Building a workstation

Hello there guys,

I am planning to build a workstation for cading and rendering only. I am using Solidworks currently.
My plans are to get an i7 2600k cpu and overclock it to like 4 - 4.5ghz with water cooling, 8 - 16gb of 1866 ddr3 ram, 128gb ssd sata3 hard drive and a ati firepro v7900 (or Quadro 4000).

I don't know if overclocking is a nice idea about 3D modeling and renderings as the cpu load is 100% for like days.. (thats why i thought of using water cooling). Will it be ok to use that cpu?? (if not, suggest any other possible solutions)

I've searched on the internet of benchmarks and comparisons of the Quadro 4000 and FirePro V7900 and i found that the firepro is better than the quadro and cheaper. At some points, the V7900 can be compared to the Quadro 6000 and at many points, its equal to the Quadro 5000. Any opinions of anyone used this workstations graphics card?

Thank you very much for your time and thank you in advance for your answers.

Andreas Gkertsos

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4 Answers

Andreas, this is way more hardware than I am familiar with, real-world. Here are my own thoughts. I'm not an advocate for overclocking so would stay away from that altogether. I would rather trade a bit of performance for less fans and a quieter system. I would sink resources into a motherboard that holds as much DDR3 ram as possible. 16GB sounds low given how much CAD systems can konk out due to memory resources. Definitely, go with water cooling and the SSD drive is real good. Quadros would be my choice, they've been proven to work for me is the only reason, I'll tend to stick with what works and away from bad experiences I've had, even if that was were with much older FirePros.

 
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Don't be too concerned about memory. SolidWorks is not memory hungry. 8GB is ample. The most important thing is CPU. the Intel i7 2600K is a 4 core processor. You may want to consider the AMD Bulldozer FX-8150. This is an 8 core processor that over-clocks itself automatically and can be supplied with water cooling. If you choose an AMD CPU, I'd recommend an ATI FirePro Graphics card as this uses an AMD Graphics chip so you should get the best out of it.

 
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Because Ram is so cheap, there's not much of a reason to get less than the 16gb that you were planning on. SolidWorks 2012 is pretty far behind in fully utilizing the graphics power of the current generation of workstation cards. With the Quadro cards there is 0 difference between the Quadro 5000 and 6000 due to lack of utilization. For almost all users the V4900 is powerful enough to do just about anything. If you have very large assemblies, I would consider the V5900. Benchmarks can be a little misleading as they don't directly benchmark in SolidWorks.

As for processor the i7-2600k, and the i7-2700k are good options. You would probably want to avoid the newer ivy bridge chips i.e. 3770k 'Overclockers.com reports temperatures “to be as much as 20 °C higher on Ivy Bridge compared to Sandy Bridge when overclocked.” '
Every processor will overclock slightly differently. With overclocking, since you are running the computer at high load constantly, I would simply monitor the cpu temperature and dial back the overclocking if your cpu is running at an unsustainable temperature. You may want to briefly read through intel's thermal guide
http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/processors/core/2nd-gen-core-lga1155-socket-guide.html

I would take the money you save with a lower end graphics card and get a larger SSD drive. By an Intel SSD drive as they seem to have the higher reliability. (SSD drives can fail from time to time)

-Rohit<a href="http://solidwize.com" onclick="window.open(this.href); return false;">
100's of SolidWorks Tutorials >>>>> Solidwize</a>

 
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