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Recommend me a computer

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Recommend me a computer

Hi this is my first post here.

Currently I'm a grad student at Savannah college of art and design in animation. While I can do all of my school work at school itself I would like to be able to do some animation, and modelling when school is off. I was wondering if anyone here could recommend a some what cheap computer but one that can run maya and other 3d related programs really well.

If you can't recommend a computer could someone recommend what hardware to include in the comp, such as graphics card and such.


Hi stevegrad, and welcome to the AWN Forums.
I'd go with a Dell Precision with a Xeon processor, at least 1 gig of Ram, better with 2 gigs though, and the best graphics card you can afford.

the Ape

...we must all face a choice, between what is right... and what is easy."

Oh yeah, definitely go for two GB of RAM. I'm working with one and PhotoShop tends to slow down quite a bit when working in resolutions over 300 dpi.

Well what would a computer like that run me? I'm looking for a ball park figure here.

Go to and price one out, using Ape's specs. Then you'll know exactly what it will cost. get all the parts and slap em together yourself. really easy and cheaper.

"who wouldn't want to make stuff for me? I'm awesome." -Bloo

If your looking for cheap was still fast then go with the Intel Core 2 Duo processors. The E6600 is probably the best buy for now for CG artist though as Animated Ape pointed a Two Dual-Core Xeon setup will give you the best performance. Or if you could wait awhile longer when Quad-Core processors hit the market you could have one or two these to give you 4-8 cpu cores to greatly increase your render speeds.

Software: TVPaint Pro, Harmony Standalone, Storyboard Pro, Maya, Modo, Arnold, V-Ray, Maxwell, NukeX, Hiero, Mari, RealFlow, Avid, Adobe CS6
Hardware: (2) HP Z820 Workstations + 144-core Linux Render Farm + Cintiq 24HD Touch

I just got done putting together a computer last winter, it was a dual xeon. Which I don't think is the best decision for what you are doing. Xeons did slightly better in some multitasking, but for rendering (which I don't do) you will want an AMD opteron dual core, or quad ( two dual cores), check out CGTalk Forums I think they have a lot of info on this stuff. I only know what was current 9 months ago.

The barebones is likely to cost you $1500 to 2 grand. That includes things like the motherboard, the CPU(s), RAM, Case, firewire ports, PSU and some other things I probably am forgetting.

Mine ended up being almost 3000 with monitor, Audio interface (has pre-amps and things for microphones and makes a big difference in the audio you record), speakers and other accessories down to anti-static wrist bands.

You can definitely do it for cheaper, especially if you were to go with a single dual core chip. Go to newegg and look up CPUs and Motherboards that are compatible with them that will be the biggest expense.

Go to, I think it's, or .org or something like that and they have forums full of people who can answer your questions better than I can. If you are building something yourself make sure you know that each component is compatible with every other component. And only buy from established places with return policies like or Monarch computer or a place like that. There are some really dodgy computer equipment retailers out there, and I have learned the hard way that if the price of a component looks too low to be true that it's nearly always a bad component.

All I know is 9 months old but it seemed at the time that it was universally agreed that AMD made a better CPU for what you are doing, or really just a better CPU in general.

Good luck.

My setup is 2.08GHz and 512MB...I have nothing against Intel, but I keep buying AMD because they keep kicking ass for me (and when we were buying generally were the cheaper setups)...It runs Maya for all purposes really well. For rendering and even playblasting occasionally I'd recommend maybe twice the RAM and anything about an nVidia GeForce 4. You should be able to accomplish that for less than 700...

At the current moment the Intel Core 2 Duo processors are the best for CG artist on a budget if you want Two-Cores. Next month(crossing fingers) Intel is going to roll out with Core 2 Quadro which is four cores on cpu. The one they are rolling out in Novemeber will be 2.66GHz(times 4). I would only suggest this if your doing 3D Rendering or video editing as these are about the only applications that are designed to utilize four processors. Xeon cpus are expensive and require very expensive FB DDR2-667 memory(which is quite slower than regular DDR2-800) and motherboards. I wouldn't suggest these unless your doing some really serious stuff. And another note, Xeon motherboards will only install in a very small fractions of the cases that are CEB certified which means they have the Xeon CPU mounting holes for the cpu fan. When AMD switches from 90nm processors to 65nm processors the tables might turn but as it looks now Core 2 Duo or Quadros are probably the best thing right now. Well that concludes my nerdy hardware rambling for now.

Software: TVPaint Pro, Harmony Standalone, Storyboard Pro, Maya, Modo, Arnold, V-Ray, Maxwell, NukeX, Hiero, Mari, RealFlow, Avid, Adobe CS6
Hardware: (2) HP Z820 Workstations + 144-core Linux Render Farm + Cintiq 24HD Touch