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3DS Max Workstation Upgrade

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hello all,

My brother is looking to get into 3DS Max design (for games and just regular 3D) and is looking to upgrade his current setup to accommodate its workload.
Right now he has a budget of ~$1000 to upgrade his rig.
I'm off at college so I don't have the exact specs, but here's what I remember...

Right now he has:
i5 2500k - (not overclocked, he's stubborn but I'm working on it...)
ASRock P67 something - (has broken ram slots so only 2 work)
Corsair 650w PSU (I think its 80-plus)
GTX 560 Ti
Various hard drives and such that aren't really required for performance.

Here is what I'm thinking right now:
- Overclock the 2500k
- new motherboard due to his being broken, probably z77, maybe the ASUS P8Z77 V Pro
- GTX 780 for games/ 3DS max workflow

What do you guys think? What would you do to his rig with $1000? Thanks in advance.
Edited by Jermasaurus - 9/9/13 at 7:41pm
post #2 of 8
The new mobo is for certain, he will need the ramslots working unless he wants 2 x 8GB sticks for a 16 GB minimum. he can save a few bucks by going with a 770, as it will probably only show about a 5 to 10% decrease overall (if that much). Have him get a small to mid sized SSD for OS and autodesk applications only, (could put a few of his most used games as well depending on size purchased).

The i5 should be okay, but if he can find a decent i7 that will help as well.
I do a lot of modeling in 3ds max and I'm running the following:
i7 2700k (oc'd to 5.2Ghz watercooled)
gtx 670 classy (watercooled and oc'd)
16GB G.skill ripjaws z 1866 (4 x 4GB)
1300w EVGA supernova psu
evga z68 ftw motherboard
samsung 840 pro 256GB SSD x2 (in raid)
3 x WD Black 1TB data drives

I get no real downtime except when exporting finished models in to a gamefile but thats because the encoding tools I use kinda blow wink.gif

hope that helps.

post #3 of 8
I use Max/Maya on a daily basis. Got a 780 a week ago and it's real good with realtime renders and rendering in the viewport. It also flies around the work space with tons of geometry. 2500k renders with 4/8 so that's works. A 780 adds 2304 cuda cores while rendering realtime whistle.gif. It's also solid in zbrush/mudbox when the polycount is up on the millions. You can't go wrong unless it's a $100 less next week.

Overclock would be a must, My 980 stock couldn't keep up with the 780, had to clock it up to 4ghz
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the quick replies guys!

I forgot to add that I gave him my old 128gb m4 SSD for his OS and applications.

Also, for anyone running 3Ds max on a regular basis, how important is ram? Would the 8gb he has right now be a limiting factor?
post #5 of 8
Like Ryanhabs said go for 16gb of memory. It is very important with complex scenes, and large materials/maps
post #6 of 8
GTX 780/Titans are rendering beasts with 3DS Max/Blender. I think your brother will be quite pleased. As for RAM, I agree with the others -- 16GB should be more than enough, 8GB will probably do the job but he might run into issues if he renders landscapes/buildings with a lot of surface textures. RAM is pretty cheap, I'd go with 2x8GB DIMMS and call it a day.

Don't blow a lot on the motherboard, but I'd consider one that will at least do SLI if he decides to upgrade with a second GTX 780 in the future to cut the rendering times down. The P8Z77V Pro is a nice board, I have one in my 2012 Home Media Server that's been running 24/7 with Hyper-V for 6+ months now.

If you can free up another $200 in the budget, can probably replace the 2500K with a 3770K which will be put to good use with 3DS Max, plus give you PCIe 3.0 compatibility with the Z77 board on that GTX 780. 2500K is stuck with PCIe 2.0. Not a ton of difference, but texture loads and rendering speeds will be 3-5% better.

Edited by hammong - 9/9/13 at 9:13pm
post #7 of 8
i use maya and photoshop more but 16gb of ram was the best thing i ever did. doesn't need to be super fast but capacity is important
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies!

I think we're going to go with the motherboard and GTX 780 upgrade, as well as some more ram. We'll also be on the lookout for a cheap i7 if we can find one.
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