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# 41988 27-Sep-2009 16:54
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I'm building a PC for running Solid Works and struggle to work my way through selecting a motherboard.  I'm strongly inclined to go with Gigabyte.  Will be getting an Intel E8500 processor as a good performance/cost trade off.  Guess DDR3 is needed.  Will be running Win XP for stability and 4GB RAM.  Video card is Quadro 4500.  Don't want to go overboard with motherboard, but must be stable.  GA-EP45T-EXTREME is nice, but not the price.  What would you guys suggest?  Thanks.




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  # 258814 27-Sep-2009 23:01
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It' only worth going for a DDR3 with an i7 or i5 processor, you should be fine with DDR2 with a Core 2 Duo like the E8500 imo.

So really any intel P45 chipset model would do, can't really go wrong with Asus or Gigabyte.

Also with 32bit Windows XP your will only have about ~3 GB usable ram despite having 4GB of physical ram.


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  # 258815 27-Sep-2009 23:01
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Pardon my ignorance... but isn't a Quadro 4500 a card in the $2-3k+ range?

IMHO, if I was spending that much on a card I would probably be looking at dual xeon workstation boards...

 
 
 
 




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  # 258846 28-Sep-2009 07:12
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The Quadro 4500 retails for around $3k, but that is "new old stock". It is obsolete. We got it for about $700 second hand. My wife is one of the top Solid Works engineers in the country, yet she has never had such a fantastic video card. A powerful video processor is more important than a powerful CPU.

We know abut the 32 bit XP RAM limitation. Using 32 bit XP is a higher requirement than having lots of RAM (for this client). We could buy 1x 1GB + 2x 512MB, but that is a waste as we'll probably upgrade Windows in a year's time.

Thanks for the advice on DDR2/DDR3. It's been 5 years since I've spec'ed a PC, so many decisions.

The job involves moving lots of data between the CPU and video card, thus a CPU with 6MB cache.

Is there a way of finding all the P45 motherboards that support 8GB or more without having to go into each one's specifications? (I'm specifically looking at Gigabyte.)




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  # 258916 28-Sep-2009 10:35
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Niel: The job involves moving lots of data between the CPU and video card, thus a CPU with 6MB cache.


A Q9550 is ~$100 more (pricespy) and is a quad core with 12MB cache... maybe a better option?

Niel: Is there a way of finding all the P45 motherboards that support 8GB or more without having to go into each one's specifications? (I'm specifically looking at Gigabyte.)


Perhaps try the search filters on www.ascent.co.nz - I use those for this type of thing a lot. Also gives a good indication as to what is actually available at the moment. Nothing worse than selecting the dream motherboard only to find you can't actually get it here!

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  # 259011 28-Sep-2009 14:49
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Practically every P45 chipset motherboard has 4 memory slots and supports upto 16 GB, either DDR2 or DDR3 depending on the model.



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  # 259015 28-Sep-2009 15:13
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Ragnor: Practically every P45 chipset motherboard has 4 memory slots and supports upto 16 GB, either DDR2 or DDR3 depending on the model.


No, some support only 4GB despite having 4 slots.  Some support only 8GB.  Also I need to look at what the motherboard manufacturer certified, not at what can be done with tweaks and hacks.

I've turned towards i7 and DDR3, as I've discovered the i7 bypasses the chipset and has a direct connection to RAM.  (Wikipedia is wonderful.)  Cost a bit more, but sounds worth it.




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  # 259023 28-Sep-2009 15:41
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Clicked on a few in the spec link on the right they all state 16GB from what I can see, they also have a links to memory compatibility lists.
http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/Products/Motherboard/Products_List.aspx?VenderType=Intel&CPUType=socket+775#Intel%20P45

Weren't you going to use XP 32bit anyway?  Seems moot to be worrying about memory capacity in that case.

Anyway i7 is a good choice for top performance, less models to decide between!
http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/Products/Motherboard/Products_List.aspx?VenderType=Intel&CPUType=socket+1366


 
 
 
 




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  # 259089 28-Sep-2009 18:51
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Hoping to pick hardware that will last a while and in a year change to 64 bit OS. For now have to use 32 bit XP, nothing else.

Okay, I'll just have to give this lots more thought. Thanks for all the ideas.




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  # 259202 28-Sep-2009 23:27
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If you want a mean system for that kind of work, I recommend an HP z600 Workstation.
We've got a few of them in at work for a PC refresh for the design team and they're absolute monsters.

They have dual i7 based Xeons @ 2.66ghz. Thats 8 physical cores running at 2.66ghz. 21ghz.
Turn on hyperthreading and thats 16 cores. The design and AV guys have been trying to max them out but can barely scratch the surface.

8gb of DDR3, 2x 1GB HDD's that can be setup in RAID, Quadro card. DVI and 2x Display Port.

Tip the scales at $6k though. Heh.



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  # 259237 29-Sep-2009 06:22
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For a while there was only an HP laptop certified for Solid Works, and that had the minimum spec required and cost $6 500. Her previous job paid for it, my wife travelled a lot presenting training.

Solid Works does not gain much from additional cores. The UI/menus run in multiple threads, but the engineering calculations are concurrent. It does help somewhat to have a spare processor (or a few) to handle Windows. The graphics card also does a lot of processing, which is the number one component for improving performance.

I've come up with a machine costing $2 400 (excluding video card and software) which includes a Seagate enterprise hard drive and two HD LCDs. (The risk is too high to use a consumer hard drive.)




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