CAD Station Dead: Advice needed for repair or replacement
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  1. #1
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    Default CAD Station Dead: Advice needed for repair or replacement

    This is about 9 years old, built from scratch. Gigabyte UD3 board, Intel 2011-3820 CPU. Intel SSD and a pair of WD 320's for data.

    The only previous issue was a graphics card died 4-1/2 years ago. And I upgraded the original 120 SSD with a 240.

    It was spontaneously shutting down for a couple weeks. I thought maybe a glitch in Solidworks, because it was always a mouse click in the window that did it. But that was what I was mostly using. I later noticed it did it in Firefox and an open screen. It would occasionally restart itself. Never an issue once it came back up. We had some rolling blackouts after that started.

    And now it's dead. It will boot to the splash screen, but I can't get into the Bios. I'm using an old PS-2 keyboard for that. It eventually goes to a blinking cursor. I've tried all the online stuff I could stand to read, pulling the CMOS battery for 24 hours and shorting the CLR-BIOS pins to wipe it. Can't get anywhere.

    So, repair or replace? At some point I'll be merging office and shop (now remote), and possibly run a virtual desktop at the machines to avoid license hassles with SW. Surfcam is currently on a dongle, but that too shall pass I think.

    So real questions: What are the odds, if it's the motherboard that's bad, that it's damaged the CPU? Conversely, if the CPU is bad, is there a chance it could wipe out a new MB? It would suck to end up buying 2 MB's and a processor. The hardware is at least still available though.

    If I go new, what are sort of the current upper midrange standards for CPU's? The 2011 went to a v3, which isn't compatible. There's all sorts of 10 and 12 core CPU's (for gamers I guess), which I don't need. And I'm over 60 so flashy crap turns me off from the start ;-)

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    you answered your own question when you stated it was 9 YEAR OLD!

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    Yeah, no kidding. The one at the shop is even older. I can buy a new MB. Not too bad on price if I don't mind shipped from C****. A couple hunnert more from the US for the same thing. I'd rather not go used or refurb.

    So what are others buying for CAD stations these days? Any searching I do for rec's brings up gaming crap.

    As for performance, SW minimum shows I'm still within range with this old clunker.

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    When I have computers that warn me they're getting sick, I pay attention to them and administer help. Backup the drives to 'something' anything.
    I'd say it's time to build a new computer. VM ware might be good too.

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    Is the cpu fan running? These die and take out the chip or make it act wacky.
    Has a new power supply been tried? A gone bad graphics card can also do what you are seeing.
    9 years old seems very, very short.
    Bob

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    Assuming your hd's are still running, get a HP Z800 from newegg, their old now, but still rock solid machines.

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    Try looking for workstations. They usually have Quadro graphics cards which are more geared to CAD/CAM than gaming

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    Default CAD Station Dead: Advice needed for repair or replacement

    Quote Originally Posted by Hardplates View Post
    Try looking for workstations. They usually have Quadro graphics cards which are more geared to CAD/CAM than gaming
    While I agree... A relatively modest "gaming" computer will do a good job. If your business relies on CAD/CAM, spending $1000 every 3 years to keep hundreds of $K machines fed with programs to run seems like a no-brainier. You can literally just buy whatever $1000 gaming computer iBuyPower is selling and not worry about the specs. Upgrade this stuff before it becomes a problem and spend your time on more useful things. Just my $.02.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wesg View Post
    This is about 9 years old, built from scratch. Gigabyte UD3 board, Intel 2011-3820 CPU. Intel SSD and a pair of WD 320's for data.

    The only previous issue was a graphics card died 4-1/2 years ago. And I upgraded the original 120 SSD with a 240.

    It was spontaneously shutting down for a couple weeks. I thought maybe a glitch in Solidworks, because it was always a mouse click in the window that did it. But that was what I was mostly using. I later noticed it did it in Firefox and an open screen. It would occasionally restart itself. Never an issue once it came back up. We had some rolling blackouts after that started.

    And now it's dead. It will boot to the splash screen, but I can't get into the Bios. I'm using an old PS-2 keyboard for that. It eventually goes to a blinking cursor. I've tried all the online stuff I could stand to read, pulling the CMOS battery for 24 hours and shorting the CLR-BIOS pins to wipe it. Can't get anywhere.

    So, repair or replace? At some point I'll be merging office and shop (now remote), and possibly run a virtual desktop at the machines to avoid license hassles with SW. Surfcam is currently on a dongle, but that too shall pass I think.

    So real questions: What are the odds, if it's the motherboard that's bad, that it's damaged the CPU? Conversely, if the CPU is bad, is there a chance it could wipe out a new MB? It would suck to end up buying 2 MB's and a processor. The hardware is at least still available though.

    If I go new, what are sort of the current upper midrange standards for CPU's? The 2011 went to a v3, which isn't compatible. There's all sorts of 10 and 12 core CPU's (for gamers I guess), which I don't need. And I'm over 60 so flashy crap turns me off from the start ;-)
    Save yourself the headache and replace it.
    What is your work like? This will determine how much you need to spend on a new one.
    But for a halfway decent computer that will do 95% of things that aren't heavily 3D, you're looking at around $800 minimum.
    Building one yourself is obviously the best route if you can.
    If you're just doing 2D stuff you can easily get by with a GTX 1060 Ti video card and if you can find one, an i7 7700k cpu.
    700w Bronze rated or better power supply (do not skimp on this one!)
    16GB Ram minimum and get fast ram, not the basic 2444 crap.
    And of course the SSD which are a dime a dozen nowadays, I prefer the Samsung 850 Evo or similar.

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    I replaced the PS with a Corsair 650 Bronze. Shorting the pins fired up the old one (Corsair 600), so I think it's still good, but the PC wouldn't do anything until I pulled the CMOS battery. As said, splash screen but no entry into bios. Graphics could be bad, just feeding VGA thru to the monitor? Might be able to plug that into one of the kids gaming boxes, but if anything went wrong they'd completely freak without Minecrap. At the least, the whining would make me put a gun to my head ;-)

    I'm running Solidworks and Surfcam (almost always on the shop computer). 3D work, reasonably large assy's, couple hundred parts at most, usually fasteners that stay suppressed most of the time. No free form modeling, yet. No rendering.

    My first PC's were Dells, starting around '02. Both had minor issues here and there, and I was never satisfied with the graphics performance, so I built the shop PC as a just for fun project. Mid range machine, IMO, but it put the 'workstation' I had at google to shame. It was the office (home) machine until the shop Dell was giving me more trouble than I was willing to deal with, and I built this one for home and put the 'old' one down there. Just had to add a serial card for the Fadal. It's still going strong, but it gets used FAR less.

    I found a refurb(?)/used, 'tested 100% good' replacement of the same board for $200. Figured it's worth the gamble, and I really need the thing running fairly soon. But I'm gonna start planning for a new build, and this will take the pressure off as long as it works for 6 months ... or even 2.

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    In that case I'd be looking at a Quadro P4000 as a card. Nice and fairly cheap mid-range Quadro.
    Cheap as far as Quadro prices go anyway I think their top of the line card goes for $6k?

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    A gone bad graphics card will look like a motherboard/Cpu failure.
    Outside of power supplies and above cpu cooling this my biggest failure in the chain.
    Used PCs are cheap and other side I have 486s and lower that still run with 24/7 power applied but they did need fans and power supplies.
    This must be all confusing on advice.
    Bob

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    Not confusing at all, and greatly appreciated. I was just thinking of whether there's tach feedback from the cpu fan. It does run ... yes, and it won't start if the signal is low or absent. But it seems as though it wouldn't go to the splash screen. Maybe.

    I gotta see what else I can scrounge up here that won't ruin someone else's day.

    Update: One of the older boys has a graphics card he upgraded from. He said it worked when he pulled it.

    *** It didn't put anything on the screen in mine. It's a geforce and I've got an nvidia. I can't think of any reason it would matter for booting to bios. ***

    Correction: I didn't have power connected to the graphics card. Duh. Never seen that before. It now does the same as mine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mtndew View Post
    In that case I'd be looking at a Quadro P4000 as a card. Nice and fairly cheap mid-range Quadro.
    Cheap as far as Quadro prices go anyway I think their top of the line card goes for $6k?
    You're off by half.

    NVIDIA Quadro GV100, 32GB , 4 DP DP-DVI-I, (Precision) (Customer KIT) | Dell USA

    !!

    Hmm, linky no work fo some reason. Anyhow, just saw one for $11,999

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    Surfcam? If I was your computer I would not want to run that shit anymore, either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by corona virus View Post
    surfcam? If i was your computer i would not want to run that shit anymore, either.
    it's better shit than masterscam!

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    Yeah, yeah, yeah ... they were the only one with a local reseller I could pester. And then they closed up ...

    So, it's back up. The used MB fired right up, I chose default bios, and it went to the 'windows closed wrong' screen. Huh? Where's the bios crap? Start windows normally, safe, ??? Uh, what does normal do? Takes me to my login screen, and my desktop comes up normally. That makes sense I guess, *EVERYBODY* puts their boot drive on 'C', right? There just weren't any 'D' drives or DVD drive, although they showed in device manager.

    Back to the delete key at startup and it went right into the bios page. All I had to do was select 'RAID' for the D drives and I was done. It didn't even ask what type, I guess it already knew from how they were formatted.

    Anyway, I'm relieved, and planning a backup onto my external drive.

    Thanks for the suggestions, and advice for the future.

    And now backed up on an external drive. 108G in a little under an hour with a USB3 port. A lot of garbage in there I'd forgotten about ...
    Last edited by wesg; 03-03-2021 at 10:12 PM.

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