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Setup & License forum

Best PC Today for Mid-Size Firm - Processor, Video Card, Ram

Anonymous
Not applicable
Starting with 4 new PCs right away, we need to replace about 60 workstations in May. I would appreciate recommendations for optimum configuration: processor speed, video card size, how much ram. (Macs have been eliminated as an option so please, no further comments.)

I know virtually nothing about PCs, but our IT Manager would like to know what's best for ArchiCAD 10/11; maybe one with enough ram for Cinema 4D & Maxwell Render.

What's hot on the market? What are you buying? What's coming out in the next few months?

Thanks,
35 REPLIES 35

andyro
Booster
http://architosh.com/news/2006-08/2006a0828_dell-v-macpro.html

You said not macs, but even running windows, these will still kick the crap out of Dell. Plus, like 10% of the IT overhead.

If they insist on PC, look at the same hardware that's in a mac, as indicated in this article...Shuttles are still a nice space saving thing....

A
Andy Thomson
Andy Thomson | Architect
Research site
Company site

AC24 / Twinmotion / iMacPro

Anonymous
Not applicable
Andy, do you really think I would give up on Macs without a fight? It's 2 of us switching vs. the whole office; the PC system is well-managed, and the difficulty of autocad users relearning the keyboard...

Thanks for the link, great comparison, lots of good info; I've sent it to the IT manager.

Mabe

Aussie John
Newcomer
looks like you can have your cake and eat it too. Buy four Macpros, run 1or 2 as macOS with parallels windows and rest as bootable PC. See how they settle in.
Cheers John
John Hyland : ARINA : www.arina.biz
User ver 4 to 12 - Jumped to v22 - so many options and settings!!!
OSX 10.15.6 [Catalina] : Archicad 22 : 15" MacBook Pro 2019
[/size]

Anonymous
Not applicable
Mabe wrote:
...and the difficulty of autocad users relearning the keyboard...
So plug in a Windows keyboard. With Boot Camp installed a MacPro is just a really good PC in a cool box (and cheaper than the equivalent Dell).

andyro
Booster
Matthew wrote:
With Boot Camp installed a MacPro is just a really good PC in a cool box (and cheaper than the equivalent Dell).
Exactly. Then the PC guys can even keep getting their worms and viruses as they are accustomed to. It must be said, if you have not booted windows on a mac and used it as if it were a PC (which it then is, in fact) - you really can't compare. You need to try this out. I can ask Apple to lend you a few workstations if BAR would be interested in checking this out on the floor...


😉
Andy Thomson
Andy Thomson | Architect
Research site
Company site

AC24 / Twinmotion / iMacPro

Anonymous
Not applicable
andyro wrote:
You need to try this out. I can ask Apple to lend you a few workstations if BAR would be interested in checking this out on the floor...
oooh.....this would be a great solution. I have tried every angle, this could be compelling. If you really think Apple would do this, we need to chat (or skype?)

...With 30" Cinema displays?

Mabe

Anonymous
Not applicable
Well.... if you end up going with a pc, this is what i am about to order, having 6 already very similar systems (the old Core 2s). I did a fair bit of research and found this to be the best "sweet spot" with cost v price. Of course everyone has a different opinion, particularly on the video card (being a workstation card) and amount of ram. But this video card kicks arse in 3d, and i can have several processor/ram demanding programs open with the dual core and 4gb of ram working without any slow down. Ram is also very good for rendering in programs outside of ArchiCAD. Note ArchiCAD can only use 2gb (currently) so don't bother going over this unless you plan to have other things open, which i think is almost always the case.

PS, with this spec i never hear a complaint from any of the operators, except when the server slows down (my next port of call).

Case : mAtx mini tower with 400w power supply (Macron 385 Black)
Fdd : Nil
Hdd : 80g SATAII, 8m cache, 7200rpm (Seagate)
Cpu : Core 2 Duo E6600 2.4Ghz, 2m l2 on-die cache, 1066 Mhz fsb,
socket 775, EM64T & XD (Intel)
Motherboard : Intel DG965 chipset, 1s / 1p / 6usb2 port with 4 x SATA, udma & fdd controller on board (SSCK Intel)
Memory : 4 x 1024m ddr2-533 PC-4200 (Kingston)
Video card : 256m PCIe 16X graphic accelerator (nVidia Quadtro FX1500 Leadtek)
Monitor: Dual 17" Monitor. That widescreen 24" (and up) is still a little to pricey, hopefully the price will drop a little more...

Laszlo Nagy
Community Admin
Community Admin
Mark wrote:
Well.... if you end up going with a pc, this is what i am about to order, having 6 already very similar systems (the old Core 2s). I did a fair bit of research and found this to be the best "sweet spot" with cost v price. Of course everyone has a different opinion, particularly on the video card (being a workstation card) and amount of ram. But this video card kicks ar..se in 3d, and i can have several processor/ram demanding programs open with the dual core and 4gb of ram working without any slow down. Ram is also very good for rendering in programs outside of ArchiCAD. Note ArchiCAD can only use 2gb (currently) so don't bother going over this unless you plan to have other things open, which i think is almost always the case.

PS, with this spec i never hear a complaint from any of the operators, except when the server slows down (my next port of call).

Case : mAtx mini tower with 400w power supply (Macron 385 Black)
Fdd : Nil
Hdd : 80g SATAII, 8m cache, 7200rpm (Seagate)
Cpu : Core 2 Duo E6600 2.4Ghz, 2m l2 on-die cache, 1066 Mhz fsb,
socket 775, EM64T & XD (Intel)
Motherboard : Intel DG965 chipset, 1s / 1p / 6usb2 port with 4 x SATA, udma & fdd controller on board (SSCK Intel)
Memory : 4 x 1024m ddr2-533 PC-4200 (Kingston)
Video card : 256m PCIe 16X graphic accelerator (nVidia Quadtro FX1500 Leadtek)
Monitor: Dual 17" Monitor. That widescreen 24" (and up) is still a little to pricey, hopefully the price will drop a little more...
Why such a small Hard Drive?
I would understand it in case of a notebook, but with a desktop, 300-500 GB would be much more appropriate.
Speaking of Hard Drives: with Serial ATA hard drives, there is a new technology you will hear more about: it is called NCQ. It stands for Native Command Queuing. If the given hard drive supports it, it means it can optimize in which order read and write operations should be performed. This leads to increased performance because the hard drive's head does not have to move as much.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Native_Command_Queuing
....................................................................................................
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AMD Ryzen 1700X CPU, 48 GB RAM, Nvidia GTX 1060 6GB, 500 GB NVMe SSD
2x28" (2560x1440), WIN10 PRO ENG, AC20-AC26
Loving Archicad since 1995

Anonymous
Not applicable
Thanks for your input and to Andy for not heeding my warning about macs. Our IT Manager is hammering out the specs and negotiating trial boxes with the local apple and pc reps. I will post the decision which is out of my hands. Regardless of the outcome, I feel that all platforms will have been thoroughly evaluated.

Mabe

Anonymous
Not applicable
laszlonagy wrote:
Why such a small Hard Drive?...
I would understand it in case of a notebook, but with a desktop, 300-500 GB would be much more appropriate.
I guess it depends if you are keeping data files on your local drives or not. We do not. The only information kept on the locals are programs so their is no need for lots of space, better to redirect the money elsewhere.

Anonymous
Not applicable
The bids are in for virtually identical configurations:
One 16x SuperDrive
Two 2.66GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon
Apple Keyboard+ Mighty Mouse or Dell Keyboard+Mouse
4GB (4 x 1GB)
Mac OS X or Windows XP Pro
250GB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s
NVIDIA Quadro FX 4500 512MB, Stereo 3D (2 x dual-link DVI)
Applecare vs Dell 2-yr, next day parts/labor onsite

Dell: $4,500
Apple: $5,200

The difference is too much for more than a few, oh well. It will be great to just have this setup, regardless of the OS.

andyro
Booster
You have forgotten to consider the design part of the equation. But then I guess BAR is a firm that does 'Dell' style buildings? Oh well! I find this is actually what our clients value - good design!! Not just good value! I presume the partners there drive Hyundais?

If I worked there, I would gladly pay the $700 difference out of pocket for a MacPro. I am finding at Altius, we cheaped out at first too, but for client presentations, we are using the macs.

😉
Andy Thomson
Andy Thomson | Architect
Research site
Company site

AC24 / Twinmotion / iMacPro

TomWaltz
Newcomer
You can save about $400 per machine if you buy your RAM from RamJet instead of Apple.
Tom Waltz

Anonymous
Not applicable
andyro wrote:
You have forgotten to consider the design part of the equation.
😉
Excuse me, Andy, but did we not have the opposite conversation when YOU were on the lone PC at JWA? Quality of design has nothing to do with the hardware and everything to do with the software and the designer. (And no Hyundais here.)

My customized work environment looks & works just like my mac. My (2) 20" dell flat screens are the only visible difference, not as easy on the eyes as my (2) 20" cinema displays.

Besides, we only bought 4; 56 more to replace. And likely, there will be a few macbooks. I haven't given up, just glad to have my new quadcore.

Mabe

andyro
Booster
Mabe wrote:
Excuse me, Andy, but did we not have the opposite conversation when YOU were on the lone PC at JWA?

Oooohhh! Below the belt!
You need to remember, we were using AC8.1 on the old swivelly iMacs with 512MB Ram, when I came onboard at JWA. That was a hardware disaster.

Since the Mactels, I am a reborn machead!
Andy Thomson
Andy Thomson | Architect
Research site
Company site

AC24 / Twinmotion / iMacPro

Anonymous
Not applicable
If I could jump in here too....

I've been complaining to our IT Dept and managers about our computers (Dell). I was told to get a list together of what we would prefer to run on. I'm the opposite of a fan of Macs, but I know that they are generally superior to PC's when it comes to graphics work. Since ArchiCAD IS graphics, perhaps its time for me to consider it too.

So - what was the final decision then? As described below? I'm thinking $5,200 may be on the high side, but there are only 2 of us that need them. My managers seem to be open to suggestions and trials runs so if I could even get one in here just for me to try ....

And are you happy with it?

andyro
Booster
Whatever you decide to go with, stay away from Vista. They dumped OpenGL as you might already know. I would also add that for an IT manager, OSX is considerably less buggy and prone to worms etc. Very good when paired with Xserve also... at one comapny I worked for, this was the primary reason for the choice of macs, less IT overhead (by about 50%) We are considering getting 2 more iMacs, 24", much less than $5000 and does everything we need them to do.
Andy Thomson
Andy Thomson | Architect
Research site
Company site

AC24 / Twinmotion / iMacPro

Anonymous
Not applicable
sirduncan wrote:

So - what was the final decision then? As described below? I'm thinking $5,200 may be on the high side, but there are only 2 of us that need them. My managers seem to be open to suggestions and trials runs so if I could even get one in here just for me to try ....

And are you happy with it?
We bought 4 Dells (the remaining 56 may include some macs) to test them on my project. 4gb ram is adequate for probably most projects, but I'm already feeling the need for more for my current project. We are monitoring performance, especially the video card, which at $1,500 is a pricey, but very important component. Check Graphisoft's list of tested video cards. Our IT Manager researched all components and put together the final setup. Lots of minor issues entered into the decision such as no Apple support if running XP, etc. Both Apple and Dell offered trial boxes; talk to your reps.

Happy is relative. Ecstatic after struggling with my old Dell slug; saddened not to have a mac.

Mabe

TomWaltz
Newcomer
Call me crazy. but I cannot imagine Archicad would really benefit from a $1500 video card. I really hope that there was something else that caused you to buy that.... like maybe World of Warcraft parties after work/
Tom Waltz

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