Finally building my first desktop

I have my budget together, know what i’m grabbing, buying some parts now, waiting on the cpu until Skylake, but I need one last detail.

Cycles has recently started supporting OpenCL. I’m trying to decide if I want to go with Nvidia or AMD for the video card. While OpenCL support will probably improve, I’d rather go with the best option for now. Video card budget is $350. The EVGA GTX 970 SC is the obvious choice from the green team barring a used 780 TI. Should I pull the trigger on this, or go for something from AMD?

I recommend NVIDIA, as for the longest time, they have better support for drivers, OpenGL, and Cycles CUDA. Over all, NVIDIA is supported more.

For a hassle-free experience, go with Nvidia.

However, do some homework on what drivers are available for the card, and how well they perform. Better safe-than-sorry, and all that jazz.

Yeah, I figured. I suppose if AMD GPUs get a sudden 2x performance boost in Cycles, I can just sell the card if I need to, but for now, Nvidia seems to be the best choice.

Will pull the trigger tonight, at least on that GTX 970, still waiting for Skylake. Thanks.

My advice is to give your graphics card a lifespan of 2 years, that will make you choose a model with 150-200 dollars and in late 2017 see if you need to get a new one. I once bought an expensive GPU (it was GTX 295 - 8 years back) and it was a choice I did not enjoy.

GeForce GTX 970 SCORE:8,637 $327.71
GeForce GTX 960 SCORE:5,979 $199.99
For me it looks like you can still be good with a little bit of lower score.

Go with the Nvidia card, you WANT cuda at all costs, trust me
do NOT make the same mistake I did.

I’m looking for at least a 3-4 year lifespan. I can buy a refurb model 970 (complete with warranty) for about $290 which comes in line with the performance difference. The top line stuff though is quite overpriced.

Also, it’s either the 970 or I spend the extra $100 on a Core i7. I feel I can get more utility from the 970 as opposed to the i7 cpu.

My advise is use 250€ for Vray 3 standalone and download free Vray for Blender so your future is much more brighter in almost any studio you will work.

Meh, I don’t particularly plan on going commercial. If anything, should I kill off my procrastination habits, for good I’d love to work on some open source projects.

Honestly, feels like I’m a little kid waiting for Christmas. I’ve been on my 5 year old dual core laptop for quite awhile, so this is going to be an awesome jump.

Moved from “Misc: > Off-topic Chat” to “Support > Technical Support”

I thought about it for what seems to be the longest time. Was definitely not encouraging to find nothing in between the 960 and 970 (a 960 TI would be awesome), but I ultimately ordered the former for less than $180 from Amazon. I’ll grab a Skylake i5 when that launches and I’ll pocket the $120 saved. I heard good things about the overclocking, so mayhap I can close the gap some. Considering the small size of the room this is going in, I suppose the lesser heat and noise output will be a blessing.

Sometimes it is no win chasing tech:

GTX 950 to launch on 17 Aug and Nvidia has just started discounting GTX 750ti (check out for articles)

Doubt this is helpful but don’t know if Amazon sales are final so maybe it is.


Desktop has been built. Here are the final specs:

Intel Core i5-4590 ($189)
Asus H97 Plus Motherboard ($75)
PNY 4x2 GB 1600 MHZ DDR3 RAM ($55)
EVGA GTX 960 SSC 2GB ($165)
Cooler Master N-400 Case ($45)
Radeon R7 SSD 120 GB ($70)
WD Green 2 TB HDD ($55)
Thermaltake TR2 430 Watt PSU ($25 after rebate)

Aside from the meh PSU, my biggest concern is the 2 GB on the video card. I didn’t take into account the Cycles memory bug (I thought it was exclusive to experimental) and so apparently I’ve less than 1 GB of effective RAM to use, regardless of scene complexity. I probably won’t breach that for some time yet, hopefully by the time I do, it will be fixed.