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Setup & License forum

Work station or gaming PC? Pros and cons

Anonymous
Not applicable
Hello there. I have a dilemma and I think it concerns all of us as users of Archicad. It is all about efficiency. Recently we bought two new configurations for our office.

Configuration 1

MB: ASUS Prime X370 - A/AM4
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 2400 3.6 GHz VEGA 11
RAM: 2 x 16 DDR4 2666 A - DATA
HDD: ADATA SX8000 256 GB M2 2280 PCI-E

Configuration 2

MB: ASUS Prime X370 - A/AM4
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 1600 3.2 Ghz/AM4
RAM: 2 x 8 GB DDR4 3000 XPG Z1 ADATA
HDD: ADATA SX9000256Gb M2 2280 PCI-e
GPU: ASUS Dual – GTX 1070 8GB



They all have Win 10 Pro 64 bit and Archicad 21 with hardware key. As we all have noticed, 21 version had a problem in 2D and that's why we asked our self "What the hell happened after AC 15". I tested both configurations with exact same file, clean and fresh without any dwg imports, only AC objects. I didn’t see any difference in the 2D work, despite the different processors and amount of RAM and this is the thing I didn’t like, because this is RAM-requiring program and I didn’t notice any need of more RAM. The largest project we worked recently in the past few years was 8000 sq. meters.
The Graphisoft team provided a solution for us with AC 22, where the 2D work was better, BUT I still have questions to ask?
What kind of hardware and particularly, which are the best components to choose, when we are talking about Archicad. I have tried different scenarios, our old PC's were old workstations like D20 and S20 with Xeon processors, ECC DDR3 RAM and Quadro 2000 GPU.
I need information from the Graphisoft team, what is the good, better and the best configuration for Archicad. I need basic, middle and high level of computers. In the official site are showed recommended work station, but they are out of date and nobody is telling why you have to choose one instead of another. The guys from regional HP store gave me an offer for the newest workstations with the following specifications:

HP Z240 Workstation

Z240 Tower / Win10p64 / 16GB DDR4-2400 nECC (2x8GB) UDIMM / NVIDIA Quadro P2000 5GB 4xDP No cables / Z TurboDrive G2 256GB TLC PCIe | 1TB 7200 / i7-7700 3.6GHz (up to 4.2GHz) 8M TWR / 3yw / DVD-ODD / USBBusinessSlimkbdSAU / USBmouse / SD Card Reader

HP Z240 Workstation

Z240 Tower / Win10p64forWorkstations / 16GB DDR4-2400 ECC (2x8GB) UDIMM / NVIDIA Quadro P2000 5GB 4xDP No cables / G2 256GB PCIe / E3-1240v6 3.7 GHz (up to 4.1 GHz) TWR / 3yw / DVD-ODD / USBBusinessSlimkbd / USB mouse / SD Card Reader
I have an offer from an assembling company for other configuration, which is much cheaper than the official WS of HP.

New Configuration

MB: MSI H270 GAMING M3 /LGA1151
CPU: I7-8700K / 3.7GHZ/12MB/BOX1151
GPU: GB N1070G1 GAMING-8GB
RAM: 16GB DDR4 2666 ADATA
HD: MZ-V7E250BW-Samsung SSD 970 EVO M2 PCIe 250GB NVME

The difference between that PC and the WS-s is 50% more expensive for the WS. It’s not about the money, I just want somebody to tell me why we should pay more, are we going to operate with 50% more performance or are we going to pay only more money.
I want, if it is possible, somebody to tell me how is ArchiCAD written and constructed as program and which are the best components for maximum efficiency. Do we have to take 8770 i7 proccesor or the E-Series will be better…why we should take the first or the second option? What kind of RAM do we need, more slots with less memory or the highest memory and less slots? What kind of GPU, Quadro series or GTX series and why? The graphic cards benchmark in the official site is also out of date.
Can somebody build configurations in three different price ranges: basic, medium and high. I also would like to know which will be the best configuration for 2D drafting, because we have drafters and architects in our firm. The drafters don’t need a GPU’s for 7-800 euros and I would like to know what kind of configuration will work the best for their part of the projects.
9 REPLIES 9

Anonymous
Not applicable
My comment to this is to take the HP workstation over custom build PC purely for the warranty and support. 24 hour on site support for 3 years is worth the premium when you have a problem and are losing billable hours plus having to pay wages.

Scott

Anonymous
Not applicable
With the custom PC I have 24 hour support in viber and by mobile phone in first person, directly from the owner of the firm and a pretty enough warrantyof 2 years. If I'm going to buy a config from HP, it will be only for performance. But the most important thing is somebody from Graphisoft to tell us what kind of components are needed in order to take the maximum.

We've been using HP workstations for a very long time and they also seem to last a long time. My current HP Z420 has been running without issues for probably 6 years now. Still runs ArchiCAD21 just fine with an equally old Nvidia Quadro K2000. Rendering is fine, seems better than i5/i7 'desktop / gaming' machines. Running it on 16 GB RAM, which I would say is the bare minimum of what you want.

The only thing we've changed at some point is swap out the HDD for SSD.

I haven't used 'gaming' machines for a very long time though, so can't say if they are doing a worse job, other than what I experienced with rendering while working part time for another office for 6 months. That said 'i5' and 'i7' by itself means very little with how long these have been out in so many different iterations and performance. My cheap laptop I use while travelling has 'i7' too, but I wouldn't call that machine fast, even though it is only 3 years old.
Erwin Edel, Project Lead, Leloup Architecten
www.leloup.nl

ArchiCAD 9-24 NED FULL
Windows 10 Pro
Adobe Design Premium CS5

Anonymous
Not applicable
If you want brilliant performance, you need the X299 platform. I have a 10 core 7900x and it's a great compromise between single core speed for the 2D windows and all core rendering. There's a massive chip coming out next year - 32 cores for the same X299 platform. The only thing is they generate a fair amount of heat and you need a good cooling system.
I run the Vega Frontier edition (16gb memory). The cheaper radeon 580 is nearly as good though.
These couldn't be called gaming machines though. They're more designed for high end media work.
Hope this helps

Anonymous
Not applicable
So for 2D operations, like floorplans, elevations and sections, we need fast cores of the processor...so you mean that the amount it's not so important for those kind of work? @CAD_Trainer

It also depends on the scope of your projects, I would say.

The bulk of our work is large residential homes (800 m³ to about 2,000 m³), sometimes we do appartement blocks for 30-40 appartements. No real high rise projects here.

https://bimx.graphisoft.com/model/25095513-4cb6-4c96-9dbf-9ef1e2405074 example of a recent local style barn type home (about 1,800 m³ with the basement included). This works more than fine on the HP Z420. Project is still in AC20, but I can't really see any performance difference between AC20 and AC21.
Erwin Edel, Project Lead, Leloup Architecten
www.leloup.nl

ArchiCAD 9-24 NED FULL
Windows 10 Pro
Adobe Design Premium CS5

Anonymous
Not applicable
The performance between AC20 and AC21 is notable with the 2D work...it's really worse in both version, especially in AC21, they also admit it when I spoke with them. That's why one of the presentation quotes of AC22 was that they improved the 2D work and they really did. Our projects are also not so large, but I wondered which is the best config. The data that is given in the official Graphisoft site isn't correct....they are giving and old model of workstation. If they don't mind to give an old info, I'm not sure that anybody is telling something for sure. I tried different type of configurations as I shared in my first post and I still don't think that my choice was proper enough for working with AC. That's why before I buy a third brand new configuration I want to be sure, what I have to do.

mikas
Expert
I am no expert on computer technology (self-taught).
But still, my thoughts about the subject follows.

In my opinion there is little point getting the lower specked and lower speed HP workstations. E3 is built around same socket as i7’s. They do not offer the same clock speeds as i7’s do. They do not support dual processor configurations. Only difference is the support for ECC memory with E3 Xeons. And that diminishes in value because of the low amount of memory supported. I would advice to go with E5-series (socket 2011).

If I were to buy a HP Z-series workstation, it would be a dual processor model - or at least capable to be upgraded as such later. Also, all the dual model processors support a lot of more RAM too, so they are more upgradable for the future uses. I believe the Z6 and Z8 -series (or Z620, 640, 820, 840) are much more of a value in workstation space than Z4 (or Z420, Z440).

On the other hand, that gaming rig could be of great use for normal everyday modeling and drafting with ArchiCAD. And it would be a lot cheaper. You just have to remember it’s max memory support is 64GB, and no ECC memory available. Xeon’s often offer higher tolerance for long lasting processor temperatures too. I am not sure of every one of them, and haven’t checked the latest ones recently.

That i7-8700k is a great performer overall. Good at single thread, and great with multithreaded processes. ArchiCAD can use all the cores with cinerender, and it will use many cores with background-updating feature of sections and elevations too (dual high end Xeons would be much faster still, but with a price). Unfortunately all of the processes are not yet multithreaded. To name one, BimX global illumination render is not (or maybe it’s better in AC22, I don’t know?).

Today every new PC-package would have a PCIe Flash/SSD of course. I think they are almost the same performance wise, be it HP’s own implementation (TurboDrive) or the more generic PCIe M.2 Flash/SSD. For ArchiCAD use the most important key factor is the fast access times and low latencies of your mass media, not the continuous transfer speeds of many gigabytes. Continuos transfer speeds won’t hurt, though.

If it wasn’t about money:
I would but HP Z8xx series with dual processors and lots of RAM. I’ve got no experience with the latest Quadros, and I think a nVidia GTX1080 would do well too with HP, and it’s PSU is enough for more of them.

If I were on budget:
I would take that MSI+8700k. There is good GPU too (GTX1070).

Or in other words (and a little bit different criteria):
HP Z with 2x E5-series for a renderer.
MSI+8700k for a modeler / drafter.

And a little off topic: I have been checking these HP’s recently, because of poor offerings from Apple as of today, but I’m not ready to move completely away from Mac yet. So I will at coming weekend be equipping this one last old Mac Pro dual xeon as my workhorse, supposing it’ll last something like two years still, beaten almost to death by 2020. And that’s when at last Apple should have gotten a new workstation offering out to the markets.
AC25, Rhino6/7+Grasshopper, TwinMotionMac Pro 6,1 E5-1650v2-3,5GHz/128GB/eGPU:6800XT/11.5.1 • HP Z440 E5-1650v3/256GB/RX6900XT/W10Pro

Hmm, so this is why my 6+ year old E5-1620 v2 @ 3.70GHz out performes some of the more modern i7 when it comes to rendering?

If so, that is quite interesting and good to know
Erwin Edel, Project Lead, Leloup Architecten
www.leloup.nl

ArchiCAD 9-24 NED FULL
Windows 10 Pro
Adobe Design Premium CS5

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