Build recs for video editing, 3D modeling/rendering and VR on Linux?

Hi all,
New to the forums. Just discovered Level1Techs while researching this build. What a fantastic resource! Keep up the good work.

The mobo on my current rig died. I was hoping to squeeze another year or two out of it, but, here I am. I'm using this opportunity to upgrade the CPU and GPU, too. I built it in 2014 with an AMD FX and 780Ti SLI. I will primarily be using this rig for video edting (Lightworks), 3D modeling and rendering with Blender (Cycles). I recently started working with Unreal and now with the SteamVR development release on Linux, I want to begin working in VR. While I get sucked into the Steam sales, I don't consider myself a 'gamer', so I'm not particularly concerned with performance from that perspective.

  • Budget: I'm okay spending what I need to have a workhorse that will serve me for the next few years. That said, I'm definitely not made of money, so I'm looking for the best performance/value ratio.
  • I'm based in the US.
  • I prefer Amazon, preferably with Level1Techs affiliate links :wink:
  • I'm good on peripherals and HDDs, though I may need to upgrade my OS SSD (my current SSD is listed in my Part Picker).
  • I don't overclock and would only be interested in it for a boost in workstation performance.
  • If it seems wise and necessary, I will add a cooler. I don't have one in my current rig, but probably should have for rendering as it got very hot occasionally.
  • Operating System: Linux.

Here's my Part Picker list:

Advice on components?
* CPU: I'm kind of an AMD fan, so I'm looking at the Ryzen 1700.
* GPU: Considering the Radeon Pro WX 7100 or the MSI GTX 1080Ti. Which is best for my intended use?
* Mobo: MSI x370 SLI Plus, MSI x370 Carbon, or ASRock x370 Killer. (I want the option of adding an additional GPU in the future for rendering; but do I need it with these cards?)

Any advice is greatly appreciated.


1 Like

Hi. Plenty people here are more qualified than me to review your choice of hardware. However I noticed your partpicker list says 2-way SLI with 1080ti's, but you don't mention this in your post? If it is meant like this, a 650W PSU is not enough. Torturing a single 1080ti is ~250w.

Ps: I think a rule of thumb is to use a PSU with a capacity of 125% of your power requirement.

Thanks for catching that. That PSU was a holdover from earlier that I hadn't updated yet. I fleshed out the parts list and put a 1000W PSU in there for the 125% rule.

I'm wondering why you'd go for the dual 1080ti setup if gaming is not your primary thing, but content creation and 3D modeling is. To quote @wendell (and I might be paraphrasing you here, my apologies) about the WX 7100 "It's designed to render frames accurate, whereas gamer cards are designed to render frames fast, but not necessarily accurate".

All i can say is go with the GTX 1080it. AMD is trash on linux and i suspect the pro version isn't an exception. The CPU on the other hand is excellent no point in buying Intel anymore. But be prepared to have maybe some work to do cuz bleeding edge linux and stuff. Aaand a nicee M.2 ssd wouldn't hurt :smiley:.

Now the programs on linux.

  1. UE4 is actually not supported under linux some random dude makes the ports and keeps the version for linux up to date. He has a patreon. Epic is actually very quiet about the port. It's downright embarrassing. Considering it's """"Open Source"""". Btw UE4 is not even stable under win10 had many crashes.
  2. Blender is fine even better performance than on win10.

So you are good to go. You have everything Workstation wise except the stability. If it's getting to crazy you can still go back to win10.

PS: If you need texturing tools substance painter and designer are both on linux it's working very good. With such programs you can skip photoshop. At least i did.

The dual 1080Ti setup would be for rendering in Cycles, which is CUDA so requires an NVIDIA card. With the WX7100, the CPU would do the rendering (at least in Cycles).

Cycles can do OpenCL. Was crushing blender with two r9 290's in the past.

As your targeting workstation I'm guessing you're going to be using RHEL or CentOS? As most professional software is targeted at RHEL/CentOS .rpm. IE: Autodesk software, The Foundry, ect? If so I'd recommend nVidia, also. The performance is rather good using their drivers. (make sure to use a repo for this, otherwise your drivers will break on kernel update) @Zumps and yes, however render frames corrently is more due to the viewport, as the cards are using drivers that have been targed for that software, so your OpenGL preview say from Maya, the textures will display correctly, lights and shadows will also. You won't get any strange artifacts appear from sometimes using a gaming card. Not to mention you pretty much can stick with the same driver rated for your main software and it'll just always "work."

Even though GPU rendering is a thing, take like V-Rays OpenCL/Cuda RT renders in production or for still images CPU is still better for quality, even though huge improvements are being made to this area from the Chaos group.

But the thing is with professional cards, they're a double edge sword. You'll notice speed improvements in say wireframe rendering, what's handy for scan data cleanup. A boost when using MSAA in viewports, but it'll fall short on preview rendering, or real time playback if the drivers are not optimized for that software.

I know that was a bit of a blurb all over the place, but that's my experience in short!


Just some ideas:

  1. have you looked at Threadripper?

  2. jarednielsen:

    (I want the option of adding an additional GPU in the future for rendering; but do I need it with these cards?)

No you don't! And you shouldnt/cant because not enough PCIE lanes
If you do in the future i would suggest building a second machine for rendering

  1. Overclocking the 1700 is usually worth it for performance

  2. It feels like you cheaped out on the ram (16gb) and the storage (only sata SSD)

Thanks yoYoyo!

With one GPU, would you still recommend an X370 mobo or step down to the B350?

I thought you were talking about 2 or 3 GPU's

There is enough bandwith for 2 GPU's and some storage.... on X370

So your plan is to buy one GTX1080 ti and mabe add a second one later if you need it?
If yes that sounds like a really good idea :+1:

NO I would always go for the extra PCIE lanes and Build quality especially for a workstation