When it comes to configuring that ideal computer for your 3D design needs, every last little bit of power can help. However, when you’re working within a set budget, the challenge of swapping some components for others can become a tedious task that sometimes feels more like rocket science than a ‘fun’ build project.

Earlier this week, a Reddit user by the name of sn0m0be set out to ask this very question: How do you build the ultimate industrial design dream machine?

With his needs centered around configuring a machine that can accommodate a heavy load of SolidWorks, KeyShot and the Adobe Creative Suite applications (including the processor-heavy Premiere Pro for video editing), sn0m0be’s challenge lies in creating the best possible machine for less than $1600 USD:

Hi everyone.

Looking to build a fairly serious workhorse here at a top-end budget of about $1600 (one or two hundred less would be preferable). I’m reading up as much as possible to get caught up to the latest in technology here, but am no expert, hence asking this community for their expertise.

I do serious SOLIDWORKS modeling and render in KeyShot. I heavily use Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and Lightroom, as well as Bridge and Premiere Pro for photo/video/timelapse work. Also, I’m not ready to leave Windows 7 yet, so that’s my OS of choice.

As for what his basic blueprint looks like, here is what he is starting with based on initial research:

GPU: I know that Quadros are the preferred card for running SOLIDWORKS, which is why I selected the K2000 (upgrading from my current Quadro FX1700)– Seems to be solid at a mediocre price point. However, I really need a card that will perform with Premiere Pro as well. What would be an advisable GPU for running these two programs? I was also looking into the FirePro W5100 because it’s similar in price to the Quadro K2000 but has some nice specs. However, I’ve read about the FirePros not playing well with some Adobe software.

Processor: Looking to render quickly in KeyShot as well as video in Premiere Pro. (I also want to get into After Effects.) I’ve chosen the i7-4790K as it’s not going to break the bank and rates highly everywhere I’ve looked so far. I know that the GPU will do a lot of the work in these applications, too, but I don’t quite understand what is always crunching the numbers here. (My naïvety is showing.) Also, I have no idea how to OC and would like some insight into whether it’s worth it or not. I’m assuming I need a nice cooler.

Hard Drives: Looking to use a SSD for application installation and possibly RAID 0 on the two media HDDs for increased file reading/writing speeds. I’ve never done a RAID setup before so I’ll be checking other discussions when needed, although high level suggestions would be great here. Does RAID 0 work when one drive fills up and the other is not full? Also, can you have three HDDs– drive 1 in RAID 0 with drive 2 and drive 1 in RAID 1 with drive 3? Speed is great but so is having a backup!

Memory: I want this machine very good at multitasking and also future-proofed to a certain extent, hence 32GB. What am I looking for when choosing the speed? How does it relate to motherboard compatibility?

Motherboard: I really don’t know much about motherboards, other than that I need enough slots for everything and that it has to fit in the case. My current mobo is an ASUS M3A79-T Deluxe and half the times I restart the computer, it hangs on a boot up screen that says “Express Gate” and I have to manually restart. It’s quite annoying and I’m fine with jumping ship to another manufacturer like MSI.

Using PC Part Picker, sn0m0be generated a configuration that he is hoping the community can help him modify based on his needs:


Do any experts want to chime in? What could sn0m0be do differently? How would you approach a configuration if you were given $1600 to play with?

(Feature image via Maximum PC)