Author Topic: New PC build. Need advices.  (Read 6100 times)

Hello Substance Community,

It's my 1st post here and sorry if this topic has already been discussed on the forum. Also sorry for any grammar mistake as English is not my native language.

I'm going to assemble a PC to produce game assets in Maya, Mudbox and Substance Painter and use it in Unreal Engine 4 and Unity 5, since my technical knowledge is limited and couldn't find precise answers to my questions on the internet I'd be very thankful if someone of you could help me shine a light on by doubts. The parts configuration I'm going for as of now would be:

CPU: Intel i7 6700K 4.2GHz 8MB Cache
MB: Asus H170 Pro Gaming
RAM: Kingston Fury X 2133MHz 16GB
GPU: MSI GeForce GTX 980ti 6GB 2816 Cuda Cores
Storage: SSD San Disk Ultra II 480GB
CPU FAN: Cooler Master Evo212
Windows 7 or 10
plus 2-3 more case fans, 650W psu and of course an adequate ATX case.

My doubts are:

1- I read a lot about Quadros being the best of the best for 3D modeling, but also read a lot about NOT beig the right ones for the kind of modeling that goes into 3D game assets so is the Quadro a must or will the GTX 980ti do fine?
I also read a lot about Quadros not going well with game engines that prefers gaming-oriented GPUs.
Is the 980ti an overkill and a 980 (non ti) will be enough?

2- Is 2133 16GB RAM enough? Better go with 32GB? Better go with an higher clock RAM (3000-3600MHz)?

3- Is the i7 6700K enough to not experience slowdowns (specially in high division levels in Mudbox or when building very mesh-populated scenes in the editor or when painting 4K textures on very hi-poly meshes in Substance Painter) or should I look at 6 cores CPUs?

4- Is there any issues with Win10? What about Win7?

Thanks again for your help, I'm just willing to make sure I'll be spending this (quite a lot of) money on the right equipment.

I'd suggest to wait around a month or two and get newer components that will make a much better deal for you:

1) For the CPU, Intel's Broadwell-E platform is around the corner, supposed to be released in early June at Computex 2016. The cheapest CPU in this line will be 6800k, and it will feature 6-core die with the price expected to be around 450 USD. Overclock it a bit and you will get a very fast six-core beast. To my judgment, it will be a perfect alternative to the 4-core 6700k.

2) If you decide to go that way, get a decent air cooler. I'd suggest Thermalright True Spirit 140 - I have two of them and they're great. Make sure that you case is wide enough to house such a tall cooler (170mm height).

3) 32GB of RAM is the lowest reasonable minimum for now. In fact, if you plan to use a bunch of apps at the same time (like having Maya, Substance Painter and Unreal Engine 4 loaded at the same time), even 64GB doesn't look so crazy. Though, you can add additional RAM at the later date, if you'll feel that 32GB is not enough for you. As for the RAM speed, it does play some role in overall system performance, but it's not major. Still, I would recommend getting RAM that is a sweet spot in terms of speed and price - don't buy the cheapest and slowest, but at the same time don't pay a lot more for the "extreme" versions.

4) For the GPU - reviews of GTX 1080 were posted yesterday, and it's reported to be around 30% faster than 980 Ti. If the price will be ok for you, custom version of GTX 1080 (not the "reference" Founders Edition reviewed now) will be great buy. It will be faster than a 980 Ti, a lot more energy efficient and will have a 2GB more of video memory (8GB instead of 6GB in 980 Ti) that will play quite nicely for Substance. Budget-wise, GTX 1070 will be even greater in terms of performance/price ratio. It also will feature 8GB of video memory, but will sell for the fraction of GTX 1080's price and it is expected to have a performance close or surpassing 980 Ti. Oh, and you're right - Quadro GPU's aren't recommended for the Susbtance (as far as I know), so a gaming-class videocard will be a better choice.

Alternatively, you can try to look for a cheap Titan X with 12 GB of video memory (maybe the price will come down when GTX 1080 will go on sale). It will not be as effecient, but 4 GB of additional memory may help if you're planning to work on complex assets with 4K textures.

5) Windows 10 works fine.

Hope that helps.   :P

Thanks for the quick reply!

1- I'll wait for the new CPU to hit the market although I don't have a stellar budget and, as I can see, Broadwell-E + X99 MoBo would add a considerable weight to the final price (at least with the Italian prices).

3- RAM can always be added, my doubt was if it's ok to buy a MoBo that supports "only" up to 2133MHz RAM or invest in a model that supports up to 3600MHz RAM. In the case that RAM clock speed doesn't impact performances in a dramatic way I'll save some money and stay on the lower tier.

4- Unfortunately looks like the 1080 will be sold solely in the Founder Edition at a 799 Euro price point here in Italy but sure I'll wait for it hoping in a price drop on the 980ti. The Titan X is still well over the 1K Euro mark here and that's way over budget for me.

Again, thanks for the help.

The GTX 1080 is only available in the Founder's Edition... at launch.
Other cards from Nvidia partners are expected to start appearing later in June (from what I have read).
The big unknown is what will the partners do to the 1080?  Add better cooling, overclock it, and sell it for the same price as (or higher than) the Founder's Edition?  Based on history, prices will probably be above MSRP (manufacture's suggested retail price) and availability may be limited for a while.

I plan to get a 1080, but haven't decided which direction to go yet.  The Nvidia card is 10.5 inches long, and my maximum(!!) card length in my case is 11.0.  A lot of 980 Ti cards were 11 inches (tight fit) or longer, though the reference 980 was 10.5 long too.  I don't want to cram in a card too tightly.
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Could you specify at what MB you're looking exactly? I'm pretty sure that it will support high-speed RAM - they usually specify a "stock" RAM speed support and "overclocked" RAM speed support. For example, my MB has a stock RAM support of 1866 Mhz, but also it supports modules of up to 2400 Mhz in so-called "overclocked" mode.

As for the CPU and GPU, you can to try and balance between them in terms of price and value. For example, you can get 6700k and more expensive GPU, or you could get less expensive GPU and put saved money towards better CPU and more RAM.

Lastly, aftermarket Titan X could be a great value for you. Right now there's a lot of people who would like to sell their Titan X before GTX 1080 comes out (yesterday reviews of 1080 pulled the trigger). Ebay has some lots for TitanX between 500-600 USD, which is very attractive price for Titan X in my view. Actually, I'm considering getting aftermarket Titan X myself right now.

As for the CPU and GPU, you can to try and balance between them in terms of price and value. For example, you can get 6700k and more expensive GPU, or you could get less expensive GPU and put saved money towards better CPU and more RAM.

It also depends on your key applications.

I have some video editing software that saturates my CPU but leaves my graphics card essentially untouched.  However, a faster CPU isn't a big deal because it doesn't make a big difference if it takes me 5 or 7 minutes to output my video.

On the other hand, I have some 3D animation software that crushes my graphics card, and upgrading my GPU will make a huge difference.  I'm expecting a 4-to-5x improvement when I get a GTX 1080, so a 1-hour render will now finish in 10 to 15 minutes (and interactive editing will be a lot smoother, too).

If you run Blender and use the Cycles engine, I'd spend more on a GPU upgrade than a CPU upgrade.

In my experience, memory speed upgrades tend to be measureable, but not noticeable.  So as suggested earlier by treidge, I'd go for "good" rather "best" and spend my extra money elsewhere.

So bottom line... "balance" is often a goal, but your usage patterns and favorite applications can greatly affect your shopping list.

Good luck, have fun shopping, and let us know what you get.  :)
Last Edit: May 18, 2016, 11:01:04 pm
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Could you specify at what MB you're looking exactly? I'm pretty sure that it will support high-speed RAM - they usually specify a "stock" RAM speed support and "overclocked" RAM speed support. For example, my MB has a stock RAM support of 1866 Mhz, but also it supports modules of up to 2400 Mhz in so-called "overclocked" mode.

As for the CPU and GPU, you can to try and balance between them in terms of price and value. For example, you can get 6700k and more expensive GPU, or you could get less expensive GPU and put saved money towards better CPU and more RAM.

Lastly, aftermarket Titan X could be a great value for you. Right now there's a lot of people who would like to sell their Titan X before GTX 1080 comes out (yesterday reviews of 1080 pulled the trigger). Ebay has some lots for TitanX between 500-600 USD, which is very attractive price for Titan X in my view. Actually, I'm considering getting aftermarket Titan X myself right now.

As in my original post I've set on the Asus H170 Pro Gaming.

About the aftermarket Titan I'm not taking used gear in consideration, I'm buying everything new and sealed off Amazon.

As for the CPU and GPU, you can to try and balance between them in terms of price and value. For example, you can get 6700k and more expensive GPU, or you could get less expensive GPU and put saved money towards better CPU and more RAM.

It also depends on your key applications.

I have some video editing software that saturates my CPU, but leaves my graphics card essentially untouched in most cases.  However, a faster CPU isn't a big deal because it doesn't make a big difference if it takes my 5 or 7 minutes to output my video.

On the other hand, I have some 3D animation software that crushes my graphics card, and upgrading my GPU will make a huge difference.  I'm expecting a 5x improvement when I get a GTX 1080, so a 1-hour render will now get 10 to 15 minutes (and interactive editing will be a lot smoother, too).

If you run Blender and use the Cycles engine, I'd spend more on a GPU upgrade than a CPU upgrade.

In my experience, memory speed upgrades tend to be measureable, but not noticeable.  So as suggested earlier by treidge, I'd go for "good" rather "best" and spend my extra money elsewhere.

So bottom line... "balance" is often a goal, but your usage patterns and favorite applications can greatly affect your shopping list.

Good luck, have fun shopping, and let us know what you get.  :)

I'll be mostly using Maya, Mudbox, 3Dcoat and Substance Painter and then use it in Unreal Engine 4 and Unity 5 on the 3D side and Photoshop on the 2D side.

As in my original post I've set on the Asus H170 Pro Gaming.

My bad  :P

I wouldn't recommend getting MB on H170 chipset, as all overclocking features are disabled on them. So, you're stuck with default clocks even on "K" CPUs with adjustable multiplier. Also, it seems like indeed DDR4-2133 is the max clocks for RAM on this MB — you can use RAM sticks that rated for more, but they will be clocked 2133 Mhz max by MB. I'd say this is a wasted oportunity, so MB on Z170 chipset would be a better choice.

As in my original post I've set on the Asus H170 Pro Gaming.
I wouldn't recommend getting MB on H170 chipset, as all overclocking features are disabled on them. So, you're stuck with default clocks even on "K" CPUs with adjustable multiplier.

I really don't look for overcloking, I chose the 6700K instead of the 6700 just for the slightly higher base clock speed for the very thin price difference. On the other hand if the difference between the H170 and the Z170 is significant quality-wise and performance-wise that's another story and I wish to know more about that. No prob for missing it in my original post, thanks for the help and infos :)

A quite easy overclock of 6700k could give you around 15% extra performance (going to 4500 Mhz or even 4600 Mhz, that is). Overclocked performance of 6800k is yet to be known, but the figures should be around the same, though you already avare that 2011-3 platform is more expensive than 1151.

Going from RAM of 2133 Mhz to something like 2800 Mhz or 3000 Mhz could give additional 5-7% (going higher than 3000 Mhz for RAM isn't really necessary, as it will provide diminishing results after that point).

Quality-wise, there shouldn't be any noticeable difference between the H170 and Z170. You're clearly isn't going to put two or more GPU's into that system, so support for SLI or Crossfire presented in Z170 isn't necessary for you.

It's up to you to decide if this is worth additional cash for Z170 with support for overclock and higher clocked RAM or not.
Last Edit: May 19, 2016, 03:40:34 pm


Going from RAM of 2133 Mhz to something like 2800 Mhz or 3000 Mhz could give additional 5-7% (going higher than 3000 Mhz for RAM isn't really necessary, as it will provide diminishing results after that point).

It's up to you to decide if this is worth additional cash for Z170 with support for overclock and higher clocked RAM or not.

The other RAM I'd look for would be Kingston 2600MHz (2 x 16GB) price-wise and for that I'd need the Z170.