Budget CAD Build


BUDGET RANGE: under $1000 USD


PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, Mouse, OS (got Windows 7 64-bit)


PARTS PREFERENCES: I like the same things everyone else likes

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe (why not right?)

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Only if it's cost effective. Wouldn't be against doing it as an upgrade


ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: This is for my friend who is going to be starting his own business in about a year and he is going to be doing purely CAD on this computer. He is working for an engineering company now that is going to require him to have a computer at home that can run Civil 3D now though, so he can't wait on this build. One of the engineers that works for the company said they need 'the newest and fastest computers' to run it successfully. I'm assuming that means something prebuilt though so they probably aren't actually the newest and fastest. Anyways the system requirements for Civil 3D are:

* Microsoft® Windows Vista® Ultimate/Business/Enterprise or Microsoft® Windows® XP SP2 or SP3. Microsoft Windows XP 64 and Windows Vista 64 are supported in 32-bit compatibility mode only.
* Intel® Pentium® 4 or AMD Athlon® dual-core processor, 3 GHz or higher with SSE2 technology
* 4 GB RAM – suggested /3GB switch (on 32 bit operating systems)
* 7 GB disk space, 2 GB free after installation
* 1,280 x 1,024 display with true color, 1,600 x 1,200 or greater recommended (OpenGL® accelerator with full OGL ICD support not required), 32-bit color video display adapter (true color), 128 MB or greater, Direct3D®-capable workstation-class graphics card. Multiple monitors are supported.
* Microsoft® Internet Explorer® 7.0 or later.
* DVD drive

The specs don't seem that intimidating, but I'm thinking a computer with those specs would have some serious issues with large rendering projects. From what I know, most CAD programs are CPU intensive and RAM intensive. I would really, really like to fit an i7 into this build if possible. If not, then definitely a quad core. Here is one potential list I put together last night:

Mobo: ASRock X58 Extreme http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157163

PSU: OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817341017 (I'm not sure if this PSU is good enough, but it seems like an amazing deal after the reabte)

CPU: Intel Core i7 920 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115202

HD: Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136073

Monitor: ASUS VH226H Black 21.5" http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824236051

DVD: LG Black 22X http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827136153

RAM: G.SKILL 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231230 (this was the first thing I saw on the search that seemed good, but I don't know much about DDR3 RAM)

I looked at video cards but I didn't really know. I read the latest article that gave a recommendation to the Radeon 4770, but to me it seemed like a 4850 or 4830 was just as good. Don't want to pay too much for one though. He is most definitely planning on upgrading this build over time, which was kind of making me think a cheaper video card now wouldn't be a big deal. Also another reason to get an i7 build that will be good for awhile. He doesn't care about his case at all, he just wants to save money. I was thinking of just getting some pretty cheapo case and then adding a couple fans. Anyone have suggestions or ideas? Thanks in advance!
9 answers Last reply
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  1. Quote:
    Mobo: ASRock X58 Extreme http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6813157163

    PSU: OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6817341017 (I'm not sure if this PSU is good enough, but it seems like an amazing deal after the reabte)

    CPU: Intel Core i7 920 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6819115202

    HD: Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6822136073

    Monitor: ASUS VH226H Black 21.5" http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6824236051

    DVD: LG Black 22X http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6827136153

    RAM: G.SKILL 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6820231230 (this was the first thing I saw on the search that seemed good, but I don't know much about DDR3 RAM)

    I'd say all are pretty good choices except that ASRock board. It's a decent board but I prefer a better reliability board: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128375

    I haven't used Civil3D (but I have used Inventor/SolidWorks) and these CAD software benefit from the extra cores/threads.

    Get this RAM: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231225
    It's only a few $$ more.

    Do you plan to really Overclock? If so, you need a after market cooler like the Core Contact: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835207004
    and LGA1366 bracket: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835207005
    ~$35-40 after MIR with bracket.

    Here is a good cheap case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129042
    Antec 300. No fancy LEDs,etc but it's a very good case.

    As for graphics, if he isn't gaming, no point in getting a 4850/4870/4770. This will do: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814121320
    ASUS 9600GSO, $40 after MIR. Good enough for most daily tasks and some decent gaming (new games, ie Crysis,etc) at 1280*1024.
  2. Thanks for the response. ^_^

    I remember looking at that board when I was going through, but I was confused by the fact that it had 4 DDR3 slots. In the picture the third slot is blue, so I'm assuming if you run triple channel you put the sticks in 1,3, and 4. But if you are running triple channel, would you even use that blue slot for anything? (I'm still switching to it anyways)

    As for the RAM the same thing as before, I don't know a whole lot about DDR3, but I read this article: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/memory-scaling-i7,2325.html and I kind of got the impression faster DDR3 isn't worth it. So is it actually worth going from 1333 with 7 latency to 1600 with 9 latency? I have no idea.

    As for overclocking, I think what we were going to do with the build is slowly upgrade it over time, so I think we will keep it stock for awhile and then later if he wants to overclock it we can buy the aftermarket cooler.

    I really, really like that case. ^_^ I was looking on newegg and saw some really cheap cases that seemed...cheap. This is just an example here: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811147073
    I guess I always thought what made a case good was the airflow/fans. Are there other things I should be looking for in a case? I'm just wondering if there is any reason I shouldn't just choose a $20 case and then add a couple fans like these to get better airflow? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835168006

    I like that video card choice, assuming it is powerful enough. Saves so much money!

    Thanks for your help ^_^
  3. ^Only reason I gave link to that DDR2 1600 RAM is because I have used it and it works.

    DO NOT get that Rosewill case. I made the mistake of buying one for a cheap build and the trouble to do cable management lack of space,,etc isn't worth it.

    Again, don't get those fans. They are low quality. Get YateLoon,Scyth, Antec, and CoolerMaster fans. Good case and fans will save you much trouble during installation and down the road.
  4. Yeah I wasn't actually going to buy something from Rosewill, that was just an example ^_^. Thanks for the advice on the fans though, I didn't realize fans could be worse than others. I just knew they had airflow and Noise levels so that's all I had looked at in the past.
  5. There is no problem with ASrock's reliability, to be clear they're manufactured by Asustek. Also I would far prefer having six RAM slots rather than four. The 1333 Mhz CL7 would be faster than 1600 Mhz CL9. A 4670 would be fine for his uses. Finally, you could drop down to the 500W OCZ. Overall, I like your original build a lot.
  6. Cool, thanks for the help!
  7. Here you go on some very good Ram @ Amazon.
    OCZ OCZ3P1600LV6GK DDR3 PC3-12800 1600MHz 6GB Platinum XTC Triple Channel Kits $113.99 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping.

    edit: forgot to make a monitor suggestion, which would be great for CAD.
    SAMSUNG 2343BWX High Glossy Black 23" 5ms 16:9 Widescreen $209.99 ($189.99 after $20.00 Mail-In Rebate)

    If that is too expensive for you then you might want to take a look at this 24" monitor.
    ASUS VH242H Black 23.6" 5ms HDMI Full 1080P Widescreen $199.99 ($189.99 after $10.00 Mail-In Rebate)
    Free Shipping*
  8. @OP: Can you wait a few weeks? Core i5 should be released in a few weeks. You may get better/cheaper options on that platform for ~ the same performance as i7, esp. if OCed. .
  9. He just ordered all the parts this morning. Hopefully they come by Friday ^_^. Basically went with the original list and a 4670. The RAM was out of stock at the time so we found some good OCZ stuff at amazon for pretty cheap. The plan is to buy a CPU HSF later to do some real overclocking. Thanks for your help everyone ^_^
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