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Advice on CAD build

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April 18, 2012 4:34:35 AM

Alright,

After much deliberation, I decided upon the following configuration for a CAD workstation, mostly 2D AutoCAD 2012/2013, maybe Revit MEP later on; Visual Studio, Office apps.

Budget: I'd like to keep it around $1,500.

CPU - i7-2600K (got it at $200 at Micro Center, that's why I didn't wait another week for Ivy Bridge)

Motherboard - ASUS P8Z68-V Pro/Gen 3

RAM - Patriot Gamer 2 Series 16GB (2 x 8GB)
- I might just get two sets and max out the RAM right off the bat - for $212

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


Cooler - ZALMAN CNPS9500A-LED

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=35-118-...

SSD - SAMSUNG 830 Series MZ-7PC256D/AM 2.5" 256GB

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

Power Supply - CORSAIR Professional Series Gold AX750 (CMPSU-750AX) 750W ATX12V v2.31 / EPS12V v2.92 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply

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

Case Corsair Obsidian Series 550D Black Aluminum / Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

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

Graphics - Using existing GTX-570

DVD R/RW, DVD ROM.....All existing, cannibalized from other boxes


I will be overclocking significantly - in the 4.5-4.8Ghz range


I am pretty much settled on the CPU and the motherboard - I am impressed with my P8Z68-V Pro that I have in my 2500K build, so I figured I would get the same one (except now it's "Gen3").

I could use opinions/advice/comments/alternate recommendations on all the other components, which will be purchased over the next month and/or as I see good deals pop up.

The case - I really liked the look and functionality of the 550D, but I also had my eye on this case for a while:

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

and this one:

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

I am leaning towards the Corsair right now. I like the easy button release on the side panels for one thing; on my Fractal Arc Midi, the side panel is a pain to get off, I wonder if all Fractals are like this? The only thing I was wondering about the Corsair was the HDD trays - it didn't appear they were adjustable to hold an SSD tight enough, on one of the review videos you can see an SSD sitting in the tray but not "locked in". Can anyone confirm this?

RAM - I don't care what brand as long as it's low-profile (or maybe with the Zalman cooler that is not as much of a problem?), 1.5v, 1333, 16GB pairs. Is 1333 getting to be slow for RAM speed? I know that Sandy Bridge doesn't "support" faster RAM, but I was wondering about overclocking the RAM and what possible benefits there would be related to CAD work....

Power Supply - I selected the fully modular one, but if the non-modular one is better than I can switch. I figured 750W would be plenty for overclocking the i7, and for the GTX-570, and for maybe a future upgrade to whatever Kepler card will be the equivalent of the 590. Or should I go 850W?

Cooler - I would like something that performs a little better than my Hyper 212+, but I don't think I want something as large and heavy as the Noctua NDH-14. I don't think I want to mess with water cooling for this round.

SSD - I think I need the 256 GB because my OS and CAD applications and whatever drawing files at least will be stored on there. I will use an existing 500GB HDD for backing up files and storing other, lesser used apps and files.

Thank you in advance for any recommendations or discussion.



More about : advice cad build

a b B Homebuilt system
April 18, 2012 6:25:39 AM

Have you considered a Xeon setup?

I had found with the setup that I do graphic rendering and basic CAD and PS etc on that you can save a hell of a lot of cash with memory, you don't need performance memory for such applications, sometimes a lot of the generic stuff is better and saves you some money for pocket dosh.

You can get away with a 650w PSU also, it will handle a oc'ed i7 and GTX 680 no problem.
a c 136 B Homebuilt system
April 18, 2012 7:12:31 AM

Unlikely you will need 16 gig of RAM in 2D situations .. unless you are designing the planet Mars or something of that size . Tighter timings would improve application speed .

The zalman cooler is expensive , and not particularly good . A scythe Mugen is better choice IMO

Antec P280 would be my choice of case . Quiet , and better build quality than the Fractal Desing units

The psu is over kill
http://www.realhardtechx.com/index_archivos/Page362.htm
A 600 - 650 watt unit is more appropriate
Related resources
April 18, 2012 3:51:18 PM

sarinaide said:
Have you considered a Xeon setup?

I had found with the setup that I do graphic rendering and basic CAD and PS etc on that you can save a hell of a lot of cash with memory, you don't need performance memory for such applications, sometimes a lot of the generic stuff is better and saves you some money for pocket dosh.

You can get away with a 650w PSU also, it will handle a oc'ed i7 and GTX 680 no problem.



Well, my alternate build was centered around a 3930K, but I did consider waiting and saving money for a Xeon machine. I don't know enough about Xeons though. Everything that I have read indicates that for AutoCAD and Revit, high processor clock speed and abundant RAM is what gets the job done. For the rendering functions of Revit and for whatever solid modeling I might do in the near future, multiple cores/threads is useful. Do you have experience or know of anyone that uses a Xeon workstation with CAD applications? How high up would I have to go in the Xeon hierarchy to equal or better the performance of an overclocked 2600K? An overclocked 3930K? It seems clock speeds on the Xeons are pretty slow until you get up past the $800 range. Can a Xeon be overclocked fairly easily? Are they more reliable? Can they run on Windows 7 Pro, or do they need Server OS?
April 18, 2012 4:21:19 PM

Outlander_04 said:
Unlikely you will need 16 gig of RAM in 2D situations .. unless you are designing the planet Mars or something of that size . Tighter timings would improve application speed .

The zalman cooler is expensive , and not particularly good . A scythe Mugen is better choice IMO

Antec P280 would be my choice of case . Quiet , and better build quality than the Fractal Desing units

The psu is over kill
http://www.realhardtechx.com/index_archivos/Page362.htm
A 600 - 650 watt unit is more appropriate



Yeah, you're right about the psu - I forgot to revise that from when I was considering a 3930K build and wanted to have flexibility for possible dual-cards in the x79 mobo.

So, you would pick the P280 over the Corsair 550D as well? The styling is mostly in line with what I like, although call me vain, but I think I slightly prefer the all-black of the Corsair as opposed to the black with mill aluminum door of the Antec. Then again, the side and top openings in the Corsair are pretty ugly with the covers removed. Functionality and durability must take precedence though. The drive bay holders look to be a little better constructed in the Antec, but is there no front intake fan included (not that big a deal)? How about the side panels, are they fairly easy to remove like the 550D's, I don't like how stiff my Arc Midi's are.

As far as the cooler, what scythe Mugen model would you recommend? I am looking for something a little less clunky than my Hyper 212+, preferably not heavier, and that performs a little better. Is there no air cooler that fits those requirements (I don't care about cost so much)?
a b B Homebuilt system
April 18, 2012 4:24:30 PM

I build a lotta CAD boxes for my own engineering office as well as for other firms.

1. The 2600k is $100 more than the 2500k, another $40 usually gets ya a 2700k.....if ya can justify the $100 jump, the extra $40 is usually an automatic.....but the MC deal does change that dynamic.

2. CAD benefits from faster RAM..... consider bumping up the speed or lowering the CAS latency.

Quote:
1.5v, 1333, 16GB pairs. Is 1333 getting to be slow for RAM speed? I know that Sandy Bridge doesn't "support" faster RAM, but I was wondering about overclocking the RAM and what possible benefits there would be related to CAD work....


Bumping most 1333 RAM to 1600 involves using the XMP prifile which auto sets voltage at 1.65 volts. This is NOT a problem.

http://www.clunk.org.uk/forums/overclocking/39184-p67-s...

Quote:
Sandy Bridge does not demand only 1.5v modules, it will be perfectly happy with 1.65v modules too. If someone tries to tell you that you must have 1.5v modules, then they are either trying to sell them to you, or they have been reading misinformation, or both! Another point to consider here, is that in your BIOS, if you head to the memory voltage setting, and enter 1.5v, the text will remain white/grey, if you enter 1.65v, it will turn yellow, and it isn't until 1.73v that it turns red, so at the moment, I'd rest assured that 1.65v modules are OK to use, and I have had this confirmed by Asus, Gigabyte and Corsair so far, as soon as I hear from anyone else, I will update this again.


I have numerous SB boxes running 1.65 volt memory since Day 1 of the B3 P8P67 MoBos.....between 4.7 and 5.0 Ghz. However, there are numerous 1.50 and 1.35 modules available now.

3. For 4.8 Ghz, ya gonna want a better cooler......

With an $80-ish budget, I'd opt for the Phantek or Thermalright Silver Arrow

http://www.vortez.net/articles_pages/phanteks_ph_tc14pe...

Phanteks - 50.75
Silver Arrow - 51.00
Noc DH-24 - 51.25

With a $50-ish budget and up to 4.7 Ghz, I'd opt for the Hyper 612 PWM or Scythe Mugen 3

http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_conten...

Remember tho.....

http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1578110

1. Approximately 50% of CPUs can go up to 4.4~4.5 GHz
2. Approximately 40% of CPUs can go up to 4.6~4.7 GHz
3. Approximately 10% of CPUs can go up to 4.8~5 GHz (50+ multipliers are about 2% of this group)

Case / PSU - For an office setting, my 1st recommendation would be the Antec P193, P183 or 1200 V3 w/ CP-850 PSU. Cases, especially 1st 2, are designed for extra quietness, w/ great airflow and the PSU is the best I have ever used and at an unbelievable price....it only fits in those cases tho (+DF-85)

http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=...

Quote:
It is completely unmatched by any ATX unit on the market I can think of. You'd have to spend twice as much as this thing costs to find the next best thing, performance wise.


As to how the case an PSU work together to create an unusually cool and quiet performing PC, read this

http://www.silentpcreview.com/article971-page7.html

My next recommendation would be the Corsair 500R w/ HX850 which is much cheaper than the AX series.

http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_conten...

Quote:
I selected the fully modular one, but if the non-modular one is better than I can switch.


Why is "fully modular" of any significance ? You must use the 24 pin cable, you must use the 8 pin EPS cable, you must use 1 SATA cable and 1 PCI-E cable. So what is the advantage of having these cables modular as all it does is decrease efficiency, increase resistance and introduce a possible failure point ? Full non-modular is a PITA as ya stuck with hiding all those unused cables but "hybrid modular" where all the necessary cables are hard wired and only the "might be used" cables are modular presents the best of both worlds.

Here's what I'd put in ya office

$140 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$120 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Be hard to match the performance of those two together in an office setting (cooling, electrical performance, quietness) even if spending much more. The n850 watts does allow for addition of a 2nd card down the line with the CPU and GPU's OC'd to the gills.

Caution tho on overclocking the 570. Unless you have a non-reference design with a VRM with 8 or more phases, be cautious when OC'ing the 570. The reference designs only ahd 6 phases and many vendors (i.e. EVGA) released "factory OC'd" designs w/ bigger coolers but left the marginal VRM on the PCB. This led to a lotta fried 570's when peeps got a bit enthusiastic w/ their OC'ing.

http://www.overclock.net/t/929152/have-you-killed-a-570...
April 18, 2012 5:06:40 PM

Yeah, the 2600K was only $200 at Micro Center, so I snatched it up. Although, was it really that low because they wanted to move some of the stock before IB hits, or was there a certain batch of "overclocking underachievers" that they somehow knew about? Okay, time to take off the aluminum foil hat.

So the speed of the RAM (not just the quantity) does make a difference in this type of work, eh? Ha, my wife is finally wrong about something and now I have proof! As far as overclocking the RAM and XMP and such, does this only work with the P67 chipset? I have a Z68 board right now, and I think it doesn't allow the option for XMP mode in the BIOS, or it was grayed out or something. The next time I restart my computer I will go into the BIOS and check again.

Do graphic cards in SLI (or Xfire) better the performance in drafting/designing? I had heard that AutoCAD, etc. does not really perform different/better with two video cards as opposed to one.....

Also, if going that route, would it not make more sense to invest in the x79 platform to have more PCIe lanes available to two cards in SLI?

As far as the cases, I have looked at the P183 as an option, right now I am undecided between that one, the P280 and the Corsair 550D.

Overclocking the video card is something that I intended to explore with the utmost caution, but I probably won't delve into that right away (I haven't even downloaded the "skin" from EVGA yet).

I don't need modular power supplies if they are more expensive - I am not one of those folks that has to have every last cable tucked away and invisible.

Thank you for the recommendations.
a c 91 B Homebuilt system
April 18, 2012 5:19:59 PM

Outlander_04 said:
Unlikely you will need 16 gig of RAM in 2D situations .. unless you are designing the planet Mars or something of that size . Tighter timings would improve application speed .

The zalman cooler is expensive , and not particularly good . A scythe Mugen is better choice IMO

Antec P280 would be my choice of case . Quiet , and better build quality than the Fractal Desing units

The psu is over kill
http://www.realhardtechx.com/index_archivos/Page362.htm
A 600 - 650 watt unit is more appropriate


Revit is a major resource hog - you'll definitely take advantage of hyperthreading and you'll probably use more than 16GB RAM on most full redraws. You'll need a good GPU like a Fire Pro or Quaddro 4000 to go with that to take some load off the CPU.

Quote:
Also, if going that route, would it not make more sense to invest in the x79 platform to have more PCIe lanes available to two cards in SLI?


Where X79 comes in handy is with PCI Gen 3, not just the ability to run multiple cards on x16. The other advantage X79 has is the ability to make use of large amounts of RAM - something that is very limited if you go with a 2600K build.

Quote:
As far as the cases, I have looked at the P183 as an option, right now I am undecided between that one, the P280 and the Corsair 550D.


That would ultimately depend on how many drives you want to add and that sort of thing. If I may recommend an alternative - I'd suggest the Fractal Design Define XL: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Or the Azza Hurrican 2000 which allows for a 3-fan radiator should the need arise and has front-loading HD bays so you can add or remove drives without opening the case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Quote:
So the speed of the RAM (not just the quantity) does make a difference in this type of work, eh? Ha, my wife is finally wrong about something and now I have proof! As far as overclocking the RAM and XMP and such, does this only work with the P67 chipset? I have a Z68 board right now, and I think it doesn't allow the option for XMP mode in the BIOS, or it was grayed out or something. The next time I restart my computer I will go into the BIOS and check again.


Overclocking your RAM is a bad idea to begin with - that can lead to some very bad things down the road. You can run the RAM at stock speeds with a couple of clicks in the BIOS but I wouldn't recommend going over it.

Quote:
Yeah, the 2600K was only $200 at Micro Center, so I snatched it up. Although, was it really that low because they wanted to move some of the stock before IB hits, or was there a certain batch of "overclocking underachievers" that they somehow knew about? Okay, time to take off the aluminum foil hat.


I don't know how Micro Center gets away with that without losing money or angering Intel, but there's no such thing as an "underclocking underachiever". :lol: 
April 18, 2012 6:04:40 PM

"Overclocking underachiever" - I was joking about Intel and Micro Center being in collusion in the event that Intel knew of a particular batch of 2600K's that were particularly bad overclockers in reference to others saying how 50% of the chips could achieve 4.5GHz, only 20% 4.7GHz, etc. I'm not sure if this is more myth than reality anyway, my 2500K doesn't have a problem reaching 5.0, it just gets really hot doing so (I obviously don't run it that high on a regular basis)! I guess the statistics are for "stable, sustainable overclocks".

Okay, so some say overclocking RAM is no sweat, others say it causes problems. I know that a lot of the problems people have with new builds is when they try to stuff RAM in their system that is higher clocked, higher voltage than what is "officially" supported by the CPU and/or the motherboard. Now, I also have heard of a lot of people successfully overclocking their RAM once it is installed. I would rather make less work for myself with the setup, so that is a point in favor of the x79 motherboard/3930K. The stock speed supported is 1600, buy RAM that is 1600, install it and forget about it.

To the experienced CAD users (JackNaylorPE, etc.) - would 1600 MHz RAM result in a visible difference compared with 1333 MHz RAM, or would you have to go a couple orders higher to see any difference in drafting, drawing regen, etc.?

Well, I thought I was decided on the 2600K, but with the additional testimony, I can't rule out the 3930K/x79 system. Though I stated my budget at $1,500, that is really a floating budget number (I just set an arbitrary limit to try to maintain sensibility for my wife's sake, even though she insists "it's my decision, and she would be okay with it, with caveats of course"), I could swing $2,000 or more just as easily right now, if it would make a difference, especially with the 3930K still being a good deal at MC. So, what would you all do - spend the extra $500 now for the six-core, x79 rig, or ignore that opportunity in the pursuit of (de)value engineering?

Edit: The $500 price difference is my estimated difference in cost of the whole system, between the 2600K and the 3930K build.
a c 91 B Homebuilt system
April 19, 2012 12:04:57 AM

Quote:
Okay, so some say overclocking RAM is no sweat, others say it causes problems. I know that a lot of the problems people have with new builds is when they try to stuff RAM in their system that is higher clocked, higher voltage than what is "officially" supported by the CPU and/or the motherboard. Now, I also have heard of a lot of people successfully overclocking their RAM once it is installed. I would rather make less work for myself with the setup, so that is a point in favor of the x79 motherboard/3930K. The stock speed supported is 1600, buy RAM that is 1600, install it and forget about it.


Yeah you can run your RAM at stock speeds with a few clicks in the BIOS but I wouldn't set your memory multiplier to go higher than that.

Quote:
To the experienced CAD users (JackNaylorPE, etc.) - would 1600 MHz RAM result in a visible difference compared with 1333 MHz RAM, or would you have to go a couple orders higher to see any difference in drafting, drawing regen, etc.?


Nah - drawing regen speeds and things like that are all dependent on the GPU - not the CPU or the RAM - that might help some, but the GPU is what makes the difference in that area, and you want a GPU that will guarantee smooth redraws, that's why I usually recommend professional grade video cards for CAD builds - the gaming cards won't draw the finer details.

Quote:
Well, I thought I was decided on the 2600K, but with the additional testimony, I can't rule out the 3930K/x79 system. Though I stated my budget at $1,500, that is really a floating budget number (I just set an arbitrary limit to try to maintain sensibility for my wife's sake, even though she insists "it's my decision, and she would be okay with it, with caveats of course" ), I could swing $2,000 or more just as easily right now, if it would make a difference, especially with the 3930K still being a good deal at MC. So, what would you all do - spend the extra $500 now for the six-core, x79 rig, or ignore that opportunity in the pursuit of (de)value engineering?


You won't be able to obtain X79 on a $1500 budget even with the 3820 as your CPU - unless you're willing to sacrifice a few areas. If you're willing to go higher - around the $2K mark you'll be able to get the 3930K easily.
a b B Homebuilt system
April 19, 2012 6:43:05 AM

If time is money a Intel Xeon will do the rendering in faster time than any of the intel desktop chips. I don't understand why you need to overclock a Xeon which is a workbench already.
a b B Homebuilt system
April 19, 2012 9:28:54 AM

I posted a build like this right after you closed your other thread @
http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/342706-13-budget-wo...

If you do decide to go with a i7 -3930K system for $2K here is how I would do it

ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6827135204
Item #: N82E16827135204
$17.99

Fractal Design Define R3 Black Pearl w/ USB 3.0 ATX Mid Tower Silent PC Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6811352013
Item #: N82E16811352013
$109.99

SeaSonic M12II 620 Bronze 620W ATX12V V2.3 / EPS 12V V2.91 SLI Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
Item #: N82E16817151095
-$35.00 Instant
$124.99
$89.99

PNY VCQ2000D-PB Quadro 2000D 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 Workstation Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6814133382
Item #: N82E16814133382
-$20.00 Instant
$429.00
$409.00

COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 EVO RR-212E-20PK-R2 Continuous Direct Contact 120mm Sleeve CPU Cooler Compatible with latest Intel
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6835103099
Item #: N82E16835103099
$5.00 Mail-in Rebate
$34.99

SAMSUNG 830 Series MZ-7PC256B/WW 2.5" 256GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6820147164
Item #: N82E16820147164
-$100.00 Instant
$429.99
$329.99

COMBO OFFER
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Comb [...] mbo.887318
ASRock X79 Extreme6 LGA 2011 Intel X79 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
Item #: N82E16813157289

CORSAIR Vengeance 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CML16GX3M4A1600C9
Item #: N82E16820233197

-$10.00 Instant
-$13.00 Combo
$356.98
$333.98
------------
$1326.93 + $25 shipping

MicroCenter:
Intel Core i7-3930K Sandy Bridge-E 3.2GHz (3.8GHz Turbo) LGA 2011 130W Six-Core Desktop Processor BX80619i73930K
$499.99
------------
~1827

you will probably also need WIN 7 64bit Proffessional which is about $140 OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6832116992

I didn't look at MC prices other than the 3930K, so you might find some deals there on some of the same stuff. I would add a few fans to the Fractal R3. A 120mm and 2 or 3 140mm's so the air flow nicely thru the case. I used these cases in my wife's and son's gaming builds I did a few months back very quiet cases
a c 136 B Homebuilt system
April 19, 2012 9:52:00 AM

g-unit1111 said:
Revit is a major resource hog - you'll definitely take advantage of hyperthreading and you'll probably use more than 16GB RAM on most full redraws. You'll need a good GPU like a Fire Pro or Quaddro 4000 to go with that to take some load off the CPU.
:


The OP is using this comp for 2D AutoCAD . He'd be fine with 4 gig of RAM

And even if he does start using this for 3D architectural renders he's going to be fine with 8 gig of RAM unless he's working on very large structures .
The system requiremnts of Revit
http://usa.autodesk.com/revit/system-requirements/

Normally I would be the first person recommending the use of a workstation graphics card. But at this time a comp being used for 2D drafting just wont need the horsepower . To buy this component now for future use is pointless since a newer better model will be available when its needed and it will probably cost less too . He can safely use the GTX 570 , and he can game as well
a b B Homebuilt system
April 19, 2012 3:24:32 PM

Outlander_04 said:
The OP is using this comp for 2D AutoCAD . He'd be fine with 4 gig of RAM

And even if he does start using this for 3D architectural renders he's going to be fine with 8 gig of RAM unless he's working on very large structures .
The system requiremnts of Revit
http://usa.autodesk.com/revit/system-requirements/

Normally I would be the first person recommending the use of a workstation graphics card. But at this time a comp being used for 2D drafting just wont need the horsepower . To buy this component now for future use is pointless since a newer better model will be available when its needed and it will probably cost less too . He can safely use the GTX 570 , and he can game as well


In all the CAD workstations that I have build for people I have always used at least 16Gb of Ram and a Pro level card. I'll be the first to admit, I don't us any CAD programs myself. I do know what the industry norm is for a workstation and based on benchmarks and feedback from engineers that I have build systems for what works and what doesn't work (always weighing their budget vs expected performance).

If you read the OP's original post http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/342706-13-budget-wo... you will see that he has a descent entry level CAD system running the GTX 570 and was having issues with performance with the projects taking longer to render and such. he really needs a workstation level system to realize the level of performance he wants (I think). Looking at a few benchmarks, a single i7 3930K OC'd or a 3960x will come really close to a Dual Xeon work station (not top of the line Xeon or the E5's). The idea was to get him by on the "cheap" with either upgrading his existing system or going with a x79 build and maybe OC' the CPU a little if needed.

I was half toying with the idea of recommending he build dual xeon (LGA 1366) system, but only populate with one CPU Xeon W3680 and 16GB ram. Then later, as he gets more cash, he can populate the other socket and add another 16GB ram. Performance wise it should be better than the i5 system he is using now and he will have a good platform to build on. The E series (LGA 2011)'s are way more expensive and don't seem to be a big performance leap for a workstation (I haven 't built one yet, but feedback from other IT guys i know, seem to confirm what I have been reading on the net. While they are faster its not a big performance leap forward that warrant the cost of an upgrade.

link to a form where they discuss CAD workstations.
http://forums.anandtech.com/showthread.php?p=32864731
from that thread:
"I would point out that my CAD team is regularly above 16GB of RAM and have hit the 24GB limit we have in our T7500's every so often. Not saying you will but some people here don't believe that CAD can actually use that much at times. If those machines were due for replacement I would be considering 32GB for them with minimal thought. 2GB Quadro cards also helped them a ton.

Point is: don't underestimate AutoCAD's memory usage....

As a side note AutoCAD is still pretty single or "minimal" threaded so picking a faster CPU with less cores may produce better results. We used 3.46ghz Quad i7's rather than the 6 core because we found that AutoCAD rarely was using more than "30%" CPU on Windows 7 (IE 1 core was pegged and another was running around 25%, task manager would show a pegged core on a quad cpu as '25%' CPU.)
April 19, 2012 3:40:18 PM

sarinaide said:
If time is money a Intel Xeon will do the rendering in faster time than any of the intel desktop chips. I don't understand why you need to overclock a Xeon which is a workbench already.



I looked at the Xeons, and it seems you have to get into the pricier builds to better the performance of a 3930K, or even a 2600K rig - especially when the latter two are overclocked. I can't find them at the moment, but one set of benchmarks I saw (from Tom's) pitted a 3960X at stock against three different Xeon builds - a Westmere EP, Westmere EX, and a newer E5 SB-EP. The Xeon builds were all dual-cpu, 8, 12, and 16 core respectively (between the two cpus) They were tested with a variety of graphics and video manipulation software. The 3960X traded blows with the two Westmere's and even bested them a couple of times. While the newer SB-EP build solidly beat the 3960X for the most part, consider that EACH ONE of the processors is about $1,900 on NewEgg. Now, the 3930K is not quite the same as the 3960X, but is close enough.

I wanted a good workstation that could be flexible enough to have the horsepower (high clocks) for the 2D AutoCAD and the normal Revit designing, but also have the torque (multiple cores) for the rendering and 3D solid modeling - for ~$2,000 or less. I believe I have found that in the 3930K. I compared the cost of the 3930K and the 2600K build and found that the former is going to cost ~$400-$500 more than the latter. That is not a big enough difference to worry about overbuilding. A Xeon rig that would have bested either one of those would have been thousands more, and I have no need for ECC RAM.

I still appreciate the suggestions.
April 19, 2012 3:59:11 PM

jerreddredd said:
In all the CAD workstations that I have build for people I have always used at least 16Gb of Ram and a Pro level card. I'll be the first to admit, I don't us any CAD programs myself. I do know what the industry norm is for a workstation and based on benchmarks and feedback from engineers that I have build systems for what works and what doesn't work (always weighing their budget vs expected performance).

If you read the OP's original post http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/342706-13-budget-wo... you will see that he has a descent entry level CAD system running the GTX 570 and was having issues with performance with the projects taking longer to render and such. he really needs a workstation level system to realize the level of performance he wants (I think). Looking at a few benchmarks, a single i7 3930K OC'd or a 3960x will come really close to a Dual Xeon work station (not top of the line Xeon or the E5's). The idea was to get him by on the "cheap" with either upgrading his existing system or going with a x79 build and maybe OC' the CPU a little if needed.

I was half toying with the idea of recommending he build dual xeon (LGA 1366) system, but only populate with one CPU Xeon W3680 and 16GB ram. Then later, as he gets more cash, he can populate the other socket and add another 16GB ram. Performance wise it should be better than the i5 system he is using now and he will have a good platform to build on. The E series (LGA 2011)'s are way more expensive and don't seem to be a big performance leap for a workstation (I haven 't built one yet, but feedback from other IT guys i know, seem to confirm what I have been reading on the net. While they are faster its not a big performance leap forward that warrant the cost of an upgrade.

link to a form where they discuss CAD workstations.
http://forums.anandtech.com/showthread.php?p=32864731
from that thread:
"I would point out that my CAD team is regularly above 16GB of RAM and have hit the 24GB limit we have in our T7500's every so often. Not saying you will but some people here don't believe that CAD can actually use that much at times. If those machines were due for replacement I would be considering 32GB for them with minimal thought. 2GB Quadro cards also helped them a ton.

Point is: don't underestimate AutoCAD's memory usage....

As a side note AutoCAD is still pretty single or "minimal" threaded so picking a faster CPU with less cores may produce better results. We used 3.46ghz Quad i7's rather than the 6 core because we found that AutoCAD rarely was using more than "30%" CPU on Windows 7 (IE 1 core was pegged and another was running around 25%, task manager would show a pegged core on a quad cpu as '25%' CPU.)


Sorry, I should have been more clear - my immediate slow-ups are in 2D AutoCAD, which I realize that a good SSD will probably alleviate some of that. Now, I will be moving into Revit in the next several months, so the point of this second build was to remain strong into the next several years with that application, as well as other solid modeling programs. A lot of Revit, AutoCAD is still single-threaded, true. Revit is starting to add more multi-threaded functionality, and I didn't want to be a year or so down the road having to render something a little faster knowing I could have had a six-core/12 thread processor (that also overclocks), at a discount price. My wife's line of work involves using apps like the latest Adobe CS software, so we would both benefit from having something that some would consider "overkill" at the present time.

As far as Xeons, your example corroborates what I gleaned from a few sources - that they will, of course, outperform the SB-E, but only at the price points of a thousand dollars or more (I haven't found any single CPU E5 Xeon vs SB-E comparisons) than my $2,000 (actually, I think I could do it for ~$1,800 depending on sales and such) 3930K workstation.

I have made my decision - I picked up the 3930K at MC last night for $500; the rest of the build will take a few months as I want to research the other components more (perhaps revised BIOS will be coming for the x79 motherboards in that time, etc.).

Thank you everyone for the good discussion and input.
April 19, 2012 4:55:12 PM

jerreddredd said:
I posted a build like this right after you closed your other thread @
http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/342706-13-budget-wo...

If you do decide to go with a i7 -3930K system for $2K here is how I would do it

ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6827135204
Item #: N82E16827135204
$17.99

Fractal Design Define R3 Black Pearl w/ USB 3.0 ATX Mid Tower Silent PC Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6811352013
Item #: N82E16811352013
$109.99

SeaSonic M12II 620 Bronze 620W ATX12V V2.3 / EPS 12V V2.91 SLI Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
Item #: N82E16817151095
-$35.00 Instant
$124.99
$89.99

PNY VCQ2000D-PB Quadro 2000D 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 Workstation Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6814133382
Item #: N82E16814133382
-$20.00 Instant
$429.00
$409.00

COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 EVO RR-212E-20PK-R2 Continuous Direct Contact 120mm Sleeve CPU Cooler Compatible with latest Intel
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6835103099
Item #: N82E16835103099
$5.00 Mail-in Rebate
$34.99

SAMSUNG 830 Series MZ-7PC256B/WW 2.5" 256GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6820147164
Item #: N82E16820147164
-$100.00 Instant
$429.99
$329.99

COMBO OFFER
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Comb [...] mbo.887318
ASRock X79 Extreme6 LGA 2011 Intel X79 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
Item #: N82E16813157289

CORSAIR Vengeance 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CML16GX3M4A1600C9
Item #: N82E16820233197

-$10.00 Instant
-$13.00 Combo
$356.98
$333.98
------------
$1326.93 + $25 shipping

MicroCenter:
Intel Core i7-3930K Sandy Bridge-E 3.2GHz (3.8GHz Turbo) LGA 2011 130W Six-Core Desktop Processor BX80619i73930K
$499.99
------------
~1827

you will probably also need WIN 7 64bit Proffessional which is about $140 OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6832116992

I didn't look at MC prices other than the 3930K, so you might find some deals there on some of the same stuff. I would add a few fans to the Fractal R3. A 120mm and 2 or 3 140mm's so the air flow nicely thru the case. I used these cases in my wife's and son's gaming builds I did a few months back very quiet cases


Good suggestions. I'm leaning more towards the Antec P280 right now, and I thought the Vengeance was almost too high profile to fit easily with a large air cooler? Now, I find the AsRock an interesting alternative to the Asus x79 board. I have heard it is just about the same quality as the Asus, but a little cheaper. A few others treat it as the stepchild. As long as it has the phases and quality VRM's to hold up under moderate to strong overclocking, I'm game.

The Quadro - Now, with my 2500K build that was out of the question as I wanted to retain the ability to game successfully as well as work, but, a second build would be dedicated primarily to design applications, so maybe a Quadro would be a good fit......does the 2000 conclusively out-perform the GTX-570 in those areas?

The 750watt psu is certainly more than enough for one video card + overclocking the 3930K, but what if I wanted to add a second card to the board in the future? I know that SLI primarily benefits gaming and not CAD so much, but wouldn't double the amount of VRAM from having two cards make designing go faster/better?
a b B Homebuilt system
April 19, 2012 5:58:24 PM

Quote:
I thought the Vengeance was almost too high profile to fit easily with a large air cooler?

the ones in my quote are the low profile ones :) 

Quote:
does the 2000 conclusively out-perform the GTX-570 in those areas?

The GPU doesn't do a lot of the work in AutoCAD or Revit. Your 570 would be way more powerful. the advantage of a Quadro card would be the optimized drivers. I only added the Quadro card to free up your 570 for gaming. I going with a lesser Quadro or Fire Pro would be OK also (being the first thing to sacrifice if over budget.)

Quote:
The 750watt psu is certainly more than enough for one video card + overclocking the 3930K, but what if I wanted to add a second card to the board in the future? I know that SLI primarily benefits gaming and not CAD so much, but wouldn't double the amount of VRAM from having two cards make designing go faster/better?


PSU us up to you. if you go with the Pro line of video cards the Seasonic 620W is fine (less $)

not in AUTOCAD or Revit. they require CPU and RAM (the SSD will help too)

if you run LightWave or Maya etc... then GPU is more relevant.
April 19, 2012 6:13:35 PM

I would switch the GTX-570 into the new (3930K) build to start with (I have a GT-430 for the i5 that I will have to limp along with for now, probably won't be doing much gaming in the coming months anyway), then, later into next year as funds permit, I would probably replace the 570 with a (Maxwell?) 7xx series, or maybe a Quadro (provided they get at least the Kepler GPU's in them by that time). The 570 would then be handed back down to the i5 build.

One more side note: Someone mentioned somewhere (I think in the other thread) that the drawing regeneration and cursor lag in 2D AutoCAD is influenced by the GPU. Now, if a 570 gets bogged down with AutoCAD files that are 4-8MB, am I doing something wrong with my setup? I have hardware acceleration turned on and all that. Is there something else I need to do to "unleash" my video card other than running the proper drivers? I've noticed also that apps like Google Earth will hiccup occasionally when panning and zooming, and even hang briefly. Is this strongly related to the GPU? I have the 2560 MB version of that 570, so it shouldn't have problems, right?
a b B Homebuilt system
April 20, 2012 7:40:02 AM

ebalong said:
I would switch the GTX-570 into the new (3930K) build to start with (I have a GT-430 for the i5 that I will have to limp along with for now, probably won't be doing much gaming in the coming months anyway), then, later into next year as funds permit, I would probably replace the 570 with a (Maxwell?) 7xx series, or maybe a Quadro (provided they get at least the Kepler GPU's in them by that time). The 570 would then be handed back down to the i5 build.

One more side note: Someone mentioned somewhere (I think in the other thread) that the drawing regeneration and cursor lag in 2D AutoCAD is influenced by the GPU. Now, if a 570 gets bogged down with AutoCAD files that are 4-8MB, am I doing something wrong with my setup? I have hardware acceleration turned on and all that. Is there something else I need to do to "unleash" my video card other than running the proper drivers? I've noticed also that apps like Google Earth will hiccup occasionally when panning and zooming, and even hang briefly. Is this strongly related to the GPU? I have the 2560 MB version of that 570, so it shouldn't have problems, right?


you could try the GT 430 GPU and see if you still have lag. this would give you an idea how much the gpu is actually used.

I did find a few discussions about lag in AutoCad:

http://forums.autodesk.com/t5/AutoCAD-LT/Mouse-cursor-l...
http://autocad.autodesk.com/?nd=ask_the_expert&topic_id...
a b B Homebuilt system
April 20, 2012 2:38:51 PM

I would say it's the graphics card. While the 570 (or the card you're thinking of substituting it with) is an excellent quality video card it is built more for the gaming community. While it has many features and is a great card when used for it's designed purposes I think you will find that -

The first real difference between a workstation graphics card and a gaming graphics card is the software applications they have been configured or designed to run. They are in fact aimed at two totally different markets with entirely different needs.

Gaming Graphics Cards: In the first instance you have games. These typically cost no more than $50 or so. Gaming technology has come a long way in recent years and some games have been developed to take greater advantage of graphics technology, but in principle the cards and software drivers are tweaked to deliver maximum performance for GAMES.

Games tend to consist of low polygon count geometry and in many cases pre defined textures and bitmaps. On screen effects can be tweaked in options but are dependent of the power of the graphics card (the better the card the better the graphics). High on the list of priorities for a good gaming graphics card are good quality visuals, fast loading (hence the low polygon count) and a fast smooth frame rate. Typical price range for a gaming card would be $45-$1,000.

Cad applications typically cost between $1000 to in excess of $10,000 per license. Cad applications need workstation graphics cards that can manipulate complex geometry that could be in excess of a billion triangles. They need to be able to deal with real world real size geometry that could include bridges, skyscrapers or a jumbo jet for example.

They need to be able to produce geometry that can be measured to many decimal places in anything from microns to miles. Getting it wrong could result in product recalls or even some product failures. Even for an entry lever CAD workstation, some Cad applications require workstation graphics cards where the graphics card utilise GPU computing. And we know that the 570 has lots and fast computing cores, they are normally programed/configured along with the drivers you use to "run" them towards the gaming community to produce those fast frames per second and anti-blurring visuals. At this point is where the workstation graphics card performance differs because the computing cores performs more calculations than the workstations actual processor(s) themselves, and these are geared toward the precise manipulation of complex geometric shapes and finer or thicker lines not visible/distinguishable from just smooth lines produced by gaming cards.

Workstation graphics cards and their specialised graphics software drivers are typically designed and configured to deliver anything up to 5x faster performance, computational data integrity and accuracy and up to 8x faster computational simulation for a broad spectrum of design, animation and video software applications. Typically depending on the particular software requirements workstation graphics cards are priced at $150-$5000.

Cad graphics cards can seem to be expensive but in main stream usages most Cad workstations and application would only require one in the lower to mid tier of the potential price spread. Hopefully this might shed some light as to some glitching you might be encountering. This is more of a question of workstation graphics cards Vs gaming graphics cards for your cad workstation. If you have spent thousands on Cad software for your business or home use, make sure it runs on a decent cad workstation with a recommended workstation graphics card.

So it's not the the 570 is a bad card or can't handle exorbitant gaming needs, we all know it's one of the best cards out there, (I'm and ATI addict so no "Fanboy" club here), it's just that it, and it's drivers, were designed for different purposes.
April 24, 2012 5:36:58 AM

ebalong said:
Well, my alternate build was centered around a 3930K, but I did consider waiting and saving money for a Xeon machine. I don't know enough about Xeons though. Everything that I have read indicates that for AutoCAD and Revit, high processor clock speed and abundant RAM is what gets the job done. For the rendering functions of Revit and for whatever solid modeling I might do in the near future, multiple cores/threads is useful. Do you have experience or know of anyone that uses a Xeon workstation with CAD applications? How high up would I have to go in the Xeon hierarchy to equal or better the performance of an overclocked 2600K? An overclocked 3930K? It seems clock speeds on the Xeons are pretty slow until you get up past the $800 range. Can a Xeon be overclocked fairly easily? Are they more reliable? Can they run on Windows 7 Pro, or do they need Server OS?


http://developmentresearchers.files.wordpress.com/2012/...

By reference and test in servers, the best low cost HPC in the world (top 500: http://www.top500.org/), with parts of the public market only use clusters of 2/4socket with xeon (Xeon X5670 6C 2.93 GHz) and (02-04) gpu tesla (c2050 now c2075). Did you heard any time about a i7 configuration in this ranking? The Xeon have better performance in render and less thermal issues in high freq... Branded Workstations (windows 7/64 ok) for on field work (Oil Exploration) have usually 2 xeon (or itanium) with 1 o 2 tesla c2075 (or Quadro). Yes, gamming cards are not enought for intensive 2d/3d jobs...

http://shopping1.hp.com/is-bin/INTERSHOP.enfinity/WFS/W...
http://www.dell.com/precision
http://www.supermicro.com/index.cfm

In my experience a good server (xeon) with the right components is more affordable than a superpc.
The speed it´s half of the equation... Bandwith, Chipset and top components make difference in servers (Petaflops of differences).
!