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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For those of you that do 3D work and have some computer knowledge I have a few questions since I have neither and my plans are starting to go beyond the capability of pencil and paper. Currently I have never built my own computer before and actually hate PCs with a passion, but living in silicon valley it's impossible to be ignorant about them.

I don't want to clutter the thread with a list of what I'm looking at (unless it comes up), but I'm mainly interested in:
1. What programs do you use?
2. What graphics card do you use?

I've seen these professional 3D graphics cards, as as much as I'd love to get one and run dual cards for gaming; realistically I'm going to do a lot more gaming and video all around than I'll be doing 3D rendering with it. So what is necessary/practical? Since for the same price as a low end professional card you can get a mid to high end gaming card. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Wow, awesome thread! $3-8k is a little out of my personal budget range but theres some really good information in there for sure!

For a home machine would a professional graphics card be necessary? Or rather: what would I be losing by not using a 'professional' card?
 

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I have no idea. If youll be doing more gaming, a gaming card would make more sense. It probably wont run CAD as smoothly, but it will run it, granted its high end. Will you be going single or dual processors?


There are probably some off the shelf machines that'll work, but I couldn't give you any.'
 

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For anything you are doing you don't need a computer in the 3-8k range.

I am able to run all the CAD programs I have with my laptop and the programs aren't sluggish unless I start to build large assemblies.

For example autodesk has system requirements for inventor on their website.
http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/ps/dl/item?siteID=123112&id=15402497&linkID=9242018

The only time you need a 3k+ computer for cad is when you start building assemblies with over 1000 parts in them. With that said the most parts I think I have ever reached in a project was something like 500.

Here is what i use:
intel t9300 core2duo (2.5ghz)
4GB ddr3
nvidia 130m
SSD for storage space

If you have any other questions computer related feel free to pm me as well I know quite a bit on the subject.

My personal choice for mechanical drawing is inventor since that was what i was taught with. Although if you are going to be programming cnc machines and things of that nature solidworks and mastercam are the programs to use.
 

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I don't know much about 3d rendering, but i have intel i5 2500k 8 gt ram and ati radeon 6850 hd and i'm yet to run out of cpu power, gpu runs crysis and skyrim at max settings, 1960x1280, 8x aa and 8x anisoptric filtering.

I strongly recommend asus p8z68-v lx motherboard, it works perfectly with intel i3, i5 and i7 cpus and overclocking is a breeze, it also supports ati crossfire technology so you can have dual gpu's working together nicely.
For costs, I dont know your prices but I try to make a list for you.
Motherboard ~120
cpu ~200
gpu ~180
ram ~80
box ~80
power supply (500w for 1 gpu, 600-700w for 2. ~60
hard drive ~100-200
This rig should provide you strong gaming and rendering power, as I have my cpu overclocked at 3.3->4.3 ghz totally stable, making total of 17.2 ghz clockrate.
You might want 16gt of ram, but you should upgrade it when you need to, its quick and easy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for all the input guys!

Mgunner said:
Will you be going single or dual processors?

There are probably some off the shelf machines that'll work, but I couldn't give you any.'
If I do a ground up build I'd like to go with a single i7. Although the GFs dad works for HP, so if I could get a discount I'd probably be looking at an i5 just because there are more off the shelf options that way.

goldentrigun said:
I am able to run all the CAD programs I have with my laptop and the programs aren't sluggish unless I start to build large assemblies.

For example autodesk has system requirements for inventor on their website.
http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/ps/dl/item?siteID=123112&id=15402497&linkID=9242018

The only time you need a 3k+ computer for cad is when you start building assemblies with over 1000 parts in them. With that said the most parts I think I have ever reached in a project was something like 500.

Here is what i use:
intel t9300 core2duo (2.5ghz)
4GB ddr3
nvidia 130m
SSD for storage space

My personal choice for mechanical drawing is inventor since that was what i was taught with. Although if you are going to be programming cnc machines and things of that nature solidworks and mastercam are the programs to use.
This is exactly the kind of information I was hoping for! I've poked around a few different vendor websites looking at system req. however since I'm a n00b in the ME area I'm not sure what is used in manufacturing besides Solid Works. And since I'd like to be able to get parts to a CNC if possible, it'd be nice if I didn't have to re-draw or convert files.

WorstInFinLanD said:
You might want 16gt of ram, but you should upgrade it when you need to, its quick and easy.
Yeah, RAM, CPU/MoBo and GPU are the 3 areas where I figure it's worth biting the bullet and going all out, so I'll probably start out with 16gb, 24 if possible.

From what it looks like I don't need an i7 to start, so maybe an i5 that I can put an i7 in later??? I haven't read much on the i5 though so I don't know if the chip sets are compatable...
 

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I would go with a Intel Sandy Bridge (i5 2500K is fine, you can OC)
Asus intel Sabertooth X58 motherboard
8+g of ram (1600 or better)
Win7 64bit
I would wait until radeon or nvidia release their 7000 or 600 series video cards

I would go with Radeon this time around too (7950/7970)

64g + crucial SSD (specifically for CAD and win7)
Seagate 6mb sata2 7200 main drive

~1100 without a case, monitor, mouse/kb and using stock fans. This would take a chomp out of any current game at/near ultra settings with good to high frame rates. You may want to call the software co and ask what they would prefer you to use. A gaming rig may not be the best. But, a gaming rig 1K can't hurt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Why Radeon over Nvidia? When I was building a list a few months ago I was leaning toward Nvidia, probably just because they have specific GPUs for 3D modeling and my brother (super gamer) heavily reccomended them over Radeon.

Also has anyone used Alibre? http://www.alibre.com/
I have seen them at Maker Faire the last few years and they have always looked very impressive from the demos they run...
 

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mateba said:
I would go with a Intel Sandy Bridge (i5 2500K is fine, you can OC)
Asus intel Sabertooth X58 motherboard
8+g of ram (1600 or better)
Win7 64bit
I would wait until radeon or nvidia release their 7000 or 600 series video cards

I would go with Radeon this time around too (7950/7970)

64g + crucial SSD (specifically for CAD and win7)
Seagate 6mb sata2 7200 main drive

~1100 without a case, monitor, mouse/kb and using stock fans. This would take a chomp out of any current game at/near ultra settings with good to high frame rates. You may want to call the software co and ask what they would prefer you to use. A gaming rig may not be the best. But, a gaming rig 1K can't hurt.
You can't use the Asus Sabertooth x58, or any other x58 motherboard in combination with a sandybridge cpu. X58 is for lga 1366 cpu's (previous generation).

So I would go with an i7 2600k. Cause i7's use hyperthreading which basically means it has a virtual core for every core in the cpu.

i5 = 4 cores
i7 = 4 cores x2 = 8 cores.

Which means double the cpu power in applications that can use this feature,
which almost all CAD programs can.

Use this in combination with a z68 motherboard. Cause it has "intel smart response technology", which uses up to 40gb ssd space to cache your hdd data and that is much faster than just a conventional harddrive.

As for the videocard, listen to your brother, nVidia has much more stable drivers and cuda.

So this is what I would recommend (all prices based of newegg):

CPU: i7 2600k $299 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115070
CPU cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 evo $34 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103099
Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3 $149 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128498
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws X 16gb (2x8gb) 1600mhz $149 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231489
GPU: Gigabyte gtx560ti $209 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125401 OR Gigabyte gtx560ti 448 cores (will give you much better performance if using cuda) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125406
SSD: Crucial m4 64gb (40gb for cache & 24gb for OS) $109 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148441
HDD: you choose, but I recommend you try and scavenge and old one atm because the prices are rocket high with the floods in India ;)
Case: This is personal prefference but i can recommend a "Fractal Design Define R3". Very stylish, sound dampening material is pre-installed and it's pretty cheap to ($119): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811352013
PSU: SeaSonic M12II 850w modular psu $139 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817151108

total = $1207

That's just a quick summary without optical drive, screen, keyboard or mouse.
Just send me a pm or reply in this thread if you have any questions
 

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You don't need a high end graphics card!!!
You also don't need 16GB memory < no one doing this as a hobby is going to use that much memory
most i7s are 4 physical cores not 8. hyper threading makes 8 logical cores.
If he isn't going to OC his computer he doesn't need a k processor.

FINALLY,
why are you going with a expensive ass gpu when you can just softmod cheaper ones into workstation cards.
http://www.techarp.com/showarticle.aspx?artno=539

I'm all for throwing 1k+ into a computer but there isn't really any need for it when he is never going to use the whole computer in anything he does.
 

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goldentrigun said:
You don't need a high end graphics card!!!
You also don't need 16GB memory < no one doing this as a hobby is going to use that much memory
most i7s are 4 physical cores not 8. hyper threading makes 8 logical cores.
If he isn't going to OC his computer he doesn't need a k processor.

FINALLY,
why are you going with a expensive ass gpu when you can just softmod cheaper ones into workstation cards.
http://www.techarp.com/showarticle.aspx?artno=539

I'm all for throwing 1k+ into a computer but there isn't really any need for it when he is never going to use the whole computer in anything he does.
In my post I mentioned that an i7 makes a VIRTUAL core for every physical one.
And 16gb of ram will greatly increase your rendering times ;)..

About the graphicscard, you're right it's probably better to get a cheaper one.
 

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I wasn't correcting you on the i7s. I was adding on. Computers don't differentiate between the virtual and phys cores thats why they're called logical.
Also, if he is only going to be working on small assemblies he won't ever hit that 16GB mark.
16GB would be used though if he was rendering HD movies or very detailed and very large scenes. Also, as long as you get 4gb modules its easy to upgrade if you decide you need more ram.
 
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