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postandbeam

New Computer- the perennial questions

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I try to update computers for our designers every 3 to 5 years.  We like to try to stay within the $2,500 to $3,000 price range, which has historically meant a pretty good gaming system.  For example, the last system I bought was in 2013 and was an Alienware and was around $3,250: Aurora-R4 with i7-3930K (6 core, 12 MB Cache, 3.9 Ghz), 16GB DDR3 memory, Dual 2GB GTX680 cards, and an SSD drive.  That computer still seems to be performing very well for us.

 

I have a new employee and need a new computer.  It seems that the options for processors available since 2013 have expanded significantly, and the top of the line is leaps and bounds above the past top-end processors in both money and performance.  It looks like you could have a spread of about $1,500 between a decent cpu and the newest 18-core i9.

 

Graphics cards seem to continually improve, but the price and performance increase is not as much of a leap as with the CPUs.

 

I can look at numbers and tests of speeds, but it doesn't account for how a computer is actually used.  For example, if all you used a machine for was ray-tracing, that would need a different spec and budget than someone who does basic floor plans and elevations with a few 3D views.  Our balance is floor plans and elevations with a good number of 3D views while working, but very few ray-traces.  When we need to do some ray-traces, we usually run them overnight which is not an issue with our specific workflow

 

So....  is a $2,500 to $3,000 budget still enough to get a good machine for what we use it for, or do we really need to step up to the $5,000 range with an 18 core processor and dual top-end graphics cards?  Also, how much of a real-world benefit are people seeing from dual graphics cards, is it worth the upgrade?

 

Finally, any feedback recently bought machines that seem to be working well would be helpful.  In past threads, I see that the Alienware has continued to be pretty good for a pre-configured big company system.  I poked around HP and was surprised that I was able to build a system that seemed to be possibly better than the Alienware in the same $2,800 price range with an 8th gen i7-8700, 32GB memory, 512 GB SD, and a single GTX1080Ti (dual 1080 8G adds $350).(http://store.hp.com/us/en/ConfigureView?orderItemId=101210522&catEntryId=3074457345618585320&catalogId=10051&langId=-1&contractId=10003&storeId=10151&fromURL=AjaxOrderItemDisplayView&ctoCacheInvalidationCnt=0.07958294288914436&selectedRecommConfig=).  I haven't ever gone with a company that does custom builds as many people on this thread seem to do.  I would consider more if it was just one machine for myself, but when I might need to buy 2 or 3 machines and deal with potential warranty issues I feel like I should stay with a larger company.  Am I off on that assumption?

 

Sorry for the long post on a question that gets asked often, but I've read the past threads and was hoping to get an update.

 

Thanks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Your new person can get one of the older, perfectly usable machines and the new one can be given to your best producer as a validation of their production and service. In terms of what is available, the sky or your wallet is the limit. My three-year-old 6 core machine is still quite good (I  built it myself). What you need and want is something within your current budget that is slightly better than your current machines. Alien ware has a good reputation and should be a good investment.

 

DJP

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Viki's post last week has some good info in it if you missed it ?

 

Also Dual cards in Chief are not much benefit as it does not use SLI either rendering or Raytracing (RT is CPU bound so more cores are better), A GTX 1070 is plenty for 3D CAD , better to put the extra into RAM or a .M2 PCIE SSD drive like the Samsung 960 EVO.

 

 

 

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39 minutes ago, DavidJPotter said:

Your new person can get one of the older, perfectly usable machines and the new one can be given to your best producer as a validation of their production and service. In terms of what is available, the sky or your wallet is the limit. My three-year-old 6 core machine is still quite good (I  built it myself). What you need and want is something within your current budget that is slightly better than your current machines. Alien ware has a good reputation and should be a good investment.

 

DJP

Thanks and agreed, we always do the trickle down computer switches.  Once the last computer gets too old/slow for Design/Engineering, we move it to sales and admin as they are much less cpu/graphics intensive users.

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6 minutes ago, Kbird1 said:

Viki's post last week has some good info in it if you missed it ?

 

Also Dual cards in Chief are not much benefit as it does not use SLI either rendering or Raytracing (RT is CPU bound so more cores are better), A GTX 1070 is plenty for 3D CAD , better to put the extra into RAM or a .M2 PCIE SSD drive like the Samsung 960 EVO.

 

 

 

Thanks.  I also really appreciate the mention of SLI not being used by Chief.  Can you remind me if the basic renderings (non-raytrace) use the graphics card or the CPU?  I saw Viki's post but a lot of it was in regard to the decision of upgrading or new and she would be re-using current graphics card.  Regardless I re-read it and did get some good points out of it.  Thanks again.

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Render views use the graphics card, that's why a single reasonable spec Nvidia gaming card is recommended by CA , (even a 1050ti 0r 1060 is probably ok)   as CA does not utilize SLI ( made that mistake way back) they do not recommend spending extra on the Quadro line either as there is no benefit in CA unlike for some other CAD and CAM Programs.

 

If there was a budget issue or you were building a system yourself you could likely pull one of the dual cards for another system and not lose too much performance in CA especially since alot of the work is in 2D anyway. I have a system with a EVGA 950SC which is okay with CAX9 , my main system with the 980ti is quicker but it wasn't a OMG difference in Render Views , I think the 500GB PCIE m2 drive made more of an impact.....they are about 4 times the speed of a standard SATA SSD eg the 850 EVO.

 

M.

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