CAD graphics cards

This is a post for a friend because both of us are kinda stumped. We are using Corel Designer 14. It is like a pseudo CAD program and is all vector. The PC in question is pretty decent with a i5 6.8 GHz, 8.0 GB RAM, and a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260 (898MB DDR3 ram 448 bit). In Corel Designer it is choking on the extremely bulky files that have 100,000+ unique objects on one design. How much video card is needed to smooth this out?

I can't believe it's a RAM or processor issue because it is pretty stoute. I was thinking a true workstation card may be the better option. So I looked at the ATI V4800, which has 1GB DDR5 RAM but is only 64-bit. I guess what I don't know for sure is whether the RAM speed (ddr3, 4, 5 etc), amount of ram, or bit rate are most important. It would seem to me the 448 bit card should trump ANY 64 bit card. What specs are most crucial for very high level 2D cad drawings? The GTX 260 is choking to the point of crashing the program so we just aren't sure which specs need maxed out to alleviate the lagging and choking. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!
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  1. Its not just the GDDR, but the Drivers are completely different for the Workstation card.

    Get the best you can afford, and yeah 64bit is quite poor.
  2. It's likely 128-bit ... and the V4800 has been replaced with the V4900 at roughly the same price. OpenGL (and compute) on the V4900 is outstanding.

    FirePro OpenGL = 4.1
    GTX260 OpenGL = 2.1

    Edit: Are you doing 2D line drawings AND 3D modeling?

    The difference between GDDR3 and GDDR5 can be quite large in some instances. I'm not sure what options/preferences are available to you on setup. On large drawings you would certainly want to dial back the AA, or take a look at the 2GB V5900 for around $400.
  3. Just to clarify, the Corel platform is for doing plot plans, like architectural vector line drawings. The drawing surface is large at 24x36" like a blueprint. So exporting PDFs can get real ugly. No real use of 3D though, just 2D with a billion nodes and lines.

    The V4900 Firepro may be a good starting point, but going from 448 bit down to 128 or 256 bit seems like suicide, even though I realize numbers aren't everything. The V5900 would probably be the best we could afford and would be the last resort, cause $420+ for a GPU is... it just hurts lol.
  4. I suspect it is less the memory bandwidth than the capability of the card itself. All things being equal, GDDR5 will deliver roughly twice the bandwidth of GDDR3.

    Workstation cards have accelerators for advanced vector geometry and math -- that's what really sets them apart from desktop cards. AND, the higher you climb up the workstation card tree, the more advanced those calculation capabilities become.

    That becomes your issue between the GTX260, V4900 and V5900, as much as the question of 1GB v. 2GB or memory interface.

    Additionally, conversions to PDF for export are not always processed flawlessly. I'm not directly familiar with Designer14 (except for its predecessor from long ago, Micrografx Designer), but my recent experience with Corel has taught me to apply all available patches ...

    And last week, a WinV OS update I had previously neglected cured a number of my Corel ills :D
  5. The DDR5 vs DDR3 info is good to know. Roughly twice the speed is definitely a bonus. I don't think I can talk her into paying $420 for the V5900, but he V4900 is probably the best suited. The PDF issue is just the fact that it renders so slowly, sometimes taking 3-5 minutes to actually display all the fine details in Acrobat. PDF quality is never superb but the speed is the main issue. When you have hundreds of thousands of individual objects we clearly need more horsepower.
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