About to Purchase $3500 Workstation. Build Feedback Please?

Hey guys:

I posted a few months ago but just yesterday received the go-ahead to build a new workstation. The budget is $3500 USD and I can probably get away with +/- $250 on that. I've put together what I had in mind, and I'll link it here: http://pcpartpicker.com/list/NPtrM8.

Primary usage is 3ds Max and I went with the 8-core because it will be our V-Ray rendering machine for now as well. Secondary uses will be Creative Cloud, AutoCAD, and possibly Z-Brush and Vue/Terragen.

Main questions are:

1) Motherboard. I was looking at the various models of the Asus X99-A as well as the MSI X99a Gaming Pro Carbon. Any reason why I'd want to get a more expensive mobo?

2) Graphics Card. When I was looking before the Titan X wasn't out (and it looks like it's way marked up or out of stock everywhere still). Should I spring for this and alter my system to accommodate or is the 1080 still ideal for this budget? If so, any specific 1080 recommendations? I think I just picked one of the cheaper ones that will go with my color scheme on Parts Picker :P.

3) Lighting. It's going to be an office machine but I want it to look slick, hence the Tempered Glass Case. Would like to do some white or light blue lighting on the inside. What's the standard package to make that happen nowadays (when I last built a system it was cold cathodes but I'm assuming it's LEDs now)? Any specific recommendations?

4) Anything else you would change about this? It will be on a server so HD space isn't overly necessary for storage purposes (hence the cheap-ish 1 TB 7200 RPM). Went with the PCI-E SSD because that was the recommendation a few months ago. Also planning a tri-monitor setup with the two 23" displays in a portrait orientation. I'm hoping that with this setup the monitor stand I listed will work (it says 27" max but the portrait peripheral monitors should give me a few more inches of clearance.)

Thanks for all the help in putting this together! I'm excited to finally pull the trigger.

So the things you need to ask is does 3ds Max and the V-Ray rendering tools use the 8 cores well and what does it favor in terms of graphics cards, if the software makers are doing their job they will have a list of recommended hardware.

My experience is more with the adobe CC end and your system is overkill on that end in terms of having more computational power than the software will use, with that said I am not seeing anything really wrong with your build

Right. My understanding is V-Ray is going to use as much processing power as I can give it while rendering. The 6900k was chosen as a happy medium between thread count and core speed (which will be much more important when it comes to AutoCAD). The 1080 was for 3ds viewport performance and possibly a bit of VRAY RT (their GPU rendering engine) just to get a feel for what the final scenes will look like when CPU Rendered.

I think it's certainly overkill for CC but I figured I'd add that bit to the original post just in case (i.e. it probably has no bearing on the build itself). I think single-thread speed is still really important for AutoCAD so I took that into account when deciding between the higher end i7 and the Xeons.

This system also gets me on the X99 platform, which will allow me to upgrade to the 6950X (10-core) in the future if our rendering needs increase (but aren't at render farm level necessity yet). If the thought process is that the 6800k (6-core) is enough processor for the job, I could work that $400 savings into other parts of the build. Essentially I'm just trying to create the most well-rounded PC for use as a 3d modelling/rendering workstation.

Then the 6900k is probably the best choice to go with. without knowing what your previous system was the 6800k may be a big jump up in performance or it might only be a modest increase in performance where the 6900k once you get into rendering will be a noticeable improvement as long as the software utilizes all the processor.

Looks good to me.
I would take a SeaSonic PSU over the EVGA one but that is personal preferences.

CPU cooler...
Not a big fan of AIOs. Maybe take a look at the Noctua NH-D14 (-D15?) or BeQuiet DarkRock Pro3. I would not want my CPU to die because the pump died suddenly.

If its going to be a holy shit machine mhy not do 2 processors. I think I said that the last time too.

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Thanks Cross, noted. Would you spring for something like an EK kit loop or are you of the mind that watercooling for this application is a bad idea?

My rationale behind the AIO was mainly aesthetic. I like the idea of having a clean, open space when it's going to be as visible as it will be with the Evolv case. That and they're cheaper than kit loops and largely leak free (although I do like the idea of some light blue fluid in clear tubing to stick with my color scheme).

If I go air cool Phanteks to match my scheme (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835709011).

I was gonna suggest that as well, but it really depends on how well the program can take advantage of that many cores.

If it can use as many cores as OP can give it, then sure, a dual E5-2670 machine would be great.

I'm just thinking "Hey, wouldn't it be useful if XYZ came into play and you can do all of that"

The cooler looks nice!

Look at it like this: If the pump breaks, you can´t work. If a fan on the phanteks breaks, you could move a casefan over and continue working.

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That's true actually, if a program can take advantage of 8 cores, it can probably take advantage of 16. Would be awesome.

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I think I remember that conversation.

My rationale on the i7 system is that it provides a better balance of single core speed and core count at a better price point. I'm not opposed to a dual Xeon but weren't we looking at used GPUs in that build? The 2670s were cheaper but that platform raised the price of all of the other components.

There's also a point of diminishing return where, if 8 cores isn't getting the job done rendering, then 16 won't either and we'll need a render farm. I really want to balance the modelling/AutoCAD performance with the initial use as a rendering machine. Maybe that can be done with a dual Xeon machine though...

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In reading reviews, I'm seeing that the Asus X99s are wreaking havoc on the Broadwell-E CPUs. Does anyone know what's up with that?

I would like to get a board that has Wifi/Bluetooth (gotta rock out with my wireless Beats) but maybe the solution is to get an MSI X99 and a little USB Bluetooth adapter (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA7XD2VY7109&cm_re=bluetooth_card--9SIA7XD2VY7109--Product).

Well not only that, but v-ray is a weird beast.

It likes a lot of cores AND high frequency. It probably actually likes frequency more than core count.

A higher frequency 6 core will beat out a 8 core that is clocked 400mhz lower.

So the 6900K is probably perfect.

The Asus X99-A II basicly should be fine.
Unless you would like to have certain onboard feutures like bluetooth and Wifi.
In that case spending a few bucks extra for the Asus X99 ROG strix Gaming might be worth it.
If you want créme de la créme then the Asus X99 Deluxe II maybe,
that also comes with Thunderbolt 3.0 addin card if i´m not mistaken?
And it has a decent wifi + bluetooth module, and dual intel nic´s.
But like i said it just highly depends on which particular feutures you would realy need.
Because the Asus X99-A II basicly is a very nice entry level X99 board,
that pretty much offers all the base feutures most people would need.

It does come with the Thunderbolt card.

I'll look it up, but what exactly does that card do?

Basicly you connect allot of things to Thunderbolt and have fast transfer speeds.
For example external gpu enclosures can connect over thunderbolt etc.

One more thing.

Updated build: http://pcpartpicker.com/list/M7sxgL

In my attempt to avoid ASUS, I carted an EVGA 1070 GPU. On my last minute check of compatibility, I saw that the cheapo 23" monitors don't have Displayport Inputs, only HDMI. So, I looked at the card and of course, 1 HDMI out and 3 Displayports. The only 1070s that have both? Asus.

So, my options would be to:

A) Get the Asus card instead. Fits my color scheme but I read a few reviews noting coil whine with the Asus "Dual" line.

B) Just get a Displayport to HDMI adapter. If I plug one of the smaller monitors in via HDMI and the other via the adapter, will my colors and image quality be the same?

a distant C) Get monitors with Displayport inputs. A search of these on Newegg indicated that the cheapest were about $70 more (Asus) than the two LGs I was planning on (plus the center 21:9 monitor is LG and has a Displayport).

What's the best solution?

your colors will be slightly different no matter what connector you use and all panels have some variance with that said your graphics cards drivers should have the ability to fine tune the outputs to each individual monitor.