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Help with new work computer for Architect

Last response: in Systems
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November 20, 2012 1:33:38 PM

Hello all,

My boss has asked me to look at getting a new computer for my workstation as mine is 3+ years old. We use AutoCAD, SketchUp, Vray, and Photoshop the most right now and will be getting Revit here in the next year.

He had our computers guy look into to and his quote was for a Dell T7600 Tower Workstation with a Six Core XEON e5-2620 2.0ghz processor, 32gb of ram, nvidia quadro 400 for $3,500

I recently helped do a build with my brother in law and thought that price was crazy high and after some research put this together on Newegg for a custom build:

Corsair Carbide 400R Tower
Seagate Barracuda 500GB 7200 Internal Hard Drive
Crucial M4 128GB SATA III SSD
ASUS P8Z77-V Pro Intel Z77 Motherboard
Intel Core i7 - 3770k Ive Bridge 3.5ghz LGA 1155 Quad Core Desktop Processor
G.Skil Ripjaws 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3
ASUS GTX670-DC2 GeForce GTX 670 2GB GDDR5 PCI Video Card
Corsair Enthusiast Series TX750M 750W

I've priced this out for 1,400 dollars and before I present it to him and say let me build it, I want to get your professional opinions.

Is the XEON processor much better? Am I missing anything you would have or substitute another part for? Any comments would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
November 20, 2012 2:16:21 PM

xeon processors are for servers, they are better optimized for number crunching
i think you should go for a professional graphics card (nvidia quadro and amd's offering)and not a gamer card
also you can build a 6 core i7 with lga 2011 socket motherboard
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November 20, 2012 2:42:13 PM

Ditto on the Xeon being a server processer. that dell machine is for running a small buisness virtual center. it is made specifically to have its resources parted between multiple virtual machines.
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November 20, 2012 3:19:00 PM

OK So the i7 seems to make more sense then. I will look into changing to the Quadro video card - thanks for that advice Alvine
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November 20, 2012 3:28:01 PM

No problem, AMD's professional cards are called FirePro

I don't know if your design programs will work better on AMD or nvidia
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November 20, 2012 3:53:47 PM

You should not even consider gaming card if you CAD a lot. Professional/server graphics are designed for applications which support the features the gaming cards don't have. A server card will make a nice strait lines in CAD..not like gaming card which only approximate and do not render the whole image. Another thing is to have a good high resolution IPS monitor.
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November 20, 2012 4:04:43 PM

maxinexus said:
You should not even consider gaming card if you CAD a lot. Professional/server graphics are designed for applications which support the features the gaming cards don't have. A server card will make a nice strait lines in CAD..not like gaming card which only approximate and do not render the whole image. Another thing is to have a good high resolution IPS monitor.


Do you have any suggestions or recommendations?
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November 20, 2012 4:19:33 PM

Since it is for work, one thing to consider is who is going to support the systems? Do you have time to take away from projects to build and maintain a computer? Most businesses don't build their own systems because they would rather spend time making more money vs saving a couple hundred on a build.

Now this looks cheap because you went and compared a Server grade Dell XEON to custom i7 build. How does it compare to a Dell or HP i7 build? And there are desktop/workstation grade XEONs that are priced in the same ballpark (and performance) as a i7 and even use the same socket.

Just as an example, going through a simple config for a Dell Precision T1650 with a Xeon E3-1270 V2 (i7 3770 equivalent), 16GB of ECC RAM, dual 2TB HD in RAID 1, ATI FirePro V4900 and 3 years of support is only $1620 retail. You'd also be off the hook if something goes south with the computer, instead of trying to play IT and Architect guy.



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November 20, 2012 4:37:51 PM

twelve25 said:
Since it is for work, one thing to consider is who is going to support the systems? Do you have time to take away from projects to build and maintain a computer? Most businesses don't build their own systems because they would rather spend time making more money vs saving a couple hundred on a build.

Now this looks cheap because you went and compared a Server grade Dell XEON to custom i7 build. How does it compare to a Dell or HP i7 build? And there are desktop/workstation grade XEONs that are priced in the same ballpark (and performance) as a i7 and even use the same socket.

Just as an example, going through a simple config for a Dell Precision T1650 with a Xeon E3-1270 V2 (i7 3770 equivalent), 16GB of ECC RAM, dual 2TB HD in RAID 1, ATI FirePro V4900 and 3 years of support is only $1620 retail. You'd also be off the hook if something goes south with the computer, instead of trying to play IT and Architect guy.


Thanks for your reply. We have a technology company that services our computers and servers when needed, so the support would come from them as we currently use them. My comparison of my build vs the one they picked I think more than anything shows that they don't understand what we need thus the cost difference.

So your Precision build might be something we would be more interested in looking into rather than the "server grade" computer to run my programs.
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November 20, 2012 4:57:57 PM

That makes more sense.

That build they sent you was just WAY overpriced on all levels. The E5-2620 is a 6-core 2.0 Ghz, so it actually performs worse than the 4 core 3.5Ghz in the E3-1270 V2 and the Quadro 400 is over 2 years old!

If you did have budget for a higher end workstation, you can get a Dell T3600 with a Six Core E5-1650 3.2 Ghz, 32GB of RAM, Firepro V5900 and dual 15k 600GB DRives in RAID for $3500.

I think you have plenty of options to get a factory built workstation that meets your need/budget, you just need to look around and maybe tell whoever is doing the buying exactly what you want.



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November 21, 2012 12:07:58 PM

Great thanks for your help. I'm looking into the Firepro stations. Would like to get an SSD added into the setup as I hear that helps performance too
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November 21, 2012 3:05:08 PM

SSD helps your computer boot fast and launch fast. If you are crunching lots of small files or doing database work, they can provide insane random I/O performance. But generally, once you get your program open and files open, they all work from RAM. You may not notice a difference at all if you just open a big file, work on it for hours, and then render it.

One bummer about SSD is that Dell, HP, etc think they can charge $400-500 for an SSD that retails for $150. So getting one ready to go in a pre-built can be a bit of a poor value. I'd buy your own SSD off the shelf if that's what you want to do.

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