From some helpful people over in the video card forum I have decided that a Quadro video card isn't quite what I need for what I am doing so I have decided to take the rest of my questions over to you guys!
First off, this system will be built for the following purposes:
1. AutoCAD (2D MUCH more than 3D, if going 3D it would be very limited anyway)
2. Sketchup (Even the computers in our college suffer when using this program, not sure what hardware they come equipped with however)
4. Gaming (Diablo 3 if it ever comes out, as well as starcraft 2)
Now that the purpose is defined, I have a few general questions:
1. For applications such as AutoCAD and Sketchup, is RAM more of a benefit than the video card itself? For example would 12GB of RAM and a nice 480 card or better be more beneficial than 6GB of RAM and 2x 460 cards?
2. CPU: Running multiple programs is usually how I operate (CAD+Sketchup or CAD+Photshop, etc) so I would presume a nice i7 930 // 950 is the way to go with that (reading on the build guidelines at the top of the page)
3. Board: Some sort of x58 board
RAM = ?
Video Card = ? (Fermi cards were suggested for this type of application)
Filling in the blanks for the rest would be much appreciated, money isn't a huge issue I would just like a computer that will do everything I need it do for the next few years with options of upgrading, although a budget of approx. 2500$ would be nice.
You should fill out the form in sticky, link in my sig.
Country you're in is important.
In general for RAM vs computational power, it's really 2 entirely different aspects. RAM wise, it's more of a, you need a certain amount of RAM to open certain files/have multiple files open at once without suffering performance loss.
For GPU's, it's more of a how fast do you want renders to go?
Ideally you'd want at least 6gb of RAM and a good CUDA card. Since you want to game, quadro's are out, so best bet would be a GTX 470. You can fit 2 470's into a $2,700 build in most countries.
If you are a heavy user of video/photo rendering software, multiple cores are greatly beneficial. It used to be a ridiculous idea to pay up for the 950, since the premium was so high, but now that they've reduced the price to only $40-50 above the 930, it's definitely something worth looking into if you have the budget.
Without a clear idea of your budget (and more importantly, if you already have a monitor you're going to be okay working with...and if you need an IPS panel or not), it is very hard to know what to recommend. With an extra $500 worth of budget space, I would recommend 2 SSD's, one for boot, and one for your video/photo scratch space. I have heard this dramatically improves your render speed, although your SSD lifespan suffers (which is why you want your scratch and your OS on different SSD's).
At the tentative price point of 2500, I would say go with a i7-950 system (340 chip+260 mobo), 12 gb ram (300), 480 (480 ironically), with the xfx850 (130) and a large case (lancool pc-k62, antec 900, haf 932 - 100). This will give you space (both in terms of room and power) for another 480 down the line. This will run you about 1600. You can then use the other 900 for storage (SSD, HHD) or a monitor.
With an extra $500 worth of budget space, I would recommend 2 SSD's, one for boot, and one for your video/photo scratch space. I have heard this dramatically improves your render speed, although your SSD lifespan suffers (which is why you want your scratch and your OS on different SSD's).
That should no longer be a problem with the SandForce/Intel based SSDs due to TRIM support. Sure, there is a small hit, but it is not really noticeable for many cases.