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  1. #1
    Gaz
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    CAD workstation specs

    I need some more CAD workstations, we currently have some Dell Precision T1600's which work fine, but I think they could be better.
    Intel Xeon E1220 3.1GHz
    4GB ram
    Quadro 600 1GB

    I'm now leaning more towards an i7 system with 8GB of ram, WD Raptor and a Quadro 600 1GB
    Now I've two choices, I could go with Dell again and they will cost about £1000+ each. Or I could build them myself for about £900 each but a much higher spec than the Dells using WD Raptor drives instead of 7200RPM drives.
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/g4ingtjc9b...scan-cadpc.JPG


    I guess my question is, is it too much of a risk to build myself and not have any support incase something goes wrong, i.e. the hassle of sending parts back.
    The benefits of course are big savings and faster pc's

    Has anyone else thought about building their own systems rather than buying from the likes of Dell? I'd have 16 to build.

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    Is Dell your only option for this? I know @VeryPC (who we get PC's from) do custom build machines not just the stuff on the website etc, maybe speak to @Millgate, see if you can get a quote? Can't hurt to shop around just incase.

    The 5 year warranty might help too if you can get it on them, would put your mind at ease compared to building them yourself (and save you a load of time).

    One of the schools I work for just purchased an i7, 16gb Ram etc for video editing from @VeryPC and it was competitively priced, overkill for what you want though.

    EDIT: thinking about it our laser cutting is attached to a custom build from @VeryPC, just remembered! Haha.
    Last edited by RTFM; 17th August 2012 at 03:52 PM.

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    Workstation systems are always insanely overpriced. I'd go with custom systems of even lower grade systems from a larger manufacturer with a pro GPU. If your CAD system uses the GPU then they are worth it as they usually check for the pro ones. I'd just go i7 for the CPU. You could probably go for hp 6200 or 8200 units with Quadro CPUs. The other thing that workstation grade stations tend to have is ECC memory which is really good if you are spending days on end with the document running but not as usefull in a classroom environment where you are spending max an hour at a time at it with daily reboots.

    EDIT: I'd also go with SSDs instead of Raptors and 8-16GB of RAM.
    Last edited by SYNACK; 17th August 2012 at 04:01 PM.

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    Gaz
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    I'd like to stick with dell because I've had good support from them and I've heard horror stories about HP but then I've also heard horror stories about Dell.
    They'll be using it for Autodesk Inventor, Autodesk 3DS Max and Solidworks. They will be doing some 3D rendering on them too.

    I'd like to stay away from SSD's because the cheapest ones at 128GB are too small a size and 256GB ones are too expensive, so a 500GB raptor is damn good value.

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    Fair enough but how big is the average CAD project and is it on the SSD anyway or stored in the users network documents area. I have an MPS server running on a 120GB intel SSD and it makes a raptor look like the dinosaur that its namesake is. Fair enough with the vendor stuff, I have lived through several Dell horror stories so am rather anti them but others will have had other experiences.

    Its all about what works best for you, you can generally get away with office spec machines and the highest spec GPUs (professional grade) and decent RAM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gaz View Post
    I'd like to stay away from SSD's because the cheapest ones at 128GB are too small a size and 256GB ones are too expensive
    256GB Kingston V200 SSD for £83.33 + VAT? While not as fast as a Samsung 830 or Crucial M4, it will annihilate the Raptor.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gaz View Post
    I'd like to stick with dell because I've had good support from them and I've heard horror stories about HP but then I've also heard horror stories about Dell.
    They'll be using it for Autodesk Inventor, Autodesk 3DS Max and Solidworks. They will be doing some 3D rendering on them too.

    I'd like to stay away from SSD's because the cheapest ones at 128GB are too small a size and 256GB ones are too expensive, so a 500GB raptor is damn good value.
    In a machine of the spec you're talking, an SSD is a minor cost. The Sandisk Extreme 240GB 6Gbps is around £100. The speed difference between even a slow SSD and a Raptor is like the difference between a pushbike and a space shuttle...

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    Gaz
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    What about reliability under heavy use? I know even basic SSD's are faster than raptors, I've had my 74GB gen1 raptor for over 7 years now and its been faultless.
    I will have to have a think about SSD's

    I was planning on using those very Kingston SSD's from eBuyer to give a boost to the desktops that these pc's will be replacing as they are being moved into the library.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gaz View Post
    What about reliability under heavy use?
    I wouldn't worry too much about that. As this thread on the XtremeSystems forums demonstrates, modern SSDs can easily outlast the specs stated by the manufacturer in terms of the amount of data written per day.

    The Samsung 830 is probably the best example of this, since it is still working perfectly after having 4.3347 petabytes (3.85 PiB) written to it over the course of 160 days (that's almost 28 terabytes per day!!!)...

    www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?271063-SSD-Write-Endurance-25nm-Vs-34nm&p=5132118&viewfull=1#post5132118


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    Gaz
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    Oops I forgot to update this thread. I'd like to thank @Millgate and @VeryPC for some very nice workstations. The Students are happy so that means I'm happy.

    We went for SSD's in the end and they are blisteringly quick. So thanks to everyone that suggested them over the Velociraptors.

  12. Thanks to Gaz from:

    VeryPC (18th September 2012)

  13. #12

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    Hi Gaz,
    Glad you like your new workstations and happy to see they are working a treat for you.

    Andy



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