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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So a friend of my girlfriend just asked me if I could help her put together the cheapest possible PC for CAD work.

She didn't actually give me a concrete budget, she just kept mentioning "the cheapest possible" build for that kind of work.

So what do you guys think? I know CPU is king when it comes to CAD work, but which route should I go? AMD? Intel? what about video card?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.
 

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Well, the best components in my opinion would be an Intel Xeon and Nvidia Quadro combination - but that would most definitely break the budget.

I think a decent i7 and a minimum of a Quadro 2000 (i wouldn't recommend a lower graphics card than this, otherwise CAD work will be tedious, but try to go higher if possible) should suffice.

I can't comment on a full or partial AMD solution, as i don't use em.

Will be interesting to hear others thoughts on this.
 
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Maybe this build can be a starting point , but budget and which CAD programs will be most helpful
 
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Whatever you do, i would suggest you get a Workstation graphics card (Quadro or FirePro) and avoid getting a gaming graphics card...
 

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Tell the friend that they can either pay upfront for a fast computer, or pay later for the time it costs them while it tries to slog through CAD. My boss bought a computer last year that was a "great deal." Can't even play 1080p youtube....
doh.gif
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks guys, so it seems buying a workstation GPU is a must in these situations.

Those entry level Quadros seem like a nice deal overall.

Thanks again guys. +rep to all
 

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What CAD program does she use? 2D or 3D? Rendering anything? Knowing this is the first step to suggesting what to get.
 

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PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: AMD FX-8320E 3.2GHz 8-Core Processor ($139.99 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-970A-UD3P ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($93.98 @ OutletPC)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($53.97 @ OutletPC)
Video Card: AMD FirePro W4100 2GB Video Card ($159.99 @ B&H)
Case: NZXT Source 210 (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($29.98 @ OutletPC)
Power Supply: Rosewill Capstone 450W 80+ Gold Certified ATX Power Supply ($59.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $677.88
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2015-01-13 00:55 EST-0500
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by p4inkill3r View Post

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: AMD FX-8320E 3.2GHz 8-Core Processor ($139.99 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-970A-UD3P ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($93.98 @ OutletPC)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($53.97 @ OutletPC)
Video Card: AMD FirePro W4100 2GB Video Card ($159.99 @ B&H)
Case: NZXT Source 210 (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($29.98 @ OutletPC)
Power Supply: Rosewill Capstone 450W 80+ Gold Certified ATX Power Supply ($59.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $677.88
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2015-01-13 00:55 EST-0500
thumb.gif
very good shout
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
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Originally Posted by Archngamin View Post

What CAD program does she use? 2D or 3D? Rendering anything? Knowing this is the first step to suggesting what to get.
She was supposed to get back to me for a more in depth conversation (she was very brief the last we talked).

So once I know more, I will get back to everyone in this thread, and again, thanks for all the help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
So we talked again for a little while this morning, she's gonna be using the following applications:

- 3ds Max 2014.
- Revit 2015.
- AutoCAD.
- SketchUp Pro.
- Photoshop CC, Illustrator CC, Flash CC, After Effects, Premiere, Dream Weaver, Audition, etc...

She's still figuring out how much she wants to spend on the build.

What would be the absolute lowest she could go GPU wise for that kind of work?
 

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These guys have some very good info on CAD benchmarks and hardware, they conclude the best solution would be a mid level from the team with the all seeing eye logo, but I'd say this Asus 7770 $55 after MIR is the cheapest option

Note: there are links within the article to PS Premiere and Cadalyst benchmarks
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by SlackerITGuy View Post

So we talked again for a little while this morning, she's gonna be using the following applications:

- 3ds Max 2014.
- Revit 2015.
- AutoCAD.
- SketchUp Pro.
- Photoshop CC, Illustrator CC, Flash CC, After Effects, Premiere, Dream Weaver, Audition, etc...

She's still figuring out how much she wants to spend on the build.

What would be the absolute lowest she could go GPU wise for that kind of work?
A workstation GPU would be the safest choice. Although, I have been rendering in Revit and AutoCAD Architecture with professional and consumer cards for years and pro cards don't always beat the consumer cards. If you want absolutely need to save money in the build then get a regular gaming card with a fair amount of VRAM. A workstation GPU does has it's perks as it will give you solid driver support and will work better with Autodesk's hardware acceleration. How low of a GPU is a matter of patience as all modern GPUs will runs these programs. After all, plenty of kids going to school now a days use a midrange Macbook as their CAD machine.

If you end up going with a consumer GPU you can more than make up for it with more/faster RAM and an SSD. Revit loves RAM so you are going to want 16GB min and an SSD will make every application feel much more responsive. Long rendering times suck but a slow response time while actively drafting is a million times worse.

The programs will work fine either way because after a certain point you are just paying for convenience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by Archngamin View Post

A workstation GPU would be the safest choice. Although, I have been rendering in Revit and AutoCAD Architecture with professional and consumer cards for years and pro cards don't always beat the consumer cards. If you want absolutely need to save money in the build then get a regular gaming card with a fair amount of VRAM. A workstation GPU does has it's perks as it will give you solid driver support and will work better with Autodesk's hardware acceleration. How low of a GPU is a matter of patience as all modern GPUs will runs these programs. After all, plenty of kids going to school now a days use a midrange Macbook as their CAD machine.

If you end up going with a consumer GPU you can more than make up for it with more/faster RAM and an SSD. Revit loves RAM so you are going to want 16GB min and an SSD will make every application feel much more responsive. Long rendering times suck but a slow response time while actively drafting is a million times worse.

The programs will work fine either way because after a certain point you are just paying for convenience.
Excellent reply. Thank you very much sir.

What about CPU? does HT matter?

EDIT: The Intel Xeon 1230 V2 seems like a beast of a CPU for the price ($230), but if HT is irrelevant in these scenarios then I would go for a cheaper non HT quad core.
 

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HT can actually hurt in 3ds Max and Revit can't really make use of it outside of stuff like rendering (even then it isn't very much improvement).

Multi-core support will basically never fully happen without a huge overhaul in Revit and I suspect 3ds Max will be the same. Core speed on the other hand is important.

Intel Xeon E3-1231V3 is the current version of the CPU you listed and it is a good choice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by Archngamin View Post

HT can actually hurt in 3ds Max and Revit can't really make use of it outside of stuff like rendering (even then it isn't very much improvement).

Multi-core support will basically never fully happen without a huge overhaul in Revit and I suspect 3ds Max will be the same. Core speed on the other hand is important.

Intel Xeon E3-1231V3 is the current version of the CPU you listed and it is a good choice.
So going for a non HT quad core would be the best choice then.

Thanks once again mate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
So here's what I got so far guys:

CPU: Intel Core i5-4460 ($190)

Reasoning: Cheapest Haswell Quad Core CPU Intel has to offer.

Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-H97-D3H ($95)

Reasoning: One of the cheapest full ATX sized motherboard of the 9 series family, also has some pretty solid scores on both Newegg and Amazon.

RAM: 8GB of Kingston HyperX FURY rated at 1600MHz ($67)

Reasoning: Chapest RAM I could find.

Storage: Seagate Desktop 1 TB Solid State Hybrid Drive ($79)

Reasoning: Strikes a nice balance of solid storage size and speed, going with a large SSD would be hard to justify if the goal is to lower the overall build price.

GPU: Sapphire AMD FirePro V4900 1GB GDDR5 ($150)

Reasoning: Seems to be the most popular card for the price on both Newegg and Amazon.

I'm gonna decide on the PSU, Case, etc later... Not as important as getting the core components right.

If you guys think I could do better please go ahead and let me know!.

And thanks again!
 

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Nice, although, as mentioned before, i would seriously consider a minimum of 16GB RAM - personally i would get 32GB. These applications are really RAM hungry.
Otherwise, decent choices. You could probably skimp on the motherboard a bit in lieu of extra RAM?
Is there a reason you need a full ATX mobo?
Also, check out the FirePro W4100 2GB instead of the FirePro V4900 1GB.
And for $10 more you can get the i5 4590.
 

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