paulchoate

Recommended Computer requirements

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I was reviewing the recommended requirements for using Chief x9...CA recommends a 4 to 8GB graphic card! I can't seem to find a  reasonably priced computer with a 4-8 gig graphics card AND a SSD, 16 gigs of RAM, etc.  That pretty much means I gotta buy a $2,000 + gaming laptop. My current set up uses a Nvidia 1050 and seems to do ok....would upgrading to a 4, 6 or 8 GB card (Nvidia 1070, 1080, etc) make that big of a difference? The other problem is the cards are not plug and play in a laptop (not mine anyway) and it means I'd have to buy a new compute rather than just swap it out.  Any suggestions as to what a really good CA computer setup would be?

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Yes CA runs best on a high performance gaming system and if you want to use a laptop for production drawing and 3D client presentations you will be spending a lot of money.  However if you just want to run the software and don't get impatient with that annoying little blue circle all the time I have X8 on an old 4GB laptop with an integrated video card and it runs and I occasionally use it to start a cad file on site but you can pretty much forget about the 3D rendering.  There are lots of threads on this subject that you can search for but DRAWZILLA updated his system not long ago and seems to be quite happy with it still and ComputerMaster86 is in process of building a new rig.  I just replaced a 2GB video card that blew up with a 1070 and it seems to make everything just a little snappier but I would have been happy with the other card for a few more years if it had not blown up. 

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I only use laptops and usually plan on spending 2k, more if I can at the time. It is my primary business tool. 

Still you can find 17" w 4gb vid cards starting at half that, with 1060 cards at 1300. Here's a place I've used and a list of 17s with at least 4gb. 

 

http://www.xoticpc.com/custom-gaming-laptops-notebooks-gaming-laptops-ct-118-96-98.html#!/dir=asc&mode=list&no_cache=true&order=price&size=13&graphicscard=170-162-171&p=clear

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I'm with Mark, find something on Xotic that fits your budget.  If using CA/SketchUp/Lumion is your profession, then use professional tools.

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I am facing similar issue, I maintain 2 laptops at all times for travel, am replacing older 17" HP w/ 2 GB card which performed beautifully w/ Chief V7. Currently have 17" HP w/ NVIDIA GTX 850M, 4 GB, 2 years old for Chief V9.  

Also shopping the 4GB, vs, 6 GB, vs 8 GB, hundreds of dollars difference.  Should I go for 8 GB anticipating that Chief will continue accelerating its requirements for next version?  Any thoughts, or anyone with experience seeing the difference 4, 6 vs 8 in practice?

Edited by SeasideHome
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On another topic; any opinions on upgrading to 3840 x 2160 4K resolution? Is this only gratifying to me as user, or are there other benefits?

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Having a high performance laptop always means MONEY, No way around that. My current desktop (specs listed below) serves me just fine. it was about a $700.00 dollar upgrade several years ago. There are two subjects being confronted here, one is speed, the other is quality. Quality is a matter of end user acceptance and comfort which only you can determine with an equally realistic budget to support your desires. Speed is mainly from an SSD hard drive and a decent video card. Bleeding edge video cards are a matter of Quality and not speed per se. They cost the most money, so if you can easily afford such gadgets, good for you. Are they currently necessary? Only you and your wallet can decide that matter. There is no absolute  TRUTH in such considerations only one's own sense of what is acceptable.

 

My current laptop is for my convenience only and not my best machine. it is a new ASUS ROG that I bought at Best Buy, it is slow but reliable but I only paid $1,500.00 for it and so was not expecting blazing speed, just reliability which I throughly received in buying it. You only get what you pay for after thoroughly researching what is available.

 

 

DJP

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48 minutes ago, SeasideHome said:

Any thoughts, or anyone with experience seeing the difference 4, 6 vs 8 in practice

Fairly big difference in performance between the two machines listed in my profile. I had my assistant running X9 on the 15" until he moved and he was ok with it- better than his MacBook- it's now my backup. I found it a bit slow but I don't behave well when working-multiple tabs/views in chief with several other programs open-hey I'm working. Granted the newer CPU benchmarks about 25% higher and the SSD's are faster.

Here is the comparison of the two gpus in my signature-you can put in your own choices to see the difference in numbers (still a challenge to translate to real life )

http://gpuboss.com/gpus/GeForce-GTX-980M-vs-GeForce-GTX-670M

 

Notebookreview.com can be a good place to sort out value but can be a bit to wade through- lot of gamers so some things don't apply. (one thing I have seen in the current crop-the 1070 card is a better value than the 1080-YMMV.)

 

I've avoided, and will continue to avoid, 4k monitor on the laptop-I don't want to take a hit for the GPU overhead on a day to day basis. I use 3 screens working and a 4th with clients all 1080- been fine. Someday I might get an external 4k but would get one at home to watch Planet Earth first :) again YMMV.

If I were in the market for a machine and could possibly wait 2-3 months I would, interesting new stuff coming.

 

In construction, or any type of fabrication, materials are always cheaper than labor. In this line of work tools are always cheaper than labor or overhead. I simply spend as much as I possibly can  afford (which means how much I can convince the CFO (wife) to allow.) The two machines in signature -bought the 15 Jan 2013, the 17 March of 2016-3 years apart-first one was $2k, second one I had worked out to $2600 intending to get longer life from it but the CFO kept saying it was $3k when I gave her the price so I changed a few things presto. I don't use a desktop. So the 15" breaks down to $55 per month until I upgraded, cheaper than rent ( or what most folks spend on phones). Upgrade a 3yo desktop CPU and GPU runs $700-1000 -( maybe throw in an SSD perhaps the single best value in upgrades?) still the MOBO, RAM speed, remain the same. If budget wasn't there I'd take a serious look at used/refurb/closesouts that came with a warranty. Years ago I had done that twice with success.

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you should plan to spend a min of $1500 for a decent gaming laptop

 

I have been buying computers since 1978

 

decades ago I went with a $2K rule - every 4/5 years I buy a new PC with the newest OS

with the latest round of features 1 step or so away from top-end and that will cost $2K

 

more features, more ram, more CPU than the last PC but still spending $2K

 

you can probably get with less $ if buying a desktop as laptops just flat out cost more than desktops for same "features"

 

if you are in business - get used to it :)

 

I now have a 2008 desktop Win7 and a 2008 laptop Win7 and a Surface Pro 4 Win 10

when I get my Surface loaded with everything I need I will probably stop using the desktop and laptop

 

I am retired now and don't need a 17" screen

 

if you can afford an LCD projector I would go smaller on the laptop screen size

otherwise 17" is the minimum I would recommend

 

spend $$$ on items that can't be upgraded later - like screen size and cpu

get a PC that allows for more ram and a video card that allows for more to be added when needed

 

get decent internal storage but it is very easier to add 2.5" HD's externally using USB

 

think outside the box - for any devices that can use USB etc

why put that $$$ inside the box ?

 

Lew

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Wow...thank you all for the thoughtful and helpful replies. Being that I'm new to Chief (and 3D CAD altogether) I really don't know how to judge if my computers are slow, fast or really fast. I do know that compared to my old laptop that didn't have an Intel i7 quad core or dedicated/separate graphics card my new laptops are pretty darn fast. I have tww "laptops". My Asus G752 is more like a portable desktop: I bought it as an open box special at best buy for almost 1/2 price and it is pretty much replacing my 8-9 year old desktop. It has an i7 quad core, Nvidia 965m 2GB graphics card, 16GB RAM  and a 1 TB hard drive. My other laptop is a Lenovo Yoga 720 with an i7 quad core, Nvidia 1050 graphics card (2GB I think), 16GB RAM and a 512 GB SSD. The Lenovo is definitely faster in opening up programs and downloading/uploading files due to the SSD but as far as using Chief I can't say whether or not the SSD and the newer/"better" Nvidia graphics card in the Lenovo make it render, ray trace any quicker and if the graphics look better it's likely because it has a very shiny/glossy 4k screen vs the no-glare matte finish on the Asus (not for nothing but the no-glare screen on the Asus is actually very nice and comes in handy when showing customers renderings on the computer...it might not be shiny and cool but I there is never an issue of having to adjust the screen, turn the computer, etc. due to glare from light reflecting off the screen...the downside is the Asus is a tank...but that's another topic).  In a nutshell, for overall Chief use both machines work nicely but the ray traces seem to take a long time....again, I'm new to Chief and don't really know the ins and outs of setting up a ray trace for optimal renderings done quickly (relatively speaking)

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On ‎6‎/‎5‎/‎2017 at 8:50 AM, SeasideHome said:

On another topic; any opinions on upgrading to 3840 x 2160 4K resolution? Is this only gratifying to me as user, or are there other benefits?

I like the 15" 4k screen on my Lenovo Yoga BUT I also like the 17" no-glare screen on my Asus G752.  I want to merge them together so that I have a 17" 4k, anti-glare shiny screen. Ain't gonna happen lol. Seriously, the anti glare is a bit "dull" but it's nice. I believe it's easier on the eyes when looking at the screen for a long time.  On the flip side the The 4k image on a quality ray trace looks awesome...customers like that. So, I do most of my work on the large, no glare 17" screen then bring the smaller 4k screen to show my customers. Plus my Lenovo is a touch screen which I don't use often but it's nice to have.

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Paul, others,

About the 4K screen - If I export from Chief 3D, or take screen snapshots to use in presentations, will the 4K gain me anything in resolution of those exports?  Or is it the application that is the limiting factor (i.e. 600 dpi image)?  I can upgrade on the purchase of new equipment from 1920 x 1080, to 3840 x 2160, if it does anything for me. 

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Screen shots are limited by the monitor resolution but the dpi and overall size can be enlarged in a photo program. Ray Trace allows you to set DPI and to set total image size either by pixels or by inches so the only limit is time.

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I have no idea lol.  I wish I had the time to understand more on how Chief works (and computers in general). I'm learning about Chief and computers at the same time as running my business (as many of us here are doing) so I can only devote so much time to one thing or another (I'm doing well with Chief but have a lot to learn...trial by fire as I have 5 designs sitting on my desk that need to get done so I'm designing and learning at the same time).  Only now have I gone from simply using computers to learning about them. One thing I'm wishing I did is purchase a Lenova ThinkPad with a no-glare 4k screen instead of the Asus with the no-glare 1080 screen. Apparently the Lenova Think Pad P50/51 and P70/71 are pretty much the best of the best when it comes to CAD....But I did save $2,000!

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I just bought this gaming Dell laptop last week for $750... it was a steal. Looks like they are sold out but I'm sure you could find it elsewhere. So far it seems to be working well for me.... Although I am very new to X9 and have not used it to Ray Trace .

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54 minutes ago, Sabine77 said:

I just bought this gaming Dell laptop last week for $750... it was a steal. Looks like they are sold out but I'm sure you could find it elsewhere. So far it seems to be working well for me.... Although I am very new to X9 and have not used it to Ray Trace .

Must have been a good deal as it's not available anymore.

 

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Key word mentioned above..  if your business, get used to upgrading.  I had very similar issues until I was pointed out that my system was not up to par, not even close.  And you need it for X9.  I know am running high end and the difference is incredible.  I have stopped cussing :-) while waiting for any commands to work.  

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A number of newer laptops now have a Thunderbolt 3 port (the crazy fast port that can often be used as a single cable docking solution).  There now seems to be a resurgence of external graphics card solutions using the Thunderbolt 3 port.  From those enclosures, you can run multiple monitors along with the mouse, keyboard, networks cable, power, external drives, etc. (so a docking station as well).  There is a roughly 10% performance hit from having the GPU (graphics card) being remote from the motherboard.  They aren't all that cheap right now, but more competition is resulting in price drops and options.  You may also realize savings in your laptop purchase if this solution works for you as the laptop GPU is no longer important for your everyday work.

 

In general, a GPU in a laptop adds a lot of cost, weight, and is power hungry (huge power brick).  They are also more expensive to replace than the desktop versions.

 

I am not a major power user anymore (work on other parts of the business), so I bought a "travel" laptop with the best CPU I could get, an SSD, a Thunderbolt 3 port, and just the integrated GPU (part of the CPU), NOT a discrete graphics card (the kind you typically find in a gaming laptop).  This makes a lightweight, not crazy expensive, reasonably powerful laptop with a really small power brick that shows X9 models in 3D fairly well (serviceable) and works for a remote client meeting but wouldn't want it to be my daily work machine.

 

But.... with the enclosure, I'm hoping it will greatly improve my daily GPU intensive tasks (mostly Chief X9).

 

 

This won't fit everyone's needs, but it is now an option that is just more recently available due to Thunderbolt 3 ports.  For more information, do a Web search for "external graphics card enclosure thunderbolt 3" or similar.  As with anything, there are good and bad sides of going this route.  Add it to the list of additional things to consider when purchasing a new laptop.

 

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Hi

 

I have read all the recommendation for new computer. Old ones and the current ones. So I decided to buy an Alienware So I hit on the special 17" 32 ram 512 solid state

and  1070 card app $2700 with 4 year guarantee on everything. So I custom built and just changing to 1080 card is $ 900 more Is the upgraded card worth it ???

This will be my only  computer I work on. I need to be able to work at different locations.   

 

Thanks

Adam

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22 minutes ago, pazzfam said:

So I custom built and just changing to 1080 card is $ 900 more Is the upgraded card worth it ???

 

Looks like a good option for your situation but not sure the 1080 is worth the extra money.  Larry bought one recently and did not really notice much performance increase.  The 1070 seems to be the best value right now for Chief.

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1080 is worth it b/c it will last you a long time, you won't have to upgrade for years. The "80" series is the best of the whole line, well all the NVidia lines., I got a 980ti and glad I did at the time.

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14 hours ago, Chopsaw said:

 

Looks like a good option for your situation but not sure the 1080 is worth the extra money.  Larry bought one recently and did not really notice much performance increase.  The 1070 seems to be the best value right now for Chief.

Today's video cards are so powerful and Chief barely strains them even with large models. I my opinion $900 is a ridiculous amount of money to upgrade to a card that you will most likely not see noticeably better performance. Yes you will have a better, faster, video card and you won't have to upgrade for a while but the lesser 1070 will also last you years before you need to upgrade, and when you do, you will most likely upgrade the entire machine and every component will be better, faster and a better value.

 

To Chop's point above I upgraded from an older 780 (I think) to the 1080 and noticed no increase in performance other than the placebo affect of knowing I had the latest and greatest video card.

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15 hours ago, pazzfam said:

So I custom built and just changing to 1080 card is $ 900 more Is the upgraded card worth it ???

From what I've read where the 1080 makes a difference is with 4k monitors and that may just be gaming. A web search will give you more info though most will reference gaming.

If it were me I'd likely go to the 1070 and if I had more money spend and options existed I'd put  it into upgrading CPU, RAM speed as opposed to quantity- doesn't look like  they give you many options for the SSD other than size which is the other place I'd be going- brand and connection type not just size IMO. Am very glad I sprung a few bucks to go to Win Pro over home- more control over updates and nonsense.

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2 minutes ago, MarkMc said:

From what I've read where the 1080 makes a difference is with 4k monitors and that may just be gaming. A web search will give you more info though most will reference gaming.

If it were me I'd likely go to the 1070 and if I had more money spend and options existed I'd put  it into upgrading CPU, RAM speed as opposed to quantity- doesn't look like  they give you many options for the SSD other than size which is the other place I'd be going- brand and connection type not just size IMO. Am very glad I sprung a few bucks to go to Win Pro over home- more control over updates and nonsense.

Yeah spend the $900 elsewhere to gain speed if possible.

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I concur with Mark & Larry. Either save the money or use it on other upgrades. These new gaming cards are designed to deliver high frame rates at high resolution. I have not been able to find a direct relationship with this and CA. Any testing I have done indicates that many of CA graphics operations are CPU based and that the GPU is often sitting idle while it waits for the CPU to update it. With the current crop of GPU's I am certain that the CPU is the bottleneck in respect to CA, and to be more specific it's the CPU's single thread performance that is most impactful.

 

 

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