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Building a computer for machinima


Ariella Languish
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Hello everyone! I was wondering if you could help me. I am attempting to build a computer for use for shooting machinima. I shoot machinima as my full time career and do work for large corporate organizations, so making sure I'm delivering top notch quality with little lag is important. I know one of the biggest issues with machinima is your computer is reading something while recording something, some people suggest a raid harddrive. 

 

What I have decided to do is customize a PC from Alienware.com  (Also, please forgive me as I'm a long-time mac user and am not as familiar with PC linguistics). Attached to this post is a custom built machine I played around with. I'm trying to stay under $3500 or so. So I might be able to improve some of the features you see below if they are sub-par. 

 

I would like to be able to shoot machinima with shadows and (possibly) depth of field without too many issues! Thanks everyone. Picture 1.png

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We had a pretty good discussion about such a machine about a week and a half ago.

http://community.secondlife.com/t5/General-Discussion-Forum/I-m-kind-of-torn-and-confused-on-what-system-to-get/m-p/1333571

Alicia Sautereau and I had a minor disagreement on just how far to go with hardware for a top end computer for SL.  I'm a little more frugal when it comes to performance (how much is really going to make a difference always creeps into my head) but Alicia's suggested system for your needs may well be the best route to take.

 

The thread might help you.........lot's of suggestions before it got derailed late in the discussion.  But even the derail is helpful.  :)

 

 

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Yes, the machine above can do machinima as well as many machines on the market; the end result for machinima is, as you know, a combination of machine, software, and your creativity.

Some things you may want to consider:   

While the specs displayed are adequate, they do not provide other nessecary details that I would consider if I were going to pay 3000 bucks to Dell.  

Based on the specs above I configured a machine here.  Total price ~2K.  Wow you say?  Me too.  But there's more; I configured for a 1500 Watt power supply, 16GB DDR3 Cosair Vengeance RAM, fan mounts, additional fans, and a whole bunch of other goodies. (I bet a nickel the Dell machine has standard RAM, standard 560Ti, and 700 Watt power supply; all of which will have a tremendous impact on machine performance.)

So I guess my point is spend those dollars wisely.

 

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Late to the party here but wanted to note that I have an almost year old CyberPower that cost about $1700 when I bought it. It still does swimmingly with great shadows and clarity. I can easily upload 1080 HD videos but mostly do 720. Some sims give me over 100 FPS. So no need to spend $3000 bucks. :D

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  • 2 weeks later...

That cpu appears to be overkill to me unless it's necessary for your video editing? SL fps is about speed. So an i7 2600k (I have a i7 930 2.8ghz) should be plenty and you can overclock it if need be but you will need an upgrade of the heatsink. Use more than one hard drive. One for the OS and one for capturing (partition both). Put the OS and capture folder on the outside edge (1st partition) of each hard drive respectively. I use FRAPS for capturing. 8-16gb of RAM ( I'm using 12gb Corsair 1600) is fine. 7200rpm hard drives are a must in my opinion especially for capturing. Create a RamDisk in your RAM and install SL viewer and the SL cache there and you will see higher fps. Ram is a 100x faster than a hard drive. I don't beleive you need RAID. Video card is super important. Always Nvidia (LL develeops the game using Nvidia cards and ATI has some issues with OpenGL apparently). I use a GTX 460. A GTX 570 may be a benefit however when using shadows and projected light etc. and help increase useable draw distances. Do not try SLI (2+ video cards as SL viewer does not benefit anymore from my tests). In fact you might go from 200 fps down to 30 fps or so when enabled. My guss is a system like this would cost about half of the $3500. You could invest in a GTX 580? Possibly wait till the next generation of video cards that are coming out this year? Try to get the video card with the fastest gpu. They vary. Their is a direct relationship between that and fps especially in shadow mode. Some sample Machinima here http://www.youtube.com/user/fuzonacid with less than a system you are contemplating. I record at 25 fps with FRAPS and can capture shadows with generally no issues.

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