New build for CAD 3D Modeling Build $1.5K

Need advice on a build for a friend. He is a landscape architect running some CAD 3D modeling software, I think it's a version of AutoCAD.


SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: CAD 3D modeling and Design, speed of rendering and read/write speed to hard disks

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: he does have a monitor, but thinking about a new dual-monitor design.


PARTS PREFERENCES: any parts that work the best for this build. Should I go Intel or AMD? Have had luck with Gigabyte Moboards in the past.

OVERCLOCKING: no overclocking. Thinking about crossfire for the graphics cards.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: dual 1920x1200

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: something reliable, high speed for this type of 3D modeling with dual-monitor support.
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  1. CPU: i7-920 $289 (unless your near a Microcenter, then it's $50 less).

    Mobo: ASUS P6X58D Premium $310

    RAM: OCZ Platinum 6GB (3 x 2GB) DDR3 1600 CAS Latency 7 $164

    HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB $85

    Optical: Samsung 22x SATA DVD Burner $27

    Case: LIAN LI Lancool PC-K7B $90

    PSU: Corsair 750TX 750W $110 after rebate

    GPU: I'm not sure what's needed for AutoCAD, but the best ones are the HD 5xxx series. Get either the 5770 ($163) or the 5850 ($310). Both support up to 3 monitors.

    Total: $1,385 (with 5850) after rebates.

    That leaves enough for a small SSD as a boot/app drive, if needed. Or for another set of RAM.
  2. Gaming GPU's suck for CAD work. You would want a workstation card for a CAD 3D modeling build.

    Here's a build i put together for my brother-in-law yesterday. He also wanted a CAD 3D modeling build, but his budget was $1000. You could spend the extra $500 on either monitor(s), a Quadro FX1800, an i7 860, or SSD.

    Smart Buy Nvidia Quadro FX580 Pcie 512MB 2PORT Dvi Graphics $149.44

    Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor - Retail $194.99

    GIGABYTE GA-P55A-UD3 LGA 1156 Intel P55 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail $134.99

    G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL8D-4GBHK - Retail $94.99

    G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL8D-4GBHK - Retail $94.99

    SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive $54.99

    LITE-ON Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 24x DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM $29.99

    Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail

    Antec earthwatts EA500 500W Continuous Power ATX12V v2.0 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC "Compatible with Core i7/Core i5" Power Supply - Retail $119.94 (Case + PSU combo)

    Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM $139.99

    Total - $1,014.31
  3. Like I said, I don't know about the GPU. I do think that the i7-920 build is probably better in terms of the actual guts (CPU, mobo, RAM)...
  4. What do you think about this build...

    AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz Socket AM3 140W Quad-Core Processor

    Thermaltake CL-P0464 DuOrb 80mm CPU Cooler - Retail

    ASUS M4A79XTD EVO AM3 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail

    G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory

    G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory

    AMD FirePro V5700 Graphics Card - 100-505553 --$325.00 (

    Antec TruePower New TP-750 750W Continuous Power

    Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer

    Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" (X2 in RAID configuration)

    LITE-ON 24x DVD Burner

    SAMSUNG TOC T260HD Rose Black 25.5" 5ms HDMI Widescreen HDTV Monitor

    Total-- $1574.00
  5. I had a similar needs when I was looking to build a machine. Unfortunately my budget was much less. Anyway, the research that I did showed that most of the work for CAD programs and the like are done by the cpu. And some like Pro/E will use all of the ram it can get its hands on. Your build looks good to me.

    Oh yeah, I went with AMD because I had never used one. But so far I am impressed with the 965.
  6. It's not a bad build, but the Intel chips are faster for this type of work. The 750W PSU is massive overkill and the 640GB WD is slower than the 500GB Samsung drive due to higher platter density and other optimizations.
  7. Agree with shortstuff.

    I think you'll get the best build if you take a nVidia card shortstuff pointed to and plug it into my build.
  8. Thanks for all the advice. What are people's opinions on getting a server CPU vs. desktop CPU for this CAD Work? Is it worth the extra money?


    Intel Xeon X3360 Yorkfield 2.83GHz 12MB L2 Cache


    Intel Core i7-920 Bloomfield 2.66GHz

    These are about the same price. The Xeon has a higher clock speed, but much more cache which would make it more reliable, correct? Is that the main difference between a server CPU and a desktop CPU?
  9. You don't want to build around the dead LGA 775 socket. The i7 920 will smoke that old Xeon in every possible way.
  10. Alright, so here is my final build. One more question though, is it worth spending all that extra money on the two velociraptor hard drivers? I would set them up in RAID 0. Would this make that big of a difference considering everything else in the build?

    LITE-ON 24x DVD Burner -- $29.99

    COOLER MASTER RC-690-KKN1-GP Black SECC/ ABS ATX Mid Tower Computer Case--$79.99

    SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5--$54.99

    CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC--$98.99

    ASUS P6X58D Premium LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard--$299.90

    select item 6 quantity of item 6

    PNY VCQFX580-PCIE-PB Quadro FX 580 512MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 Workstation Video Card--$189.99

    Intel Core i7-920 Bloomfield 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80601920

    OCZ Gold 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Low Voltage Desktop Memory Model OCZ3G1600LV6GK

    Western Digital VelociRaptor WD1500HLFS 150GB 10000 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" (X2) --$339.00
  11. Or should I forget the velociraptors and just set up two 500gb samsung spinpoint HD's in RAID 0 and get 6 more gbs RAM?
  12. Don't bother with the VRs. The F3 outperforms them in every way. The choice for a boot drive is either a 500 GB F3 or an SSD.
  13. I would completely ditch the whole VelociRaptor idea. The Samsung F3 drives are just as fast or faster for a fraction of the price. I'm also really not a fan of the OCZ Gold RAM. Here's a very nice CAS7 G.Skill kit:

    G.SKILL PI Series 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL7T-6GBPI - Retail $164.99
  14. I'm not normally either, but the Golds are $130. So for the price, they're great.
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