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CAD Workstation: X3440 vs i760 vs i860

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January 3, 2011 11:04:34 AM

Hi everyone,

I would appreciate a bit of help regarding a CAD workstation I need to build.
It will be mainly used for Solidworks [modelling, no HT] and 3D Studio Max [rendering, HT capable].

I will be using the NVidia Quadro600 graphics card.

After a bit of netsearch I was thinking of going for a Xeon X3440 + Gigabyte P55M UD4M or Asrock P55 Extreme.

A cheaper alternative would be a 760 based system.

A more expensive alternative would be a 860 system.

I am thinking of using 8GB RAM 1333. ECC or no ECC in case of Xeon?

Any ideas / suggestions?

Thanks in advance!
January 3, 2011 1:45:23 PM

UNless you are designing future NASA orbital vehicles, most consider the Xeons, appropriate mainboards for them, and Quadros to be somewhat expensive. I'd think a mainstream i5/750 quad core would deliver similar performance, unless your applications require a Quadro or equivalent. (Most Quadros are merely mainstream cards with a few hardware cuts or resistors added on the PCB and BIOS flash to magically turn it into a Quadro anyway....)
January 3, 2011 4:12:30 PM

If I were designing for NASA somebody would be doing my CAD for me, let alone configuring a workstation! :D 

Both X3440 and Quadro 600 are entry level items very similar in price [if not cheaper] and performance [or so I read] with the equivalent gamer/desktop items.

I am far from being an expert but I ;ve done a bit of homework.
My current, [1000 Euro] setup proposal is:

CPU Xeon X3440
MOBO Gigabyte P55A UD4
RAM Corsair vengeance 2X4GB DDR1600 8-8-8-24
GPU PNY Quadro 600 1GB

COOL Coolermaster H212
CASE Coolermaster CM690
PSU Coolermaster Real Power 620W Modular

HDD WD Caviar Black 1TB/64MB/SATA600

Comments?
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January 4, 2011 6:46:15 PM


Anyone, anyone? :( 

CPU Xeon X3440
MOBO Gigabyte P55A UD4
RAM Corsair vengeance 2X4GB DDR1600 8-8-8-24
GPU PNY Quadro 600 1GB

COOL Coolermaster H212
CASE Coolermaster CM690
PSU Coolermaster Real Power 620W Modular

HDD WD Caviar Black 1TB/64MB/SATA600



Please I need some help from the wizzards! :bounce: 
January 4, 2011 7:36:36 PM

forget the last gens. Sandy bridge is cheaper, more equipted and faster.
January 4, 2011 7:53:35 PM

Quadro 600 is a very good workstation GPU, will offer more performance for the money than any gaming GPU.

The Xeon is also a great choice. However, if you can fit a i7-2600k into the build then you'll get much better performance.

If not, then comes down to a judgement call. The i5-2500 will give you better solidworks performance, but the xeon would give better 3DSmax performance for same cost.

Also, unless you plan on Ocing, don't really need the HSF.

PSU wise, you'd be better off with an Antec EW 500W.


January 5, 2011 6:53:50 AM

Thanks guys, I really appreciate your feedback. :) 

It seems like waiting for sandy bridge is the right thing to do as I am in no immediate need of the workstation.

Concerning the judgement call I understand it boils down to Hyperthreading and rendering performance.

I use Solidworks for modelling and a little rendering and 3DMax for large and complex renderings.

Given the above it looks like I will benefit from HT, especially if I OC the Xeon mildly.

In any case I will have to wait for the costs and compare, maybe there will also be a significant drop in older generation processors....
January 5, 2011 8:40:22 AM

wait for sandy bridge the i7 2600 k is the best bet. combine that with 8Gb of ram and your quadro600 u will have one mean modelling machine
January 5, 2011 10:30:53 AM

Sounds good, heck from what I read it also seems like even the i5-2500 will be better than the Xeon.

What sort of motherboards will they run on?

Will they work on a P55?

January 5, 2011 1:29:50 PM

the i5-2500 are not hyperthreaded, so even though per core performance is greater, overall won't be in highly threaded tasks vs the Xeon.

All SB will require new socket 1155 mobo's.
!