The first entry in my workstation build tips article focused on what the workstation would be used for. I decided that I wanted a computer that would render 3D/2D very well and support extensive video editing. This decision led me to do a good deal of research on what parts I should use to make this building. And with a budget of around $2,000, I made my choices.
Remember that we are building our workstation around NVIDIA'S Quadro M5000 graphics card, so our hardware choices will be made with this card in mind.
GPU: NVIDIA Quadro M5000 graphics processing card
This is the high-end version of their professional graphics cards. It was build for professional applications like CAD design, VFX and 3D applications. Rendering is what this card does best, so we are off to a good start.
The Quardro series of cards are quite large and require a good amount of direct power. We will have to keep this in mind when we choose our case, motherboard and power supply.
CPU: Intel Boxed Core i7-6800K Processor (15M Cache, up to 3.60 GHz) Great help from several youtube channels and forums at Tomshardware.com led me to the choice between the modern Skylake cpu and the slightly older (and larger) Broadwell-E cpu.
I chose the Broadwell-E cpu because it has a full 6(12) cores for rendering compared to the 4(8) cores for the Skylake cpu. I like the fact that there are good deals on the Broadwell-E as well. In my research, it became clear to me that the Broadwell-E i7-6800k was the best choice as it could be easily overclocked.
Motherboard: Asus X99-A II motherboard
Since we chose the i7-6800k cpu, we'll need to match it with a motherboard that works with it. The X99 mobos have been around for almost two years now and have been refined repeatedly. I wanted a mid-range board that had some extras like USB 3.1 and Type C connections.
I've been using Asus motherboards for all of my build to date and have never had a problem with their boards. The documentation is good, the bios are always well done (and updated frequently) and the build quality is solid.
RAM: Corsair Vengeance 32GB (4x8GB) DDR4 2666 (PC4-21300) C16 for DDR4 Systems
There is a lot of competition for DDR4 memory. I've always had good luck with Corsair Vengeance series. Since the Asus mobo supports quad-channel memory, I got 4 sticks of 8GB ram to populate the motherboard. Perhaps the speed is (21300) is slower than I'd like, but I can always overclock since the Asus bios are very easy to use.
CDrive: Samsung 950 PRO Series - 256GB PCIe NVMe - M.2 Internal SSD
One of the newest technologies, the PCIe NVMe M.2 ssd is a bit larger than a stick of gum and fits right on to the motherboard with its own channel. The Asus X99A II board has the perfect location just below the sata ports. Very interesting to learn about this new ssd format.
I wanted to buy a larger size, but it was too expensive. Knowing that I'll have a smaller drive than my previous build, I will have to be careful about the size of my CDrive since I don't want to populate it beyond the 75% mark.
PC CASE: NZXT H440 Mid Tower Computer Case, White
NZXT is a new company for me and, man, do I like them. Their cases are innovative, fairly cheap and easy to work with. I had lots of choices once I narrowed it down to NZXT. I chose the H440 because of it's silent build quality, the look and the price.
One thing that's interesting about case design in 2017; many companies have done away with the front DVD drive in favor of more room for fans and liquid cooling. This means I'll have to get and external DVD/Blu-ray drive. A quick check told me that these were plentiful and cheap.
CPU COOLING: NZXT Kraken X61 280mm All-in-One CPU Liquid Cooling System
The Kraken system from NZXT was nearly a no-brainer. After watching the system build video from XXX, is was convinced that this liquid cooling system would work perfectly with my build. And knowing that I'd be overclocking the CPU, I was glad that I'd have excellent cooling for the extra heat.
It's interesting to see how fast liquid cooling has come since my last build. The gaming industry has driven this innovation, I think. Many gamers love to drastically over-clock their cpus and liquid cooling is the best way to get very high level results.
POWER SUPPLY: Corsair RMx Series, RM650x, 650W, Fully Modular Power Supply, 80+ Gold Certified
I almost always buy a lot more power than I need, but thanks to partspicker.com I knew what the total wattage for my system would be and so I simply purchased a reliable modular psu that had a little extra head room for power. The Corsair series has always been a good choice for me, so I went with the mid-level MR650. I'll need extra power for the GPU, but with this unit I should have plenty of extra juice.
PARTS FROM MY OLD WORKSTATION
- Windows 10 Home 64-bit
- Simple wireless logitech mouse
- Das Keyboard (great mechanical keyboard for writers)
- SoundBlaster USB external sound card
- M-Audio speakers
- LG 34 inch UltraWide monitor (recent summer purchase)