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SimonlMAC
Posts: 14
Registered: ‎04-05-2011
Message 1 of 17 (1,433 Views)

New computers for Inventor, AutoCAD, AutoCAD LT

1433 Views, 16 Replies
06-23-2011 01:41 AM

I have been tasked with finding a spec for a new computer to run AutoCAD LT 2012. We have a reasonable turnover of staff and project requirements so it needs to be a decent spec for our Inventor use as well if and when the time comes. We have 4 top workstations for our full assemblies and Inventor Routed Systems use.

 

My manager has strongly suggested Dell as he has purchased from them before, although we may go through our Autodesk reseller who I believe would provide an HP.

Here is a Dell  Precision T1600 spec I put together, does anyone have any thoughts to it? Its under £800.

 

Processor - Intel® Xeon® E3-1225 (Quad Core, 3.1GHz, 6MB, 2GT)
Microsoft Operating System - Windows® 7 Professional (64Bit OS)
Memory - 8GB ( 2x4GB) 1333MHz DDR3 Non- ECC
Hard Drive - 250GB 3.5inch Serial ATA III (7.200 Rpm) Hard Drive
Optical Devices - 16 x DVD+/ -RW Drive
Video Card - 512 MB NVIDIA Quadro 400

 

Would an i7 processor be a better option?

My manager did come back with a spec for a Dell T3500, which comes in at just over £900:

 

Processor - Intel® Xeon® W3530 (Quad Core, 2.80GHz, 8MB, 4.80GT/s Intel QPI)
Microsoft Operating System - Windows® 7 Professional (64Bit OS)
Memory - 3GB 1333MHz DDR3 ECC
Hard Drive - 500GB 3.5inch Serial ATA III (7.200 Rpm) Hard Drive
Optical Devices - 16 x DVD+/ -RW Drive
Video Card - 512 MB NVIDIA QFX 580

 

Looking around I have a feeling that a i7 config would give us a much better spec for the price.

 

Thanks

Simon 

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FUJITSU CELCIUS M470 - XEON W3565 @3.20GHz
16GB DDR3 @667MHz - NVIDIA Quadro 2000 1GB
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pendean
Posts: 21,642
Registered: ‎11-06-2003
Message 2 of 17 (1,419 Views)

Re: New computers for Inventor, AutoCAD, AutoCAD LT

06-23-2011 04:08 AM in reply to: SimonlMAC

If you are going to drop down to 3Gig RAM/memory, you might as well keep your old PCs, there is no point in upgrading.

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Contributor
SimonlMAC
Posts: 14
Registered: ‎04-05-2011
Message 3 of 17 (1,417 Views)

Re: New computers for Inventor, AutoCAD, AutoCAD LT

06-23-2011 04:14 AM in reply to: pendean

I told my manager that 3GB is simply not enough. I suppose I am really querying whether Xeons and ECC are important, or if a faster i7 with more RAM is better for the same money. Also we have a quadro 370 lying around that should be fine for AutoCAD LT? it's just simple 2D wiring diagrams..

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FUJITSU CELCIUS M470 - XEON W3565 @3.20GHz
16GB DDR3 @667MHz - NVIDIA Quadro 2000 1GB
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pendean
Posts: 21,642
Registered: ‎11-06-2003
Message 4 of 17 (1,414 Views)

Re: New computers for Inventor, AutoCAD, AutoCAD LT

06-23-2011 04:36 AM in reply to: SimonlMAC

A speedy two-seater car is still, well, a tiny cramped incovenient low-ram two-seater: AutoCAD perfers speedy RAM-roomy sedans with ample room to stretch.

 

If you are going to the effort of buying a new PC, 8Gig with Win764bit is a minimum standard configuration: processor speed matters to AutoCAD to a point with 2D drafting, but you did throw in there an Inventor requirement so you are doing more than that, correct? In which case your video choices are on the low end.

 

Since price seems to be your manager's deciding factor, stick with the i5 and seek out a better graphics card: search around here for recs.

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Contributor
SimonlMAC
Posts: 14
Registered: ‎04-05-2011
Message 5 of 17 (1,413 Views)

Re: New computers for Inventor, AutoCAD, AutoCAD LT

06-23-2011 05:33 AM in reply to: pendean

thanks,

 

So for the AutoCAD LT / Inventor entry computer i5 2500 CPU, 8GB Ram, Quadro 600 1GB vRAM?? or perhaps a GeForce with more vRAM. I think that is easily achievable at a similar price as my first spec in first post.

 

For more intensive Inventor use, i7 2600 CPU, as much RAM as can fit/afford, Quadro 2000 etc...

 

What's the reason behind a lot of resellers offering Xeon and ECC RAM as CAD workstations? it would seem as if its really not that important nowadays... 

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FUJITSU CELCIUS M470 - XEON W3565 @3.20GHz
16GB DDR3 @667MHz - NVIDIA Quadro 2000 1GB
Distinguished Mentor
OMCUSNR
Posts: 506
Registered: ‎04-28-2010
Message 6 of 17 (1,408 Views)

Re: New computers for Inventor, AutoCAD, AutoCAD LT

06-23-2011 07:40 AM in reply to: SimonlMAC

Look at my sig.

 

With Win 7 64 pro & a DVD writer & Card reader, I brought this in at just under $1400 USD by ordering the parts from Newegg.com.

 

What I wanted was the WD Velociraptor HD & a decent, mid range video card with Nvidia drivers.  In any new system, make sure the HD & MoBo will accept SATA 6.0 & USB 3.0.  I'm a bit partial to Western Digital drives right now.  My brother builds hard drive making equipment, and has told me that WD is about the most stable out there right now.

 

8 gigs of ram is minimum now for ADSK products.  sweet spot is betwee 8 & 16 gigs.  SSD's are nice, but not cost effective IMHO.  Better off with a faster HD.  Why don't you look for a local who will build you a system with what you want, not what Dell of HP want to sell you.

 

Reid

Homebuilt box: I5-2500k, MSI P67A-GD65, 12gig DDR3 1600 ram, ASUS ENGTX460 Video card, WD Velociraptor WD4500HLHX HD, Win 7 64 pro.
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Sinc
Posts: 6,207
Registered: ‎11-18-2006
Message 7 of 17 (1,403 Views)

Re: New computers for Inventor, AutoCAD, AutoCAD LT

06-23-2011 10:07 AM in reply to: SimonlMAC

It has been quite some time since ECC/Registered RAM has meant anything for CAD workstations.  And Xeons are only beneficial for people who do lots of rendering, and want a multi-CPU machine for that.

 

If you aren't incredibly concerned with getting absolute maximum rendering performance, and instead want decent rendering performance with the best possible general performance at the lowest possible price, then the 2nd Gen i5/i7 chips would be the way to go.

Sinc
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dgorsman
Posts: 5,056
Registered: ‎10-12-2006
Message 8 of 17 (1,399 Views)

Re: New computers for Inventor, AutoCAD, AutoCAD LT

06-23-2011 12:40 PM in reply to: Sinc

+1

 

Xeons and their motherboards are built to do two things very well: manage large numbers of concurrent processing threads, and large amounts of RAM (there's a few high-end Dell workstations with 4x quad core *plus* HyperThreading and max RAM in the 96GB range).  They are also more "fault tolerant" (thus requiring ECC RAM) but with modern manufacturing standards its almost a non-issue outside of computers in critical service.

 

Most desktop applications won't be making use of either of those features and most businesses only see that on the server-side and even then not that often.  Not sure, Inventor may make good use of the Xeon's benefits for extensive FEA work but thats about it.

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Contributor
SimonlMAC
Posts: 14
Registered: ‎04-05-2011
Message 9 of 17 (1,393 Views)

Re: New computers for Inventor, AutoCAD, AutoCAD LT

06-24-2011 01:51 AM in reply to: SimonlMAC

Thanks everyone,

 

I think I have it sussed. I am going to suggest three tiers of workstation based on the requirements within our D.O. All built up by 3XS:

 

2D / 3D Low End Workstation (AutoCAD LT 2011 & Inventor 2011 Suite light use):

Intel Core i5 2500K, 3.3Ghz, Quad Core, 6Mb Cache - overclocked by our 3XS engineers to 4.5Ghz
Asus P8P67 LE Rev3, Intel P67 - USB3 & SATA6 Support
8GB (2x4GB) Corsair XMS3 DDR3, DDR3 1600Mhz
1GB PNY Quadro 600
500GB Western Digital, Caviar Black, SATA 6Gb/s 32MB Cache
Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit

£832 ex.VAT

 

3D Mid Level Workstation (Invnetor 2011 Suite use):

Intel Core i7 2600K, 3.4Ghz, Quad Core, 8Mb Cache, Hyperthreading - overclocked by our 3XS engineers to 4.5Ghz 
Asus P8P67 Rev3, Intel P67 - USB3 & SATA6 Support
8GB (2x4GB) Corsair XMS3 Classic, DDR3 1600Mhz
1GB PNY Quadro 2000
600W Corsair CMPSU-600CX Builder Series
500GB Western Digital, Caviar Black, SATA 6Gb/s 32MB Cache
Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit

£1127 ex.VAT

 

3D Top Level Workstation (Invnentor 2011 Routed Systems / Large Assembly use):
Intel Core i7 2600K, 3.4Ghz, Quad Core, 8Mb Cache, Hyperthreading - overclocked by our 3XS engineers to 4.5Ghz 
Asus P8P67 Rev3, Intel P67 - USB3 & SATA6 Support
16GB (4x4GB) Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1600Mhz
2GB PNY Quadro 4000
600W Corsair CMPSU-600CX Builder Series
500GB Western Digital, Caviar Black, SATA 6Gb/s 32MB Cache
Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit

£1470 ex.VAT

 

Check my sig for what my manager spent £1400 on for our top end workstations about 6 months ago...

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FUJITSU CELCIUS M470 - XEON W3565 @3.20GHz
16GB DDR3 @667MHz - NVIDIA Quadro 2000 1GB
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sam_m
Posts: 594
Registered: ‎11-05-2003
Message 10 of 17 (1,389 Views)

Re: New computers for Inventor, AutoCAD, AutoCAD LT

06-24-2011 03:54 AM in reply to: SimonlMAC

in all honesty I'd drop the Quadro cards and save more cash (and actually have a quicker graphics card)...  With regards to Inventor, it switched to DirectX from OpenGL a few years ago and with it the need for OpenGL-enhanced workstation cards has gone out the window.  I'd be looking at a GeForce 560TI if I was to build a system today (for decent performance/price ratio)...

 

Due to the setup being DirectX you can use a generic DX benchmark (like Passmark: http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/high_end_gpus.html ) to gauge the performance of the Quadro cards against the GeForce.  As a comparison a Quadro 2000 (about £300) has nearly 1/3 the DirectX performance as a GeForce 560TI (about £180).

 

We no longer use AutoCAD or MDT in anger, but have not had a problem with our "gaming" graphics cards when we do.  And, looking at OMCUSNR's sig, he is using (and recommending) a gaming card too (GTX 460).

 

Just make sure to keep your drivers up to date (not just the Nvidia gpu drivers, but motherboard, etc. too).

 

Only other comment, I might be looking at a SSD system hard drive as a few members in the Inventor forum are noticing a vast performance increase with them.  If you need 500gb for local storage then have that as a 2nd drive and a small(ish) SSD as your main OS and software drive.  Just something else to think about.

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