Stole this, well article, from tomshardware. Enjoy the read.
bambiboom February 13, 2013 4:16:22 AM
Hello everybody. Putting together a Solidworks build for a friend of mine and was looking at around the $100 for a workstation card to fit his budget. It is dedicated just for solidworks but is still within a constrained budget. Suggestions? can a 7750 fit the bill somewhat decently?
You didn't mention any other details of the proposed Solidworks system, but in general I'd suggest a Quadro with as many CUDA cores and as much memory as possible. I tried a Geforce GTX 285 (1GB), which has 240 cores, higher clock speeds and so on ostensibly higher benchmark performance, but it's gaming orientation- and possible intentional workstation app hobbling- in the end had me change back to Quadro. The GTX would not run Solidworks viewports properly, sometimes crashed AutoCad 2007 in 3D on a 1mb file, and sometimes presented bizarre rendering artifacts. Rendering is CPU based, but the GTX somehow did not communicate as well as the Quadro. The Quadros are also full 10-bit colour. I've looked into Quadro vs. Geforce quite a bit and while Geforce will work quite well with small files, when the going gets tough- large assemblies, many layers, viewport and iso projections, the heavy SW users all say Quadro's are the only thing to use. But it's love/hate- many then spend equal time complaining about overpricing!
> Especially if your friend is using a previous version of SW, in the $100 range, I think a used Quadro FX 3800 (1GB) would do very nicely >
Quadro FX 3800> GPU G200GL 600 800 1024MB 256-bit GDDR3 51.2 mem bandwidth 192 CUDA cores 107W W [Stereo requires the purchase of an optional 3 pin S Bracket]
The FX3800 was made between late 2010 to late 2012 and sold for up to $1,000 new
You could get a used Quadro 600 (1GB) for $100, a generation newer and Direct x 11, but that has 96 cores and reviews of the 600 with Solidworks are not encouraging.
There is a Solidworks optimized driver that runs on the FX3800. How about 128X antialiasing? See>
I use Solidworks 2010 x64 on a 2010 Dell Precision T5400 [Xeon qc x5460 3.16GHz , 12GB DDR2 667, WD RE4, win 7 Ult 64] that came with a Quadro FX 580>
Quadro FX 580 G96 450 (OC 650) 400 512MB 128-bit GDDR3 25.6 No 32cores 40W 1× Dual-link DVI-I, 2× DisplayPort (10-bits per color), GeForce 9500 based
> which is actually amazingly good- the FX 580 still an Autodesk recommended, certified card for AutoCad 2013!
I changed to the GTX 285 (1GB) and when that experiment began to go off the rails, I bought a 2011 FX 4800 for $150>
Quadro FX 4800 D10U-20 (GT200GL) 602 800 1536MB 384-bit GDDR3 77mem b/w 192 cores 150W Chip also used in 55 nm version of GeForce GTX 260 (192 shaders). Quadro CX = without Elemental Technologies' CS4 plug-in.
The FX 4800 uses later generation GPU and is 384-bit compared to the 256 of the FX 3800, and has a higher memory bandwidth, but with the same clock speed and number of cores. There seems to be an established sympatico with Quadro X800 cards and Solidworks and I'd encourage you to search the Solidworks and other CAD forum for graphic cards discussions. Also, I use Adobe CS4 and the FX 4800 at least, and I think the 3800 had a special affinity with the Adobe CS of the time- the 4800 had the special Elemental Technologies' CS4 plug-in.
I see that the Firepro 7750 is listed at Solidworks and there is an optimized driver also for the various ATI/AMD workstation cards, but I can't comment or compare with Quadro.
Some other options>
Finally, I don't know your friend's budget, but instead of building, with careful shopping you might find in the $1500-1800 range a Precision T7500- which uses DDR3 1333 ECC RAM- and I think it will take 192GB! and that can be found with the extremely good Xeon x5680 (that's a $1,700 CPU) 3.33GHZ 6 core CPU (that's a $1,700 CPU) plus a good number of those had FX 3800's, 4800, and even the 4GB 5800. The dual CPU capability of Xeons is also very important- simulations and rendering can use all the cores they can get. These Precisions are not performance screamers, but are amazingly reliable and have big power supplies- the T5400 is 875W. You can add a 2nd x5680 off of eBay for about $600, lots of reasonably priced RAM- I'd like to have 32GB personally- as I'd run AutoCad, Sketchup, Solidiworks, CS4, Wordperfect, Corel Technical Designer X-5, Vray, and Firefox all at once. In the above T7500 with 2-CPu's those 12 cores/24 threads could really make Solidworks renderings and simulations sing!
With Solidworks, along with Quadro, I'm increasingly convinced of Xeons- used Xeons especially. Have a look at this CPU benchmark chart and filter it by rank >
> of the top 10 CPU's, 8 are Xeons and of the top 20, 14 are Xeons. The x5680 is #23.
Finally, if you're building new, you might consider the little known Xeon E5-1650 3.2/ 3.8 turbo, LGA 2011 6-core which can be bought for around $600-700, and which is ranked #14 in the above CPU benchmarks and listed at $583- a rare case of a fast Xeon being realistically priced. Note> the E5-1XXX Xeons are only for single CPU use. Note also that the #13 ranked CPU, the Intel Xeon E5-2667 [E5-2XXX = dual CPU capable] @ 2.90GHz, costs $1,552,..
Sorry for such a long, rambling post, but your query is complex and in my view an important one.
P.S. The thing is, I think the PC world is going to change radically and quite soon, 3-5 years. Watch for multi 512-bit GPU's systems, (such as NVIDIA Teslas)- with dual 5GHz 8 core CPU's, 288GB RAM, and 8,000 processing cores personal supercomputers coming to a desk near you! I think SSD's will be something different as well,..
Basically dont pay attention to the LGA 2011 6-core stuff because you cant afford it. Basically, to sum it up. Cuda cores are what you want for Solidworks, meaning you need an Nvidia.