Computer characteristics for CAD and Keyshot
Hello, I am about to buy a new laptop, but Im not sure of the most important specs for design.
I mean, should I care of the clock speed (higher better) ? Processor cache? i3, i5, are really so different? Graphics I guess above 1Gb. And RAM, I think above 4GB does not matter.
I am a student.
Regards and thanks in advance.
Keyshot will use as much CPU speed and cores that you give it. The faster the cores, and the larger the number, the faster the rendered images will be made.
Each CAD program has requirements, I'd start by looking at those.
For a computer I'd buy a used Dell M6600 on Ebay or other site. They are a few years old, but are designed to run CAD programs and you'll be able to get a good one for $500.00 or so. New workstations can cost ~$3,000.00, so buying a used one is a great idea.
Generally, the CAD software does not need a very fast processor unless you are planning to use analysis programs for FEA and CFA.
SolidWorks does not use a lot of processing power. There are times like applying many fillets, and updating complex features that it uses the CPU a lot, but like most computer software, it will spend most of the day waiting for you to input commands.
If you are doing more complex and calculation based things like FEA, CFD, and rendering images, then that is where the faster core speeds and number of cores are going to help.
If using only solidworks, then yes, get a faster clock speed with a smaller number of cores. But, you mentioned Keyshot, so you really should be looking for more cores, even if they are at a lower clock speed.
I converted an Nvidia card into a Quadro by replacing some surface mount resistors once, but it really did not do anything to improve performance in SolidWorks. The computer detected it as a Quadro, and I was able to use Quadro drivers, but there did not appear to be any real gain. I don't think that you will see any performance increase between a 1Gb and 2Gb Quadro card unless you are making large assemblies with many unique parts. By many, I'd say more than ~500.
In my experience, SolidWorks will run fine on non Quadro cards, but there are some limitations. You may find that the performance is very slow if you try to have multiple parts open in the background at once (assemblies work fine though), and there could be some instability or software crashes since the "gaming" cards are generally not on the supported list of video cards.
I think that a used M6600 or M6800 Dell Precision Workstation Laptop from Ebay is a perfect computer for the tasks you have listed. It will not be ideal for playing games (but it can), but it is designed to run the software you are looking to use.