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sebastienMelmoth

1k Desktop Machine for Student

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sebastienMelmoth

Hey there!

 

I'm a student in college looking to buy a desktop machine to hone my CAD skills. I'll mainly be using it to learn how to make animations in 3DsMax using Vray. I'll also be using Solidworks, Rhino, After Effects, and Premiere for HD video-editing, along with the usual Adobe trifecta (Ps, Ill, Indd).

 

Being a student I don't have that much money so I'd like to spend around 1k—even less if possible. I'd like to build it myself, but I'll admit that I have no idea what parts I need. It's also a bit daunting to see that there are so many different components out there that I can use.

 

If building it myself is too difficult, I'd be willing to buy a pre-assembled desktop. A friend suggested I look into older high-end machines that often are still quite good and cost relatively little. He mentioned something like a Lenove Thinkstation D20 could be good. But even on eBay they range from $350 to $1500. (http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_sacat=0&_nkw=thinkstation+d20&LH_BIN=1)

 

I have no clue what to do... I just want to start making some animations! :)

 

Got any suggestions on what I could do?

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ReMark

I'd recommend saving your money until you can afford a better computer considering you want to do animations using 3ds Max, work with Solidworks and edit video. I think you would benefit from having a computer with a good amount of RAM and a mid-range to high end graphics card plus lots of storage capacity. You'll also benefit from the addition of a solid state drive for your programs although your data files can and should be stored on a platter driver. I don't think you would get all this for $1,000 or less. One possibility would be to look on craiglist and see if you can find a computer that was custom built within the last year that someone is trying to unload because they are in real need of some quick cash. That's how I found my CAD computer.

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f700es

Honestly, the last few times I have looked you simply cannot buy the parts and build a machine for the same price as one pre-built. You simply do not have the buying power as an individual to do it any more. You are pretty good until it's time to pay for the copy of Windows.

Options:

Dell XPS 8700

Core i7 haswell (Hyper-threaded quad core), 8gb ram, 1tb hdd, GF GTX645 1gb video, Win7 HP and DVD-RW = $880

Some don't like Dell but I have owned several and currently have 3 in the house with no issues.

 

HP Envy line seem good.

ASUS makes good stuff.

Lenovo IdeaCentre K-series.

 

Look around a bit.

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Handiman

Look at places like xi computers.

Either build like they spec or buy theirs, and if you need get less memory, video card.

But get the processor to run for a couple of years and expand build as you have more $$$.

 

Good Luck

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ReMark

Can you buy a computer from Xi that costs $1,000 or less without gutting a good machine?

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SLW210

We use Lenovo at work, they are no good what so ever.

 

I second Dell for that price or even HP. Don't think you'll get a decent Xi for that price. You might save a few bucks on an assemble yourself kit or refurbished from Tiger Direct or New Egg.

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Tuns

I personally would do what SLW210 is saying. Dell has fantastic quality and they're worth the money. HP is great too, but to me they feel cheaper than a Dell and seem to not last as long.

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f700es

Before the HP Envy line I would not spec an HP either but these are not bad but I have only looked and not set down with any length of time. As for Xi, talk about over priced! I spec'ed one like the Dell and it came to $1,230. Yikes!

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f700es
We use Lenovo at work, they are no good what so ever.

 

I have one of the ThinkCentre workstations at work and it is slower than my Dell at home. I think I could get by with a less expensive high end desktop from them instead of a higher priced workstation.

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Tuns

I own an HP Envy and I am impressed with it's quality. It's very fast and very affordable. Thumbs up to HP on that one.

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f700es

Always check out BensBargins.net to see the latest deals.

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SLW210

ThinkCentre is what I have, just had to replace the Hard Drive this week and they have all been pretty much garbage, not just mine. I believe we are switching in October to another brand and 64-bit OS.

 

Yes, I get along just fine, when it is working. I still wouldn't recommend Lenovo.

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f700es

Funny you mention 64-bit OS, mine 1st had Vista 32-bit and we formatted it over to Win7 64-bit and it has been like a new machine. My RAID did fail early this summer but I am not sold RIAD so that did not surprise me there.

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Cad64
Can you buy a computer from Xi that costs $1,000 or less without gutting a good machine?

 

The last machine I got from XI cost me $2200. It's great for 3D modeling and rendering, but if I was planning on doing animation, I probably would have dumped at least another $1000 into it for a more high end graphics card and a boatload of RAM.

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ReMark

None of the Xi computers we've purchased have ever been cheap.

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Tuns

You can probably build a dell with the same specs for a whole lot cheaper.

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nestly

I've always though it odd how little some are willing to pay for hardware relative to the value of the software they're going to put on it.

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Tuns
I've always though it odd how little some are willing to pay for hardware relative to the value of the software they're going to put on it.

Yeah, it's like trying to buy a fully loaded Corvette but your budget is $40k.

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sebastienMelmoth

Thanks for all the great input! :)

 

I've looked around, done some research and I think I'm leaning towards getting the XPS 8700.

 

Someone online made this list in case I wanted to build my own:

 

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/1DjYI

 

Watcha think?

 

The GPU seems quite expensive. Someone else suggested I get an Nvidia 660 (around $200) which would lower the total cost to about $1000.

 

Another concern in that list is the mother board. Do I really need such a costly one? I have no clue what differentiates a high-range mobo from a lower one. I guess it's the number of ports? The current $200 mobo still seems like a lot. Could I settle for a cheaper one considering I'm not planning on doing SLI or using that many ports? I'm really interested in keeping the computer for a while, so if $200 guarantees it won't become obsolete overnight than I'll consider it.

 

Also, do I need a full tower case, or could I get a mid tower instead? I'd like to save some space, but if it's a must I'll go with the largest one. I'm looking for something really minimal in terms of design, but everything I've found online seems geared towards gamers. I guess minimal computer cases aren't too popular?

 

Here's a quick comparison I made between the XPS 8700 and the current custom build that was suggested.

 

pc-comparison_zps8fdf5e47.png

 

At the moment they're not really comparable because of their price, with the Nvidia 660 the price would be closer to $1000 — then do you think they would be equivalent in terms of performance?

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Cad64

Nothing is guaranteed when it comes to computers. Everything will be obsolete within a year, so just get the best parts you can afford. Don't cheap out on the components either. You may be tempted to go with a cheaper video card or a cheaper motherboard, but believe me, you WILL regret it if you do.

 

Go with a full tower. You need as many fans and as much space inside the case as possible for the air to move around and get out. 3D work, and rendering/animation in particular, generates a lot of heat. You want to make sure your components stay as cool as possible, so a cramped case is not advisable.

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