Ultimate Desktop


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Hey Everybody!


I'm new to the forum, and looking for some help.. I'm also new to CA..about 4 months...I used to create designs by hand, was taught by a famous architect from NY who still works today only by hand...I decided to switch to computer design...So far my learning with CA has been quite good, getting the results I more or less need.


Currently I'm running an Alienware M17xR3 with win 8.1 (it's a win7 pro laptop but I decided to upgrade.)  specs are as follows:

i7-2760qm 2.4Ghz

16gb of DDR3 ram.

HD Radeon 6990 2gb

1.5TB Sata.

Full Hd screen.


Sorry don't remember by heart the rest of the specs.  So this laptop does a good job, though I encounter issues sometimes, not sure if it's because of the laptop or the settings.  The most common issue I find is when generating 3d views, the optimizations on feature turns off....and regardless how many times I close the view and turn it back on, it screws up again...Maybe because I run it on win 8.1, and the laptop ultimately should work on win7 pro, than again what happened was when installing on win7, CA never loaded, always said folders were missing, while in 8.1 they installed right.


So I decided for full-time work I want to put together a desktop, the ultimate machine that will do it right and fast.


My budget is $4,000 for it, including screen(s).  The laptop I'll keep for home use of CA, meaning after work tweaks n so on.  


I would highly appreciate any and all help!  Thanks in advance!

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here is one example for a machine:

Intel i7 4790k 4.0Ghz LGA1150 haswell

Intel Z97 GIGABYTE Z97X-Gaming 7

32 Гб at 2400mhz 

Nvidia GTX 980 4gb 

256ssd  520mbs

2000gb sata 3


7.1 surround sound

750w power

120mm vent

as for the case thermaltake or X strike.

price: 2220$





AMD FX 8350  at 4.0ghz

amd 970 chipset 

32gb at 1600mhz

120gb ssd

500gb sata

gtx 980 4gb 

Zalman Z9 Black - 750W miditower

price : 1669$



These as seen are already built, I can do a custom build too, if again somebody has some good ideas, or thinks one of these two is ideal.

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or another mod I was offered:

Intel Core i7 Extreme 5960X

chipset x99

16gb ddr4 ram at 2133mhz

120gb ssd and 500gb sata

nvidia gtx 970 4gb 

thermaltake core v71 full tower 1200w


and one or two asus 21,5 inch 1920*1080 monitors, asus echelon gamer keyboard and mouse,


for 2700$.

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I run two monitors.  My "main" one is a dell 2560x1140.  I have had it a few years and the price has come down a good bit on them. ($500 range)  It is nice to have the resolution on that one.  It is also very easy on the eyes. 



 Makes the 24" 1920x1080 next to it seem small when I drag dual window open, I find that I feel 'cramped'.   

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once Win 8.1 is installed - properly

your PC should never know that it had a prior OS on it such as Win 7


if parts of Win 7 are being found then the Win 8.1 was done properly


Chief should have installed fine on a Win 7 PC

so if it didn't then there was an issue


you probably should contact CA's tech support

if you don't have an active SSA then there will be a charge



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Hey Guys!!


Thanks for all the feedback!  Yeah I too read some more articles regarding AMD processors, decided to forget about those.  Jcaffee, thanks for the build, only issue is shipping will take time and well in Russia it's not always easy, nor safe :P:) The build seems very similar to the last one I posted.  

Visualdandd: Space wise I'm thinking it might take up a little too much space.  My working space has a 22inch sitting for the security feed, and a 25inch and another might take too much space.  that's why I'm considering two Asus 23's,  


or two 

Samsung S22D390Q


Ibuttery:  Yeah I don't know what went wrong with win7 pro, but as said I dont' think about it anymore, got very accustomed to win 8 and love it so far.  As said only issue remains on my laptop that the optimizations on for some reason turns off sometimes, but once I get the desktop, that problem will be gone, and the alienware will be left for 2d work.



Overall I'm thinking 16gb ddr4 will be enough, but I am considering potentially having them upgrade it to 32gb.  As for whether gtx 970 with 4gb or 980, I don't think will make a big difference which one I have them put in.


Again thanks for the feedback guys.

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Drawzilla, I did turn it off and still when I do a full camera view or full perspective opt goes off. If i turn on hardware edge smoothing and use floor camera view, the opt on stays on and doesn't give any error.  Makes me wonder, is it possible that my graphics card can't handle the full overview?

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The optimizations are likely turning off because you are running out of video card memory. So a card with more memory is likely a good solution. Pattern lines would likely be what is eating up the memory.


As far as the ultimate desktop goes, I would look at dual Xeons with as many cores as you can afford. This would be the best option for ray tracing. But it all depends on your budget. Also make sure you put the fastest memory in that you can. I would also put in at least a 512GB SSD to install the OS on. Then toss in a larger disk for storing content and for having a good backup.

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........ Pattern lines would likely be what is eating up the memory.




 Doug,  if I turn patterns off does it help?  Or is it the fact that somehow CA has to understand pattern lines whether shown or now and that will take up memory.


Pattern lines,  which take up the most space?


-horizontal lines in elevation @ 24" oc

-concrete dots in plan view @ 24" oc

-earth patterns @ 24" in section view

-ledgestone in elevation view

-ledgestone in plan view

-angle crosshatching to show 12" square tiles in plan view

angle crosshatching to show 12" square tile in elevation view


I never considered that pattern lines would take up a lot of memory.....  this sounds like something some of us should understand.

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Usually large plans sizes are associated with having a lot of CAD Blocks and Details. Those pattern lines really add up.


It's not so much the type of pattern line, but the density of the lines (how close the lines are together).


Surfaces have become less of a problem in recent version through the use of instancing; but I don't think that there is an easy fix for pattern lines.

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Each part of a pattern takes up the same amount of space. So a busy pattern like a stone pattern will take up a lot more space than something like a lap siding or cross hatch pattern. In addition in 3D the lines are broken up at the boundaries of each face which further increases the number of lines. So a pattern on a curved surface which is broken up into many small faces would be much more costly than one on a flat surface.


We try to put pattern lines into video card memory but if we run out of memory then we have to draw them differently.


Turning off patterns will keep you from having to generate them. They are not generated in views that don't display them. so if you are working with a plan that has a lot of pattern lines you can get significant performance improvement by turning them off.


This is an area of Chief that we could potentially improve a lot. We have done a lot of optimization in the drawing of these over the years, but there are still things that could be done.


A line uses 2 points in space while a triangle uses 3. There are additional bits of information such as the fill texture that is attached to a face. But you can think of each line as taking up nearly the same amount of memory as each face. Given that a single face may have several pattern lines, you can see how this could result in a lot of memory usage.

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Just a comment about monitor choice, fast machines are nice but, in terms of time spent working on a project, the larger and higher res the monitor the less zooming in and out.  Definitely saves time drawing.  I have a 2 monitors and one is a Asus 4k.  Really nice!  ($600 though) 

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4k looks very nice, if I had the space I'd consider it, but for now I won't be switching offices so I think I'll have to stick to two 23inch Asus screens at 1920*1080p.  I think they'll do the trick.

Doug Park:  Thank you for the information, something i'll consider when developing a project.

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AMD processors do not compete with Intel at this time at the high end of processors. They are a great low-budget alternative when choosing/building a system.


Intel definitely dominates the top end.. but nothing to regret with AMD.. I am using the FX-8350.. It is not too far off the i4790 4.0 for a bit over half the cost..




Hard to imagine a $6000 chip!

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  • 2 weeks later...

wanted to ask, on cpu benchmark, when comparing 3 processors, the amd fx 8350 8 core comes not as high in rating but is valued well, meaning it has 8 cores, and it goes up to 4.2...

how about this the amd fx 8350
Amd 970 chipset



Thermaltake Urban R21

and 32gb ddr3 at 1600mhz?

it seems a lil weak on the ddr3 versus ddr3, the card is good, while the processor is rated lower...it comes with 120gb ssd and 3tb...any thoughts? AMD FX-8350 Eight-Core

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Apologies for the previous post, somebody was trying to convince me to save $$

I think the end result will be :

Intel core i7-5930k put to 4.2

Asus rampage V extreme

zalman reserator 3 max dual (maybe even double up on this)

4gb Geforce gtx 980

corsair vengeance LPX DDR4 DRAM 2133 МГц C13 Red 16gb X 2 (so total 32gb)


thermaltake level 10 gt black

thermaltake amur 1200w

corsair 240gb neutron GTX series

2tb western digital caviar sata III 6gb/s

pioneer bluray bdr-209dbk

asus xonar DGX 


win 8.1 pro x64.


asus echelon mouse and keyboard


2 Asus vx22 monitors 1920x1080p fullhd.

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