ADVICE NEEDED: PC for AutoCAD 3D work

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by drlunanerd, Mar 24, 2006.

  1. drlunanerd macrumors 65816

    drlunanerd

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2004
    Location:
    UK
    #1
    So I have to spec and buy a PC for a client. I can't switch them to the Mac as they run AutoCAD :-(

    Anyway, I'm a bit out of date regards the latest PC tech and was hoping someone could help me out with advice.

    I'm looking at either a Dell (OK OK, calm down! :eek: ) or HP.

    Questions:
    Which CPU should I be going for? E.g. Intel Pentium D or Xeon? I don't want to blow cash on something that's not worth it e.g. Pentium Extreme Edition.

    Graphics card? Bear in mind they'll be doing Photoshop and 3D work including AutoCAD 3ds Max. I assume they'll need as much VRAM as possible.

    I've been looking at a Dell Precision 380 or Dimension 9150. Are these any good? Noisy?

    The client hasn't stated a budget which doesn't help, but they'll pony up the dough if I recommend a kick-ass system.

    Thanks for any help :)
     
  2. bah-bah'd macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2006
    #2
    Investigate Your Options--CAD Workstations
    http://management.cadalyst.com/cadman/article/articleDetail.jsp?id=312456

    Well, it seems a prebuilt CAD workstation should start around $1500 - $2000 to be worth the investment; I would personally stick with AMD over any Pent-D config.

    You may want to read about Sli and nVidia Quatro graphics cards for pro workstations. http://www.nvidia.com/object/quadro_sli.html

    While Quatro cards themselves can cost the same as a complete entry level system, some of the prebuilt workstations I have looked at don't seem to be worth it if you look up the part's prices individually.

    Also, you may find you simply need consumer 6600GT chipset video cards (which are performing similar to higher class cards at fraction of $$.)

    Remember, you don't have to get a dual core system!
    Single processor workstation reviews, http://www.mcadonline.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=193&Itemid=73

    I can see a build-your-own AMD Opteron 165 (1.8 Gig) or some AMD 64 matched w/ two gigs OCZ memory & two 256MB GIGABYTE Geforce 6600GT video cards (GV-NX66T256DE) performing very very well. A complete smokin system for about $1,250.
     
  3. topgunn macrumors 65816

    topgunn

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2004
    Location:
    Texas
    #3
    I would quote a prebuilt system with a 1 year warranty so that you don't have to be support if something breaks. Unlike the previous poster, I would go with a dual core system (the opteron 165 he quoted is dual core) and I would go with Intel. SLI is out of the question in my mind unless they are doind a lot of 3D rendering. The Dell Precision 380 seems to be a good bet w/ Pentium D 930 and 2GB of RAM. Maybe 3 hard drives in RAID 5 for a performance boost and a measure of added security should a drive fail. That should run in the $1500 range after rebates.
     
  4. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #4
    Mac Forums > Mac Hardware > Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion -> ADVICE NEEDED: PC for AutoCAD 3D work

    ?? :confused: ??
     
  5. topgunn macrumors 65816

    topgunn

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2004
    Location:
    Texas
    #5
    Mac Forums -> So far so good
    Mac Hardware -> I can run Mac OS on a Dell
    Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion -> He IS looking for Buying Tips & Advice
     
  6. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #6
    Not legally.

    And there's no CAD proggies for OS X.

    So this is for a PC, running Windows. In a Mac forum, in a subforum specifically tailored for Mac hardware. So OS X, nor Mac Harware comes into this at all, at any place. Nice try though.

    Well anyway, original poster, and good luck.. just a pet peeve of mine. Kinda like "MAC".
     
  7. topgunn macrumors 65816

    topgunn

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2004
    Location:
    Texas
    #7
  8. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #8
    Well, I stand corrected. Lemkesoft is good at filling in cheap gaps in software markets.

    It should also be noted that CADintosh X is 2D only.

    Anyway.. that doesn't change my original argument.
     
  9. Mord macrumors G4

    Mord

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2003
    Location:
    UK
    #9
    athlon X2, x800XL 2GB ram decent psu.

    netburst intel cpu's suck ass, avoid like the plague
     
  10. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030

    Macky-Mac

    Joined:
    May 18, 2004
    #10

    actually there are a number of good CAD programs for OS X; Archicad, PowerCADD and Vectorworks are popular....and people also use the term CAD for 3D modeling programs as well, some examples: Ashlar-Vellum has a number of different programs, Cinema 4D, Concepts Unlimited, FormZ, Maya, SketchUp
     
  11. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #11
    well, I'm way off about CAD then. It's been too long since I looked.
     
  12. mattster16 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2004
    #12
    We have a lab in our civil engineering building at school with brand new Precision 380s. Pentium 3.4 GHz, 2 GB ram..sorry I don't know more specifics. They are used for heavy CAD work as well as tons and tons of other demanding processes. I'm guessing the University did their research when purchasing for something that would last a few years (they upgrade every 3 years I believe).

    From personal experience CAD processing (or any scientific/structural processing) usage is proportional to the complexity of the system being analyzed. So what kind of work does your client do? For most basic needs any higher end system on the market would suffice and get the job done, but if you want it done faster you need more speed.

    Edit: I guess keep in mind these sytems were purchased at the beginning of the current school year, so Dell's lineup has changed since.
     
  13. bah-bah'd macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2006
    #13
    Sorry, I wasn't trying to preach single core CPUs. They make 64 X2s also at the same ~$300 CPU price range used for that lowend estimate I gave. I was just trying to quickly spec a system I thought would crush that lowend Dell.

    I am pro-AMD and slightly anti-Dell... Personally, I would use any system with a nForce chipset over the Intel 955x used in the Dells anyday. There is a reason HP only uses the 955x in their lowend workstation. http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/us/en/sm/WF04a/12454-296719-296721-307907-296721.html

    The Dell actually has 3-year 'Economic' service, but I feel they use that support model to sell more machines that need that kind of support. The Precision 380 has a 375 watt power supply in a dual core CPU workstation with a RAID setup crunching CAD on a Quadro NVS 285 standard... ???

    You don't need a Sli setup but I would think you would want a Quadro FX card for AutoCAD if you are getting a Quadro card in your system.
     
  14. drlunanerd thread starter macrumors 65816

    drlunanerd

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2004
    Location:
    UK
    #14
    Great advice, thanks so much.

    Sorry for asking about PCs but I trust opinions on here and know there are some knowledgeable dudes hanging around.

    The Athlon FX-60 seems to blow anything Intel away. I know the NetBurst chips suck hard, but the latest 65nm models appear to mitigate their problems a little I gather. Problem is I'm limited to HP it would seem now due to client preference. Only their high-end workstation uses AMD (Opteron) and looks to be a very good performer, but it's over £4000 which is too much.

    So the choice comes down to the xw4300 with a Pentium D 950 3.4GHz (65nm) or xw6200 with 2 x Xeon 2.8GHz (90nm). I've specced both with 2 x 160GB RAID 0 HDDs and Quadro FX540s and they're similar prices.

    Does the lower clocked dual Xeon beat the single Pentium D? I'd think so?
    However the Intel 955x chipset in the cheaper system seems to be newer (SATA-II etc.). Is it good - a poster suggested he'd avoid it?

    PS. I'm conscious of not buying into any "workstation" hype if you can spec a "consumer" PC for the same performance, so I configured a Dell Dimension and it came out more expensive and also forced me to buy a monitor I don't want - go figure!

    I would normally build something myself but as it's for a client they need a 3 year on-site warranty etc. and I want to minimise any hassle.
     
  15. brisully macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2006
    Location:
    Chicago Area
    #15
    Also, AutoCAD 2007 is recommending a REALLY beefy PC. Here are the suggested System Requirements:

    The system requirements for AutoCAD 2007 for users that are taking advantage of the
    new conceptual design capabilities are as follows:
    ?? Intel® 3.0 GHz or greater
    ?? Windows® XP SP2
    ?? 2 GB RAM or greater
    ?? 2 GB available not including installation
    ?? 1280 x 1024 32-bit color video display adapter (True Color)
    ?? 128 MB or greater, OpenGL-capable workstation class graphics card. Refer to the
    Supported Video Cards list for details on different brands that have been tested and
    certified.
     
  16. bah-bah'd macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2006
    #16
    I don't think there is anything wrong with the Intel 955x chipset, and yes it is newer. Intel markets that chipset for "High-End Desktop, Performance PC, Entry-level Workstation." The 955x does have excellent RAID support, can use SATA-II drives, supports 1gig lan (dunno about that HP system) and DDR2 667/533 memory. Although, from what I have read, the nForce4 performs way better (consumer and pro).

    Even still, the dual Xeon HP xw6200 sounds like the better investment. I think that system has much better memory handling.
     
  17. stella17 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2006
    #17
    ahhh, i just recently put together a pc for myself especially for using 3D CAD gear... so ill try and help you from what i learnt over the lengthy period i researched all this crap

    keep in mind though, that im a poor architecture studnet though :p so my budget could only take me SO far.

    i ended up with:

    amd 3700+
    nvidia 6800 gs
    gigabyte k8n-pro sli
    1 gb ddr400 (soon to be 2 :))
    sexy 19" benq lcd

    i wont bother listing the rest, but yeah ... it all ended up < $1800 AU. which was pretty awesome.

    so for someone with a bigger budget, here's what i would reccomend...

    -i'd say stick with a dual core amd for the beef factor. not sure how far you'd wanna go with regard to price, cause really, you'd be better to spend more on the video card(s).
    -motherboard: anything asus or gigabyte that supports SLI
    -for the video card, i reckon go with an nvidia 7800gt (better yet, get two and SLI **** up!)
    -ram: the more the merry'er ... but atleast 2gb
    -and the bigger the monitor the better, with respect to doing CAD work ... 30" ACD!!!! booyah!

    anyway, goodluck ;)
     
  18. whyrichard macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2002
    #18
    i have been very happy with my xicomputer.


    xicomputer.com



    specs in signature...

    r.
     
  19. H&Kie macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2004
    #19
    I run Inventor 10 and AutoCAD 2006 for my job and use 2 different systems to work with them (one at my office and one at a customers site. They're e Dell Precision 370, Pentium 3,4 GHz, 2 Gigs of RAM, 2x HD 80 gig, ATI Fire 128 MB. Runs rather fine, as long as it doesn't crash.

    The other system is a HP Workstation, Xeon 3,2 GHZ, 3 gigs of RAM, 2x HD 160 GB, Nvidia Quattro 256 MB and it runs nicely. Noth have own branded 19" TFT panels and the Dell is surely the better one. 3D mouses (3Dconnexion) on both, too.
     
  20. Platform macrumors 68030

    Platform

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2004
    #20
    Dual Opertons
    Dual Quadro 4500 SLi
    2GB+ RAM

    ;)

    Thats what I would buy...but that is going to cost you....if then go with Hector...X2 etc. ;)
     

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