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New workstation build for Autodesk Inventor

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January 28, 2011 4:37:10 PM

Hey everyone, thanks in advance. This is my first post, so let me know if I screwed up something.

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Approximate Purchase Date: Next month or two

Budget Range: <$1500 w/OS

System Usage from Most to Least Important: primarily Autodesk Inventor (3d machine design software), Autodesk Revit (3d architectural modeling), lots of 2d autocad, various engineering analysis apps

Parts Not Required: monitors, mouse, keyboard

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com

Country of Origin: USA

Parts Preferences: Intel, generally have liked like ASUS but am open to others

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe

Monitor Resolution: Dual monitors @ 1920x1200, currently using DVI

Additional Comments:
From Autodesk's own blog, here are the importance/effectiveness of the components for running Inventor 2011, from most important to least:
1. 64 bit OS
2. System RAM
3. Hard Disk speed and size
4. CPU power
5. Graphics HW

Traditionally, Autodesk 3d products have required certified workstation graphics cards, but they are now settled on DirectX and standard 3d gaming cards should work great.

Inventor is very RAM intensive, and we're going to be doing pretty large assemblies, so 16GB is my minimum. I'd actually prefer more if the price of 8Gb sticks was lower.

I've built systems before, but don't live and breathe this stuff so I'd appreciate any comments/suggestions. My eyes kind of glaze over trying to figure out the best video cards and SSD for my use.

The list below puts it at around $1480 shipped, then about $100 in rebates, with current specials/rebates. I might go with a lower capacity SSD to save some bucks, and if I could get decent performance with a less expensive graphics card (~$125-150), that'd be good. Also, is 750W overkill on the PSU since I'm not overclocking or running dual graphics cards? I'll probably be putting two of these together, and we have a lot more software to buy, so any cost saving suggestions would be great if it looks like I'm buying more than I need.

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Here's what I've put together on my own:

Intel Core i7-2600
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS P8P67 LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Patriot Gamer 2 Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (Qty 2 for 16Gb total ram)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Crucial RealSSD C300 CTFDDAC128MAG-1G1 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) (Primary drive)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive (secondary drive)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

EVGA 01G-P3-1465-AR GeForce GTX 465 (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power ...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

LG DVD±RW SuperMulti Drive Black SATA Model GH22NS50B - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

More about : workstation build autodesk inventor

January 28, 2011 9:00:49 PM

It looks like you and I are kinda trying to do the same thing, and we both have had no luck from others. I have a thread like yours here

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/303903-31-animation-r...

What i can tell you is what I've learned, you said you didn't want to overclock so you could probably save yourself some cash on the motherboard and get a H67 instead of a P67. The P67 will overclock your memory though if you want it to.

You can also save some cash by buying your memory as single units and not in pairs. It works the same way just get the same type x how every many you want.

Also the power supply we have kinda the same build so you might be able to get away with a 650 from corsair, that's what I'm going to go with and others told me i really only needed a 550w

Also check out the case i have in my thread linked above, its a little more expensive but has more fans, bigger fans and they come with the case. And with our systems cooling would be important by far.

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January 28, 2011 9:43:41 PM

Looking at your build I have to agree that a 750W PSU is overkill. A good quality ~600W PSU from a manufacturer such as Corsair is plenty for your build.

I would suggest getting a different video card. The GTX 465 never did seem like a good card, it's basically a severely cut down GTX 480. I would recommend a GTX 560 or maybe even a GTX 460. The GTX 460 should perform close to the GTX 465, and will have less power consumption and should be about the same price. The GTX 560 beats both of those cards, although it currently costs $250 on newegg. Plus both the GTX 460 and GTX 560 run quite a bit cooler than the GTX 465 and use less power.

+1 for the i7-2600. Currently it's probably one of the best CPU's for the type of workloads you run that doesn't cost more than half a grand. The i5-2500 is about $80 cheaper, but the programs you need to run would make good use of the hyper threading and larger cache that the i7-2600 offers.

Also, are you sure you need Windows 7 Professional? Windows 7 home premium 64-bit supports up to 16GB of RAM and would ave you some cash. Unless you need a specific feature that Windows 7 Professional offers I would consider Home Premium. Windows 7 Memory Limits
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January 28, 2011 9:48:46 PM

Yeah, we probably should have put "gaming" in our thread titles to get quicker responses. : )

Thanks, I hadn't really looked at H67. I just assumed the H67 was for those using the on-chip graphics, and most of the ones I saw at first only had 2 ram slots. I found a ASUS P8H67-M PRO/CSM ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ) for about $120 (about $40 less than the P67 I was looking at). The memory was 1333 instead of the 1600 on the P67. I don't really have a good feel if that sort of thing will make much difference.

I might be convinced to try OC'ing with a 2600k if I can do it without having to buy aftermarket coolers and whatnot, it'd be nice to have the extra speed if it's stable. At stock speed I'll probably be amazed anyway, I'm on a 1.87 Core2Duo right now.

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January 28, 2011 9:52:55 PM

Thanks, jprahman, that is exactly the type of info I was looking for on the video card. I'll check out those other ones.

Yeah, I need W7 Pro, I'm on a domain here at work. Home Premium won't do a domain. We also have some older engineering software that we may need to use XP mode on. edit: Also want the option of more than 16Gb of ram, we're just getting into Inventor for this type of work so I don't have a good idea if 16Gb will be complete overkill or if I'll want more.
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January 28, 2011 10:04:00 PM

Yeah i was going to get a 2600 but now I'm getting a 2600K with a P67 board and i MAY give overclocking a try but not without getting a better fan onto it first. Because our machines will be running hard for a while I'm not too sure how i feel about over clocking just yet. I have a new setup I'm looking at ill put it in here for you


CPU - Intel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mobo - ASUS P8P67 LE
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case - Antec Nine Hundred Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU - EVGA 01G-P3-1366-TR GeForce GTX 460 SE
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Memory - G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM - (2 of these)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD - Western Digital Caviar Black WD5002AALX 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Drive - LG Black Blu-ray Disc Combo SATA Model UH10LS20 LightScribe Support
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Power - CORSAIR Enthusiast Series CMPSU-650TX 650W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Monitor - ASUS VH222H-P Black 21.5" 5ms HDMI Widescreen Full HD 1080P LCD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I'm feeling pretty confident this will pretty much blow away almost any rendering job now haha

The total for my build is $1,156.90 and that is before rebates or promo codes
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January 28, 2011 10:15:38 PM

Thanks for posting that Ryvin, I'll probably switch to your choices on the video card and PSU.

Do you really need a case with that much cooling stuff? (not rhetorical or doubting, honest question because I don't know). It seems like with one graphics card and one hard drive, there shouldn't be excessive heat and something like the Antec 300 I was considering would be sufficient.

Don't you need a bigger hard drive than that for rendering and video, or do you store it all on a server?
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January 28, 2011 10:31:55 PM

letseatpaste said:
Thanks, jprahman, that is exactly the type of info I was looking for on the video card. I'll check out those other ones.

Yeah, I need W7 Pro, I'm on a domain here at work. Home Premium won't do a domain. We also have some older engineering software that we may need to use XP mode on. edit: Also want the option of more than 16Gb of ram, we're just getting into Inventor for this type of work so I don't have a good idea if 16Gb will be complete overkill or if I'll want more.


Yeah, always a good idea to keep your options open.

From what I've heard Sandy Bridge can be OC'd probably to about 3.7-8GHz on air with the stock heatsink and still be reasonably cool. Obviously you'll have to pay more for a K edition CPU, and you do risk that chance of instability. Also, I thought I had heard at one point that ALL Sandy Bridge CPUs including non-K edition would be allowed 400MHz of overclocking, but I haven't heard a lot about that and you'll need to look into that for yourself because I'm not sure about that. Even if you don't overclock I'm sure you'll be quite pleased with a i7-2600.

The Antec 900 is a good case. I have one and like it quite a bit, although you could probably get away with a cheaper case with fewer fans if you want, after all the GTX 460-560 and i7-2600 run fairly cool.

That PSU looks pretty good, plenty of power for a single video card and looks to be a pretty good quality unit.

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January 29, 2011 1:02:08 AM

What do you think about the SSD? I could save some $$'s going with a smaller drive, but with 128Gb I almost wouldn't even need the secondary HDD except to store mp3's and maybe keep backups of the SSD.
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January 29, 2011 1:43:01 AM

That's a good question. The biggest advantage I see with an SSD is additional responsiveness. Programs will load significantly faster with an SSD compared to an HDD. There probably won't be a huge difference in program performance unless the program in question does a lot of transfers to and from the disk. If the CAD programs you use need a fast drive then it could be good investment.

As far as an particular SSD you may want to consider sticking with the 128-120GB capacity and simply pick out a cheaper model. If you went with a smaller capacity then you would have to be careful to avoid running out of space on the boot drive and the programs you mentioned earlier I would imagine take up a fair amount of disk space. The Crucial C300 you mentioned earlier is screaming fast, but is a little pricey. Here are some other SSDs I noticed with a similar capacity, but were $30-$40 cheaper: Samsung 470, Intel X-25, Vertex 2, Agility 2.

Also, where do you intend to store all of your CAD files. Do you have them stored on a server/NAS or do you want to keep them in the SSD, because that could get tight.





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January 29, 2011 2:15:08 AM

You know now that i think about it i probably could get a smaller case, I was a little paranoid about it. Antec's are always nice though so ill probably stick with them. It is good to have a case with good airflow though, would suck to get all these components and have them heat up and fry.

As for the single hard drive, I'm just starting with 500g and as i fill that up i will pick up another and install it that way i don't feel like i'm spending so much cash right now lol.
I find that when i have a TON of space on a drive i tend to keep more crap than i need.

As for SSD i can't remember what it was but from what i got from the comment a SSD didnt do much to help when it came to rendering / video transcoding

The GPU i listed is a GTX 460 SE, the SE means the shader and core clocks are a little slower but is more memory and a few more cores available which will be better for rendering because i know that v-ray unloaded some work onto the GPU.
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January 29, 2011 2:21:02 AM

Also check some of the feedback on your mobo, there seems to be a lot of talk about the Marvel controller...just a heads up.

Also you may want to get the 2600K and not a 2600 i7 so you can at least have the option to overclock even a little.
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January 29, 2011 2:27:42 AM

ryvin said:
You know now that i think about it i probably could get a smaller case, I was a little paranoid about it. Antec's are always nice though so ill probably stick with them. It is good to have a case with good airflow though, would suck to get all these components and have them heat up and fry.

As for the single hard drive, I'm just starting with 500g and as i fill that up i will pick up another and install it that way i don't feel like i'm spending so much cash right now lol.
I find that when i have a TON of space on a drive i tend to keep more crap than i need.




So true, lol.

ryvin said:

The GPU i listed is a GTX 460 SE, the SE means the shader and core clocks are a little slower but is more memory and a few more cores available which will be better for rendering because i know that v-ray unloaded some work onto the GPU.


Actually the GTX 460 SE is weaker than the GTX 460 1GB, although it does have more memory than the GTX 460 768MB model. It has fewer shaders and slightly lower clocksGTX 460 specs, go to the specifications section.

ryvin said:

As for SSD i can't remember what it was but from what i got from the comment a SSD didnt do much to help when it came to rendering / video transcoding


That's my impression too. SSDs are only going to speed loading data from disk, so unless a program is IO bound there won't be a significant improvement for things like rendering or anything CPU/GPU intensive. Although the time to load a program or large project file is going to be far less.
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January 29, 2011 2:43:23 AM

Quote:
Actually the GTX 460 SE is weaker than the GTX 460 1GB, although it does have more memory than the GTX 460 768MB model. It has fewer shaders and slightly lower clocksGTX 460 specs, go to the specifications section.


You are correct sir haha, but they are more expensive and out of my range, so ill just keep pretending haha
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January 29, 2011 2:48:39 AM

lol. yeah sometimes that's what you gotta do.
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January 29, 2011 2:51:14 AM

Like after I but all my parts, I am going to STOP looking at new parts because i WILL upset myself
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January 29, 2011 3:05:15 AM

That's probably a good idea. lol. Both my CPU and GPUs from the PC i built only THREE months ago have already been replaced with newer models and my RAM is now half the price. oh well. lol
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January 29, 2011 9:46:07 AM

Hey Ryvin, I think you could go with a 1T Samsung drive for the same price as the 500Gb one you list. It's only Sata 3Gb/s but isn't Sata 6Gb/s kind of lost on regular hard disks anyway? Just a thought.

Right now all the data I use is on a server, but we're currently only doing 2D Autocad. I'm going to have to experiment with Inventor, I had the thought of keeping all the files local, at least for whatever active projects I'm working on. Right now our company is only two people, and I'll be the only one really using Inventor. That would complicate things a bit for backup, and in the future as we add employees and need to share files more.
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January 29, 2011 11:03:41 AM

You guys are all wrong on the video card. Nvidia downclocks or throttles the 400 series and 500 series cards once Autodesk is started. You get half the performance. I'm not sure why most of you don't know this. The option to override is not available in Rivatuner either. The only "latest" card that you can override the downclock with is the GTX 285. The reason they do this is so that you go out and buy one of their $4K workstation cards. With a hex editor you can rewrite the bios of the later cards but that is getting pretty serious.. but then again if you're working Autodesk products aren't you already serious??
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January 29, 2011 11:31:54 AM

The latest Autodesk products (at least Revit and Inventor) use Direct3D and don't require a certified OpenGL workstation card anymore like they used to. I think Autodesk finally figured out that businesses can afford more licenses when someone can go buy a "high end" PC at Best Buy instead of a $3000-4000 certified workstation every two years. Graphics card is last on the list now (see OP), that's straight from Autodesk. That's a big change from five years ago when you had to go download specific certified drivers and whatnot.
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January 29, 2011 1:01:28 PM

When it comes to hard drives I only get western digital and no one else, seagate would be okay in my book to but i only trust WD. But i can point to at least 1 person for all the other companies that has had a drive of theirs fail.

Also the more backup options you have the better, i keep 2 to 3 backups of my work and even that could fail me.

For the video cards, i chose what i think was best for my budget and setup. The CUDA tech will help the cpu use some of the gpu power. I don't know all the ins and outs of nvidia processes but i seriously feel i will get a good use out of what im getting.
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January 29, 2011 2:03:03 PM

Ha, gotta go with what you know. I think I've had one or two WD fail on me so I try to stay away from them. :) 

Yeah, gotta back up. I'm setting up our server today to back up to AmazonS3 so I don't have to take home a portable hard drive everyday.

Thanks again for posting your build here, it's helping me narrow things down. I'll post my revised build when I get a chance.
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January 29, 2011 3:24:56 PM

Dropbox is also a good solution and its a free service, right now i have 4.5 gigs available for free. Its not so good for moving big projects but its helpful for files back and forth from class.
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