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 Post subject: Help me make a PC to use CAD on?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2014 2:27 pm 
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I wasn't sure where to post this, because it's sort of puzzle related, however it's mostly computer related.

I use Solidworks on my laptop, and it works great.. 70% of the time! I really want a good PC to do CAD with, not just puzzles but just CAD overall. I love CAD, but I want to be able to do tasks without having to wait 5 minutes for it to do it, and also risk it crashing.

I have no knowledge of how to build a computer, and no knowledge of the components required, so I'd appreciate it very much if someone would go to pcspecialist.co.uk and look to see what components I should choose for an amazing CAD PC.

Thanks in advance.

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 Post subject: Re: Help me make a PC to use CAD on?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2014 2:48 pm 
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Solidworks is memory intensive. You probably only need to really worry about RAM for if your intended workload is CAD. 8 GB would probably cover almost all of your use-cases. With triple-channel memory though you probably want to go for 12 GB or possibly 24 GB.

I ran through the desktop builder on the site you linked choosing a pretty low-end machine that I thought would still get the job done and it came to £647.00. Just use their wizard and you should be fine.

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 Post subject: Re: Help me make a PC to use CAD on?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2014 4:41 pm 
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Can you tell us what your price range is? That has a dramatic affect on the hardware you can put into your machine. Personally I use a high spec laptop and it runs SolidWorks flawlessly. It's an Asus G75 series and has a 3rd Gen Intel i7 Processor, 16g of DDR3 Ram, an NVidia Gforce GTX 670MX graphics card with 3g of allocated ram, and has two harddrives (one standard terabyte and a 250g SSD). The system has a performance mode as well that overclocks the CPU and helps dramatically when working with extremely high part counts. I do a lot of CAD work in the AutoDesk softwares as well and never have any major performance issues. My laptop ran at about $1200 USD when I got it but is extremely nice as it has a 17.3" 1080p screen, 4 USB 3.0 ports, BluRay/DVD player, HDMI out, blacklit keyboard, a subwoofer speaker, webcam and mic, ect. The battery life on my model is fairly low at about 3-4 hours but I use it more as a portable desktop than an actual laptop and it remains plugged in at all times. It runs extremely cool as well as there are two large fans at the back of the computer that keep the internals at a nice temperature. One of the best features is that with the removal of a single screw, all the internals are available to you which makes switching out either of the two hard drives, adding more RAM, or changing the CPU extremely easy. It is marketed as a gaming laptop but typically that goes hand in hand with CAD as many CAD softwares can take quite a bit of graphics processing power. If you are looking for a laptop that can run CAD programs well I'd highly recommend an Asus G75 series. If you are looking for a standard PC though I'd recommend just building it yourself from the best parts you can find. I typically go to newegg.com to purchase any computer parts I need and they tend to have some of the best prices online. The biggest factor like I said though is cost. Please give us a price range and I can tell you the hardware that I'd recommend and give you an estimate of the total cost.

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 Post subject: Re: Help me make a PC to use CAD on?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2014 9:02 pm 
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My price range is 600-700 GBP.

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 Post subject: Re: Help me make a PC to use CAD on?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 7:41 am 
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Location: Jarrow, England
I used pcpartpicker to select my upgrade components about a month ago and I am very happy with the results. They were:

Motherboard: Asus P8Z77-V Motherboard (Socket 1155)
Processor: Intel Core i5-3570K (K=unlocked for overclocking)
Fan: Zalman CNPS12X
Memory: Corsair CML16GX3M2A1600C10 Vengeance 16GB (2x8GB) DDR3 1600 Mhz CL10
SSD: Samsung 840 EVO 250GB

Other stuff like monitors, graphics card (AMD Radeon HD 6800), HDD, PSU, case etc I just kept from my existing kit. Note that the processor usually comes with a fan+heatsink, but I wouldn't use this as it is only just good enough for the job. The Zalman fan I chose is almost silent but it is huge, and it was quite a problem getting it to fit into my case with all the other stuff.

My Windows 7 scores are (out of 7.9):
Processor: 7.7
Memory: 7.7
Graphics: 7.8
Gaming Graphics: 7.8
Primary Disk: 7.9

If you can afford it, I would definitely upgrade to an SSD as it makes a vast difference to everyday performance.

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 Post subject: Re: Help me make a PC to use CAD on?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 10:12 am 
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I'm not interested in building a computer, I just want one fully assembled for me. And I know little about computer components, so how is this?

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What changes would you make?

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 Post subject: Re: Help me make a PC to use CAD on?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 3:05 pm 
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My comments:

The Nvidia Geforce 210 is OK for general windows use, but don't try to throw any intensive 3D at it.

At the moment, Intel processors are way ahead of AMD, so I would go for an i5 variant.

If you are going to do big 3D designs, go for 16GB memory.

The 350W power supply leaves no room for upgrades in the future i.e. better graphics card. Try for at least 500W if not 700W.

Windows 8! Ha! One word: Metro. Can you get a "downgrade" to Windows 7, it's much better.

And yes, I know that you are on a budget, but my experience is try to stretch it a little because you always end up regretting making compromises very soon.

<edit>If your broadband can be wired, you don't need the wireless card. </edit>

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 Post subject: Re: Help me make a PC to use CAD on?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 4:03 pm 
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I'm going to add to Gus's post on three points.

The Nvidia Geforce 210 is extremely old! I have two Nvidia Geforce GTX 660's in my desktop. Notice the "GTX". The GTX series comes after the normally numbers series. To further emphasize the disparity, my old desktop had an Nvidia Geforce 8800, again this high number still is a series behind the GTX! I suggest nothing less than a GTX 550. It is well worth the money.

The i5 cores are old as well, i7 is the newest and even the lowest tier almost outperforms the highest tier i5.

That 350W PSU is way too small for my suggested GPU above, you will needs at least the 700W like Gus said.

Further points are as follows.

You do not need a 2TB harddrive, unless you are storing tons of pictures or music. Unless that 2TB drive is like $100 downgrade it to 1TB.
Get liquid cooling if you can, it will make your system last for as long as the hardware is relevant.
Windows 8 is YUCK! Nothing further really needs to be said about it.
If you can upgrade your motherboard to have DDR5 that would make your pc even faster since the CPU can use the RAM more quickly.


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 Post subject: Re: Help me make a PC to use CAD on?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 3:47 am 
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garathnor wrote:
The i5 cores are old as well, i7 is the newest and even the lowest tier almost outperforms the highest tier i5.
Agreed, but I don't think the price premium you pay for the i7 is worth the increase in performance. Unless, I suppose, you are doing a lot of video processing (or bitcoin mining :wink: ).

My work PC has the following specs:

Windows: 7 64 bit.
Processor: Intel i5-2400 @ 3.1GHz
Memory: 8GB
Graphics: Nvidia Quadro 600
Boot drive: 300GB SATA HDD

Which gives the following Windows Experience Index (max 7.9):

Processor: 7.4
Memory: 7.6
Graphics: 6.6
Gaming graphics: 6.6
Primary HDD: 5.9

You can see how the graphics and HDD really pull the scores down.

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 Post subject: Re: Help me make a PC to use CAD on?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 1:42 pm 
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How's this for a PC?

"Case
COOLERMASTER CM690 MKII ADVANCED CASE

Processor (CPU)
Intel® Core™i7 Quad Core Processor i7-4770 (3.4GHz) 8MB Cache

Motherboard
ASUS® SABERTOOTH Z87: USB 3.0, SATA 6.0GB/s, THERMAL ARMOR

Memory (RAM)
16GB KINGSTON DUAL-DDR3 1600MHz (2 x 8GB)

Graphics Card
2GB NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 760 - 2 DVI, HDMI, DP - 3D Vision Ready

Memory - 1st Hard Disk
500GB 3.5" SATA-III 6GB/s HDD 7200RPM 16MB CACHE

1st DVD/BLU-RAY Drive
24x DUAL LAYER DVD WRITER ±R/±RW/RAM

Memory Card Reader
INTERNAL 52 IN 1 CARD READER (XD, MS, CF, SD, etc) + 1 x USB 2.0 PORT

Power Supply
CORSAIR 850W RM SERIES™ MODULAR 80 PLUS® GOLD, ULTRA QUIET (£99)

Processor Cooling
Corsair H80i Hydro Series High Performance CPU Cooler (£69)

Extra Case Fans
2 x 12CM Black Case Fan (configured to extract from rear/roof) (£9)

Sound Card
ONBOARD 6 CHANNEL (5.1) HIGH DEF AUDIO (AS STANDARD)

Wireless/Wired Networking
WIRELESS 802.11N 300Mbps PCI-E CARD (£16)

USB Options
MIN. 2 x USB 3.0 & 4 x USB 2.0 PORTS @ BACK PANEL + MIN. 2 FRONT PORTS

Power Cable
1 x 2 Metre UK Power Cable (Kettle Lead)

Operating System
Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit w/SP1 - inc DVD & Licence (£79)

Office Software
FREE 30 Day Trial of Microsoft® Office® 365

Anti-Virus
BULLGUARD INTERNET SECURITY - FREE 90 DAY TRIAL"

And compare this to this laptop?

"Chassis & Display
Optimus Series: 17.3" Matte Full HD LED Widescreen (1920x1080)

Processor (CPU)
Intel® Core™i7 Quad Core Mobile Processor i7-4700MQ (2.40GHz) 6MB

Memory (RAM)
16GB SAMSUNG 1600MHz SODIMM DDR3 MEMORY (2 x 8GB)

Graphics Card
NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 765M - 2.0GB DDR5 Video RAM - DirectX® 11

Memory - Hard Disk
500GB SEAGATE HYBRID SSHD Drive, SATA 6 Gb/s, 64MB CACHE (5400 rpm)

DVD/BLU-RAY Drive
8x SATA DVD±R/RW/Dual Layer (+ 24x CD-RW)

Memory Card Reader
Internal 9 in 1 Card Reader (MMC/RSMMC/SD: Mini, XC & HC/MS: Pro & Duo)

Thermal Paste
STANDARD THERMAL PASTE FOR SUFFICIENT COOLING

Sound Card
Intel 2 Channel High Definition Audio + MIC/Headphone Jack

Bluetooth & Wireless
GIGABIT LAN & KILLER™ 1202 WIRELESS GAMING 802.11N + BLUETOOTH 4.0

USB Options
3 x USB 3.0 PORTS + 1 x USB 2.0 PORT AS STANDARD

Battery
Optimus Series 8 Cell Lithium Ion Battery (5,200 mAh/76.96WH)

Power Lead & Adaptor
1 x UK Power Lead & 120W AC Adaptor

Operating System
Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit w/SP1 - inc DVD & Licence (£79)

Office Software
FREE 30 Day Trial of Microsoft® Office® 365

Anti-Virus
BULLGUARD INTERNET SECURITY - FREE 90 DAY TRIAL"




Just to let everyone who has been helping, I appreciate it SO much.

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 Post subject: Re: Help me make a PC to use CAD on?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 8:14 am 
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That's a pretty high-spec PC you've specified there, it should serve you well, but the 500GB HD is a bit mean in these days of 2TB drives costing just £60. I suppose if the case is nice and roomy, you could add another HDD later.

I didn't realise that you were also considering a laptop (but by the looks of this one, you will need a pretty big lap!). Unless portability is an absolute necessity, for the same money, you always get a lower spec laptop with limited expansion options when compared to a PC.

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