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GPU for solidworks

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a b U Graphics card
February 13, 2013 2:08:19 AM

Hello everybody. Putting together a Solidworks build for a friend of mine and was looking at around the $100 for a workstation card to fit his budget. It is dedicated just for solidworks but is still within a constrained budget. Suggestions? can a 7750 fit the bill somewhat decently?

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February 13, 2013 2:39:29 AM

A 7750 will probably do fine. Really, most cards will run SolidWorks without any problem, not just the fancy workstation certified ones. I run a Quadro 2000 at work and a GTX 460 at home, and both of them run well. In normal design you won't notice the difference too much, but if you start turning on all the shiny stuff with tons of features you might see a change. I don't think the GPU is used for any of the long-form image rendering, so focus mainly on CPU, RAM and disk speed for best performance.

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February 13, 2013 4:16:22 AM
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ohyouknow said:
Hello everybody. Putting together a Solidworks build for a friend of mine and was looking at around the $100 for a workstation card to fit his budget. It is dedicated just for solidworks but is still within a constrained budget. Suggestions? can a 7750 fit the bill somewhat decently?


_______________________________________

ohyouknow,

You didn't mention any other details of the proposed Solidworks system, but in general I'd suggest a Quadro with as many CUDA cores and as much memory as possible. I tried a Geforce GTX 285 (1GB), which has 240 cores, higher clock speeds and so on ostensibly higher benchmark performance, but it's gaming orientation- and possible intentional workstation app hobbling- in the end had me change back to Quadro. The GTX would not run Solidworks viewports properly, sometimes crashed AutoCad 2007 in 3D on a 1mb file, and sometimes presented bizarre rendering artifacts. Rendering is CPU based, but the GTX somehow did not communicate as well as the Quadro. The Quadros are also full 10-bit colour. I've looked into Quadro vs. Geforce quite a bit and while Geforce will work quite well with small files, when the going gets tough- large assemblies, many layers, viewport and iso projections, the heavy SW users all say Quadro's are the only thing to use. But it's love/hate- many then spend equal time complaining about overpricing!

_____________________________________
> Especially if your friend is using a previous version of SW, in the $100 range, I think a used Quadro FX 3800 (1GB) would do very nicely >

Quadro FX 3800> GPU G200GL 600 800 1024MB 256-bit GDDR3 51.2 mem bandwidth 192 CUDA cores 107W W [Stereo requires the purchase of an optional 3 pin S Bracket]

The FX3800 was made between late 2010 to late 2012 and sold for up to $1,000 new

You could get a used Quadro 600 (1GB) for $100, a generation newer and Direct x 11, but that has 96 cores and reviews of the 600 with Solidworks are not encouraging.

There is a Solidworks optimized driver that runs on the FX3800. How about 128X antialiasing? See>

http://www.solidworks.com/sw/support/videocardtesting.h...

I use Solidworks 2010 x64 on a 2010 Dell Precision T5400 [Xeon qc x5460 3.16GHz , 12GB DDR2 667, WD RE4, win 7 Ult 64] that came with a Quadro FX 580>

Quadro FX 580 G96 450 (OC 650) 400 512MB 128-bit GDDR3 25.6 No 32cores 40W 1× Dual-link DVI-I, 2× DisplayPort (10-bits per color), GeForce 9500 based

> which is actually amazingly good- the FX 580 still an Autodesk recommended, certified card for AutoCad 2013!

I changed to the GTX 285 (1GB) and when that experiment began to go off the rails, I bought a 2011 FX 4800 for $150>

Quadro FX 4800 D10U-20 (GT200GL) 602 800 1536MB 384-bit GDDR3 77mem b/w 192 cores 150W Chip also used in 55 nm version of GeForce GTX 260 (192 shaders). Quadro CX = without Elemental Technologies' CS4 plug-in.

The FX 4800 uses later generation GPU and is 384-bit compared to the 256 of the FX 3800, and has a higher memory bandwidth, but with the same clock speed and number of cores. There seems to be an established sympatico with Quadro X800 cards and Solidworks and I'd encourage you to search the Solidworks and other CAD forum for graphic cards discussions. Also, I use Adobe CS4 and the FX 4800 at least, and I think the 3800 had a special affinity with the Adobe CS of the time- the 4800 had the special Elemental Technologies' CS4 plug-in.

I see that the Firepro 7750 is listed at Solidworks and there is an optimized driver also for the various ATI/AMD workstation cards, but I can't comment or compare with Quadro.

_______________________________________________

Some other options>

Finally, I don't know your friend's budget, but instead of building, with careful shopping you might find in the $1500-1800 range a Precision T7500- which uses DDR3 1333 ECC RAM- and I think it will take 192GB! and that can be found with the extremely good Xeon x5680 (that's a $1,700 CPU) 3.33GHZ 6 core CPU (that's a $1,700 CPU) plus a good number of those had FX 3800's, 4800, and even the 4GB 5800. The dual CPU capability of Xeons is also very important- simulations and rendering can use all the cores they can get. These Precisions are not performance screamers, but are amazingly reliable and have big power supplies- the T5400 is 875W. You can add a 2nd x5680 off of eBay for about $600, lots of reasonably priced RAM- I'd like to have 32GB personally- as I'd run AutoCad, Sketchup, Solidiworks, CS4, Wordperfect, Corel Technical Designer X-5, Vray, and Firefox all at once. In the above T7500 with 2-CPu's those 12 cores/24 threads could really make Solidworks renderings and simulations sing!

With Solidworks, along with Quadro, I'm increasingly convinced of Xeons- used Xeons especially. Have a look at this CPU benchmark chart and filter it by rank >

http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu_list.php

> of the top 10 CPU's, 8 are Xeons and of the top 20, 14 are Xeons. The x5680 is #23.

Finally, if you're building new, you might consider the little known Xeon E5-1650 3.2/ 3.8 turbo, LGA 2011 6-core which can be bought for around $600-700, and which is ranked #14 in the above CPU benchmarks and listed at $583- a rare case of a fast Xeon being realistically priced. Note> the E5-1XXX Xeons are only for single CPU use. Note also that the #13 ranked CPU, the Intel Xeon E5-2667 [E5-2XXX = dual CPU capable] @ 2.90GHz, costs $1,552,..

Sorry for such a long, rambling post, but your query is complex and in my view an important one.

Cheers,

BambiBoom

P.S. The thing is, I think the PC world is going to change radically and quite soon, 3-5 years. Watch for multi 512-bit GPU's systems, (such as NVIDIA Teslas)- with dual 5GHz 8 core CPU's, 288GB RAM, and 8,000 processing cores personal supercomputers coming to a desk near you! I think SSD's will be something different as well,..
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a b U Graphics card
February 13, 2013 5:09:26 AM

Awesome thanks so much for the replies. Bambi, gotta say I can't tell you how much I appreciate your answer.

I do not think this build is going to be a professional workstation as he is starting up. He gave me a task to keep the budget under $500 total (with OS) which I am aiming to do so. No case, hdd, disc drives are needed.

From availability I have seen an FX 540 and a quadro 410 as possible purchase avenues through conventional vendors. Not sure where those rank in the totem pole.

I was going to give him an option to build a generic PC that initially utilizes iGPU (such as the i3 or AMD trinity) or integrated video on some older am3 mobos to go with an FX 6300 and upgrade to a workstation card should he need to down the road. I do have access to microcenter so I get the $50 off deals on mobos to go with cheaper procs.

I was also considering the firepro v4900 I believe for a possibility. Is that card any good?

Lastly, noob questions. Is installing drivers done the same way as a regular gpu? through the amd/nvidia site. Am I going to have issues with video display since I would be doing a completely new build or is it plug and play.

Thanks so much guys!
February 13, 2013 11:23:34 AM

ohyouknow said:
Awesome thanks so much for the replies. Bambi, gotta say I can't tell you how much I appreciate your answer.

I do not think this build is going to be a professional workstation as he is starting up. He gave me a task to keep the budget under $500 total (with OS) which I am aiming to do so. No case, hdd, disc drives are needed.

From availability I have seen an FX 540 and a quadro 410 as possible purchase avenues through conventional vendors. Not sure where those rank in the totem pole.

I was going to give him an option to build a generic PC that initially utilizes iGPU (such as the i3 or AMD trinity) or integrated video on some older am3 mobos to go with an FX 6300 and upgrade to a workstation card should he need to down the road. I do have access to microcenter so I get the $50 off deals on mobos to go with cheaper procs.

I was also considering the firepro v4900 I believe for a possibility. Is that card any good?

Lastly, noob questions. Is installing drivers done the same way as a regular gpu? through the amd/nvidia site. Am I going to have issues with video display since I would be doing a completely new build or is it plug and play.

Thanks so much guys!


_________________________________

ohyouknow,

Of course, it's up you, but with my long acquaintance with CAD, and some Solidworks experience, I think it would be challeging to make a new system for $500 that would be suitable to run Solidworks- even for basic learning purposes. The CPU has to be strong, and with good cooling, there needs to be a lot of RAM as you are always running three programs at once, as well as a super graphics card. The Quadro FX 540 you mention does not have any CUDA cores and probably wouldn't run Solidworks in any useful manner. -A lot of people using Solidworks swear they are barely getting by with $2,000 Quadros. I've read some posts from those who've tried the HD4000 integrated graphics on i7's with Solidworks, but didn't get far before shopping for a hi performance, dedicated card gravitating towards Quadros and AMD Firepros which are considered better value for the performance. You need a card that supports Open GL and Direct X with as many CUDA cores as possible.

That said, here is a 7-minute idea for (most of) a new system off of Newegg >

AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor HDZ965FBGMBOX
Item #: N82E16819103727 $97.99

GIGABYTE GA-970A-D3 AM3+ AMD 970 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
Item #: N82E16813128521 $88.99

G.SKILL NS Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-1600C11D-8GNS
Item #: N82E16820231645 $44.99

COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 "Heatpipe Direct Contact" Long Life Sleeve 120mm CPU Cooler Compatible with Intel 1366/1155/775 and AMD FM1/FM2/AM3+ $29.99

Seagate Barracuda ST1000DM003 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Item #: N82E16822148840 $109.99 -$30.00 Instant $79.99

Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
Item #: N82E16811129042 $69.99 -$10.00 Instant $59.99

Subtotal: $401.94

Then, find a good Quadro FX 3800 for $80-100. Solidworks seems to be Intel CPU oriented- as is AutoCad, but I started my Solidworks learning on a Dell Optiplex 740 with an AMD X2 6000+ (3.0GHz) dual core with a Quadro FX580 and it was not too bad with small files. I never ran simulations or renderings though as I quickly switched to the T5400. The AMD Phenom II X4 965 appears to have a strong following and good performance- on the Passmark CPU benchmark chart** it is ranked #243, while #244 is the Intel Core2 Quad Q9650 @ 3.00GHz - a nearly $500 CPU.

** http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu_list.php

Or, as time saver- you might want to read Newegg reviews of even the best rated motherboards to see the llarge number of problems even experienced system builders have in getting everything to work together- I would recommend looking into a good used workstation like this one for $400 Buy It Now /Offer on eBay (2.13.13) >

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Dell-Precision-T5400-Dual-2x-3-...

This computer would have cost in the $5,000+ range new and they are beautifully made.

This is a Dell Precision T5400 found in about 2 minutes- there are a lot of choices! I thought of this as I've had fantastic luck with the used T5400 I use/ this one with 2X the very good dual core 3.3GHz Xeon x5260- giving 4 cores at a high clock speed, 12GB RAM and the excellent Quadro FX 1700 (512MB) and which has 32 CUDA cores. The OS drive is an SSD- though a very small one- 64GB, and with a 250GB mech'l drive for data. If this could be had for $350, I'd then find a $100 Quadro FX3800 (1GB) and this would be fine for renderings, animations, and simulations. This one has Vista business, which my T5400 and an HP Elite M9426 (QC Q6600 2.4GHz) I use for sound recording had also, and I changed both to Win7 Ultimate64-bit in a hurry,.. Your friend can then sell the FX1700 for enough for both of you to have a decent lunch! Such a computer could be a useful SW learning computer for 2-3 years and is greatly expandable upgradable- if your friend goes professional, get a higher capacity OS/Program SSD, change from Vista to Win 7 or 8, find a pair of the Xeon x5460 3.16GHz CPU's -about $100/pair now, a second heatsink -about $40, and a Quadro FX 5800 (4GB), -$3,400 new, but which in 3 years probably will be a $400 card or, the more modern Quadro 4000 (2GB)- already in the $400 range used. The limitations I see on this kind of system- and argument for a new system- are the memory speed and of course, aging hardware. And, interestingly, the DDR2 667 ECC memory cost more than double current DDR3 1333 prices.

Just a thought.

Cheers,

BambiBoom
February 13, 2013 11:28:56 AM

ohyouknow,

In my quick AMD system idea, I left out the Power Supply>

SeaSonic M12II 620 Bronze 620W ATX12V V2.3 / EPS 12V V2.91 SLI Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply $79.99


BambiBoom
a b U Graphics card
February 14, 2013 4:35:40 AM

Best answer selected by ohyouknow.
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