5000€ New Workstation!

Hi everyone!

I work as a 3d freelancer and i have been having a problem working with very high resolution when compositing in blender. I finally decided to build a new workstation around blender. My budget would be max 5000e.
I can also build a new PC from old components, so don’t hesitate suggest older parts.

PC Purpose:

  • Making 3D graphics and GPU rendering.
  • I have to be able to work a very well with files that are 4K-8K or even higher resolution if needed.
  • 4K compositing and 4K video editing.

I need a help to choose what parts I should by:

  • Proceccor: i7 / or multiple Xeons?
  • Motherboard: I have to be able to fit easily 4 GPU cards
  • Power supply: I need good one
  • Cooling: Water or air cooling? A little bit nervous with water cooling if it leaks.
  • GPU: GTX 1018 ti or new Titan? I will move two older Titans to this new rig.
  • Memory: DDR4 / DDR3?

I found very interesting PC build with 7 GTX 1080 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hsQmcSwGv0 :eek:

If brand is important to you, buy a Mac. Otherwise, I see no single reason to not go for Zen instead of Xeon. If you can’t wait, take a NVidia as they have the fastest card at the moment. If you can wait a little, with so much money, I would buy the next 16 cores/32 Threads Zen CPU and 2 Duo Vega cards (= 4x Vega on 2 slots). AMD cards are now much faster than the Nvidia available on the same segment and have access to the exact same features. Plus, you can continue to work while rendering with AMD, which is impossible with NVidia as the UI is way to laggy.
And again, if you prefer brands to perfs, go for a Mac, they have a lot of choice in this price segment :smiley:

Here’s a PC that is roughly similar price (using $AUD, so I accounted for price difference) that should do a pretty decent job. Doesn’t have to be followed, but is a decent base to work on.

Processor: i7 / or multiple Xeons?
Go with an 8 Core Intel i7. Will be more than enough, and given the $$ you have to spend will do most tasks well. Can over clock a bit quite nicely for better single core performance.

Motherboard: I have to be able to fit easily 4 GPU cards
Done, not many will support 4.

Power supply: I need good one
1300W, Antec’s High Current Gamer PSU’s are pretty top notch.

Cooling: Water or air cooling? A little bit nervous with water cooling if it leaks.
Unless your super concerned about noise or overclocking to the max, don’t bother with water cooling, the extra cost can be better spent on parts.
Note that I selected ‘blower’ stype graphics cards on purpose, when using multiple high end gpu’s, these cool better than recycling hot air back in the case, especially with so many all together.

GPU: GTX 1018 ti or new Titan? I will move two older Titans to this new rig.
I added 3 in this build, the 11GB is better, and the 1080Ti offers the best memory/rendering for $$ at the high end. Drop one off if your moving 2 over.

Memory: DDR4 / DDR3?
You can only use DDR4, I added 32GB, you could up it to 64GB as you wouldn’t need the 3 GPU’s I added

In my opinion, if you are earning your income working with 4K footage, save some money from your hardware and invest in a serious compositor like Nuke or Fusion. No matter what specs you have there just is no contest software-wise. I believe the free version of Fusion supports 4K output, try to put it trough it’s paces on your current machine and compare that to Blender.

research oems for psu. you will be surprised. i have a super flower from evga and its kick ass. make sure you get twice the watts your computer will use for max efficiency.

definitely go with the i7-7700. single thread is key for compositing i think. air cooling should be just fine if your case is proper. a case with a big side mesh will make those gpus happy. +1 for blower types.

for gpus, ram is the most important at this high level. and nvidia. definitely.

to guy who recommended the mac, thanks for that great laugh. :smiley:

windows 7 is your best bet since you can turn off driver auto updates. but if linux is your thing, then even better!

Thanks guys for feedback, i have opportunity to buy used Intel Core i7-6950x for 1350e, should i buy it or not? Im a little bit concern to by used and so expensive proceccor.

thats one beast of a cpu, but the 6700 would still have a marginally faster single thead performance, at a fraction of the price.

i wouldnt buy used, since people usually like to overclock them and sell them before they break. but for such a high end cpu, the chance of that happening is less.

inquire on the history, if it was used normally and cooled properly, cpu last a long time.

Personally, i would not invest so much money in a new rig right now because probably great new hardware will be released in the next few month which could bring some prices down and create more competition. So i would recommend to wait a few month.
If you need the rig right now i still would go with x99 because of PCI-e lanes - if you want to use 4 GPUs then more lanes will be appreciated. Be careful choosing the CPU-cooler because most of the bigger air-coolers will collide with the GPU in the first PCI-e slot.
Personally i would not spend so much money on a cpu (even used) if you are going for GPU-rendering. You can get a used 8-core for the half of the 10core… it is a hefty premium for the extra two cores.
Then cooling- wise: Maybe you can go with the AIO-liquid-cooling route… or you install 4 blower-style GPUs in your rig but they will run into thermal-limitation and they also will be very loud. But if you don’t want to overclock then even this should be within the specs…
PSU: for this kind of hardware you have to go with 1500 watt or higher … gold, platinum or titanium standard recommended

But still: if you can wait a little bit: AMD will bring great render CPUs to the market with their new enthusiast plattform… can’t say when they will come to the consumer-market but the “launch”-date should not be far away. VEGA will probably come a little later… nobody knows right now.

Well, i didn’t buy that i7 6950x monster, but now im thinking between i7 6850k - i7 6900k? Would i7 6850k perform good enough working 4K or bigger in after effects, photoshop and in blender’s compositing?

cisto: Thanks for your feedback! :slight_smile: I think i might go with this new AMD’s ryzen

I think i will wait for a few months before i make my choice what hardware i will buy. Intel is releasing this summer i9 series and AMD ryzen 16 core with 32 threads “monster cpu” :smiley:

A little update on my PC build. Ihaven’t bought a new pc yet, but blackfriday is coming soon and i am preparing to buy a new pc if i will get a good deal on components.

X399 platform is interesting becauseThreadripper 1950x cost now in Finland 950€, before it was 1100€.

X99 platform i like because with AsusX99-E WS you could add maximum 7 GPU’s and if you go only 4 GPU’s you can run them at 16x16x16x16 pcie lanes compare to X399 16x8x16x8.
In rendering PCI-e speed is not so noticeable, but in viewport performance (render mode) then it starts to matter much more and i like to have very smooth viewport rendering while i’m working on my projects.
CPU’s for this platform are very expensive compare to Threadripper 1950x, I7-6900k still cost’s 1000€! :no:

What GPU should i choose, AMD’s vega or GTX 1080ti?
Vegas HBM2 memory is very interesting, it would allow me to render much bigger scenes with that memory.
I think i feel more comfortable with Nvidia at the moment but maybe i’m just to cautions with amd gpu rendering because it is so new on blender.

In rendering PCI-e speed is not so noticeable, but in viewport performance (render mode) then it starts to matter much more and i like to have very smooth viewport rendering while i’m working on my projects.

Assuming you use Blender(ver.2.78), then the Viewport itself will be the bottleneck no matter how much power your Workstation has. Here on BA are some Threads explaining that issue, iirc there are intensions to rewrite the Viewport in the future.

I was talking about when you select from “Viewport Shading” the (Rendered), but yes i agree that in general blender viewport perfrmance could be a much better.


What is the safest way to store very important files in water cooled PC? Should i consider using external enclosure for them? I just don’t want to loose my files if water leaks inside running PC and short circuits the important hard drives.

You should always use external back ups. You should also consider additional off site back ups.

I think i will maybe buy on of this https://www.zyxel.com/uk/en/products_services/home-personal_cloud_storage.shtml?t=c


Getting closer to buy my new PC components, i have a problem now what and how many power supplys i have to buy to run my system?

I used outervision power calculator and it says i need 1900w PSU, here is the link https://outervision.com/b/Wvtl9F
I will be using CPU/GPU overcloking so that’s one of the reasons it is so high. I just want to know is this calculator trustworhty?

If you use 4 oc’ed 1080ti’s for rendering, then you should be mainly focusing on their power draw. These online calculators take the highest estimation of every part’s consumption (usually the tdp) and add them, but that’s not what happens in real use scenarios. With 4 gpus, I would only use 3 of them for rendering and keep the primary gpu free, in order to keep working during rendering. So, the primary gpu (the one that drives the monitor) could be a mid-high end card, like a 1070 or a 1070Ti at the most (they are OK in viewport performance).

I think that you can get by with a 1500-1600W psu for this particular use, but there is a good 2000W choice in the market right now, if you want to feel completely safe, or plan to use hybrid rendering (cpu+gpu):

As for the gpu, consider building a custom cooling solution for your rendering gpus. I found this particular version of the 1080Ti very interesting and affordable, considering its prebuild cooling water block, the extremely small size and top cooling performance (below 50°C under full load). https://geizhals.de/zotac-geforce-gtx-1080-ti-arcticstorm-mini-zt-p10810h-30p-a1741325.html?hloc=at&hloc=de

You can find information about custom cooling solutions in EKWB’s site. https://www.ekwb.com/solutions/custom-loop/