We have the monitors we are going to use and have researched some of the parts. We are using Civil 3D and AutoDesk 2008.
here is the budget breakdown by part feel free to suggest other things.
Case and PSU.......100
VC......................250 (Which Nvidia Card or other brand would you recommend)
Intel E6550...........200 (Any suggestions????)
No Mobo yet.........100 (Any suggestions????)
Any suggestions as to different parts or anything else would be much appreciated. (feel free to linger outside the budget)
Case (No PSU) = $50
Decent PSU = $100
HDD = $120
GPU = $280
CPU = $280 (Q6600)
Ram = $200 (4GB of ram)
Mobo = $130
I'd recommend a Centurion 5, Corsair 520HX, 500GB Seagate Barracuda, 8800GTS, Core 2 Quad Q6600, 4GB of Crucial Ballistix DDR2 800, and a GA-P35-DS3R mobo.
Pretty much a gaming machine geared more towards CAD (4GB of ram instead of 2 and Q6600 instead of E6750). And honestly if you cannot get yourself to pay the extra $150 I seriously think you should go save a bit more, because maybe for the occassional CAD user 2GB of ram and a dual core would be perfect, but for a machine especially made for work purposes the 4GB ram and Q6600 are a necessity.
if the budget is limited you may consider Core 2 Duo E6750 and 2GB DDR800. But if you are going to pay 280$ for VGA, go for ATI FireGL v3600 as it is CAD/... oriented Card. I would suggest ATI anyway, especially for non-gamers.
check if you can find a p965-based Supermicro Mobo, if you can not afford the P35-based model.
While AutoCAD is not a very good multi-threaded program at present, any visualizations ARE multi-threaded. And I don't think it will be long before the core program also will benefit from more cores. My experience from architects shows that they are heavy multi taskers, so
Thats why I would recommend a quadcore Q6600 as a a minimum, if the budget does not allow for any fancy dual-quad Xeon workstation.
RAM is also very important: Get at least 2GB, better with 4GB.
While you won't be running a 64bit version of Windows today, during the next few years you probably will. Start with Windows XP 32bit now, and plan to upgrade to 64bit Vista during late 2008 or 2009.
Autodesks 2007 series programs do not work very well in Vista or 64bit.
Motherboard: Get a good P35 board (like the Gigabyte P35 series).
Harddisk: At your budget drop RAID or SAS. Just a single 500GB SATA drive will do quite nicely.
Graphics...... what a problem. At your budget you can't afford any real CAD card - they a too expensive. But get a card with dual DVI outputs, as one of the biggest productivity enchancements of any CAD station is using dual monitors.