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CAD engineering workstation build,

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February 10, 2014 10:21:10 AM

Hi all,
I am a grad student in the process of selecting parts to build a PC workstation (...my first time building a PC). Any of your input/advice will be greatly appreciated!

Purchase Date: 1-2 weeks

Budget: ~ $1350

System usage: Autodesk (Autocad and Inventor), Ansys Fluent, internet browsing, microsoft office

Monitor: Planning to use my Samsung T220 (1680x1050)

Preferred Vendor: Amazon, Newegg, NCIX

Overclocking: No

SLI/Crossfire: Maybe in the future

Parts list:

OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit ($87.55)
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004Q0PT3I/ref=ox_sc_a...

CPU: Intel Xeon E3-1230V2 LGA1155 Processor ($229.99)
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0085MQUTU/ref=ox_sc_a...

Mobo: Gigabyte Z77X-UD3H ($111.98)
http://products.ncix.com/detail/gigabyte-z77x-ud3h-atx-...

GPU: Nvidia Quadro K2000 2GB DDR5 ($402.99)
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BLTE7DA/ref=ox_sc_s...

RAM: Crucial Ballistix Sport 16GB Kit (8GBx2) DDR3 ($140.95)
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006YG9EEW/ref=ox_sc_a...

Hard drive: Samsung Electronics 840 EVO-Series 250GB 2.5-Inch ($154.95)
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00E3W1726/ref=ox_sc_a...

Fan: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO ($33.24)

Tower: Corsair Carbide Series 200R ($59.99)
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009GXZ8MM/ref=ox_sc_a...

Optical Drive: Asus 24x DVD-RW Serial-ATA Internal OEM Optical Drive ($22.99)
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0033Z2BAQ/ref=ox_sc_a...

PSU: Corsair CX750 Builder Series ATX 80 PLUS Bronze Certified Power Supply ($87.24)
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008RJZQSW/ref=twister_B0093XC...

Total Build Cost: $1331.87


Thanks for any comments and suggestions!

More about : cad engineering workstation build

February 10, 2014 11:09:31 AM

Just because it's a workstation doesn't mean I would go Xeon on it. I would also question if a Quadro or FirePro (professional) GPU is really what would serve you best as well. If most of your applications use CUDA or OpenCL (and if I'm not mistaken Audodesk uses OpenCL).

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-r9-290x-hawa...

For at least those applications, a consumer grade GPU will still be faster, and will be much more appropriate should you decide to use the machine recreationally as well. I'm going to assume you live in the US, and that there is a microcenter somewhere near you. If not, let me know and I'll adjust the build accordingly.

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2QQb3

I know that's above your budget, but a couple things to note:
1) I was able to find an R9 290 at microcenter for 389. If you can get there, you may be able to as well.
2) that processor will run circles around the xeon you have listed. If you still can't swing that, drop it down to a 4820k, and there you go. Back around budget.

With those things in mind, that 6-core processor will be a monster for the kind of work you are going to be doing, and the R9 series of cards are awesome at GPGPU (compute performance). Hence why all the litecoin miners want them. Let me know what you think.
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February 10, 2014 11:15:15 AM

To be clear you went over his budget with $399.86, that is far dude.
A xeon would be good, as he wont be needing the IGP from a regular i7.
nVidias GPU's are just as good to compute, incase you didn't know.
AMD's GPU are simply better to calculate hashes, doesn't mean they are better in computing in general.
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February 10, 2014 11:17:58 AM

Also the PSU is a overkill by a mile.
I would recommend a 600w +80 bronze.
Gold and above aren't made for consumers, they are made for enterprise servers, which are running on almost full load 24/7, where you would actually see a difference in the electricity bill.
For a consumer a +80 bronze is just as good, and you wont notice a difference in performance nor electricity bill.
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February 10, 2014 11:19:03 AM

Also isn't he going to need a HDD?
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Best solution

February 10, 2014 11:47:48 AM

If he steps down to a 4820k like I suggested if he couldn't swing the extra (which is understandable, I just wanted him to see the benefits of the 6 cores). The review I linked also shows the 290, and even the 780 beating the k2000 in almost all of the benchmarks they ran, and the only ones in which it lost were ones that he wasn't stating he was interested in (autodesk Maya I think might have been the only one).

Nvidia GPU's are not as good at compute, at least not the last couple generations. The 580 is a compute monster, especially for it's time, and can still come out on top if given the right workload. However, nvidia crippled the compute performance in the 600 and 700 series. Look around at benchmarks. They'll back me up.

The higher efficiency of a PSU might not mean as much to a consumer as someone who is running a workstation 24/7, but I like to have a little extra power in my PSU. I don't understand people buying a 1500w PSU for a single GPU, or even most dual GPU systems. That being said, I also don't understand buying a 550w psu for a system that is going to consume 450-500w as it is now. I want a little room to grow without having to worry about PSU upgrades, and the one I recommended was on sale for a good price.

He also didn't have a hard drive in his build, and if all he is doing is workstation stuff, 240GB might be enough, or maybe he has an old one laying around for mass storage. I just didn't include it because neither did he.

Here is a little different build that I think is still better than what he had. This one is only about 150 over budget, and if he is able to find the R9 290 at microcenter or somewhere similar, he can save 100 right there.

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2QRWv

Also, OP, I am a college student myself, and I didn't include Windows is the build because usually as a student you can get a copy for free, or close to it. I would check out that route before paying full price for a copy.
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February 10, 2014 12:03:15 PM

I wont recommend the 4820k.
I would rather recommend 4770.
Haswell generally have 5-10% performance increase.
Also I would recommend 4770 not 4770k because 4770 have TSX extension, which can increase workstation performance by a mile.

Nvidias GTX are still good at computing, just matter of what, but you are correct AMD have been moving forward with computing on their gamer GPU's.

The reason why I recommend a 600w, it leaves room for adding drives and such. Most people are going to buy another GPU instead of SLI/Crossfire, as scaling in general is poop.'

I would also stay away from Corsairs CX series.
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February 10, 2014 12:06:38 PM

Well, you get either the CX series, which is decent but not great and save 15 bucks, or you go for the HX750, which is on sale for 85. You have to pay for quality with PSU's, and I feel that the CX series is good enough that I would make that sacrifice in PSU quality if it meant increased performance somewhere else.

As for the 4820k, I recommended it because for a workstation, I think it is a better option. You do get a slight performance increase per core with haswell, but there is a little more cache on the 4820k, which helps a little. The big thing though, is going to be the platform. He'll have a lot more expansion options, and can add several more PCI-e devices without having to worry about being constricted by the 16 lanes you get on z87, as you get 40 on x79. Also, he gets quad channel memory, which doesn't make a big difference for gaming, but it does make a difference for the type of applications he is likely to be running.
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February 10, 2014 12:49:04 PM

Stay away from the CX series, that is not quality PSUs. Corsair aren't the only PSU provider.

I still won't recommend the 4820k.
You would need to run at least 4 cards on their PCI express x16/x8/x4.
I don't see a need for that.
A larger L3 cache and quad channel memory won't have the greater impact compared to the TSX extension, now TSX is one hell of a feature.
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February 10, 2014 2:20:04 PM

TSX COULD have a decent impact on performance, but that's assuming that it gets supported, which is anyone's guess.
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February 10, 2014 3:20:46 PM

It is getting supported more and more, as the performance increase is devastating(overreacting a little).
Heavy workload applications are already starting to utilize it. So I would say it is a safe bet.
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February 10, 2014 3:56:48 PM

If that's the case then, this might be a better option if he can't go 6 core.

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2R0i3

Its about 100 bucks over, but he could scale back on the case and PSU if he wanted to to get it within budget, and the motherboard could be downgraded as well, but this way he gets a real "workstation" (durable) board with a long warranty.
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February 10, 2014 11:17:10 PM

There was a reason, why I was so specific that it was 4770 and not 4770k.
4770k doesn't support TSX extension.
He dont need a z87 motherboard either, he might aswell go for a H87.
What is with the slow ram? He would actually see performance increase choosing higher frequency ram.


This build is actually within his budget.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-4770 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($294.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.98 @ OutletPC)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-H87-D3H ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($104.49 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 16GB (4 x 4GB) DDR3-2133 Memory ($169.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Corsair Neutron Series GTX 240GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($200.98 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Asus Radeon R9 280X 3GB Video Card ($328.99 @ Staples)
Case: Fractal Design Define XL R2 (Black Pearl) ATX Full Tower Case ($109.99 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA NEX750B BRONZE 750W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1289.40
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-02-11 02:16 EST-0500)
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