Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

3D AutoCAD needs more than integrated graphics

Last response: in Applications
Share
December 28, 2011 3:40:27 AM

Hello,

I have the following build:
i5-2500K @4.6GHz
P8Z68-V Pro motherboard
8GB DDR3 RAM (1333)
7200 RPM HDD
650 Watt Antec Earthwatts PSU
no discrete video card - just using Intel's IG 3000

I run AutoCAD mostly on this machine, but I do intend to use it for gaming also - I find that the system doesn't break a sweat at all doing 2D; but when I engage in 3D viewing and manipulation of models, it does slow it up, not a whole lot, but enough to notice - for example, zooming in and out of a model is a little choppy.

My question - Is the integrated graphics solely to blame for this (I can't see how it would be a shortage of RAM, and certainly not lacking in clock speed) - and if so, what moderately priced card would allow for seamless 3D design with small to moderately large files, using any/all the different basic rendering and viewing tricks integral to vanilla AutoCAD? Thanks.
December 29, 2011 3:07:37 AM

I am running at almost 4.7GHz now, and I still get choppiness when I am zooming in or out. I know that even 3D mode on regular AutoCAD is not supposed to be graphics intensive (unless actually rendering something), but doesn't it make a difference when the model has to be redrawn each time when zooming, I would think that the power of the graphics processor has something to do with this. Anybody have an idea? Would getting a mid-level discrete video card smooth things out? It is a small difference at first, but it starts to get old when the model doesn't respond almost instantaneously.
December 29, 2011 3:35:04 AM

I noticed something else - I cannot engage "hardware acceleration"; the button to do so (whether in the "manual tuning" section of 3dconfig, or the taskbar button) is grayed out, not letting me click on it. Is this because the software does not "like" the integrated graphics?
Related resources
March 18, 2012 1:48:53 AM

Yes, you do need a dedicated video card. In order to use hardware acceleration, you must have a video card. Using AutoCad 3D is actually extremley graphics intensive, even without rendering. I am a mechanical drafter by trade and do a lot of 3D modeling using AutoCad 3D. Due to this intensive graphics we are supplied with desktops that use AMD Radion 6850 videocards. Granted those aren't extremely powerful, they are necesary so that the load is not put on the CPU alone. I hope this was helpful.
July 29, 2012 5:13:54 AM

You will definitely need a dedicated graphics card, integrated may be fine for some simple 2d wireframe drafting... but not much more.

In addition, you don't need specifically a workstation card for drafting despite what some people might say. Right now I am running a i5 750 and a XFX 5770 and have no troubles. I do a lot of 2D drawings, as well as some complex 3D models with hundreds of XREF's.... and my computer does just fine. This is my home computer, at work (where I am a mechanical designer) I have a $5000 PC which is overkill, but I'm not going to complain when it is provided :) 

Your current CPU will be fine, and depending on your budget I can help recommend a graphics card for you. As I said, my 5770 handles 3D design just fine.
October 15, 2012 2:07:50 PM

I would highly recommend getting a dedicated graphics card. A 7870 would be a good balance of cost to performance. However, this all depends on your budget and resolution. In general, AMD/ATI cards are better at multi monitor and high Anti-Aliasing which is common in CAD programs.

The rest of your build looks great though.
October 17, 2012 9:30:48 PM

JordoR said:
You will definitely need a dedicated graphics card, integrated may be fine for some simple 2d wireframe drafting... but not much more.

In addition, you don't need specifically a workstation card for drafting despite what some people might say. Right now I am running a i5 750 and a XFX 5770 and have no troubles. I do a lot of 2D drawings, as well as some complex 3D models with hundreds of XREF's.... and my computer does just fine. This is my home computer, at work (where I am a mechanical designer) I have a $5000 PC which is overkill, but I'm not going to complain when it is provided :) 

Your current CPU will be fine, and depending on your budget I can help recommend a graphics card for you. As I said, my 5770 handles 3D design just fine.

Agreed 5770 has no problems . I run it with PII running at 4.3 ghz everything runs smoothly
October 24, 2012 8:46:52 PM

jerry6 said:
Agreed 5770 has no problems . I run it with PII running at 4.3 ghz everything runs smoothly



When you say "smoothly" does that mean you never get hesitation or lag when you zoom/pan/rotate etc. any given model? I have this one 3D model (not even that large file size) that, when conceptual style (or whichever one makes the model look solid) is enabled, causes hesitation and choppiness when performing those operations; and I have tried it out on various machines - I can't get total smoothness even on a Xeon workstation with a Firepro V5900 card (with acceleration turned on, of course), nor with a water-cooled i7 overclocked to 5Ghz, with two 560Ti's in SLI. Maybe there is something wrong with that particular file.
November 13, 2012 6:08:31 PM

@ebalong.

Yes I would suggest something is wrong with that particular model then. When I mentioned smoothly in reference to my 5770, I was referring to having no lag or choppiness when orbiting/panning/etc. my models rendered at conceptual or realistic. Sometimes though when models are just ridiculously detailed (threads on bolts on huge models, etc..) you will have problems no matter what. Then that comes down to CAD knowledge and what level of detail things should be modelled to.

Going back to your original question though, your integrated graphics is the cause of the problem.
February 7, 2013 12:20:28 PM

ebalong,


I 've used 2D AutoCad about 20 years and in the last three, increasingly 3D CAD, including Sketchup and am now learning Solidworks.

[Dell Precision T5400 / Xeon QC x5460 3.16GHz / 12GB RAM (DDR2 667) / Quadro FX4800 (1.5GB) / WD RE4 / PS 875W/ Win 7 Ult 64 ]

It seems to me that you have a very strong foundation computer for 3D CAD- and games- except for the GPU. I recommend a look at this article, "How To Build A Faster 3D CAD PC" which summarizes the jobs of the various components in a CAD workstation >

http://blog.grabcad.com/2011/07/how-to-build-a-faster-3...

The Intel 4000 integrated video seems to perform better in benchmarks tests than one would expect, bettering a number of dedicated graphics cards, and much of the task you mention having run badly are CPU speed oriented- especially rendering- which also involves core-count, but you will be amazed at the difference with a good dedicated graphics card. Autodesk lists "recommended" and "certified" cards for their applications >

AutoCad 2013 >

http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/syscert?siteID=123...

and you can download Autodesk tuned drivers for their applications>

It may be useful to consider the recommended cards for Revit, which is 3D and rendering intensive >

http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/syscert?siteID=123...

Notice that Autodesk stresses workstation cards like AMD/ATI Firepro but especially Quadro. Geforce are listed, as the GPU's are the same as Quadro, but are configured -some say "hobbled" to emphasize game performance and maintain much higher prices / profits, but in extreme workstations usage, Quadros do things that Geforces won't, and this is due to very particularized drivers. run my Quadro TX 4800 with a driver especially for Solidworks 2010 x64 , but I also use Adobe CS4 Master Collection and I could use is a driver just for that!

However, unless you are doing these extreme tasks, and/or very large files, complex assemblies, etc. requiring super-precision and certain sub-applications, you might try a Geforce that is similar to a higher end Quadro. One of the cards on both these lists - though not checked on the "Recommended" or Certified" is the nvidia Geforce GTX 285 (1GB), and which I used for about 2 years. This card uses the same GPU as the Quadro 5800- originally a $3,500 Card (with 4GB RAM), with a 512-bit memory bandwidth, 240 CUDA cores, and is just amazing in 3D. Of course as a gaming oriented card, it is very good at that. The drivers for Geforce emphasize frame rates while Quadro drivers stress accuracy- capable of up to 64X anti-aliasing- and single and double point precision. I haven't experienced it, but apparently there are some sub-applications in CAD like the multiple viewpoints in Solidworks that will not work or are dodgy on a Geforce. I had problems with bizarre shadow artifacts in Sketchup until I changed to a Quadro.

You might consider trying a used GTX 285 off eBay ($60-80 these days)- and consider the EGVA 2GB version -these are running about $100-120 now. My used 1GB ($140 then) was completely reliable for 2 years. Keep in mind the GTX 285 takes a lot of power-204W off of 2X6 pin power connectors, but your 650W PS should handle it. If there's enough power, you can also try 2X the 1GB in SLI and the number of cores and memory bandwidth may run faster than a single 2GB. For evaluation, download and run the free 30-day trial version of Passmark Performance Test on your current integrated configuration, change to the GTX 285, and run again. Then, install the Autodesk driver. Try the games you play and record the frame rates before and after. I believe you'll see amazing improvements in pans, orbits, and zooms and games' frame rates.

If the GTX 285 works for you, and you got a good deal, and really want to fly 3D, you can probably resell the 285 for at or near your cost, and then try a GTX 580 3GB- with 512 cores, GDDR5 memory and a 192 GB/s memory bandwidth.

Cheers,

BambiBoom
February 24, 2013 6:53:31 PM

RE: Dramatic Performance Improvement changing from Onboard to Dedicated Graphics Card

ebalong,

Here's a convincing example of the performance enhancement of a system in which only change is using a dedicated graphics card in place of the integrated GPU.

Running Passmark Performance Test 8.0 on my mother's Athlon II X3 450-based next- door- neighbor- brew computer "Grandma's TurboKitten 3000" [3.2GHz 3-core, 4GB RAM, MB> Gigabyte M68MT-S2, Win 7 Home] using the GeForce 7025 nForce 630a integrated graphics which uses/shares 256MB of system, the benchmark rating was atrocious- an overall score of 262. In the baseline list of Athlon 450 computers, the top ranked has a score of 2159, [ASUS M5A 78L MB, and OCZ Vertex SSD, and significantly, a Radeon 6670].

TurboKitten 3000 achieved the second lowest score for this CPU. While the CPU, memory, 2D, and disk scores were not miles away from other systems with this CPU, the 3D score was dramatically awful. Where the top Athlon 450 system had a 2D / 3D of 542/1635, TK3000 scored 420 in 2D and an abysmal 24 in 3D ! The lowest rated system had a 3D score of 19! and sure enough, it was using GeForce 6159SE nforce 430, another, earlier incarnation of integrated graphics. The "n" in nForce must stand for "no" as the best performance in 2D on Passmark is a score of 511. That's really not bad at all, and even worries me a bit as my Dell Precision T5400 with a quad core Xeon 3.16GHz, and a Quadro FX 4800 (1.5GB) scores 512. However, the FX4800 3D is 912 whereas the best 3D of the 7025 / noForce 630a is 40. Worst 2D is 119 and the worst 3D is 4!

To make a long story short, I decided to find the best specification card I could for the lowest eBay Buy It Now price- so as not to spend forever on it- and quickly found a Newegg eBay offer of an EGVA GeForce GT 240 , "manufacturer refurbished" for $30 and including shipping. The 128 bit GT 240 was never a brilliant device- about $100 in it's prime, but it has 1GB of GDDR5 memory, 96 CUDA cores, a memory bandwidth of 54.4 and reasonable clock speeds, plus VGA, DVI, and HDMI ports. I liked the 70W power rating of the GT 240 too (TK3000 has a 430W PS) whereas my previous card in the T5400, a GTX 285 took 205W and it looks as though about all the GTX cards grab a lot of electrons.

The GT 240 arrived in only 4 days, and seemed to be a new card in an EGVA box. I popped it in, without disabling the integrated graphics as I tried to get into the BIOS/ setup without success- never saw a spin up setup prompt- what the hell key is it?, plugged the 21" Acer into VGA, updated the driver through Control Panel > Device Manager and ran Performance Test 8.0 again.

Results were dramatically better. While the CPU. memory and disk were similar, the rating improved from 262 to 1394! with the significant numbers being the 2D/ 3D going from 420 / 24 to 449 / 976 . In the Windows Experience Index, memory improved from 5.9 to 7.0- did the shared graphics memory cause a bottleneck?, Aero graphics from 3.9 to 6.7, 3D business/ gaming graphics went from 3.3 to 6.7. As the 3D score of 3.3 was the lowest parameter in the WEI, the overall score went from 3.3 to the new lowest- the 5.9 of the Disk, which everyone in the world must have who doesn't use an SSD,..

While I've seen some respectable rating results from the i7 integrated HD4000, and the onboard graphics of the upcoming Haswell CPU are supposed to be quite a bit better, I think this example, while using many words, tells a simple story. If you do anything with 3D, look at the degree of improvement possible by changing from integrated to dedicated graphics after 20 minutes' card hunting and $30!


Cheers,

BambiBoom




























!