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CAD build

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January 29, 2009 1:49:57 AM

My Father asked me to build a system for CAD. I'm also planning to build one for myself.

I have some dated experience with LAN/WAN (Cisco, Novel 3x/4x) and VidConf (Polycom/VideoServer), but haven't built a PC from the ground up.

After reading many reviews at this site, I priced the following from Newegg.

Details:

MB: GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD4P LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard ($259.99).
#Don't want to skimp on MB and understand this manufacture is very good for OC.

Case: (1a) COOLER MASTER HAF 932 RC-932-KKN1-GP Black Steel ATX Full Tower
PSU: (1b) COOLER MASTER UCP RS700-AAAAA3 700W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS SILVER
(Combination price) ($269.98)
#Don't think I need more watts, unless I use 3x GF GTX 285.

CPU: Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor ( $294.99)
#I will need to OC to at least 3GHz for the CAD machine, but if needed will ~shudder~ spring for one i7 965.

CPU Cooling: Noctua NH-U12P SE1366 120mm SSO CPU Cooler ($84.99)
(Note: only 120mm cooler fan for 1366 socket listed at Newegg I found.)
#Know nothing about this cooler, but think I need a 120mm fan.

GPU: XFX GX285NZDFF GeForce GTX 285 1GB 512-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card ($349.99)
#Should I spring for more ? IMU more cards will give you better frame rates for gaming, but don't know if this is applicable for CAD.

SDRAM: Mushkin 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory ($204.99)
#Confused about RAM. Stock i7-920 is limited to 1066MHz, but when OC will need RAM with tighter timing, such as this or Crucial Ballistex 1600 ?

Western Digital VelociRaptor WD3000HLFS 300GB 10000 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s ($459.98) (Note: this is for two drives for RAID, in this example mirroring)
#Was thinking of adding a small SSD Intel X25-M 80 GB (399.99) for OS and Apps, but mixed reviews here.

DVD: LG Black 6X BD-R 2X BD-RE 16X DVD+R 6X Blu-ray DVD-ROM 4MB Cache SATA Internal Blu-ray Burner Super Multi Blu-ray Disc Burner & HD DVD-ROM Drive Model GGW-H20L - Retail (229.99)
#Haven't a clue, OEM version used on one of the builds here. I'm hesitant to use OEM due to lack of experience.

Card reader: SIIG JU-91RW12-S4 9-in-1 USB 2.0 Card Reader/Write + Floppy ($54.99) (Yes, Floppy also, please don't beat me senseless)
#Will need a floppy on one of the machines.

Keyboard/Mouse: Logitech 967557-0403 Silver/Black USB + PS/2 RF Wireless Slim Cordless Desktop S 510 ($47.99)
#This appears to be the best value at Newegg for a non-gaming machine.

Speakers: JBL DUETAL 12 Watts 2.0 Speaker ($39.99)
#Same as above.

LCD: HP LP2475w Black-Silver 24" 6 ms (GTG); 12ms Widescreen LCD Monitor ($609.99)
#Understand Dell has an e-IPS LCD available in Australia for half this price, but not sure if e-IPS equates to H-IPS

Comes in at about $2,907.86, which is $500.00+ over the $2,500.00 build here.

Is there anything here that is questionable ? I'm not tied to Newegg, just a convenient source.

Suggestions or comments appreciated.

btw I will need to copy some data files from an EIDE HD. Is this possible to do with SATA controller ?

More about : cad build

January 29, 2009 2:16:55 AM

Anyone with experience work with workstation level GPUs vs. desktop/gaming level GPUs? Yeah, the hardware is about the same, but drivers make the difference. To sum it up the $2000 workstation GPU sucks at gaming, but there has to be value somewhere for the market to support that price.
January 29, 2009 2:51:56 AM

Run those raptors in Raid 0 for your OS system/applications. Then get 2 1tb WD Caviar black drives in Raid 1 for your data. The Intel SSD's are incredible, but not worth the price.

Do not get the i7-965, the 920 will reach an OC of 3.8 ghz on air, if you really put time and effort into it and have a good mobo, it will go higher.

Don't get that PSU, its a shady model, the only Coolermaster PSU's worth getting are the Real Power Pro series that are over 800w, others have a relatively high failure rate. Look at Corsair PSU's or PC Power&Cooling PSU's.

From what I understand, CAD is more a CPU intensive app than GPU, so if this machine isn't going to be used for gaming, you don't need that GTX 285, you could go with a 9800GTX or Radeon HD 4850. But if there is a chance that you will game with this rig, then stick with the GTX 285.

For coolers, that Noctua is very good, but a bit overpriced IMO. I would go for the CoolerMaster V8 or wait for the V10 to come out (interesting looking design, kinda unique). They are great coolers and have Red LEDs to match your HAF case.

Motherboard: I would go for the GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD5, its the next step up from that one and has more features, the UD4P is something I would suggest for someone who is on a tighter budget.

Stick with that ram you picked out, Its very good and cheaper than most other ram at that performance level. To get the ram to run at the right speed, when you overclock your i7 CPU, you up the BCLK and the ram multiplier times the BCLK gives you the ram speed.
Related resources
January 29, 2009 2:55:55 AM

You have to consider what CAD program he is going to use, since different ones have different requirements.

I've used AutoCAD for the past 20 years and it doesn't need a quad core nor does it need a fancy GPU. We are also using Revit now and it uses a quad core for some things but not for most of its work. It will make use of some GPU's, the ATI FireGL's are recommended for it.

What these programs really like is a lot of CPU power in a single core. My new workstation uses an E8500 at 3.8GHz, 4GB of ram, a WD Velociraptor 300 for C:, an ATI FireGL V3600 video card.

Other programs however might make better use of a quad core and/or a more powerful GPU.
January 29, 2009 2:56:53 AM

What kind of CAD work?

If its drafting and engineering you do NOT need a high powered gfx card . Basic rendering is going to require the cheapest quietest $40 card . Large 3d animations might benefit from a heavy duty gfx card .

For 4 years we ran SOLIDWORKS on a 2.8 gig pentium 4 with very basic nVidia card . Most of the work was automotive body components . Rendering was instantaneous . And thats on a computer with about a 10th of the cpu power and 2% of the gfx power .


Just in case you didnt get it the first time : DO NOT USE A GAMING GFX CARD ... esp a noisy leaf blower of a card that will probably have your dad praying to become deaf

January 29, 2009 4:24:29 AM

Yeah just get like an HD 3650 or something if there won't be any gaming done on this machine.

Been doing some research, looks like for CAD Nvidia Quadro FX would be the best way to go, but those cards are spendy. Here is a cheap one:
http://compeve.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&pro...

Here is a more expensive one:
http://www.compuvest.us/ProductDetails.aspx?ProductID=3...

Here's top of the line:
http://www.katerno.com/detail/s/50598/p/VCQFX5800-PCIE-...

Mind you, those are the best deals I found on those cards, other places sell them for hundreds more.
January 29, 2009 5:42:53 AM

calinkula said:
Anyone with experience work with workstation level GPUs vs. desktop/gaming level GPUs? Yeah, the hardware is about the same, but drivers make the difference. To sum it up the $2000 workstation GPU sucks at gaming, but there has to be value somewhere for the market to support that price.


Thank you for your reply. I'm also attempting to give a modest "gaming" experience, my father does have grandchildren and great grandchildren, so a bit of "bragging" rights would be beneficial, as the kids play on "his" machine :bounce:  .

Primary consideration is still CAD applications.
January 29, 2009 6:01:52 AM

Well since there will be some gaming, and the video cards that are designed to assist in CAD are so outrageously expensive, I would say just go with a normal gaming graphics card. If you want a 26" monitor, I would say get a GTX 280 or 285.
January 29, 2009 7:36:28 AM

xthekidx said:
Run those raptors in Raid 0 for your OS system/applications. Then get 2 1tb WD Caviar black drives in Raid 1 for your data. The Intel SSD's are incredible, but not worth the price.

Do not get the i7-965, the 920 will reach an OC of 3.8 ghz on air, if you really put time and effort into it and have a good mobo, it will go higher.

Don't get that PSU, its a shady model, the only Coolermaster PSU's worth getting are the Real Power Pro series that are over 800w, others have a relatively high failure rate. Look at Corsair PSU's or PC Power&Cooling PSU's.

From what I understand, CAD is more a CPU intensive app than GPU, so if this machine isn't going to be used for gaming, you don't need that GTX 285, you could go with a 9800GTX or Radeon HD 4850. But if there is a chance that you will game with this rig, then stick with the GTX 285.

For coolers, that Noctua is very good, but a bit overpriced IMO. I would go for the CoolerMaster V8 or wait for the V10 to come out (interesting looking design, kinda unique). They are great coolers and have Red LEDs to match your HAF case.

Motherboard: I would go for the GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD5, its the next step up from that one and has more features, the UD4P is something I would suggest for someone who is on a tighter budget.

Stick with that ram you picked out, Its very good and cheaper than most other ram at that performance level. To get the ram to run at the right speed, when you overclock your i7 CPU, you up the BCLK and the ram multiplier times the BCLK gives you the ram speed.



Thank you for your reply.

Do you think 600 GB is necessary for OS and Apps via RAID 0 ? I was thinking that RAID 1 would be good for "auto" back-up of data and a very fast drive for OS and Apps could be backed up less frequently. There is some distance from where I live and my parents and they, like me, can be somewhat remiss in doing the appropriate measures for data recovery.

I was thinking that around 3.5 GHz OC would be a more conservative compromise, due to travel distance limitations to fix problems, but I "know nothing", so can experiment on secondary build.

PSU, will do more research, this was a "bundled" package for the MB, may be a reason.

CAD, from my understanding, is CPU intensive, but "hope" that some of the younger "gaming" generation can do some "ohs and awhs" with granddad.

Thanks for your suggestion on coolers.

MD: as I don't want to skimp, an extra $50.00 on per build sounds reasonable.

Per Newegg, quoted Mushkin RAM is out of stock and deleted from my cart. Need to do more research, very quickly.

I have additional messages on this topic. Will reply after some shut-i. Appreciate the response from all.
January 29, 2009 8:01:10 AM

The whole point of raid 0 is performance. The whole point of raid 1 is conservation of data. You will not get a performance boost from raid 1 but your data will be very secure. You will get a large speed boost from raid 0 but your data is half as secure, both have their advantages and disadvantages. If the performance isn't that big of an issue, as they are 10,000rpm drives anyway, I would just buy 1 velociraptor and not bother with raid and save some cash. WD is very reliable and those drives come with 5 year warranties, WD could not offer this if failure was common.
January 29, 2009 8:05:00 AM

For a "modest gaming experience" on that monitor, look at HD 4870 or GTX 260 core 216 if you want to save some money over than GTX 285.
January 29, 2009 5:58:22 PM

cadder said:
You have to consider what CAD program he is going to use, since different ones have different requirements.

I've used AutoCAD for the past 20 years and it doesn't need a quad core nor does it need a fancy GPU. We are also using Revit now and it uses a quad core for some things but not for most of its work. It will make use of some GPU's, the ATI FireGL's are recommended for it.

What these programs really like is a lot of CPU power in a single core. My new workstation uses an E8500 at 3.8GHz, 4GB of ram, a WD Velociraptor 300 for C:, an ATI FireGL V3600 video card.

Other programs however might make better use of a quad core and/or a more powerful GPU.


Not sure of which CAD app will be used, but probably a product from AutoDesk, hoping my father can help me when he becomes an out patient.

He's retired, but used dedicated graphic workstation for atmospheric science experiment platforms for NASA.
He'll use CAD for this machine for design/architectural. Mom wants a new house.

I do have a friend who does CAD work and he mentioned the 3GHz requirement, but like you he uses a single core.

I can be flexible, as I can use the rejects for my machine which has less demanding requirements.

I have to reexamine the graphics card, other posts suggest the 285 is for gaming and may not be appropriate for CAD.
Note: My only experience with gaming is I played Doom a few times many years ago, but the gaming community does push the envelope on hardware, which is why I try to pay attention to them.

Thanks for sharing your CAD experience.
January 29, 2009 8:06:42 PM

Outlander_04 said:
What kind of CAD work?

If its drafting and engineering you do NOT need a high powered gfx card . Basic rendering is going to require the cheapest quietest $40 card . Large 3d animations might benefit from a heavy duty gfx card .

For 4 years we ran SOLIDWORKS on a 2.8 gig pentium 4 with very basic nVidia card . Most of the work was automotive body components . Rendering was instantaneous . And thats on a computer with about a 10th of the cpu power and 2% of the gfx power .


Just in case you didnt get it the first time : DO NOT USE A GAMING GFX CARD ... esp a noisy leaf blower of a card that will probably have your dad praying to become deaf


He'll use CAD for this machine for design/architectural. Mom wants a new house. Grandkids will play games.

Dad does have to use hearing aids.

Thought the video card was my less controversial selection based on the reviews here. Oh well, will check out the posted video suggestions and re-read reviews.

Thanks for the feedback.
January 29, 2009 10:09:16 PM

xthekidx said:
Yeah just get like an HD 3650 or something if there won't be any gaming done on this machine.

Been doing some research, looks like for CAD Nvidia Quadro FX would be the best way to go, but those cards are spendy. Here is a cheap one:
http://compeve.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&pro...

Here is a more expensive one:
http://www.compuvest.us/ProductDetails.aspx?ProductID=3...

Here's top of the line:
http://www.katerno.com/detail/s/50598/p/VCQFX5800-PCIE-...

Mind you, those are the best deals I found on those cards, other places sell them for hundreds more.


I went over to Auto Desk and checked the Getforce 9xxx and 8xxx series.
These cards are recommended and supported for 2008 and newer software.
I venture the 28x and 29x would work also, but didn't see them tested

It appears OpenGL needed the more expensive cards.
Auto Desk dropped OpenGL and switched to DirectX in the 2008 and newer versions.

It appears Auto Desk users are happy about being able to use the *cheap gaming* instead of the expensive professional cards with this switch to DirectX.

Thanks for your reply. Hope the OpenGL info is helpful.
January 29, 2009 10:42:07 PM

xthekidx said:
Here's some good bang for your buck ram, not the best thing out there but very good and at a very reasonable price for 6gb 1600mhz
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Thanks CL 8 (8-8-8-24) It appears 12gb on a ASUS board requires a drop to 1333MHz, which is not an issue with my build.
January 30, 2009 1:58:04 AM

Quote:
Do you think 600 GB is necessary for OS and Apps via RAID 0 ?


We tend to go crazy with hard drive space lately, which is OK because it is so cheap and readily available. My current machine has stuff stored on it, photos, downloads, programs, apps, digital photos, that I've been saving since the beginning of time, and the total space used on its hard drive is about 80GB. The average person doesn't need much space. If they save lots of movies, music, maybe digital photos, they can use up a little more space.

Quote:
It appears Auto Desk users are happy about being able to use the *cheap gaming* instead of the expensive professional cards with this switch to DirectX.


Autocad will run fine on almost ANY video card. I work on large building models with my basic video card. I even work quite a bit over the internet via remote desktop, where all of the display information is sent over the internet then through wifi to my laptop, and even this works pretty well. Buy whatever video card you want, but don't think you have to buy anything beyond a plain VGA card to run autocad.
January 30, 2009 6:56:33 AM

The way I see it, CAD will likely be run on anything you put together here. What drives the build here is that Great-Granddad should have a "Ferrari" to take the little ones out for a spin when they come over. Given his technical background, I'm sure all these little details matter to him and despite what you've said about "primary CAD, gaming on the side", it seems to me that this is really more like "drive a Ferrari to work" because I'm an enthusiast.

So with that in mind, a few comments for your build:

PSU: You will need 850W for nVidia SLI, preferably Corsair 850TX or PCP&C's 860 watter. 750W for a single nVidia card.

CPU: You don't need an i7 965 Extreme, just get the best heatsink and OC the 920.

CPU heatsinks: The Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme 1366RT is the best, but expensive. Scythe Mugen 2 is a better value. If you want to show off a bit, then look at the upcoming Xigmatek Thor's Hammer.

Mobo: Don't get the Gigabyte EX58-UD5 unless you need the extra features over the EX58-UD4P, as it's a waste of money. Asus P6T Deluxe is also an excellent overclocking board, but wait for the V2 if possible. If you want to be different, there's always the Asus P6T6 WS Revolution...

RAM: The black heatspreader Mushkins at 7-8-7-20 timings (#998679) would be my first choice, but there's also the G.Skills at CL7 (link) or the Corsair Dominators (link) if you want the better finned heatsinks.

Simple storage solution: 1 Velociraptor for main and then one slower drive (640GB WD Caviar Black or Samsung Spinpoint F1) for storage / backup / mirror, etc. You could always keep your data on the main drive and backup to the second, thus avoiding RAID, etc. And just burn important backups to DVD. I assume that with your family's technical ability, creative partitioning will not be a problem.

If you don't mind the added complexity, then RAID 1 for data drives is ideal in your particular situation--"automatic" backup, as you say.

Note that the larger modern HDDs are fast because of their high platter density. That's what we get them for, not just because we need 1TB of storage (which we don't).

Blu-Ray: The Blu-ray *burner* is a waste of money, just get a Blu-ray *reader* (e.g. LG GGC-H20L) and burn any discs in DVD format to save money. If you're not using this rig for home theatre purposes at all, then just get a $25 DVD burner.

OEM optical drives are fine, because the mobo comes with a SATA cable to connect it. Retail versions come with software, though.

Floppies are useful for those rare occasions--doesn't hurt to have one.

Do you need a "special" mouse for precision movement, like the Logitech MX Revolution or something like that?

If you want a fancy LCD monitor with an unusually high quality screen, suggest the 24" Samsung 245T, with the S-PVA panel.

The mobo has an EIDE port for your old HDD.

Notwithstanding the discussion on video cards for CAD (which makes things pretty easy), if you want bragging rights with the great-grandkids, then look to scale GTX 285 cards--that'll give 'em plenty to brag about in Crysis... and Great-Granddad will be the one going ooohh, aaahhhh, look what my *CAD* station can do!!! :bounce: 


P.S. For your "regular" CAD station: E8600 / Asus P5Q Deluxe / Corsair Dominator DDR2-1066 / Xigmatek HDT-S1283 / PCP&C Silencer 610 / Velociraptor 300GB :sol: 
January 30, 2009 7:28:01 AM

NEVER buy a workstation video card.
You can easily softmod an low end nvidia gaming card into a workstation card that costs 10x as much.
January 30, 2009 7:58:48 AM

cadder said:
Quote:
Do you think 600 GB is necessary for OS and Apps via RAID 0 ?


We tend to go crazy with hard drive space lately, which is OK because it is so cheap and readily available. My current machine has stuff stored on it, photos, downloads, programs, apps, digital photos, that I've been saving since the beginning of time, and the total space used on its hard drive is about 80GB. The average person doesn't need much space. If they save lots of movies, music, maybe digital photos, they can use up a little more space.

Quote:
It appears Auto Desk users are happy about being able to use the *cheap gaming* instead of the expensive professional cards with this switch to DirectX.


Autocad will run fine on almost ANY video card. I work on large building models with my basic video card. I even work quite a bit over the internet via remote desktop, where all of the display information is sent over the internet then through wifi to my laptop, and even this works pretty well. Buy whatever video card you want, but don't think you have to buy anything beyond a plain VGA card to run autocad.


It's taking me a while to digest information from this board and I have made adjustments to my proposed build.

I'm still investigating GPU's , but still may go for the 28x/26x series. It's probably overkill, then again a little entertainment may be worth the price, at least for the younger set.

Storage is still an issue, may still go for the SSD for OS and apps, but step back to 7200 on drives for data over RAID 1, there are logistics which I have to consider, i.e. data recovery.

Anyway ... thanks for your thoughts, which challenges the confused, which I'm a proud member.
January 30, 2009 11:00:59 AM

For PSU get this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
PC Power & Cooling 750
$70 after MIR

You DO NOT need a 800W PSU for SLI. See: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-radeon-powe...
Look at GTX280 SLI, max 3D draw is 390W. A good 750W PSU (ie Corsair/ PC Power & Cooling) will work fine.

Also there is a kit for Core i7 and XIGMATEK HSFs. See: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
and http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
January 30, 2009 11:19:58 AM

AutoCad started supporting DirectX about a year ago- since than OpenGL went to its rightful place- dumpster and unlucky OS users (mac, linux...)

Aside from being faster and looking better than OpenGL, D3D (part of DirectX) isnt artificially limited to work properly on workstation cards. This means that your gaming card would work as good, and likely better than workstation cards. For one it would work better since there isnt gtx 285 quadro equivalent yet. The best quadro has to offer is Quadro fx 5800, that is gtx 280 chip with 4gb ram.

Since you're not going to use more than 512mb of video ram (guaranteed), you dont get to own 3gb of useless extra ram, but you get a faster card.

If you want almost 2x faster card, go for ATI 4870 1gb version. Due to difference in architecture, pure vertex transforming power of this card is more than 10x greater than gtx 280. This doesnt transform into better gaming performance (unless you play like me with 8x aa), but it does transform into better CAD performance.

Note- there are too many things to explain here. but know just this. Both cards are really fast and 4870s victory is on paper only, since both cards can transform more than a billion of polygons in real time. 4870 comes out as a winner due to price alone. That and if you game at 8x anti aliasing.
January 30, 2009 11:38:23 AM

^eodeo, do you happen to play Spore? Your sig looks like some thing from the game... ;) 
January 30, 2009 2:19:47 PM

Quote:
P.S. For your "regular" CAD station: E8600 / Asus P5Q Deluxe / Corsair Dominator DDR2-1066 / Xigmatek HDT-S1283 / PCP&C Silencer 610 / Velociraptor 300GB


Here is what I spec'd for my CAD workstation, after lots of reading on this site:
Case: Antec 300
PS: Antec 500W
CPU: E8500 @3.8GHz
Mobo: Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3R
CPU cooler: ZALMAN CNPS9700
Memory: Corsair TWIN2X4096-6400C5
Hard drive 0: WD Velociraptor 300Gb
Hard drive 1: 1Tb WD
Video: ATI FireGL V3600
DVD RW drive: Pioneer DVD RW
OS: WinXP

We use AutoCAD2009 and Revit Structure 2009

AutoCAD alone will run on fairly modest hardware (years ago I started by running AutoCAD on an original IBM PC at 4.77MHz) but Revit needs all it can get. Plus we have third party add-ons for AutoCAD that are written in much slower languages and slow down AutoCAD by a lot when they are in use.

Re: DirectX... isn't that only under Vista? I remember reading that under XP AutoCAD would use OpenGL, but under Vista it would/could switch to DirectX. Or was it that DirectX9 was available under WinXP but AutoCAD required DirectX10 which wasn't available until you switched to Vista?
January 31, 2009 6:17:33 AM

Akebono 98 said:
The way I see it, CAD will likely be run on anything you put together here. What drives the build here is that Great-Granddad should have a "Ferrari" to take the little ones out for a spin when they come over. Given his technical background, I'm sure all these little details matter to him and despite what you've said about "primary CAD, gaming on the side", it seems to me that this is really more like "drive a Ferrari to work" because I'm an enthusiast.

So with that in mind, a few comments for your build:

PSU: You will need 850W for nVidia SLI, preferably Corsair 850TX or PCP&C's 860 watter. 750W for a single nVidia card.

CPU: You don't need an i7 965 Extreme, just get the best heatsink and OC the 920.

CPU heatsinks: The Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme 1366RT is the best, but expensive. Scythe Mugen 2 is a better value. If you want to show off a bit, then look at the upcoming Xigmatek Thor's Hammer.

Mobo: Don't get the Gigabyte EX58-UD5 unless you need the extra features over the EX58-UD4P, as it's a waste of money. Asus P6T Deluxe is also an excellent overclocking board, but wait for the V2 if possible. If you want to be different, there's always the Asus P6T6 WS Revolution...

RAM: The black heatspreader Mushkins at 7-8-7-20 timings (#998679) would be my first choice, but there's also the G.Skills at CL7 (link) or the Corsair Dominators (link) if you want the better finned heatsinks.

Simple storage solution: 1 Velociraptor for main and then one slower drive (640GB WD Caviar Black or Samsung Spinpoint F1) for storage / backup / mirror, etc. You could always keep your data on the main drive and backup to the second, thus avoiding RAID, etc. And just burn important backups to DVD. I assume that with your family's technical ability, creative partitioning will not be a problem.

If you don't mind the added complexity, then RAID 1 for data drives is ideal in your particular situation--"automatic" backup, as you say.

Note that the larger modern HDDs are fast because of their high platter density. That's what we get them for, not just because we need 1TB of storage (which we don't).

Blu-Ray: The Blu-ray *burner* is a waste of money, just get a Blu-ray *reader* (e.g. LG GGC-H20L) and burn any discs in DVD format to save money. If you're not using this rig for home theatre purposes at all, then just get a $25 DVD burner.

OEM optical drives are fine, because the mobo comes with a SATA cable to connect it. Retail versions come with software, though.

Floppies are useful for those rare occasions--doesn't hurt to have one.

Do you need a "special" mouse for precision movement, like the Logitech MX Revolution or something like that?

If you want a fancy LCD monitor with an unusually high quality screen, suggest the 24" Samsung 245T, with the S-PVA panel.

The mobo has an EIDE port for your old HDD.

Notwithstanding the discussion on video cards for CAD (which makes things pretty easy), if you want bragging rights with the great-grandkids, then look to scale GTX 285 cards--that'll give 'em plenty to brag about in Crysis... and Great-Granddad will be the one going ooohh, aaahhhh, look what my *CAD* station can do!!! :bounce: 


P.S. For your "regular" CAD station: E8600 / Asus P5Q Deluxe / Corsair Dominator DDR2-1066 / Xigmatek HDT-S1283 / PCP&C Silencer 610 / Velociraptor 300GB :sol: 


Thank you for your insightful comments. Ferri would be too flashy for Dad, but he would opine a Lexus is a fine means of transportation and just because it comes with that $1k+ stereo system doesn't distract from it's primary purpose, but then again, father almost ran a police car off the road while he was passing, several years ago. "look what my *CAD* station can do!!!" is very succinct. :D 

One video card so 750w PSU = Corsair CMPSU-750TX or PCP&C's (favorite flavor ?, Newegg has some good sales on the PCP&C 750w).
(If the grand kids want more they can get hands dirty and wallets lighter and add more cards and a beefed up power supply.)

The i7-920 appears to be the heads up favorite.

Any preferred link for the Scythe Mugen 2, I couldn't find at Newegg ?

I'm guessing the extra features of the Gigabyte EX58-UD5 are the extra PCI2 and SATA ? Newegg has a combo price for the i7-920 and UD5 for 558.98. The UD4P (239.99) + i7-920 (294.99) =534.98. Do you think the extra $24.00 for the extra features (more PCI and SATA) would be wasted. I have no idea if these features offer any benefit over the UDP4.

Having a hard finding Mushkins at 7-8-7-20 timings (#998679) in stock. Any suggestions ?

Thanks for your explanation of the HD relationship between high platter density, capacity, and throughput.

The overwhelming advice I received is not to get the SSD (Reviewed as so fast, but not worth the cost). I was also informed that only the real power users ever came close to using 80 GB. With that in mind, how about RAID 1 (2x159.99=319.98) Western Digital VelociRaptor WD1500HLFS 150GB 10000 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive (bare drive). Don't know what "bare drive" means.

As for partitioning, I use to order Compaqs, their drives had a small partition for system files (backup of BIOS, etc), which I guess they did to keep the user from deleting these files. If I use RAID 1 then I don't think partitions would be beneficial.

Placed Blu-Ray "reader" LG GGC-H20L in cart.

You got me here "..."special" mouse for precision movement, like the Logitech MX Revolution...", it appears this is for scrolling large documents, is this useful for CAD ?

I read that H-IPS was a better mfg process than S-PVA. I haven't heard any more news on Dell's e-IPS LCD panel. Have any reviews on 24" Samsung 245T ?

The build for me is just a number crunching, database machine. A use of RAID 0 here may be beneficial, as my understanding is that database files derive better performance via RAID 0. There are other RAID methods, but they maybe be a bit esoteric for these builds.
January 31, 2009 12:36:33 PM

If you will only use one Video card, a 650w PSU would probably do fine, even for a GTX 295 (although that might be pushing it). However, if you can't find a good deal on a 650w PSU to beat the price of the 750w PC P&C PSU, you might as well get that one. Look at Corsair, PCP&C, Antec earthwatts, Thermaltake Toughpower, or Seasonic PSU's.

You can find almost any motherboard+i7 920 combo at newegg right now, so that UD4P is also in a combo, about $50 less than the UD5 combo.

As far as that memory goes, its a fairly popular item and is out of stock at least half the time. I am currently using these and very happy with them, running @1600 7-7-7-20 1T. Sadly also out of stock, if either one of them get in stock I suggest you get them.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I don't think its necessary to spend over $40 on a mouse. I have this one and its just fine:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
January 31, 2009 8:56:38 PM

jyjjy said:
NEVER buy a workstation video card.
You can easily softmod an low end nvidia gaming card into a workstation card that costs 10x as much.


Reading the hardware discussions at AutoDesk, here is one about OpenGL and video cards.

http://discussion.autodesk.com/forums/thread.jspa?threa...

Per one Post;
"...With 2008 Autodesk wrote a version that did not need to use OpenGL because Microsoft
dropped writing support for OpenGL into Windows with the advent of VISTA. In fact read the
discussions in this forum about how AUTOCAD 2008 runs faster with Directx than it does with
OpenGL no matter if you are using a gamer's card or a workstation card."
February 1, 2009 12:20:48 AM

Shadow703793 said:
For PSU get this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
PC Power & Cooling 750
$70 after MIR

You DO NOT need a 800W PSU for SLI. See: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-radeon-powe...
Look at GTX280 SLI, max 3D draw is 390W. A good 750W PSU (ie Corsair/ PC Power & Cooling) will work fine.

Also there is a kit for Core i7 and XIGMATEK HSFs. See: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
and http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Thanks. It looks like "A good 750W PSU (ie Corsair/ PC Power & Cooling) will work fine." is the consensus of the replies.
February 1, 2009 12:35:10 PM

^ You see, the difference between Corsair PC Power & Cooling and other manufactures is that they don't advertise the MAX Watts, they advertise the most stable Wattage for that PSU.

W=A*V

See

The total MAX output for the 750TX is 180 + 720 + 9.6 + 15=924.6W, and NOT 750W. This leaves the 750TX with quite a lot of head room. The 750W comes from the burn in testing that Corsair dose and determined that it is the sweet spot.
February 2, 2009 5:39:07 AM

Shadow703793 said:
^ You see, the difference between Corsair PC Power & Cooling and other manufactures is that they don't advertise the MAX Watts, they advertise the most stable Wattage for that PSU.

W=A*V

See
http://c1.neweggimages.com/NeweggImage/productimage/17-139-006-03.jpg
The total MAX output for the 750TX is 180 + 720 + 9.6 + 15=924.6W, and NOT 750W. This leaves the 750TX with quite a lot of head room. The 750W comes from the burn in testing that Corsair dose and determined that it is the sweet spot.

Thanks for the post. Consumer education is a must in this current business environment.
February 2, 2009 7:18:59 AM

Here's a link for the Scythe Mugen 2 at Heatsink Factory: link.

The red PCP&C Silencer 750 is still one of the best deals around at $90 on Newegg (after MIR). It's red colour has been one of the "running jokes" in this forum, but for those in the know and with non-transparent cases, they're laughing all the way to the bank...

EX58-UD5: 2 extra SATA ports, dual LAN ports, copper vs. aluminum heat pipe, slightly better cooling design (look at the top view), but probably not critically important in your case. $24 is not a big difference, and I don't think that the extra features are necessary for you, but I wouldn't mind paying $24 extra for the better cooling design.

You can buy the RAM direct from Mushkin's website for $212.84, plus $10 shipping. However, it looks like Mushkin is having the same stockout problems as Newegg--that RAM is just too good.

OCZ RAM is great, but can sometimes be problematic.

Good point on the 150GB Velociraptors in RAID 1--probably all you need here.

Bare drives are fine--the mobo comes with SATA cables for drive connection, the case comes with the drive screws, and you can download the WD disk tools from their website if you like. Just register the drives with WD for the warranty.

Mouse: Just thought that if Great-Grandpa's hands are not as good as they used to be (especially after a stroke), then something with an extremely ergonomic grip might help with fine movements. Perhaps it is best to take him to a local store and try out the various shapes to see what he likes. The "baseball" sized mouse that comes with the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Desktop 7000 gives a great grip too.

Here's the AnandTech review on the Samsung 245T: link. Can't go wrong with either S-PVA or S-IPS.

For your own needs of high throughput, then RAID 0 is the way to go. However, keep in mind that if you're working on a database, then your data backup solution becomes paramount as well. And as with anything else, simplicity is always a good idea--no need to use 5 drives in Matrix RAID here.

With PSUs, I'm always one of those "bad guys" that seem to be overdoing it a bit--I always prefer a little more margin on this component, as power delivery is complex. With PSUs, the key spec to look for is the amperage rating on the 12V rail (because that's where the main power draws are) and to keep it in that sweet spot (i.e. below 85% of the 12V continuous).
February 2, 2009 8:45:51 AM

Akebono 98 said:
Here's a link for the Scythe Mugen 2 at Heatsink Factory: link.

The red PCP&C Silencer 750 is still one of the best deals around at $90 on Newegg (after MIR). It's red colour has been one of the "running jokes" in this forum, but for those in the know and with non-transparent cases, they're laughing all the way to the bank...

EX58-UD5: 2 extra SATA ports, dual LAN ports, copper vs. aluminum heat pipe, slightly better cooling design (look at the top view), but probably not critically important in your case. $24 is not a big difference, and I don't think that the extra features are necessary for you, but I wouldn't mind paying $24 extra for the better cooling design.

You can buy the RAM direct from Mushkin's website for $212.84, plus $10 shipping. However, it looks like Mushkin is having the same stockout problems as Newegg--that RAM is just too good.

OCZ RAM is great, but can sometimes be problematic.

Good point on the 150GB Velociraptors in RAID 1--probably all you need here.

Bare drives are fine--the mobo comes with SATA cables for drive connection, the case comes with the drive screws, and you can download the WD disk tools from their website if you like. Just register the drives with WD for the warranty.

Mouse: Just thought that if Great-Grandpa's hands are not as good as they used to be (especially after a stroke), then something with an extremely ergonomic grip might help with fine movements. Perhaps it is best to take him to a local store and try out the various shapes to see what he likes. The "baseball" sized mouse that comes with the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Desktop 7000 gives a great grip too.

Here's the AnandTech review on the Samsung 245T: link. Can't go wrong with either S-PVA or S-IPS.

For your own needs of high throughput, then RAID 0 is the way to go. However, keep in mind that if you're working on a database, then your data backup solution becomes paramount as well. And as with anything else, simplicity is always a good idea--no need to use 5 drives in Matrix RAID here.

With PSUs, I'm always one of those "bad guys" that seem to be overdoing it a bit--I always prefer a little more margin on this component, as power delivery is complex. With PSUs, the key spec to look for is the amperage rating on the 12V rail (because that's where the main power draws are) and to keep it in that sweet spot (i.e. below 85% of the 12V continuous).


As always your comments are insightful. Will digest this info in awhile. By the time stamp, believe you are located at GMT-0, I'm at GMT-5.
February 3, 2009 5:16:33 AM

Glad I could have been of assistance. And it doesn't hurt to take your time on a build.

Funny thing about the time stamp, from where I sit, this website's clock always seems to show Continent time (GMT+1). I'm actually in GMT-8.
February 3, 2009 5:26:31 PM

Akebono 98 said:
Glad I could have been of assistance. And it doesn't hurt to take your time on a build.

Funny thing about the time stamp, from where I sit, this website's clock always seems to show Continent time (GMT+1). I'm actually in GMT-8.

Had some meetings with Polycom folks, several years ago, in the GMT-8 locale.
I guess the server is located at GMT+1 (Paris ?) and applies time stamp.
I have been informed that UTC is a better term than GMT.

Still working on monitor, but stumbled upon
http://www.tftcentral.co.uk
which gives a great deal of info on monitor technology.

Finalizing build, will post soon. Muskin is now in stock.
February 3, 2009 5:56:47 PM

Yeah those mushkins are in stock, but don't count on them being in stock for too long. Last time I saw them in stock was 2 weeks ago and it only lasted 3 days. Those stick are very popular. If you want them, you better buy them soon.
February 3, 2009 10:01:12 PM

xthekidx said:
Yeah those mushkins are in stock, but don't count on them being in stock for too long. Last time I saw them in stock was 2 weeks ago and it only lasted 3 days. Those stick are very popular. If you want them, you better buy them soon.

Too l-a-t-e .... out of stock. :cry: 
February 3, 2009 10:18:21 PM

Lol 1.5 days this time around. I wonder if it will take 2 more weeks before they get another shipment.
February 4, 2009 5:22:14 PM

Akebono 98 said:
Glad I could have been of assistance. And it doesn't hurt to take your time on a build.

Funny thing about the time stamp, from where I sit, this website's clock always seems to show Continent time (GMT+1). I'm actually in GMT-8.


Modified CAD with modest gaming ability build.
After reading the reviews and the many insightful views of members of this board, I have settled on the following.
Note I switched to a Mid Tower case, downside to a 22" monitor that is IPS. The Corsair RAM is a place holder till Newegg gets Mushkin CL 7 back in stock. I have not been able to find an alternative vendor.
Should I get an after market thermal paste for the cooler ?

Anyway, let me know if your son was getting any of these for you, you would disinherit him. :o 

CASE: NZXT TEMPEST Crafted Series CS-NT-TEM-B Black Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower
MB: GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD4P LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX
CPU: Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core
Cooler: Scythe Mugen 2 CPU Cooler - SCMG-2000
Memory: CORSAIR DOMINATOR 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Model TR3X6G1600C8D
Video: SAPPHIRE 100259-1GL Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready
Monitor: UltraSharp 2209WA 22-inch Black Widescreen Flat Panel
Power: CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC
HD OS/Apps: Western Digital VelociRaptor WD1500HLFS 150GB 10000 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb
HD Data: RAID 1 (2)xWestern Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s
DVD: LG Black Blu-ray/HD DVD-ROM & 16X DVD±R DVD Burner SATA Model GGC-H20L
Reader: Nippon Labs ICR-EE All-in-one USB + FDD1.44
Keyboard: Microsoft Natural Keyboard Elite
Mouse Logitech MX518 2-Tone 8 Buttons 1 x Wheel USB + PS/2 Wired Optical Gaming-Grade
Speakers: JBL DUETWHT 12 Watts 2.0
February 4, 2009 6:35:24 PM

^ Nooo.... get a G5 :p  ;) 
February 4, 2009 7:54:48 PM

Shadow703793 said:
^ Nooo.... get a G5 :p  ;) 

Re-read your posts to see if I could determine what G5 means and failed. Newbe question, what is G5 ?
February 5, 2009 12:23:56 AM

I have that mouse you selected and am very happy with it. 1600 dpi is plenty I think, and the difference isn't huge between that and 2000...but w/e.

Do get aftermarket thermal paste for that cooler, the grease that comes with coolers usually sucks. I suggest this, its non-conductive so it won't fry your mobo if you spill and cools better than any other grease I have seen. I used it with my stock cooler when I still had it on my system and it brought my temps down by ~4C:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If you feel like you could spend $30 more, I would suggest the TRUE as a cooler, its the king of coolers.
February 5, 2009 4:53:19 AM

1894949,42,375806 said:
I have that mouse you selected and am very happy with it. 1600 dpi is plenty I think, and the difference isn't huge between that and 2000...but w/e.

Do get aftermarket thermal paste for that cooler, the grease that comes with coolers usually sucks. I suggest this, its non-conductive so it won't fry your mobo if you spill and cools better than any other grease I have seen. I used it with my stock cooler when I still had it on my system and it brought my temps down by ~4C:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Added paste to cart.

Since I will get disinherited if I spend more than $40 on a mouse, will do search on the G5 mouse to comply.

Doesn't matter on being disinherited, I'm already committed to the Mugen-2 cooler, i.e. ordered.

Oh well, since I've worked as a CFO (very small corporate entity), I'm qualified to be your greeter at Wal-Mart. :hello: 
February 5, 2009 5:40:04 AM

A lovely build--it strikes just the right note of "a Lexus with a $1000 stereo". And I would sure love to game (or CAD) on that baby!

The only disinheriting factor would be the box of that Sapphire video card--just make sure it doesn't find its way into Dad's basement... or maybe you could just bring it up at his 100th birthday party!

The G5 gaming mouse is a nice one--if you're really picky you can change the weights on it, which you cannot do on the MX-518.

Definitely use MX-2 thermal paste. Remember--less is more when installing.

One item is missing, the OS--Vista Home Premium 64-bit, SP1.

Can't find the monitor on Dell's website, but just confirm that the monitor is HDCP compliant so that you can watch Blu-ray on it (99.9% probability that it will be).

And one final thing--when moving it to Dad's house, be really careful because the heatsink will have been installed. Deliver it in a vehicle with soft suspension and lay the case down on its side so that the heatsink is standing up. Try to pack some stuffing around the heatsink if possible. Everything else can withstand the shocks easily, but the cantilevered heatsink can always crack the mobo with enough of a shock. Better yet, build it at his house!
February 5, 2009 7:08:36 AM

Maybe you can spring for the TRUE when building your own PC ;) 
February 5, 2009 8:33:17 PM

Akebono 98 said:
A lovely build--it strikes just the right note of "a Lexus with a $1000 stereo". And I would sure love to game (or CAD) on that baby!

The only disinheriting factor would be the box of that Sapphire video card--just make sure it doesn't find its way into Dad's basement... or maybe you could just bring it up at his 100th birthday party!

The G5 gaming mouse is a nice one--if you're really picky you can change the weights on it, which you cannot do on the MX-518.

Definitely use MX-2 thermal paste. Remember--less is more when installing.

One item is missing, the OS--Vista Home Premium 64-bit, SP1.

Can't find the monitor on Dell's website, but just confirm that the monitor is HDCP compliant so that you can watch Blu-ray on it (99.9% probability that it will be).

And one final thing--when moving it to Dad's house, be really careful because the heatsink will have been installed. Deliver it in a vehicle with soft suspension and lay the case down on its side so that the heatsink is standing up. Try to pack some stuffing around the heatsink if possible. Everything else can withstand the shocks easily, but the cantilevered heatsink can always crack the mobo with enough of a shock. Better yet, build it at his house!

I think he'll be able to tolerate an ugly Sapphire video card, since he'll never see it. :kaola: 
Put the G5 mouse and MX-2 thermal paste in the cart.

This is the Dell 22" e-IPS monitor link. $299 + tax, but free shipping. I heard you could have got it for $209 & free shipping at the end of Jan.
http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/products/Displays/pr...

Monitor is HDCP compliant.

Already bought Vista Home Ultimate 64-bit, SP1.

Won't put the cooler on till I'm ready to over clock. Just do a stock build, deliver to house before Dad gets out of rehab and do the final touches.

I've downloaded the build tutorial from Gigabyte. Any preferred tutorials for DIY builders and overclockers ?

I tried Mushkin's site, they're out of stock on the model 9998679. I can't wait much longer to pull the trigger on this later. Dad is scheduled to get out by the end of the month.
February 5, 2009 8:40:35 PM

Dell monitors are very nice, but overpriced, just like their PC's. I think you should go for the Samsung 2433BW.
February 5, 2009 8:43:16 PM

I think you should go for this ram, I have them and they ran at 1600mhz 7-7-7-20 1T before I overclocked, they are very nice. The price just dropped from $269.99 to 179.99, so they are affordable again, and I bet that price won't last for long.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
February 6, 2009 2:52:11 AM

xthekidx said:
I think you should go for this ram, I have them and they ran at 1600mhz 7-7-7-20 1T before I overclocked, they are very nice. The price just dropped from $269.99 to 179.99, so they are affordable again, and I bet that price won't last for long.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Thanks saw it and added to cart.
Changed the motherboard to EX58-UD5 because Mom thought it would be nice if I put their old PC in the boathouse, so will use the 2nd NIC to connect a wireless router.
The folks at the Hardforum, LCD thread, who purchased it think this monitor is the greatest thing since white bread. Will see, but at $300 I'll use it on my build if things don't work out.

Anyway, will wait till Saturday, at the latest, to pull the trigger.
!