Need Advice - Design PC

I'm planning on building a computer for my Father to use for designing kitchens. I havent really done design work before, so I dont know how powerful the hardware needs to be. The system requirements for the program he uses dont seem too hardcore:

Approximate Purchase Date: Next Week or two.
Budget Range: 500-850 before rebates
System Usage from Most to Least Important: 20-20 Technology's Design v9, Office 2010
Parts Not Required: Keyboard, Mouse, Speakers, Monitor
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Whatever is cheapest. I've used Newegg, Amazon, and TigerDirect in the past.
Country of Origin: USA
Parts Preferences:
I'd like to try one of the new Sandybridge i3 or i5 processors.
Also leaning towards at least 8GB or RAM.
Please include Windows 7 in price.
Overclocking: No
SLI or Crossfire: No
Monitor Resolution: Dual 1920x1080 or 1920x1200 Monitors
Additional Comments:
#1 requirement is to run the design software smoothly. Which hardware is most important when doing 3D design work? How powerful of a graphics card will I need?
I think he keeps his PC tower in a cabinet. Is that really bad for the health of the computer?
What are my options as far as making a smaller PC using a microATX motherboard or something similar? What does that do to the price?
He said he wanted a Quad-Core and was open to spending $200 on one of the i5's. With that said, I hear the new i3's perform similar to quad-cores in its price range. Should I save the $$ on the processor and put it towards a different part?

Thanks for any advice you can offer. Please feel free to chime in if I am completely forgetting something.
8 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. Best answer
    Ok, I think I got an idea of what you need. It's gonna be a little tough, but I got this.

    CPU: Core i5-2400
    2x4GB DDR3 1866 Patriot Viper memory $276 for the set

    Mobo: Gigabyte Z68-D2H micro ATX motherboard $125

    Case/PSU: Antec nsk3480 with Antec Earthwatts 80+ PSU inside $95

    GPU: Sapphire 6770 (don't know how much the program relies on GPU. Better to be safe. Plus, 2 DVI out) 1GB GDDR5 $118

    HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB (no exceptions. This is the drive to buy :D) $50

    DVD drive: Sony Optiarc Lightscribe support $22

    My total comes to $696 excluding windows 7.

    The HDD is the fastest out there. It's the ultimate price/performance right now.

    The case is high quality with good airflow. I had to scrounge to find a good microATX case, but this certainly fits the bill. Just make sure it has good airflow in the front and back, it can be wedged in as tight as you want on the sides.

    The CPU is overpowered. He won't be able to use all it's mighty power lol.

    Now I left out windows 7 for a reason. Are you currently a student, or have access to a .edu email address? If so, microsoft gives a HUGE discount on windows 7 pro:
    If not, bring the total cost up to $800 with this version:

    Hope that helps!
  2. Awesome Awesome! This looks perfect!
    Yeah, that Core i5 looks super fast. Do you think its overkill? Do you think I should drop down to an i3?
    The case/psu looks like a great deal. Will the 380W psu be enough to power everything including the 6770?
    Does anyone have a good guide for making sure everything will fit into a microATX case before buying?
    Striker, thanks for the help. It is super appreciated.
  3. You will have no problems fitting the stuff whatsoever. If you take a look at the picture of the case with it's side open, you can see that there are no HDD racks or stuff blocking the front so pretty much the whole length of the case is usable for the video card, which i guess might even fit a 6990, so the 6770 will easily fit.

    All the other components are standard sized and fit their respective slots so as long as the specs are fine, you are good to go.
    As for the i5 vs i3, if you can afford it go with the i5, from what i can tell the SW looks to be running some rendering so it should be happy with all that horsepower. At least you won't be updating the rig any time soon because of not enough CPU.
  4. Thanks rv,
    This is my second build ever, so I just wanted to make sure I dont screw up from the start by ordering parts that dont fit. Is there anything else I should consider due to the microATX build?
    So rendering is based heavily on the CPU? I'm new to this design stuff. But yeah, at least I know the CPU wont be bottlenecking the system. Its pretty cool how powerful a PC you can put together today for such a low cost.
    Thanks again.
  5. Yup, it will all fit. The mobo and case are micro ATX, so no worries. The 6770 is about as long as the motherboard, and the NSK3480 can fit much larger cards, as rvilk says.

    The program uses OpenGL, which is why I went ATI.

    And overall, the only issue I see is if you want to add another HDD. You'd have to buy an enclosure and put the drive in a 5.25 bay. But are you reeeallllyy gonna need more than a TB? lol.
  6. Best answer selected by EnderYeah.
  7. Lol, I think the 1TB drive should be enough. Thanks for all the help guys. Ill let you know how it goes. It is going to be a huge step up from the 6 year old P4 system he is using now.
  8. No problem! Ty for best answer. If you have an questions. don't hesitate to shoot me a PM.
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