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  1. #1
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    Default Computer specs for cad/cam

    I am thinking of adding some limited cnc capability to my small farm workshop. I figgered the first step was to learn how to operate the software(no use having a machine that I can't operate) after downloading a cad program I found it wouldn't work on my 10 year old computer. So I made some enquiries at a couple of computer retailers and one place told me that a $400 laptop would do everything I need and the next said nothing less than this $6500 one would run cad cam. I left thinking the first didn't know what he was talking about and the second taught I had sucker written on my forehead. I haven't had much to do with computers in the last 10 or so years I have realised that I am so far out of date I don't know what is required. I would be most grateful if someone could point me in the right direction as far as specifications for a computer capable of running cad cam programs stabily.

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    I swear by the EliteBook w series in the shop. It is huge for a laptop, battery life sucks, but built for in the field/shop use. Has workstation graphics, even old, is far better than gaming graphics cards. The Quadro's card are better with acad, the firepros better with open gl cad.
    HP Elitebook 8770W i5-3320M 2.6GHZ 8GB 128GB SSD Windows 10 887111581853 | eBay
    sub 400 too.

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    Mostly likely you were quoted a workstation CAD orientated card like a Quadro or FirePro (of several varieties).

    These cards can be had from a couple hundred dollars to several thousand. Even a modest Quadro/FirePro will destroy a top tier gaming card by multiples to orders of magnitude better performance in CAD. CAM is not GPU dependant but instead CPU.

    Single thread performance will be more important than the number of cores as one core can only do a toolpath’s generation (one core cannot jump ahead because it does not know where it was previously with the other core) however multiple cores will allow better Pc performance and multitasking and improved simultaneous (different) toolpath generation.

    Don’t skimp on ram either, 16-32gb would be future proof and is not that expensive any more.

    A good PC would be a modern mid tier enthusiast build with a older model Quadro replacing the gaming card.

    -Intel I7/I9 current generation processor
    -Quadro P or K2000
    -SSD for CADCAM and OS
    -HDD for build storage (4-8tb is affordable today)
    -32gb ram
    -64 bit windows OS

    If you build it yourself you could be in under 1500-2000, depending on the GPU of choice.

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    A laptop that runs CAD well will be expensive. Desktop will save you money.

    I've had good luck buying used Dell Optiplexes on eBay. You can get an i7 box for around $150. Replace the graphics card and max the ram and you have a decent CAD workstation for $400 or so bucks.

    That is what I have sitting in my shop running Fusion 360. It's not the fastest but it gets the job done and I think it would be a decent rig to learn on without breaking the bank.

    Teryk

    Sent from my XT1710-02 using Tapatalk

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    just remember that Fusion360 uses DirectX, so no need for pro graphics cards, gaming ones will actually work better since they are optimized for DirectX and Quadro/Firepro are not, in case you go for a used box, and upgrade to Windows X, then it might be a good idea to check if the video card has recent version of drivers to work well in WinX, if not, get a new one

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    Quote Originally Posted by jz79 View Post
    just remember that Fusion360 uses DirectX, so no need for pro graphics cards, gaming ones will actually work better since they are optimized for DirectX and Quadro/Firepro are not, in case you go for a used box, and upgrade to Windows X, then it might be a good idea to check if the video card has recent version of drivers to work well in WinX, if not, get a new one
    This/\ /\
    I have a Lenovo all-in-one desk top. It was brutally slow. From memory, specs are similar, Iíll look later.
    Find your neighborhood gamer.
    Not the pimply face 15 yr old in moms basement, the 23 yr old engineering grad standing in the condom isle at CVS with an embarrassed look on his face.
    .
    Gamers with a job are crazy , the only thing more important than gaming to these guys, is the elusive first lay.
    .
    They spend all their money on the fastest machines possible and upgrade all the time.
    The old ones end up in closets and stack up like cordwood in the corners.
    .
    They donít eat ,sleep or drink anything but Monsters and energy drink. If you can get one to focus for the 2 minutes it takes to hand him $500, do so and grab the pc on top of the pile, it will be the newest.

    Obviously Iím having fun here, but I got my Cad machine from a gamer kid at work, his cast off, it cranks, $500 bucks. Was like $3000 a year or two back just for the tower and guts no monitor, keyboard etc. He had scavenged the Ram and the hard drive. The $500 included a new 512g SSD and 16g Ram and and windows 10 something.







    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

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    I have a hp omen 15", goes for about 1k...does everything I need with mastercam and my other 3d cad software.

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    If you want a laptop, Thinkpad W series are cheap used and do well (at least running Solidworks and Fusion, which is my experience). If you can afford a new P series, go for it.

    If you want a desktop, a dedicated graphics card and a decent processor will probably do you for a while. The biggest factor is always going to be assembly size, from a CAD horsepower standpoint.

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    I use Fusion 360 and this https://www.amazon.com/MSI-GP63041-L...gateway&sr=8-1 computer, although I paid $1000 for it at microcenter. I,ve been very happy with it for the price.

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    Simple parts and no large assemblies with funky mates and motion in it, I think any mid range non junk machine will do it. Don't have a lot of experience running CAM software, but for me with 20-50 piece assemblies a midrange laptop works alright for my occasional use.

    Biggest help you can put on a modern computer is going to be a SSD and get rid of the platter drive, makes a world of difference on any machine you change over. Obviously better graphics, more RAM, and faster chip is going to help but it isn't necessary for the occasional use of drawing up a simple part. I'd swap a little graphics performance for large monitor(s) and my 3d mouse though.

    If your buying used, what was the top of the line a couple years ago, you won't be able to tell the difference on a fresh windows install vs a shiny new machine.

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    Learn through onshape. No need to buy a computer as it's browser based. If it takes solidworks has recommendations on their site for specs. I like thinkpads or building my own.

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    I actually just picked up 3 computers to repurpose for cad/cam to sell at budget prices to guys like us. I was recently approved to work from home and also realized even my 4 year old $800 desktop pc couldnít handle hardware requirements for mastercam and solidworks.

    Itís actually surprisingly how easy it is to build your own computer without much knowledge. I bought a hp elitedesk with an i7 for $150 for a parts computer to be gutted and thrown into a new case. Added quadro m2000 graphics card $100, 16gb ram 50$, 500gb ssd 75$, and whatever free misc parts from my other pc to complete the setup.

    $375 computer that runs better than my work pc. Which is actually very annoying considering my work pc is probably a $5k+ computer but our IT guy is a lazy slob and wonít see why itís slow.

    Do your own research and piece together a workstation setup. Itís worth the effort and cost savings for sure.

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    I fully understand going the budget route and cobbling something together. But that can take a bit of time and scrounging for parts.

    Sometimes it's nice to just bite the bullet and buy a new machine. Costco currently has a Lenovo laptop, eighth gen i7 processor, 500GB solid state drive, nVidia 2GB graphics card, 15.6" touch screen and 2 year warranty through Costco for $700. 90 day, no questions asked return policy.

    I bought one a week ago to have as a spare computer, nice machine.

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    I just built a 100% dedicated CAD/CAM desktop for $1600.77
    i7-9700k Processor 3.6ghz 8 Core
    32GB Ram
    4GB Quadro Video Card
    M.2 SSD Drive (its speed makes a regular SSD look like a dinosaur)

    I am 110% satisfied with it, zero problems with CAD and CAM, probably the best money I have ever spent.
    The time it takes to process CAM operations is amazing, I no longer regret when I have a large part and change the parameters on the roughing hog out.

    Keep in mind CAD/CAM has different requirements than gaming etc... you can spend $5k on a gaming computer and might not be sufficient.
    Do some research on what your CAD/CAM wants, many don't support multi threading etc., and CAD/CAM wants different video cards than gaming.
    Most store bought computers aren't the best bang for your buck for CAD/CAM, thats why I decided to build my own, and have everything optimized for what I will be using it for. This was the first computer I ever built, and honestly took me less than 2hrs to have an up and running computer.

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    Insert, thanks for posting.

    What you've built appears to be the ultimate machine which I'm interested in for photo processing to build 3D models. The process is very computation intensive when you start with hundreds of digital images. I'd like to build a similar machine.

    Would you mind giving a little more info on how you started the process to decide on and accumulate the various components? You must have spent hours and hours researching sources for the best components along with the best pricing? Or, did you pretty much have a single source for all the needed components?

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    For expert technical advice, I suggest you contact Carey Holzman at Contact Us | Carey Holzman.

    The $125 I paid him for his advice was worth every penny.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yan Wo View Post
    For expert technical advice, I suggest you contact Carey Holzman at Contact Us | Carey Holzman.

    The $125 I paid him for his advice was worth every penny.
    Advice on what?

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    The "insert" post pretty much covers the tech specs.
    Use the biggest monitor You can afford, or 2.
    This makes You money.

    A Quadro card of some capacity, the fastest cheap processor you can find, the fastest ssd of reasonable cost.
    -- Add another ssd or hdds for storing stuff, if needed.

    1. Run 64 bit.
    2. Boot off a 32 gb or less partition.
    3. Never install software in your local language version of "\\program files".

    1. Boots in 15 secs or less.
    2. Similar to 1.
    Fast search.
    3. Endless reasons. Viri, dll crosslinks, reliability, and on and on ...

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