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Help me build a CAD rig

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by Drjones, Jun 22, 2010.

  1. I'm putting together an AutoCAD rig for a client & wanted to run my thoughts by you guys. Let me know what you think of my specs:

    - Core i5 - I've read that there isn't a significant enough performance difference between the i5 & i7 to justify the cost difference between the two.

    - SSD as primary, 1TB additional for internal file storage. I'm leaning towards Intel, but would gladly consider other makes.

    - Graphics card - here's where I'm at a bit of a loss. We need to have dual-monitor support, either DVI or HDMI, but I'm not sure exactly what brands to look at.

    - 8GB+ RAM

    - Win7 x64

    Anything else?

  2. Paul_J


    Nov 19, 2008
    Houston, Texas
    We use ATI 4500 series graphics cards in our AutoCAD/REVIT MEP machines. If you are running standard autocad you can get away with a lot less. We have dual monitors on every station.

  3. We run AutoCAD 2010/2011, MicroStation and ESRI ArcGIS on dual monitors with the Nvidia cards. You get respectable performance without a huge price tag. Our most recent system is 3 yrs old so I don't know about the current slate of cards available. But I will stick with Nvidia cards. We have these cards on both desktop and laptops.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2010
  4. While the SSD will be blazing fast, I don't see they ready - yet - for prime time. Unless you have a rock solid back-up system, such as Carbonite, put in a standard hard drive for back-up. My CAD station has RAID 1 plus Carbonite. Yes, I'm paranoid, and I have the failed drives to prove it, but never lost data. Back-up works, IF you do it automatically!

    Two DVD burners at least, or one DVD and one Blue Ray if you into Blue Ray.

    1000VA UPS.

    One huge monitor - 26" - or two large ones.

    Be sure other programs will run on the 64 bit system. I have too many engineering programs that will not so I am in no hurry to to to Win 7. XP serves me well and will for a while.

    Does you client use a tablet with ACAD, I do. Don't know if there are 64 bit drivers, but there may be by now. Just something to be aware of. Ditto for printers, plotters, etc.

    What's the $ budget?

  5. Cajun: To save costs, the SSD will be small (maybe 40-80gb) and used as a boot drive & to store programs. The bulk of the data & files will reside on a separate internal 1TB traditional drive and we of course will implement a solid backup system.

    I will have to double-check that all his programs will run on x64, but I honestly haven't seen many issues so far - win7 x64 is pretty darn good at running x86 programs.

    I'm really going to push for x64 as obviously x86 will only recognize 3-4GB of RAM and I'd like to get more into this system.

    Haven't been told the exact budget yet, but it's gonna have to be around $1,500 or so....maybe more.