What computer power do I need to run cad software smoothly?

I am soon to be a graduate mechanical engineer and want to build a computer for my graduation present to myself. I would like any insight on needed computer processing power to run cad software smoothly.

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It will mostly depend on how demanding you're work is going to be. For start, check out my PC config on my profile. The only thing I miss is an SSD, but I don't do much FEA (simulation) and SW doesn't appreciate the investment on regular work. A decent CAD workstation GPU is beneficial, although, many use consumer GPUs and don't complain. Anyway, go for Intel I7 2600K and you will not regret the investment...

 
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Hello Kyle!
I my view the most important component is the grafic card. Don´t buy a "consumer card" like nvidia gefore.
You will get mcuh more performance using nvidia QUADRO or AMD FirePro card. Here is a list of certificated hardware:
http://www.3ds.com/support/certified-hardware/windows-certified-workstations/

greetings

 
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Much depends on what software do you want to run. I use Proe W5 and Solidworks for many years. In my experience, that the Solidworks needs more powerful CAD workstation than the Proe under the same works.

 
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At least 2GBs of Ram and a Decent Graphic Card you can get a nice GeForce 500mbs card for less than $200. It depends on your budget, If you got money to spent build a Beats Iintel core i7 2600k 8 processors get 16 GBs dd3 of ram and Nice GeForce gtx 570 1.2gbs those specs will be able to handle anything you throw at it and render and do calculations very very fast

 
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Well, this is a great start. Thanks a lot everyone. Gotta love the GrabCAD community.

 
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