This post is now obsolete. See my current thread here:
For my $1,263 premium system, look lower on this thread to this entry: https://forum.solidworks.com/message/238910#238910
This is the $618 system.
Well, it's time for an update, and this time I have quite a surprise. Are you on a really tight budget? This first system is $618! See below for how I even squeezed it down to $579! It's not top of the line, but it should be pretty darn fast, and later I will post a higher performing machine, but if you are really counting your pennies, this machine should be robust, and out perform any Core2, Core2Quad, or first generation Core i3, i5, and just about any non-overclocked first gen Core i7.
Don't forget to add a keyboard, mouse, and monitor. For all three expect to add $130. Shipping for me is also $17.64. You will also have to purchase a copy of Windows 7 64-bit. If you buy the parts from newegg, you can get the OEM version for $130 here: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116992
Pricing is from newegg.com.
This build utilizes the P3000 video capabilities of the latest generation Xeon chips. It will use onboard video, which works with SolidWorks. Thus, no expensive video card. This computer does not have a SSD, and it is not the fastest CPU you can buy, but it is pretty close. It also has a power supply that is only sized marginally larger than the power usage. I estimate 320W of power, and the PSU is 450W. So there is a little wiggle room (incase you need that nicer video card later), but not excessive. The power supply is 80% efficient, which costs a little bit more, but your electric bill will thank you later. This is also a fairly simple motherboard, and doesn't even come with USB 3.0. For a quick upgrade for a few bucks, buy the motherboard I suggest for the performance system for $20 more and get USB 3.0.
You can even save more money by using non-ECC RAM and a cheaper Power supply. a regular power supply will save $5, and non-ECC RAM (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820139075) will save you $35. This brings down the total to $579. Now, how can your boss NOT justify that upgrade?