Logical Increments reader Michael recently put together a brand new video editing and gaming behemoth, which he dubbed the TuffBox. It includes newly released high-end components, with the GTX 1080 and Intel i7-6900K taking starring roles.
He wrote up his build story on PCPartPicker and gave us permission to repost on our blog. So, take it away, Michael.
Building the TuffBox
by Michael Fasano (RSC-Tuff)
What I Do with It
I’m a video editor, motion graphics designer, YouTuber, and streamer on Twitch Creative. I also use my computer for gaming, voice acting, audio engineering/recording, accounting-related business purposes, and digital art. When the computer is idle, I run Seti and Folding.
Why I Built It
My old computer was a modest gaming PC built three years ago, long before I became involved in any real editing or creative stuff. Most of the parts were fine but unimpressive when I bought them, such as the graphics card (Radeon HD 7950 R7950), RAM (16GB DDR3), and CPU (i5-3570K).
The problems I had with it were mostly related to editing. Render times became unbearable (especially in After Effects), timelines in Premiere and Reaper were choppy, previews took way too long, and any effect that used the graphics card risked crashing the computer. Streaming an intense game or program was too much for the comp to handle, games weren’t running at max settings, and my single 1080p monitor was a serious problem for editing and streaming.
I wanted to be able to pursue freelance and hobbyist editing, stream a quality presentation, and keep up with new games in the coming years.
I planned the computer and researched the parts for about six weeks prior to purchasing. I became passionate and excited – thought went into every single part. I reused my Fractal Design R4 case, a 250GB SSD, and a 1TB HDD. If heat becomes an issue, I’ll first try removing some of the foam that blocks air vents and adding new fans, but I’m not against upgrading to a new case if needed. So far, the rig is dead silent and has no heat issues.
The Broadwell-E release was the most disappointing part of this project. I had hoped that the new chip line would allow me to get 8 cores for $600-800, but the 6900K is actually more expensive than the previous 8-core flagship that it replaces (5960K). The 10-core 6950X was completely out of the question thanks to its $1,750 price, and a Xeon build was just unnecessary.
I’m thrilled to have 64GB of DDR4-2400 for $210. After Effects can make good use of up to 2GB per core (including logic cores); anything more has almost no effect. This means that my 8/16 core chip uses 32GB in After Effects while also leaving an absurd amount of memory for everything else like streaming software, Premiere, Encoder, Photoshop, a RAM drive, etc.
A top priority for this computer was upgrading to dual monitors. 1440p looks amazing for gaming and editing alike. The Asus PB258Q was a great choice: small bezels, a great looking IPS screen, lots of mounting and connection options. For me, 4K just isn’t worth the money right now. If I begin working with a lot of 4K video, I may upgrade in the next couple of years.
My M-Track+ acts as an external sound card that accepts XLR and ¼” jacks. It’s much cheaper than the professional recording equipment you see on some builds, but it’s enough for hobbyist recording and streaming.
Most of these were purchased in 2015 or 2016. I wanted to list everything that I consider essential to this rig and my streaming, including my webcam and microphone.
Total spent on new stuff, May/June 2016: $3,427.84
Total value of just the computer (new parts + old parts): $3,109.76
Wishlist / Still to come
- Green screen, light boxes
- X-Rite i1Display Pro – Display Calibration
- Wacom Bamboo Splash Pen Tablet
- PCPartPicker.com and its users. This site made the build process easy to organize and track, and part reviews from users helped a lot when making some tough choices. Seeing completed builds from users with similar goals was also very helpful.
- logicalincrements.com. Excellent, easy to understand guides on what parts I needed to focus on for this computer. The monitor section was particularly helpful since monitors were the most intimidating aspect of the selection process. Special thanks to the LI team that quickly answered my questions on their site!
- My friend Billy, an enthusiast who did the actual assembly of the computer and helped with several part recommendations.
- My friend Travis, who also helped with part choices.