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  1. #1
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    Default Building a system for my nephew, need advice on hardware.

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    Hey folks,
    I am building a PC for my nephew so he will be able to do some of his college projects at home instead of relying heavily on the computer labs. He is currently attending Art Center College of Design taking majoring in Environmental Design. He has given me a budget of ~$1000 - $1200 and here is what I have come up with so far:

    CPU: Intel i5 2500k 3.3 GHz (3.7 GHz Turbo)
    Motherboard: ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen 3
    RAM: 8GB G.SKILL Ripjaw Series DDR3 1600
    PSU: Rosewill Green Series 630W
    HD: 1TB Seagate Barracuda SATA 6.0 Gb/s
    GPU: ATI FirePro V5800 1GB
    OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit

    I chose the FirePro V5800 because it had better feedback than the Quadra 2000 and it has CrossFire support where the Quadra does not. I selected the i5 2500k (might switch to 2550k) because it has decent specs and has a good history of overclocking. My concern is this; every penny my nephew and his parents go to his education (this is one hell of an expensive school) and I want to make sure that everything I am suggesting for him to purchase for his system is correct. I know that he uses AutoCAD (2012 I think) and does a lot of 3D modelling, and I am not sure what equipment he uses at school, but will the items I have suggested so far work for him? Will they be sufficient enough to do the things he needs to do at home with some efficiency, or do you have suggestions on things I should change to his build (like Xeon over i5 or less expensive card)? Any help will be apprecieated. Thanks

  2. #2
    Quantum Mechanic ReMark's Avatar
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    ReMark's Computer Details
    Operating System:
    Windows 7 Pro 64-bit
    Computer:
    Thinkmate
    Motherboard:
    Intel DX58SO2 LGA1366 X58
    CPU:
    Intel i7-960 Quad-core 3.20GHz 8MB cache
    RAM:
    12GB (3x4GB) PC3-106000 DDR3
    Graphics:
    nVidia Quadro 4000, 2GB GDDR5
    Primary Storage:
    150GB Velocipraptor 10,000 rpm
    Secondary Storage:
    none
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    Dell P24LLH - 24" wide screen LCD
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    For the money it should be OK for his first two years.
    "I have only come here seeking knowledge. Things they wouldn't teach me of in college." The Police

    Eat brains...gain more knowledge!

    I'm now a full member of the Society for the Promotion of Mediocrity in CAD. Standards? We don't need no stinkin' standards! Take whatever advice I offer and do the opposite.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by ReMark View Post
    For the money it should be OK for his first two years.
    Well, my thinking was that during this time he could purchase a second V5800 and CrossFire them together and boost his performance and quite possibly upgrade to an Ivy Bridge processor. Are there any suggestions that you can make for the system to go beyond two years?

  4. #4
    Quantum Mechanic ReMark's Avatar
    Computer Details
    ReMark's Computer Details
    Operating System:
    Windows 7 Pro 64-bit
    Computer:
    Thinkmate
    Motherboard:
    Intel DX58SO2 LGA1366 X58
    CPU:
    Intel i7-960 Quad-core 3.20GHz 8MB cache
    RAM:
    12GB (3x4GB) PC3-106000 DDR3
    Graphics:
    nVidia Quadro 4000, 2GB GDDR5
    Primary Storage:
    150GB Velocipraptor 10,000 rpm
    Secondary Storage:
    none
    Monitor:
    Dell P24LLH - 24" wide screen LCD
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    Increase the memory to 12GB and boost up the graphics card maybe to something like the nVidia Quadro 4000 or equivalent.

    Or do nothing. In two years time you'll know if the system needs an upgrade or whether your nephew has decided to change his field of study.
    "I have only come here seeking knowledge. Things they wouldn't teach me of in college." The Police

    Eat brains...gain more knowledge!

    I'm now a full member of the Society for the Promotion of Mediocrity in CAD. Standards? We don't need no stinkin' standards! Take whatever advice I offer and do the opposite.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator SLW210's Avatar
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    ACPI x86
    CPU:
    Pentium(R) Dual-Core CPU E5500 @ 2.80GHz
    RAM:
    4 GB RAM
    Graphics:
    Nvidia Quadro 600 1GB
    Primary Storage:
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    You might want to consider an SSD drive. The Seagate Momentus XT hybrid drive is nearly as fast as SSD for less per GB of Storage.

    That is one expensive college, I hope he has some scholarships. That is Ivy league tuition!!
    “A narrow mind and a fat head invariably come on the same person” Zig Zigler



  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ReMark View Post
    Increase the memory to 12GB and boost up the graphics card maybe to something like the nVidia Quadro 4000 or equivalent.

    Or do nothing. In two years time you'll know if the system needs an upgrade or whether your nephew has decided to change his field of study.
    I was actually thinking of pitching in $50 of my own to get his memory up to 16GB. I am not sure one $800 Quadra offer an advantage over two $400 cards, but it is really hard to find benchmarks on tandem workstation cards. I know that his field of study will not be changing, he is working very hard and loves his chosen major. It is what he has wanted to do since high school.

  7. #7
    Quantum Mechanic ReMark's Avatar
    Computer Details
    ReMark's Computer Details
    Operating System:
    Windows 7 Pro 64-bit
    Computer:
    Thinkmate
    Motherboard:
    Intel DX58SO2 LGA1366 X58
    CPU:
    Intel i7-960 Quad-core 3.20GHz 8MB cache
    RAM:
    12GB (3x4GB) PC3-106000 DDR3
    Graphics:
    nVidia Quadro 4000, 2GB GDDR5
    Primary Storage:
    150GB Velocipraptor 10,000 rpm
    Secondary Storage:
    none
    Monitor:
    Dell P24LLH - 24" wide screen LCD
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    ReMark's Discipline Details
    Occupation
    CAD Draftsman/Designer...chemical manufacturing.
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    I cannot think of one CAD/workstation review that covered the use of tandem graphics cards except for a system used to do film animation in which case you'll have to multiple your budget by a factor of 20 to even come close. Each card cost in the range of $7,000.
    "I have only come here seeking knowledge. Things they wouldn't teach me of in college." The Police

    Eat brains...gain more knowledge!

    I'm now a full member of the Society for the Promotion of Mediocrity in CAD. Standards? We don't need no stinkin' standards! Take whatever advice I offer and do the opposite.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by SLW210 View Post
    You might want to consider an SSD drive. The Seagate Momentus XT hybrid drive is nearly as fast as SSD for less per GB of Storage.

    That is one expensive college, I hope he has some scholarships. That is Ivy league tuition!!
    Thanks for the heads up on the Hybrid drive, seems like a good choice. Yeah the school is very expensive and no scholarships yet. But this semester his final project was put into the school's design/art gallery (a pretty huge deal for a student) and he lost a lot of sleep getting the project done, between waiting for lab machines and designing what he could on his MacBook there were stretches where he didn't sleep for 24 - 48 hours at a time. We are hoping that his grades and his last project will help him land some scholarship money.

  9. #9
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    Ok, I just spoke to my nephew on the phone and he is using software called Rhino. Now I need to redo all of my research. Is anyone here familiar with using that software?

  10. #10
    Super Moderator f700es's Avatar
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    16 GB DDR3 (W)/ 6GB DDR3 (H)
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    nVidia Geforce GTX 645 (W)/nVidia GF GT430 (H)
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    You are way over spec'ed for Rhino. You are fine

    http://www.rhino3d.com/4/systemrequirements.htm

    Edit: Although for Rhino an OpenGL card is preferred to a Direct3D so you might can get away with a GF GTX unit instead of a FireGL
    Please do not PM me with CAD questions. Post your question on the forum. Our users are the best out there and you'll get the best possible answer to your question.

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