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Thread: Please advice on building a CAD capable rig

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    Please advice on building a CAD capable rig

    A mate of mine is an engineer (structural and architect I think) and he asked me if I could build him a solid machine for using CAD software (Autocad, and some other name with R, like Rabbit or something ???).

    I've built different spec machines based on different requirements, but I don't really know what a machine for CAD use would need ? Loads of RAM ? Failry powerful graphics card ? Quad-core ? Or is that an overkill ?

    I'm thinking along the lines of 2 x 500GB SATA2 in a RAID, or maybe 1 internal and 1 USB drive so he can transfer files between work and home.

    He will have the other normal usage, i.e, browsing, emails and Word/Excel, etc. No gaming, or so he says.

    Could someone please point towards some hardware for me to start with, and maybe I can look at various options from there on. All advice appreciated. Thanks.

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    finding nemo staffsMike's Avatar
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    Re: Please advice on building a CAD capable rig

    CAD in my experience isn't that demanding at all if it's 2D.

    3D becomes a different story. It eats processors, RAM and Graphics as well as needing lots of hard drive space (where fast drives are useful for loading etc..).

    I built one recently for the same purpose.

    Q6600 + scythe ninja
    4GB RAM
    Abit IP-35
    8800GTS 640MB (before the new card were out)
    Antec P182
    Corsair 520w HX
    2 x Western Digital AAKS (RAID 1 for nervous user)

    It was around £800, what is his budget?

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    Re: Please advice on building a CAD capable rig

    I use 3d cad on this pc see my system

    SAS mite be an overkill for autocad

    Quadro or FireGL would be my choice ( depends on price )

    quote from Autodesk - AutoCAD Services & Support - Frequently Asked Questions

    While some gaming based graphics hardware will work with AutoCAD’s 3D display features, they are neither optimized for optimal performance nor are they supported by the graphics hardware vendor for CAD use. If you encounter problems, Autodesk will not be able to obtain support from the graphics hardware vendor to fix them.

    more memory is better 2gb min ( i need more lol )

    the program i use only uses one core so i use a duel over a quad
    ( but i dont overclock ) this gives me a faster single core

    Os to suit software

    alot depends on budget
    Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

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    Re: Please advice on building a CAD capable rig

    I agree on the graphics card, Fire GL or Quadro Pro. Plus 3-4gb of ram, even in XP. I did put a 512mb 8800GT in an old server as a temp cad rig for one of my chaps, but it sucked in full 3D for ProE & Inventor. Doesn't have the full spectrum of open GL support.
    [
    Quote Originally Posted by Blitzen
    When I say go, both walk in the opposite direction for 10 paces, draw handbags, then bitch-slap each other!

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    Re: Please advice on building a CAD capable rig

    Mine was for a gaming cad compomise and the budget didn't allow for a quadro but in a perfect world then it would be the way to go for PROe etc..

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    Re: Please advice on building a CAD capable rig

    My Quadro Pro FX 5600 plays CoD2 nicely Gives me something to do in my lunch hour.

    I currently use an off-the shelf Sun Ultra 24 with a Q6600, 8gb ram, Quad Pro FX5600 & two 500gb hd's mirrored.
    Last edited by 0iD; 29-01-2008 at 05:40 PM.
    [
    Quote Originally Posted by Blitzen
    When I say go, both walk in the opposite direction for 10 paces, draw handbags, then bitch-slap each other!

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    Re: Please advice on building a CAD capable rig

    What about this:

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay View Post
    What kind of emergency would need Windows 95? I think you are already in a bad state of emergency when your backup plan is Windows 95.
    Beginners guide to raid Beginners guide to raid post edition Hexus.Social - FAQ

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    Re: Please advice on building a CAD capable rig

    Buy an HP XW4600 workstation for £669.74 inc VAT & buy a decent graphics card.
    LOVE hp rigs, so reliable, used these at my last firm as CAD rigs.
    [
    Quote Originally Posted by Blitzen
    When I say go, both walk in the opposite direction for 10 paces, draw handbags, then bitch-slap each other!

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    Re: Please advice on building a CAD capable rig

    I would expect ProE to crash 30+ times before your machine will crash :S
    Does OpenGL card really help with 3D compared to similar gaming cards?

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    Re: Please advice on building a CAD capable rig

    the software i use only uses openGL so yes lol
    Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

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    Re: Please advice on building a CAD capable rig

    Thanks for the replies so far guys.

    I'll have a chat with him tomorrow to clarify whether he needs 2D or 3D power.

    The budget he has set at the moment is £800. Could push it just a touch.

    Meanwhile, based on the suggestions, I've put together a list :

    Motherboard : Gigabyte GA P35C-DS3R (has DDR2 and DDR3 memory options)

    CPU option 1 : Intel Core 2 Quad Q9450 - Retail

    CPU option 2 : Intel Core 2 Quad-Core Q6600 G0 SLACR, 95W, S775, 2.40 GHz, 1066MHz FSB, 8MB Cache, OEM

    Memory option 1 : 4GB(4x1GB) Corsair QuadX DDR2 XMS2 Dominator, PC2-8500

    Memory option 2 : 4GB (4x1GB) CorsairXMS2, DDR2 PC2-6400 (800)

    Graphics card : 512MB ATI FireGL™ V5600 PCI-E (x16) 128 Bit GDDR4, 2xDual Link DVI-I, OEM (Brown Box)

    Sound : Creative Soundblaster X-Fi Platinum Fatal1ty Champion Series Retail

    Case : Something simple, yet good. Maybe like this : Gigabyte Triton GZ-XX1CA Black Midi Tower Case w/o PSU

    PSU : 700w Tagan TG-700-U33 2ForceII Intel EPS12V V2.91

    HDD : 2 x 750 GB Seagate ST3750330NS Barracuda ES.2, SATA II, 7200 rpm, 32MB Cache, 8.5 ms, NCQ - (RAID 1 setup)

    CD/DVD : Samsung SH-S202N/RSMN 20xDVD±R, 16xDVD±DL, DVD+RWx8/-RWx6, PATA,Lightscribe, Black, Retail


    One problem with the above setup is the RAM - to be able to use over 3GB, he will need a 64-bit OS, and I am not sure his CAD software may be totally compatible with XP 64-bit !

    The reason I have selected that Creative soundcard is because he mentioned something about wanting to convert his music collection to MP3/iPod format via the PC. I need to find out exactly what form of media he has it on now, presumably vinyl ?

    He is also planning to use his fairly new HP L2045w 20" TFT - I presume that will be OK for his CAD use ?

    Now, this setup I have put together does go over the budget, but it's open to tweaking.

    Please feel free to point out where I may have gone for the wrong option.


  12. #12
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    Re: Please advice on building a CAD capable rig

    Ok i'll take that graphics card as it looks to be pretty much perfect and build around it

    Don't both with naff DDR2/3 boards.

    Mobo: IP-35 dark radier ~£70
    CPU: Q6600 + scythe ninja ~£180
    RAM: Corsair XMS2 is fine but something like this will be better and leave more options
    later on (8GB etc..)
    GeIL 4GB (2x2GB) PC2-6400C5 800MHz Black Dragon DDR2 Dual Channel Kit (GB24GB6400C5DC) ~£60
    Case: Antec P182, very quiet and subtle looking and excellent cooling but you could go with something cheaper.
    PSU: corsair 520W HX (no need for more than that)
    Hard drives: stick with 500GB drives 750GB's aren't worth over twice the price.
    (2x Western Digital 500GB Raid Edition which are built for 24/7 use, ~£140)
    Samsung DVD Writer ~ £20
    I would bother buying a sound card unless he has particular use for one over onboard sound.

    Still Almost £900 but a very nice PC which will be near silent (depending on the graphics card's noise)

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    Re: Please advice on building a CAD capable rig

    Computer hardware and software at amazing prices, available online from Scan Computers UK

    Sound card with analog I/O

    that + OS would push it over 1K
    Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

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