Powerful computer

what specs of a computer are considered powerful and fast for running autodesk inventor smoothley and fast? i mean: processor, RAM, Graphic card etc.

Are you looking for a laptop or a desktop? Is inventor the only program you’ll be running on it or will you be using the C++ development environment on it as well (it makes a difference on the 32 vs 64-bit thing)?

In general, Inventor 2012 will run on Windows 7 home premium with either 32 or 64-bit processors. If you’re planning on doing small models, then you’ll need 2+ GBs RAM and a DirectX 9 or 10 enabled video card.

If you’re doing large models, then they recommend 8+ GBs of RAM, a 64-bit processor, high resolution screen (I’d just go with 1920x1080 aka full HD) and a CAD class video card. This means one of the Nvidia Quadro or GeForce GT 525M or similar graphics chips. I believe that some of Autodesk’s products understand Nvidia’s CUDA GPU acceleration. That could give you 2-4X rendering acceleration which is nothing to sneeze at.

How much were you willing to spend on the platform? Do you have any biases against particular vendors? Some answers to these questions and I can point you to a particular machine that would fit your criteria as well as possible.

Well, I would guess that the specs for such a computer are listed in the Autodesk Inventor System Requirements

I have used inventor on pentium D’s and core 2 duos without feeling it was lacking. I have found the biggest speed improvements for inventor come from RAM, you want 4 at the least, probably 8GB.

Graphics cards can help accelerate too, even gaming ones add a bit of acceleration though not nearly to the degree of professional/workstation ones.

I have almost no lag on my current computer which is 6 gigs of ram, core2duo 2.16, Nvidia 9800gtx. As far as I can tell, the GPU doesn’t make a whole lot of difference unless you have one designed specifically for CAD. I would say that you need lots of fast ram, and a good Front side bus speed to work with CAD. if you are going to be doing a lot of animations or renders, then the CPU needs to be beefier.

GPU’s are often overlooked when making a decent CAD computer. I’d take a mediocre cpu/mobo/ram and nice gpu over the inverse.

Also, most geforces can be softmodded to quadros. Done it for a few of the team computers.

Adam,
whenever you’re ready to move to Hawaii, let me know.
Help us out and I’ll get you all the equipment you want! :wink:

Glenn, Hawaii sounds like a great option, still have to finish school first though! What happens after that is still up in the air.

That’s not really a fair argument, as rendering is a completely different process and isn’t affected by the computer’s ability to push pixels to the screen. A slow GPU can make even a very high end computer a pain to CAD on as it’s constantly struggling to keep up with you rotating, zooming in, etc…

You can get the most bang for your buck by getting the most powerful CAD specific graphics card in your price range and a healthy amount of RAM. Spending extra on the processor will probably provide less performance per dollar.

This summer I put together a computer specifically to work on Inventor models at home and have been very happy with it. I was looking for good value, and this is the meat of what I ended up buying:

ATI FirePro V4800 ($160)
AMD Phenom II x4 965 3.4 GHz ($130)
BIOSTAR A870U3 motherboard ($65)
8 Gb RAM (G Skill model F3-10666CL9D-8GBRL) ($55)

I have been very pleased with the build. It has no problems with robot assemblies with hundreds of parts, and its frame rate is really nice with smaller stuff. It is also at least decent while running the most complex assemblies I’ve created or the ones you can download courtesy of teams 148/228/973/etc. It doesn’t run those larger assemblies at a sick frame rate or anything, but I’m also not waiting around for it to zoom or rotate (or restart from a crash) like I was on my old computer.

The processor could have been any number of other chips - I picked this one because I liked the performance vs price. I thought about spending twice as much on a Core i5, but now I’m glad I didn’t. It is important to note that Inventor makes very little use of multiple processors, although I suppose that could change in future versions. And I like having spreadsheets and browsers open while I play with Inventor.

When you research video cards for Inventor, you will quickly identify the ATI FirePro line and the nVidia Quadro line. There is a price jump from $160 to $400 in each company’s product line, ignoring older models. Both of the $160 cards can handle my most complex models pretty nicely.

If you are interested in a pre-built computer, you will want to be careful. You will pay a little extra for the convenience of having HP build it, of course. A bunch of workstation builds have weirdly chosen components, with unimpressive graphics card on the low end and pointlessly expensive processors on the high end. Our school just bought a handful of HP workstations with Core i5 processors, 4 GB RAM, and Quadro 600, and that particular workstation is about the most balanced build I can find if you want a decent amount of power for under $1000. I opened up a complicated robot assembly on one of them, and it ran nicely. I don’t know the model number of that workstation, but you can search it up for something like $700-800. HP doesn’t sell any low-mid models with 8 gigs of ram, but you can get the extra 4 GB for $30 if desired.

Happy shopping!

My response was based on the fact that he asked about inventor, presumably for conventional CAD design and not rendering.

Do I get to be the first to talk about your ‘L’ level cash for your CPU? (better performance is had on CPU’s with higher L1,L2 and L3 Cache[particularly L1 level]).

Yalib, it sounds like you are just getting started with inventor. May I recommend that you get your foot in the door before you build a high end computer. If your desktop/laptop meets the minimum requirements download inventor and start to play with it. If you notice a lag in commands, menus, and selecting you likely need more RAM then what you have. If you notice items lags/issues with graphics, you likely need a graphics card with a) dedicated memory b) a higher speed processor. Your CPU is not likely an issue. At inventors minimum specs, your L level cache is more an issue then your CPU processing speed(L level is basically where binary commands about to be processed get stored on the CPU).

if you have to by a computer, listen to the good advice on the thread. Let me add get a desktop computer with a motherboard with alot of expansion room. Your computer will be able to last longer, and you can upgrade the insufficient parts easily. These will have 16ish PCI express slots, no on board graphic capabilities, 4 memory slots.

Yeah, what I usually recommend to students who have a desktop at home that is mediocre, but no (or no decent) gpu, is to pick up a decent used quadro on ebay for $50 or so. They’re often amazed at the difference that makes for them. Down the road if they want a nicer computer, building is discussed.

Adam, how do you softmod a GeForce into a Quadro? I personally have ATI so I can’t test it yet, but we are looking into an upgrade or two so it would be real useful if you could give me a tutorial.

There are lots of good guides you can google. The key thing is to figure out which quadro your geforce equates to. If it doesn’t have an equivalent, I believe you’re out of luck and can’t mod it. It’s interesting to see the difference in price between them.

Granted softmodded quadros have less VRAM than the actual quadros but half the difference is the software.

I wanna say 8800GT, 8800GTS and 260GTX’s are pretty common to softmod and all older and thus cheaper.

I haven’t done any heavy CAD modeling on my new build yet, but in general I’ve been very happy with my Core i5 2500K overclocked to 3.8 GHz. I have DDR3 1866 RAM. With this combo and a good hard drive you hardly have to wait for much of anything. It is still usable even under 100% load on Prime95. Add solid state caching or a dedicated solid state drive and you’d really be flying. Additionally, the integrated Intel HD Graphics 3000 is not that bad really for being integrated. I run dual monitors and so far even with HD video on one and Inventor on the other (no giant assemblies yet) it seems to work alright. Whether or not it still would for an entire FRC robot remains to be seen. I purposely went this route on my new system, with a Z68 motherboard to save cost and avoid purchasing a video card until I determine I need it. So far I have not. You would probably be fine with a CPU from AMD at about half the cost, but I wanted to have close to the best available CPU at the time for the budget I set. There are often a lot of great deals on AMD processors and/or motherboard combos.

One other thing to consider is having the OS and programs on one hard drive, and all files and storage on another. This will avoid the hard drive read/write speed bottleneck when moving large volumes of files.

If I had two drives, one for programs and OS and one for file storage, would I have to set the separation in the OS? If so, how would I do so?

About getting video cards, there was a booth at the 2011 Arizona regional giving out NVIDIA graphics cards, one per team. I believe that we got a GTX 480. If you decide that you don’t want to use an Intel graphics system, or can wait, then look for the booth next regional.

The simplest way to do it is to just select the hard drive you want for your OS and install your OS. Then install a second hard drive later.
I have to imagine there is a fancier way to do this, but when you install the OS it will create its folders on that drive and the OS doesnt want to move any of those.

Adam, do you have any advice on specific models to softmod?

It seems to be typically done with Rivatuner,

When I was looking to see if it was feasible for my card I noticed this site came up a lot http://www.techarp.com/showarticle.aspx?artno=539