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Cheapest viable video card?

Question asked by Neil Quinn on Aug 14, 2012
Latest reply on Aug 23, 2012 by Rich Trnka

Hi all,

 

Here's the situation:  My parents have asked me to build them an inexpensive desktop.

 

95% of the time it will be used for basic web browsing, MS Office, etc.

 

The catch is:  My dad wants to screw around in SolidWorks and AutoCAD.  The key here is that he's not a professional, and will likely get bored with them, so I don't want to invest $150+ for something like a FirePro v4800/etc.

 

Desktop target budget:  around $500-$600.

 

My question then, is this:

 

1.  Are any of the onboard graphics cards "compatible enough" to get by?  Something like the intel 2000 or 3000 HD?  (4000 HD doesn't seem common on any chipsets yet)

 

2.  Would an ivy bridge i3 or i5 be good enough to use in the cpu-rendering only mode?  (sorry, don't know what this is called, but saw it mentioned that you can do this for compatibility)

 

3.  If I set a low end budget to something like $50-$100 for a graphics card, would I be better off with a newer gaming card, or an older pro card?  (For example, something like a $60 ATI Radeo 5670 or lowend Geforce)

 

I completely understand that for most people on the forum the $150+ pro card is the only way to go, but I would rather invest that money in a faster cpu or more RAM since I know the actual amount of time my dad will use solidworks or autocad will be low.  I just want to find a card that's good enough to actually load the program and be mostly functional.

 

My main consideration right now is something like a refurbished i3 desktop for $350 and then tacking on a reasonable video card.

 

Thoughts?

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