This. A lot of people seem to over look the clock speed, especially when the processor is multi-core. Most inventor functions don’t actually use more than a single processor core, so it makes much more sense to go with the faster clock.
The computer I’m sitting at right now (work) has the following specs:
- Intel i7 Processor @ 3.4GHz
- 8GB Ram
- AMD Radeon HD 6450 GPU
- Windows 7
- 500GB Hard Drive (I think)
My personal computer has specs along the lines of:
- Intel i7 Processor @2.7GHz (I think)
- 8GB Ram
- Nvidia GT640m GPU
- Windows 7
- 750GB Hard Drive
Neither of these machines has a problem running AutoCAD/Inventor/ProE (WF4). Things like Autodesk Showcase and certain Simulation Features in Inventor have a tendency to lock the computer up for a while, but much of that should be outside of the FRC realm - at least initially.
I bought my younger brother a computer for X-Mas last year, and it was a decently spec-ed windows 8 machine with internal graphics (Intel HD4000?) and has little problems running Inventor, although he’s never done anything (to my knowledge) outside of basic part and assembly work.
If you’re looking for a computer that you won’t ‘grow out of’ after a year or two (I had this problem until buying my current PC) look for something that’s spec-ed a bit on the higher end. 3GHz or better processor, 8GB of ram (with the capacity to upgrade), a good external graphics card, etc. This should keep you going for at least two or three years before it’ll be too slow for the new software, assuming Inventor keeps progressing at the same rate.
Also, it’s worth mentioning that whatever PC you buy for CAD needs* a number pad. I’ve tried to do ‘real’ CAD work on a computer without one, and it’s a night mare. It’s probably worth springing for a good wireless mouse with the computer aswell, CAD-ing from a track pad is possible, but it’s something that I try to do as a last resort (I.E. while on an airplane).
*Not having a number pad isn’t the end of the world, but if you’re used to CAD-ing with a number pad, not having one will get annoying after about 20 minutes.