NEW COMPUTER REQUIREMENTS - for Autocad - HP Pro 3130 i7-870, 8 GB RAM & ATI V5800

Question: I have narrowed down our purchase of workstations for the AutoCad detailers and engineers.  These computers seem to be powerful and cost effective.  The form factor seems to be the variable that brings the price down.  We could get a z400 with Xeon processor, however they are priced well over a $1000 more than the Pro series for similar specs.  Over the years we have purchased HP xw series workstations, however we rarely upgraded them except for maxing out the ram to 3.5 GB (for XP 32-bit).

If possible, please let me know any solid advice that you have for these machines for AutoCad and AutoDesk Revit requirements.

HP Pro 3130 - VS792UT

Core i7-870 / 2.93
Windows 7 Pro - 64
RAM 4 GB - DDR3 PC3-10600 (UPGRADED TO 8 GB)
500 GB -  Sata 300 - 7200 RPM
CHIPSET - Intel H57 Express

Remove stock graphics card.  Install ATI FirePro V5800 other similar NVIDIA card.

Any suggestions for similarly priced workstations would be good also, but please advise on the above box also.

Thank you!


Kris MontgomeryAsked:
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gikkelConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Typically true workstations are built using the same type of board for a server with a few minor adjustments to allow for high-end graphics.  Although HP Pro 3130 series uses the Intel Core series, you should expect a workstation to come with a Xeon or Opteron processor.  It should also have at least 2 cpu sockets (hence the necessity for a Xeon).  Workstations will also let you upgrade to a ridiculous amount of ram (96+ gb), with support for ecc.  Workstations should also use a professional video card, mainly the nvidia quadro or ati fire series.  There are major architectural differences that justify the increase in price.  

However, since I'm an engineer I use software that can benefit from the raw power of a workstation.  It is highly dependant on your user.  I personally will NEVER go back to a desktop setup.  As for the price, I always build my own...and the decrease in price is astounding.  If that's not an option and price is a major concern, stick with what you picked and do the upgrades immediately. Other than that, you'll notice the difference between an entry-level workstation and a desktop is that they offer a low-end professional graphics card - and since you're going to upgrade anyway, you'd be better suited with a desktop.

My typical workload - Windows 7 Ultimate x64 running 3-5 sessions of AutoCAD Civil 3D, ArcGIS, 5-10 Excel files, 10-20 Word docs, Access, HEC-RAS, Opera, Outlook, Photoshop, Google Earth, Acrobat, IE, VMware, and more.  I have yet to see a hiccup - but I have a very, very, very sick setup.

If you have the option of building your own, there's no reason you couldn't start with a workstation base and gradually upgrade if necessary.  If you buy the right parts, it would last upwards of 5 years, and even then could be cycled down the chain.  However, if you're anything like me, you'll want the best of the best...and it starts to get really expensive.

So, to stop rambling and answer your question - what you picked is fine, but with the newer versions available in 64-bit, I'd suggest more than 8gb of ram (unfortunately thats the max in that desktop).  The H57 chipset is ok, I've used it for an office manager primarily using access - and it should run Autocad just fine.  

As long as your users are just running a single instance of revit, it'll run fine - Autocad has yet to take advantage of multiple processors (other than regens/redraw).  If, however, they will be performing intensive rendering tasks, don't expect ultra fast results.  The video card you picked is great - from the price vantage much better than a similar nvidia card.
For our AutoCAD users we maxed out to 8GB RAM and installed Nvidia 9500 series video cards. windows Vista Enterprise.
Kris MontgomeryAuthor Commented:
Is there any more information that anyone would need to help me?

I know many of you all have more experience in building systems for graphic and processor intensive programs.  I could use the advice.


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