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Video card for CAD?

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November 16, 2009 11:41:42 PM

Greetings all...

I'm in school to learn CAD (after being laid-off after 10 years) and need to get some advice.

I just purchased a new computer:

HP p6240f
Intel Core II Quad
8GB RAM
750GB HD
32MB built-in video (exp to 1.7GB, shared)

The only drawback to this system is the video, but the rest of the specs seemed to be pretty good.

I will be looking to upgrade the video after the 1st of the year (when student loans come in again) so I don't need a rush answer :) 

I'm doing some browsing among the major chipset co's (nVidia and ATi) and have come to a conclusion: there's nothing straight-forward about video cards :) 

I'm thinking I'm looking for something along these lines:

PCI Express x16 (have to find out whether 1.0 or 2.0... 2.0 I think)
512MB or more because I will be specializing in architecture and will be doing 3d / realistic work.
I need DVI hookup (2 would be a bonus as I'm thinking of a 2nd monitor in the future)

Other than that, I need some advice as to what to get.

I'm thinking about a budget of no more than $200, which restricts me somewhat (can't justify spending $500 yet :)  )

Any suggestions?

Fritz216

More about : video card cad

November 16, 2009 11:58:28 PM

If all you want to do is CAD, then I would go for a Nvidia Quadro card, which are optimized for 3D applications like CAD. Beware, 3D cards cannot play games very well, so don't buy one if you want to play games on the system as well.

Here's a Quadro card that's within your budget (assuming you live in America and can use newegg) .
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I don't use CAD, so you should read the reviews and see if the card will meet your needs :)  .
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November 24, 2009 8:09:38 PM

Greetings weegee...

Thanks... I checked it out. Looks like a pretty good card.

However, I've read a few reports that Revit (the software I want to use) has had some issues with the nVidia Quadro cards.

By the time I actually buy one, they may have the problems fixed so I'll keep them in mind.

Thanks for the help... have a great turkey day :) 
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a c 173 U Graphics card
November 24, 2009 8:35:08 PM

It is a lot better than nothing and it can do light multimedia along with very light games but this isn't the fastest thing on the block.
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a b U Graphics card
November 24, 2009 9:38:18 PM

You could try an ATI FirePro then - they are ATI's line of workstation/professional cards, and they tend to be cheaper than Nvidia Quadro cards for the performance as well.
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December 2, 2009 12:08:33 AM

Hi nforce4max...

That's true but I'm trying to make sure what I get I won't have problems with. Thanks :) 


cjl...

I'll be looking at some of them in the near future. I checked the website to see about comparisons, but they don't have a 'comparison chart' like nvidia does that shows the 'heirarchy of power' between the cards.

I still have a while before I actually buy one so I'm going to make sure I get what I need / can afford.

Thanks all for the info... it's appreciated :) 

Have a great week :) 
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a b U Graphics card
December 2, 2009 1:46:33 AM

For Revit (even in the old days) you don't need a workstation card, and looking forward they are dropping OGL and moving to Direct3D, so really any good solid desktop/gaming card would be much better than that Quadro, and you can likely get much more performance than that for half your budget.

I would recommend getting a solid mid range or higher gaming card.
You've got alot more options that the limited workstation crowd but you may want more/less depending on what you expect. This is similar to another thread where I'd say the HD5770 would be perfect for you, but you might want to upgrade in the future once applications make more use of the OpenCL and DirectCompute options, but that's something to consider later.

Near term, I'd think the HD5770 or 5750 would give you much better performance than the Quadro above;
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

but they're likely also a little louder, and considering that I don't think that PC has a 6 pin PCIe power plug for the video card I'd say get a cheap and quiet HD4650 with a passive heatsink;
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It should be more than enough for your needs and let you save money to upgrade later.

Which would give you quiet operation and no need to worry about a fan failing when it's rendering without you.

If you're willing to possibly upgrade your PSU to one that would support a better GPU you could go with the HD57xx series above or maybe even a GF9600GT passive if you wanted to go the nVidia route.

However I think your current limitation is not the quality of the PSU, but I don't think it has a PCIe power connector (six pin), but you'll be able to figure that out.
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a b U Graphics card
December 2, 2009 1:49:05 AM

I'd suggest going cheap at first (like a 4650) and if you find that is insufficient, save up and get a really good card later on.
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December 2, 2009 11:31:19 AM

Greetings...

Thanks for the info (GrapeApe & EXT64)...

That's kinda what I'm looking at right now. For school (which I still have 3 semesters), I won't need as good a card as if I were actually 'on the job' and can probably get by with a smaller card. The 4650 looks good and is a good price.

As far as upping the PS, oh yeah... it's 300W right now. I'm planning on at least 500w (or higher) when I do the video card.

I am trying to find out if the PCI x16 slots I have are 1.0 or 2.0... I can't find that info on the HP site (yet). I may end up getting a new computer (what's that? Oh, Hi Honey :)  ) in a few years and buy more than what I need then.

Thanks again... have a great week :) 
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a b U Graphics card
December 2, 2009 11:55:32 AM

Don't worry about the PCI-E slot type. I am running a 4850 (PCI-E 2.0) in a board with PCI-E 1.0 (or 1.1, not sure) just fine. They are backward compatible on all but some of the oldest boards/chipsets.
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a b U Graphics card
December 2, 2009 6:32:45 PM

Yeah it's a fairly modern rig so it's PCIe 1.1 or 2.0, and neither will choke a single card at full speed.

Don't worry about the PSU right away if you're OK with the HD4650, it will be sipping on only a few watts of power and that's a solid 300W power supply, it's only limitation is not quality but that I don't think it has a PCIe 6 pin connector, so when you upgrade past the HD4650 that's when I'd say you should buy a solid PSU, and for now, just save the money towards your next build.... or beer ! [:thegreatgrapeape:3]

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December 3, 2009 12:27:03 AM

Thanks again for the info... have Happy Holidays :) 
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December 8, 2009 12:10:40 PM

I am currently using Revit 2010 on a subpar video card (GeForce 9400 GT) and this winter break I am going to get the ATI FirePro v5700.

firepro vs quadro

Aside from Revit, I also use Sketchup, AutoCad, Rhino, and FormZ. I really think this Firepro is better than the equivalent Quadro, and much cheaper (although it does have a price tag of around $325-$350).
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December 8, 2009 12:23:26 PM

Thanks for the info, Joel.

Have a great holiday season, all :) 
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a b U Graphics card
December 8, 2009 2:43:34 PM

The GF9400 is a particularly slow card though and is about 1/2 the pixel and 1/4 the geometry power of the HD4670, and then coupled with less bandwidth and smaller memory, so it's not really a good example of an appropriate desktop card for the job.

The V5700 is not bad, but it's still not cheap (only seen as so when compared to other workstation cards), the main thing is whether or not he works with other tools where the optimized drivers matter more, for Revit especially going forward, it's not necessary.

Considering his concern about price, I'd start with a generic HD4670, and then move from there if he's not satisfied, likely being able to sell the card for almost as much as he would buy it +/- a case of beer.
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December 8, 2009 3:41:49 PM

TheGreatGrapeApe said:
but they're likely also a little louder, and considering that I don't think that PC has a 6 pin PCIe power plug for the video card I'd say get a cheap and quiet HD4650 with a passive heatsink;
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It should be more than enough for your needs and let you save money to upgrade later.

Which would give you quiet operation and no need to worry about a fan failing when it's rendering without you.


Hi GA...

Question(s) for you:

What do you think of the heatpipe cooling system? Do you think it will be sufficient?

Also, I called HP and asked about voiding the warranty by upgrading, and they said no, it would not void the warranty (although if the card failed it would not be their responsibility, which I understand). While I was on the phone, the 'technician' suggested / recommended nVidia G-Force cards.

I don't have a problem with nVidia... I've seen a few of their cards (the 9800GTX+ and the GT2xx line) that look very promising. What do you think about those?

TheGreatGrapeApe said:
If you're willing to possibly upgrade your PSU to one that would support a better GPU you could go with the HD57xx series above or maybe even a GF9600GT passive if you wanted to go the nVidia route.

However I think your current limitation is not the quality of the PSU, but I don't think it has a PCIe power connector (six pin), but you'll be able to figure that out.


I'm more than willing to upgrade the PS... was [lanning on it anyway as later I probably will add another HD.

Anyway, I'd like tot hank you all for your info... I will definately keep this in mind.

Happy Holidays :) 

Fritz
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