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need a new POWERFUL machine... need help!

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hey guys, i really want to get a new computer, looking to spend around $2,000-$2,500 on a machine. (if i can go cheaper without sacrificing performance than that would be ideal!!) im a 3D artist so i do lots of work in maya and zbrush so i need a very powerful machine. i was wondering what the best specifications are out there for this kind of machine. i was looking at:

the Intel Core 2 Quad Processor Q9650 (4x 3.0GHz/12MB L2 Cache/1333FSB)

i also saw the Intel Core 2 Extreme Quad-Core Processor QX6850 (4x 3.0GHz/8MB L2 Cache/1333FSB) (does anyone know the difference in these processors?

and 2 graphics cards, geforce gtx 280 1 GB - running SLI mode.

what kind of motherboard should i be running?

also should i look for a DDR3 chipset or DDR2? and if i go DDR3 would i have to go 64 bit? and SHOULD i go to 64 bit? i heard that 64 bit was bad because no software supports it?? i know i would have to get a 64 bit OS. but would i still be able to run my programs like maya and zbrush?

i realize this is a very complex question but i would greatly appreciate anyone who could help me out! i dont know much about this stuff at all!!

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Hi there,

After looking up both those programs, it seems like they do have 64-bit versions. If you went 64-bit Vista, then you'd need to make sure you have the compatible versions of the programs. :) 64-bit Vista is very good, there are many programs that work fine on it.

The Q9650 should be a good choice for this build. The Extreme version processors are mainly for overclocking enthusiasts, as they have an unlocked multiplier. Don't worry if you don't know what that means!

It's been a while since I looked up DDR3, researching it again reveals that I still don't think it's quite time to recommend it yet. I suggest getting a top-notch set of DDR2, this will be the best option for you.

For the motherboard, you'll need one that supports everything you intend on getting. The biggest factor is you'll be running SLI, so that narrows the selection down quite a bit. You'll be looking for an Nvidia chipset motherboard, that supports DDR2 (if you so choose) and the Intel LGA775 socket.

Don't forget for a system of this calibre, you'll be needing a mega-mother power supply! Those GTX 280s are going to be drawing enough power to run my fridge! (Well maybe not quite, but who knows?)

Are you willing to build this yourself? Or are you looking to purchase a pre-made system?


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I'm not sure SLIed GTX 280s are what you want if you are going to be using these types of programs. For example, Autodesk (publisher of Maya) states:

[quote name='http://download.autodesk.com/us/maya/qualcharts/Readme.html#notes']There are many cards based on GeForce GPU chipsets. NVIDIA and Autodesk do not recommend these cards for use with Maya as you may experience various refresh, display and stability problems and inadequate performance. We suggest you choose from NVIDIA's workstation cards instead, such as the Quadro families which are much better suited to high-end 3D packages such as Maya.[/quote]

I can't find any information on ZBrush (their system requirements don't even list a GPU as a requirement), but I'd imagine the situation would be similar.
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