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CPU or GPU?


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#1 supesfan   Members   -  Reputation: 226

Posted 15 March 2013 - 06:25 PM

Hello everyone,

I am building my first computer! I am very excited. I have 1,000 dollars to work with and I am currently debating on what to invest the most in. First off let me say that the PC will be used for rendering and creating 3D graphics as well as for occasionally playing some games, but mostly for graphic design for a video game. I will be using programs like Blender, Unreal Development Kit and Visual Basic just name a few. However in order to make high poly 3D models a good graphics card is required. From what I understand Game Developers prefer the Nvidia Quadro series but that card is way too expensive for me right now. So I was thinking, I wanted to drop like 4 or 500 on a high end graphics card but that means that my CPU will not be top notch. I was just going to settle for the Core i3 2nd gen processor because I figured that although it isn't the best, it is still pretty good and it will fit in my budget. Or do you guys think it is better to invest more into a CPU and less on the GPU? Also does it matter what kind of Card you get in particular for Graphic Design?


Edited by Hodgman, 16 March 2013 - 08:51 PM.
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#2 kburkhart84   Members   -  Reputation: 1781

Posted 15 March 2013 - 11:02 PM

Wrong forum...I'd say you need the Lounge.

 

About your question...I'd say that it depends on exactly what you are doing.  Example, the Quadro series is built more for offline rendering.  This isn't the same thing as creating 3d art.  Blender can use your average gaming cards just fine.  It does have support for GPU and CPU, but assuming you get a good enough video card for your purposes, I'd put the money into the CPU.  You could maybe get a faster i7, a MOBO that supports quad-channel RAM, and at least 8GB of RAM, and then get a pretty good video card.  Unless you are using a compatible video card, Blender will have to render on the CPU, so the CPU and RAM speed(and the quad vs.dual vs. tri. channel) will greatly affect that.

 

For game design itself, in general you need a machine that is built for gaming, even if it is lower level machine.  My cheap acer laptop actually works just fine, with an i5 and integrated intel graphics.  It can actually play many games, and considering I don't develop AAA games, rather mostly 2d games, it works fine.  Game development software for the most part doesn't have high requirements, although that depends on the engine and the resulting game you are developing.  Even photoshop doesn't have the requirements some people may think it does, though it can utilize higher capacities.





#3 6677   Members   -  Reputation: 1058

Posted 16 March 2013 - 08:38 AM

Quadro is not needed unless you are an industry professional. The NVidia GTX series are consumer cards. The 660 is the current gen gaming model. There are also 670 and 680 models if you can afford it.



#4 BladeOfWraith   Members   -  Reputation: 245

Posted 17 March 2013 - 08:09 AM

Rather than spending $500 on a video card and getting an i3, you would be much better advised to put another $100 into an i5. The difference between a 670 and a 680 is about %15 whereas the difference between an i3 and an i5 in programs like 3dStudio and AutoCAD can be close to %100.


"You can't say no to waffles" - Toxic Hippo


#5 kburkhart84   Members   -  Reputation: 1781

Posted 17 March 2013 - 10:14 AM

Rather than spending $500 on a video card and getting an i3, you would be much better advised to put another $100 into an i5. The difference between a 670 and a 680 is about %15 whereas the difference between an i3 and an i5 in programs like 3dStudio and AutoCAD can be close to %100.

 

Exactly this...and especially when the 660 or maybe even slightly lower gen(or maybe a cheaper ATI card) would be plenty for the games the OP wants to play.  In general in the gamedev world you get more "bang for buck" factor in the processor.  Lastly, I would see if you can make space to get atleast a 128GB SSD.  Even the slow SSDs are much faster than "normal" HDs, and you can still get a nice cheap 1tb @7200rpm here at newegg and maybe cheaper if you search for it.  This combination would allow plenty of space for most people, and the SSD would decrease boot time and program load time a lot if you have the core software(of course including OS) on that SSD.





#6 Khatharr   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3040

Posted 17 March 2013 - 05:22 PM

I wish I had 1k to drop on a system. I used to just wait a few years and spend my dinky $300-$400 tax return check on a new box...

But then I took an arrow to the *BANG* (frying pan)

*Benny Hill music*
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#7 BladeOfWraith   Members   -  Reputation: 245

Posted 17 March 2013 - 06:36 PM

especially when the 660 or maybe even slightly lower gen(or maybe a cheaper ATI card)

Though I generally suggest people get AMD cards, as they're a better value for the money and use less power(especially the 7850), for 3d rendering, NVidia is really the best card to get. No, it's no quadro, but CUDA really does make a major difference.

 

I would second the ssd. I didn't realize that was not in the build. On a $1,000 budget, no ssd is unthinkable. You'll also want 16gb of ram for graphic design.

 

With a 660, you should still come in under budget.


"You can't say no to waffles" - Toxic Hippo


#8 kburkhart84   Members   -  Reputation: 1781

Posted 17 March 2013 - 10:01 PM

I agree that the NVidia would be better, but depending on how much is going into the other parts, it may work better to have an AMD card.  Though $1000 isn't a small amount, once you factor in the SSD it suddenly feels smaller...and if he/she has to buy a windowsOS, it's even smaller.





#9 BCullis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1813

Posted 18 March 2013 - 09:43 AM

However in order to make high poly 3D models a good graphics card is required. From what I understand Game Developers prefer the Nvidia Quadro series

The only impact your graphics card will have on "making" models is how good of a framerate you'll get in your 3d editor.  It has zero bearing on what you can actually make.

The 3d editor is actively rendering your model as you build it, so if you want to work on a 300k polygon model fully-textured and lit with immediate response and no lag from the tools(so 30fps or higher), then you'll want a nice healthy graphics card.  But even for that, your standards (like everyone is mentioning, the 660 would almost be overkill) will work find, definitely no need for a Quadro.  You'll want to make sure you have the memory/cpu/ssd (in that order of importance IMO) to handle your development tasks.

 

There's a vast difference between hardware needed for creating game assets, and hardware needed for efficient render-farms.  If you were making Blizzard-quality rendered cutscenes, that Quadro would make a lot more sense.


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#10 phantom   Moderators   -  Reputation: 7565

Posted 18 March 2013 - 11:23 AM

but CUDA really does make a major difference.

Of course this only applies if the application in question is using CUDA; if it's using OpenCL or D3D's compute shaders then AMD are just as good, in some cases better depending on workload, than NV. Don't drink all of NV's CUDA Kool-Aid....

(In fact unless you know for certain that you'll never want to run on anything other than an NV card I'd just avoid CUDA all together. It isn't portable and its somewhat a dead-end technology. Placing your efforts into industry standard solutions is generally a better idea...)

#11 Vortez   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2704

Posted 20 March 2013 - 08:40 AM

Im building a computer too with the same budget in mind. Im getting an AMD FX-8350 8 cores, 660 Ti gfx, 16go of ram, and a wicked amd motherboard for this price, oh and don't forget a good psu too. On newegg, it's 950$ with taxes, not bad at all id say. Note that this is without the case or windows, since i already have those.

 

If you're not planning on gaming a lot and doing lots of render, id say amd is the way to go. Hell even for gaming it's still a very decent chip. Games are more gpu bound those days anyway. Or go with a 3770 or 3570 intel cpu if you prefer a little more speed by core.

 

And if you dont have a good monitor, id suggest getting one, just got my 32'' lcd yesterday to replace my old crt 19'' LOL, it's crazy.


Edited by jbadams, 04 April 2013 - 05:43 AM.
Restored post contents from history.


#12 supesfan   Members   -  Reputation: 226

Posted 23 March 2013 - 09:29 AM

After reading all of these replies I'd have to say that I'm probably going to wait and save up a little more $. It took me a while to get the first grand but it will be worth the wait to get a little more so I don't have to skimp on the GPU. I wasn't sure what card to get at first but I am glad you all recommended the 660, I looked it up and for what it offers it has a reasonable price. Also the SSD is a great Idea as well. I can't wait to put this thing together! I have a lot to learn that is for sure, that is what you all showed me, but I am glad. I have been attending a university and I am majoring in computer programming so right now that is my strongest skill. I know only know C and some Java and I am currently working on UnrealScript in the UDK 3 engine. Very similar to Java so it's coming along smoothly. I just finished my first year and I am actually going to transfer to Full Sail and take up there Game Development program. My goal  in the long run is to build a professional looking game. I couldn't possibly build a professional looking game by myself especially since I am still an amateur, but If learn enough as I go I can build a high quality level with good game play. That is my goal and I am determined to do it. The only thing I lack in is 3D design. I am familiar with the workings of the Unreal Engine and coding isn't a problem for me, but learning how to make decent 3d models will be a challenge. I am investing in a new machine to do it though. Thanks for all of your suggestions, it helped big time!



#13 Xanather   Members   -  Reputation: 712

Posted 23 March 2013 - 10:35 AM

I would like to point out that new GPU's/CPU's (really every component) comes out ALL the time, by the time you have more money the best options may have changed. This happens almost every year. I heard somewhere that the nvidia 700 series will be out later this year. What usually happens is that parts come out at a inital higher price to their relative counterparts (i.e. GTX 770 -> GTX 670), but slowly decrease in prices, until the next series (GTX 870 -> GTX 770), same with everything else.



#14 JohnnyCode   Members   -  Reputation: 294

Posted 26 March 2013 - 08:18 PM

I would recommend AMD GPU. They have pile of stream processors, and mainly fast memory, it makes the rasterizer very powerfull. You do not need to buy extra expensive one, just buy bit higher middleclass and save money for potential crossfire pair. If you develop 3d aplications, I would buy extra NVIDIA cheap card so that you solve out NVIDIA/ATI incosistencies. You will need solid powersupply. As for CPU, if you develop 3d models, I gess you have got multiple software running, so then you need a lot of RAM and maybe more than 2 cores. I would buy 3 RAM sticks and a triple-channel MB. If you choose CPU, be mainly conserned on the size of cache, and the ram frequency maximums, so the 1666MHz RAMs will not be in vain. If I would have 1K dolars, I would set theese priorities.

GPU-AMD- 5000 MHz RAM UP, 1900 processors UP, 256 bit , 2GB at least

MB - triple channel , 1666 MHz RAM frq, i5 family CPU gaining theese parameters, 2 times PCI 16x 2.0 slot

CPU - i5 core over 3.5 GHz, 4 cores, large L3 cash, fast BUS

RAM - three 4GB sticks, 1666 MHz, DDR3

Power - some solid brand , 600 W

HDD- 64mb cache, SATA 2

If I had money left, I would play with water cooling. But this is stupid idea

 



#15 Krohm   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3251

Posted 27 March 2013 - 10:52 AM

Johnny, you don't buy a triple channel mainboard to put an i5 on it. It's dual-channel only!

After reading all of these replies I'd have to say that I'm probably going to wait and save up a little more $.

Might I suggest to save a lot of money, buying low-end and upgrade often instead of spending everything in a single blow?

Also, for programming purposes, you can cut a lot, a lot of corners.



#16 BladeOfWraith   Members   -  Reputation: 245

Posted 27 March 2013 - 11:50 AM

I would buy 3 RAM sticks and a triple-channel MB

Why on Earth would she buy an LGA 1333 motherboard in order to have *jazz hands* triple channel memory? Triple channel is practically worthless for everything.

If you choose CPU, be mainly conserned on the size of cache, and the ram frequency maximums

Uh-huh... Ram speeds are basically meaningless. The 1600 cap on stock Ivy is just fine. Even the 1333 stock speeds on Sandy Bridge is just fine.

save money for potential crossfire pair.

Crossfire only makes sense if you're incapable of gaining that much power from a single card, such as Crossfiring 7950s. Crossfire is a gigantic pain. SLI is a pain too, but between the two SLI is vastly superior

In half of our tested games, the pair of Radeon HD 7970s in CrossFire showed no appreciable measured or observed increase in performance compared to a single HD 7970. I cannot overstate that point more precisely: our results showed that in Battlefield 3, Crysis 3 and Sleeping Dogs, adding in another $400+ Radeon HD 7970 did nothing to improve your gaming experience, and in some cases made it worse by introducing frame time variances that lead to stutter.


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#17 JohnnyCode   Members   -  Reputation: 294

Posted 27 March 2013 - 09:35 PM

Blade, could you reason up why triple channel is not a solid step feature in oppose to dual one? I would be curious to know, totaly no offence!

my reasoning is:

 if you exhoust RAM, what happens on 3d development PCs, those days bottle necks are RAM operations,(read,write) not CPU, so if you have raster editor opened with 12 10MBpix images, 3ds max open..... you will run out of 8GB just like that! Frequency matters, but I favor 1333MHz RAM over 1666 ones too, for I cannot add up 200 dolars for CPU that will utilize them at that rate, but I believe this is common on those days budget Intel CPUs.

, but you are right that socket 1156 is maybe not supporting triple channel, but I think that i7 came on 1156 socket too, I would stress to OP she should investigate very well on what she is buying and discuss it, in a manner that it will not "just run" but will "use all the features not downgraded"



#18 JohnnyCode   Members   -  Reputation: 294

Posted 27 March 2013 - 09:41 PM

About RAM speeds, I have profiled them, and I found out that 1066Mhz compared to 1333MHz are 1066/1333 slower. I had a cycle that was just coppying bytes (read-write operation), and the ratio was just like that. And programs are mainly just writing to memory and reading from it, they perform logic and algebraic assembly operations in an amount, that is rather much lesser.



#19 kburkhart84   Members   -  Reputation: 1781

Posted 27 March 2013 - 09:52 PM

In general yes, faster RAM is better, and triple channel is better than dual channel, but as pointed out, the processor and the motherboard have to support it.  On the other hand, if I were buying a new computer today, I would likely go for a quad-channel setup.





#20 Hodgman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 31851

Posted 27 March 2013 - 09:58 PM

Ram speeds are basically meaningless.

Games like Crysis 2 have been developed on engines that have been optimized for almost-decade-old game consoles, where memory speeds are very slow. As a result, they'll be designed in such a way that will tolerate slow memory, which means they're not a very good benchmark for testing fast memory.

They'd be better off testing something like Minecraft written in Java, which likely has horribly non-optimal memory access patterns tongue.png






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