Ok, so i just started working in a new engineering firm and they are running on the most outdated machines for civil 3d and other 3d rendering programs. I was given permission to design some new machines for our cad department but I need some help with a strong configuration that will be fast enough not to lag or freeze when performing the complex task civil 3d is capable of. our office primarily deals with designing large water line projects and sewer projects that at times can span over miles of piping. We need machines that will be capable of setting up models this size as well as being able to build large surfaces and profiles and at times manage large renderings and graphic design. The last firm I worked in used a dell workstation with, I believe, 8 processors and 12 GB, which from what I have read was a bit over the top for a cad machine. I know the bare minimum that Autodesk recomends, but I would like something that will run faster and stronger and also be able to handle the renderings as well. This will be the first machine I have personally built so Im not completly sure as to what should be in it to keep compatability. Any help would be greatly appreciated. We are trying to stay within a budget around 1200-2000 which from the research I've done, we should be able to get some pretty powerfull machines for this price. Let me know what you think
Don't bother with the 8 processors unless you can benefit from them with a separate 3D rendering program. Civil 3D wont address them. A quad core is more than sufficient. If you're going to be doing a lot of rendering. Make sure you get a decent [ and certified ] video card.
This is what I'm currently specifying. A little out of your budget but it will give you some idea.
Really not bad, Allen, but.. where's the hard disk?
I advise a SSD 128 GB for system & progs, plus a classic Sata 10000 rpm for data...
I had to drop the SSD because of cost. I didn't post the whole list of specs because they were a couple of pages long. The HD specified is a 1TB SATA 3.0 Gb/s 7200 RPM with 32 MB DataBurst Cache.
Do you think we will really need that much memory for each machine,, forgot to mention we have a server here that all our drawings are backed up to daily. Again thanks for the help. Im a recent grad and im coming in to basically take over the cad department, so im still getting aclomated to the new office and everything going on in it. I really havnt been exposed to anything like this, every machine is running XP os from 2002, my machine's last upgrade was a graphix card from 2009!!!! We really need to become more efficient through our work station, some machines can take up to 20 minutes to plot a large detailed drawing that has aerial photography with it so it is my job now to move us into a new era
My two cents:
Do everything you can to get your bosses to spring for solid state drives. They are way faster than hard drives. This is one of the easiest ways to increase productivity when using Civil 3D (or any program for that matter.)
24gb memory is not a must, but the more the better, if you can afford it. I wouldn't go less than 16gb.
Be absolutely positive that you get Win 7 64-bit. Do not under any circumstances accept a 32 bit system.
Unless you're doing rendering, a mid-range video card is fine. You'll get more bang for your buck by putting that money into a solid state drive.
If your going to get an SSD goto a 256GB minimum (base this on what you can afford). I have been using a 128 for about 2yrs now and it is way insufficient, by the time you install 2-3 version of 3D, along with Office and other eccential programs. No room for a swap (virtualdrive) on the SSD then.
I had to drop the SSD because of cost
Let me honestly tell ya: this would be a big mistake, either technically and economically.
1] An SSD 128 GB Sata III costs (here in Europe) the equivalent of 90 USD.
2] Since 16 GB Ram cost 60 USD, you could start with only 8 GB Ram (instead of 24), and in the future you could easily add memory.
In other words, with a little difference of 30 USD, you'd have 8 GB Ram + hard disk SSD 128 GB, with a terrific boost of performances: are you still hesitating?
I think I'd scale back on the RAM and hard drive capacity and go with an SSD (highest capacity you can afford). If you are going to be working over a network then this is likley to be the slowest "component" anyway
OK, my vote is for 256Gb SSD and 16Gb RAM (which means 64bit windows to access it all). If you want to save money and you aren't rendering, I've had no problems at all using a (dare I suggest it?) consumer graphics card, which is way cheaper than the quadro equivalents. In fact, my system (see my signature), which I put together myself has been excellent for the work I do (lots of large surfaces, gradings, lidar, gis info)