Best cad machine of Doom?

If money was no object, what would run AutoCAD Civil(or MAP havent decided yet,... have a lot of acreage to show like 12 quads), 3ds Max(for physics,lighting tests, partical analisis, and Architectual Rendering), Autodesk Inventor (for mechanical acuracy), AutoCAD MEP (for the big picture), and check my e-mail at the same time?

Data storage is an issue too. The point cloud data gets rather large depending on the detail it was scaned at. I have some files at 1.5Gig or better.
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  1. Obviously above build is outrageously priced.

    To be practical, I'd suggest an i7-980x, and gtx 470 or 480.

    Give us an idea of your budget, and guestimate total storage needs (1 TB, 2 TB?) and we can make a build for you. Also fill out form in sticky, link in my sig.
  2. ^^ Drools... as I run Microstation from my P4 Workstation at work...
  3. banthracis,

    Thank you for answering my post! I have some questions....
    (I am not up to speed on the hardware side of things as of late so, please parden my ignorant questions)

    Dual Intel Xeon X7560 Nehalem-EX 2.26GHz

    To be practical, I'd suggest an i7-980x

    --What is the proformance difference between the two? will it be noticable in my switch between software packages?

    3 Tesla's

    ---how will the Tesla's work to enhance the machine? what do they do I guess.

    and a quadro

    I assume this is the best graphics card? does it tie into the Tesla's somehow?

    Throw in 12gb of G Skill Tridents and you'll be good.

    as far as ram goes,.. are these good? what makes them good to use? would I need to worry about refresh rate in the "L2? cash"(is that right?)?

    Storage? I'll be a bit more conservative

    I probubly anticipate 2 Tera.. but may need a way to back it up daily too..
    is "ray-to-ray" the correct way... (term)?

    and recommend a 200gb Vertex 2
    and a couple PCIE SSD's.

    SSD no HDD? or how does that work? do they have a tendancy to degrade data? I assume the SSD has a faster access rate due to the solid state part..
    are there any issues with it corrupting data?

    do I need a special motherboard to handle all these?
    do I need to worry about cooling systems?
    what's the maintainace on a system like this?

    as far as building it.. I will more than likely have the corprate IT guy make it for me... I may point him your way though.

    Thanks again for your response!
  4. LOl reminds me of my staff and me. We all use core 2 duo system in the office, our video editing computer is a 3 yr old Dell XPS laptop, but we all have i5/i7 systems at home we only use to surf the web, watch movies and occasionally game on...

    Submit a request for a good $3000 workstation and the wrath of finance descends upon ye, but spend $500,000 on a PCR machine or $80,000 on a videoconferencing system and no one bats an eye.

    Big university financial policy's FTL >.<
  5. Lol! I really hope we get new machines here soon, working with 'to-scale' roadway plans is painful...
  6. I know... My current work computer is an AMD Athalon x2? with 3GB of RAM... I am constantly getting the "AutoCAD is Running out of system memory..." Error... I finaly convinced the IT guy to hook me up with a good system but he wants me to do the research for it.. so this is where I started... lol.. he hasn't gave me a budget.. just said he was going to build my system special.
  7. Back on topic:

    I think for your needs, it sounds like something around $2500-$3000 is going to be your ballpark. As banthracis said, theres a sticky at the top of the forum that has a template for new builds. Fill it out, and then people can recommend builds for you.
  8. 1) You will want to overclock this- these high end parts are designed to be pushed. Overclocking the CPU should be rather easy, and will noticeably increase performance (a ton!)
    2) SLI/Crossfire is what enables you to run multiple graphics cards simultaneously for increased performance. Crossfire needs to be enabled on single cards that hold 2 or more processors (ie: HD5970).
    3) Get three monitors. You'll love them. (For productivity, 2 is great, 3 is freaking amazing. Anything after that is personal preference :) )
  9. well, I apologize for not using the form.. the "Ask the Community" box was right there... so, here is the Form I think...


    APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: within 30 days BUDGET RANGE: ??? (I don't know maybe $8k? I kinda want to give them an omg moment with)

    SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Windows 7,..large CAD File editing(point blob, DEM, MrSid, 100mb+ tiff files,ect.), Photo Real Rendering(mental Ray, Raytrace, HDMI, HiPoly, ect.), Physics simulation(Partical systems, Lighting analysis, sound db analysis, ect.) ... if possible run both 32 and 64 bit software products.... I may eventaly be doing some Video Editing on it as well...

    PARTS NOT REQUIRED: All new (fingers crossed)


    PARTS PREFERENCES: It's a Workstation of Doom.. what ever is the most Doom!

    OVERCLOCKING: No / Maybe rather not it is a work computer...

    SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe ?? (what is this?)

    MONITOR RESOLUTION: I will probubly request duel monitors at max 1920x1200

    ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I am looking to get this for a actual work computer and haven't been given a budget on price. I don't want any bells and wistles just a mean fast workstation with no gaming in mind. so, I would like a quiet PC that is corprorate like. I will probubly be using it for 9+ hours a work day. possible over the weekend renders...

    Thanks for your Time!
  10. Omniblivion,

    wouldn't Overclocking create a overheating issue on the system? would I need a cooling system to counter act that?

    I guess SLI/Crossfire.. would be a must in my case...

    3 monitors may be cramped in my work space... unless I rearange things... hmmm... I will look into that...

    Does any one have oppinions on 3d navigators? Keyboards? Mice? for use in the 3d CAD/Graphics enviroment?
  11. You are able to do moderate, "Safe" overclocks on even the stock CPU cooler that comes with the CPU. I wouldn't ever recommend using the stock cooler on any overclock.

    Considering you will be running CPU intense programs and processes anyways, I would definitely recommend getting an aftermarket CPU cooler- regardless if you overclock or not. Ideally, on a several thousand dollar computer, you could go water cooling. I am not too big of a fan of WC- air often times works just as well, unless you're benchmarking. I would recommend that you go the Megahelms CPU cooler with a push/pull configuration (you need to buy the fans/y-splitter separately)- the total cost would be about $80-$100 depending on the fans you get. Installation is rather easy.

    Most high end processors (especially the ones mentioned above) are designed to be overclocked. Once you've chosen a processor, we can help you figure out an approximate overclock level for a 24/7 load. This type of overclock that I am suggesting (perhaps a 20-30% overclock) is completely safe (provided you have the right cpu cooler) and increases performance amazingly.
  12. Yea, haha back on topic.

    The build in my first post is really more of an unlimited budget dream machine.

    Xeon's are server grade CPU's. The one's I linked are 8 core 16 threads CPU's aimed at the extreme high end. Use a dual CPU MOBO and that 16 cores 32 threads of power right there. However, a single one cost's more than an entire system.

    the i7-980x is a 6 core 12 thread CPU, which is basically the top end of the consumer CPU's.

    The performance difference between the two would be quite substantial in well threaded applications. However, at $1,000 vs $8,000 you won't see 8x performance, more like 2-3x the performance.

    Tesla's and Quadro's are workstation GPU's. They're have the greatest impact on floating-point calculations, but will greatly benefit any calculations that can be done in parallel.

    AutoCAD, CAD, MATLAB and Autodesk all benefit greatly from CUDA. For them, a CUDA GPU basically act's like a CPU with hundreds of cores.

    Quadro's have a display output, tesla don't. Hence you'd need at least 1 quadro or other GPU in the build.

    RAM wise you really just want good timings, from a dependable brand and at least 1333mhz if you don't plan on Overclocking, 1600mhz if you do. The tridents will hit CAS 6 when underclocked to 1600, which basically is the best timings available ATM. The price is also very reasonable. Currently $200 for 6gb now on newegg.

    Well if you need data safety and 2TB of storage my advice would be to do either a Raid 10 with 4 1 TB drives, or a Raid 5 with 3 1 TB drives.

    Both will net you 2 TB of usable storage, and both have data safety. Raid 10 is less efficient, but can suffer multiple disk failures assuming not entire mirror is lost.

    Raid 5 is nets you more usable space, but has can only have 1 drive fail.

    SSD's are the future of storage. They replace mechanical harddrives with purely flash based memory (no moving parts). This result sin much higher dependabilty, less power use and heat, and MUCH faster read, write speeds and much more I/O bandwidth.

    However, cost wise they're very expensive. You pay about $0.10 per GB in a mechanical drives, ~$2.5- $4.0 per GB in an SSD.

    For the dual xeon build, yes you'll need a specialized MOBO. For a 980x, any good 1366 board will work. Cooling wise, a good case with good airflow is about it. If you want to overclock then you can also get an aftermarket HSF.

    Maintenance is mostly keeping drives and software/os up to date. Clean out dust once in a while, clean filters if you have every other week or so.

    But like I said, give us a budget really, because a good workstation can range from a $2,000 build, all the way up to a $25,000 build.
  13. You don't overclock work builds. Voids warranty and may lead to data lose and system instability. Big no no's in work environment. This is a workstation build, not gaming build.

    Mouse and keyboard wise, there honestly isn't much difference and it's purely a matter of personal preference. For a workstation really a standard USB keyboard and optical mouse works fine. I personally like 6 button mice, but it's all up to you really.

    More monitors is nice, but I personally prefer to have 1 big 30" at 2560 x 1600 over 2 21.5" 1440x900 or 1920 x 1080 monitors.

    So I'll just give you 2 full builds in a few minutes depending upon budget.
  14. Cool thanks for the input... I will go hit up the IT guy now to see what he is looking for spending wise..
  15. banthracis said:
    You don't overclock work builds. Voids warranty and may lead to data lose and system instability. Big no no's in work environment. This is a workstation build, not gaming build.

    I stand corrected :na: old habits die hard.
  16. Best answer
    Ok so this is a base build I'd recommend.

    Lite-On $20

    Buncha Choices, on a budget I'd recommend the HAF 922, great airflow, huge case for a great price. $90

    not sure if this case supports extended atx, I thought it did. I'll take a look tonight.

    Can also look at the Cosmos x cases, a bit more expensive. $170

    Can also consider really expensive aluminum cases, but out department workstations never move, I doubt you'll be moving yours much either, so no point really.

    4x Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB $80 each. Raid 10 or 5 these.

    Vertex 2 200gb $750

    2 kits of G skill Trident DDR3 2000 6gb kits. $200 each.

    GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD9 $700
    expensive, but it's got USB 3, SATA 6 and 4 PCIE x16 slots.

    i7-980x $1000

    Quadro FX 5800 $2,950

    This comes out to $6,230

    From here on it's time to add Tesla's as much as your budget permits and decide on the Power supply based on how many tesla's you end up getting.

    The base system with a tesla's should be fine with a Seasonic 750W Gold. $170

    If you end up populating all 4 slots with tesla's/quadro, then I'd recommend a Corsair 1200 $280

    If you only want 1 or 2 GPU's and don't plan on adding more down the line, then we can get a much cheaper MOBO.
    We can also cut cost's with a smaller SSD.
  17. ok,.. .well it looks like the IT Guy left early today... I would aim for two budgets if you can.. .a $8k... and a $15k... I am sure I can at least get $8k but I may be realy pushing over $20k... thanks again for all your help! it's hard to keep up with all the hardware improvements when your stairing at drawings all day...
  18. Also let me know if your place also has a buy only from approved vendors policy.

    I know here it's either CDW or Dell only for computers. :(
  19. oh,.. my computer was slow... missed your post.. Thanks for the Info!
  20. Well for 8k build, take my base build and add this tesla + the Seasonic 750.

    For $15,000 add 3 of these tesla's and the 1200W PSU from above.

    also knock CPU up to this Xeon $1670

    Also, imma actually say go with Cosmo's case for now. I thought Haf 922 supported extended ATX boards, but not 100% sure.
  21. oh... well if he was going to build it from scratch I would assume he would just use the Company Credit Card and write off the charges as a full computer... we have prefered vendors for somethings but I havn't seen a big todo on individual computers.... the only prefered vendor I know of in my department is AutoDesk... but that is only because the Engineering Manager prefers AutoCAD over Solidworks... although... we do have the Solidworks Data management system... managing Autodesk files... at anyrate.. I doubt a preferd vender is an issue...(heck I was thinking about asking for a SGI machine)
  22. Best answer selected by jasondworkman.
  23. Thanks Again!
  24. Quote:
    You don't overclock work builds. Voids warranty and may lead to data lose and system instability. Big no no's in work environment. This is a workstation build, not gaming build.

    WE DO!!!

    I've run Autocad ever since it was invented, on about every level of Intel and AMD hardware you could run it on.

    My personal Autocad workstation has an E8500 dual core processor running at 3.8GHz. Our supplier built the machine and once it arrived I overclocked it. I ordered it with a good aftermarket cooler so temps in this overclocked machine are LOWER than my co-worker's similar machine that is not overclocked but has a stock cooler. The AC in our office building has been out all week and our temps are running at least in the mid-80's, but my cpu right now is running at 40C. My machine also has a velociraptor drive for the OS, a big WD drive for auxiliary storage, 4GB ram, WinXP 32bit, and an ATI FireGL video card.

    Some of our guys are starting to run Revit so I built 3 new workstations for them. All 3 used the i5-750 chip, overclocked to about 3.5GHz, 8GB ram, Win7 64bit. Two of them use velociraptors, the third uses an SSD. The operators cannot tell any difference between the speeds of the 3 machines. Two of them use ATI FireGL video cards, one used a Quadro card. It was a lot of trouble to get drivers that worked with 64 bit Windows.

    If I was building a machine with no price limit I would probably go with an i7 to get a little more speed, and 12GB of ram. I would put a big SSD in it for the OS and maybe another for working data or a raid of fast mechanical drives. (Lots of businesses put their data on a server so your local hard drives end up just hosting the apps and not the data.) You don't need an expensive video card for autocad, it can't make use of it for anything but rendering. Also autocad doesn't make use of multiple cores, so my dual core machine is about as fast as our quad core i5 machines.

    It's a myth that you need a real fast video card for autocad. You use a fast video card to render games at 50 frames per second. Autocad just draws some lines on your screen and then the sit there waiting for you to move the cursor around. Even zooming and panning you don't need a fast frame rate. I do a lot of autocad work with remote desktop across the internet and it works fine. That's the slowest video you can imagine. Also I do a lot on my Dell E6500 laptop and it works fine.

    It's also a myth that you need a lot of processor cores for autocad. We've done tests with 1, 2 and 4 and find no speed difference. The processor speed of one core is what you want, pump it up as fast as possible. If you aren't going to overclock then buy one of the more expensive i7 chips that begins with a faster clock speed. (Of course rendering is supposed to be able to make use of more cores so if you are doing that then more cores might help.) The advantage of multiple cores is if you are doing other things at the same time as running autocad. Say you are plotting some drawings in the background while you are doing something else, and maybe your virus scanner kicks in. With a good quad core machine you wouldn't even know it.
  25. I'm not sure I could get the IT guy to overclock my computer... so, that probubly not an option. as far as video cards go... I don't know... the cad data is fine when its just cad data.. but I have to render too.. so,.. yeah the cores will probubly be needed.. plus the corprate virus scan consumes alot of resources... and I multi-task with several projects at once...
  26. Quote:
    I'm not sure I could get the IT guy to overclock my computer... so, that probubly not an option

    The more expensive i7 processors run at pretty fast speeds so you aren't missing much by not overclocking.

    i7-975, $980, 3.33GHz (3.60GHz w/ turbo)
    i7-960, $570, 3.20GHz (3.46GHz w/ turbo)
    i7-930, $290, 2.80GHz (3.06GHz w/ turbo)

    Lots of your apps only use one core for which the cpu can overclock itself using turbo mode to the speeds shown above in parenthesis. This gives you some of the benefits of overclocking without the potential problems.

    Overclocking is not that big of a deal, but a lot of people are scared of it. Strangely enough the people that are scared of it will buy a cheap computer and run it at stock speeds (using the stock CPU cooler) and by doing that they will run there cpu at HIGHER STRESS than a custom built computer with overclocked processor AND a good aftermarket cpu cooler. They aren't quite as smart as they think they are.
  27. There's a difference between a custom gaming rig and an expensive build meant for work. It's nice your company lets you, but most large corporations and universities will not allow employees to OC or even customize as this voids warranties.

    Businesses pay for extended warranties and on site support, because the top priority is a stable system that will not break down and possibly lose data. Missing a deadline due to data loss can cost a business or large university millions. Recovering data lost and productivity loss due to downtime can cost a company just as much. Hence, the absolute requirement of stability, reliability and if anything ever goes wrong, full support.

    Yes, for gaming/home builds I'm all for overclocking GPU's and CPU's and maximizing performance per $. It's a personal rig, kinda a big fancy toy to play with. I've built dozens of gaming rigs over the years for myself and family/friends and I've got no issues stressing those to the max.

    For work? not a chance. We do full backups of entire databases every night. Why? because valuable data is stored on them, and if anything goes offline, the loss in productivity alone is more money than paying for the more expensive processor.

    Even if it's a 1 in a million chance that something fails, if that 1 time happens, big consequences result. Ex, I think it was Sprint and their whole cloud failure last year which probably cost the company 10's of millions in overtime/repair and an incalculable amount in lost revenue.

    Also, try explaining to finance why a new $15,000 computer broke down and the vendor won't support it because you voided the warranty.

    For aftermarket HSF's, read the fine print. Installing one (outside a couple specific cases) mean's Intel is not responsible if anything happens.

    Further, this Limited Warranty does NOT cover:

    ...any Product which has been modifi ed or operated outside of Intel’s publicly available
    specifi cations

    Re the GPU's. He's not getting Tesla's and quadro's for fun. He's getting them for CUDA.

    Besides, if your company offers to pay for a $15,000 build it's not like they give you the money you save them, so might as well spend it all.

    To the OP: I actually don't think the HAF 922 supports extended ATX so go with a Cosmos X.

    One thing I'm not actually sure of is the benefit of installing a second xeon vs 1 extra tesla for engineering needs. I'm not actually sure performance wise which is the larger benefit as our CUDA usage here is primarily Bioinformatics and their genetic and protein sequence research.
  28. If budget was not an objective you'd build a Nehalem based 2P workstation with plenty of RAM, a SSD (and or RAM drive), a few HDDs. 3DS Max would benefit a LOT from more cores. For doing just the 3D drawings in Inventor 2011, it wouldn't really help much as it's still not multithreaded, HOWEVER, you will be able to work with larger and more parts at once.

    Also, OP are you using any CUDA accelerated plugins? ie RUINS?


    For aftermarket HSF's, read the fine print. Installing one (outside a couple specific cases) mean's Intel is not responsible if anything happens.

    As long as you don't tell Intel that, you can claim warranty :lol:


    It's also a myth that you need a lot of processor cores for autocad. We've done tests with 1, 2 and 4 and find no speed difference. The processor speed of one core is what you want, pump it up as fast as possible.

    Correct. However, OP will benefit from more cores when it comes to rendering in 3DSMax.
  29. Shadow703793 said:

    As long as you don't tell Intel that, you can claim warranty :lol:

    Lol ok you got me there :D
  30. so,... the best processor would be an extremly fast multi-thread... fast for CAD.. thread for Rendering? and the CUDA would help 3d rendering and with the physics calculations?

    Looking around at CUDA.. would the "Fermi" be a better choice?
  31. Tesla's and quadro are purpose built workstation GPU's. Current Fermi GPU's are gaming oriented.

    Until Fermi workstation GPU's are made, the current Tesla's and Quadro's easily beat them.
  32. ok, thanks....

    I finaly contacted my IT Guy.... and have some... well ...expected news...

    $3k budget
    Lenovo prefered

    I guess thats what I get for dreaming..

    :sigh: anyrate... Thanks for all your help!
  33. lol that sounds more like the corporate policy's we all know and love. Try to fit in a hexacore and a quadro fx3800 if you can.
  34. From my messing around on the Lenovo site, I can squeeze in an Intel Xeon E5620 CPU, 12GB of ECC DDR3-1600 RAM, and an nVidia Quadro FX 3800 for $3100.
  35. Cool Thanks!
  36. It's not a good sign when you read gaming build, and see $800 being spent on a case =P
  37. Who thinks up those combos, anyways? A $3,000 "gaming" computer with only one 470 and a $1,000 processor.....
  38. My 2 cents-

    At that price range, the 60 gb SSD isn't worth it. Remember, they need about 20% free space to maintain best performance, so you're looking at 48 usable gigs. SSDs are nice, they have a convenience factor, but I'd bet you would get better use out of that $$$ elsewhere.

    $700 motherboard.... no thank you! I'm pretty sure you'd be safe using a $200-300 mobo. That is definitely not enough RAM (and not even that good quality for what you are doing).

    Case wise, you can save $220 by going with a haf922. Since you're not going to be throwing on unlimited numbers of vid cards, you may not need the extended Mobo- therefore you can fit it in the 922.

    If you make some cuts out of the unneccessary components as I've described above, you could probably fit a tesla and quadro into the build and still have a solid computer. Or at least cut it pretty close :)

    I'm interested to see what kind of final build banthracis puts together!
  39. Well first make sure that you can buy it from Newegg and have it built by IT.

    Sounds to me like they want a prebuilt, vendor warranty/fully supported device.

    i7-980x +GA x58 UD3 MOBO $1180

    HAF 922 $90

    12gb of Trident RAM $400 for 2 kits.

    1 80gb Intel x25-M $225

    3x 1 TB Spinpoint F3's Raid 5 $208.5
    Combo saves you $0.50 each haha.

    Corsair 750TX $110

    Quadro FX3800 $820 on amazon

    $21 Optical


    Now big issue is do you need an OS as well? If so what version does your company require? is OEM ok?

    If needed to, you could just knock RAM down to 1 kit and grab the OS and be under $3k
  40. The OS is planned to be Windows 7... he said I would be the first to get it if things folow through.. I don't know where he is getting the OS or if he has already ordered it...
  41. The question was more, does your $3k budget have to include an OS, and if so, which version, (ie how much would the OS take away from the $3k budget).
  42. ^ Also, what about LCDs; are they part of the budget? Currently I use a Dual LCD set up for CAD, Photoshop,etc type work and it makes a HUGE difference in productivity. You may want to consider 2x LCDs if you haven't already.
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