Forever alone filmmaking hardware recommendations November 2012

After writing my last post and mentioning some hardware that really doesn't fit in the budget of a forever alone filmmaker I thought I should look over current hardware offering and recommend my picks based on past experience...

If you wanted to put together an M dot Strange style one man micro 3d studio today this is what I would get... if you find this post 3 months+ from the date I posted it than its probably already out of date... but here's my picks...

For a budget performance workstation I'd go with this (click for larger image)

I made We Are The Strange (2007) with a Shuttle and I made Heart String Marionette(2012) with a Shuttle as well... they are not perfect but for a quick barebones build and a solid machine I'd go with a Shuttle- always check the reviews though as some systems are plagued... and the other parts aren't the fastest or "best" these are just the components I chose because I think they provide the best price/performance/stability for a one man army cg animator

So workstation = $1600.00
Cinebench CPU Score= 7.91

For a budget render node I'd go with this... 4 of them if you can swing it...

I used four In Win based render nodes on Heart String Marionette and I didn't have one problem! I replaced the stock fans with Noctua's though... but yeh this box gives you a price/performance ratio! Chose the SSD as their quieter and draw less power.

So render node: $500.00
Cinebench CPU score= 6.32 (Can push it to around 7.0 - 8.0 w/Overclocking)

For all the Mac users out there- to get a Mac Mini to match this score you would have to configure it with a 2.6ghz i7 and 8gb ram which would drive the price of the Mac Mini up to $999 

If you want to replicate the type of setup I had when I made Heart String Marionette you'd get that Shuttle workstation and four of these render nodes.... these machines and much more powerful than what I have now but it cost about the same when I bought mine.

So yeh this recommendation will be out of date in 3-6 months but if you're thinking about buying some stuff in the VERY near future these are my picks! ^_^


  1. Mdot. Whats happening with the HSM dub trailer?

  2. What kind of cinebench scores you get from those render nodes?

  3. your blog has been awesome lately with these technical / almost step by step posts ... amazingly helpful .


  4. hey mdot, been listening to the latest podcast, and im listening to your videogame comments regarding game stories, most do suck but if you wanna check out an awesome video game story go check out shadow of the collossus or portal 1, psyconauts is also really good in terms of a game story too.

  5. Thanks for posting this M dot, I've been working on my own prep list for a new computer for FAFM and some of the items are the same! That pleases me greatly. I'm taking that next step and it feels great!

    Did you get the flash drive back yet? I mailed it back to you a few days ago. Keep it up, man. Stoked to hear that you'll be coming to our film fest.

  6. The price for the 4 tb drive seems high. You can get a 3tb external drive for $125 crack it open and inside is a internal drive. Also i have seen internal 2tb drive go for under $90 from newegg and geeks.


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