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New workstation build ~$1500 for CAD/CAE/3D

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  • Workstations
  • CAD
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July 17, 2012 11:31:59 PM

Hey guys,

So I'm building a workstation for doing some work at home. I work primarily with CAD software like Autocad, Solidworks, Rhino, etc. and with lots of FEA/CAE/CFD software like Ansys, Comsol, and Fluent.

That software eats through ram like nothing, so I will need a minimum of 32GB of ram. I have a better workstation at work and a 200 computer cluster, so this one will be for working at home (for really big jobs I can remote desktop in but 32GB would be nice for smaller jobs).

I also do a lot of work in Houdini, Maya, and 3ds Max so I need a graphics card that can handle those apps. I am buying this ASAP so quick advice would be nice this is what I have so far. I also want some convenience features like USB ports because this is my home build, but I NEVER play games so that's not an issue. Thanks!



In order to make things easy, copy and paste the following template into your post and edit the italicized examples to suit your needs:

Approximate Purchase Date: ASAP (today or tomorrow)

Budget Range: (e.g.: 300-400): $1500 although it can stretch a bit if necessary

System Usage from Most to Least Important: FEA/CFD software, 3d/Cad software, home usage (no video games)

Are you buying a monitor: Yes but separate budget.

Parts to Upgrade: (e.g.: CPU, mobo, RAM) **Include Power Supply Make & Model If Re-using**

Do you need to buy OS: No

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg or Amazon

Location: City, State/Region, Country - Boston, MA

Parts Preferences: Intel

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: No

Your Monitor Resolution: 1900x1200

Parts:

Intel Xeon E3-1230 V2 Ivy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS P8C WS ATX Server Motherboard LGA 1155 Intel C216 DDR3 1600
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Kingston 8GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM ECC Unbuffered DDR3 1333 Server Memory Server Hynix M Model KVR13E9/8HM x 4 = 32GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAMSUNG 830 Series MZ-7PC256B/WW 2.5" 256GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Western Digital RE4 WD1003FBYX 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Enterprise Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CORSAIR Professional Series HX750 (CMPSU-750HX) 750W ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

AMD 100-505649 FirePro V4900 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 Workstation Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS 24X DVD Burner - Bulk 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM Black SATA Model DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case with Upgraded USB 3.0
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Again, ram is very important which is why I am going with ECC. Let me know if everything is compatible and what you think of the build!

Thanks

More about : workstation build 1500 cad cae

July 17, 2012 11:41:39 PM

1: id get a regular board like a gigabyte z77x-ud5h. it has the dual nics for networking just like the server board you were using
2:im not too sure if the xeon supports ECC ram as some of them dont. id just pick up a regular set of memory like mushkin blackline 1.5v
3:you only need 550w. id suggest the seasonic m12II 520w psu as it is reliable and is very quiet.
4: for the case, id get something basic like a antec 302. still with great quality.


personally id get something bigger for the gpu like a firepro v7900 but if your budget cant stretch the extra, the v5900 is more suitable
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Anonymous
July 17, 2012 11:44:06 PM

it looks like you know what you're doing.
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July 18, 2012 5:51:06 PM

Thanks for the feedback. To address TheBigTroll, a regular board cannot handle ECC ram which is essential for when i am crunching through 30+ gigs of ram for days at a time. I don't need dual NICs and I didn't choose the motherboard for networking capabilities.

The xeon does support ECC ram. I agree that I could do with a smaller PSU and a different case, but those aren't the primary issues.

I would really appreciate some more feedback on the build before I pull the trigger, especially on the motherboard, RAM, and overall compatability.

Thanks!
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July 18, 2012 6:03:11 PM

well then i learned something new
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July 19, 2012 1:33:03 AM

I'm currently putting together a build similar to this, though not for quite such intensive work I don't think.

Student Architecture Workstation

I was wondering if you could tell me what the reasons were (other than ECC RAM) that you chose a server class motherboard over a consumer one. I do not think that ECC RAM will be required for my level work but am wondering if it would be a good idea to spend a little more on a server class motherboard?
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July 19, 2012 1:40:50 AM

you only need a 550w psu given you can only use one card at a time

also, the firepro v7900 is much better than the quadro 4000.
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July 19, 2012 1:52:06 AM

TheBigTroll said:
also, the firepro v7900 is much better than the quadro 4000.


Slightly confused over what that is in response to? No one has mentioned using a Quadro 4000.
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July 19, 2012 2:18:02 AM

oh i saw the fx 4800 and i thought it was the quadro 4000. anyways, the v7900 still beats both of the cards. only catch is that you wont be using CUDA-only programs
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July 19, 2012 2:21:16 AM

TheBigTroll said:
oh i saw the fx 4800 and i thought it was the quadro 4000. anyways, the v7900 still beats both of the cards. only catch is that you wont be using CUDA-only programs


Yes it does beat them in performance, but not the FX 4800 in price... I was able to get a barley used one for £200 on eBay yesterday! That's an 80% reduction in price as new!
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July 19, 2012 2:32:21 AM

yeah but its from 2008. there has certainly been a major improvement even from a quadro fx 4800 and a quadro 4000. even more so with the v7900
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July 19, 2012 2:44:54 AM

I like your build as a whole. I'd say that server boards are built with reliability in mind while consumer builds are built primarily around speed. That doesn't make server boards necessarily more reliable, although you would hope so. If you're doing just 3d/autocad and no games, etc. I would personally go for the more reliable build, although the difference is probably not that significant. I think going with the xeon and potentially bumping up the ram is a good idea, although that depends on your specific needs (CPU is very rarely the bottleneck for me; I run out of RAM first).
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July 19, 2012 2:57:08 AM

you could just get a asus workstation class motherboard
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July 19, 2012 2:57:23 AM

or their deluxe boards as they are just as good
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March 12, 2013 9:30:32 PM

masterllama said:
Hey guys,

So I'm building a workstation for doing some work at home. I work primarily with CAD software like Autocad, Solidworks, Rhino, etc. and with lots of FEA/CAE/CFD software like Ansys, Comsol, and Fluent.

That software eats through ram like nothing, so I will need a minimum of 32GB of ram. I have a better workstation at work and a 200 computer cluster, so this one will be for working at home (for really big jobs I can remote desktop in but 32GB would be nice for smaller jobs).

I also do a lot of work in Houdini, Maya, and 3ds Max so I need a graphics card that can handle those apps. I am buying this ASAP so quick advice would be nice this is what I have so far. I also want some convenience features like USB ports because this is my home build, but I NEVER play games so that's not an issue. Thanks!



In order to make things easy, copy and paste the following template into your post and edit the italicized examples to suit your needs:

Approximate Purchase Date: ASAP (today or tomorrow)

Budget Range: (e.g.: 300-400): $1500 although it can stretch a bit if necessary

System Usage from Most to Least Important: FEA/CFD software, 3d/Cad software, home usage (no video games)

Are you buying a monitor: Yes but separate budget.

Parts to Upgrade: (e.g.: CPU, mobo, RAM) **Include Power Supply Make & Model If Re-using**

Do you need to buy OS: No

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg or Amazon

Location: City, State/Region, Country - Boston, MA

Parts Preferences: Intel

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: No

Your Monitor Resolution: 1900x1200

Parts:

Intel Xeon E3-1230 V2 Ivy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS P8C WS ATX Server Motherboard LGA 1155 Intel C216 DDR3 1600
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Kingston 8GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM ECC Unbuffered DDR3 1333 Server Memory Server Hynix M Model KVR13E9/8HM x 4 = 32GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAMSUNG 830 Series MZ-7PC256B/WW 2.5" 256GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Western Digital RE4 WD1003FBYX 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Enterprise Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CORSAIR Professional Series HX750 (CMPSU-750HX) 750W ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

AMD 100-505649 FirePro V4900 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 Workstation Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS 24X DVD Burner - Bulk 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM Black SATA Model DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case with Upgraded USB 3.0
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Again, ram is very important which is why I am going with ECC. Let me know if everything is compatible and what you think of the build!

Thanks


Based on your 200 cluster at work and the programs mentioned you are big in CAE. I'm wondering how your workstation worked out as I'm looking to put something like this together.

I was also wondering if you have any tips on learning CFD and multiphysics problems. I'm great with FEA but havn't found any texts or guides for the CFD and multiphysics problems.
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