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Thread: Computer specification guidance, running Autodesk Civil products

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    Question Computer specification guidance, running Autodesk Civil products

    Our IT department has some standard computers that they buy for our whole company. Would it be possible for someone with more knowledge than me to look this over and give it a blessing or other recommendations of upgrades (w/reasoning)?

    E-4500D
    System Quote
    Part Number: 1008486
    Operating System: Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional Edition (SP2)
    Operating System Software Backup Media: Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional (SP2) Backup CD
    Drivers Backup Media: E-4500 Drivers and Application Backup Media
    Anti Virus Software: Norton Internet Security 90 day introductory offer
    Manageability Software: Gateway System Manager
    Processor: Intel® Pentium® 4 Processor 640 with HT Technology (3.20GHz, 800MHz FSB, 2MB L2 cache)
    Chipset: Intel® 945G Chipset with DDR 2 Support
    Trusted Platform Module: Embedded security chip for user authentication and data protection (version 1.2 ready)
    Memory: 1GB DDR2 Dual Channel 533MHz SDRAM (2-DIMMs)
    Hard Drive: 40GB Serial ATA150 7200rpm hard drive w/ 2MB cache
    Controller Card: Integrated Ultra ATA100 and Serial ATA II/300 controllers
    Floppy and/or IOMEGA Drive: 3.5" 1.44MB diskette drive
    Optical Drive: 48x/32x/48x CD-RW/DVD combo drive
    Case: 6-bay micro-BTX mid-tower case w/ front audio ports and 305-watt power supply
    Expansion Slots: 1 PCI-E x 16 (available for graphics card option), 1 PCI-E x 1, and 2 full height PCI slots
    External Ports: (6) USB 2.0 (2 in front and 4 in back), (1) Serial, (1) Parallel, (2) PS/2, (1) RJ-45 Integrated LAN, (1) VGA, (1) Microphone, front audio ports
    Certification: Energy Star Compliant
    Video: DVI Adapter (PCIe x 16 ADD2 Card) Works with Integrated Graphics to Provide DVI Out
    Keyboard: Gateway 104+ Keyboard (PS/2)
    Mouse: Gateway 2-Button USB Optical Wheel Mouse and mouse pad
    Sound System: Integrated Sound Blaster compatible audio
    Speakers: External speakers not selected
    Network Adapter: Integrated Broadcom 10/100/1000 Twisted Pair Ethernet

    We will be using Civil 3D, Raster Design, LDT 2006, Map 3D, Survey 2006 as our CAD software.

    Thank you in advance for this information!
    Mike

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    Default Re: Computer specification guidance, running Autodesk Civil products

    Looks like a pretty good system, but I would recommend getting a bigger hard drive, say 80 GB.

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    Default Re: Computer specification guidance, running Autodesk Civil products

    Ditto on the hard drive, but I would go further and specify 72gb WD Raptors. The 10000 rpm drives gave us a very significant performance boost and lent considerable stability to Civil 3D. I would also go with a MINIMUM of 2gb memory if you use Civil 3D

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    Default Re: Computer specification guidance, running Autodesk Civil products

    I would recommend 2G of ram if you are using Civil3D much.
    Also I wouldn't use the embedded video, Buy a 2-300 dollar video card, one that supports dual monitors, which are fast becoming a necessity.

    John Postlewait
    IS Department
    George Butler Associates, Inc.

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    Default Re: Computer specification guidance, running Autodesk Civil products

    I agree w/ the above - You need an add-in video card to make this a proper workstation. Find out what your maximum budget is for these workstations, and then use the difference between that and the current cost to buy a video card.

    When it comes to workstations, you can spend from $200 to $1500 for a video card, so buy as much capability as you can, especially if you do a lot of 3D work.

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    Default Re: Computer specification guidance, running Autodesk Civil products

    Quote Originally Posted by srsherrill

    Ditto on the hard drive, but I would go further and specify 72gb WD Raptors. The 10000 rpm drives gave us a very significant performance boost and lent considerable stability to Civil 3D.
    May I ask, are you linked up to a server, or is this purely for working off one's own machine?

    I would appreciate it if you could clarify, as I've heard that using a 10K / 15 HDD doesn't make much difference if you're working over a network, as you're limited by the server's read and write speeds, as well as the integrity of the network cards and cabling, and in this instance the boost will be minimal.

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    Default Re: Computer specification guidance, running Autodesk Civil products

    We are linked to a server for data, but the program files and swap files are local. Our testing was done using Civil 3D which keeps much more of the information in the drawing file as opposed to LDT that keeps much of the project data in an outside database structure.
    Before changing to these drives, we were plagued with apparent program hangs and locked up drawings. These incidents have almost vanished and when there is a serious delay the drawing almost always returns to the command line within 1 - 2 minutes.
    We tried using a second hard drive exclusively for swap space, setting very high virtual memory numbers, RAID array, SATA drives and even SATA in RAID without really making any impact on these issues until we tried the Raptors. They are now a standard part of our machine specs along with minimum 2gb memory.

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    Default Re: Computer specification guidance, running Autodesk Civil products

    That's very interesting. Thank you.

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    Default Re: Computer specification guidance, running Autodesk Civil products

    Thanks everyone for your input. I will propose this to my IT department and see where it gets me.

    Again thanks for your time,
    Mike

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