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Autocad build - What CPU, GPU? ..im use to gaming builds

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July 11, 2011 1:02:58 AM

Hi all,
I had a request from the father in law to help build an AutoCad computer. I have built a couple computers (2 gamers, 2 htpcs) but never an autocad. He is an architect and primarily uses Autocad 2012 in 2d mode but wants the ability to use 3d.

couple Qs:

Q1) CPU - Should I do the standard gamer builds (i5 or 965 black) or more or less than those?
Q2) GPU - I have seen references to cad specific GPUs (FireFL and Quadro).... do i need those and if so what model is appropriate (if not, is on board graphics or gamin gpu appropriate?)
Q3) RAM - how much?

Approximate Purchase Date: a month to two months
Budget Range: still figuring out, less than $1000
System Usage from Most to Least Important: AutoCAD 2012 mostly 2d but want to use 3d once in a while
Parts Not Required: all expect mouse, keyboard, monitor
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg or microcenter is nearby
Country of Origin: USA
Parts Preferences: none
Overclocking: No
SLI or Crossfire: ?
Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080
Additional Comments:

Thanks
July 11, 2011 4:50:21 PM

$1000 may not be enough to really build a AutoCad system. this should give you an idea.

AutoCad is Graphics card intensive and is going to be $ for a good one
I would think this would be the minimum
PNY VCQ2000D-PB Quadro 2000D 1GB $450

I put a i-5-2400 as a place holder. Since you are near a microcenter you should be able to get an i5-2500k for the same price.
though this system will work for a budget AC system, just not as fast. I would also put an Crucial M4 64GB SSD drive in place of the Boot/OS/APPS HDD to help with performance if you can fine a few more $$ the case is just a place holder to. get on you like at MC.

ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Item #: N82E16827135204
$20.99

Rosewill R101-P-BK 120mm Fan MicroATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Item #: N82E16811147112
$29.99

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Item #: N82E16822152185
-$10.00 Instant
$129.98
$109.98 (2x $54.99 each)

XIGMATEK NRP-PC Series ACXTNRP-PC402 400W ATX12V Ver.2.3 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Item #: N82E16817815007
-$25.00 Instant
$59.95
$34.95

G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory F3-12800CL8D-8GBXM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Item #: N82E16820231445
$79.99

ASUS P8H67-M LX (REV 3.0) LGA 1155 Intel H67 SATA 6Gb/s Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Item #: N82E16813131713
-$10.00 Instant
$98.99
$88.99

Intel Core i5-2400 Sandy Bridge 3.1GHz (3.4GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I52400
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Item #: N82E16819115074
$194.99

PNY VCQ2000D-PB Quadro 2000D 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 Workstation Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Item #: N82E16814133382
$50.00 Mail-in Rebate
$449.99
----------
$1,009.87

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July 11, 2011 5:33:23 PM

I'm not going to post a build per say, but I do have some advice on an Autocad build in general. First of all, I use autocad at home and have never had a problem running anything (in 2D or 3D), I will post my build.

- Intel i5 750
- 4 GB G.Skill Memory
- 1 x 60GB OCZ Vertex 2 SSD
- XFX Radeon 5770
- 2 x 2T WD Black's in RAID 1

As you can see I have a build that was around $1000 at the time but you could probably get for 600-750 today. And as I say it runs autocad fine. More memory would be great (would suggest 8GB) and a better graphics card would be better for some complicated models (involving 100's or 1000's of models in one DWG). But, it has no problems with 2D work or even 3D work.

First of all, unless you are going with a more expensive rig that will be doing a lot of 3D complicated work (1000's of models in one DWG) then I would suggest a workstation card. However, for a $1000 budget you will be fine with any of the standard gaming graphics cards. I wouldn't suggest worrying about using any of the Fire's or Quadro's. For your budget they are more money than it would be worth because you would have to sacrifice a lot else to suit it.

For Autocad memory is important, which is why I would suggest a minimum of 8GB.

I would also suggest a SSD of 120GB size. Enough for your OS, Office, Autocad installation and the storage of the main CAD files that are being worked on. With large models and DWG's load times can take very long and an SSD will dramatically help that.

As for the build itself, as I said I'm not able to post a full build for you but you should be able to get something along these lines. Or you could check out the Tom's Hardware $1000 build that was recently done, and maybe modify it a bit.

- 2500k
- 8GB G.Skill memory
- 120GB SSD
- 1TB drive for storage
- 6970 or a 580

Hope that helps, I am a full time user of autocad for my line of work so I like to offer some practical advice.
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July 11, 2011 6:01:00 PM

JordoR said:
I'm not going to post a build per say, but I do have some advice on an Autocad build in general. First of all, I use autocad at home and have never had a problem running anything (in 2D or 3D), I will post my build.

- Intel i5 750
- 4 GB G.Skill Memory
- 1 x 60GB OCZ Vertex 2 SSD
- XFX Radeon 5770
- 2 x 2T WD Black's in RAID 1

As you can see I have a build that was around $1000 at the time but you could probably get for 600-750 today. And as I say it runs autocad fine. More memory would be great (would suggest 8GB) and a better graphics card would be better for some complicated models (involving 100's or 1000's of models in one DWG). But, it has no problems with 2D work or even 3D work.

First of all, unless you are going with a more expensive rig that will be doing a lot of 3D complicated work (1000's of models in one DWG) then I would suggest a workstation card. However, for a $1000 budget you will be fine with any of the standard gaming graphics cards. I wouldn't suggest worrying about using any of the Fire's or Quadro's. For your budget they are more money than it would be worth because you would have to sacrifice a lot else to suit it.

For Autocad memory is important, which is why I would suggest a minimum of 8GB.

I would also suggest a SSD of 120GB size. Enough for your OS, Office, Autocad installation and the storage of the main CAD files that are being worked on. With large models and DWG's load times can take very long and an SSD will dramatically help that.

As for the build itself, as I said I'm not able to post a full build for you but you should be able to get something along these lines. Or you could check out the Tom's Hardware $1000 build that was recently done, and maybe modify it a bit.

- 2500k
- 8GB G.Skill memory
- 120GB SSD
- 1TB drive for storage
- 6970 or a 580

Hope that helps, I am a full time user of autocad for my line of work so I like to offer some practical advice.


^+1.

The Workstation GPUs (Quadro/FirePro cards) are designed for 3D Rendering, which is different from 3D modeling. I can do 2D/3D drawing easily and quicky on my i5-2500K + 6950, since it isn't as demanding as rendering. You should be fine with a traditional high-end build, like the one JordoR posted.
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July 11, 2011 8:14:33 PM

My build was leaning toward the 2012 version of AC that is optimized for the Quadro GPU's. I was thinking a pro type WS on the Cheap. But yes you could us just a gaming GPU and lower the cost significantly. if that is they way you leaning then I would add a Crucial M4 64Gb SSD as the boot/OS/APPs drive.
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July 11, 2011 8:33:07 PM

jerreddredd said:
My build was leaning toward the 2012 version of AC that is optimized for the Quadro GPU's. I was thinking a pro type WS on the Cheap. But yes you could us just a gaming GPU and lower the cost significantly. if that is they way you leaning then I would add a Crucial M4 64Gb SSD as the boot/OS/APPs drive.


Yeah agreed, however I think for such a lower budget it would be better to spread the money across most of the components. Up to the OP I suppose.

I want to scratch my post earlier about a 120GB SSD. Thinking about it some more, a 60GB or the 64GB listed should be sufficient.

The reason I suggested 120GB is just to make sure you have a bit of room for your Autocad DWG files themselves. As I mentioned earlier, large models can take minutes to load (and to save every few minutes) so a SSD for that would be great. But thinking about it some more, W7 will take about 20GB, Office + Autocad another 5GB... which should leave ample room for your autocad files. Unless he's not dealing with major projects that are 50+GB. Could also transfer the files onto your storage 1TB drive after the project is complete to free up some space.
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Best solution

July 11, 2011 8:36:14 PM

I have run AutoCAD for over 20 years, starting on an original IBM PC.

AutoCAD will run on a variety of hardware. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn't need anything fancy in the way of a GPU, it just doesn't use the GPU power. For that matter I spend a lot of time running AutoCAD through remote desktop and it works fine this way. It doesn't need a lot of CPU cores either, for the most part it only uses one core no matter what you have. I have read that the rendering module can use more than one core but we don't do rendering in our business.

I am running a PC that I spec'd 2 years ago- E8500 CPU at 3.8GHz, 4GB of ram, 300GB Velociraptor hard drive, ATI FireGL GPU, twin 22" monitors, WinXP 32bit. It runs pretty well but could always use more horsepower. For AutoCAD if you are running large drawings then I think you should get as much CPU power as you can get, and by that I mean computing power not cores. If you are running really big drawings then you might benefit from more ram and 64bit OS, but we run large drawings and haven't had a problem.

I built 3 new machines for our office 1.5 years ago, using i5-750 cpu's, 8GB of ram, Win7 64bit. Two of them used the ATI FireGL GPU, one used a NVidia Quadro. While I think you can run AutoCAD on a variety of hardware, when you get into the 64bit OS then you need a better GPU strictly so you can get a real 64bit driver for it. All 3 of these machines are running at 3.5GHz. I have preferred ATI in the past but we did seem to have less problems with the Quadro card in the latest of these. I built one of these machines with a 64GB SSD. First of all we can't tell any difference in speed between it and the other two, second 64GB is not enough. We had to squeeze hard to get it to work and it is probably more than 80% full right now, with is not good for an SSD. I would recommend 120GB minimum.

I have contemplated building myself a new workstation, in which case I would use an i5-2500k or an i7-2600k, 8gb or more of ram, 120gb SSD, and Win7 64bit. For 24/7 operation I could probably get close to 4.5GHz. I priced such a machine at about $1,500 recently.

An architect should keep in mind that they might be running autocad, but will they switch to revit in the future. Almost all of our clients have switched to revit. Revit needs even more ram and cpu and autocad, but doesn't care so much about the GPU. Buildings that we could run well with autocad and 4GB of ram, revit wants more than 4GB of ram, another reason I might need a new workstation.
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July 11, 2011 8:41:03 PM

Well, W7 x64 takes up ~25GB on my 64GB SSD, thanks to all of the updates, and some programs will still install some files on the SSD even though I change the directory to my 1TB drive.
I also have Office 2010, and had to remove my system's cache-thing because it was 16GB (forgot what it's called; same size as the amount of RAM in the system), and I'm at about 7-10GB free on the drive.

I'd try for a 120GB drive and install AutoCAD to it, but then save the files on a regular HDD. It should speed up load times for AutoCAD and the DWG files, because the DWG files should load faster (maybe not by much) since it's not coming off the same drive as AutoCAD. You'll also minimize writes to the SSD by saving DWGs to the HDD.

A true workstation would be ideal, but a good CPU and GPU should carry AutoCAD easily, especially 2D work.
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July 11, 2011 8:44:26 PM

jerreddredd said:
AutoCad is Graphics card intensive and is going to be $ for a good one


It is completely the opposite. AutoCAD really doesn't care too much what graphics card you have. If you are gaming then you are drawing complex stuff on the screen at 30 or 60 or whatever frames per second. Autocad draws its screen once and then sits there waiting on you to move the cursor around. It changes the screen very little. Even if you zoom in or out on a complex model, it redraws the screen at a lot less than 30 frames per second. People can and do spend a lot of money on fancy graphics cards, but you spend more time staring at the screen and waiting for AutoCAD to load files, save files, etc. when money spent on a faster processor would speed you up a lot more than a fancy GPU would.

The workstation that I had prior to my new one had a generic GPU in it and it ran fine. I run AutoCAD on my old Dell laptop just fine. I even run AutoCAD through the internet using remote desktop and it runs fine. If it can transmit the graphics data through the internet to my house and display it as I work, then any current graphics card inside the machine can do it.

I will say that when my office switched to 64bit Win7, we had to get better graphics cards in order to get a real 64bit driver for it. We bought the cheapest ATI FireGL and Nvidia Quadro cards that we could get, around $120-130, and they worked fine.
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July 11, 2011 8:48:07 PM

i use autocad often at work, but my work PC struggles with it even though it's otherwise not a bad PC (typical, big corporation more concerned with saving $$ than giving employees the tools necessary to make it). in my experience here's what you'll 'need' for a newer autocad version to run satisfactorily:
- more than 4GB ram (therefore 64bit OS by extension)
- quattro or fireGL GPU (autocad uses openGL)
- SSD (for load times)
- not need for particularily fast CPU (AFAIK autocad still only single thread)
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July 11, 2011 9:00:06 PM

boiler1990 said:
Well, W7 x64 takes up ~25GB on my 64GB SSD, thanks to all of the updates, and some programs will still install some files on the SSD even though I change the directory to my 1TB drive.


A 64GB SSD will actually give you something less than 60GB, maybe 58GB. I read that you should keep 20% free, so now you are down to being able to use only 46GB. If you have 8GB of ram like we have, then your swap file gets correspondingly larger. So take the space used by the OS, add the swap file, install Autocad and Revit, and you have busted the 46GB that you should be limiting yourself to.
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July 11, 2011 9:16:44 PM

cadder said:
A 64GB SSD will actually give you something less than 60GB, maybe 58GB. I read that you should keep 20% free, so now you are down to being able to use only 46GB. If you have 8GB of ram like we have, then your swap file gets correspondingly larger. So take the space used by the OS, add the swap file, install Autocad and Revit, and you have busted the 46GB that you should be limiting yourself to.


That storage loss happens with all drives though, so we're taking that into account by default.
Once you go to 8GB RAM or more, the swap file isn't really necessary, which is why I got rid of mine entirely. I'd get better performance from a RAMDisk using 4-8GB.


Quote:
jerreddredd wrote :

AutoCad is Graphics card intensive and is going to be $ for a good one


It is completely the opposite. AutoCAD really doesn't care too much what graphics card you have. If you are gaming then you are drawing complex stuff on the screen at 30 or 60 or whatever frames per second. Autocad draws its screen once and then sits there waiting on you to move the cursor around. It changes the screen very little. Even if you zoom in or out on a complex model, it redraws the screen at a lot less than 30 frames per second. People can and do spend a lot of money on fancy graphics cards, but you spend more time staring at the screen and waiting for AutoCAD to load files, save files, etc. when money spent on a faster processor would speed you up a lot more than a fancy GPU would.

The workstation that I had prior to my new one had a generic GPU in it and it ran fine. I run AutoCAD on my old Dell laptop just fine. I even run AutoCAD through the internet using remote desktop and it runs fine. If it can transmit the graphics data through the internet to my house and display it as I work, then any current graphics card inside the machine can do it.

I will say that when my office switched to 64bit Win7, we had to get better graphics cards in order to get a real 64bit driver for it. We bought the cheapest ATI FireGL and Nvidia Quadro cards that we could get, around $120-130, and they worked fine.


AutoCAD will be VERY GPU-intensive if the OP/OP's Dad uses it for rendering. We're still trying to gather that information from the OP, because it will make a difference :) 
Your statements are true with regards to 2D drawings and small 3D drawings, since those aren't nearly as complex.
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July 11, 2011 9:24:30 PM

So for a non - Quadro build... upgrade the SSD, PSU, add another HDD and a decent GPU (Support openGL). Get the i5-2500k at Mircocenter

ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Item #: N82E16827135204
$20.99

Rosewill R101-P-BK 120mm Fan MicroATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Item #: N82E16811147112
$29.99

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Item #: N82E16822152185
-$10.00 Instant
$129.98
$109.98 (2x $54.99 each)

SAPPHIRE 100338L Radeon HD 6770 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Item #: N82E16814102941
-$10.00 Instant
$20.00 Mail-in Rebate Card
$127.99
$117.99

XFX Core Edition PRO450W (P1-450S-XXB9) 450W ATX12V 2.2 & ESP12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Item #: N82E16817207012
$10.00 Mail-in Rebate
$54.99

G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory F3-12800CL8D-8GBXM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Item #: N82E16820231445
$79.99

MSI P67S-C43 (B3) LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Item #: N82E16813130576
$104.99

Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I52500K
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Item #: N82E16819115072
$219.99

SAMSUNG 470 Series MZ-5PA128/US 2.5" 128GB SATA II Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Item #: N82E16820147063
-$20.00 Instant
$229.99
$209.99
-----------
$948.90
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July 13, 2011 2:16:20 PM

I've used Autocad on severeral stations. As most have commented above it doesn't take a lot of graphics power to run. I'm currently running Autocad on 2 rigs. One is with an Amd 955 with an ATI 5870 and it runs great. The other is a Intel i7 with a quadro 1800 and it runs great. I also run x-steel on the quadro setup. I think it runs x-steel ok but I think it could do better.

I can't understand why your dad would try and use 3D in Autocad. From my experience its a waist of money and time. Autocad light should do all the 2D function you need and 3D should be used by another program. There are better programs for 3D modeling. In an architects case it would be Architectural desktop or Revit. Other 3D modeling software for construction would be Inventor, X-steel, SDS2, maybe some 3D studio viz for presentation.

One upgrade i'm really satisfied with is a bigger monitor. I went from a 19" to a 27.5" wide screen and absolutly love it. I also run (2) 20" side by side but would rather have the 27". I don't like the divide in the middle between the 2 screens. An SSD would be really nice but I feel the technology is still advancing and they are still a little risky. They help with load time but if you are running one program hours at a time

I wouldn't go with an SSD quite yet. They are expensive, problematic to set up if you don't know what your doing in some cases, and some seem to just die. Keep in mind I have no SSD experience but I've been reading a lot on them and just don't feel they are reliable yet, and the technology needs to develop a little more. Take that with a grain of salt and save $200 if you bought a 120GB SSD drive. Eventually this is an upgrade you would want in the future though.
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July 13, 2011 2:27:18 PM

fish_86 said:
I've used Autocad on severeral stations. As most have commented above it doesn't take a lot of graphics power to run. I'm currently running Autocad on 2 rigs. One is with an Amd 955 with an ATI 5870 and it runs great. The other is a Intel i7 with a quadro 1800 and it runs great. I also run x-steel on the quadro setup. I think it runs x-steel ok but I think it could do better.

I can't understand why your dad would try and use 3D in Autocad. From my experience its a waist of money and time. Autocad light should do all the 2D function you need and 3D should be used by another program. There are better programs for 3D modeling. In an architects case it would be Architectural desktop or Revit. Other 3D modeling software for construction would be Inventor, X-steel, SDS2, maybe some 3D studio viz for presentation.

One upgrade i'm really satisfied with is a bigger monitor. I went from a 19" to a 27.5" wide screen and absolutly love it. I also run (2) 20" side by side but would rather have the 27". I don't like the divide in the middle between the 2 screens. An SSD would be really nice but I feel the technology is still advancing and they are still a little risky. They help with load time but if you are running one program hours at a time

I wouldn't go with an SSD quite yet. They are expensive, problematic to set up if you don't know what your doing in some cases, and some seem to just die. Keep in mind I have no SSD experience but I've been reading a lot on them and just don't feel they are reliable yet, and the technology needs to develop a little more. Take that with a grain of salt and save $200 if you bought a 120GB SSD drive. Eventually this is an upgrade you would want in the future though.


- First of all since he already has an Autocad licence for his 2D work, buying another piece of software would be a large expense that isn't required. Honestly, I'll admit yes there are better pieces of software for doing 3D modeling but Autocad is very capable in terms of 3D. Combine it with Autodesk Navisworks Freedom which is a great 3D free viewer where you can apply textures, transparancies, etc... you could produce some nice looking architectural models.

- Second, as for the monitors... talk to any professional or go into any large engineering office - two monitors is definitely the way to go. You don't normally split the ACAD over both monitors, you run the ACAD on one screen and have you documents/specifications/emails on the other monitor. Or if you are doing 3D you have your Navisworks or similar software on the other monitor to view your model in real-time.

- Third, I don't agree with your comments about SSD's. You mention they are expensive and problematic to setup but you mention you have no experience with them. True some SSD's so fail, but so do regular hard-drives. With a quick bit of research and maybe 15 minutes total of tweaking everything to make sure it's optimized it will be a great boost to this build. As I mentioned earlier on large models it will dramatically increase performance and you won't be wondering whether it was worth spending the extra money. I have done 15 builds over the last 1.5 years utilizing SSD's and never had one complaint or failure. Admittedly a small sample size, but just with a bit of research they will be fine.
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July 13, 2011 4:23:43 PM

Which SSD brand would you recommend? I almost bought a 120GB OCZ for $150 yesterday but after reading a comment from someone who build 30 computers with this drive said 1 out of 4 failed?? I've read multiple cases where they fail either from the start or after little time. I'm not saying this is common but I believe more often then a platter drive. I want an SSD in the worst way, but the expense and issues I've heard about them makes me hold off.
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July 13, 2011 5:23:13 PM

fish_86 said:
Which SSD brand would you recommend? I almost bought a 120GB OCZ for $150 yesterday but after reading a comment from someone who build 30 computers with this drive said 1 out of 4 failed?? I've read multiple cases where they fail either from the start or after little time. I'm not saying this is common but I believe more often then a platter drive. I want an SSD in the worst way, but the expense and issues I've heard about them makes me hold off.


You hear more about SSD failures these days because that's all people are concerned about; HDDs fail all the time but almost all computer users know that.

There are better drives than others - the C300's Micron controller had "widespread" issues a little while back, but I heard very little in terms of individual experiences here on TH. Yesterday, there was some hubbub about Intel's 320 drives reading a size of 8MB.

I'd pick a Sandforce-based SSD over the Micron-based drives primarily because on average they are significantly faster across a multitude of tests, and they are very reliable.
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July 13, 2011 7:09:03 PM

fish_86 said:
Which SSD brand would you recommend? I almost bought a 120GB OCZ for $150 yesterday but after reading a comment from someone who build 30 computers with this drive said 1 out of 4 failed?? I've read multiple cases where they fail either from the start or after little time. I'm not saying this is common but I believe more often then a platter drive. I want an SSD in the worst way, but the expense and issues I've heard about them makes me hold off.



Grab one of these.
for a fast SATA 6g SSD:
Any Crucial M4 series as long as you are not putting it in a laptop or a mac. these are nearly as fas as the vertex3's but less issues.
Crucial M4 CT064M4SSD2 2.5" 64GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) $117
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

These are all solid, may not be as blazing fast a the Vertex 3's, but they will smoke mechanical drives.
for SATA 3g
SAMSUNG 470 Series MZ-5PA128/US 2.5" 128GB $210
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
SAMSUNG 470 Series MZ-5PA064/US 2.5" 64GB SATA II Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Mushkin Enhanced Callisto DX2 Series MKNSSDCL115GB-DX2 2.5" 115GB $185
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Mushkin Enhanced Callisto DX2 Series MKNSSDCL80GB-DX2 2.5" 80GB $170
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July 19, 2011 6:46:33 PM

OK, finally got some clarification on the use of rendering by my father-in-law. First, thanks for all the great input, it has been a great help.

He stated that he primarily performs regular Autocad (2D) but may want to get into Rendering. Even if he does render it is going to be on the lighter side of rendering.

So my thoughts on the build are:
- CPU? - It appears that Autocad is a single thread app, so many CPUs will work. I am thinking a quad like the i5-2400 or 955/965. I guess i could build an i3-2100 but I am thinking that the extra cores are always nice to have for not that much more.

- 8GB Ram with some slots left for expansion
- 7200 RPM HDD (maybe SSD boot if he is willing to pay for it)

MB - If I went with the i5, which type of MB?... I think there are 3 diff types out there for the i5.
Q? GPU - Does he even need a separate GPU for the basic Autocad stuff? Sounds like he could get away with on board graphics for basic Autocad and lowest level rendering?

Thanks again
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July 19, 2011 7:02:44 PM

I would still recommend what has been stated above several times.

- Get an i5 2500k... an i3 2100 is not meant for CAD applications.
- 8 GB Ram, (2 x 4GB) would be great to go with.
- 7200 HD 1TB for your main storage and an SSD is recommended and will be able to fit in your budget. JD has already posted several above.
- Don't even think about using onboard graphics for CAD.... Even if he is only doing 2D it would be brutal to perform the work on the integrated graphics (even though the new SB ones are decent). Sure.... you may be able to get away with it, but trust me it won't be worth it.
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July 20, 2011 8:15:00 AM

kwarde said:
OK, finally got some clarification on the use of rendering by my father-in-law. First, thanks for all the great input, it has been a great help.

He stated that he primarily performs regular Autocad (2D) but may want to get into Rendering. Even if he does render it is going to be on the lighter side of rendering.

So my thoughts on the build are:
- CPU? - It appears that Autocad is a single thread app, so many CPUs will work. I am thinking a quad like the i5-2400 or 955/965. I guess i could build an i3-2100 but I am thinking that the extra cores are always nice to have for not that much more.

- 8GB Ram with some slots left for expansion
- 7200 RPM HDD (maybe SSD boot if he is willing to pay for it)

MB - If I went with the i5, which type of MB?... I think there are 3 diff types out there for the i5.
Q? GPU - Does he even need a separate GPU for the basic Autocad stuff? Sounds like he could get away with on board graphics for basic Autocad and lowest level rendering?

Thanks again


For a Budget workstation, the i5-2400 should be fine. the i5-2500k would be better because of the slightly better clock rate and the OC potential. At this point it would all be about budget and expectations.
The AMD chips will not perform as well as the Sandybridge i5 CPU.

A discreet GPU is almost a must, but it doesn't have to be anything fancy something a GTS 450, HD 5770/6770 is right at the $100 mark and would be fine, you might even get by with a HD 5670 or 6670.

if you go with the i5-2400 then a H67 or H61 MB is good.
if you go with a i5-2500k then you should go with a p67 or Z68 MB.

8GBs is fine
I do recommend separate Boot/Apps and work drives, whether is be a SSD and a HHD or just 2 HDD's.



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July 22, 2011 2:09:27 AM

kwarde said:
He stated that he primarily performs regular Autocad (2D) but may want to get into Rendering. Even if he does render it is going to be on the lighter side of rendering.

So my thoughts on the build are:
- CPU? - It appears that Autocad is a single thread app, so many CPUs will work. I am thinking a quad like the i5-2400 or 955/965. I guess i could build an i3-2100 but I am thinking that the extra cores are always nice to have for not that much more.

- 8GB Ram with some slots left for expansion
- 7200 RPM HDD (maybe SSD boot if he is willing to pay for it)

MB - If I went with the i5, which type of MB?... I think there are 3 diff types out there for the i5.
Q? GPU - Does he even need a separate GPU for the basic Autocad stuff? Sounds like he could get away with on board graphics for basic Autocad and lowest level rendering?

Thanks again


Most of what Autocad does right now is single threaded, and my own CAD workstation uses a dual core processor. However for everything you do OTHER than CAD, a quad core is beneficial. My home computer is a quad core and there are some things I do where it runs smoother than the dual core.

You mention 8GB of ram- does this mean you are going to run a 64bit OS? You can get a 64bit version of AutoCAD but it isn't really needed unless you run really big stuff. We operate some pretty big drawings and have no problems with 4GB of ram. In our experience you can run 32bit AutoCAD under a 32bit OS on some pretty mundane hardware, but if you run AutoCAD under a 64bit OS then you will need a video card that is intended for professional use. This is not so you get any certain amount of GPU performance but so you can get a proper driver for the 64bit OS. We tried it both ways and it didn't work with anything but ATI FireGL and Nvidia Quadro cards. Normal gaming cards, no matter how fancy, won't do it. You can get the ATI FireGL and the Nvidia Quadro cards for about $130 so this isn't a big liability. Under a 32bit OS it would certainly be worth while to try Autocad with integrated graphics first, since you don't have anything to lose.
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July 24, 2011 8:45:13 PM

I am a 3d graphics person and have used both Lightwave and Maya, so the following is slanted in that direction. You might still want to think about rendering, since some architects are now developing 3d movies, where they show the building being created in the same manner as on a construction site.

Going this route allows the architect to see the structure, water, electrical, air and internal forms individually and together to ensure no 2+ subsystems occupy the same space. Once that is accomplished, then a final rendering of the finished product would be shown to the customer so they can accurately visualize what they are getting.

I would even go so far as to have a 3d graphic person walk through the facility pointing out all of the major benefits of this plan. Customers are becoming more and more sophisticated, so to differentiate yourself from the other architects your father in law might have to get into 3d rendering and 3d movies.

ASUS P8B WS LGA 1155 Intel C206 ATX Intel Xeon E3 Server/Workstation Motherboard -- $229.99
Intel Xeon E3-1275 Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Server Processor BX80623E31275 -- $349.99
Crucial 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM ECC Unbuffered DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Server Memory Model CT51272BA1339 -- (4) $235.96
ATI 100-505552 FirePro V3750 256MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 Workstation Video Card -- $128.99
Corsair Professional Series Gold AX750 (CMPSU-750AX) 750W ATX12V v2.31 / EPS12V v2.92 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply -- $179.99 -$10.00 Instant rebate
Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive -- $89.99

All of which totals out to $1204.91 at newegg.

I skimp on the graphics card to keep the costs down to a reasonable level, while still building with professional grade workstation components.
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July 26, 2011 3:43:47 PM

mb230kc said:

ATI 100-505552 FirePro V3750 256MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 Workstation Video Card -- $128.99


We have 3 cards in our office similar to that and they seem to work fine with Autocad, Revit and Win7 64bit.
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August 2, 2011 5:24:52 PM

Quote:
We operate some pretty big drawings and have no problems with 4GB of ram.


I think you can run everything with 4GB just fine. The only reason I'd recommend 8GB is because I tend to mess with lots of PDF's and DXF's at a time, or have lots of apps oppened. I am currently running 4GB on one rig and my windows 7 gadget shows at times that my ram is getting close to the yellow mark of being full. I have never red lined it yet and never have noticed any troubles with my system, but you can find 2x4BG CAS 9 sticks of ram for pretty cheap.
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August 12, 2011 12:07:34 AM

Best answer selected by kwarde.
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