Cad, rendering, home workstation build

I have got $1400 to build a home pc that will be used for CAD, the management of large assembly files and rendering. I deal with quite complex assemblies, often thousands of parts, often running north of 300mb individual file size. I'm aware that is pushing it for a sub $3000 build rather than the 1400 I have.

I believe an ssd for the os and the cad software would be a good idea and 1tb storage is a minimum.

I also believe at least 16gb memory would be the least I'd require although if 32gb where possible for the price it would be better although I'll admit that I'm not knowledgeable enough of the brands worth having and the setups that would most suit my needs.

Other features that would be nice is a relatively quiet system and of course, something that looks awesome.

I do not need an os, keyboard or mouse. The $1400 need not include a monitor but if a good resolution, 27inch plus one could be recommended for approx $400 or so extra id be interested to hear.

I use solidworks, cinema 4d and verocam if that is relevant and i live in the UK. Do you think it can be done and done well, or am I dreaming with this budget.

Thanks for reading I look forward to reading the reply's.

With that budget you'll be limited to a single CPU setup you might be able to squeeze a 6 core Xeon for that budget but a quad should be fine. A half decent Quadro/Fire Pro graphics card will eat up at least half of your budget. 16GB of memory should be fine even with those large assemblies, I managed with 14GB for the last few years despite massive assemblies in Inventor.

Which render engine are you using in Cinema 4D (sorry I'm a 3DS Max user)? Check to see if that supports parallel processing like Iray does then a decent graphics card will speed up your renders and means you wont miss that extra CPU as much.

Maxwell render is what I get by with. Although I've been tempted to become a blender user and upgrade my vero, since cad packages are getting better at rendering.

To be honest the render capability is secondary to the mechanical stuff. If i could get a good smooth cad experience I could almost endure lengthy renders.

My real problem is i can't fathom a system for the budget which is optimized for assembly work, I don't even know to what extent solidworks internal render uses the gpu, if at all becuse i can often get away with that. Would a build directed toward cpu performance be better and then get a second card down the line if rendering becomes an issue, or is a single mid to high level card the way to go.

I wouldn't have thought the Solidworks render (Photoworks?) puts much stress on the GPU at all but I wouldn't lock yourself into that or any one other program as being able to use Maxwell (which is one of the industry standard render engines) and other render engines will make you much more employable and would also allow you to find work in another market segment if you find yourself not able to get work in engineering.

I'd have thought a Quadro K4000 (or the Fire Pro equivalent) would work well given given the number of parts and assemblies you are working with. An i7 would probably be just as usable as a Xeon as a single CPU setup and probably better from a budget perspective. Solidworks isn't fully optimised for multi-core use so you would probably want to get something with excellent single core performance. 

Photoworks is not resource intensive but larger files make it misbehave, like all things I guess it depends on the system in question, my home laptop runs it very badly.

A home machine that i can do my own work on in my own time is my main aim. Dealing with objects sent from 11 grand workstations I think will be my biggest problem. Rendering is a concern, but my renders nowadays are on the vanilla side of things. Something I can upgrade or overclock in the future would be good, but I need to hit the ground running first.

Here is my first (somewhat weak) attempt, tell me what you think.

I think that graphics card isn't going to cut it in terms of viewpoint performance with very large assemblies.,3493-10.html

If I had a pound every time I came across a Vray user......

Ive used keyshot before and liked it. Key shot and photoview are neck and neck in my use of them, in performance and render quality although i've never pushed either. In the past i was often tasked with quick accurate rendering and occasional detailed fly through photorealistic expo stuff, although I started out as a plain and simple drafts person. Now I often use the simulation and kinematic solidworks tools more and more, more than once pushing the software to what it can handle.

To deal with an upcoming opportunity I need something solid and fast, what should my cpu, gpu combination be, I have next to no idea.

Thanks for the link Fetchez, those cards are all a hefty price tho.

how about now

Yep, agreed.

Thanks for the link, that made for some good reading. So it looks like

Would that be a reasonable set up.

Also,would this be a reasonable monitor.


You can get two 21.5" Dell 1080p monitors for £106 each.

The two dell monitors look like a good setup, would the two screens put strain on the one card tho, or would that not matter.

Finally one ultra noob question, apart from the hdmi cables need i buy any any sata cables for the flash, having never bought one before i don't even know if there are any compatibility issues around that sort of thing.

You will not need extra SATA cables, you have 3 SATA devices and 4 cables are included with the board

OK looks like we got this problem sorted, those dells look like a great buy. Thanks for the suggestion Fetchez that was a great spot.

Thanks for the advice Pawnmanic, and Kiaxa, it was a massive help.