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Building new CAD computer...advice would be great!

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April 9, 2007 3:21:39 AM

It's been a looooong time since I built a home computer and it seems a lot has changed. Maybe some one on this forum has seen questions about building a computer to run SolidWorks CAD software. I may be able to save some people some time if they recall seeing anything about the subject.
Anyone seen the subject posted before? Otherwise, I really need help and have between $2~$3k to spend.

Thanks, I really appreciate the advice!
April 9, 2007 3:28:26 AM

Graphic intensive programs? Hmmm... I would suggest the following:

Video Card:
1) eVGA 8800GTX (x2)
2) PNY Quadro

HDD:
1) Seagate 1TB HDDs (x2)

Processor:
1) Quad Core[/list]
April 9, 2007 3:30:36 AM

SolidWorks is not THAT taxing on a system.....unless you plan on doing full 3D modelling and rendering??

Do you plan on using this system for gaming too? Also, do you need a monitor included in your budget, or just the tower?

The reason I ask is that as soon as people see the word "CAD", they automatically assume you need a Quadro or FireGL card. And that's simply not true, unless you're doing really high-end workstation stuff. I use AutoCAD 2005, Photoshop, Radiant.....and my 8800 handles them just fine.

$2-$3K is a boatload of cash for a good system.

Post some more details and you'll get some suggestions.
Related resources
April 9, 2007 3:32:52 AM

2k-3k is the only reason I suggested a Quadro. That is a "boatload" of cash man.

Hahaha! I shouldn't talk... Look down.
April 9, 2007 3:50:44 AM

2-3K is MORE than enough for a CAD setup, way more than enough and then some.....as long as it's not for workstation-type stuff. That sort of 3D work really needs dual quad-cores, 8 gigs of RAM, a Quadro card, RAID 0+1, etc.....that'll run 10K easy.
April 9, 2007 11:10:48 AM

I was trying to game on a server mobo from work. A Super Micro POS. It had dual quad xeons in it.It also had 32GB RAM....It doesn't even game that well for some reason.You can do SLi with Quadros right?

Can I do SLi with an 8800GTX and GTS?
April 9, 2007 12:10:53 PM

actually, i would really like to know if you can sli quadros... and what there performance is like in OGL games, lol, i have an older one and it flys in OGL games but i can't really compare it to anything...
April 9, 2007 12:38:28 PM

The new Quadros are not for gaming. It is ridiculous to buy one for gaming.
April 9, 2007 1:33:31 PM

All Quadros are not for games. Period. Any POS gaming card can beat them, no problem. And no, Proof, you can't SLI different cards.....they HAVE to be the same.


That's my point though.....how hardcore is this rig for CAD? If it's workstation-type stuff, then a Quadro might be necessary. But if it's for regular work, stuff you can do at home, etc......then any 3D card is fine. And you can get a good gaming rig for $2-3K that will also do CAD......2 birds with one stone ;)  But if it's strictly for CAD then that budget is actually kinda tight......so it entirely depends on the use.

The OP needs to clarify, or we'll sit here discussing it all day with no end in sight.
April 9, 2007 2:37:44 PM

Thanks everyone for the quick input. The machine I'm considering is not strictly for CAD work but would be used for that primarily. I don't currently do much rendering but will in the future. As for the SolidWorks design side, I want a machine that won't choke on medium size assemblies and common tasks. I've seen many posts while looking around mentioning Core 2 duo's (quad capable), about 4 Gb ram, etc. While that all sounds right on track, it's the Mobo, video card and memory that I need to hone in on. The Mobo I'm looking at is at newegg:

GIGABYTE GA-965P-DS3 LGA 775 Intel P965 Express ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

Video card: I hear many opinions about cards. One that handles SolidWorks well and works well for mild gaming would be fine

Memory: Timing seems to be really important as well as the mfg. I was considering Kingston or ???

As for the PSU, somewhere around 650w, Seasonic or PC Power And Cooling.

Okay, am I all spun out here or what?

Thanks!!
April 9, 2007 3:03:53 PM

DS3. Seasonic Energy Plus. Go with those FOR SURE. Look at my sig ;) 

Memory.....timings doesn't matter so much with Core2Duo.....speed matters. The C2D chips LOVE the speed, so the higher you can push the FSB for overclocking the better. I assume you'll be overclocking??

With your budget, however, you can easily get some DDR2-800 @ 4-x-x-x RAM at a decent price. So go for that. There are a bunch out there, whatever strikes your fancy really. If you plan on doing some hard overclocking, then look for RAM with Micron D9 chips in them. Buffalo Firestix, the black heatspreader G.Skills, Team Group......they all have D9's and good timings.

Now, about the graphics card. If you plan on doing some gaming, you really should get a decent 3D card. Any 3D gaming card will handle CAD applications. My old 7600GT handled AutoCAD no problem whatsoever, and even 3D modelling. That stuff is far more dependent on CPU speed and amount of RAM.....and you already have that covered. So basically, you should look at a graphics card that won't need upgrading in the near future. And for your budget, you may want to consider a DX10 card like the 8800GTS 320mb. It'll handle just about anything you throw at it, and will last you for quite awhile.

Lastly, OS. If you want to go with 4 gigs of RAM then you should consider a 64-bit OS. I *think* Vista 32-bit can only handle 3 gigs max, and XP 32-bit 2 gigs?? Can't remember, sorry. But keep the OS in mind for what you intend to do.

If you go with an E6600 CPU and OC it, along with 2-3 gigs of RAM.....well that'll chew through your renderings no problem. And your budget will cover that setup as well.
April 9, 2007 3:18:49 PM

Thanks again. Not sure if I'll overclock the board anytime soon as I'll most likely blow it up being a newb and all. Funny thing is that I actually work at a computer company and could learn more if I inquired with the integrators in the shop. I'm so removed from this stuff because I engineer the products but not integrate in any way. I just want to make sure that before I approach them, I sound like I've at least looked at into this a little.

Okay, so to recap....

- SeaSonic it is
- What do you think about the MoBO selection?
(GIGABYTE GA-965P-DS3 LGA 775 Intel P965 Express)
- do you have a fav. memory MFG? i've heard good things about Corsair, Kingston, etc. Opinions?
- I need to run a 64 bit OS but haven't yet ventured out of 32 bit XP pro. Vista is not an option currently as it's still twitching
- I already have a case, optical drive and a good connection with an LCD manufacturer so I'll end-up running dual 19"~21" LCD's.
*** This brings up the capability of the Video card I choose to be dual monitor capable (unless that's a given these days for higher-end cards)****

Again, your advice is greatly appreciated and desired. thanks
April 9, 2007 4:21:45 PM

Great motherboard.

RAM.....tons of choices. If you're not overclocking then any stuff will do, just get stuff for a good price. If you are overclocking, it really depends on how hardcore you wanna go, and personal preference. Kingston is good, but Team Group, Crucial is good too. To be honest, it's not really the brand per se, but the chips in them.....G.Skill is normally a cheaper RAM, but one of their products has Micron D9 chips in them so they're great, regardless of the brand name. Good chips are good chips.

Here's a listing of Micron D9's, these are guaranteed to kick A$$:
http://ramlist.ath.cx/ddr2/

As for graphics card, almost all modern cards can run 2 monitors quite easily. So then it's really a question of your budget and how good a card you want/need. I still think an 8800GTS 320mb will easily fit into your budget and will also last you quite awhile. Top notch card and won't break the bank.
April 9, 2007 4:47:35 PM

Skyguy, thanks! You make this stuff look easy. I believe I have a handle on where to go now.

Have a good one!

bryan
April 9, 2007 4:52:34 PM

No problem, dumbing it down is part of my charm LOL. I am blond afterall...... ;) 
April 9, 2007 5:45:51 PM

Noticed something about the RAM...

Quote:
Notice: Only DDR2-800 memory supporting JEDEC approved 1.8V operation with timings of 5-5-5 or 6-6-6 is supported on Intel Desktop Boards based on Intel 965 Express Chipsets.


So, looking like 1.8v is critical and timing is slowed a bit....

Here's some choices in memory per the requirements:
1) Kingston ValueRAM 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - OEM = $215.49
Timing: unknown
2) mushkin 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail = $179.99
Timing: 5-5-5-12

So, here's where I'm at..

Case: Thermaltake Tsunami VA3000BWA Black Aluminum ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - (Already purchased)

MOBO: GIGABYTE GA-965P-DS3 LGA 775 Intel P965 Express ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail $122.99

CPU: Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700 Kentsfield 2.66GHz 2 x 4MB L2 Cache LGA 775 Processor - Retail $970.00

memory: in progress

Hard drive: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3320620AS (Perpendicular Recording Technology) 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM $84.99 x2 = $169.98

PSU: SeaSonic M12 SS-700HM ATX12V / EPS12V 700W Power Supply - Retail $209.99

Artic Cooling freezer 7 Pro $59.99

Video Card possibles:

1) EVGA 8800GTS

Think I'm getting somewhere and excited about something fast and new!! Sweet! BTW, dumbing it down makes things go much faster for the decision making process. Call it what you'd like, it just works!
!