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gbelous

Need feedback for ordering new computer for autocad use

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gbelous

Our office is considering getting a new computer for my daily cad use. Currently we use 2009 and would like to upgrade to 2012 and hopefully 13 when we get it.

The computer I use now is 4 years old and is starting to run slow when using multiple programs or even cad just by itself. 3D is a nightmare!

 

It is a Dell T7400

Quad core Xeon Proc E5420

2.50GHz, 2X6MB L2 Cache, 1333MHz

4GB, DDR2 ECC SDRAM memory

NVidia Quadro FX1700 512MB dial DVI Graphics Card

Dual monitors

Windows Vista OS

 

I was hoping someone out there could help break down what would be an ideal set up for running 2012 and up, with the occasional 3D rendering through cad as well as frequent photoshop use (CS4). I also use occasionally sketch up, impression, those little add on programs. Autodesk has the "system requirements" for installing the program, but that I am guessing is nowhere near what an ideal set up would be for easy daily use.

 

I have looked thru some posts to get an idea, but I figured it would just be easier to ask. We also have a "computer guy" who can piece together a computer if that's recommended as well, he did that with our server, however I don't think he is too familiar with autocad's needs so that's why I'm here.

I'm not trying to go crazy because there is a reasonable budget (maybe between 2k and 2.5k), but what's something that would be powerful to hold out for another 4 or 5 years?

 

Typically, we buy directly bought from dell, but if we could get a better system for less by building it ourselves, it doesn't matter. I just need some ideas to hand to the decision makers.

 

Basically...if you had $2500, what components would you get for a new computer?

 

Thanks!

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ReMark

I would go with a Win7 64-bit computer with software (AutoCAD) to match.

 

Hard drive: SSD for the main drive for your program files and a regular platter drive for storing files on.

 

Memory: 8-12GB of RAM. But RAM is relatively cheap. Get as much as you can afford and make sure it is the highest speed.

 

Get a good mid-level graphics card. Example: nVidia Quadro 4000.

 

The rest is up to you and your IT guy.

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gbelous

Yeah, we were planning on win7-64

it's the graphics and processor mainly that's in question. and i agree, ram is easily added/changed to fit needs. I would start with asking for 8-16 and see how that goes.

 

we have 2 it guys...one in another state who used to work here so he hangs on and manages issues from far. he always has just gone thru dell and done whatever packages fit our needs and budget. the other it guy is new and is local. he pieced together our new server so i am assuming he is more open to other ideas than dell or putting together parts to make the computer. so i am exploring both options. he will be in monday so i was hoping to get some ideas to run by him.

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f700es

Nothing wrong with another Dell, just get one with enough power to last a few years. Right now I would have to go with a 3rd gen core i7 such as an i7-3770 over a Xeon. I don't think the cost difference is worth the marginal gain in performance. Get all the ram you can, 16+ GB should not be much with a $2,500 budget. Is this for tower only or does this mean LCDs as well? For the video card stick with nVidia. You can spend $2K on this alone, the new nVidia Tesla card look sweet but you pay for it! I think that you can get a good mid to high GTX based card that will run with a Quadro for less money. Look for a mix of SSD for you boot drive and applications with a standard drive for storage. DVD burner of course and 64-bit Windows7.

 

If you go Dell look at the XPS line as I think they offer a good bang for the buck option at the moment. These are my options and option to much discussion.

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gbelous

This is just for the tower, I have 2 dell screens from my current computer that i will keep.

Thanks for the feedback, taking notes as we speak lol

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gbelous

I had stated in the first post that I do the "occasional 3D rendering" but I think we would do more if we could handle it. I have done some fairly complex exterior day and night renders as well as interior ones that take a long time to work on just due to hardware speed. If this capability could be improved then we would do more in house rendering which I love to do.

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f700es

Just looked at NewEgg....

 

Motherboard Cost ASUS Sabertooth X79 LGA 2011 $329.00

 

CPU

Intel core i7-3820 SB-E 3.6 GHz $300.00

 

RAM

24GB (8GBx3) Avexir DDR3 1600 $185.00

 

Hard Drives

Samsung 256GB SSD $225.00 Samsung 2TB SATA $120.00

 

Video Card

MSI GF GTX660 Ti 2GB GDDR5 PCIe 3.0x16 $310.00

 

Other

DVD-RW $20.00 DVD-Rom $20.00 Case and PS $200.00 Card Reader $20.00 MS Windows7 Pro OEM $140.00

 

Total $1,869.00

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f700es

What do you use for rendering?

 

I had stated in the first post that I do the "occasional 3D rendering" but I think we would do more if we could handle it. I have done some fairly complex exterior day and night renders as well as interior ones that take a long time to work on just due to hardware speed. If this capability could be improved then we would do more in house rendering which I love to do.

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gbelous

nice break down. i'll definitely print that for monday!

 

we use autocad. haven't really explored other programs for two reasons, time it takes to learn and also the hardware probably can't handle it. we are a small firm and if i can produce acceptable renders on cad, they don't see the need for adding another and perhaps pricy program.

 

we also sometimes do basic prelim stuff in sketchup (which runs worse than cad) and impression just for color, but other than that it's just cad lol

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ReMark

Rendering is memory intensive. Just something to keep in mind.

 

I would expect to keep this computer no more than four years tops as it will start to show its age by year three if you keep current with software updates/releases. That's when you start thinking about the next computer. Too many companies think that if they buy a computer today they don't have to replace it for 10 or more years. It ain't worth the hassle or the headaches.

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gbelous

seems like the basic thing is more memory + faster processor is better. graphics card needs to be able to keep up with those two but doesn't have to be anything too crazy

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ReMark

A handful of really new, top-of-the-line (read that $$$$) graphics cards are available that will handle rendering thereby taking some most of the load off the CPU. I think they are referred to as GPU's? But your budget won't accommodate the purchase of one of these bad boys.

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f700es
Rendering is memory intensive. Just something to keep in mind.

 

That and CPU intensive unless he is using a GPU based rendering engine. This is why I asked what he is using to render with. The OP said that he is using AutoCAD for rendering so it will not be a GPU based engine unless r2014 makes a change or they get something else. As of right now I think Octane, the new Blender with Cycles and maybe Maya and Max use GPU rendering.

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gbelous

yeah, i agree...if i propose something too costly the whole idea will get shot down. they always bounce between the idea of a new computer vs upgrading parts and holding onto it a few more years, but with how fast things progress, a new computer is probably a better option in the long run.

 

if i can figure out some ideal hardware specs and hand it off to the it guy he can go from there and figure out what will work together or find something comparable at a cheaper or same price.

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gbelous
As of right now I think Octane, the new Blender with Cycles and maybe Maya and Max use GPU rendering.

 

i don't see us using any of those programs in the near, or far future. before i got here one guy used 3d studio max (about 7 years ago) for rendering but i have been able to do comparable renders in just cad so we have stuck with that.

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ReMark

Spec your own computer. As soon as you "hand it off" to the IT guy it is basically out of your control. Then you end up with the computer "management" wants you to have and not the computer you need.

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f700es
A handful of really new, top-of-the-line (read that $$$$) graphics cards are available that will handle rendering thereby taking some most of the load off the CPU. I think they are referred to as GPU's? But your budget won't accommodate the purchase of one of these bad boys.

 

Sure he can ;) The card I spec'ed is based on the nVidia CUDA engine. It even has their new Kepler technology in it.

http://www.geforce.com/hardware/desktop-gpus/geforce-gtx-660ti/features

 

yeah it's a gaming card but it should handle AutoCAD with no problem ;)

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f700es

Gbelous, do you think you could share some rendered work? I would love to see what you are doing.

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gbelous

ReMark, I think that's basically what the old IT guy did...we said we wanted a new system and he finds the basic upgrade from dell and that's that. The new guy has been more open to suggestions to fit what we want rather than skimming by with the minimum. If i handed him a sheet with itemized specs and prices he would work with me best he could to put that together as long as the principals okayed it. and they will okay it if i can give reason to why these specs work and how it won't cost too much.

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ReMark

Sounds like a reasonable man (IT guy) and a reasonable plan. Go for it. And BTW....have fun with your new system. :)

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