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computer for autocad

Last response: in CPUs
October 6, 2001 4:55:47 AM

Hi! I wonder if someone can help me, regarding to buying a computer. I use mostly autocad 2000 and 3dstudio vizR3, and i've spent some days now trying to figure out what to buy, and primarly not beeing fooled by some sales man. they already tried to make me buy the P4 478pins with i845 chip, which i now think clearly isn't a good choice-
Any way, i haven't found any relevant information regarding the performance of the system with Acad..even looking in TH, altough i found lots of stuff i wanted to know
My questions are mostly:
1)regarding Athlon 1.5/P4 - will the 1st be faster(and stable)-for Autocad- and with what memory type? Is it worth waiting for the 1.5GHz (I read somewhere it's out 16 oct)? I don't think that the VIA chipset will come here to Portugal very soon, so anyway i doubt i go for P4...
2)the graphics Card: I've been told that Matrox cards(G550/G450...) are better for 2D work, wich is not bad, but will they handle some 3D work properly? Among the others, i'm a bit confused, i was thinking to choose between Guillemot 3D Prophet 4500(Kyro II),Elsa Gladiac511(Mx400) or Gainward GF2 MX400)
Also trying to save some money,see?
Any suggestions are welcome, and thanks!

More about : computer autocad

October 6, 2001 5:04:08 AM

<A HREF="" target="_new">;/A>

Very good benchmarks of both 3DSMax R4 (not quite your version, but close enough) and Autocad 2000 on a variety of P4/Athlon setups. In those two apps, at least, anything P4-wise doesn't fare well at all.

As far as video cards go, Matrox cards do very well 2D-wise, but their performance is very poor 3D-wise. They have all the critical 3D acceleration features you could want in hardware (except for maybe T&L); they're just....slow. I'd consider a GeForce1/2/3 MX card to be a good budget choice for 3DSMax work--decent hardware T&L, plus, 3DSMax doesn't demand the kind of video card bandwidth that games do. A full-blown GeForce3 Ti500's bandwidth is provided primarily for the hardware texturing--which 3DSMax normally doesn't even use.


"/join #hackerz. See the Web. DoS interesting people."
October 6, 2001 5:21:16 AM

ditto... the P4 has trouble with autocad like benchmarks...
and using SDRAM on the 845 chipset is just DUMB.

if you really want to get a P4, go with the i850 or the new DDR boards based on the via K4x266 chipset.

probably the best u can get currently is a
athlon 1.4, and a new kt266A based board. i know MSI have just released one which looks very inviting

Religious wars are 2 groups of people fighting over who has the best imaginary friend.
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October 6, 2001 9:51:29 AM

First of all, Autocad 2000 is such an old program it will run good on a Pentium II 400 with 128MB of RAM and a G400. But you want something newer. Not that you need it for THAT program, but here goes:
I recommend the ECS K7S5A motherboard and the Athlon 1.4GHz CPU with a Radeon DDR card. Fast and cheap, plus the Radeon has good image quality.

Back to you Tom...
a b à CPUs
October 6, 2001 7:52:28 PM

I use ACAD 2000 and Mech Desktop daily and have to tell you that there have been quite a number of threads at the Autodesk User's Forum regarding the (lack of) performance of the Pentium 4 for CAD applications. A number of users have "upgraded" to a P4/Rambus platform just to notice that the performance was actually worse (especially 1.3-1.5 GHz) than their old PIII 700-933MHz machines. First, most of them asked if their VGA cards could be malfunctioning (because they had seen in the Intel adverts that they would certainly fly with all that "net-burst" and s**t)... Well, to make a very sad (for some people ;-o ) story short, nowadays the recommendations is either to stay foot with their older PIII >800MHz, or to buy a new Athlon 1.4/DDR266 system. Or better, wait a week and buy a XP 1800 (=1,53GHz) which probably will make your CAD faster than any P4 with less than 2.5GHz!

***A-Man*** it?...NO, it's AnotherMan...
a b à CPUs
October 6, 2001 9:04:17 PM

By the way, check here for VGA cards for Autodesk Inventor. You can use that for ACAD 2000 or basically any Autodesk product. I personally recommend that you try to find a used ELSA Gloria II.

***A-Man*** it?...NO, it's AnotherMan...
October 6, 2001 9:09:52 PM

I usesed to work with AutoCad. I confirm, that it is a conservative engineering software.

<A HREF=",,617099-123112,00..." target="_new"><b>System Requirements</b></A>
Recommended System Requirements:

The recommended operating system for AutoCAD® 2002 is
Intel® Pentium® II or AMD K6-II 450 MHz-based PC
Microsoft® Windows® 2000 Professional, Windows 98, Windows Millennium Edition, or Windows NT® 4.0 (SP5 or later)
200MB free disk space
VGA display of 1024x768 or higher

In my opinion, it works best and will work perfectly for many next years on a classic BX-based motherboard c/w Pentium 3 processor and an ATI GL videocard as minimum, or I agree, an Elsa. Nothing new, fancy, believe me! Better budjet-performance solution would be based on a reliable dual-processor BX-based (SCSI preferable) motherboard, I think. This platform is proved working.

I am not sure about i815 solution, but keep in mind, that there are many different plug-ins, transformers for AutoCAD, and many more tools will be released. I found them usefulI, and at the same time sencitive to a platform. If you are going to use AutoCAD professionally, better go with a pure Intel machine.

AutoCAD 2002 was designed and tested on Pentium 3 and benefits from dual-processor machines.

I would say NO, you don't need a P4 neither TB for AutoCAD, unless you or your kids, relatives, whoever gonna play games and sing songs on the same AutoCAD workstation. Better invest more money in a professional video card.
a b à CPUs
October 6, 2001 9:20:38 PM

Nick, your theories only applies if you are working mostly with small drawings in 2D mode. If you, like me, work mostly with 3D models and large assemblies (many "pieces" in your machine, or whatever...), you need CPU power (and a good graphic card), take my word for that!

***CAD-Man*** it?...NO, it's AnotherMan...
October 6, 2001 9:46:01 PM

Yeah, I agree, I haven't mentioned the processor speed. That's not my theory, that's from practice I got.
If not budget concerned, I think I would go rather with a fastest dual-head P3 Xeon professional motherboard (ServerWorks 133MHz chipset board e.g. SuperMicro 370DLE for reliability, scaleability etc.) instead of P4 or TB, and a good professional graphic card (from 3D Labs or Elsa from Nvidia as you recommended).
The same idea: proved conservative, stable, durable.
I have a very strong opinion about BX-based motherboards because I had an opportunity to see how different platforms work under AutoCAD in an engineering company, and what I do know I can recommend.

Am I offering something really slow for your 3D dwgs?
Believe me, with a dual-head Xeon on ServerWorks c/w 3DLabs Oxygen GX-420 128MB RAM your "3D models and large assemblies" dwgs will fly high and fast.
And a dual P3 on 440BX c/w decent video is still faster and more reliable solution combined for AutoCAD than other processor-chipset solutions.
October 6, 2001 10:11:36 PM

I would say NO, you don't need a P4 neither TB for AutoCAD, unless you or your kids, relatives, whoever gonna play games and sing songs on the same AutoCAD workstation. Better invest more money in a professional video card.

good thing about the tbirds are they are cheaper than most old pentium chips, so it is actually better to get the faster chip on the cost/performance front.

"The Cash Left In My Pocket,The BEST Benchmark"
October 6, 2001 10:19:29 PM

Yes, Matisaro. I love AMD and I possess one. But when talking about engineering software, I have another opinion.
It happened very often, when I brought home to study AutoCAD plug-ins, the install failed or just politely stopped after checking the software showing me a polite colorful nice message about processor incompatibility and the cause: the AMD processor.

Those, who are going to use AutoCAD and its plug-in and other engineering software. I am not talking about some AMD installation or tuning problems. Never had ones. Try to understand me correctly. What I am trying to say, that some engineering software, and it happens often, normally fails or stops install on an AMD-based machines. It is noted in its ReadMe files, also in System Requirements. And that software usually has an embedded message about that imcompatibility and it pops up after the installation stalls.

I was waiting for long until the AMD released the patch for Solid Woks. There was no way to install it. After that happened, next time before to install an engineering software I read very carefully ReadMe or Install Txt files, and I saw very often in System Requirements: Intel processor and Intel chipset. Finally my boss arranged another, pure Intel BX-based test-bed for my home use.

Again, I love AMD, but sorry, I never recommend anybody to buy for engineering purpose something that I know may not work.
October 6, 2001 10:26:27 PM

There is no added stability over a properly configured AMD system to justify the lower performance and additional cost of a p3 xeon system. I would reccomend a dualie 1.2ghz Athlonmp. I can see no reason to get dual p3 xeons over dual athlon mp's save intel loyalty.

Both are stable.
The mp costs less.
The mp out performs the xeon by quite a bit.

Why again is the reason to get the dual xeons?

"The Cash Left In My Pocket,The BEST Benchmark"
October 6, 2001 10:27:13 PM

Forgot to add.

The MP has a nice upgrade path for the future, the xeons do not.

"The Cash Left In My Pocket,The BEST Benchmark"
October 6, 2001 10:49:43 PM

Buy a GF3, use rivatuner and make it Quadro DCC. Install powerdraft, and AutoCad will be so fast it won't even be funny. The Athlon is the only choice imo, it's the best performer, even a 1.2 GHz beats a 2.0GHz P4.

U got a problem?! Then dial 1800-328-7448!
October 6, 2001 10:53:02 PM

Thanks for all posts everyone sent!I'm looking forward to read some more!
I'd like to know some more about the for and against the dual-processor solution..
And I guess I could go to the atlhon 1.4 if it's possible to use in dual-p (i really want not to worry myself about up-grades for a long time), since the price is 2=one P4 1.7 (the first i was thinking to buy) and I can't find that P3xeon and other P3 i can find are costly...
a b à CPUs
October 6, 2001 11:01:56 PM

Now, this thread started with a question about the best system for Autodesk products. Not Solid Works, not Unigraphics, not ProEngineer etc! And PIII on a BX, come on, if you buy a new rig, there has to be some headroom for future software upgrades. That PIII may very well be obsolete in six month... And besides, I have yet not read any post of compatibility problems with AthlonTB on the Autodesk forum. (...only thing was an Autodesk technican that said that their products would not be using any SSE2 extensions in the foreseable future, to a very sad, and strangely blue colored in his/her face, P4 owner)

Truth is, if money is important (and even if it isn't), a Athlon 1.33 or 1.4 with 512Mb DDR266 beats any dual PIII Xeon in every aspect if you are running AutoCad.

And if you want the fastest there is, buy a Athlon MP rig.

Those compatibility problem days are long gone by now!

***A-Man*** it?...NO, it's AnotherMan...
a b à CPUs
October 7, 2001 3:55:20 AM

Hello everyone!

Just a simple test.
I think the numbers speak for themselves.

First system:
IBM IntelliStation M Pro
1.5GHz P4 on Intel D850GB
nVidia QuadroMXR, 200MHz core/ 166MHz memory, 12.41 driver
18.3GB IBM DDYS-T18350N Ultra160 SCSI
Win2K Professional, SP2

Test settings:
Vsync Off
Pro/E optimisation scheme

SPECviewperf 6.1.2 results:

AWadvs-04 Weighted Geometric Mean = 92.1

DRV-07 Weighted Geometric Mean = 17.29

DX-06 Weighted Geometric Mean = 20.29

Light-04 Weighted Geometric Mean = 6.782

MedMCAD-01 Weighted Geometric Mean = 29.69

ProCDRS-03 Weighted Geometric Mean = 26.74

Second system:
Homebrew PC clone
750MHz Athlon overclocked to 1GHz(7.5x133)on ASUS A7V133RAID
512 CL2 PC133 SDRAM
MSI GeForce2Pro 240MHz core/ 220MHz (440 DDR)memory, 12.41 driver with modified nVidia Quadro2 Pro drivers (SoftQuadro from nVidia World)
20.5 Maxtor 52049H3 7200rpm ATA100
Win2K Professional, SP2

Test settings:
Vsync Off
Pro/E optimsation scheme

SPECviewperf 6.1.2 results:

AWadvs-04 Weighted Geometric Mean = 101.2

DRV-07 Weighted Geometric Mean = 17.05

DX-06 Weighted Geometric Mean = 25.75

Light-04 Weighted Geometric Mean = 7.585

MedMCAD-01 Weighted Geometric Mean = 30.55

ProCDRS-03 Weighted Geometric Mean = 36.21

I did this test on a hunch really expecting my system to be somewhere between 85-90% slower than the IBM workstation. I did not expect my zombie sys to essentially smoke the 1.5GHz P4.

As it stands now I found that modding the nVidia drivers using SoftQuadro brings the humble GeForce2 Pro pretty close to its Quadro2 Pro (expensive) sister. However the 12.41 driver proved a little buggy under Pro/E so I had to set the IBM back to the 6.50 drivers (which caused a major performance hit if we believe the benchmarks; if anyone wishes, I could list those performance numbers too).

In all fairness the IBMs are runing Pro/E 2001 very smoothly with no crashes, mishaps and everyone is quite happy with them (myself included). However the same holds true for my clone system as well and it cost only 3 times less money...

I only posted those numbers and Pro/E usage info because you wish to do some 3D. If a sys handles Pro/E decently it will handle other modelers decently too.

From the Acad2K point of view... well... I have systems at work that are doing quite good on big 2D assemblies running on PIII 500/128MB. Medium 3D work (assemblies with 100 and less parts) works extremely well on Athlon 850/256MB (with 512MB those could also handle Pro/E quite decently).

Any piece of sowtware I threw at my Athlons or PIIIs worked without major problems. As both IT and mechanical Engineer (small company eh...) I've been running Acad since release 8 on most of the machines types that ever graced God's green Earth (except Sun). With a few exceptions (Cyrix...) Acad ran good on each and every configuration that met mildly beefed up harware minimum spec requirements.

IMHO Athlons offer tremendous value with little to no drawbacks. Stick to tested configurations and you should be quite pleased with the results. As for the Dual Athlon setup, it's a bit overkill for Acad (3D or not) but may help for other software you wish to run (also Pro/E doesn't take advantage of dual CPUs in its current build). If you think you need a dual AMD config, the new Tyan Tiger MP motherboard may fit your bill nicely.

Hope all this helps.



***Life is Beautiful***
October 7, 2001 4:00:10 AM

No surprise- the Athlon has a kickass FPU.

U got a problem?! Then dial 1800-328-7448!
a b à CPUs
October 7, 2001 4:43:17 AM

It (the Athlon) also does the same amount of work in less clock cycles than a P4. A quick glance at Prime95 running on both CPUs can be an eye opening experience.

Until Intel revises the P4 architecture (aka add at least another FPU unit) or chops down the price at Athlon (or lower) level, I'll stay away from it.


***Life is Beautiful***
October 12, 2001 4:21:02 AM

I see, and I'm glad it works good with AutoCAD. The article also speaks for itself, the <A HREF="" target="_new">www_autocad magazin_de </A> promotes a Transtec 2200 dual processor system with AMD Athlon CPUs on the AMD 760MP chipset, 256 MB DDR RAM, ELSA Gloria III, two onboard 3Com Ethernet network connectors,
and it is recommended for the high-end workstation.
I like its dual channel Ultra 160 SCSI host adapters.
As operating systems are Win2000 or Linux SuSE.
Zehr gut.