I'm an Engineering student and I need a new rig to keep up with what I need to do for school. Obviously, I'm on a student budget. Recently my mobo went so I have replaced some things out of necessity and I'm using some old parts that are really bottlenecking the system. I need advice on what upgrades to make to balance it out. This is not only for CAD, it is my main computer; however, I don't really play any games. I will not buy everything at once, but buy a component every once in a while as funds permit.
Software Used (In order of importance): AutoCAD (some different versions, Civil 3D mostly), Catia, Google Sketchup, Several other less demanding design programs.
New Hardware I will be using:
Mobo: Gigabyte 890FXA-UD5
Processor: AMD 1090T
RAM: 8GB Corsair, plan to up to 16GB and use some as swap file.
And a new 1000W PSU.
Old Hardware that needs to be replaced to match the new stuff (In the order I will likely replace them in):
Video card: currently a GeForce 9600GT, Have been considering an ATI 6850 or 6870, and can buy a second one down the road for Crossfire if one proves to be insufficient. Thoughts? Better ideas? I want to run 3 monitors so NVidia card aren't ideal as I don't believe they can support more than 2 monitors on one card. Also, my mobo is Crossfire (up to 3 cards) ready, but not SLI compatible. In addition to 3 monitors I would like to be able to hook up my TV for watching movies, etc. I guess if I went Nvidia I could use the current card to run the TV, and maybe the third monitor for the interim.
HDD: Currently Seagate Barracuda 7200rpm. Currently boot drive is 2 in raid 0. Would like to move to a SSD as a boot drive. Any Recommendations? How are SSD's usually configured when used as boot drives? Are they used only for the OS, or for programs as well? I'm not too sure about how to get the most performance out of one of these.
Overclocking: Yes. Very open to it, but would like to avoid costly cooling solutions. Case does provide good airflow, and I'm open to cost effective aftermarket coolers. Any advice on a cooler to maintain good CPU temps with my 1090T at 4GHz?
Noise: Performance and value are important than noise.
Budget: No set budget. I'm looking for bang-for-buck, and would like to keep costs reasonable. This isn't my job, and when it is it'll be a company expense rather than my own. Thousand dollar workstation cards are out of the question.
I've done some looking around, but there's just so many video cards on the market it's hard to choose what's best for my application, especially with most reviews being gaming based. Thanks for taking the time to help me out!
I tried following that soft mod guide - thanks by the way - but ran into a problem with RivaTuner. When I go into low-level system settings it doesn't have the "NVStrap Driver" tab. It just isn't there.. the only tab there is fan.
I wasn't aware you could do this. Sounds like it'll increase my performance a lot if I can figure out how to make it work.
It will increase the performance only if you use GPU acceleration and your applications use mainly the CPU. I forgot that Win7 doesn't have support for softmodding, only XP. Just buy any card that can run your monitors.
Wow, those gains from the soft mod are unreal. It sounds like I don't need to spend as much on a graphics card as I had thought. Thanks for the contributions guys, I had no idea soft modding was something I could do.