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Old March 19, 2009, 02:14 PM
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Default Where to go from here?

I just put together this system 3 weeks ago (I didn't build it, the local shop did). It has exceeded my expectations and I can't wait to run a 64bit OS. I typically do CAD, Adobe and various renderings so processor was where I spent the money I had.

The build was done for 1000$ (including tax). Here are the specs:

CPU - Q9400 (OC 3.2Ghz)
ASUS P5Q MOBO
CoolMax 600W PSU
Crucial Rendition DDR2 RAM (2X2gigs)
Vendetta 2 CPU fan
WD 640 SATA Hard Drive
NVIDIA 8400 GS
2X case fans (Vantec)
Optical Drive (can't remember)

I didn't get a great video card for now, but from my readings the work I am doing doesn't require much for onscreen video (although sometimes I'd like to argue that...).

So my question is this:

In a year or so from now, if I had 200-300$ to "upgrade" this system, what would be my options - or where would my money be best spent? Do CPU prices drop fast or am I looking at a 3 to 4 year time period to get a Q9550 at a good price?

When I install my Vista 64 I'll get 4 more gigs of RAM.

Thanks,

J
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Old March 19, 2009, 02:27 PM
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I think you'd be well off with a better video card because I'm sure AutoCAD takes advantage of them along with Adobe CS4.

NVIDIA CUDA is all the rage for that kind of stuff, so you'd be well off with whatever NVIDIA card is current at the time.

A Q9550 might help a bit but probably not by much. Probably get a better OC and it does have twice as much L2 cache.
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Old March 19, 2009, 02:34 PM
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From what ive heard the intel C2quads are supose to drop quite a bit in price this summer, im not relying on that but if it happens I might go out and pick up the same CPU ;) if I where you, id spend another $100 to $150 on something like a 9800GT or 9600GT, that 8400gs is pretty horible and although what youve listed wont really make that much performance difference if you want to play any video games that 8400 would come to its knees. thats coming from a gamers perspective though, as per your $200-300 upgrade, in the programs you use, the extra cache from the Q9550 would help a little. The extra ram and 64 bit os would deffinetly be my first step. id recommend you watch the market for a bit before you buy a cpu anyhow. with the i7s out the C2Qs are going to drop from their bloated pricing.
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Old March 19, 2009, 02:38 PM
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Thanks,

I do notice when I'm 3D modeling in AutoCAD that it can get choppy...which surprised me. Would this be due to the video card?

I would only upgrade the CPU in a few years if the Q9500 dropped to something like 150$, which I doubt it will for at least 3 or 4, or until they're almost "obsolete".

J
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Old March 19, 2009, 02:59 PM
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I dont think youll see the top end core 2 quads drop that low unfortunately, if you watch the trends with CPUs even the conroes havent dropped that much :( however I agree with JD, you could see some benefit from a higher end video card as when you use 3D modeling programs you can enable hardware rendering. I dont think you need to go so far as buying a GTX260+ or anything like that, but even a 9600gt would show improvements over that 8400gs.

Autodesk - AutoCAD Services & Support - Video card recommendations

that sort of lays out what benefits and requirements to look for. I havent started up 3ds max or cad on my new system to test out my 9800GTXs but I know they do allow for open GL hardware acceleration which would help when your rendering your 3D previews and what not. The 9800GT supports the same thing as does the 9600GT and both come in 1 gb editions thats might help further depending on the resolutions and file sizes your working with. Both of these cards can be had for around $130 to $150 or so for their 512mb versions.
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Old March 19, 2009, 03:18 PM
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Quote:
I do notice when I'm 3D modeling in AutoCAD that it can get choppy...which surprised me. Would this be due to the video card?
It shouldn't surprise you at all, that GPU is not a very good peformance GPU at all, in fact the 9800GTX+ on my 2nd rig for $180 is far better than that GS.
As far as planning an upgrade in a year, not even worth considering at this point.......take a look at whats available and what you want to spend in a year...
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Old March 19, 2009, 03:27 PM
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We have CAD/Inventor at our school and we saw a great difference by using a dedicated video card. The video card does make a difference with that app. Autodesk lists the following requirements for any 3D work:
Quote:
  • 1,280 x 1,024 32-bit color video display adapter (true color) 128 MB or greater, OpenGLŽ, or Direct3DŽ capable workstation class graphics card. For Windows Vista, a Direct3D-capable workstation-class graphics card with 128 MB or greater is required.
If you have money to spend in the fall look around at that time or post in here for some suggestions and possible deals.
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Old March 19, 2009, 03:27 PM
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The first upgrade I would go for is the videocard. If we look at how much the performance/price for video cards has improved, in a year from now there will be some stellar deals out there.
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Old March 19, 2009, 03:36 PM
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I built a dozen Autocad rigs using an E7400 and a 9800GT. Worked quite nicely. I would definitely invest in a GPU.
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Old March 19, 2009, 06:53 PM
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If the quads do drop in price this summer, I may just swap out my E8400 for one, if i have the spare $$.
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