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Computer for Boss

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April 20, 2009 10:09:13 PM

Hey all,
My boss has asked me to put together a new system for him to run his CAD/CAM programs on. Needless to say, this will require some serious power, and he doesn't want to have to upgrade the whole system again in the near future. This is my proposed list of parts. I have been given a budget of $2500-$3000 AUD. My parts reseller is next door and the site link is (http://www.itestate.com.au).

CPU: Intel i7 920 (2.66Ghz)
RAM: 6GB DDR3 1600Mhz Patriot pc12800 8-8-8-24
Mob: Intel i7 EVGA 132-BL-E758-A1
GPU: EVGA 9800GTX (superclocked version) (this card is being chosen because it was used for a month by a co-worker and it's a solid card)
HDD: 2x 1TB Samsung 32MB Sata-300
PSU: Seasonic 700W
Case: Thermaltake Soprano
Monitor: Asus LS 201 (this was chosed because it fits into the space I need by 6mm (1/4") )

Please give me any hints or thoughts about this. Thanks all!

More about : computer boss

April 20, 2009 10:12:27 PM

Looks good!
April 20, 2009 10:31:52 PM

Jeffos said:
CAD/CAM programs ..... serious power
What CAD/CAM programs is he using?
What is his current system like? Especially interested in the video card he has now.
Related resources
April 20, 2009 10:38:11 PM

what is the price of the system as you have spec.d out?
April 20, 2009 10:48:46 PM

You might want to upgrade that video card, it's a bit out dated now.


Try going for a gtx 260/280 or a ati 4870/4870X2

Those cards are twice as good as the 9800 GTX which is out dated and will need to be updated very soon.
April 20, 2009 10:55:02 PM

The current price AUD is just under $2200.

He is using Solidoworks, Delcam, Mastercam, and a few others I don't know about.

At the moment the system is an old HP workstation running a P4, with 1GB of DDR RAM, and is using an old school Radeon FireGL 128MB. But his OS is the biggest problem. He's got data on there that he CANNOT lose and he was smart enough not to back up... ever. Most CAD/CAM programs now, won't run on Windows 2k. xD
April 20, 2009 11:03:51 PM

as this is a business expense, did you consider running a workstation graphics card like the nvidia quadro? I ask because I am looking to build a similar system for architecture school.
April 20, 2009 11:06:41 PM

Jeffos said:
he was smart enough not to back up... ever.
Are you saying the data still isnt backed up?

Here is a THG article that compared using a gaming graphics card performance against workstation card performance:
Gaming Vs. Workstation: GeForce GTX 280 And Quadro FX 4800
I know a Quadro FX 4800 isn't in the budget but if he is a serious Solidworks user you probably want to get him a workstation graphics card.

Elsewhere in that article you can find Solidworks benchmarks.
Now if he's a just casual CAD/CAM user you can get by with the "free" 9800GTX.
April 20, 2009 11:43:19 PM

I have asked him about Workstation cards, and saying that they are very very good. But, given the kind of rendering on SW we do, then it really isn't a huge issue. We don't render stuff with 10 000 elements. It is as close to casual as you can get in an industrial workshop. So he's going to go with the 9800GTX, because it's cheaper, reliable, and solid.

The data is still not backed up as far as I can tell. I'm the main tech guy when it comes to workplace stuff. Viruses, hardware issues, I even gave him my old PSU because his one blew up. And the system currently running is an emergency upgrade from the last thing!

The old system was a P2, 1GB SDRAM, 80GB IDE 2MB HDD with NO GPU. You should have seen the faces of the tradesman trying to work with a system so slow.

GPU isn't an issue. And all these parts are coming a little bit cheaper because we know a guy who's their 10th best customer so we get cheaper components.

Should I install the new OS, and then just plug in the old one? I'd be pasting some small shortcuts to find old files easier. What do you think?
April 21, 2009 12:13:19 AM

Can you buy from newegg? it would save you loads of money.
April 21, 2009 1:28:40 AM

I checked out newegg. It's cheap alright, but the reseller i've chosen is just as cheap. Maybe a few dollars more. Plus they're close. I mean, really close. I can take a photo on my phone from where I am and be looking inside their store... literally like 10 metres from the front door of work.
April 21, 2009 1:44:48 AM

First things first - get that data backed up.
April 21, 2009 2:11:56 AM

Cheers. I'll pass that onto him.

New question. Backing up in the new system. Is RAID worth it? Because I don't want partial data stored on one. I want mirrored HDD's. So if one carks it, then the other can be boot from and there's no difference.
April 21, 2009 3:27:26 AM

No I have not started the build yet. The only reason why I chose the Patriot RAM is because i'm using Patriot at the moment, and i've never had a problem with it. Ever. Plus, while the Corsair stuff is brutal, the purpose of this system won't require that amount of RAM. the Patriot stuff should do the job just fine.
April 21, 2009 4:53:36 PM

RAID-1 isn't a bad idea. But it's just part of a good backup plan not a substitute for making backups.
Do you think you really need two 1 terabyte HDDs? Going from 80GB to a terabyte of storage seems a bit much.
April 21, 2009 5:23:19 PM

I would say that the corsair dominator ram linked above is overkill. That is really only useful if you're going to some extreme overclocks. It doesn't warrent the extra ~$80 bucks.

I would be looking at these instead...better timings too:
OCZ Gold 1600mhz
OCZ Platinum 1600mhz
G. Skill 1600mhz (loser timings verison)

As for hard drives:
I'd say take a look at the WD Black series. There fast and pretty reliable.
WD Black 1TB You could buy two and do a raid 1. That way You'll always have another hard drive mirroring incase of the unthinkable happens.

I'm also going to agree with the other posters that you might want to think about stepping it up to the gtx260 or gtx 280. The 9800 is starting to fall into the old techonolgy bucket. If you keep the 9800 that will most likely be the week part of your build (aka bottleneck).

I know your most likely not purchasing your parts from newegg but I gave links just so you can get a refference to the items I'm talking about.
April 21, 2009 10:00:34 PM

I agree that 2TB is overkill. But I offered him that 2x 500GB would be suitable. And he just seems to be wanting more HDD space. As for the RAM, the reseller i've chosen has it. So I'm looking at that. Why would this be better than the Patriot anyway?
April 21, 2009 10:10:06 PM

The only big difference is that the OCZ Platinum has tighter timings and will therefore run a bit faster. Also, I think the OCZ is specifically designed for the i7 platform, but I'm unsure about the Patriot.
April 21, 2009 10:12:50 PM

Well I was looking to get the G.Skill stuff. That's the only other RAM that this reseller has which you have listed. And because we won't be pushing this system to anywhere NEAR it's breaking point, then I don't really see the use in having RAM that will work so fast the computer will start moving along the workshop floor.
April 21, 2009 11:08:25 PM

Nice :p  I would go with the Patriot personally, but ask your friend in the shop, and go with whatever you prefer in the end. :) 
April 22, 2009 2:27:06 AM

I'm not sure of the pricing you have avialable but honestly i'd just pick the cheapest 3x2gb ram kit avialable that is 1333mhz or higher if you don't play on doing any over clocking or anything.
April 22, 2009 3:06:26 AM

That's true, but this is meant to last for some period of time, and it is useful to look at differences like latency and stability in the long run if you want to keep the same amount of RAM
April 22, 2009 3:24:10 AM

The silly thing is, that half the CAD/CAM programs we use aren't compatible with a 64 bit OS. That's what I was told. But my boss is getting me to get the components which can handle a 64 bit OS, but we won't be using the extra stick of RAM lying around until we get to a 64 bit OS.

The other choice is what operating system to put on there. One guy here reckons that XP32 bit is good. But I would have to disagree. As it is, Vista is newer, and windows '7' will be around soon. So what do you think about that?
April 22, 2009 9:35:13 PM

Go 7, but get xp until then if you need an OS. Go xp if you have it now.
April 23, 2009 12:01:05 PM

Something to keep in mind is that having only a 32 bit os will greatly hinder what your computer can do. This is because of addressing spaces available. 2^32 = 4gbs worth. So in otherwords windows xp/vista 32 bit can only see 4gb's of ram. This also includes the vidoe ram as well. So of that 4gb's ~.5 will be eaten by your i/o devices. Another 1gb (depends on how much your graphic card has) will be eaten up due to your graphic's card so now your at ~2.5gb's left of useable address for your ram. So out of your 6gb's of ram you'll be buying only 2.5 gb's can be actually used.

I just want to bring this to your attention that you're putting shackles on your computer till you get some sort of 64bit os. Most 32 bit applications should be able to run on a 64 bit OS as well. NOT all but most. So i don't think that'd me as much of an issue as you might think.

@vortexprog
when talking about the ram as long as it's a common name brand, (kingston, ocz, g.skill, crosair ...ect) he should be fine. The only thing that would make me start slimming that list down for him is if he was planning on doing some sort of an overclock or was going to be messing with voltages which he said he doesn't have plans to. If that's the case then I'd start being much more selective of what ram kits i'd be throwing in.
April 23, 2009 3:28:39 PM

A 32bit OS would be OK. The minor advantage of having a full 6GB of RAM vs the 3.2~3.5GB you'd see is nothing compared to being able to actually run the software you need.
If you already have WinXP 32 go ahead and use that. But if you need to buy an OS I'd suggest Vista32.
April 23, 2009 6:26:10 PM

Cad programs are more taxing on the amount of ram that you have than a lot of other programs. Yes i also agree that if you have to get a 32 bit OS and don't have one pick up vista vs winxp.
April 24, 2009 1:39:52 AM

I'll check out what programs will work on the 64 bit stuff. But I won't go '7' when it get's here. i don't like getting an OS that isn't run in and updated first.
Plus theres compatibility. with a new OS. I'm doubtful even Vista will run everything we need. But i'll look into it. XP is still a solid OS when used by a competent administrator.

I'm aware of the RAM situation as well. So i'll tell my boss about it, but he's the sort of guy who doesn't care about getting too much... He'd prefer it. So that later on when we do get 64 bit programs of everything we need, then he'd be sweet and not have to bother upgrading or buying new RAM.

Parts SHOULD be getting ordered today. Thanks HEAPS for the tips everyone. I'll let you know how I go!
!