Looking for help building 3D software PC; 2.5k Budget

Jan 26, 2019
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Hello friends,

A friend of mine recommended me this site for getting optimal PC builds for whatever the need is. In our case we’re both concept artists in the games industry.

The reason I’m here is because my current PC is 5 years old and can’t run a browser + Photoshop for long without crapping itself. And I know next to nothing about building and assembling a PC. So here I am.

The main thing I’m looking for is for it to run ridiculously dense, high poly 3D software like Zbrush, 3D Coat or programs for cinematics like Blender, C4D, Redshift, Octane. Running VR programs like Gravity Sketch is also something I’m interested in.

As for some of the other specifications...

BUDGET Something around 2.5k - 3k and looking to buy this thing ASAP within the week or next month.

MONITOR?: Yes absolutely need a new one, two preferably. (Not sure if 4K is worth it for our line of work, but it sounds nice.

PERIPHIALS?: Looking for another mouse as well. Been using a Wacom tablet as a mouse for a year now.

ORDER FROM/TO? NCIX and Newegg are the only sites I currently know. Ordering from one place is preferable. Currently living in Toronto Canada.

OS/Intel/AMD Need a new OS as well. I’ve also been hearing not great things about intel recently, but I want to be able to run a nVidia card... so I’ve been assuming intel was the way to go. What do you think?




Also as a general question, what makes a PC upgradable, and when/what parts should you upgrade before the PC turns to mush and you need to build one from scratch?


Many thanks for the help and insight! :)

 

Darkbreeze

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Well, I guess you already know that being in Canada parts are going to be a lot more expensive than from the US, so while 2.5k sounds good for a really high end build, might not be so great in your region. Well, you can still build a terrific build for that price, just, it won't be totally overkill like if that budget was here.

Do you have a preference for AMD vs Intel platforms?

Do you already have a graphics card you prefer to use, or are you looking for a card as well? Are you more interested in a dedicated workstation card or any high end capable card? Many gaming cards these days are more than capable of handling most 3d, graphics, video production and CAD applications but some professionals much prefer to use cards that are designed specifically for the applications they plan to use.

Are you able to use Amazon as well, because NCIX is defunct, and Newegg is sometimes competitive but rarely, at least in your market.
 

g-unit1111

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NCIX went under a few years ago so you're probably better off ordering from Newegg and Amazon. That said I would get something like this:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: Intel - Core i7-9700K 3.6 GHz 8-Core Processor ($526.99 @ PC-Canada)
CPU Cooler: CRYORIG - H5 Ultimate 76 CFM CPU Cooler ($59.99 @ Canada Computers)
Motherboard: Asus - PRIME Z390-A ATX LGA1151 Motherboard ($228.99 @ Mike's Computer Shop)
Memory: Corsair - Vengeance LPX 32 GB (4 x 8 GB) DDR4-3200 Memory ($348.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Storage: Samsung - 970 Evo 500 GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive ($169.99 @ Canada Computers)
Storage: Samsung - 860 Evo 1 TB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($209.95 @ Newegg Canada Marketplace)
Video Card: PNY - Quadro P4000 8 GB Video Card ($1009.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Case: Phanteks - Enthoo Pro M Tempered Glass (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($119.99 @ Amazon Canada)
Power Supply: SeaSonic - FOCUS Plus Platinum 650 W 80+ Platinum Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply ($100.99 @ PC-Canada)
Operating System: Microsoft - Windows 10 Home OEM 64-bit ($119.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Total: $2895.86
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-01-26 19:00 EST-0500
 

cryoburner

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From a pure performance standpoint, you would likely get better performance for your money in most of that software from a GTX/RTX consumer card rather than a Quadro professional card. In most software, a Quadro P4000 will offer performance a bit below that of a mid-range GTX 1070, at a much higher price. With Quadro, Nvidia is pretty much charging a big premium for professional-focused drivers. It is possible that the drivers might offer slightly better stability than their more gaming-focused counterparts, but if that's not of vital importance for you, than you could likely get a lot more performance from something like an RTX 2080...

https://gpu.userbenchmark.com/Compare/Nvidia-Quadro-P4000-vs-Nvidia-RTX-2080/m250990vs4026

Nvidia does limit the performance of some things in their GeForce drivers, such as wireframe antialiasing, to encourage those wanting cards for CAD software to pay a lot more for a Quadro, but in general, I think you would get more performance for your money out of a GeForce card. I'm not very familiar with some of that software though, and you might want to verify support for Nvidia's new RTX cards in those applications.

What sort of hardware does your current system have now?
 

Darkbreeze

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I agree, actually. Quadro and other workstation cards are really only beneficial if there is something SPECIFIC you need from them that they can do, that is either not supported, or not supported well, in the specific application(s) you plan to run. Mostly, that isn't the case, because the majority of 1000 and 2000 series cards have similar capabilities, and even some lacking on the workstation cards.

As mentioned, some few situations can benefit from application specific drivers, which in some cases are actually tailored by the application vendor for not only that application, but that specific version of that application. You would probably know that was the case, if it applied to your usage.

 

nuttynut

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Here's my picks. For a processor, I'm definitely thinking Threadripper. The 2970WX gives you 24 cores to work with, but if that's too much, the 2950X and 1950X are well-priced alternatives. Intel may be a little more optimized for Nvidia cards, but it's not something to be concerned about. I chose the ASRock Fatal1ty X399 Professional Gaming mobo for its integrated 10GbE adapter. It's worthwhile if you get, say, a high-speed NAS. Prices should be USD, but I pretty much got the product listings from Canadian retailers.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: AMD - Threadripper 2970WX 3 GHz 24-Core Processor ($1199.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft - Windows 10 Home OEM 64-bit ($26.67)
Mouse: Razer - DeathAdder Elite Wired Optical Mouse ($55.27 @ Amazon)
Other: EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 SC Gaming ACX 3.0 ($509.00)
Other: LIAN LI PC-O11 Dynamic ($167.99)
Other: Dark Rock Pro 4 TR4 ($152.19)
Other: Corsair VS650 ($69.99)
Other: Seagate Barracuda 2TB ($63.29)
Other: G.SKILL Sniper X Series 32GB (4 x 8GB) ($281.98)
Other: ViewSonic VA2459-SMH ($133.17)
Other: MyDigitalSSD BPX 480GB ($183.06)
Other: ASRock - Fatal1ty X399 Professional Gaming ATX TR4 Motherboard ($415.37)
Total: $3257.97
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-01-27 21:52 EST-0500
 

nuttynut

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Oh, and you'll need to factor in the cost of assembly. If NCIX was still around, you could have them build it, but alas.... Possibly myself or one of the other fine folks here could walk you through it.

In terms of upgrading, a custom-built PC can last a long time. An OEM PC might not be worth investing in after several years, but I actually have an old Alienware case that has been significantly rebuilt multiple times.
 

Darkbreeze

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Well, since he hasn't come back to answer any of the basic questions that were asked, not only is throwing builds at the wall to see what sticks, bad form, but also it's kind of looking doubtful that he's even going to respond since it's been a full day with no reply to those questions. I guess we'll see and if so then a plan for the build can be formulated at that time.
 

g-unit1111

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That's the biggest downside to Quaddros is that they don't always hold their value and they're very rare when you can actually purchase them. Even where I work, our high end rendering system that we recently built with an i7-7940X uses a 1080TI, there was no reason to buy a high end Quaddro because there wasn't any additional value that would come from a professional card as opposed to a consumer one.
 

Darkbreeze

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There is however value from going with Threadripper. It tends to smash the 9900k in most 3D, CAD and advanced rendering applications, depending of course on the model, but even the 1920x, which costs less than the 9900k, and exactly the same as the 9700k (In Canada anyhow), seems to smash the piss out of them in most reviews I've looked at. A higher core TR model, would just elevate that.
 

cryoburner

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A lot of this comes down to whether their rendering is primarily CPU-based or GPU-based though. I guess that's worth asking, since I know at least some of this software can use both kinds of renderers, while others may be limited to one or the other. Threadripper can be better for a renderer that can utilize a lot of CPU cores, but for a renderer that primarily uses the graphics card, putting more money toward graphics hardware might be better. And for actually performing the modelling in realtime, a CPU with faster per-core performance might potentially offer a bit smoother experience in some cases, even if it doesn't have as many cores.
 

Darkbreeze

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Zbrush is CPU based, 3DCoat only wants to see CUDA support and some fairly capable GPU but is highly threaded and mostly CPU based, Blender needs a beefy card but will pretty much use as much CPU as you can throw at it.

C4D is a different story, because that tends to only use a single core, so a fast single core is probably more beneficial there. Intel and especially an overclocked Intel CPU, or one with a high IPC and clock speed, are going to be better there but only when creating, modifying and animating. For rendering, C4D will use as many cores as it can and will scale accordingly. Fifty percent more cores generally equals fifty percent higher performance when rendering with C4D. Nvidia also recommends a Quadro card but GeForce cards will work fine here.

Redshift is GPU based, and the CPU plays a major role only when loading. Faster cores or more of them will not particularly improve anything in Redshift except load times. CPU of choice might matter though if you plan to use multiple cards, as the number of PCI lanes available could be a consideration. With the performance of most modern high tiered cards, that's getting to be less true than it used to be. You can get very good performance with a single card.

Octane, being GPU driven, is mostly the same as Redshift.

Gravity sketch, I know nothing about, and can find little information on that is helpful in making a recommendation, but I would assume that much as any VR software it's likely to be somewhat a combination of the two, where more is definitely going to be better no matter what we're talking about "more" of.

 

nuttynut

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Not having enough info is why I went for a more middle-of-the-road approach. And a high-end GPU with a large amount of VRAM is useful for viewport navigation, as well as rendering. Plus, 3D software should have good multithreading, so it's hard to say on the cores vs. frequency/IPC scale which is better.
 
Jan 26, 2019
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I don't have a preferred use for AMD or Intel, but there's a bias towards Intel/nVidia that I keep hearing. Friend mentioned that the threadripper is a great choice in the current market.

My graphics card is severely outdated. At work I have something like a GTX1050ti - runs things decently in comparison to my home PC, it's night and day. But if I could get a better performance with a 1080 or 2080, that would be worth the investment.
 
Jan 26, 2019
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Yeah, I was thinking about getting a 1080 or 2080 because that all I knew. Haven't heard of these Quadro cards. I think for right now until I figure out what exactly what software and pipeline I would be committing to to make stuff, a good consumer card would be best.

My home PC build -
CPU: Intel i5-4370 3.40 GHz, 4 cores
GFX: AMD Radeon HD 7800
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 1TB Harddrive (can't remember the brand), no SSD
OS: Windows 7





 
Jan 26, 2019
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Really sorry about that, there's been a little more overtime at work + bad snowstorm just hit Toronto. Got home just now. This is also my first time here and thought it would take longer for people to respond.
 
Jan 26, 2019
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Octane / Redshift are GPU based, but I'm not committed to those softwares. I would love to try them out, but my immediate plan is to use more CPU based renders like Blender's Cycles/their realtime renderer, Eevee. Majority of my time will more than likely be spent learning Zbrush/Blender a bit better for my current work, since it's hard to request any other software, unless you're a senior.
 
Jan 26, 2019
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Probably the software I'm going spending time with the most is Blender. That's been an increasing trend within the concept art field, but it's also for convenience since it's free. Next would be Zbrush and 3D-Coat.

I threw in C4D and Octane/Redshift mainly because of the results I see you can get with it from some of the more badass people in the industry. But I want to try to make the most out of my current financial budget and position in my career with the softwares I already own.

However, if it's possible to have a build that can run those 3 programs well and still get a decent kick out of Octane/Redshift, that would be sweet too.

Gravity sketch is another tool that's gaining some traction and I can see how well it can be applied from some demos out there. There's a guy in the concept art field named Jama Jurabaev who's been pioneering a lot of VR/Blender workflows for concept art, and he's selling it pretty damn well. However, it's definitely not a priority right now as Blender, Zbrush or 3DCoat.
 
Jan 26, 2019
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Thanks again for all the responses, really wasn't expecting it to be so quick. If it helps too, the reason I mentioned having a build that can handle a shitton of polys is because a common workflow I'd be using would be Zbrush/3D > Blender Cycles/Eevee, where I'd essentially be dumping high-poly geo into 3D package like Blender for basic compositing then overpaint in Photoshop.

I also don't mind overshooting my budget by a couple hundred. But if it's absolutely worth it and would make a big difference, I can push to 4k but would have to wait a couple of weeks before I would be able to buy the parts. And if there are any parts that I can get from Amazon, I can steal my friends prime membership if that cuts costs.

Assembly, I'm a little nervous about trying myself and messing things up, but if it's easy enough I'm willing to do it to save.
 

Darkbreeze

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Honestly, considering the hardware you're working with now, practically ANY modern platform would be like night and day. You probably won't want to do anything at work anymore, and you'll want to do it all at home. God's truth. I've tried running CAD software that is extremely demanding, on some of the office machines used by some of the contractors in town that I know and do work on their systems, and GAWD are they slow and crappy.

These guys make a ton of money but do you think they'll invest anything more than they have to into these machines, pffft. Some of them run off laptops and are like literally minutes between actions.

Anyhow, any built listed above would be a vast improvement over what you have, at home, or work. I'd do something like this honestly. We could make an even more powerful system, but I really don't think you need it at this point if you've been getting by on the hardware you have. This is a very capable configuration.

Also, these other builds are somewhat senseless considering they are extremely overkill for what you need, plus neither of those systems, no offense to anybody, are going to run as designed. No way you're going to get 4 x8GB modules to run at anything higher than probably 2666mhz on Ryzen or Threadripper, and if you do, it's going to take a lot of playing with the configuration to do so. At the slower default speed of 2133mhz, sure, no problem, but that's going to wipe out a lot of the performance on that platform. Four modules at high speed are hard to run on ANY platform, and are NEVER guaranteed.

You'll pay more, but you'll have MUCH better luck getting 2 x16GB modules to run at high speed than you will with a four module configuration. Pretty much the same goes for that 9700k build G-unit put up. 4 x8GB modules is going to be very tough to try and run at 3200mhz as you're doubling the stress on the memory controller. 2 x ANY capacity of module is always much easier to get running manually at high speed or at the XMP profile.

There are a few exceptions, such as systems with quad or octa channel memory configurations, but even then there are no guarantees of high speed, only that they will probably work with many modules installed. They certainly CAN, if you buy a very expensive matched set, but this memory configuration is less expensive and less stressful on the MC anyhow.

You don't mention a case, and I'm going to throw one in anyhow because this build deserves it's own house.

I didn't go with Threadripper, although I could have, because the 8 cores and 16 threads of the 9900k are probably more than plenty for your needs, but the much faster single core performance on the Intel platform is probably going to be a boon in Blender and other applications that only can, or will, use a single core, especially those GPU bound titles.

Unfortunately, if you want to get the best prices, you're going to need to purchase from multiple retailers. I can do it all from one retailer, but the several hundred dollar difference in price doesn't make sense when it's really not much more complicated to order through a few different places. Even with shipping included, the price is still lower.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: Intel - Core i9-9900K 3.6 GHz 8-Core Processor ($697.08 @ Vuugo)
CPU Cooler: Noctua - NH-U14S 82.52 CFM CPU Cooler ($87.75 @ Vuugo)
Motherboard: Asus - PRIME Z390-A ATX LGA1151 Motherboard ($228.99 @ Mike's Computer Shop)
Memory: G.Skill - Trident Z RGB 32 GB (2 x 16 GB) DDR4-3000 Memory ($288.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Storage: Crucial - MX500 1 TB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($179.50 @ Vuugo)
Storage: Western Digital - Red Pro 4 TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($228.92 @ Amazon Canada)
Video Card: EVGA - GeForce RTX 2070 8 GB Black Video Card ($679.88 @ Canada Computers)
Case: Fractal Design - Define R6 Black TG ATX Mid Tower Case ($185.50 @ Vuugo)
Power Supply: EVGA - SuperNOVA G2 750 W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply ($135.50 @ Vuugo)
Total: $2712.11
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-01-29 00:51 EST-0500


As far as the monitors go, that needs to be a whole other discussion. We'd need to really determine what you WANT and NEED, before just throwing models out there.

Does it need to be an IPS panel, or is a TN panel ok.

Make a decision, even if it requires asking other game programmers, regarding the resolution. If you'll be coding and testing games that will need to be tested at 4k, then a 1080p or 1440p display is problematic. If not, then it changes the metrics involved.

Are there other considerations such as there are for most gamers, like refresh rate, response time or size of the display. My recommendation, preliminary, would be a 27" 4k IPS panel, but I don't actually know what you NEED to have, so that might be terribly overkill, or it might not. In any case, if you do need a higher resolution unit with good features and quality, then two of those is going to seriously raise your investment so it's best to know exactly what you need before making guesses or just throwing models out to see what sticks and what hits the floor.

Mouse, pffft, anybody can do a mouse, so I am not going to waste my time on that. If you don't need special gaming features then the Logitech M510 is a very good, go to model, for a lot of years now.


 
Jan 26, 2019
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Yeah, I agree that at this point all I need is an upgrade from my current workstations. Eventually I'll have a better idea of what I want to get out of my build, but right now all need is something that can run things better than they can at work.

As for the monitor, I'll get back to you later today - I'll ask around to see if there's something preferable for game artists.
I can tell you offhand that I won't be programming or testing games at this point. Good colour information and response time is preferable. If I'm using two monitors, my thoughts are to have just one have those perks - the other one would just be for reference and doesn't matter too much overall. How much more is an IPS vs. a TN in this case?

The case, yeah I doubt the one I have is going to be able to shelter the build you made.

Appreciate the help man.
 

Darkbreeze

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Even though you are doing things OTHER than actually gaming, I expect you might do some of that as well, plus it might be necessary as a feature for what you do, but it would also be relevant to know whether or not this needs to be a Gsync display as well. I'm not sure it's a factor at all, and it does generally add expense to the cost of the monitor, but I figured I'd ask anyhow.
 

cryoburner

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It sounds like they're doing game concept art, as in art that developers will base their final designs off of, rather than anything along the lines of programming or creating art assets that would need to be tested in-game. So I don't think something like a high refresh rate or G-Sync would be of much benefit to them. In any case, Nvidia finally enabled support for DisplayPort Adaptive Sync for their 10 and 20-series cards, so as long as a monitor supports FreeSync over the DP connection, adaptive sync should be available without paying extra for G-Sync.

Based on what it sounds like the system will be getting used for, I suspect an IPS panel would probably be best, as they tend to offer more accurate colors and viewing angles, and a higher resolution like 1440p or 2160p(4K) would allow for more detail to be visible without needing to zoom in on your art.

As for a mouse, it might be worth looking for something with more buttons, if you want to assign them to commands within the software. If you've been mostly using a Wacom tablet lately, then it's hard to say exactly what would be a good fit though.

What kind of storage do you need? You'll probably want a 500GB or 1TB SSD for your OS, applications and active projects, but do you think you'll need a big hard drive for lots of bulk storage? You'll probably want to back up your projects to a second drive to reduce the chances of data loss in the event of a drive failure, though I'm not sure how much storage you'll need. Unless you will be storing lots of video or other massive files, you might not need 4TB. More storage can always be added later.
 

Darkbreeze

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Jeez, I filled a 4TB drive in less than six months, just with high resolution scans and artwork I'm doing for a photographer friend, and I don't even do this stuff professionally. Had to get an 8TB drive two weeks ago. I think I'd WANT the 4TB drive, plus the one I listed is a 256MB cache model and believe me, for a spinning drive that cache makes a real difference in speed when transferring or saving files to it over the run of the mill 64-128MB cache models. But you might be right, if he's been getting by with a 1TB model. I guess I can't speak for him really but if it were me, I'd want it if I could budget it.

Pretty sure you're right on the monitor, which is why I was looking initially at 4k IPS panels but I wanted to run it by him before just pulling a recommendation out my own backdoor. LOL.

 

Darkbreeze

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Made a few adjustments, and all things considered, especially what you're getting by with now, this should do all you need, and then some, and will probably still be quite capable five years from now, maybe a lot longer than that.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: Intel - Core i7-8700K 3.7 GHz 6-Core Processor ($498.75 @ Vuugo)
CPU Cooler: Noctua - NH-U14S 82.52 CFM CPU Cooler ($87.75 @ Vuugo)
Motherboard: Asus - PRIME Z390-A ATX LGA1151 Motherboard ($228.99 @ Mike's Computer Shop)
Memory: G.Skill - Ripjaws V 32 GB (2 x 16 GB) DDR4-3000 Memory ($255.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Storage: Crucial - MX500 1 TB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($179.50 @ Vuugo)
Storage: Western Digital - Red Pro 4 TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($228.92 @ Amazon Canada)
Video Card: EVGA - GeForce RTX 2070 8 GB Black Video Card ($679.88 @ Canada Computers)
Case: Fractal Design - Define R6 Black TG ATX Mid Tower Case ($185.50 @ Vuugo)
Power Supply: EVGA - SuperNOVA G2 750 W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply ($135.50 @ Vuugo)
Operating System: Microsoft - Windows 10 Home OEM 64-bit ($125.75 @ Vuugo)
Monitor: BenQ - GL2760H 27.0" 1920x1080 60 Hz Monitor ($188.99 @ Powertop)
Monitor: ViewSonic - VP2768-4K 27.0" 3840x2160 Monitor ($591.38 @ Amazon Canada)
Mouse: Logitech - MX MASTER 2S (Black) Wireless Laser Mouse ($97.00 @ Amazon Canada)
Total: $3483.90
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-01-29 22:53 EST-0500
 

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