Thoughts on first custom build?

Hi everyone. I’m going to be building a new computer in about a month, and I thought I’d post my parts list here in case some of you have advice or suggestions with regards to compatibility or just whether it’s a good build generally (this is my first time building a computer and indeed, my first time using a windows PC, so it’s a daunting task, to say the least). I wasn’t sure which category to post this in, so I apologize if this particular one is incorrect.

I’ve selected a few parts based on a lot of research and a lot of advice, but let me know if you have any suggestions or comments. My budget is about $2000, and I plan to use the machine as an all around filmmaking oriented computer, with a heavy focus on VFX. So that’s 3D work (in Blender, obviously, doing sims, cycles rendering, etc.), heavy compositing in After Effects, editing in Premiere, and maybe a little bit of gaming. Oh and just for reference, my current computer is a top of the line 2011 iMac (27"). Here are all the parts:

Case: (This seems like a fine case, though I don’t know too much on the subject or whether or not it’s even an important decision)
APEVIA X-HERMES-BL

Power supply: (The PSU I was originally looking at was discontinued, so I went with this one, and a friend actually recommended I get a higher wattage than I needed, which makes sense, in case I need to do upgrades in the future. The PSU calculator on Newegg told me that I need at least 650W, so I think 750W should be fine.)
SeaSonic G-750

Motherboard: (This motherboard seems fine, though I’m debating whether or not I need the 8 RAM slots. This seems like the best motherboard in its class for the price)
ASRock X79 Extreme6

CPU: (I’m almost 100% set on this CPU, as it’s definitely helpful with After Effects [and Blender too].)
Intel Core i7-4930K

Heatsink: (I don’t know anything about this [as with most of the parts here], so I’m just assuming this is a fine option.)
Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO

GPU: (Debating whether or not I need 4GB or 2GB. Pretty sure I should go with the 4GB, and since the 770 is pretty much all I can afford, I think this GPU is the one.)
GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 770 4GB

RAM: (Was originally going to get 32GB, but I figured I’d save $100 and upgrade that later.)
Team Elite Plus 16GB

System drive: (System drive [SSD] to store the OS, applications, and possibly stock elements and textures, or things that I’ll always need to have access to. Not sure whether I should get a 120 or 250 GB SSD though.)
SAMSUNG 2.5" 120GB SSD

Project drive: (Project drive [also SSD] for storing just whatever project I happen to be working on at the moment. When The project is complete, I plan on moving it to another storage drive. I’m going with SSDs for both of these because I was told that the SSDs would be the single biggest speed increase over my current computer.)
Mushkin Enhanced Chronos 2.5" SSD

Storage: (For storage, obviously.)
Western Digital 7200 RPM 1TB

DVD reader:
ASUS 24X DVD Burner

Monitor: (This is basically just a temporary monitor until I can afford a better one. I’d like to be able to get a huge 10bit monitor for color grading, but that’s for another day.)
Acer S Series 23"

Windows: (Some have asked why I’m going with 8.1 and not 7. I think it’s good to always be up to date, but if it’s really bad, maybe I should go with a different version.)
Microsoft Windows 8.1 Pro - 64-bit

Thanks in advance for any comments or suggestions you have for me with regards to pricing, quality, compatibility, and anything else I’m not thinking of!

Apologies for the bump, just thought I’d bring it up in case anyone missed it (with how fast things move on this forum, it’s pretty easy to miss a lot).

Bump/Update:

Someone on Tom’s Hardware suggestion these changes:

Corsair 450D instead of the Apevia case I selected:

Noctua NH-D15 (which I couldn’t find, so I just found the D14) instead of the 212 EVO I selected:

2GB VRAM on the GPU instead of 4GB (which I disagree with and will probably still go with the 4GB)

Same boot drive, but change the project drive to a Samsung 840 Pro (I decided that simply going with another Samsung 840 EVO would be sufficient here)

And more than 1TB of storage, which is what I had selected previously. He recommended Barracuda instead of WB black (neither of which I had originally selected in the first place). I figure a 2TB drive will be sufficient for now.

That brings the total cost to about $2,480, almost $200 more than the previous rig, which is what I’d hoped to avoid. If anyone has any comments, suggestions, or recommendations that you think would help, I’d love to hear them. Thanks!

Dont get 2gb of vram, thats for sure. If you are going to use GPU rendering for Blender, you will appreciate the 4GB version, as Blender fills the Vram pretty fast.

Upgrading the HSF really depends on if you want you computer to be silent, or you are thinking of overclocking it. The 212 EVO is a fine HSF and will do a decent job if you dont plan to overclock. Surly the Noctua is better and more quiet, but is it worth the higher price to you?

Adding more space is also up to you, you know how much space you need. Adding in another HDD later is really easy.

Using the Noctua NH-D14 myself and man - that thing is huge.
Make sure to check the compatibility lists on the Noctua homepage to not have a nasty surprise when assembling the machine and suddenly finding that the cooler does not fit over some mainboard cooling elements or the casing is too slim to house that beast…

The only problem ?I see with this set up is that it will be loud and quite a power hog. With only 650W of power you may not be able to install a second card until you upgrade the power supply. That 770 takes 230W on it’s own.

The project drive and storage drive could be condensed into a single drive. Why buy 2 SSD? Get the biggest you can afford initially and just use that one for system and projects under development. When they are done store on the remote drive or burn to DVD. If you are into burning your data I would choose a better DVD drive. Get something that allows you to burn blu-ray discs, dual layer if possible. Think about it 50GB per burn.

Do you really need windows? I understand if you are running Adobe products. But that is the only reason to use Windows IMHO.

Don’t buy that refurbished Acer monitor. For $10 more you can get a new Viewsonic.

Thanks for the responses and suggestions, everyone!

Dont get 2gb of vram, thats for sure. If you are going to use GPU rendering for Blender, you will appreciate the 4GB version, as Blender fills the Vram pretty fast.

Upgrading the HSF really depends on if you want you computer to be silent, or you are thinking of overclocking it. The 212 EVO is a fine HSF and will do a decent job if you dont plan to overclock. Surly the Noctua is better and more quiet, but is it worth the higher price to you?

I don’t plan to overclock, but the guy did say that the motherboard I picked will put out twice the amount of heat, which I don’t understand when we’re talking about CPU coolers. Maybe there’s something that’s just a bit better than the 212 EVO but not quite as expensive as the Noctua that I can go with? Something right in the middle.

Using the Noctua NH-D14 myself and man - that thing is huge.
Make sure to check the compatibility lists on the Noctua homepage to not have a nasty surprise when assembling the machine and suddenly finding that the cooler does not fit over some mainboard cooling elements or the casing is too slim to house that beast…

I did notice that one version of the D14 was like LGA 1150 or something, not LGA 2011 which is what I need. However, the version I licked to here is LGA 2011, so it hopefully should work. And I guess I should take care that it fits in the case, thanks for the heads up!

The only problem ?I see with this set up is that it will be loud and quite a power hog. With only 650W of power you may not be able to install a second card until you upgrade the power supply. That 770 takes 230W on it’s own.

I’m actually going with the 750W one (it just doesn’t carry the dropdown selection through the URL), but if I might need about 200W extra maybe I should just get 1000W? If it’s a power hog, what about 80 plus Platinum, instead of gold?

The project drive and storage drive could be condensed into a single drive. Why buy 2 SSD? Get the biggest you can afford initially and just use that one for system and projects under development. When they are done store on the remote drive or burn to DVD. If you are into burning your data I would choose a better DVD drive. Get something that allows you to burn blu-ray discs, dual layer if possible. Think about it 50GB per burn.

About the 2 SSDs, for one thing, if the OS crashes, couldn’t it cause problems if it’s all on the same drive? I’m just thinking about preventing loss of data. What I generally hear is that it’s better to store the OS on a separate drive than all the data. I don’t think I’ll be burning my data because while I like the idea, 50GB might not be enough per project. I’ll most likely be using external storage.

Do you really need windows? I understand if you are running Adobe products. But that is the only reason to use Windows IMHO.

Unfortunately, yes. I do have to use Windows because I’m running Adobe. Bleh.

Don’t buy that refurbished Acer monitor. For $10 more you can get a new Viewsonic.

Nice find! That monitor is an inch smaller though. Although I guess it’s better to get new than refurbished most of the time.

Later today I’m going to put together a new system for myself. In that system I will be using an Intel 3930K which puts out the same amount of heat as the 4930K. I’m going to use a Coolermaster Hyper 412S which perform almost as the EVO, maybe slightly better. So If you can wait, I will post you the numbers to see how well my setup works out. :slight_smile:

Awesome! Thanks a lot! :smiley:

Ok I got it up and running now.
I should say that I’m running a very silent system and has bought a case with noise reducing material (The Fractal Design XL R2) and I have the fans running on the lowest speed setting possible. The setup is very silent, to the point where I think the the computer has shut itself down, because i cant hear it running. but running it this silent also compromises the cooling capabilities, and if I where to turn up the speed on the fans I could get much better temperatures. Also the Hyper 412S is set to only run 900rpm :smiley:

Anyway, at idle it settles about 41-44C on the cores. But when rendering in Blender the temps reach 85-88C after about 30 mins of rendering, so thats quite high and when I’m going to do longer renders I am going to up the speed on the fans. I think it’s acceptable, but sure it could be better. It is quite hot here today though, the ambient temperature is about 24C in my living room where the computer is.

I also did some quick speed tests if you want something to compare to. It’s just a quick scene that i re-rendered on different settings:

3930k: 3:59 mins @ 32x32 tile size.
GTX 680: 1:31 mins
GTX 570: 1:25 mins

So it’s pretty fast for a CPU, but still slow compared to GPU’s. Thats nothing new though, and I’m very glad that I have some extra speed for the times where I’m going to use the features in Cycle that isnt supported on GPU yet. Or just those huge scenes where you run out of vRAM :slight_smile:

I hope you can use this for selecting the parts for you new build, and if you have more questions, just let me know :slight_smile:

Thanks so much! So, you think the Hyper 412S or EVO I selected earlier is a fine choice running at normal speed?
Also, how to I tell if the heatsink will fit my motherboard? The Hyper 212 EVO says Intel core i7 and LGA 1150/2011/1366/1155/115, but then there are heatsinks that say “square type” or “narrow type”, and I’m not sure what that refers to. Is the LGA 2011 all I need to know, or is there something else? I just don’t want to run into a situation with any of my parts where I try to install something only to find out it doesn’t fit. It would be cool if there was some kind of online calculator where you enter your parts, then it tells you if they’re compatible or not.

The other priority is simply saving money, so if anyone knows of a part I could be paying less for (as in a cheaper but effective alternative, or even a website other than newegg with better prices) I’d love to hear about it. I was actually considering getting my parts from Amazon, because they’re slightly cheaper than newegg and I think they might have a better return policy. Has anyone ever tried this?

That does sound quite hot, I would consider turning up the fans even for normal usage.

@ Zeke Faust - I have a 4930K running at 4.5 MHz in a Fractal Design R4 at about 25 C idle and 63 C on full load(ambient is about 20 - 22C). cpu cooler is the Corsair H100i and 4 120mm case fans. There will be less issues regarding motherboard space with a water cooler, though you will need somewhere on the case to attach it and it’s a little more expensive. Also worth considering for that reason is the H80i.

As Wega mentioned, with the case noise reduction material it’s also very quiet, despite having 6 fans running, plus another two on the GPU.

It renders the Cycles Cornell box test scene in about 3.5 minutes(the GTX 760 does it in 2.5 - your 770 should be faster?).

If you look at sites that sell upgrade bundles you might get more information on compatibility, and its also worth calling or emailing them for clarification or suggestions. They want you to buy and will be happy to help, even if ultimately you buy elsewhere.

Some examples, in no particular order:-
http://www.scan.co.uk/3xs-overclocked-bundles


http://www.chillblast.com/Photo-Systems/

EDIT - I can also vouch for the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO. I have it on an old i5 760. It took about 10C off the stock fan and is an excellent buy for the price. Since fitting it it runs at about 55 - 60C on full load with the standard clock speed and no case fans.

Just another data point to consider; I’m running the NH-D14 here as well. On an Asus P9X79 Pro there can be clearance issues with RAM. You’ll need a fairly low profile ram. Other than that I’m very happy with the cooler. I run a i7-3930 with a mild overclock (4.17 Ghz) and haven’t seen a cpu temp over 75C.

joe

Thanks guys. It looks like I’ll probably be going with the EVO.

Other than that, is there anything anyone wants to point out about the rig? I posted the build on the newegg forums, so we’ll see what they say. Often times I find that general tech people underestimate the amount of power these types of builds need, but at least they might be able to help with compatibility stuff.

Definitely going with the 250GB for the boot drive, as I’ll need the extra space.

I was also looking at the Obsidian 650D

Which looks like an awesome case, but only if I can get the $20 rebate, which expires in a few days. Hopefully they have these types of offers often.

Still debating Newegg vs. Amazon.

I feel like I have a lot more questions but I have nothing to ask! Just want to make sure I’ve covered every possible option, I guess.

Newegg guy responded already! He suggests a Define R4 Blackout instead of the 650 or 450, which seems reasonable (though I love that top hard drive slot on the 650) and it’s a bit cheaper.
He recommended this G-Skill RAM instead of the ram I selected, even though these are 4GB sticks. I don’t know if it’s better or worse, so I’lll just have to take his word on it.
The Gigabyte X79-UP4 instead of the ASRock X79 Extreme 6, but only because of some noisy fans, so I probably won’t spend the extra money for that.
Finally and possibly most significantly, he said I should just get the 2GB GTX 770 instead of the 4GB. He said it can’t actually effectively use all 4GB of VRAM. I’m not sure what to think about that though. :confused:

The Define R4 is a great case, I’m picking one up for my GF’s build in a couple of hours. It has some noise dampening but still decent cooling capabilities.
I’m not sure about the RAM, I always go for the biggest stick, so I have more slots open for upgrading later on.
If having a silent system is important for you, the gigabyte board would be great, it also has one more slot for GPU’s if you want more of those later on.
Forget what he says about getting the 2GB version of the 770 instead of the 4Gb version. It’s almost a trend atm to recommend vidcards with lower memory because games dosnt benefit much from it, which is correct. But when using Blender you can use all 4 GB. The larger the scene, the more memory it takes up, so the more memory the better for Blender work. I’m actually thinking about getting the GTX780 6Gb when it ships, because I’m hitting the ceiling on my 4GB card already. That said, a lot of optimization can be done to scenes, to make them take up less memory and you can do awesome work with a 2GB card, it’s just more convenient and nice to have 4GB, so you dont need to spend so much time optimizing.

Ohh and the EVO should be fine. I set the fan on my cooler to run at 1200rpm and upped the case fans from 5V to 7V. After over 2 hours of rendering yesterday, my tamps where between 74-78c with ambient temps of 23-24c.

One question might be, does the cpu worth it. I just made one build and finally decide the i7-4820K would be enought for a start. Still have the capacity to upgrade at a later stage for somehting better, even going to the X edition.

Money saved in the cpu could be then allocated to more RAM (very usefull) or higher end GPU like the CTX780 offering faster rendering (but only 3GB VRAM).

Good point, but remember, I’m using After Effects and other programs as well, and that does benefit a lot from a good CPU. My current CPU is an intel 3.4 GHz quad core, so I feel like I want to get something better than what I already have, otherwise it’s not too much of an upgrade in that regard. The other thing is that I want a well balanced computer, so if I sink too much money on one thing, like the GPU, I may have to skimp in other areas, which I don’t want to do.

@Wega Thanks for your response! You’ve been very helpful so far. :slight_smile: Someone was criticizing me on another forum for taking too long with the build instead of just getting it, because of course it’s about the work, not the computer. But because it’s a such big purchase, and my first time building with little technical knowledge or experience, I want to be very thorough!

Anyway, definitely going with the Define R4 for the case, and 4GB 770. Still not sure about the RAM (he said there was a theoretical speed boost by going with 4 sticks over 2, because of the quad channel memory controller on the CPU) or the mobo. Is it worth having the flexibility for another GPU in the future?

Added up the prices of all the parts. I save $22.75 by buying from Amazon. :smiley: Maybe there is some benefit to buying from Newegg, I don’t know. It seems a little more organized.

Great, I’m glad that I can be of help :slight_smile:
A note on the GTX 770: I just got mine yesterday, and have played a bit with it this morning. I got the EVGA 770 4GB SC ACX version, and this card has another brand of Vram that a lot of other 770’s has. And these have proven to be able to overclock really nice, and I went from a time of 2:15:05 to 1:57:24 on a benchmark file, when giving it a mild overclock. Thats a really nice boost, so if you can get the EVGA for the same price, you should consider it. Read more about it here (I know it’s the 2Gb versions, but it applies to the 4Gb version as well): http://www.anandtech.com/show/7392/the-geforce-gtx-770-roundup-evga-gigabyte-and-msi-compared

About the memory, I think the guy might be right about the quad channel thing. I dont know how much of an increase it will give though, someone with more knowledge about memory might be able to answer you.

I also just went from a I5 quad core, to a 3930 hexa core with hyperthreading, and the difference is huge! I overclocked mine to 4.4Ghz and now I’, having one of the fastest benchmark times for single CPU’s in the CPU benchmark thread here on BA :slight_smile: And thats just in Blender. I really dont think you will regret getting the 4930 :wink: