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pakled
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26 Nov 2008, 11:04 pm

yeah, knowing what you have in mind for modeling type is important in what to recommend. You could just go with the old salesperson's (make me a fat commission) 'buy all the computer you can afford'...



wrongplanetmember
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29 Nov 2008, 5:29 am

A word of warning if you're thinking about running Vista and AutoCAD 2009... we've found it to be embarrassingly bad at our office which runs about 20 CAD workstations.

If you're going to use Autodesk products maybe see if you can get XP and AutoCAD 2008.



juliekitty
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22 Dec 2008, 11:13 pm

Thanks for your answers, guys.

WPM and MM, I've heard nothing but bad about Vista, and we will be avoiding it as long as humanly possible. Thanks for the confirmation that it doesn't work with this either.



drowbot0181
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23 Dec 2008, 12:15 pm

I've personally had no problems with ACAD 09 and Vista.
As far as hardware, the resolution is largely a matter of personal preference. More important is the video card itself. You will need a decent one, I would say with an nVidia chipset. And more RAM is never a bad thing. Get as much as you can afford, but I would run with 4GB minimum. Hard drive speed is irrelavent. If he is only going to be working in things like AutoCAD, SolidWorks, Inventor, etc., then a decent dual-core processor should be fine, as the graphics card will be doing most of the work. If he is doing any kind of rendering, i.e. Maya or 3DS or something like that, then I would go with quad-core. A general rule of thumb, so to speak, that I like to follow is spend about the same amount on your CPU and graphics card. Having an imbalance either way kind of sucks.



Metal_Man
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24 Dec 2008, 9:38 am

Hard drive speed is important if you are not working on a network and doing all of your work locally. If you are working across a network then hard drive speed is not very critical. When working with very large assemblies on a local drive I have noticed a big difference with a faster hard drive.


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drowbot0181
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24 Dec 2008, 9:43 am

Metal_Man wrote:
Hard drive speed is important if you are not working on a network and doing all of your work locally. If you are working across a network then hard drive speed is not very critical. When working with very large assemblies on a local drive I have noticed a big difference with a faster hard drive.

They all pretty much have the same speed, unless you set up multiple drives in a striped RAID array.



Metal_Man
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24 Dec 2008, 10:09 am

I'm not a hard drive expert but I can say from past experience that some drives are noticably different. It really depends upon what kind of modeling you are doing. Large assembly modeling really puts a heavy demand on the hard drive and that is what I do the most. I've had some users recommend dual drives, one for the OS and the other for applications. They really swear by it but I've never tried it and I've never been able to convince the purchasing gods at work to buy it.


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drowbot0181
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24 Dec 2008, 10:19 am

I could see there being a real performance difference if you are upgrading older PATA drives to SATA. And I don't have any statistics, but I assume there are still a lot of PATA drives out there and they are still sold at some places, I think. But when comparing brand new drives to each other, the difference isn't usually that great.
There are, however, high performance drives available, like the WD Raptor, that run faster than standard drives. But they cost a lot more per GB.
I'm not sure how the Inventor or SolidWorks function under the hood, but most applications make frequent reads/writes to the hard drive when there isn't enough RAM to hold everything in memory. But I could be wrong on this in regards to 3D CAD programs.



Metal_Man
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24 Dec 2008, 1:48 pm

It's been 3 years since I compared hard drives so they may all be very similar today. 3D modelers can very quickly use up all of your RAM and will create a very large swap file so a good hard drive is important.


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drowbot0181
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24 Dec 2008, 1:58 pm

Metal_Man wrote:
It's been 3 years since I compared hard drives so they may all be very similar today. 3D modelers can very quickly use up all of your RAM and will create a very large swap file so a good hard drive is important.

Very true. I have a pair set up in a striped RAID array, and it's very nice. The only downside is that if one drive fails out of the two, you lose everything.



gramirez
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24 Dec 2008, 4:45 pm

juliekitty wrote:
Husband's thinking about the M6400 from Dell.


How about the Performa 6400 from Apple? :)


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Metal_Man
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24 Dec 2008, 5:44 pm

I don't know of any solid modeling software that works on an Apple.


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SilverStar
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25 Dec 2008, 1:27 am

For a CAD system, the main things I would look for, in the appropriate order:

1. Good graphics card.
2. Lot's of memory
3. Big monitor (if you are looking at the whole system)
4. Fast CPU
5. Fast hard drive


2D drafting isn't so bad, but 3D modeling uses a lot more resources.



pakled
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25 Dec 2008, 11:46 pm

True...I kinda come at this from the low end (3d modeling for fun), but I wonder...do they do animation in CAD? I would think so, but that will eat up resources in nothing flat. I've supported CAD users since the 80s (among a vast number of other users...;), but the standard rule seems to be stuff the @#$% with as much of everything that will fit, and it still wants more...;)

As for resolution, I've seen some companies offer separate Autodesk/CAD video drivers for working. I use a very, very-low end set of modeling programs (Wings 3d, Hexagon), and I've had some problems with Nvidea cards. I just haven't got around to loading the new drivers yet (83 megabytes for a video driver? todays's word is 'code bloat'...;)



Jetcutter
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06 Nov 2009, 6:48 pm

Hello all,
My youngest sister pointed me to you good folks.
I see this topic has has been quiet for a bit, and kind of trying to get a little more recent advice on the subject as I am getting ready to purchase a new Cad machine for my workplace.

We do waterjet cutting and use a "Cad" program called IGems.

The current computer is a slow loader (very slow).
Any help is appriciated. And great to greet ya' all :D
Jet