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Area-51 7500 gaming desktop?

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First of all I want to say thanks to the members of this site. I'm really looking for as much help as possible in my pursuit to become a real game designer. Now I'm looking to purchase a alien ware computer system (Area-51 7500). Is this a good computer for running design applications like Maya? Any info would help.

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Overpriced. Maya runs fine on any relatively modern machine. Set a budget and shop around to get the best machine that money can buy. Don't invest in "gaming" brands, as they charge you for premiums that don't provide any benefit for your needs - you're not a competition gamer.

Get a Dell, or an HP, or order parts from newegg and assemble them yourself if you have the confidence. There are also pretty decent system integrators like iBuyPower, Monarch or ABS, all of whom will give you better value than Alienware (I bought a rig from ABS in 2000, and was very pleased with their service).

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Quote:
Original post by Oluseyi
...or order parts from newegg and assemble them yourself if you have the confidence.


Seconded. This is the only way I acquire new PC's any more. It allows you to pay for exactly what you want, no more and no less.

Incidentally, I've run Maya, 3DS Max, Blender, ZBrush, Alias Sketchbook, Photoshop...etc on multiple machines from low-end dells to my high end home rigs, and the only thing you seem to gain from a beefier PC is quicker render times and opening times, the latter really only in a matter of maybe 10 seconds. I wouldn't get hung up on what PC you're going to use right now. It comes back to that idea that "the tools don't make the art, the artist does." Your drive to become a "real game designer" is platform- (and to a lesser extent, tool-) independent.

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I will have to agree with the two previous answers.

Buying an Aienware computer is good for getting that "prestige" feeling of having an alienware, but when it comes to performance and the needs that you have as a designer compared to a gamer, it is not the wisest choice.

Many people mistakenly think, that the most expensive computer out there has to be the absolute best ones, this is far from the truth. Also, Alienware is owned by dell so buying a decent desctop from dell will me more sufficient, it will be better for your wallet and as mentioned, standard modern computers can design games without any real problems.

Set a budget and stick to it, upgrade later if the need arises.

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My experiance of alienware machines is that they fall apart. We ordered a few labs full of them a few years ago (about 80 machines), and they came with a seperate box with all the bits they didn't manage to fit in the base units. We ended up having to open up each machine and see which didn't have graphics cards, hard drives etc and fit them ourselves from the bits provided. Possibly the worst company to buy a PC from. I might also mention that the machines had some very nasty over-heating problems as well....

Maya should run on any machine from a pentium 1 upwards (I'm not joking!). Maya doesn't need a particularly beefy graphics card either, any geforce card will do. You can happily run it on a bottom of the range integrated graphics card, though you might not be able to use the high quality preview mode. (There are some benefits to getting a Quadro, but none that you'd want to pay the premium for). Generally speaking though, I'd probably go for a Geforce < the latest iteration - i.e. GF8800 or one from that range. The drivers for the latest bleeding edge gaming cards can sometimes have issues with Maya, though they normally get sorted out with a month or two - so if you don't mind a bit of instability for a month or two, there's no reason to not get the latest/greatest GPU. (ATI cards used to have issues with Maya, I hear they are better these days, but then i got so put off with them years ago that i've always stuck with NVidia, so can't really comment on that).

Maya is basically limited by memory performance more than anything else (due to the slightly over the top dynamic nature of the way the nodes and attrs are defined internally). A fast CPU can help with rendering, but that's more or less it. I'd be tempting to invest in a decent(ish) CPU, i.e. a quad core intel, lots of ram (the faster the better, 2Gb is probably the smallest amount you'd want), and a mid range GPU. The reason for the latter is that you can always upgrade that in future to get a bit more mileage out of the base unit. A raid0 hard drive setup is not a terrible idea either....

p.s. an SLI or crossfire setup is not something that I'd recommend with Maya. I've not seen any setup like that run stable with it - though again, that *might* just be the drivers...

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I have to agree with the above poster on alienware. I've seen three come unbuilt and that was enough for me. Strait from the factory with nothing plugged into the motherboard and a bad powersupply? Then alienware charging for it to be fixed?! Another had no working usb ports and the heat sink on the processor wasnt on the processor it was laying in the bottom of the case. I forget what the other one had but I really was not impressed. I understand mistakes happen but for one person to see three thats a lot. (Although I see a lot more computer s then the average person...)

This was several years ago and things may have changed but I really think they are overpriced. With any computer though the companies that make them go through good and bad phases. Three years ago I would have told you to buy an HP laptop. Now I would tell you to avoid them as I see many many many problems. (I have taken a shine to the new gateway laptops though. They seem well built on their higher end ones, I have no experience on their low ends right now.)

As far as the stuff you want to run really just make sure you have a good amount of ram and a decent vid card. Speed does make a difference when you are using graphic software. I used to loathe corel painter and adobe lightroom on my hp laptop I bought back in october, then I got a new laptop (macbook pro, my first ever mac) in march and holy crap I didn't realize they were the same programs. They run so fast now. I also use maya and adobe master collection (most of it) and I noticed a great speed increase for them as well.

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