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New Build for Architecture Student (Workstation)

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April 18, 2011 2:31:39 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: within the next month or so

Budget Range: $1600 cap

System Usage from Most to Least Important: AutoCAD, Revit, 3dsMAX, Rhino 3d, Sketchup, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign

Parts Not Required: Mouse, Keyboard, Monitor, Speakers

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg... but open to suggestions

Country of Origin: U.S.

Parts Preferences: Intel, nVidia

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080 minimum

Additional Comments:

New build that I will be using for the next 3 years at least. Needs to be reliable so anything I can do to choose parts that work well together would be great.

Things I've considered:

Would a Quadro 2000 be a better buy than a high end similarly priced geforce series card?
Does RAM speed matter as much in workstation builds? I'm thinking quantity over speed if I need to save money some how. Correct me if I'm wrong.
I have no idea what brand of motherboard to choose...
I know not to skimp on the PSU... just need to know which are good brands... and is it good to buy as much of the same brand as possible (i.e. corsair PSU/ RAM together)

Open to possibility of upgrading graphics card later as we're just starting with digital design this semester.

Thanks for the input!

Best solution

April 18, 2011 2:21:00 PM

MB - ASUS P8P67 Pro - Good board with options for adding a second GPU down the road. - $180
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU - I7-2600k - Ready to be overclocked after paired with an aftermarket CPU cooler. - $315
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU Cooler - Hyper 212+ - $30 (Amazon)
http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-Hyper-Sleeve-RR-B10...

MEM - GSKILL 16GB (4x4GB) DDR3-1333 CL7 1.5v - $220
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HD - Samsung F3 1TB - $65
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case - Antec Three Hundred - $60 - Just a basic case. Has plenty of options for upgrading / adding cooling fans.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU - 650w for a single GPU, or 850w if possibly running dual GPUs down the road.
Antec 650 - $80 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Antec 850 - $120 (there may be better options here) - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU - The Quadro 2000 would work well for a workstation. The FirePro V5800 is another to consider in that same "class". The FirePro V7800 is a bit more, but would hit right at your budget level with the above parts...
**EDIT** - Just saw your preference was for Nvidia. Quadro 2000 as mentioned, or the Quadro 4000.

Just shy of $1000 and then you need to choose a GPU.
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April 18, 2011 6:51:09 PM

if I wanted to do 12GB (3x4GB) RAM instead of 16GB to save some money (I think 12 will be fine for now)... do I need to find a motherboard that will accept triple channel? Or any motherboard with 3 or more DIMM slots work?

Sure I don't need to spend more on the PSU? I always hear that skimping on it will come back to bite you later.

Otherwise looks good. Thanks!
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April 18, 2011 6:57:05 PM

Sandy Bridge motherboards are all dual channel memory controllers. Stick with installing memory in pairs to avoid running in single channel mode...

You CAN spend more money on a PSU, however the two Antec power supplies linked above are good units. XFX, Corsair, Antec, Seasonic... all good brands. 650w for a single GPU or 850w for dual GPUs is a good rule of thumb (without using a PSU calculator).
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April 18, 2011 7:04:30 PM

This is what I did. This is a good combo and 6GB or ram is plenty when its tripple channel. IMO this will be plenty especially if your looking to OC a bit.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboBundleDetails.aspx?I...

AND THEN I ordered this. Seems within your $1600 budget but still has the cpu power and gpu power that is above and beyond what you will need for software. the 460gtx again IMO will do the job same as a quadro.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

THEN you still have enough to upgrade ram if you insist on having that much ram.

This psu is perfect for this setup. Especially if you decide to sli in the future you wont need to upgrade anything. Just purchase the second gpu and your good. AND the gpu comes basically overclocked to a safe clock so that you dont try yourself and make any mistakes.
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April 18, 2011 9:06:23 PM

mustbaj said:
This is what I did. This is a good combo and 6GB or ram is plenty when its tripple channel. IMO this will be plenty especially if your looking to OC a bit.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboBundleDetails.aspx?I...

AND THEN I ordered this. Seems within your $1600 budget but still has the cpu power and gpu power that is above and beyond what you will need for software. the 460gtx again IMO will do the job same as a quadro.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

THEN you still have enough to upgrade ram if you insist on having that much ram.

This psu is perfect for this setup. Especially if you decide to sli in the future you wont need to upgrade anything. Just purchase the second gpu and your good. AND the gpu comes basically overclocked to a safe clock so that you dont try yourself and make any mistakes.


Not the same thing by a long shot. The i7-2000 series CPUs perform much better than the older 1366 CPUs, and for a new build there is no reason to spend more on an outdated platform.

A workstation GPU would better fit the OP's needs; the GTX460 is by no means anywhere similar to a Quadro when it comes to 3D rendering and modeling. If the OP were gaming on the side, I'd suggest a more powerful card than a 460 (probably a 560 or so), but since this is entirely a workstation build, there's no reason to buy anything other than a Quadro.
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April 18, 2011 9:37:56 PM

alrighty, that all sounds good

On the GPU:

Been reading everywhere that getting a lower end quadro isn't as good as getting a high end gaming card (like a gtx 560ti for example)... I know that topic has been much debated... but I don't want to spend more than 400$ or so on a card. Do you guys think the 560ti would work just as good or better than the 2000 given I can't afford to jump up to the quadro 4000?
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May 27, 2011 4:58:07 AM

Best answer selected by nickarch.
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