New workstation 3ds Max, Zbrush, photoshop, and gaming

Hey guys i was looking at building a new pc for the work i do, i currently have a i-7 2600k 16gigs ram and a gtx 970, the only part I would like to keep it the gpu. I mainly work with 3ds max and Zbrush for modeling and use some other software like substance designer, quixel suite, and photoshop, also was thinking of making it a small form factor build, tired of having a huge case. Anyway would love to hear some tips

3Ds Max and Zbrush like cores, right? So X99 would be preferred I guess. In a small form factor. Hmmm...
How small? Reasonable (m-ATX) or tiny (m-ITX)?
Oh and, overclocking or max stability? (i7 vs. Xeon)
And ... budget?

You know what? I just spent some time on pcpartpicker and found it very hard to find stuff for a really small build. Then I thought "you could totally build my Dual 2670 system". It is a big board but it is not a big case. And 2670s are sooo cheap right now. A few more watts on the PSU for a GPU, 10Gbit NIC is optional, drives: up to three 2.5" + up to two 3.5", quiet and very good airflow.


Zbrush is very CPU/RAM dependant now that it's 64bit, as it's not an actual 3D program it's 2.5D so it uses no GPU. And 3DSMAX uses DirectX so you'll usually find a decent gaming card will perform rather nice with it just as long as you're not doing any simulations because I swear there is an artificial limit there on NVidia GPUs. Say to OpenGL programs like Modo, Maya (in OpenGL mode) Mari, Quadros tend to run better as they have better OpenGL drivers under windows and a full OpenGL implementation under Linux. So truthfully? Using Max, Zbrush and Substance software they're DirectX based software on Windows, so really as long as you pack a decent high end gaming GPU you'll be totally fine.

For Zbrush just make sure you got a nice decent CPU and loots of RAM so you can work with really high res meshes, I have 64 gigs, and it runs AMAZING on it, I can work with insanely high polycounts with no slow down.

I know I'm not pointing you at computer parts, what I'm trying to get across as long as you pick a nice decent CPU, with a fair amount of RAM and a good gaming NVIDIA GPU, just don't worry it'll be fine.

(This comes from someone who has an intel Xeon 16 core workstation with a Quadro, and another rig with Intel Extreme with 64 gigs of RAM and a 780ti)

Hey thanks for the responses, @noenken m-ATX i think would be fine, and my budget would be around $1000 but i could go over by a bit.

@weskie Thanks for the insight, i currently have a GTX970, and it seems most of my problems with crashing is coming from Zbrush, so ill atleast go 32gigs of ram then.

That would be from the install, or something has gone wacky I had Zbrush crashing over and over a few weeks ago, actually. A fresh reinstall and keeping it on my hybrid SSD C drive fixed it (I had it installed to an SSD where I keep all my DDC programs). But since installing it to the C drive it's all fixed rarely crashes now.

Also if Zbrush keeps crashing contact Pixologic and they may be able to help you, one of the points of having a high price tag on this type of software, even though Zbrush is cheap in a sense to the others you get very good support.

Edit: Also with Zbrush there can be some other reasons why it crashes even from importing meshes, I had some issues with Zbrush and Modo with some scale screw-up and it kept crashing it over and over. Even though this isn't the point of the thread you can PM me and I'll try and give you a hand to stop it crashing.

With that in mind I am strongly recommending a dual sandy bridge E5 2670s build. Those are 8 cores / 16 threads each and performance is massive. Did I mention those chips cost about 120,- to 150,- Dollars for the pair?

@weskie I tried with a fresh install but not on my C drive I should try that, I mainly get crashes with higher poly meshes especially with the noise modifier.

@noenken I never considered a xeon chip, I do like playing games on my off time, I dont think that would be a problem right? From what I understand the xeon chips dont have integrated graphics but that won't matter because of my video card. Also can I build a small form xeon machine?

Well, I wouldn't call my build massive. Did you even click on it?

From a pure performance standpoint: the E5 2670 is as fast as an E5 2630 v3. Two of those can nearly match the performance of an overclocked 6950X. This is according to Cinebench R15. They run at 2.6 base, 3.3 boost (single) and 3.0 boost (all cores).

16 cores / 32 threads at 3.0GHz. All day long.

And for games: No, that is no problem at all. When paired with the GTX970 the CPUs are not the weakest link.

Give it ago, it'll be interesting to see if that is actually the cause, also remember to delete the Zbrush folder under users>public but it will delete your quicksaves, so make sure you save. And let me know!

Also I'd recommend a Xeon too, they love the kinda hungry Zbrush and also it'll be better if you start using say Keyshot + Zbrush as it scales per cores.

@noenken oh sorry man I didnt even see that link before my bad, and wow you have a nice build that size is perfect for what I was looking for.

Awesome stuff im gonna start shopping around

Oh i didnt know about that public folder ill give that a go aswell thanks!!

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This might be a stupid question but can i use a motherboard with 2 cpu slots with only 1 being used?

Depends on the mother board, I guess. Haven't tried that at all but some will probably do it and some won't.