Animation Student, need help with custom rig

Hello there community members, as I have vaguely stated, I am a traditional/stopmotion animation student.  As of right now the computers I own are sub par for the work I am doing in school.  I am mostly working with a professional digital paint tool called Toon Boom Harmony, and a stop motion program called DragonFrame.  I also use Adobe photoshop and Illustrator CS6 heavily for illustration and concept art.  I was looking into possibly buying a new PC for my school workbut unfortunately most of the offerings from different companies are still out of my budget and seem underspeced.  I was hoping By the end of the semester to have saved up enough cash to build my own.

I know my way around computers and have helped with a few PC builds in the past, so I have an idea of what to look for but I am not really the best at trying to find the best deals to fit within a certain budget and or don't know the quality fo each brand.  

So here's the deal, I will have a budget of 1000 dollars by december.  I do not own a copy of Windows 7 at all, I only have Windows Vista 64bit (I know, I know).  Can any one of you help me piece together a realtively good rig so that I can  1.) Be able to fluently do my work in Toon Boom, Dragon frame, and Adobe software, and 2.) Allow me to play game like Battlefield 3, Metro 2033 etc.

I have heard that the i5 2500k is still a reall good cpu , so I would like to have that as a must component, along with windows 7 professional .  Thanks all for reading and I hope you can help me out.  If you look at my computers and gear, you will now why I need help, hahaha, Thanks all again!    

Build a system around a Core i5 with at least 8GB of ram, I'll work something out after I get back from the farmers market, and hello fellow animator, I do 3D animation, but I focus on 3D modelling, and I do video editing/compositing/effects as well.

I put this together really fast. Its a pretty sweet build. There are some things you can tweak around with for better pricing since I went 200$ over budget but I put this together in about 5 minutes. Everything will be crazy fast AMD cards use opencl which if your programs use will render way faster than any nvidia card. I know cs6 supports it I am not sure about the others though.

I am sure gigabuster will be here shortly to tell me I did a terrible job and will show you something amazing. Also since CaptainPancakes does this stuff he'll probably have a better list too. This is what I would look for in a workstation PC though.

Wow this build looks pretty awesome!  I didn't expect to see that awesome of a build for that much.  I was looking at a digital storm PC and it would cost about 1700 for that type of build.  Thanks a lot, this really helps.  One thing I want to point out though is I will probably be using adobe premeire pro cs6 for video editing purposes, and that uses Cuda, I know the program says OpenCL support but for the AMD 6750m and 6770m for the macbook pro users.  I heard there was a way to modify a file in order for premiere pro cs6 to recognize a card for the mecury playback engine.

But yes, thank you very much for helping.  I think this will also help out with Source Filmmaker, I can't wait to start playing with that.

Similar build...

do you intend on overclocking?

I have never overclocked before, but it wouldn't hurt to learn how espcially for future proofing somewhat.


i7 3770K AND 660Ti




CPU heatsink


even if the system had a 670 and the 3770K OCed to 4.5Ghz it would pull only 325w 630w 80+ is just fine

the hyper 212+ EVO is just to keep the CPU cool for long periods of turbo and Full load, wouldn't OC on it, but later on if you want more speed I'd get THIS

almost as good as a H60

there is 2 4GB stick of ram, but its fast ram, if you need any more in the future you have 2 slots available

so even though its packed with kickass, it still has room for more

Wow guys, I really appreciate all the help.  Thanks again everyone.


OC'ing isn't all that great idea if you are doing what you are doing, I go for stability over the risk of something ridiculous.

you know what, that is a very valid point.  I'd hate for things to get bad really fast.

I've had issues with OC'ing, skipped frames in AFX, Maya going bonkers, Premiere crapping out here and there, causing failed renders, when they shouldn't fail (and didn't after no OC'ing). Stuff like that.

I think it was because you were using an older platform using FSB OCing instead of multiplier, but just the same in your field of work its best to be relieable, but if you for whatever reason do need to OC, you can, I would recommend a TPC 812 before going over 4Ghz though

i havent OC'd my rig, im waitign for the warranty to run out first lol, i have actually done some minor overclocks to my video card but thats about it

its the shorter nano meter which means a slightly lower clock latency, instruction sets, and lower L2 and L3 latences that make it faster than amd

for rendering they like lots of ram and high freqencies, low latency ram don't really help it much, after 1866 is where it doesnt' become helpful

for games its 1600, but low latencies like 7 at 1600 is the sweet spot for games

Even recent hardware, neither Adobe nor Autodesk support OC, as in you have an issue, that cannot be explained on any forum, generally, the issue is the OCing believe it or not.  I had that issue with a Phenom II when I worked SYX, it was a 2011 machine as well, it was stable yes, it never crashed, BUT, AFX and Premiere were skipping frames in renders, or not rendering properly at all.

My friend doesn't have any problem with his 3570K at 4.2, I geuss he got lucky

Yeah I think I am going to play it safe with my workstation.  I would hate to have software go bonkers.  I think I will have to with Nvidia for CUDA support in premeire pro.

Adobe is moving to OpenCL support, so you'd get more put of the 7970 :)

Wouldn't an i7 be better suited for this build?