best cpu

so this was our rookie year and we ran into problems when using our schools computers (performance/access)

so our team has decided to build a computer for next year

my question is: which is a better processor for working with inventor and 3dsmax? the Intel P4? or the Athlon 64?

Obviously I don’t want a flame thread. i’m simply curious which processor will perform the best for what we need it to do. So if you don’t have anything better than “Intel sucks/AMD sucks” don’t respond

Oh and we’re on a budget so obviously we don’t want to buy an FX or EE version of either chip… most likely the 3.0ghz/3000+ version

I’d say if it comes between a 3000+ or a 3.0ghz, the 3.0 ghz because the 3000+ is a pretty badly nerfed chip. Anything above that (3200 or 3400) get AMD. You also have to understand that the Athlon 64’s are 64 bit. This doesnt mean anything performace wise now, but in a few years, it may mean very significant things, especially for high performance 3d programs. Regardless, i dont think you will 64 bit versions of software before these processors become obsolete for being a 3d workstation. Essentially, im saying dont worry about 64 bit capability. If you are going to build it from parts, in case you dont know already, is awesome.

The newest Intel processors with hyper threading tend to do better with video encoding, however
AMD processors are much more economical. I recommend this site for more details. However, in my experience, especially with inventor, ram is more critical then processor speed. I would personally use an AMD processor and use the extra money to invest in more ram. 512 should be a minimum- shoot for at least a gig, preferably two.

Doesn’t matter which one you use when you are talking those speeds. The real thing that is going to give you a fit with Inventor and 3dsm is both RAM and the video card. I reccomend a video card with 128megs of RAM atleast and atleast another 512megs of system memory. It honestly won’t matter which CPU you pick when you are talking about 3ghz+ CPUs (both clockspeed and rating). Now, if you really want to see an increase in “speed” then I reccomend using a different operating system other than windows.

Yea, I’ve built my own systems before, and frequent Tom’s HardOCP Anandtech and the like… I just wanst sure if any of the programs would use any of the benefits of the 64bit chip

with luck, I’ll get a grant specifically for this and will be building a system something like this:

3.0 Intel 800fsb (or amd equiv)
2 gigs ram
Ati 9800XT w/ 256mb ram
2x 80gb HD’s in raid setup

priced it for around $1500

thats purdy, what about dual CPU systems? they make a lot of sense when you are doing rendering. You can get two older processors for really little money. But if its not rendering your concerned about, like if its just manipulating models and such, then i dont think either program really takes advantage of dual processors for that part of processing.

Remember, Anandtech uses 3D studio max as one of thier benchmarks.

The P4 3ghz easily beats the Athlon 64 3000+

speaking of tom’s and multiple processors… i saw this pic in an article the other day… not one, not two, but 4 processors with ram for each… i assume like 16gb max

edit for some reason the picture disappeared… I’ll see if i can hunt it down elsewhere

I dont know if you have the money, but professional graphics workstations usually use server processors (preferably two) like the opteron or xeon and a graphics card designed for OpenGL (most gaming graphics cards focus more on DirectX). Personally, i think id rather have two of the computer you spec’d than one of these.


AMD Athalon 64 FX (Cheaper so spend more on RAM),,30_118_9485_9488,00.html


Graphics card: ATI 9800 128MB ALL-IN-WONDER (its my personal fav)

Though Xeon are nice (expensive) get 1 GB ethernet and a 1GB etherent storage device (server, harddrive…) and you’ll have the speeds.

may I reccomend a case:

Personally, I would not buy a 64-bit chip at this time. Another year will pass by the time these chips are finally mainstream, and right now they will not offer a huge increase in performance. Go with an Athlon XP chip - you can get a lot more power for your money.

Autodesk products work best when connected to standard hardware. Stay with the Intel procs and put some money into video card(& video ram) and RAM. Memeory is cheap now (not so long ago $1/meg) so load up what you can. Dual procs may be unsupported for some of the stuff you want to do. If you can swing it, a dual motherboard with a single proc right now may be a better way to go. Check the Autodesk site for recommendations on system requirements.

I haven’t seen it mentioned here yet, but if you’re really on that tight of a budget, you definitely need to tone down your video card there. I know you think it’s highly necessary and all, but honestly, you just don’t need that much graphics processing power unless you’ve got an incredibly complicated scene you’re trying to preview with full textures on at full speed, etc, etc. Save yourself a couple hundred bucks and just go with a 9800Pro or something. Or better yet, get a 9800Pro All-In-Wonder so you can capture video if you need to, and still save a cool hundred.

I mean… unless this is just a convenient excuse to build a screaming box for UT2k4…

now I was just showing off the picture of the quad processor… I wasn’t even considering going multi processing

we do need our own computers though

our school refuses to giv our team admin access to the computer so getting the software on them is a pain in itself, not to mention the computers are a generation or two behind

obvisously if the grant doesn’t come through and I’m working with just the team’s general money I will tone the computer down… mist likely go down to 1 gig of ram and a less expensive vid card… I guess its just fun sometimes to surf newegg and build a dream machine

Could someone tell me what is the minimum you need to work with Autodesk and 3D Studio Max, thinking cost-wise? Also how much is needed to get the best(dont go to extreme, just for these two programs)? I am a bit confused, so place your opinions.

im not sure if it matters much but i figured i’d just throw it out there. you dont need to spend lots of cash on a machine to run inventor. on my (dont kill me) p4, HP pavilion, 512 RAM, i’ve been able to run inventor with not a single problem. given i havent tried MASSIVE tasks with it, it runs projects just fine. now if you’re looking to run BOTH inventor and 3ds max at the same time (or just power hungry) then feel free to do what you want. i would beef mine up a bit depending on the project but not a whole lot (just RAM and video card…im using my on board nvidia to run inventor and a couple high demanding games [ORB, Neverwinter Nights, etc.]).

You could easily spend 5-600 dollars (no monitor) and run them pretty comfortably. To run them at pretty much peak performance, think upwards of 1100. Then to really run them, a system like this guy speced, at 1500. As you pay more and more, the increase in performance is less and less. Basically, when i buy tech stuff, i try to get stuff that is just over the first big bump in performance. After that, you are just spending your money on getting newer stuff. Personally, i dont think you should ever buy anything close to top of the line. You can always run any software on middling computers, you just need to upgrade more often, but it still comes out cheaper if you stay away from top end stuff.

If you are looking for a good cost/performance system - i’d say go with following:
Intel P4 2.6 or 2.8ghz (those are getting pretty cheap now). They perform on par or better than athlon64 3000+ at rendering while costing less, and they have hyperthreading which is really a big plus if you are running two application side by side. I also noticed that hyperthreading allows you to launch two rendering jobs in 3dsmax at the same time with very little speed loss for each one, nearly doubling the effective rendering speed.
1gb pc3200 ram (512 is really okay too, but 1 gb is worth it in many cases)
video: radeon 9600pro or even a geforce ti4200. There is no sense in paying $300+ for a video card when performance difference mostly shows up only in games. Plus, its not like you are going to use AA or AF in 3dstudio.

This is by no means a minimum system, or even a low end one for 3d studio or inventor, but it costs about half of what high end systems do, with maybe only 20-30% performance loss.

um, limits on ram is set by the motherboard and chipset, not the processor. i think PII chips could have something ridiculous like a lot of GB, off the top of my head i think it clears 20GB, not too sure.,…covered it in my A+ class at school…

as for what kind of cpu and rig you want. i would suggest that you dont worry too much about just upgrading the RAM, or vid card, or processor. spread it around if you want to. as for the cpu itself, if you are on a budget, you can often get a cheaper celeron processor, then add some L3 cache to make up for the difference. not sure what cards are best for rendering since i havent done the animation team for quite some time, but just spread things around for this new PC, and you should be fine…

I’ll avoid repeating things that have already been said, but I’ll offer you a comparison between two computers that I have running inventor which serves a useful purpose.

One of them is a (roughly) 1.5 gHz P4, nice Ti-4200 GeForce grfx card, along with 512 mb ram. Another is a (roughly) 2.0 gHz P4, some 128meg (I think)ATI card, 768MB ram, but the hard drive was completely full. The 1.5gig ran inventor much much smoother, and I’m not certain, but I’m quite sure that Inventor uses a paging file of some size on your hard disk and benefits from an uncluttered drive. Although this is not the main concern, it might help you to consider clearing your hard disk as well as these other things… defragging each week won’t hurt. Aside from that, I do recommend a good graphics card, but I can’t honestly say I know that it will make a difference. As far as AMD versus Pentium, I’ve gone Pentium in the past, but don’t ask me.