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Help me config CAD workstation for 3.5k

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October 15, 2012 2:40:16 PM

Hello,
I have about 3,500 USD for a new CAD workstation build (just harware). I will run ACAD Inventor, 3DS Max, and use it for 3D scan manipulation. Looking at systems similar to @Xi's MTower, w/ 4-6 core i7@4Gh, 16Gb RAM, Invidia Quadro 4000 processor. I'd like input on i7 v.s. Xeon, type of RAM, air or water cooled, etc. What YOU would do w/ a 3-4k budget, to design a CAD/ graphics workstation. Thanks for any input. SG.

More about : config cad workstation

October 15, 2012 3:09:39 PM

here you go
http://pcpartpicker.com/p/kost

you could wait for the new kepler quadro cards that will perform much better than these fermi quadro cards. they are to come out in decemember
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October 15, 2012 3:33:22 PM

Thanks TBT!
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October 15, 2012 3:52:06 PM

I would highly recommend you look at the compatibility list provided by the developer before picking a graphics card. I would presume you are running Autodesk software and they recommend different cards for different apps. The best card for AuotoCAD is not necessarily the best card for Revit or Max.
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October 15, 2012 3:58:13 PM

generally, a workstation card fits all
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October 15, 2012 5:29:35 PM

TheBigTroll said:
generally, a workstation card fits all


As an IT person for a large international architectural firm, I would disagree with you and so would Autodesk. We have had workstation class cards that did not play well with various CAD applications and when you contact the developer they won't offer much help if your card isn't supported with the app you are using. Autodesk publishes a list you can fairly easily reference. They even list which specific drivers they recommend.
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October 15, 2012 8:15:13 PM

yeah im not that great with workstations but i do know what they generally require. sometimes there are situations where more CUDA cores help and each programs prefer different cards
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October 17, 2012 6:01:07 AM

nbkwbn1 said:
Hello,
I have about 3,500 USD for a new CAD workstation build (just harware). I will run ACAD Inventor, 3DS Max, and use it for 3D scan manipulation. Looking at systems similar to @Xi's MTower, w/ 4-6 core i7@4Gh, 16Gb RAM, Invidia Quadro 4000 processor. I'd like input on i7 v.s. Xeon, type of RAM, air or water cooled, etc. What YOU would do w/ a 3-4k budget, to design a CAD/ graphics workstation. Thanks for any input. SG.


> nbkwbn1,

I've been thinking lately of a replacement for my Dell Precision T5400 (2009, Xeon x5460 qc 3.16 GHz, 12GB DDR2 800, GTX 285, WD 500GB RE4). I use primarily > AutoCad 2011, Revit 2011, Inventor 2011, Sketchup 8 Pro, Corel Technical Designer Suite X5, Adobe Master Suite CS4, WP X4. The T5400 runs very well, except the geforce GTX 285 (1GB), a game-oriented card, is not as effective with CAD as a Quadro FX580 (512MB) and I think the memory and disk systems are not up to the task. I mistakenly bought the GTX 285 believing it could be soft-modded into a Quadro 5800, but Nvidia caught onto this practice and I believe geforce cards after G96 GPU can't be Quadro modded. As others have mentioned, AutoDesk has a list of recommended video cards for each of their applications and I determined that for my use and that I think would suit your use- I'd have a Quadro 4000 (2GB). A budget alternative would be to use 2X Quadro 600 in SLI (2 X 1GB) Something I discovered recently is that almost none of my applications use more than one CPU core,- e.g. Sketchup runs almost as fast on a Dell 8400 single core 64- bit / hypertheading Pentium 4 (640 3.0GHz) with a Quadro FX570 (256MB) as the T5400, so the ability to overclock over 4GHz -not possible with Xeons- would probably make a noticeable difference.

My thoughts for this computer>

From Newegg >

1 Intel Core i7-3770K Ivy Bridge 3.5GHz (3.9GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 77W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 4000 BX80637I73770K [I'm thinking of i7 as Xeon's can not be overclocked and clock speed seems to be very important. I'd overclock the 3770k to 4.1GHz > I've seen a lot of reports of stable overclocking up to 4.4GHz. The low (77W) power consumption means that overclocking should work well without super-duper liquid cooling ]
Item #: N82E16819116501

$319.99

1 Noctua NH-D14 120mm & 140mm SSO CPU Cooler
Item #: N82E16835608018

$89.99

1 ASUS Maximus V EXTREME LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Extended ATX Intel Motherboard
Item #: N82E16813131858

$379.00

1 G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 32GB (4 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2133 (PC3 17000) Desktop Memory Model F3-2133C9Q-32GXH
Item #: N82E16820231572

$299.99

1 Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) [OS and Apps )
Item #: N82E16820148442
-$40.00 Instant
$109.99

1 Western Digital WD Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s, 64MB cache, 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive (Data)
Item #: N82E16822136533

$109.99

1 PNY VCQ4000-PB Quadro 4000 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Workstation Video Card [I've never used this one, but this card must be fantastic in vector graphics and rendering. these, by the way are not SLI or I'd use 2! ]
Item #: N82E16814133324

$100.00 Mail-in Rebate
$749.99

1 LIAN LI PC-A70F Black Aluminum ATX Full Tower Computer Case
Item #: N82E16811112243

$199.99

1 CORSAIR HX Series HX850 850W ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC ...
Item #: N82E16817139011

$174.99


2 ASUS DVD Burner Black SATA Model DRW-24B3ST/BLK/G/AS
Item #: N82E16827135240

$49.98
($24.99 each)

1 Microsoft Windows 8 Professional 64-bit (Full Version)

Microsoft Windows 8 Professional 64-bit (Full Version) - OEM
Item #: N82E16832416552
Pre-order: Ships After 10/26/2012
Return Policy: Software Standard Return Policy

From Sweetwater.com

1 M-Audio Audiophile 2496 > 4-In/4-Out PCI Audio Card with MIDI and S/PDIF I/O
Item ID: Audiophile2496 [I've had 3 of the 2496 soundcards and it's a great one for the price- excellent sound and no fuss! ]

$85.00

______________________________________
Subtotal > $2,703.90

There are of course, a number of other items to include, and you may like to use a RAID configuration, but I believe this would be a really good workstation for perhaps $2,900.

SG > Hope this helps!


Cheers,

BambiBoom




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October 17, 2012 10:46:14 AM

bambiboom said:
> nbkwbn1,

I've been thinking lately of a replacement for my Dell Precision T5400 (2009, Xeon x5460 qc 3.16 GHz, 12GB DDR2 800, GTX 285, WD 500GB RE4). I use primarily > AutoCad 2011, Revit 2011, Inventor 2011, Sketchup 8 Pro, Corel Technical Designer Suite X5, Adobe Master Suite CS4, WP X4. The T5400 runs very well, except the geforce GTX 285 (1GB), a game-oriented card, is not as effective with CAD as a Quadro FX580 (512MB) and I think the memory and disk systems are not up to the task. I mistakenly bought the GTX 285 believing it could be soft-modded into a Quadro 5800, but Nvidia caught onto this practice and I believe geforce cards after G96 GPU can't be Quadro modded. As others have mentioned, AutoDesk has a list of recommended video cards for each of their applications and I determined that for my use and that I think would suit your use- I'd have a Quadro 4000 (2GB). A budget alternative would be to use 2X Quadro 600 in SLI (2 X 1GB) Something I discovered recently is that almost none of my applications use more than one CPU core,- e.g. Sketchup runs almost as fast on a Dell 8400 single core 64- bit / hypertheading Pentium 4 (640 3.0GHz) with a Quadro FX570 (256MB) as the T5400, so the ability to overclock over 4GHz -not possible with Xeons- would probably make a noticeable difference.

My thoughts for this computer>

From Newegg >

1 Intel Core i7-3770K Ivy Bridge 3.5GHz (3.9GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 77W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 4000 BX80637I73770K [I'm thinking of i7 as Xeon's can not be overclocked and clock speed seems to be very important. I'd overclock the 3770k to 4.1GHz > I've seen a lot of reports of stable overclocking up to 4.4GHz. The low (77W) power consumption means that overclocking should work well without super-duper liquid cooling ]
Item #: N82E16819116501

$319.99

1 Noctua NH-D14 120mm & 140mm SSO CPU Cooler
Item #: N82E16835608018

$89.99

1 ASUS Maximus V EXTREME LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Extended ATX Intel Motherboard
Item #: N82E16813131858

$379.00

1 G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 32GB (4 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2133 (PC3 17000) Desktop Memory Model F3-2133C9Q-32GXH
Item #: N82E16820231572

$299.99

1 Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) [OS and Apps )
Item #: N82E16820148442
-$40.00 Instant
$109.99

1 Western Digital WD Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s, 64MB cache, 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive (Data)
Item #: N82E16822136533

$109.99

1 PNY VCQ4000-PB Quadro 4000 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Workstation Video Card [I've never used this one, but this card must be fantastic in vector graphics and rendering. these, by the way are not SLI or I'd use 2! ]
Item #: N82E16814133324

$100.00 Mail-in Rebate
$749.99

1 LIAN LI PC-A70F Black Aluminum ATX Full Tower Computer Case
Item #: N82E16811112243

$199.99

1 CORSAIR HX Series HX850 850W ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC ...
Item #: N82E16817139011

$174.99


2 ASUS DVD Burner Black SATA Model DRW-24B3ST/BLK/G/AS
Item #: N82E16827135240

$49.98
($24.99 each)

1 Microsoft Windows 8 Professional 64-bit (Full Version)

Microsoft Windows 8 Professional 64-bit (Full Version) - OEM
Item #: N82E16832416552
Pre-order: Ships After 10/26/2012
Return Policy: Software Standard Return Policy

From Sweetwater.com

1 M-Audio Audiophile 2496 > 4-In/4-Out PCI Audio Card with MIDI and S/PDIF I/O
Item ID: Audiophile2496 [I've had 3 of the 2496 soundcards and it's a great one for the price- excellent sound and no fuss! ]

$85.00

______________________________________
Subtotal > $2,703.90

There are of course, a number of other items to include, and you may like to use a RAID configuration, but I believe this would be a really good workstation for perhaps $2,900.

SG > Hope this helps!


Cheers,

BambiBoom


do some more research before suggesting a rig

1: if its a workstation, generally more cores are better
2: the maximus v extreme is a enthusiast board made for overclocking and gaming.
3: quadro SLI isnt doable unless nvidia certified the board to do quadro SLI
4:850w is overkill for single GPU configurations.
5:honestly windows 8?
6:the sound card makes no sense
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October 17, 2012 11:16:42 AM

I'd say Dual LGA 2011, and Quadro 4000 or better.
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October 17, 2012 4:37:39 PM

TheBigTroll >

"do some more research before suggesting a rig"

"1: if its a workstation, generally more cores are better"

You might do some research as to multiple core use in CAD > the applications for which nbkwbn1 is building have limited multi-core capabilities : From Autodesk concerning Inventor> http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/ps/dl/item?siteID=...

> "Support for multi-core processors

You are using a computer with a multi-core processor, and you have noticed that the Inventor.exe process does not use 100% of your available CPU resources. You want to know if Autodesk® Inventor™ supports multi-core processors.

Autodesk Inventor 2009 and later versions support multi-core technology in some very specific areas of the product, including:

Animations and renderings in Studio
ASM (Autodesk Shape Manager) kernel
Task Scheduler

In release 2012 we added multi-core processing capability for

Ray tracing
Hidden line calculation in drawings (when the Enable background updates checkbox in the Application Options > Drawing tab is checked. It is on by default)

In release 2013 we added multi-core processing capability for

Stress Analysis (no special options or settings are required)

In order to fully benefit from multi-core processors, you need to use multi-threaded software. Unfortunately, Inventor is currently a single-threaded application.

On a dual-core computer, a CPU-intensive operation that uses 100% of the resources of a single-core processor will only use a maximum of 50% of the CPU for that same operation on a dual-core computer, and only 6% of each CPU on a 16-core computer." <END ""

This is typical and in the case of Sketchup 8, only one core is used at all. In my view, more cores have a limited value for the intended software. On the Autodesk site, with hyperthreading, the i7 3770K will see 8 virtual cores, which in Inventor will be used at maximum of only 15% each. Again, I would emphasize clock speed to core count. This situation will change, and the CPU could be swapped, but I see 4 core CPU's as completely useful for at least 3 years, about the useful life of a workstation.

"2: the maximus v extreme is a enthusiast board made for overclocking and gaming."

As mentioned, my thought is to overclock the i7 3770K as clock speed is important. as well, the Maximus V Extreme apparently has a great disk system, is reliable, supports high speed RAM, plus 6G SATA, PCIe 3, and SLI. Precisely, because it's great for gaming- high frame, disk ops, and rendering rates, a good layout, good heat dissipation, that with the right video card- Quadro in this case, it should be great for CAD. Why not use an speed-optimized board? What would you recommend?

"3: quadro SLI isnt doable unless nvidia certified the board to do quadro SLI"

The Maximus V is certified for SLI. Anyway, the intended video card > Quadro 4000, is not an SLI card so that capability is surplus. However, additional -separate- card(s) could be run for multiple monitors- common in workstations. An architect friend uses 3 monitors for ArchiCad 16, on 3 separate Quadro 600's (each 1GB).

"4: 850w is overkill for single GPU configurations."

I spend a lot of time considering (audio) power supplies and the idea of "overhead" is important for stability under dynamic loads for any power supply. The Quadro 4000 uses 142W and total load is probably about 350W. My Precision T5400 has an 875W power supply and I consider it to have minimal overhead. In my view, computer power supplies are crude, cheap, and saving $30-40 on a $3,000 build to have a smaller one with less dynamic headroom makes no sense.

"5: honestly windows 8?"

I have no experience with Windows 8, think the interface is a ridiculous "helpful texting fuzzy bear" nonsense, and still think XP Pro was the best MS OS, but Win 8 is inevitable in terms of continued CAD applications support. You might have a look at AutoDesk's pattern of OS support and stated intentions- this could be called, the "All Previous OS's Left Behind" program.

"6: the sound card makes no sense"

If you are satisfied with onboard MB sound quality, then yes, for you, an $85 soundcard is surplus. Again, I think muddy, low range onboard sound quality is a disproportionate savings in a computer of this kind- which is still 20% under the budget. Do you use onboard sound?

Your reply suggests this thread were about an economy machine with nominal- minimal acceptable capabilities, but I believe nbkwbn1 expressed an intention ultimately for an optimized 3D CAD configuration. Perhaps you aren't an Inventor user, but Inventor alone, especially if you want to use the animation, thermal, and stress simulations is astoundingly resource demanding- and at only one or two cores at a time!



Cheers,

BambiBoom




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October 17, 2012 5:09:56 PM

true i guess. single threaded performance between a the 3930k and the 3770k isnt too much of a difference

any board will overclock well as long as the CPU is good. the margin of overclocking capability is probably maxed out at 0.5ghz when you use a cheapo z77 itx board vs the MVE

quadro SLI is different from regular SLI. it wont work on a standard board. only lenovo and hp have boards that are quadro SLI certified. if it isnt certified, its almost guaranteed it wont work. and since this is a workstation, something like the asus z77 WS is a better option if you ever do plan on running 3 cards

you could in theory run 3 quadro 600 cards. not too sure how that would work out. also, z77 isnt meant for multi-GPU configurations. you can easily run into a bottleneck where the i7 3770k isnt powerful enough. multi-GPU configurations are better left for x79

a i7 uses 80w max on stock clocks if you somehow run it at 100% system power consumption wont ever reach above 300w given how efficient things run. hard drives, fans, and other peripherals are negligible in terms of power consumption. i dont see the point of that much wattage

windows 7 makes more sense. i have yet to hear about a professional wanting to switch to windows 8 from windows 7 or xp

i dont see the point of a sound card. onboard audio on asus boards are generally better than others and you cant really enjoy a good sound card unless you have a good headset

yes im more of a gamer but just trying to help out here :) 
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October 24, 2012 12:25:11 AM

Hi all,
Thank you for all the input, esp the troll, your suggestions do make the most sense, some others, Im not so sure, eg i dont vare if the machine makes no sound, whatsoever, aka no sound card! Whatever. I went w 6 core i7 to do rendering, plus an overclock, but not enoigh to warrant water cooling, which I wasnt ready for, i absolutely cannot spend time on fixing an external radiator or the like. Ive used quadro cards for cad, FEA, 3ds, etc, and they do well, esp the high end ones. Im sure there are differences, but i mainly need it to manhandle bigaz CAD files& render/ basic animate as well as possible.lets see if this will paste out of Safari ( working on iPad now...), again thx, esp TBT, good advice!

Xi® MTower™ PCIe Workstation (Base Configuration) $1,119.00
01778 Intel® Core™ i7 3930K @ 4.00GHz Silent Air Cooling w/CM 12cm Fan 12MB Shared L3 Cache DMI Six-Core VT (x79 MoBo only) $639.00
02260 16GB DDR3 1866MHz Corsair® Vengeance Heatspread $239.00
04385 nVidia® Quadro® 4000 2GB DDR5 PCIe 16x 2.0-1x DVI-DL-2xDP-1x Stereo-Dual Head 3D Pro Support-DX11-OGL 4.0- Shad.M 5.0 $749.00
05015 No Monitor (credit) ($140.00)
03151 480GB Solid State Drive Corsair® Force Series™ 3 SATA 6Gb/s 540/425MB/s Seq. R/W SandForce® SF-2200 Ctrl. <.3ms seek Shock Resistant 1500G. $389.00
17012 HD Ctrl. According To Motherboard and HD Type Selected Incl. w/ Base
23011 SATA/SAS Trays accordingly to case selected Incl. w/ Base
06057 DVD+RW/DL/+R-R LightScribe™ Double Media 4.7/8.5GB 16x $59.00
09007 On-Board sound accordingly to motherboard specifications Incl. w/ Base
12001 On-Board Network port(s) accordingly to motherboard specifications Incl. w/ Base
13017 No Keyboard ($8.00)
14010 Logitech® Corded 2+ Wheel Mouse Black Optical Incl. w/ Base
16084 Genuine Microsoft® Windows® 7 Professional Edition 64Bit on DVD (32Bit & XP Pro downgrade avail. on request) $59.00
20090 Resource CD - contains Diagnostic links & Drivers Incl. w/ Base
20091 Quick Reference Guide and @Xi Computer Manual (PDF) Incl. w/ Base
22254 Asus® SABERTOOTH X79 Intel® X79-3xPCIe 16x Mechanical (2x16x+1x8x)-SSD Cashing-Quad Ch. 8 Banks DDR3 1333/1866-1x1Gb Ethernet-2xSATA6Gb+4sSATA3Gb RAID 0/1/10/5 -1x1394a-Digital Audio-8CH-S/PDIF-Dual SLI® $149.00
44037 1000W Cooler Master™ SilentProM™ 80 Plus Bronze 135mm Ultra Silent Fan 85% efficiency- Active PFC- RSA00-AMBAJ3-US $89.00
27158 Xi® MTower™ CM-HAF 912 High Ventilation 2x12cm Quiet Fans -Front & Side Grid-2x FrontUSB-4x 5 1/4" 6x 3 1/2" $29.00
18001 Standard Xi Warranty w/Express Advance Parts Replacement, One Year on System, Mfg. on Monitor Incl. w/ Base
47002 NEMA 5-15P to C13 Wall Plug, 125 Volt, 16AWG, 5 Feet. Standard Computer AC power Cord Incl. w/ Base
  Subtotal $3,372.00
  Discounts $0.00
  After Discount $3,372.00
  CA Sales Tax $0.00
  CA e-Waste Recycling Fee $0.00
  Shipping (each) $104.28
  Quantity 1
  TOTAL $3,476.28
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October 24, 2012 12:36:04 AM

change the ram to what i suggested. corsair ram is no better than most other major brands like gskill

change the SSD to what i suggested. if you want a bigger one go ahead, but that is what the hard drive is for. the SSD is only really supposed to store your apps and the OS. putting regular movie files on it would be a waste

the new kepler k5000 is out almost. waay faster (from what i heard up to 50%)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

get a better keyboard. stock ones are crap

same goes for mice

the x79 pro would be about as good as the sabertooth if you ask me. just about the same feature set

get the case i suggested

get the power supply i suggested

i dont see the point of power protection unless you are prone to power failures or have unstable power. id also go full out and get a proper UPS

are you getting this assembled by some one else? custom pc vendors are a synonym of being scammed. they charge you the highest market price + 20%
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October 24, 2012 12:37:04 AM

Windows 8!!!!??? Bambi??!!
That is not a good idea, every single OS upgrade sends engineering , & CAD guys in my co. Running to IT, dont know how many man hrs. Are spent on trying to fix issues w/ new OS & various CAD apps. Id use XP first. Thanks for the input though, I forgot to mention I also use backburner w custom interface w/ straight ACAD/ ACADi, to render, using other machines I have.
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October 24, 2012 12:43:54 AM

Too late, its already on the way! I know full well i could save money, but I just cannot invest the time to learn in depth, like you have. At some point, you just have to consider how best to use your time, so as much as I like to really get into that stuff, I have to cut it off at some point, you know? Its like you cant be an expert in every subject, all the time. Thanks again for the input, thats why I came looking at this site, to get ideas from people who really know the subject.
SG
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!