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Purchasing a new computer, help? :)


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I only have a tiny macbook right now, and I need a more powerful desktop to run programs like AutoCAD 2011 (3d), SketchUp, CS5, and eventually Revit, and 3ds Max. I am a student, and I don't have ton of money to spend, but I do want something that will run these programs smoothly. I was thinking about building a computer, but I'm not even sure where to begin.


Any suggestions as to where to look? My dad keeps telling me to just go to Best Buy, LOL

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Begin with the minimum system requirements for the software you want to run. Whichever one has the most stringent specs use that as the "base" configuration for your new computer. Then start coming up with a realistic budget. Buy the wrong computer and you'll end up regretting it for the length of time it takes you to save for it or charge it and pay it off.

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i Recommend going to Frys web: http://frys.com/ if there is one near your location

They Have A Lot of computers to choose from

If your a Student I recommend a Laptop if your taking it to school

If your Learning From Home Purchase A desktop

They Are More Powerful

Standard Would Be 4Gb Of Ram, Or more

A 2 Ghz Core 2 Duo is Ok I use a Core i7 720 Qm, But recently released, There are now Core i7 2nd Generation cpus

Nvidia Graphics Card is Good, at 512 Mb, 1Gb is recommended,

Nvidia because its more compatible, Though Ati Radeon does make some good cards but it doesnt offer Physx support,

I have an 1gb Ati Radeon Graphics Card

a 300gb hd is ok, but a 500 Gb is recommended

also consider purchasing an external Hd like an Hp Simple save

Laser Mouse accesory Is a MUST,


btw: I personally HATE BEST BUY

wanted to charge a friend of mine $300

for something i could fix with Basic Recovery tools


Recommend that if you purchase a computer make sure it has a built in Recovery hard drive apart from the Main HD,

17" is Preferred, 13-14 I find Obsolete


Key Things


4Gb of ram or more

2.00 Ghz or higher Processor (Refrain from Purchasing Single Core Computers) 2 Cores or more is the way to go

Graphics, Minimum Of 512 MB (1Gb Recommended)

17" Preferred if you dont mind carrying it, ( I Find Carrying My laptop Hassle Free, Painless, Simple Etc...)

Recommended Accesories

Belkin Cooling Stand or any Cooling Fan,

Reason: Reduces Dust Intake From the bottom,

2. High Performance Machines Must Stay Cool



A Laser Mouse

Reason: Unless Will Speed up The design process in autocad and in any other program

Doesnt have to be Expensive $25 is ok


Software: Purchase All Software

If you Have Autocad, It Better Be Purchased, Or You Must Have a Valid Liscense To Use

If You Dont Purchase Or Acquire 1,

If you Plan To get It Pirated, I would Say Get Off This Forum.

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The OP wants a desktop not a laptop. Since he states that he is a student he can obtain software from AutoDesk for free by joining the Student Community. He does not have to buy the software or obtain a pirated copy.




You can get a relatively inexpensive but reasonable good computer here:



Yes, I realize the site is geared toward gamers but CAD users and gamers both put heavy demands on their systems. The one real drawback will be the graphics card since I doubt you can buy a system with a card that is on AutoDesk's "approved and certified" list. As cost is the primary consideration you'll just have to sacrifice on this aspect.


There is one other possibility and that is craigslist. The key thing here, when buying a "used" system, is that you know what you want and you also know what you're talking about. If you are not computer savy then get a friend to help you. There are some good buys in craigslist but it is up to you to know one when you see it. Don't buy anything unless you can see it in person to make sure it boots up and actually runs. You should also inquire about any CDs or DVDs with software for the programs that might already be loaded on the computer.


One last suggestion. I'd consider a 19" to 21" LCD monitor for a desktop system. These too can be purchased right off craigslist but once again I'd caution you to see the monitor in action before purchasing. I've bought three this way. They were a 19" Hanns-G, a 25" Hanns-G and a 21" Viewsonic.

Edited by ReMark
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I do alot of buying PC components from TigerDirect.com

I just put together one for a freind of mine to run 2010 Mechanical & Inventor.


1) used tower with new 650 watt power supply. 29.99

2) AMD Athlon II 3.3 Ghz (model 565 I think) Dual Core I think 75.00

3) Gigabyte motherboard M68MT-D3 a sale on this at the moment 39.99

4) 4 GB's memory 1333 mhz 39.99

5) ATI Work Station 4800 1 Gb Video capable of 3 monitors (Autocad Certified) 159.99

6) 500 gig HD (I added a second 500 gig drive to run raid to mirror his first drive) but this is not needed in your case 39.99

7) 22" Viewsonic Widescreen 139.99

All for around $500.00 plus shipping costs


This unit runs real strong and handles autocad well.

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It probably runs strong and handles well because there is no "crapware" on it too which many companies like Dell and HP like to throw on for good measure.

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laptop or desktop


either way i think i gave the standards

at least 500 gb hd

512 mb Graphichs minimum 1gb recommended

2.00 ghz multicore cpu acceptable Core 2 duo, Core i5 or i7

4 Gb Ram Minimum 6-8 gb Great

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  • 2 weeks later...

I did some research into this and I recommended this pc to my boss it costed from hp 1500 dollar.

And if you build it yourself it is about 300/200 dollar cheaper.


HP Z400 Workstation w/ 475W 85 PLUS Energy Efficient 6-DIMM Chassis


Operating system


Genuine Windows® 7 Professional 64-bit




ZR22w 21.5 inch Widescreen LCD Monitor VM626A8#ABA




Intel® Xeon W3530 2.80 8MB/1066 QC CPU





HP 6 GB (3 x 2 GB) DDR3-1333 ECC





ATI FirePro V5800 1GB Graphic Card


1st hard drive


HP 250 GB SATA 3 Gb/s NCQ 7200 rpm



Optical drive



16X DVD+/- RW DL SuperMulti




HP USB standard keyboard





HP USB optical scroll mouse




3 years parts, 3 years labor, and 3 years onsite service (3/3/3) standard warranty




HP Promotional Flyer



Additional accessories



HP Air Cooling Solution



Thermal kit



HP High Perf Heatsink Thermal Kit


Security accessories


HP Protect Tools™ security software

Recovery Media



Windows 7 OS WW Recovery Media


This pc I got at home:


ASRock X58 Deluxe3 iX58, SATA2 RAID, GLAN





Club3D Videokaart PCI-e Radeon HD5750 1GB HDMI/DP Silent





Cooler Master HTK-002 Thermal Compound Kit





Cooler Master Midi Tower Sileo 500 ATX + eXtreme Power 500W





Intel Core i7 930 2.80GHz 4.8GT/s 8MB Box





OCZ 2x2GB DDR3 PC10666 CL9.0 Gold Low Voltage




Samsung 1TB SATA300 32MB, HD103SJ



Samsung TFT Monitor P2450H 24", DVI, HDMI (zwart)


Build it myself 6 months ago total price was 1090 euro. No CAD video card because I think there overrated and seriously overprices. They also suck at games. And decent game cards do not suck at autocad. The reason I bought a passive cooled is noise.

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