Black Falcon | 3D Animation/VFX Workstation

Short System Description, Long System Description, Hardware Selection Reasons

Short System Description

Black Falcon is a high-end liquid-cooled workstation designed for several 3D animation and VFX suites. These suites include Cinema 4D, XParticles, Real Flow, Redshift, Octane, After Effects, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Houdini. This build is designed around a 10-core i9 9900X processor and quad liquid-cooled RTX 2070 Super 8GB video cards.

 
 

Long System Description

Brent contacted us in late 2019 about a new workstation for a wide range of animation and 3D modeling suites. The applications he used needed a special blend of CPU speed, CPU threads, and a healthy amount of GPU power. Being that this workstation would reside on his desk, it needed to be as quiet as possible, while still running fast and cool. With the request of 4 video cards, this made for quite the design challenge.

Over the next few weeks, we worked with Brent to figure out the best overall solution for his performance requirements and personal wishes.

I have no doubt Brent will return to us when he needs a new high-end workstation.

Hardware Selection Reasons

Processor (CPU): Intel i9-9900X

I chose this processor for the high performance in Cinema 4D, XParticles, After Effects, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Houdini.

While the 9900K would have been a slightly better choice for After Effects, Photoshop, and Ilustrator, the 9900X is very close in single-core performance, and does much better in Cinema4D and Houdini.

The X299 platform also allows Brent to upgrade to a higher-end CPU with more threads as his workflow demands it.

CPU Cooler: Corsair H100i PRO

I chose this CPU cooler for the excellent cooling performance of water. While air is more reliable, water cools better and runs quieter when under load.

This cooler also looks nice in the case, making for a very sleek interior.

Motherboard: Gigabyte X299 AORUS MASTER

I chose this motherboard for socket compatibility, support for 4 video cards, support for 128GB of memory, dual network ports, wireless networking, and robust overall design. Gigabyte is also one of my preferred motherboard manufacturers.

Brent agreed with the visual design, and understood my explanation of the build quality.

Memory: Corsair Vengeance LPX 8x16GB DDR4-3000

I chose this memory kit for motherboard compatibility and robust design. Corsair is also one of my preferred memory manufacturers.

Brent needed 128GB of memory for his workflow and understood my explanation of the build quality.

Storage (SSD): HP EX950 1TB NVME

I chose this SSD for robust design, high capacity, fast access times, and low cost. HP is also one of my preferred SSD manufacturers.

Brent understood my explanation of the build quality.

Storage (SSD): HP EX950 2TB NVME

I chose this SSD for robust design, high capacity, fast access times, and low cost. HP is also one of my preferred SSD manufacturers.

Brent understood my explanation of the build quality.

Storage (HDD): Western Digital Red 4TB 5400RPM

I chose this HDD for robust design, high capacity, low noise, and low cost. WD is also one of my preferred HDD manufacturers.

Brent didn’t need more space for archival storage, and understood my explanation of the build quality.

Video Card (GPU): 4x EVGA RTX 2070 Super 8GB XC Hybrid

I chose this GPU for long-term performance, performance in Octane Bench, low price, low power draw, unique cooling solution, and robust design.

Because Brent wanted to use 4 video cards that had 8GB of VRAM each, we looked at RTX 2080s initially. Upon looking at benchmark results in Octane Bench, the RTX 2070 Super was very close to the RTX 2080, but cost significantly less.

Because we were using multiple video cards, cooling solutions were very important. Blower solutions were cheapest, but were fairly loud under load because of the fan design and need to keep the GPUs cool under load. As the workstation would be on top of a desk, low noise operation was preferred. Hybrid solutions cost a bit more, but run significantly quieter under load (and run colder overall).

We ended up using 4 RTX 2070 Super Hybrids for their special blend of power, cooling power, and operational noise.

Brent understood my explanation of the build quality and overall design.

Power Supply (PSU): EVGA SuperNOVA T2 1600W

I chose this PSU for wattage, robust design, and long-term stability.

This power supply gives Brent enough power to accommodate a full system revamp (CPU and GPUs).

Brent wanted a workstation that would last, and understood my explanation of the build quality.

Case: Corsair 750D Airflow Edition

I chose this case for robust design, airflow, and long-term stability.

Brent wanted a workstation that would last, and understood my explanation of the build quality.

Fans: 6x Noctua NF-F12 PWM Black

I chose these fans for robust design, airflow, static pressure, low-noise operation, and long-term stability.

Brent wanted a workstation that would last, and understood my explanation of the build quality.

Monitor: Samsung 34" 3440x1440 100 Hz


About Top Flight Computers

Top Flight Computers designs high-performance custom-built computers. We specialize in workstations, gaming computers, and water cooling.

We are based in Cary, North Carolina, and we ship across the USA. Check out our previous builds and our page on Facebook.