Computer Advice

I recently skimmed through another thread where someone asked for advice on buying a PC for DAZ Studio. Sadly, the thread was locked. I understand, totally.

Is there a place I can go to get insights without the debates? For example, are there "successful" DAZ Studio artists or related companies who can share their experience and knowledge? Right now I have more time than money. It's a good time to do some more research.

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Comments

  • kaotkblisskaotkbliss Posts: 2,690

    I can give my advice. I will not go into advice on every part or any specifics really.

    My advice is go AMD for the CPU, They are almost always cheaper than their intel equvillent.

    Mice and keyboards, get as cheap as you can (you can usually find used ones real cheap at your local thrift store. As long as they work, then they'll do the job.

    You don't need a super fancy expensive case, I just tend to make sure it's got places for front, side and back fans at the very least.

    Especially on a budget, don't knock a used monitor. As long as you can see what you are doing, you can enjoy the hobby. And you can always get a better one later.

    Any above parts you can pull free from a previous computer is a definate bonus. (aside from the CPU)

    Hard drives are pretty cheap, especially if you get a mechanical one instead of solid-state. At this point you're not looking to make a beast of a pc so go for price and storage space over performance with this. (In fact, I just had the solid-state drive in my work mac die. Of course my boss tried to tell me that "SSDs don't wear out. We've been using them for years...")

  • kenshaw011267kenshaw011267 Posts: 1,151

    SSD's do wear out. They have have a rated operational expected lifespan. It's a slightly different number of reads versus writes depending on the specific drive and what it's intended for.

    As for getting cheap components not critical to a system, stuff like cases, fans, keyboards, even monitors look around and see if there is a Free Geek in your city. They take in old PC's as donations and rebuild them into working systems for people who need them. They then sell the leftover stuff cheap. They're usually a good source for bits and pieces and bargain prices. Unfortunately they're complete systems are usually two weak to run Windows well and have some flavor of Linux installed and probably would be a waste of time to try and get going for DS.

  • Ron KnightsRon Knights Posts: 920
    edited January 10

    I already have several monitors and keyboards. The main issue for me is the configuration of a computer that can handle DAZ Studio. I looked at computer cases tonight. I don't want flashy lights. I want cooling. I want room inside the case for my big hands and fingers. I want room for more than one hard drive. I don't care about SSDs. The real issues to me are the motherboard, video card, CPU and memory.

    I hsve two 24" monitors that I can use with a new system. I also have 3 TVs that I can use as HDMI monitors.I use a 32" 1080p TV as a second monitor connected to my 27" iMac. I use the 32" TV as my main monitor. It's easier for me to read the text.

    I couldn't tell if a particluar motherboard would fit into a case.etc. Awhile ago I thought I saw a good case. But I can't find it now. Yeah I think the AMD CPUS are appealing. It appears the recommended video card could easily cost as much as the rest of the computer. I get confused on the issue of system RAM compared to GPU RAM. Is there a ratio that makes it work?

    In my estimation, it would be great to build a PC. I relish the idea of actually being able to render my silly pictures in a reasonable amount of time.

     

    Post edited by Ron Knights on
  • HavosHavos Posts: 3,803

    For system RAM I would recommend at least 16GB, or 2 times the VRAM size of your GPU card, which ever is greater. ie for a 1080 (8GB VRAM) 16GB should be good, for a 1080Ti (11 GB VRAM) then 22 GB (or more realistically 24GB) is the minimum you should be looking at.

  • kenshaw011267kenshaw011267 Posts: 1,151

    For motherboards versus cases, the terms you're looking for are ATX, mATX, eATX and various variations of ITX. Those are the relevant sizes of motherboard. Once You know which one you're getting just make sure the case is also sized for that size too.

    I'd recommend sticking with ATX as its the most common and the easiest of the common sizes to build on/in.

    Yes, your graphics card can easily cost as much as the rest of the system. Even for the budget minded rendering requires an investment of either money or time. If you're tired of investing time it's going to cost money. The just announced 2060 at $350 might be a good but if you can deal with a 6 Gb card. Otherwise the 2070 at $500 might be your best bet unless you can find a 1070 at a decent price.

  • kaotkblisskaotkbliss Posts: 2,690

    SSD's do wear out. They have have a rated operational expected lifespan. It's a slightly different number of reads versus writes depending on the specific drive and what it's intended for.

    Yeah, I wasn't about to argue with him.

     

    Havos said:

    For system RAM I would recommend at least 16GB, or 2 times the VRAM size of your GPU card, which ever is greater. ie for a 1080 (8GB VRAM) 16GB should be good, for a 1080Ti (11 GB VRAM) then 22 GB (or more realistically 24GB) is the minimum you should be looking at.

    My current system started with 8GB of system RAM, scenes I put together often used that up and became difficult to work with. I upgraded to 16GB of system RAM and I'm still using nearly all of it.

    If my system could handle 32GB I would definately do it. Unfortunately it can't without getting a new motherboard and CPU as well.

  • Ron KnightsRon Knights Posts: 920
    edited January 10

    I got started building PCs back in the 1980s. I did rather well until around 2006-2007. At that time I got my first Macintosh, but still had a couple PCs that I was building.  I kept having troubles with them, and eventually sold one and gave away another. I got my first prebuilt PC around the same time, and had problems with that! I sold it, and bought another Mac.

    I hadn't touched a PC since the days of Windows 7.  Recently my Dad bought me an HP 17" notebook with Windows 10. I use that for my Genealogy work. I have a table that I can use while sitting on a recliner. I want a notebook computer so I can take it with me if I go to a library for some Genealogy research. This is what highlights my frustration with Macs. I can't buy a 17" Mac notebook computer. I want a larger screen notebook computer so I can read the text in my apps. I can't buy a Mac that lets me use the new & powerful nVidia cards.

    I'm thinking I'd like to build a new PC in stages. Maybe I could buy the case, motherboard, CPU, memory, but get an inexpensive video card to start. That way I could buy myself some breathing time. I could enjoy the PC while I saved up enough money for the better video card.

    Post edited by Ron Knights on
  • kaotkblisskaotkbliss Posts: 2,690

    That's a very good option :) and much the way I build PCs

    My current build started off with a case, keyboard, mouse, monitor and hard drives and DVD drive from a previous build. I then picked up like a $50 AMD athlon 2 x3 CPU, a $50 motherboard to support that chip, 8 GB ram, an nVidia GTX 460 for gaming, and I think it's a 750 watt PSU.

    years later I upgraded the video card to a GTX 970, then some time after that upgraded to 16GB ram.

    Now it's time to start a new build, but I'll only need to look at a new CPU, motherboard and RAM. All the rest I can keep. Then at some point a beefier video card.

  • kenshaw011267kenshaw011267 Posts: 1,151

    You could certainly pick up a cheap 1060 in the next few weeks. A used one. People will be selling them as they upgrade to the 2060's. Just try to get the 6 Gb version as the 3 Gb is pretty worthless for DS.

  • kyoto kidkyoto kid Posts: 30,425

    ...6 GB is about the minimal VRAM that is useful for GPU rendering, and then, if you are not into creating busy, complex scenes. 

    For memory I would go with 16 GB minimum just in case the render process dumps to the CPU.  I had 12 GB and often experienced the process dumping to even slower swap mode (virtual memory) when rendering with Iray in CPU mode as the Daz programme with an open scene also takes up system memory.  Also consider at least a 6 core CPU  (8 preferably) as with that low amount of VRAM, the render process is likely to dump to the CPU from time to time.  

  • PadonePadone Posts: 823

    Just for the sake of completeness .. I can easily run daz studio with iray on a celeron laptop with 4gb ram and 1gb nvidia card. I just have to resize the textures to 1K or use the scene optimizer to fit the scenes to the card. Also in this scenario you're limited to hd-ready resolution when rendering. Other than that it works great.

    So you see no need of big guns to have fun with daz. Of course things change if you have production needs.

  • nicsttnicstt Posts: 8,229
    edited January 11

    Important: If you can wait a couple of months, do so; new kit from AMD due.

    PSU: get one with a rating (Platinum for example), they tend to be better; plan on it having some headroom, even after you've expanded. Presume you will expand at some stage.

    CPU: AMD currently offer better value and better performance, outside of gaming; if gaming is a concern then Intel might be an option. I use a an AMD Threadripper and play the occasional game without issues.

    Motherboard: get one that has the slots you need for now, and the future; AMD are especially good at keeping compatability from generation to generation.

    RAM: 16MB is the minimum IMO; 32 is better.

    Storage: SSDs are great for everything; they are silent and last a long time, and still work after you've dropped 'em. They cost more than the equivalent mechanical devices, and for larger capacities that cost can get eye-wateringly high. It is important to get reputable brands; (the 960 Evo by Samsung seems a great compromise on quality, performance and capacity; it isn't the cheapest, but is competative.) Mechanical devices are great for backups (and cheaper alternatives for storage - the D, E, F drive etc for example); do NOT underestimate the importance of Backups. I use 'candies' to plug in/out mechanical drives to run backups on; I also use dropbox (others are available). There is software (I don't use Windows for it) that will run the backups automatically.

    Arguably the most important part of an Iray Rendering Computer. Graphics Card(s): Presuming you're IRAY, important for rendering; less than 6GB is a waste of time (yes useable); I have 6GB 980ti and spend some time on optimisation, so am inclined to say that less than 8 could easily be frustrating. Get as many cores as you can afford and as much GPU RAM. Do NOT compare Cuda Cores between generations (1080 / 2080 for example) as they are not the same. My personal preference would be one card with fewer Cuda Cores and more RAM than more Cuda Cores and less RAM. If the scene doesn't fit on the card then you have an expensive paperweight! As a personal choice it is valid for me, others will have alternative views; you will make up your own mind.

    Keyboard, Mice (or similar) and Monitors: These devices can potentially have an affect on your health; don't skimp, and chose wisely. Make sure they are comfortable to use for long periods of time. Just becuase one person finds it comfortable is no guarantee that you will. Ideally try; or buy from somewhere that will let you return it after you have tried it.

    OS: Windows 10 Pro; it is available to use for free. Microsoft disable some features until it is activated but allow its use (as far as I am aware) indefinitely.

    Case: it needs to fit what you want; some say start with a case and go from there; personally, I prefer to decide what I want in the case, then see what is available.

    Cooling: More fans does NOT equal better cooling; there are two types of cooling, chose which you want. The two types revolve around Postive or Negative Static Pressure. Read up on em, decide which you want. There are vociferous proponents for each, so I'm not going there. (If the cooling is set up for one or the other, adding a fan for more cooling might work really well - and it might mess it up.)

     

     

    Post edited by nicstt on
  • nicsttnicstt Posts: 8,229

    It says ATX case, so it should.

  • nicsttnicstt Posts: 8,229

    I got fed up of worrying over case so bought a https://www.amazon.com/Thermaltake-Stackable-Certified-Computer-CA-1D8-00F1WN-00/dp/B00TQI9BY8/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1547215991&sr=8-13&keywords=thermaltake+case

    It also had the benefit of having the motherboard sit flat, which means no stress from graphics cards; it is a big case though. I stripped out the provided fans - mostly - too damn noisy.

  • nicsttnicstt Posts: 8,229

    Yeh, I hate flashy lights. It looks decent; I'd read the reviews on amazon and look for independent ones too.

  • Ron KnightsRon Knights Posts: 920

    nicstt, that case looks great. I added itr to my wishlist!

  • nicsttnicstt Posts: 8,229

    It is big; but is also easy to work in; all the panels come off so easy access - yeh I know I said that.

  • Ron KnightsRon Knights Posts: 920

    nicstt no worries. I want to have the computer case up on the desktop for easy access!

  • kenshaw011267kenshaw011267 Posts: 1,151

    Yes, its an ATX case and a great one at that. just install the mesh front panel and don't bother with the tempered glass on the front. You can also buy the same case with just the mesh front for a little less money.

    https://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-MasterCase-Computer-MCM-H500P-WGNN-S00/dp/B078XPZ8ZY/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1547217749&sr=8-10&keywords=cooler+master+h500p+mesh

    BTW I hate shopping for computer parts on Amazon. They are terrible at keeping the parts seperate and the different sellers often mangle the part names so the same item show up several times. Look at some place like Newegg to do your comparison shopping and then do your price shopping at Amazon once you know the precise item you're looking for.

  • Ron KnightsRon Knights Posts: 920

    kenshaw011267 thanks for the tip. But oh wow, they want around $100 to ship that thing? No way!

  • kenshaw011267kenshaw011267 Posts: 1,151
    nicstt said:

    I got fed up of worrying over case so bought a https://www.amazon.com/Thermaltake-Stackable-Certified-Computer-CA-1D8-00F1WN-00/dp/B00TQI9BY8/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1547215991&sr=8-13&keywords=thermaltake+case

    It also had the benefit of having the motherboard sit flat, which means no stress from graphics cards; it is a big case though. I stripped out the provided fans - mostly - too damn noisy.

    I took a hard look at that when it launched. the problem with it is finding a spot for it near my desk. The thing is huge compared to the amount of PC that goes in it. Before anyone buys that look at the dimensions of it and think about where you'd be able to fit it. also the case its self weighs almost 40 lbs. empty. I like big cases but that is pushing it and IMO wastes a lot of space unless you are doing a showpiece with a custom water loop.

  • Ron KnightsRon Knights Posts: 920

    kenshaw011267 you have a valid point. I didn't even look at the dimensions. I have a hard time finding room for my 27" iMac!

  • nicsttnicstt Posts: 8,229

    Ha! yeh the weight is something; it sits on my desk behind my monitors; I have 3 x 27" (2560x1440), so they need a big desk

     

  • Ron KnightsRon Knights Posts: 920

    If II bought the case, I'd likely get a sturdy desk or table {maybe a printer stand) dedicated to the computer itself.

  • kaotkblisskaotkbliss Posts: 2,690

    Just a quick glance-over at that case - the 2 huge fans in front are a plus, I'm not thrilled there's no side fan though. (a top fan would be prett sweet but those are few)

    A side fan will sit right about where your hottest parts are located (the GPU and not far from the CPU) so if the fan is pointed to blow out of the case, it will get the heat from those parts out of your system quickly.

  • nicsttnicstt Posts: 8,229

    Nah, those two huge fans got removed.

  • Ron KnightsRon Knights Posts: 920

    kaotkbliss & nicstt which case are you talking about?!

  • Jack TomalinJack Tomalin Posts: 8,864
    nicstt said:

    I got fed up of worrying over case so bought a https://www.amazon.com/Thermaltake-Stackable-Certified-Computer-CA-1D8-00F1WN-00/dp/B00TQI9BY8/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1547215991&sr=8-13&keywords=thermaltake+case

    It also had the benefit of having the motherboard sit flat, which means no stress from graphics cards; it is a big case though. I stripped out the provided fans - mostly - too damn noisy.

    I love that case.. that's what my render server sits in.. and work rig I went for a Thermaltake W100.

     

     

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