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Architecture Student Needs Some Advice (Budget CAD Workstation)

December 21, 2012 4:56:03 PM

I'm building a new AMD Budget CAD Workstation and I have a lot of questions. Thanks for any help!

Approximate Purchase Date: Before Feb. 2013

Budget Range: Hope to not push it to far past $1000. I'm a architecture student, so I'm looking for value, and room for upgrades when I have the need.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: 3D design work in Rhino V5, V-Ray rendering, Web-surfing, Other CAD work.

Are you buying a monitor: Not at this time, but I would like the capability to expand to 2-3 monitors with a Firepro gpu.

Parts to Upgrade:

All I currently have is a 500Gb HDD @5400 RPM, 8MB Cache, and 3.0Gb/s. I'm thinking about adding a budget friendly SSD, any suggestions?

Im building my system around a AMD Firepro 5900 GPU @ $425. The Firepro is already going to use up a large portion of my budget, but a pro graphics card is important for the CAD work I'm going to be doing.

For the CPU a AMD FX-6300 Vishera 3.5GHz (4.1GHz Turbo) priced at $130 on amazon seems like a great value. I've heard a lot of Intel fan-boys (I am one myself), but is it really worth the added cost? I'm willing to upgrade the CPU late.

I want a motherboard that is easy to setup, and is as compatible with my system as possible. Two 16x pci-e would be nice for the possibility to run another Firepro card down the road (crossfire), I don't know much about brands but here are two options that might work well?

GIGABYTE GA-990FXA-UD3 AM3+ AMD 990FX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard @ 145

ASUS SABERTOOTH 990FX R2.0 AM3+ AMD 990FX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard with UEFI BIOS @ 180. Are all the on-board temp sensors worth it?

Will 8Gb of 1600 DDR3 memory (2x4Gb) be enough, could always expand to 16Gb if I needed it. Is ECC RAM (Error-Correcting Code Memory) important for the work I'm going to be doing? Any good deals out there?

Don't know much about PSUs, Wattage?, Brand?
The GPU runs off the motherboard power.

Looking for a minimalist case with minimal cost. Suggestions please.

Do you need to buy OS: Yes

I am considering Win8 64, but Win7 64 if its considerably cheaper. What is the cheapest way to get a licence?

Preferred Website(s) for Parts:, amazon prime

Location: Online. San Luis Obispo, California and Oahu, Hawaii

Parts Preferences:

This is my first AMD system, seems like a better value. But really what it comes down to is real world performance vs. cost.

Overclocking: If I need it

SLI or Crossfire: Possibly later

Additional Comments: I want to build a tough system that I can expand on when I have the money

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: My current dell XPS laptop with a I7 2630QM @ 2GHz and Geforce GT 525M is just not cutting it.

I haven't built a PC in a long time, but I'm trying to do my research. Any thoughtful advice would be appreciated!!! :hello: