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Building 3D CAD Computer

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June 21, 2010 11:01:53 PM

Hello everyone,
I work for a company that deals entirely in a 3d CAD program called SolidWorks. It taxes quite heavily on the workstations they are running now (pentium dual core 2.66 ghz or something, 4 gb 666 RAM, and an nvidia fx something graphics card), to the point that large assemblies will freeze sometimes. This is in part due to the IT dept allowing 45 processes at boot on XP (too many? I think so). Also, I do not know when they were last defragged.
Complaining aside, I have been asked to put together a quote for building a new workstation for myself (which is great, just what I wanted). I have never built a workstation before. I have built several gaming PCs, the latest just this past September. I am sure I could get away with 1000 dollar machine, but I think that it would be better to stick to around 600-700 for the components, the more attractive an option, the more likely they will let me do this. I am advertising to them that the bang-to-buck ratio of this bad boy (that we shall put together in this thread) compared to a Dull (*Dell) alternative, will be significant. Here is what we need to include on this build:
1. Power Supply
2. Case
3. Graphics Card (workstation significantly better than gaming, I will look for the bench that proved this and post an edit)
4. Quad_core processor. w/ L3 cache preferred (obviously, AMD is better suited for a price ratio, and I do not believe SolidWorks would benefit from 6-core processor, so I wouldn't suggest that unless you found something that proves otherwise, which would rock.)
5. RAM (ddr3? I don't think it needs to be too fast, I think the bottleneck is the CPU and graphics card, as far as I can tell.)
6. Motherboard (special for workstation? Mini-Atx (No need for xfire. Will not be assembling Death Star in realistic photo render.)
7. HDD (no need for more than 200 GB, seriously. Everything on server, just need room for programs.)
So that's everything, I don't need a monitor, keyboard, mouse, or OS. Any help is appreciated.

More about : building cad computer

June 22, 2010 6:18:34 AM

^ Here is a setup...
1. PSU - Corsair 400CX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
2. CASE - Antec 300
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
3. Graphics card - ATI 100-505606 FirePro V4800 1GB GDDR5 - This is supported by SolidWorks
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
4. CPU - Yes based on the FAQs from the Sildworks website, I dont think it offers significant performance increase with a Quad...So maybe the AMD Phenom II X4 955
5. RAM - 4GB DDR3 Corsair - 4GB is pretty much a good addon IMO...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
6. Mobo - MSI 870A
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
7. HDD - Samsung F3 500GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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June 22, 2010 4:41:14 PM

^+1. More or less what I would recommend.

A few things to remember:
Depending on what you do, you don't really need a workstation card. A cheap 4650,GTS220,etc will do.

SolidWorks, Inventor,etc do not have multi threading for the CAD part of the work, however if you do stress analysis (is use COSMOS) then a Quad/Hex would help out a lot. Same if you do renderings and multitasking (multiple instances of the program open,etc).

As for workstation cards, imo, nVidia tends to have better drivers. Don't forget OpenGL 3.2 or 3.3 or 4.0 support. For some reason, some cards have it some don't!

As for the ammount of RAM, 4GB is pretty much standard now, 8GB or more if doing very large and/or complex assemblies,parts,etc.

For motherboards, I recommend you stick to ASUS or Gigabyte. I'v never had problems with either manufactures after ~100+ builds. I'v also used ASUS/Tyan 2P boards and haven't had problems.

For everything else, gkay09 is spot on.
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June 22, 2010 4:49:37 PM

Thank you thank you. I sent in the quote, kept the workstation card because we do some photo realistic rendering. I think 4 GB will be fine for now, possibly upgrade in the future. I also normally stick to ASUS, but I am giving this MSI a shot...let's hope it doesn't disappoint.
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June 22, 2010 5:05:58 PM

I've never had any issues with MSI. I've used it in 2 builds for myself, as well as having friends that use them. Great boards, imo.
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