Building a PC for a friend in engineering. What would be good for AutoCAD and Solidworks without wasting money?

My friend will be using the programs mentioned and probably other programs in the future. He has 2-3 thousand to spend, but I doubt he needs to go that balls to the wall on the PC alone.

Does anyone know of the best price to performance configuration for workloads like these? Gaming will be mixed in, but he mostly plays strategy and shooters, so that’s not a main focus. He will also be moving the system a lot, so a robust case with a GPU bracket and a small CPU cooler would probably be best.

Any help at all on how best to configure his PC is immensely appreciated. All my experience is configuring price to performance for gaming only.

My advice to this is to go by puget systems build guides. They have tested everything and know what works. You will see the prevalence of workstation grade gpu’s in recomendation lists but that is because the 3d cad companies like solidworks historically won’t give you any tech support if they find out you are running geforce or any non workstation card. I don’t know if they still have that restriction. But non workstation cards still work but there may be performance limitations.

Autocad Hardware Recommendations for Autodesk AutoCAD | Puget Systems

Inventer Hardware Recommendations for Autodesk Inventor | Puget Systems

Solidworks Hardware Recommendations for SOLIDWORKS | Puget Systems

Hi @Hughman ,

Just some questions:

Where are you located?
Is your Engineer friend using the machine for income?

Thanks :+1:

The cheap option is a 7950X + $300-$350 ish Asus motherboard + 64-128GB ECC RAM + RTX A4000 or equivalent AMD. You do want a pro card for this.

Threadripper or W-3000 seriesis just way too expensive at the moment and does not come with the same OUMPH! as the consumer level chips, and CAD today is a pretty lightweight task (only require 4-8 cores, 16 GB RAM and a decent GPU) for the most part.

And yes Asus currently sucks as a brand however their MBs seem to be the only AM5 ECC support on the market right now, prove me wrong :grin:

Hello,

As a long time user of SW and Catia I can state the following:

  1. If you need to run simulations go with the fastest multicore CPU, if you do modeling then use the fastest CPU cant you can afford.

  2. RAM size - for small/medium assembly’s and parts 32Gb is OK, go with 64Gb to be safe. For larger assembly or models I will go with 128Gb. Also a big factor is the part level o detail. Let’s say that you need to model a cable. If you model all strand in the cable then you need more memory, if you simplify the represenation (just a pad) then you need less memory. Also all CAD software have a lightweight representation that can be activated.
    Considering the price for RAM I will start at 64Gb and add more memory if needed.

  3. GPU - There is almost no hardware difference between the professional and gaming cards, only drivers. I will choose a card that has at least 8Gb VRAM and look for the possibility to change the BIOS so that the card will appear as a professional one.

  4. Use the fastest HDD that you can afford.

For me the biggest performance criteria with Solidworks is CPU Rebuild time, there’s nothing more disruptive to workflow than editing a complex sketch and then waiting 7+ minutes for the entire part to resolve and become editable again.
Up until Solidworks 2022, the best AMD CPU was about 10 years behind Intel in performance so AMD shouldn’t be considered if you’re going to run Solidworks 2021 or earlier; starting with Solidworks 2022 AMD became competitive with Intel.

32 GB of system RAM and 8GB of VRAM should be enough for even fairly large assemblies with thousands of parts. If you’re not particularly fond of the realview viewport option then it wouldn’t hurt to skip on the professional GPU.

I prefer using develop3d for my cad hardware reviews:

Dell, HP and Lenovo all make mini tower workstations that would be good for moving around alot because of their small size; I’d shy away from buying Lenovo if you are going to do any work that is sensitive in nature.

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I raise you one supermicro H13SAE-MF

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The most important is cpu speed, as that is the thing you are waiting on. Smaller models won’t matter as much. but as you scale up, things just take a couple of seconds to regenerate. Intel is still king so a 13900 or 13700 is the best choice.
GPU is somewhat important as you get larger models. Solidworks runs better on workstation gpu’s so a RTX A4000 would be a good choice. If your models are not large then this can still easily be a normal consumer GPU.

The other thing i would spend more money on is a fast SSD, get one of the faster PCI-e 4.0 ssd’s like the WD black sn850X. Saving or loading models is working with lots of small files so it’s worth the small investment to get this as fast as possible.

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