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Cheap-ish CAD/CAM computer for uni

Heya

So as the title says I'm after some new computer parts for university later this year, my current computer from 2009 is finally kicking the bucket (Athlon II x2 245e) and I think I'm more than overdue for an upgrade. I don't need it right now or possibly for the first year, however I will definitely need it by the second year when the computer heavy stuff starts (so about September 2016).

If this was computer gaming I wouldn't need to ask but since this is CAD/CAM I'm not too sure if the software prefers AMD or Intel, or needs a graphics card. I don't know what software I will be using (going to an open day in a couple of weeks so going to ask then), but its an aeronautical technology course. I have a new hard drive after my old one crashed and the dvd drive still functions perfectly so I am going to scavenge them.

I plan on some gaming at 1080p, but I'm not too fussed at detail, anythings an upgrade over a HD6570 (even if it somehow can play bf3 on ultra at 30fps on 900p)

TL;DR, for CAD/CAM whats some inexpensive hardware that'll see me through 4 years at uni for about £400, excluding a hard drive and dvd drive.

Many thanks

Twig
14 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about cheap ish cad cam computer uni
  1. You'll need around 8GB of RAM for faster work, and a Quadro wouldn't harm anything. I'll see what I can do for you. £400, right?

    Woody
  2. It can start there as a baseline and I can go over by a maybe an extra £100, and buy extra parts at a later date if needed.

    Twig
  3. Best answer
    Okay, got you an i3 4150, nice little processor with helpful hyperthreading and a good starting price point. Also can be upgraded to any better i5 or i7 if you consider more intensive work in the future.

    H97 motherboard. Lots of features, good price, no need for bios update. No overclocking for future K series processors though if you ever want that.

    8GB Kingston Fury Series. DDR3-1866 is good, fast RAM.

    Quadro K600, a great starter workstation card. Also quite cool, in that it's passively cooled. Means no dust, and no noise.

    Got you a cheap, 32GB SSD. You can move some of your most used programs over onto that and then you can experience super fast performance for whatever you do most.

    Also a very quiet, well made power supply from be quiet! They're a good company, I'll be using their 530W version in my future build.

    Finally, a good case with lots of room, lots of pre installed fans and some good features as well.

    What do you think? http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/p/Wqrsxr

    Woody
  4. Thanks, I'm not expecting much for £400, I'll probably go for this or a subvarient of. I will probably upgrade the i3 in future as I intend to keep it after university.

    Will the 1GB of VRAM be enough on the Quadro for some heavy simulations or large models? Or does it do some memory swapping with the 8GB system memory?

    Liking the case :D

    Twig
  5. There aren't many workstation cards out there with a lot of VRAM for that price. Even the equally performing FirePro V4900 has 1GB of VRAM. The Quadro however runs cooler and has better drivers for workstation tasks.

    Woody
  6. Ok thanks.

    Would spending an extra £20-30 on a K620 be worth it over a K600?

    Twig
  7. Nab moment, excuse my stupidity.

    The K620 is the direct successor to the K600, offering much more performance at the same kind of power draw.

    Woody
  8. Many thanks for your help :-)

    Twig
  9. I would salvage what you can from your old system. Ram, HDD, optical drive, possibly case, depending on the brand of system you are running.
  10. The ram is DDR2, incompatible with most (if not, all) of todays kit. Already said I'm going to scavange the HDD and DVD drive and unfortunately the case is just incompatible with everything, its got a custom AM3 based mobo (think of a backwards L-shape, M3R78L), case is an ASUS P2-M3A3200. Completely and utterly unupgradable :-(

    Twig
  11. It isn't AM3 if it is DDR2. It is an AM2+ board.
  12. Yep, my mistake, the CPU is AM3, the board is AM2+
  13. So, do y reckon you've got it sorted then? I hope it turns out really well for you.

    Woody
  14. Yeah I think its covered, I just need to wait for either this bucket of bolts to finally fall over, or mid 2016 turns up, whichever comes first. If it does take till 2016 I think Ill replace the parts up there for more recent versions. I hope it does too :D

    Twig
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