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Build Me CAD Workstation Computer Desktop Thingy

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
Hey guys, trying to help the uncle out by setting up two desktops running WinXP and doing graphical work like CAD and the like... what do you guys recommend buying (in parts)?

He probably wants 4gb of RAM and one of those quadro video cards right? Anyways, please list me some good bang-for-the-buck parts for this project of mine!

post #2 of 35
We run HP Workstations at work to run AutoCAD 2006 and SolidEdge v19. They're pretty beefy Workstations that run about $2200 to $3000. If your uncle is opening large files then get him the fastest processor he can afford. I've found that the processor really gets pegged when opening large drawings. Of course you'll need a good graphics card for 3D. Depending on the Workstation we've been getting the Nvidia Quadro cards. I think the latest Workstations are coming with the FX 1500 series. Just make sure whatever card he gets that you go to the CAD website to see if it's been tested and recommended. Of course you'll need a beefy power supply to handle the video card and all the other components. Oh, since XP can't see 4GB of RAM anyway I wouldn't get more than 3GB.
post #3 of 35
Thread Starter 
^ yea thats what i was thinking... he is trying to be super cheap though... he says he wants it to be under $1500 for each system!!! so far it is possible by me getting:

PU - Intel Core 2 Duo E6550 -
Newegg.com - Intel Core 2 Duo E6550 Conroe 2.33GHz 4M shared L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor - Retail

Mobo - Gigabyte -
Newegg.com - GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3L LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

RAM - G.Skill 4gb PC8000 -
Newegg.com - G.SKILL 4GB(2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1000 (PC2 8000) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail

Video card - PNY Quadro FX1700 512mb -
Newegg.com - PNY VCQFX1700-PCIE-PB Quadro FX1700 512MB 128-bit GDDR2 PCI Express x16 Video Card - Retail

Hard Drive - Seagate barracuda 250gb -
Newegg.com - Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3250410AS 250GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM

Case+PSU - Generic -
Newegg.com - Rosewill R604TBLK-N 120mm Fan ATX Mid Tower Computer Case+450W Power Supply - Retail
or separate...
Case Only - Antec Solo -
Newegg.com - Antec Solo Black/Silver Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
and
PSU only - Thermaltake 430W -
Newegg.com - Thermaltake TR2 W0070RUC ATX 430W Power Supply 115/ 230 V - Retail

Keyboard, Mouse, etc. - anything is fine as long as it is not a cheap
wireless set =)

Monitor - Samsung 22" -
Newegg.com - SAMSUNG 226BW Black 22" 2 ms (GTG) DVI Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 700:1(DC 3000:1) - Retail
or
Westinghouse 24" -
Newegg.com - Westinghouse L2410NM Black 24" 8ms Widescreen LCD Monitor 500 cd/m2 1000:1 Built in Speakers - Retail
post #4 of 35
Your system looks pretty good. I would do an E6750 or an E8400 processor. I wouldn't skimp on the CPU. Are you talking 3D CAD like Pro/E or Solidworks or 2D like AutoCad? If it is 2D, then that video card is overkill and the processor is fine. Believe it or not, if you want to skimp, a $200 3D gaming card will work just fine with 3D or 2D. I have run Solidworks and Pro/E on a Geforce 7600GT and on an ATI x800XT with no problems.
post #5 of 35
If color accuracy/picture quality doesn't matter, then go with the Westinghouse. I think he'd appreciate the extra resolution.

As per above, 4 gigs of ram is a waste. XP is not going to see more than 3.22gigs or something.

Do you think you could fit in Server 2003? You can make it into a workstation OS, and it has proper multi-core/SMP support and proper ram support.
post #6 of 35
Thread Starter 
i could talk to my uncle about it... he's actually gonna give one of the systems to a colleague of his O_O

i'll ask him about the 3D CAD thingy and see if i can skip out on the quadros
post #7 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by meat01 View Post
Believe it or not, if you want to skimp, a $200 3D gaming card will work just fine with 3D or 2D. I have run Solidworks and Pro/E on a Geforce 7600GT and on an ATI x800XT with no problems.
I 2nd that. I picked up a dual processor tower on the cheap off eBay to go with my GeForce and using Pro/E it is fast and the scrolling of images is seamlessly smooth. I suggest an uninterruptable power supply as well if it is critical work that is being done. I got one that fits in one of the HD slots and so far it has paid for itself many times over.
post #8 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Herandu View Post
I 2nd that. I picked up a dual processor tower on the cheap off eBay to go with my GeForce and using Pro/E it is fast and the scrolling of images is seamlessly smooth. I suggest an uninterruptable power supply as well if it is critical work that is being done. I got one that fits in one of the HD slots and so far it has paid for itself many times over.
post #9 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by OverlordXenu View Post
Ever spent hours doing a complicated drawing, only to then suffer an unexplained powerline failure? I have, and the air was blue for many minutes afterwards. So since then I have fitted an uninterruptable PSU. It gives me a warning signal when the mains has failed, and I get 5 minutes odd to save my work.
post #10 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Herandu View Post
Ever spent hours doing a complicated drawing, only to then suffer an unexplained powerline failure? I have, and the air was blue for many minutes afterwards. So since then I have fitted an uninterruptable PSU. It gives me a warning signal when the mains has failed, and I get 5 minutes odd to save my work.
I have an UPS. You said you had one, that fits in an HDD rack. Mine is the size of my PC...
post #11 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by OverlordXenu View Post
I have an UPS. You said you had one, that fits in an HDD rack. Mine is the size of my PC...
Wow! Those cost some serious dough. Those sizes are an absolute must for servers. For home use, anyone doing commercial CAD, website or graphic work on anything other than a laptop, even a small one is a good investment.
The one I got is similar to the one at !ATX p4 12v Uninterruptible Power Supply Module better than ups, redundant power!
post #12 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by meat01 View Post
If it is 2D, then that video card is overkill and the processor is fine. Believe it or not, if you want to skimp, a $200 3D gaming card will work just fine with 3D or 2D. I have run Solidworks and Pro/E on a Geforce 7600GT and on an ATI x800XT with no problems.
I would respectfully disagree about the usefulness of a professional 3D card being needed for 3D. All my 3D programs have seemed to have some hardware shader issues on gaming cards: but Nvidia Quadro cards have never let me down. Oddly, even ATI Fire cards have given me issues with Maya (even when they're "certified" to run Maya). It seems that it mainly depends on if the program is optimized for direct x (where a gaming card would do fine), or opengl (which Quadro cards are optimized for). So my advice would be to consider a Quadro card if you are doing a lot of 3D (and could possibly be running programs that are OpenGL). If you want to save money on a gaming card, then check the 3D forums to make sure people aren't running into problems on your specific 3D programs.
post #13 of 35
I knew someone would disagree with me. All I can say, is that I have gone this route and been satisfied with the results, as has Herandu.

I really wouldn't consider Maya 3D CAD. The limitations of gaming cards with Pro/E or Solidworks is that when you spin a large model, you may lose some polygons or information. All of this information comes back and is visible when you stop spinning. I am not talking about a lot of information either. I am talking about a hole or feature here and there.

Solidworks and Pro/E are at the mercy of the processor more times than not. If you have a ton of money or your company is paying for it, then by all means go with a Quaddro. If you are paying for it or you want to save money somewhere, I would buy a cheaper graphics card, and spend more on the processor.
post #14 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by meat01 View Post
II really wouldn't consider Maya 3D CAD. The limitations of gaming cards with Pro/E or Solidworks is that when you spin a large model, you may lose some polygons or information. All of this information comes back and is visible when you stop spinning. I am not talking about a lot of information either. I am talking about a hole or feature here and there.

Solidworks and Pro/E are at the mercy of the processor more times than not. If you have a ton of money or your company is paying for it, then by all means go with a Quaddro. If you are paying for it or you want to save money somewhere, I would buy a cheaper graphics card, and spend more on the processor.
As I prefaced my argument: you have to evaluate the graphics card based on what programs you're using. The OP was saying graphics and CAD and such.....so he might well be running an openGL package. Being a medical 3D animator, I have to import and export a lot of CAD and scanned data to animation packages. If you do any architectural design, you might be using OpenGL shaders for raytraced renderers. If you're working in environments that rely a lot on OpenGL, then the Quadro is worth it.

The one card I would say to totally stay clear of is the ATI Fire series: It was supposedly certified to run Maya, but I found out it actually corrupted my 3D files It seems to have some shading incompatibilities that can lead to corrupted normals info. Maya is also the most tempramental 3D program I run: it can occasionally crash if it has some incompatibility with the card. XSI is another animation package that I'm running now. It doesn't seem to get as unstable with a non-Quadro card. I've found that GeForce cards will run Maya or XSI: it will just be limited in performance and have a few shading/viewport problems.

I'm self employed and try to spend most my money on a good graphics card and processors.....so for me, a Quadro is a good business expense and deduction. Unless you're going for a dual quad core Xeon, I have noticed that prices for decent processors are not bad these days. You can build a decent 3D system for $1500.....or with SLI and the like, you can also go up to $20K just for a PC. Oh, and then if we consider the quad SLI Plex systems...that's just $20k for your graphics
post #15 of 35
For all we know the OP could be running 2D Autocad, in which any processor or video car will do fine.

For 3D animation, I agree a Quadro would be a must, but for 3D solid modeling and design, a 3D gaming card will work well, since you are dealing with static assemblies or renderings.

If the Quadro can be deducted, it may be a would be a worthy investment.
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