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How well will my system hold up for CAD and solidworks?

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Anonymous
June 13, 2011 9:58:16 AM

i recently built a gaming computer but i signed up be a mentor for CAD and solidworks for a local high school that has a F.I.R.S.T. robotics program. i did 2 semesters of CAD, pretty sure it was autodesk 2002, and one semester of rhino 3D in high school. i will also be taking a digital design course for the summer semester that includes CAD [not sure which version] and ill be taking another CAD class next semester. i have more experience than anyone else that has signed up to be a mentor so i will be in charge and i pretty much get to pick which program they use because i will be teaching it. they started their first season this year and did quite well for a rookie team, but they fell WAY behind when it came to digital design. they did quite well in every other aspect and built the best deployable mini-bot in the competition. i would also like to take my work home with me in college

i will be teaching them how to make the frame and chassis on either solidworks or CAD and how to modify both accordingly for each modification they need to make and other stuff [first gives you a few programs and you pick and choose which to use]. i will be using my own computer and bring it in each day for mentoring and for them to use it. the season wont start until around january so i have until then to prepare for teaching them and making myself as familiar to the software as possible

i still plan on doing a lot of gaming and i know workstation cards are not that great at it FPS wise and they are ridiculously expensive

system specs:
i5-2500k
MSI GTX 460 cyclone
gigabyte z68x-ud3p-b3
8gigs g-skill dual channel 1600MHz RAM
850W PSU
i will be getting a SATA II or SATA III SSD soon because my WD green SATA I drive is SLOOOOW in every sense of the word [irrelevant to budget]


my budget is $400 for hardware. my rig is obviously built for SLI in the future. i believe im still in the time range to return any hardware to newegg except for the GTX 460 which i bought in 2010. everything else, minus the HDD, is less than a month old

aslo any help with choosing between autodesk and solidworks for F.I.R.S.T. would help. how similar are they and which would be easier to teach and mentor? also how long would it take me to apply what i know from rhino 3D and the autodesk to familiarize myself with solidworks. i would like to get to know both and it seems like solidworks would be better for smaller things like robots. any advice and recomendations, links, tutorials, just anything will be helpful
Anonymous
June 13, 2011 10:12:28 AM

im helping the engineers of tomorrow, thats what it all boils down too
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June 13, 2011 2:56:09 PM

That build that you posted looks like it will be fine for CAD with the 2500k. I currently use a i5 750 and a 5770 and it gets by just fine. Even with dealing with complex 3D models that contain over 1000 separate DWGs at once.

As for your question as to which is easiest or what makes more sense I think I would have to say solidworks. I am a big promoter of autocad and it is definitely my CAD software of choice, but there is a distinct difference between autocad and solidworks.

Solidworks is a better environment for dealing with just one component at a time, such as your robot frame, chasis etc. This is the software that a lot of equipment vendors use, and even some platework detailing and fabrication shops.

Autocad is a much superior environment for dealing with a large 3D model, such as an entire plant, building, etc. However, it doesn't have the same complexity and capability in dealing with individual components as solidworks does.

Based on this I think solidworks is the obvious choice here. Depending on how proficient you are at autocad, I think you will be able to learn solidworks very easily. Autocad (based on my experience) is a bit easier to teach, but solidworks isn't that far behind.

I don't have any links to any tutorials off-hand, but I'm sure with a bit of searching you can find many CAD forums and discussion groups that will have a plethora of that kind of information.

If you have any other questions, feel free to post. I am quite familiar and experienced with Autocad and Solidworks as well as most CAD programs. Good Luck!
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Anonymous
June 13, 2011 11:08:55 PM

thank you JordoR, a few minutes after i wrote this i read a forum about the differences between autodesk and solidworks and i agree that solidworks is better for this application and i know from first hand experience that autodesk is best for large scale, but there is about a 9 year difference between the autodesk of 2002 and the current version so i though i might as well ask because a LOT can happen in 9 years. 2002 was barely 3D capable but i managed to design a pretty simple house in 3D, even my instructor didnt know how to use it for 3D, we mainly did 2D design, but i did a lot of experimenting on my own time.

so i wont have to do any hardware changes? thats nice to know, i want to SLI 460s
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June 14, 2011 1:56:22 PM

That is correct, you shouldn't have to do any hardware changes, especially since you are dealing with things on a much smaller scale (such as a single frame, whole robot assembly etc.) That's not to say your components wouldn't render and run better on a faster computer, but your your use it will be perfectly fine.

You have more than enough room to SLI 460's with your PSU so that is definitely a good upgrade for the future.

Another program that is in the autodesk family that I thought I should mention is Autocad Mechanical. I don't have any first hand experience with the program but upon asking a few colleages that have used it and quickly looking at autodesks website it looks like it could be very suitable for your application. It looks more along the lines of solidworks and the good thing is, it would be completely compatible with the whole autodesk suite of software. I might suggest just taking a look at this before making your final decision.

One other point that might make a huge difference here, is the price of the software. These CAD software programs are not cheap (as you are probably aware) with most of them ranging in the ~$5000 range. I don't know what your situation is and if you have any legit copies through yourself or this high school. However, it is possible in some instances to get free student copies of the software. If you already have the license then perfect, but if not I might suggest looking into this.
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Anonymous
June 16, 2011 1:06:03 AM

thats the reason i got an 850W PSU, its more than enough for SLI 460s. i will look into autocad mechanical. i am pretty sure FIRST has some deal with autodesk and solidworks because at the start of the season they send you a netbook with 2 profiles, one for creating, one for driving, plus all the software suite including both autodesk and solidworks plus everything you will need for programming. they send you a giant kit with all that and the motors, pneumatics, some metal, wheels, etc and you have a budget of i think $3000 for other parts [which you have to buy seperately], im not sure how much the whole kit is but i think its quite expensive. i installed solidworks 2 days ago, and its a legit copy, but i havent had time to play with it yet.
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