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Workstation build with $3k to $4k budget, where to put the $$$

Question asked by Nathan Gault on Mar 5, 2018
Latest reply on Mar 8, 2018 by Michael Dirisio

I am looking to replace three of our workstations with new ones and looking for a speed increase.  Here's our current workstation build:

 

Windows 10 Pro 64-bit

Dell Precision WorkStation T5500

Dual quad core xeon CPU's E5540  @ 2.53GHz (8 cores)

24GB RAM

NVIDIA Quadro FX 3800 with 1GB RAM

256GB SSD

 

These workstations are 9 years old now, they still perform ok but I am looking to reduce render times and increase fluidity during modeling.  I'll do my best to describe our current usage, hopefully you guys can steer me into providing the best info for you for this.  We are a display manufacturer, typically dealing with assemblies made from weldments up to 6500 parts with maybe 50 to 100 unique parts.  We use decals heavily to skin all the consumer product.  Imagine a large floor display in a store, made with wire and tubing (think wire baskets, tubing frame, pegboard facings) covered with hooks with consumer products hanging on the hooks.  The products are in clear plastic clamshells with graphics on the products within.

 

We can hide or suppress the consumer products to make modeling the display go smoother, but the rendering times can be a pain with all the clear plastic with render times at 10 to 45 minutes.  I would like to reduce this time as much as possible.  We have tweaked the settings in Photoview360 to make rendering as efficient as possible as well as various other setting in SW to make spinning the model and daily work go as best it can.  I don't care how pretty the model looks as we are constructing it but would like to improve the fluidity.  Rebuild times have never been a problem, usually instantaneous or only a few seconds.  We always have other software running at the same time such as Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, MS Outlook, and web browsers.  We rarely use surfacing.

 

I'm not sure whether to go with more cores at lower speed (dual 10 cores at 2.2ghz with 3.0ghz turbo (20 cores total)) for rendering speed, a faster single 8core cpu, dual 4cores at faster clock?  At a minimum, I'm going with 24gb ram, SSD, nvidia quadro card with 2+gb ram.  Any ideas?

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