First build for 3D modeling/rendering workstation


Mar 10, 2010
Hey guys, I'm planning on building my first workstation, I'm graduating in June so I need a workstation to work on my demo reel, my brother built one for me years ago and still have the case, power supply and dvd, the other stuff I dont think is usable. I've never over-clocked before, I'm gonna go for it(reading here and youtube videos). This site is incredible so many forums/articles of people helping. Thank you for your time. Carlos

current desktop(built years ago, dont use it anymore, use laptop now. acer aspire 6920 core 2 duo 2.00 ghz 4gb)

intel P4 @ 3.4 ghz, 3GB ram, asus p5n-d I think

BUDGET: $ 800-1000

SOFTWARE: Autodesk Maya 2010 64 bit, Zbrush 3.5, Adobe CS4, XSI...

PREFERED WEBSITES: newegg, tigerdirect, mwave.. opened to suggestions.


Case: Thermaltake SHARK full tower:
I'm sure I can still use this case right??
Power supply, monitor, keyboard, mouse etc..


CPU(I7 or dual xenon), motherboard, memory RAM(I want 8g but is really pricey), cooling system(planning to OC) and video card (nvidia quadro are better for my purpose)

and please I know all of you know more than me so understand if I have many questions.

I would not use the acer's power supply because OEMs cheap out on the power supplies and you will need a more powerful one anyway.

I don't think you will be able to fit an Nvidia Quadro into your budget. I'm not very knowledgeable about the workstation GPUs so I'm not going to recommend one.

Looks like you already know what you want to get. The i7 would be cheaper. Much cheaper. For cooling OCZ Vendetta or Gladiator seem pretty good to me. Unless your programs can utilize hyperthreading on the i7, you might consider an i5 instead.

With the i7, you can look at 6GB of triple channel memory which will be less expensive. The i5 uses dual channel.


Mar 10, 2010
thanks Enzo, I don't have an acer power supply, acer is the laptop I'm using now,

I found entry level quadro that I'm sure will perform better than any gaming cards around $190 like this one

those ocz are cheap, nice but is that enough??with overclocking I mean?

any recommendations on motherboard?

I haven't really put much interest in the i5, how does it compare to i7?? I see it as a downgrade, why would they come up with something less than i7, why not better?

Alright. Well, make sure your current power supply is good enough for the parts you intend to get.

I can't say for sure as I don't have personal experience but I have never heard anything bad about them, in fact the opposite. But considering people have done decent overclocks on stock, I'm sure it will be fine for overclocking.

I don't see a problem with the least expensive motherboard. It seems to have everything you need unless you are interested in USB 3.0.

The i5 is the same as the i7 but without hyperthreading. It also runs on socket 1156 not 1366 and uses dual channel memory as opposed to tri channel. Yes it is a downgrade for programs that have better multi-threading.

"I see it as a downgrade, why would they come up with something less than i7, why not better?"

Yes. It is a downgrade. They made it to satisfy the market because not everyone has $1000 for a core i7 975 extreme. Nor are many willing to spend even $300 on a processor. Personally, I wouldn't spend over $200 if a processor really impressed me. It all comes down to the market and how much money the consumer has aswell as their uses for the computer.

Why not better? That's like if someone drew a nice painting after spending a few years at it and someone asking why it isn't better. Technology, like the painter's skill progresses with time. The i7 line is the best intel currently has to offer. Their research will allow them to invent better processors eventually.

For 3d modelling, I'm not sure, but I would assume that you would benefit from the hyperthreading. You could go with 6GB now and if it's not enough get another 3GB for 9GB total.

If someone knowledgeable about workstation cards could comment on the PNY workstation graphics that would be useful.


Mar 10, 2010
ok so I decided on this components for now:

this is the case I own, I bought it years ago.

Thermaltake SHARK VA7000BWA Black Aluminum ATX Full Tower Computer Case

This is what I have in my shooping cart for now:

Intel Core i7-930 2.8GHz 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1366 Quad-Core Desktop Processor

RAM Memory:
CORSAIR XMS3 12GB (6 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model HX3X12G1600C9 G

ASUS P6X58D Premium LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

I will be spending more than $1000 that's for sure, all I need now is a power supply but I'm not sure how much I need, 700, 850, 1000?? I went on thermaltake power supply calculator and it said psu wattage recommended :609 watts. But I dont know if thats too low???

and the final component would be the Video Card, I have two in my mind:

ATI 100-505505 FireGL V7700 512MB PCI Express 2.0 x16 Workstation Video Card


PNY VCQFX580-PCIE-PB Quadro FX 580 512MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 Workstation Video Card

Nvidia is supposed to be better for maya , but to very good reviews on that card, on the ATI there was a reviewer that used the card for maya and said that it was better than the nvidia he used both.


Looks like a good build to me. I think 12GB might be overkill but that's a good price.

As for the two video cards, I looked them up. The ATI has GDDR4 ram and the Nvidia has GDDR3. The ATI has the same core as the radeon 3870 and the nvidia has the same core as the 9500. From a pure specs standpoint, the FireGL is a much better graphics card and faster in every way. If I were comparing a radeon 3870 to a Geforce 9500, I know the 3870 would perform better.