Need help/recommendations for purchasing a new CAD/VIZ Workstation

By chungsotheby
Feb 2, 2006
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  1. Posted this at anandtech forums, got no response, so decided to try here.

    First off, thanks to anyone that is reading/has read this post, and would like to help.

    Basically, I am looking to buy a graphics and cad/viz workstation within the next week. It will only be used in a work environment, with NO games being played, and the only video will be from AVI's and other video files generated from software. The programs most used on it will be(in descending frequency):

    AutoCad Architectural Desktop
    Photoshop
    Illustrator
    Indesign
    Viz

    Right now, I am looking at workstations from (in descending pricing order) Velocity Micro, Xi, Polywell, and Monarch. The configuration will include:

    Athlon X2 4400
    2x1GB Ram
    2x74GB Raptor in RaidO
    Asus A8N-SLI DLX or Premium MoBo
    DVDRW D/L
    Floppy Drive
    Win XP Pro
    450-500W Power Supply

    The questions that arise are these:
    -Does the initial configuration that I am looking to put together seem to be optimal for my tasks?
    -Does anyone have experience or particular opinions about the above manufacturers, either positive or negative? I have read the online/magazine reviews, but since they are all custom computer makers the user reviews are a little harder to find
    -With the software being used, is it worth it to spend 2-3X more on a professional video card (ie FireGL 7100 or Quadro 3400) over the GeForce 7800GT / 7800GTX or x1900?
    -Since I will not be doing too much video viewing or gaming, does the video card really need to have 256MB or ram, or would 128MB be enough
    -And finally, if I do decide to go with a 256MB pro card, is there that much of a difference between the FireGL 7100 and the Quadro 3400? The 3400 can be anywhere from $150 to $600 more expensive when configuring systems.

    Thanks in advance for all your responses, and I hope that any/all information can guide me in making the right decision.
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