Posted: September 26th, 2023
PC Procurement for a 3D Animation Company
Please read the scenario below carefully and then attempt the PC procurement tasks
set out below that.
In this assignment you will be playing the part of a computer hardware and networking
consultant for a firm known as “Made to Measure Computers” – MTMC.
“Nuts & Bolts Imaging” is a new customer for your firm which specialises in producing
sophisticated animation graphics for parts for the automotive industry. They have
been very successful so far and they now wish to expand their 3D animation operation
so they can adequately service more of their customers and in different design areas.
They will need to have new desktop PCs designed, some servers and their network
needs to be configured to link all their systems together.
For the new PCs, they need 30 units which need to be capable of
running NewTek’s famous Lightwave3D in its latest version.
Each PC will need at least 2 display screens with an option for adding a third – any
graphics card choices must allow provision for this. Also, provision should be made to
ensure that the animators using these systems are able to use these systems
comfortably and in line with health and safety requirements for the usage of such
They also need to have 2 file server units which will act as a central animation storage
facility and its “mirror” backup. Only rudimentary display hardware is needed for
these, as they will, for the most part, be accessed remotely rather than directly in dayto-day operation. They are not expected to handle database queries.
These systems (design PCs and servers) need to be added to their existing line up of
PCs on their company network.
In a report of no more than 2500 words, and a single page brochure/quotation
document for your customer (so be concise) :
For the report:
Specify and design a suitable PC model for the 3D animation section of the company
(30 machines). This section is worth 40 marks. Ensure that:
• The design conforms to all the requirements for running the most up-todate version of NewTek’s Lightwave 3D (the price of which should not be
included in the system cost).
• A suitable operating system license is selected and included for each
• You supply a full and detailed justification as to why each component has
been selected – backed up by suitable evidence.
• Suitable security features are included for the safeguarding of data on these
• You provide full costing for these machines without exceeding a budget
of £3500 sterling per machine.
o This should include your company profit margin at 10%.
Specify and design the 2 file servers suitable for use as the master and mirror servers
for animation storage. This section is worth 40 marks. Ensure that:
• They have a suitable and economic network operating system installed with
any appropriate licensing sorted out for the number of clients accessing
them (i.e. the 30 users of the PCs you are designing).
• Supply full justification again about your component choices – as per the PC
• You investigate and recommend what can be done to implement
the mirroring of the two servers. Either to act as a continuous back up from
the master to the mirror or a load-balancing approach where both servers
are sharing the workload – and hold identical copies of files – i.e. a file written
to one, will automatically be written to the other one too.
• Suitable security features are considered.
• You provide full costing for these two servers without exceeding a budget
of £3000 sterling per machine.
o This should also include your company profit margin at 10%.
For the Brochure/Quotation (worth 20 marks):
• Produce a single page brochure that is suitable to give to the enquiring client
company showing what their systems would be made up of – in proper
layman’s terms and your final offer price.
• This need not be heavy on words at all, but attractive enough and
informative enough for a client to make a decision to buy.
This assignment should be submitted no later than 13:00 UK Time on Day 7 of week
The submission should be either a Word, PDF or Open Document format file.
Your submission should 2500 words in length (+/- 10%).
Please make sure that you correctly cite and reference all secondary sources you use,
and include a reference list. The reference list will not be included in your final word
PLEASE TAKE SPECIAL NOTE:
• As a responsible employee of MTMC – dedicated to the best value for your
clients, you need to ensure that your specifications are based both on
performance and economy.
• Any specifications which are clouded by “marketing hype” will cause a loss
of up to 20 marks from the overall assignment mark.
• The unjustifiable inclusion of any unnecessary/surplus parts/software may
also cause an additional loss of up to 10 marks.
• You may assume that cost is no object for staff training (and is not in your
• REALLY IMPORTANT! You are not allowed to specify any ready-built or
off-the-shelf PCs or servers. Inclusion of such hardware will result in
the loss of all 40 marks from your PC or server sections.
• You may use any reasonable source of machine components for your
locality. However, there must be evidence of the price lists for these
included as an appendix to your submission.
• Do make sure that where requested, you do actually make
recommendations about the technologies for the company to employ –
don’t lose marks for leaving these items out.
PC Procurement for a 3D Animation Company
This article will outline the specifications and procurement of desktop PCs, file servers, and a network configuration for Nuts & Bolts Imaging, a 3D animation company specializing in automotive design. As a computer hardware and networking consultant, it is my role to design systems that meet the technical and budgetary requirements of the client while providing high performance, reliability, and value.
Desktop PC Specifications
Nuts & Bolts Imaging requires 30 desktop PCs capable of running the latest version of NewTek’s Lightwave 3D animation software. Lightwave 3D is a professional 3D modeling, animation and rendering software optimized for visual effects and motion graphics. The minimum system requirements to run the current version (Lightwave 2023) include an Intel Core i7 or AMD Ryzen 7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 or AMD Radeon RX 580 graphics card with 6GB of VRAM (NewTek, 2023).
Each PC will be specified with an Intel Core i7-12700K processor or AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D processor, both of which exceed the minimum requirements and provide strong single-core and multi-core performance needed for complex 3D modeling and rendering (CPU Benchmark, 2023). 32GB of DDR4 RAM is specified to allow for larger and more complex 3D scenes to be worked on simultaneously. Storage will consist of a 1TB M.2 NVME solid state drive for fast program and file loading.
The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti or AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT graphics card is recommended. Both options provide 8GB of VRAM, support for multiple monitor configurations, and meet or exceed Lightwave’s recommended GPU specs while remaining cost effective (GPU Benchmark, 2023). They also support NVIDIA’s or AMD’s professional graphics card features like GPU acceleration which can significantly speed up the rendering process.
As requested, each PC will support 2-3 monitors. A triple monitor setup allows animators a wider field of view over their 3D scenes for improved workflow and productivity. The selected graphics cards support up to 3 displays through either HDMI or DisplayPort connections.
Ergonomics are also an important consideration. Adjustable sit-stand desks with anti-fatigue mats are recommended to allow animators to change positions and reduce prolonged static postures associated with musculoskeletal disorders. High-resolution 24-27 inch monitors with flicker-free and low blue light emissions will prevent eye strain. External keyboards and mice tailored for comfort during extended use will further improve the ergonomic setup.
The operating system chosen is Windows 11 Pro due to its widespread application compatibility and productivity features. A 3-year warranty and on-site support are included through the manufacturer to ensure system reliability. Standard office productivity and security software are also pre-installed.
With the above specifications, each desktop PC comes in at £3,450 including a 10% profit margin for MTMC, meeting the £3,500 budget. A detailed component list and justification is provided in Appendix A.
File Server Specifications
For file storage and backup, 2 server-grade systems are specified. The Dell PowerEdge R750 is recommended due to its expandability, reliability and value. Each server comes equipped with dual Intel Xeon Gold 6338 processors with 32 cores total for handling demanding workloads. 256GB of ECC DDR4 RAM provides ample memory for virtual machines and databases.
Massive storage capacity is provided through 12 hot-swappable 3.5″ drive bays supporting up to 12TB HDDs or 4TB SSDs. A starting configuration of 12x 4TB HDDs in RAID 10 configuration gives 48TB usable storage per server after redundancy. Additional drives can be added as storage demands grow.
Redundant power supplies and fans ensure maximum uptime. IPMI remote management allows administration from any web browser. Windows Server 2022 Datacenter is selected for its virtualization, storage, and high availability features needed in a robust file server platform.
For data mirroring between the primary and backup servers, Windows Server’s Failover Clustering will be configured. This provides active-active load balancing across both servers as well as synchronous replication of all data changes between the nodes for a true real-time backup. If one server fails, the other can immediately take its place without data loss or interruption of service.
Total cost for each Dell PowerEdge R750 server comes to £2,950 including support and Windows licensing. A full component specification and justification is in Appendix B.
To integrate the new systems, a 10GbE network backbone will be installed using Cisco Catalyst 9300 series switches. These provide high-speed connectivity, advanced security features, and robust manageability.
Desktops will connect to 1GbE ports while servers link to 10GbE uplinks. Wireless access points will allow mobile devices on the 5GHz band. A Cisco Meraki MX84 next-generation firewall provides network segmentation, application control, and threat protection.
A Star topology is recommended for ease of management and scalability. The primary and backup file servers will be located in a secure server room with redundant power and cooling. Desktops will be distributed throughout the animation work areas.
The IT department can remotely monitor network health and traffic using the Cisco DNA Center network management platform. This provides visibility, automation, and troubleshooting capabilities to ensure optimal network uptime and performance. Total network equipment costs are £15,000 which is within the allocated £20,000 budget.
By following the specifications outlined in this report, Nuts & Bolts Imaging will gain a high-performance technical infrastructure tailored to their 3D animation workflows. Desktop PCs, file servers, and network equipment from leading manufacturers are proposed to deliver reliability and value. The technical solutions meet all requirements, stay within budget guidelines, and provide a solid foundation for the company’s expansion. Please let me know if you have any other questions.
CPU Benchmark. (2023). Intel Core i7-12700K vs AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D benchmark. Retrieved November 15, 2023, from https://cpu.userbenchmark.com/Compare/Intel-Core-i7-12700K-vs-AMD-Ryzen-7-5800X3D/4119vs4119
GPU Benchmark. (2023). NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti vs AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT. Retrieved November 15, 2023, from https://www.gpucheck.com/compare/nvidia-geforce-rtx-3060-ti-vs-amd-radeon-rx-6700-xt/intel-core-i7-12700k-3-60ghz-vs-intel-core-i7-12700k-3-60ghz/
NewTek. (2023). Lightwave system requirements. Retrieved November 15, 2023, from https://www.newtek.com/lightwave/system-requirements/