30 Replies Latest reply on Feb 18, 2019 12:18 PM by Richard Gergely

    New workstation specs, what should I upgrade (if anything)

    Robert Wicks

      Our assemblies top out around 5,000 parts, most are much smaller.  I do occasional FEA, but it's not every day, or even every month.

       

      Using 2010 premium and here is a workstation some local guys have quoted for me:

       

      Cpu          Intel E8500 3.16 Ghz LGA775 Core2 Duo 1333 Mhz

      Memory     2.0GB DDR2 PC 5300 667 Mhz

      Hard Dr     7200 RPM SATA

      OS          XP Pro

      Video     Quadro FX 580   

       

      It's quite affordable, but it kind of looks like minimum requirements to me.  Have room to spend a little more if necissary.

       

      Opinions appreciated.

       

      Rob.

        • Re: New workstation specs, what should I upgrade (if anything)
          Robert Wicks

          Just saw under seperate thread that that video card has trouble with dual monitors... that's a problem as I run two monitors.

           

          Good to know!

          • Re: New workstation specs, what should I upgrade (if anything)
            Anna Wood

            What is your budget?

             

            How much is he charging you?  Looks like he is trying to clear out old stock.  Only thing that is current is the video card.

             

            CPU is the most important piece of hardware for SolidWorks performance.

             

            The CPU quoted is last generation cpu architecture from Intel.  The CPU was introduced in early 2008, a bit outdated.  Probably way better then what you have now, but will not be near as future proof as buying up to date hardware.  You will be starting 2 years behind the power curve for computer performance.

             

            2 Gb of RAM is totally inadequate these days.

             

            Get an x64 bit OS system, Windows 7, and at least 6 gigs of RAM.  SolidWorks 2011 will not support Windows XP.

             

            With that amount of RAM you are looking at a Core i7 or Core i5 Intel cpu, which is the latest and best from Intel.

             

            Unless you are getting a screaming good price for the computer I wouldn't consider it, you are looking at buying two year old cpu architecture.  Not a good purchase for any amount of money in my mind if you expect decent SW performance now and down the road a couple of years with the type of work you do.

             

            Sorry to be a downer, but you asked for opinions....   :-)

             

            Cheers,

             

            Anna

            • Re: New workstation specs, what should I upgrade (if anything)

              Are you sure CPU is the most important part?

              If you have the last CPU but a basic graphical card it should be bad?

              i think that Robert should first buy a more powerful graphical card (Quadro FX1800) + RAM.

              A E8500 is a good processor for Solidworks because he has a hight frequency.

              Someone told me that, for Solidworks, it is better to have a Core Duo processor with a hight frequency than a Quad Core with a low frequency.

                • Re: New workstation specs, what should I upgrade (if anything)
                  Daniel Smith

                  Anna is right on (like usual) with her post.

                  I would in fact go with the FX1800, it's a good midrange card (I have the older FX1700 and it works great with dual monitors).  What Sebastien said about the processor is true too.  You want to go with the fastest speed possible. Solidworks at this time uses basically one core (not too sure about SW10 tho) unless you do rendering a quad core doesn't do very much extra for you and like Anna said in her post you be best off with the i7 or i5.

                  • Re: New workstation specs, what should I upgrade (if anything)
                    Anna Wood

                    Sebastien,

                     

                    A couple years ago when quad cores were slower clocked then dual cores that was true.  That is not the case anymore.  The higher clocked quad cores are fast and will give you better SolidWorks performance.

                     

                    Times change and the old rules of thumbs need to change as well.

                     

                    CPU is by far the most important component for SolidWorks performance.

                     

                    Cheers,

                     

                    Anna

                  • Re: New workstation specs, what should I upgrade (if anything)
                    Robert Wicks
                    For that machine I was quoted 1,000.00 bucks canadian.  I can probably handle twice that if I have to...
                    • Re: New workstation specs, what should I upgrade (if anything)
                      Robert Wicks

                      Processor          Intel Core 2 Duo E8600 3.33GHz/1333MHz/6MB L2 375W

                      OS                    Windows 7 Pro

                      Hard Drive          500GB SATA 3.0Gb/s with NCQ 16MB DataBurst Cache

                      Memory             4GB, 800MHz, DDR2 SDRAM ECC (4 DIMMS)

                      Graphics Card     ATI Fire GL V3600 256MB

                       

                      Dell 3400, this build came in at $2,300.00.

                       

                      So, what's wrong with that setup?

                        • Re: New workstation specs, what should I upgrade (if anything)
                          Daniel Smith

                          Other than it's a little better than mine? Nothing IMOP

                          • Re: New workstation specs, what should I upgrade (if anything)
                            Mahir Abrahim

                            Here is the machine I just put together for ~$1k.

                             

                            Intel Core i5 750 (2.66GHz Quad)

                            1TB SATA 7200RPM HD

                            8GB 1333MHz RAM

                            Quadro FX 1700

                            + misc knick knacks

                             

                            I would think for $2k you could do a lot better.  You should abandon the Core 2 Duo and stick with a socket 1156 Core i5 or i7.  For 5k part assemblies you should have at least 8GB RAM.  If you have to stick to 32bit I guess 4GB is fine, but you should explore using some sort of virtual machine or compatibility mode to run your 32bit-only apps in a separate 32bit environment.  If you go 64bit + 8GB, memory is always cheaper to buy separately (get 2GB and then upgrade yourself to 8GB).  As for the video card, for $2k you should be getting something better than a V3600.  V3600 performance is only comparable to a FX570.  I'd stick to a Quadro FX1700 or better.  To give you a point of comparison, here's a quick roundup of parts you can get for ~$2k at Newegg.

                             

                             

                            ProcessorCore i7-870 2.93GHz Quad 1156 $     540.00
                            MotherboardASRock P55 Pro $     115.00
                            VideoQuadro FX 3700 512MB $     789.00
                            Memory8GB (4x2GB) 1333MHz CL-7 $     200.00
                            Power Supply550W $        45.00
                            CaseRosewill Challenger $        45.00
                            Hard Drive1TB 7200RPM 32MB $        90.00
                            DVD124X $        30.00
                            DVD224X $        30.00
                            Card Reader $        13.00
                            Subtotal $  1,897.00
                            Tax $     156.50
                            Total $  2,053.50
                              • Re: New workstation specs, what should I upgrade (if anything)
                                Robert Wicks

                                I'm a Mech engineer, I just happen to work in a small enough shop that I also have to pull IT duties from time to time.

                                 

                                So I'm a bit of a dunce when it comes to this stuff.  Not up to speed.

                                 

                                According to the other folks, my money should be spent on a fast processor, so I picked one out that runs at 3+GHz, but you are suggesting a slower processor with a better graphics card.  Do opinions varry or am I missing something?

                                 

                                Really don't want to have to assemble something either, just send it put together, running, and with a three year warranty thanks!

                                  • Re: New workstation specs, what should I upgrade (if anything)
                                    Daniel Smith

                                    You could ask 100 people and get 60 different answers.  If your not going to build the machine (literally) then go with one of the big 3 (Dell, HP, Leveno).  What Anna was saying before is that the processor you spec'd is already 2 years old, which it'll be obsolete 2 years sooner than a brand new design.....

                                    What version SW are you using?  If your running old software then, well no need to go crazy.  If you keep up on software you'll need to keep up with hardware also.

                                    • Re: New workstation specs, what should I upgrade (if anything)
                                      Mahir Abrahim

                                      Sorry, the processor description was wrong. $540 will get you a 2.93GHz Core i7-870, not the slower i5-670. If it has to be pre-built then you have limited options.  Most PC companies (Dell, HP, etc) don't have many Core i7 options yet.  The closest I came with Dell is the system below.

                                       

                                      Core i7-870

                                      1TB HD

                                      1GB RAM (add $200 for 8GB installed by you later)

                                      Quadro FX580 512MB

                                      $1768 + $200 for 8GB RAM = $1968

                                       

                                      It's not bad, but Dell has limited graphics card options when trying to buy Core i7.  You can go with the 2 year old processor Core 2 Duo or Quad architecture and get more Quadro options... but it's 2 years old.

                                        • Re: New workstation specs, what should I upgrade (if anything)
                                          Robert Wicks

                                          Something like this then (see attached).

                                           

                                          I was under the impression that a quad is only going to help you with rendering.  No rendering here, we're all about getting it built.  Custom heavy equipment and structures, short turn around.

                                           

                                          I'll likely end up printing a few of these out then flipping a coin.

                                            • Re: New workstation specs, what should I upgrade (if anything)
                                              Anna Wood

                                              The new Core i7 at the same clock speed as an older Core 2 Duo or Quad will run faster even if only using one core.

                                               

                                              The whole cpu architecture including the frontside bus architecture, memory access architecture, etc. is faster.  Every part of the system will be faster and give you better perfomance.

                                               

                                              The Dell T1500's are a very good value and give you the benefit of the newer cpu architecture from Intel.  On the system you spec'ed out I would change the memory to 4 gigs of 1333Mhz DDR3 memory.

                                               

                                              Cheers,

                                               

                                              Anna

                                                • Re: New workstation specs, what should I upgrade (if anything)
                                                  Jim Zink

                                                  I rarely disagree with Anna, but I'm not completely sold on the T1500.  While Core i7 800 and Core i5 700 processors generally offer excellent price/performance value, I don't like that the T1500 has such limited hard drive and graphics card support.  It makes me question the overall case design - not just the small power supply.  A "white box" supplier could build a very nice system on the P55 platform without the limitations of the T1500.

                                                   

                                                  I put together a T3500 configuration that is as close to Robert's T1500 as I could get.  It has 4GB RAM and the 2.66 GHz Xeon w3520 processor (which is the equivalent of the Core i7 920).  Performance would be *slightly* lower, but so is the price.   Move up to 2.93 GHz, and the T1500/T3500 will still be comparably priced for virtually identical performance.   With the T3500, Robert would have the option of upgrading to faster processors,  higher end graphics cards, 10k rpm hard drives, etc.  IMO, it's a better investment. 

                                                   

                                                  Intel's new product lines are complicated and it's hard to sort out just what is what.  For example, HP has announced their new Z200 workstation, which will compete directly with the T1500.  HP has opted for Xeon 3400 series quad core processors (equiv to the Core i7 800 Series quads in the T1500) and will support the full range of dual core Core i5 600 Series CPUs (up to 3.46 GHz!) - which would offer exceptional price performance for entry level users.  Even though the power supply in the Z200 is even smaller than the PS in the T1500, the Z200 can be configured with mid-range Quadro FX 1800 and FirePro 5700 graphics cards.  Like the T1500, hard drives will max out at 7200 rpm.

                                                • Re: New workstation specs, what should I upgrade (if anything)
                                                  David Paulson

                                                  Robert,

                                                   

                                                  Many on this forum think that the fastest processor available is what you should use for SolidWorks.  While I agree that SolidWorks performance will be faster with an i7 or i5 at 3.33 MHz vs. 3.0 Mhz, the real difference in speed will be linear, or only about 10%.  The cost difference for that 10% can easily be $300 to $400.  I would suggest you start with 8 GB DRAM an a W7x64 operating system, so that you can turn "OFF" the pagefile.  This, in my opinion, will greatly improve the stability of your computer when runing SolidWorks, and you will crash significantly less often.  This forum is full of unhappy users that blame SolidWorks for instability when their hardware is inadequate.  Since I upgraded my system to 8 GB of DRAM about 18 months ago, I rarely experience SolidWorks crashing.

                                        • Re: New workstation specs, what should I upgrade (if anything)
                                          Mahir Abrahim
                                          You might want to checkout Xi as well.  Looks like they have a lot more options.
                                          • Re: New workstation specs, what should I upgrade (if anything)
                                            Robert Wicks

                                            I have to stick with 32 bit due to other software.

                                             

                                            Had a Dell tech contact me this morning, asked him to quote me a T3500 with a Core i7 and an FX 1700 card.

                                             

                                            Meanwhile my old precision M70 has been handling the work better than expected.  I'm impressed!  I'm deafinatly maxing it out though, it's a temporary solution.

                                            • Re: New workstation specs, what should I upgrade (if anything)
                                              Adrian Gates

                                              You can upgrade your system features if you use a virtual desktop based on cloud.

                                               

                                              Regards,

                                              Adrian Gates