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Thread: Looking for a new Workstation. Which to choose?

  1.    #1
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    Looking for a new Workstation. Which to choose?

    Hello all!

    Been using RFO for answers for a while, but thought I'd finally post as I really need some advise from people who know a lot more than me!

    I'm a graphic designer and I work for a medical supplies company, they have a side company where they focus on interior fit-out/loose fit furniture/medical equipment for new build surgeries and extensions to existing doctors surgeries. I use Revit for this, but as it was only ever a small part of the business, I am on a second hand machine from ~2010 running Revit 2012, obviously I'm not getting great performance.

    There's a bit of a reshuffle going on and the fit-out side of things is getting a bit more attention and I am going to be getting new software and a brand new PC! That's where I need your help!

    I've done loads of research, read all the threads here and gone through lots of UK supplier's site and have it down to a short list of machines. I just really don't know which would be best/whether some are overkill/whether the company is reliable etc. I'm assuming it would be best to choose a base model then change some parts of the configuration, but I'm not sure which bits are really worth changing. I know that clock speed over cores, and that I don't need a pro graphics card over a commercial one. But there are still so many options and I don't really know what changes will actually be worth the extra money etc.

    The machine will be used for Revit small to medium projects (nothing bigger than about 300MB I imagine, and some just being one room) and a few renders done in Revit. I also am the only graphic designer for the medical supplies side of the business so will be using Adobe CC (photoshop, indesign and illustrator) generally just doing stuff like leaflets and photo editing but also will spend months compiling our catalogue (a file about 700MB) I need the machine to be able to have both Revit and CC running and functioning well at once. Along with all the standard email/browsing etc.

    Here are the machines that I've been advised by different suppliers:

    Are these good machines that will do the tasks described?? I've also looked at the HP Z480 and Dell Precision but it looks like I could get more for money going for something from one of these other companies and configuring it from a base model. (although I could be wrong )

    Budget isn't really set, I've suggested it'll be somewhere in the £3000 region but happy to spend more (or obviously less) to get a machine fit for purpose!

    Any help or advise would be greatly appreciated as I'm bit stuck at this point!

    Thanks for any help you can give

  2.    #2
    Moderator snowyweston's Avatar
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    First things first, unless you're wanting to get a monitor in for that £3K, that's one hell of an over-spend.

    We're speccing i7-6700 w/ 64GB, 256GB SSDs & 2GB Quadro as our base workstation spec. and picking them up for £1200-1500 (varies by quantity) from Dell. Truly solid machines. For reference, we throw around 1-2GB models.

    Leave the over-priced Boxx well alone, and the Novatech on the shelf. WS are a good outfit, and were we not with a Dell account, would steer toward them.
    cganiere likes this.

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    Thanks so much for the info!

    I spoke to someone at WS and explained my needs and they quoted me £3770 for i7 6900K @4.2GHz 8 cores, 32GB, 2 x 512GB SSDs + 1TB HDD (I work off a server so this is definitely overkill) 150W 80+ Gold power supply & 8GB Quadro M4000

    I assume a lot of this is overkill and can downgrade most of it, except the ram?
    Last edited by elly; December 21st, 2016 at 02:39 PM.

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    Moderator cellophane's Avatar
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    There was an episode of BIMThoughts in October that talked about hardware. Tom ended up going with HP over the Boxx systems: E52 Tom's Hardware - BIMThoughts The big difference is that they got workstations, not consumer grade stations (big box store systems) and were happy with them.

    IMO - if everything you do is on the network you don't need 2x500Gb SSDs. With just the 250 I have 3 years of Revit (1 full BDSP), Adobe CC (PS, Illustrator, ID), Office, and a bunch of miscelaneous crap and still have almost half of the drive free.

    For what it's worth, here are the specs of the last few systems I've ordered (+/- $2,000):
    Intel Core™ i7-6700K 4.0/4.2GHz-1C Turbo Boost 8MB Shared L3 Cache
    250GB Solid State Drive Samsung 850 EVO™ SATA 6Gb/s
    16GB DDR4 @ 2666MHz High Performance Aluminum Heat Spreader
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 OC 8GB GDDR5 VRAM PCIe
    MSI Z170A PC MATE Intel Z170 Chipset-Military Class
    700W Rosewill Glacier-700M 80 Plus
    Last edited by cellophane; December 21st, 2016 at 03:02 PM.
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    Forum Co-Founder Twiceroadsfool's Avatar
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    You can get an HP or a Dell Workstation fully loaded, that will be more than enough for the biggest of Revit Models. Will they be outperformed by a slamming custom rig (overclocked, water cooled, dual GFX cards) in a toe to toe slug out? Sure, but thats a giant waste of money for almost no day to day return on investment.

    You can even go one step lower, and- through the Dell Business website- you CAN configure a Dell Optiplex (the non-workstation option) with a fast i7, 64GB of RAM, and an "okay" GFX card, that will be fine for mainly revit work. It wont be a spring chicken walking around in VR, but the same spec (i7 with 64GB of RAM) will also shave 400 bucks off the price, and have you down around 1800 dollars (USD).
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  6.    #6
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    Thanks for your help everyone!

    I'm getting some quotes from Dell based on your advise! What are your opinions on Intel Xeon E5-1650 v4 @3.60GHz (4.0GHz) vs Intel Core i7-6700K @4.00GHz (4.2GHz) is the Xeon worth the extra money?

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    Moderator snowyweston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elly View Post
    is the Xeon worth the extra money?
    Nope. You want raw clock (for Revit anyway)

    We do exactly as Aaron says (with our Dells) because we (read: I) don't care about the GFX cards - we have dedicated machines for "that".
    Last edited by snowyweston; December 22nd, 2016 at 01:26 PM.

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    I think I'm looking at this then (though considering downgrading to 32GB ram, current PC only has 12GB and I struggle to get it to use 10GB if I try, so think 32GB would be plenty!)

    6th Gen Intel Core i7-6700K (No Overclock, Quad Core 4.0GHz, 4.2Ghz Turbo, 8MB, w/HDGraphics 530)
    64GB (4x16GB) 2133MHz DDR4 Non-ECC
    2.5" 512GB SATA Class 20 Solid State Drive
    NVIDIA Quadro M2000 4GB (4 DP) (1 DP to SL-DVI adapter)
    Dell quoting me around £1800 for this

  9.    #9
    Moderator snowyweston's Avatar
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    I'm surprised they're speccing you a 6700K - you might want to check that - as there's little benefit getting a K (unlocked) spec CPU with a Dell-vanilla config. As in, save yourself the difference and drop down to the 6700 - because neither you/Dell are going to be overclocking.

    Perhaps have Dell quote you the 32/64GB difference to see how much they're hiking the aftermarket price for the upgrade - it often pays to go in lower-spec and then swap in your own (disclaimer: be mindful of warranty if that's a concern)

    Likewise, the M2000 isn't a great GPU by any stretch of the imagination (trust me, I've got one in this rig) - especially when price-compared to the current crop of GPUs. Remember also the skylake cpus come with Intel’s HD 530 on-chip - I'll get berated for suggesting you could get by on that alone - but I'm going to suggest as much all the same.

    Of course, at this point you'll be pushing hard against the Dell-wall (of) "We don't customise" - at which point rolling-your-own could well work, (if you've experiences with such things) but it's increasingly difficult all-costs-considered to better the buying power of the big boys.
    Last edited by snowyweston; December 22nd, 2016 at 04:16 PM.

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    I did get a quote for the 6700 but it was only £37 cheaper over the entire quote so figured the higher clock-speed would be worth £37

    For this set up my options are these:

    Nvidia NVS 310, 1GB
    NVIDIA® NVS315, 1GB
    NVIDIA® NVS 510, 2GB
    NVIDIA® Quadro® K620 2GB
    NVIDIA® Quadro® M2000 4GB
    Nvidia® Quadro® M4000 8GB, w/o Bracket

    Looking at benchmarks the M4000 is best, M2000 second, but at £230 odd more it didn't seem worth the M4000. The K620 would be £150 ish less than the M2000

    Maybe none of them are worth the money

    The only reason I went for the M2000 was Adobe (for illustrator and photoshop) recommend vRAM 2GB so thought I'd go a little above that
    Last edited by elly; December 22nd, 2016 at 04:51 PM.

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