT dual CPU. Which one would you suggest to have?

    Thanks

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    Moderator cellophane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iru69 View Post
    I don’t think it’s about spending more money - a $150 liquid cooler kit should get you one of the better ones (and frankly, the world of custom parts lists are beyond my interest level). The question is - what’s the point of getting one? There are usually four main “pros" I hear people cite:
    <snip>
    That’s my take on it, particularly in the context of a CAD workstation. Enthusiasts who are just looking for something fun and different are welcome at it.
    Gotcha. Just curious - I know I see things about them every so often but as I said - I know squat about them.

    That said - I have a friend who is a big hardware geek (computers, does sound for concerts [i.e. owns the sound equipment] etc) and he actually had a 6" duct running out the back of his rig to cool it. I don't recall how it all worked but it was pretty neat.

  9.    #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by iru69 View Post
    Hi Bryan,

    If you’re going to OC, then all bets are off. But in my opinion, you’re headed down a rabbit hole. And you may find the results with the i7-5820K in particular to be underwhelming and a crapshoot as to whether you’ll get a chip that is highly overclockable. And practically speaking, spending significantly on OC'ing is a poor value. If it's a hobby, that's different, but I don't think it makes sense to discuss keeping a system for 5+ years at the same time pouring money into OC'ing.

    From a platform standpoint (i.e. Haswell which uses the 1150 socket and Haswell-E which uses the 2011-v3 socket), Haswell-E allows for more PCIe lanes (which aren’t going to be of any practical benefit for your usage) and the 6/8 core Haswell-E CPUs (e.g. the i7-5830K).

    DDR4 is a natural evolution of DDR3 that allows for faster speeds, larger capacity, and less energy. Eventually all platforms will switch to DDR4, but the perceivable benefits of that are down the road a bit. More importantly, memory speed is just one factor in overall system performance - it should never dictate what platform to get. Again, for single-threaded performance, the i7-4790K is faster with DDR3 memory than the i7-5xxx is with DDR4. Also, the platform really shouldn’t figure into your future plans either - by the time you’re ready to upgrade the CPU, it will need a different motherboard, and potentially different RAM, hence my earlier comment about no point in trying to future-proof your system.

    The reason I recommended the GTX 780Ti over the 980 is because presumably if you’re getting a high-end card like that to do GPU rendering (via CUDA), the 780Ti will perform slightly better than the 980. I know it’s counterintuitive because the 980 is a newer version of the the 780, but there are complicated reasons having to do with the GPU architecture (or the more cynical minded would say the simple reason is that the 780Ti competes too closely with the more expensive GTX Titan and Nvidia wants to steer buyers to the Titan).

    Yes, the GTX Titan can sort of be thought of as a cross between the GTX and Quadro. It’s basically designed for compute tasks (e.g. GPU rendering). The Titan Z is insanely expensive, so that’s not really even worth talking about. The Titan Black is a good value if you doing a ton of GPU rendering - it’s generally at or near the top of the single-card GPU benchmarks (along with the GTX 780Ti).

    The Quadro K2200 is a huge step down in GPU rendering performance… I don’t have actual benchmark numbers to compare, but an educated guess is that it’s somewhere in the GTX 750/760 range. It’s a nice card, but you’re mostly paying for the “Autodesk certified” distinction. The price of a K4200 is creeping up on a Titan, and again, if you’re getting it for GPU rendering, you’re probably better off withe 780Ti/Titan.

    Hope that helps.

    Hi iru69,

    Is me, I posted a thread regarding building a Workstation and you provided great advise to go with the i7-4970K. Sorry about before, for saying wanting a rig that last for 5-6 years. I didn't know that Intel socket changes every 2-3 years. Just wondering whats your opinion on the 2011-v3 socket, do you think intel will still come out with Processors that go with 2011-v3 socket? As for 1150 socket, I think when Skylake comes out, it will come with new Socket.

    For my purpose of sending you this message is the GPU.
    Previously you mention that for GPU-rendering (iRAY, Vray RT etc) for programs from Autodesk, Kepler 780Ti / Titan will be more beneficial over the new Maxwell 970/980 GPU.
    Just wondering, did you recommend to go with Kepler architecture GPU (780Ti / Titan ) because Maxwell was not fully compatible with Revit/3DSMAX (at the point) ?
    Because I saw another news (NVIDIA Advanced Rendering: Maxwell GPU Support) that Nvidia has release updates to have Maxwell GPU support iRAY for GPU rendering. And I think other 3rd party GPU rendering like Vray RT will get update support to use Maxwell GPU as well.
    So, was this the reason you advise to go with Kepler 780Ti / Titan GPU ? Or it is actually the fact that 780Ti / Titan works better with Autodesk programs compared to Maxwell 970/980 GPU from Testing ?

    And another thing is, since GTX 970 is cheaper, will GTX 970 SLI > GTX 780Ti for Autodesk programs. ?

    GPU is my final component that I haven't decide. Titan Black would be great but I guess is too expensive for what I needed, since Revit doesn't use GPU. Does 3DSMAX uses GPU when doing Design/Viewports ? Or just during GPU-rendering only ?

  10.    #10
    Forum Co-Founder iru69's Avatar
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    No worries Bryan!

    Hard to tell about the 2011-v3 socket. But whether the socket stays the same or not, there's the issue of the chipset, which will change, and it's likely the next version, e.g. Broadwell-E, will require a new motherboard regardless.

    The recommendation of sticking with the 780Ti/Titan Black for GPU rendering is only because I saw a couple of benchmarks somewhere showing them faster for CUDA GPU rendering (e.g. iray which comes with 3DS Max). It doesn't have anything to do with compatibility. The 970/980 are still great GPUs, and are faster than than 780Ti in many benchmarks. But we're splitting a lot of hairs at this point, and I think you're in danger of over-thinking things. If you're going to do be doing a lot of GPU rendering, ANY of those cards are going to be amazing. If you can get a good deal on a 970 and it's within your budget, go for it.

    In regard to GPU rendering, two cards will be even faster, and two of any of those cards is going to be faster than the fastest single card, but you're getting into some serious cash. I'd suggest just starting with one card, and if you really think two cards is a possibility, just make sure your PSU will be able to handle it. BTW, GPU rendering does not require "SLI" - you can have any combination of video cards, though it's generally recommended to keep them the same or very similar so that you don't end up with multiple drivers installed.

    I'm not a regular 3DS Max user, so if you're looking for expert advise of 3DS Max, I'm not much help beyond what I've read. I've mostly used 3DS Max to link in Revit models for rendering (mostly just to experiment). While 3DS Max does make use of the GPU in design/viewports, unless you're doing a lot of complicated modeling within 3DS, these cards we're discussing are overkill (aside obviously from the GPU rendering aspect).


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