AutoCAD crunching machine on a budget?

By pioneerx01 · 15 replies
May 13, 2010
  1. Hello everyone,

    A friend of mine is coming from Europe to completer his degree in Civil Engineering here in US and he will be requiring a PC (or better yet laptop) that is capable of sufficiently running AutoCAD application and still be relatively inexpensive as he is on the budget.

    I don't know a lot about AutoCAD and required hardware, but FX 5800 workstation card is not really an option. Any ideas what would work well or what should I be looking for?

  2. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    Hi, what kind of budget are we talking?
    Just as a reminder, laptops are much more expensive and weaker than desktops.
  3. LinkedKube

    LinkedKube TechSpot Project Baby Posts: 3,486   +45

    Its extremely hard to find a laptop that can run something like that at a cheap price, you wont have many reliable options.
  4. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,672   +9

    What's the budget?

    The main issue will probably be the GPU. I presume workstation cards work much better with AutoCAD than gaming cards. However, on a budget, you might have to settle for a low / mid range workstation card or a decent gaming card (modded, if possible, to use the professional drivers).
  5. pioneerx01

    pioneerx01 TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 277

    I know what I am getting into. However we can not afford more than $1000. I know GPU will be stressed heavily on this but I can not do much.

    Ok, how about this. What is the minimum priced PC that will do the job decently?
  6. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,672   +9

  7. ravisunny2

    ravisunny2 TS Ambassador Posts: 1,986   +12

    Which release of AutoCAD will your friend be using, pioneerx01?

    Actually, AutoCAD is not that demanding at all.

    Of course, if you are editing huge dwg file, performance will be an issue.

    Just got this link:

    Remember, the software vendor always recommends somewhat higher requirements.
  8. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,672   +9

    The minimum requirements mentioned will just about be able to run CAD. For performance one has to go with better components.

    As ravisunny2 mentioned, when you start working with large files there is considerable impact on the system.

    The Quadro FX 1800 is said to be a mid-range workstation card but a lot of places mention that it should be the least you're working with on a CAD system.
  9. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145 could save a lot of money if you're not required to use a professional workstation card.
  10. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,672   +9

    Yeah, HK. But I was reading the comparison of the latest high end GPUs such as the HD 5870 and the likes and they compare quite poorly even to mid range workstation cards. I read somewhere that some cards may be modded to use the pro drivers which would make them match up to workstation GPUs.

    As was mentioned before, if not working with large files, the OP may opt for a good gaming GPU.
  11. ravisunny2

    ravisunny2 TS Ambassador Posts: 1,986   +12

    A high end GPU is not needed for AutoCAD.

    The person in question is coming to complete his degree in Civil Engineering.

    It is most unlikely that he will actually make production drawings, so the dwg files should be of small or modest size.

    AutoCAD is a CPU intensive software (huge number of math equatins need to be solved).

    Additional RAM helps.

    A high end GPU will just be providing eye-candy.

    And we still don't know what realease of AutoCAD the person will use, and whether he will use the Lite version.
  12. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,672   +9

    You may be correct but for 3D modelling the requirements specify a "1,280 x 1,024 true color video display adapter 128 MB or greater, Pixel Shader 3.0 or greater, Microsoft® Direct3D®-capable workstation-class graphics card".

    So I presume that a GPU is essential for complex rendering.

    Anyhow, the OP has mentioned that he "knows what he's getting into". So he can decide whether he requires a workstation GPU or not.
  13. ravisunny2

    ravisunny2 TS Ambassador Posts: 1,986   +12

    Did you miss the phrase "complete his degree in Civil Engineering" ?

    Are you a power user of AutoCAD ?

    We are not looking at a theoretical senario.

    Ok. Back to where we were. :)

    After Lamarts, what did you study & where ?

    You're 23 now, so you have graduated from some college or institute.
  14. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,672   +9

    No. I did not. A person who completes his degree in Civil engineering might require a machine to do complex rendering once he turns professional. So I thought maybe buiding a system to suit most needs right now would be a good idea if it fits the budget.

    However, as I said, it's ultimately the OP's choice.

    I am not.

    Not here. Will PM you later with the details if you want. :)
  15. ravisunny2

    ravisunny2 TS Ambassador Posts: 1,986   +12

    Once he turns professional, it'll be quite another ball game. :)

    I tend to agree with hellokitty[hk].

    Where the devil is pioneerx01, anyway ?
  16. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,672   +9

    Good point. Did I scare him away? :D
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