When considering the speed of a processer there are two factors to monitor which are the number of cores and the clock speed of the processor. The number of cores for the CPU affects its ability to multitask, especially when using heavy designing applications like ANSYS having few number of cores will definitely affect the performance of the CAD PC making it much slower therefore its recommended to have at least 4 cores.
According to the minimum specifications needed to run the latest versions of AutoCAD and Autodesk Inventor (2019), a 2.5-2.9 GHz processor is needed. However, to reach the recommended or the best performance a 3+ GHz processor must be available. As for ANSYS 19.2 the hexa-core Intel i7-8700K is recommended which has 6 cores and its clock speed is 3.2 GHz. The Intel Core i9-7980XE is also recommended to reach a better multitasking performance with a number of 18 cores/36 threads, 3.37 GHz clock speed, and an estimated price of $1900.
Considering the recommendation of intel core i9-7980XE and since it fits all the recommended specifications for AutoCAD, Autodesk Inventor and ANSYS, I chose to pick a CPU which will perform almost like intel core i9 but with a lower price.
I found AMD Ryzen 7 2700x to be the most compatible with the recommendations. It has 8 cores, 3.7 GHz speed, and has a 20MB combined cache memory that helps accelerate the speed of the data transmission process making the system more rapid to enable users to perform tasks faster.
I made a research about the factor which plays the biggest role in CPU’s performance when running graphical software. It turned out to be the clock speed rather than the number of cores that’s because current CAD software process their tasks on a single core. So basically having a big number of cores as the intel i9 core has is not primarily the reason behind its recommendation but its due to its clock speed. Therefore I chose AMD Ryzen 7 2700x that has higher clock speed but has less cores regarding its low price of $309.
Generating images and computer graphics are an essential part when it comes to high-designing software such as Autodesk Inventor, AutoCAD and ANSYS. Therefore, choosing a suitable graphics processing unit for the CAD PC is essential.
When choosing a graphics card, you should take into consideration its components starting from the GPU, the VRAM memory’s size and bandwidth, clock speed, power consumption, and most importantly its compatibility with the other hardware.
A video memory which is only committed for graphs is essential for the PC’s efficiency to avoid letting the GPU use the public RAM memory for graphics leading to a decrease in performance.
According to the software basic requirements for ANSYS, Autodesk Inventor and AutoCAD 2019 a 1 GB GPU with 29 GB/s bandwidth is needed to run the software such as Nvidia Quadro k420. Meanwhile the recommended is a 4GB GPU with a bandwidth of 106 GB/s. In addition, the software must be supported with an application programming interface (API) like directx11.
One of the hardware that is certified by the software providers is NVIDIA Quadro P3200 6 GB card, it has a GDDR5 memory with a bandwidth of 168 GB/s and a 1328 MHz GPU clock.
Knowing the basic, recommended and certified hardware specifications has helped to come up with a better estimate of which GPU to include in my PC. I chose the MSI- Radeon RX 580 8 GB GDDR5 card with a 1340 MHz clock rate and a price of $230.
The main reasons why I chose the AMD graphic card is because of its compatibility with the AMD Ryzen 7 2700x CPU and its high bandwidth that is 256 GB/s which almost equals twice the bandwidth of Nvidia Quadro p3200 at the same clock rate. Not to mention the extra 2gb VRAM the AMD card has. Also AMD Radeon cards offer the crossfire feature which will benefit the user in case if they wanted to increase the performance of the CAD PC by adding another GPU.
As mentioned above, the CPU is considered to be the “brain” of the computer to process data and produce outputs. When considering the processing speed of a computer you must not only acknowledge the CPU’s speed but also the storage size of the memory RAM, they work together with the other PC’s components to run the computer faster and smoothly when multitasking.
The bare minimum memory required for ANSYS, Inventor, and AutoCAD is 8 GB RAM, at least 4 GB per core to keep the software running. It’s recommended for AutoCAD and ANSYS to have a 16GB memory, and a 20GB RAM for Inventor with 8GB per core. It is mentioned that having a 32 GB RAM would help to reach the optimal performance of ANSYS software to create the desired designs. Depending on these requirements I chose Kingstone – Furry 8 GB DDR4-2666 memory.
When choosing a RAM memory, having a high frequency RAM is essential because the higher memory bandwidth the higher rate of which data is being transferred into the memory therefore higher speed, that’s why I picked a DDR4 memory rather than DDR3 because DDR5 operates at a voltage of 1.2 V with a frequency between 800-2133 MHz meanwhile DDR3 operates at 1.5 V with a lower frequency.
In addition, I took into consideration the compatibility of my choice of motherboard that’s because the number of memory slots on the motherboard limits the number of memory modules. According to my selection of the motherboard it has four 288-pin memory slots which is compatible with the 288-pin memory type I chose.
The reason why I picked an 8GB memory is due to its low price $58 and the flexibility that it offers for the user. Having 4 memory slots in my motherboard allows the user to add up to 4 Kingstone – Furry memories reaching a 32 GB RAM in the system.
4) Storage (Hard Drive)
The basic storage needed to install AutoCAD is 6 GB, and it’s 40 GB for installing Inventor. A 1 TB is recommended for students that use ANSYS for its installation too. Due to the usage of these software the user will need a big storage capacity that will save the huge graphical files and data.
When considering to choose the storage of the PC there are mainly two types of 87storage to select from, which are HDD and SDD. The main difference between HDD and SDD is the kind of way they use to store data and the kind of components each one of them consists of. HDDs contain moving parts meanwhile SDDs don’t have any moving parts and stores data on magnetic platters by using the flash memory method.
Due to the flash memory method used in SDDs data loss are unlikely to happen also makes reading and writing data much faster than HDDs. I could have chosen SDD as the only type of storage in my CAD PC but since it’s too money consuming I decided to have the 2 types of storage in my PC. I picked Samsung- 860 Evo 500GB 2.5” SSD ($83) and chose the store the operating system and the software you access frequently on it because of its fast data operating and less power consumption. Whereas my selection of an HDD is Seagate-NAS HDD 1 TB 3.5” ($79) will have the less frequently accessed data stored on. In total I have 1.5 TB storage with a price of ($162)
5) Networking Capabilities
6) Keyboard and Mouse
Having a comfortable and precise mouse plays a big role in the user’s experience that’s why I picked a wireless laser mouse which is the HP-x4000 mouse ($22). A laser mouse is more precise and sensitive than optimal mice due to using laser light to detect movement which I find to be important when using CAD designing software since they rely on precision. I also picked a wireless keyboard for more ease with a cheap price too. I chose the Logitech – k400 wireless slim keyboard ($20) that comes with a touchpad to add extra flexibility for the student’s desired way of usage.
Asus – VG245H is my monitor selection for my CAD PC. It has a display resolution of 1920 x 1080 which is the conventional resolution for AutoCAD. The minimum display resolution for Inventor is 1280 x 1024 therefore my selection fits the mentioned requirements. A high resolution displays of 3840 x 2160 was mentioned on Autodesk website yet since it is for a student use and the 4k screens are so expensive I chose to go with the suggested display instead of the high resolution display. Not to mention that the screen size 24” is relatively big and is optimal for using CAD software.
A motherboard is a printed circuit board which contains all the tools needed to allow different components that are slotted into to connect and communicate with each other thus choosing a motherboard which is compatible with the rest PC’s hardware is a necessity. I chose the MSI B350 TOMAHAWK motherboard since it’s compatible with the CPU, graphics card, and the memory’s modules. This motherboard supports DDR4 memory and has 288-pin DIMM which fit my chose of memory. It also supports DirectX12 which is the API that runs my and is crossfire supported. MSI B350 motherboard has the AM4 CPU socket which is compatible with my CPU.
9) Power Supply
To decide what power supply to choose, I have to consider the amount of power consumption my system consumes. My system total power consumption is 69W at its minimum performance and 320W at its maximum performance. According to my research this amount of wattages is estimated so its recommended to choose a power supply which has a higher amount of wattages. As a result, I chose EVGA-superNOVA G3 650 W 80+ Gold Certified Fully Modular ATX Power Supply ($60) which provides 650 W which is twice the max. power consumption of my system.
10) Cooling system
Since the power consumption of AMD Ryzen 7 2700x CPU is 105w and 185w for Radeon RX 580 8 GB a liquid cooling system will be the best fit for the system to maintain the temperature low inside. Corsair-H115i PRO 554 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler was my choice for the cooling system. I checked the type of sockets the Corsair system supports to make sure if it supports the AM4 CPU socket which is the socket type of my CPU and it turned out to be compatible.
11) System software and application software
As for the system software an operating system is essential to run the system. AutoCAD 2016 to 2019 supports Windows 7 up to Windows 10, 64 bit not 32. Autodesk Inventor 2019 is only supported by 64-bit windows 7″,8.1, and 10. ANSYS 19.2 is supported on 64-bit operating systems starting from 7″,8″,8.1 and windows 10.
The operating system that I find to be the most suitable for my system is the windows 10 home 64-bit operating system. I’m choosing windows 10 that’s because AutoCAD 2019 high resolution display is supported by windows 10, 64 bit but windows 7 till windows 9 they don’t support Resolutions up to 3840 x 2160.
Windows 10 64-bit supports AutoCAD, Inventor, and ANSYS latest versions and are all considered to be heavy applications, a 64-bit operating system will support more RAM therefore boost the PC’s performance. Also, windows 10 is the latest version of windows operating systems that contains all the new upgrades that secures a faster and safer performance. It also supports DirectX 12 which is considered to be the latest version of application programming interfaces. As for application software media player and Microsoft edge come preinstalled on windows. A PDF reader, a web browser, and a Photoshop application are important for an engineering student that will use CAD software.
To make sure the PC is secured and protected against different viruses, SPAM, and Malwares I chose Kaspersky antivirus that comes with multiple features such as file protection, anti-SPAM, anti-Malware, safe money transactions and privacy.