Need advice for best desktop set up

I am thinking of my next purchase. & I want a more powerful tower so I can do faster modeling/work.
Thinking of something along these lines

  • Operating system - Windows 7 Home Premium 64
  • Processor - 3rd Generation Intel® Core™ i7-3770 quad-core processor [3.4GHz, 8MB Shared Cache]
  • Memory - 8GB DDR3-1333MHz SDRAM [2 DIMMs]
  • Hard drive - 1TB 7200 rpm SATA hard drive
  • Graphics card - 2GB Nvidia GeForce GT630 [DVI, HDMI and VGA via adapter]
  • Optical drive - SuperMulti DVD Burner

Trying to stay under a $1k limit (well…know for sure I am not going over that)
but is the set up above decent. what could I improve on and still stay in budget? Higher memory graphics card?

Do you only want to model, or is rendering speeds also a priority?

rendering speed would be quite awesome as well.


on the CPU, you can save around ~50$, if you go for the Intel Xeon E3-1230v2. However, it will run at 3.3GHz and won’t include an integrated GPU (which you won’t need anyways). The alternative is Xeon E3-1240v2, which will run at 3.4GHz and will still save you around 25$; no integrated GPU aswell. For a brandnew tower, you should also consider getting the new Haswell CPUs (look at the Xeon E3-1200v3 models and not the consumer-grade i7-4xxx, because you won’t need the integrated GPU due to the dedicated graphics card). Don’t worry - most consumer-grade mainboards support Xeon CPUs.

For the harddrive: if you don’t really need 1TB asap, I would invest the money in an SSD (like Samsung 840 Basic / Pro or the older (but cheaper) 830 Series) and get the 1TB later, when you need it. This will have a huge impact on your tower’s performance!

You can save another 100$, if you’re able to live without Windows 7. Nvidia produces great drivers for Linux, which are on par with their Windows counterparts, and the overall experience is much better in Linux than it was 3 - 4 years ago. So, if you don’t depend on Windows, going for Linux could also save you some money.

About your graphics card: this is a very critical part of your setup and you don’t seem to give it the attention it needs. A GT630 will limit your workflow in several ways - it’s a very slow GPU, intended for office and HTPC use. Not made for 3D artists. The best bang-for-the-buck option is to buy a used GTX 580 with 3GB of RAM on eBay. They seem to be old (which is a huge PLUS for us 3D artists, because they get cheaper) on the first sight; Nvidia released the 600 and 700 Series GPUs. Actually, they are very well optimized for Blender Cycles and will run faster than any 600 Series graphics card (don’t know about 700 Series). In contrast to the GT 630, the GTX 580 is a high end card, which will run several times faster than the GT 630. Definitely worth the upgrade.

tolga, thanks for all the info and advice.
Be good to have this to go off from. Especially about the graphic card. that I was especially not sure about.
As for windows. yep am a windows person. it works. w/linux (have a small laptop w/linux on it, hate it.)i’d have to take the time to learn to deal w/it rather than actually working.
I’d get linux if it came w/friendly 24hrs support.

Whilst i agree that they shouldnt be getting a 630… I just wanted to contest that statement, due to the recent CUDA optimizations in the trunk… I believe that the 680’s have become more inline with the 580’s in terms of performance… Still waiting for proper benchmarking to occur… but right now that statement may be invalid.

Pretty much dont skimp on the graphics card… especially if you are wanting faster rendering speeds (and thinking bout using GPU acceleration in cycles)

Look into Redhat linux if you want support… I believe there is also 24/7 support that you can pay for aswell with ubuntu