Budget graphics card (mainly) for 3D CAD/ Design

  j4man! 19:53 16 Jan 2010

I am currently looking into buying a new desktop PC (or possibly building one) for home use, watching films, light gaming and mainly for 3D CAD / design work.

As a designer I am wanting to tailor it towards CAD performance, I don't play a lot of games although would like to have the option of decent performance (mainly driving games)

I mainly use CS4 (photoshop etc) and Autodesk Alias studio and have been told to go for an Nvidia Quadro FX card.

However most of the cards I've seen in the range are quite expensive, I was hoping to pay under or around £200 (or to try and keep a full system at around £1000) if possible.

Do the Quadro cards handle gaming/video/everyday use as well as they do for CAD performance, also would a £200 GTX card for example be any good for the design side of things.

Any help and advice is greatly appreciated,


  AL47 20:50 16 Jan 2010

id like to say radeon 5850 for 220 pounds but if cad is your main thing then i dont 100% know

a similar quadro [yep dedicated to graphics work] is indeed expensive!

out of sheer interest what monitor do you use?

all i know is that the gtx at £200 is far worse thn the radeon for the same price for the AVERAGE comsumer

  j4man! 21:25 16 Jan 2010

I think the ATi equivalent of the Quadros are the FireGLs(?) The pros and cons of using each type of card are quite important in my decision as well as the brand I guess.

If it was purely for work, then a Quadro based workstation would be my first choice. Just wondering if a decent spec. 'gaming-style' PC would be better for everyday use (including a fair share of CAD) if you get what I mean.

Most importantly I am keen to know if the figures are directly comparable when looking at different types of cards.

I mean a 256MB Quadro card is comparable in price to many of the gaming cards with much higher MB/GB figures and a Quadro card to match those gaming card's figures costs 5 or 6 times as much.

There must be a point at which the CAD card is OK for other needs or the other card is OK for CAD needs (to a certain extent!)

Hope all this makes sense and isn't too much of a daft question.

By the way I'm just using a cheap basic 19" monitor for now, plan to upgrade after I've bought the desktop (if not with).

Reason for purchase of new system (and use of current old system) is that my laptop packed in completely, this desktop is old and on its way out and I've decided to replace with a new desktop since its more suited to my needs now.


  AL47 21:36 16 Jan 2010

its def not a daft question, there must be a reason for sure, the price difference is huge!

im guessing a gaming one would be better than at graphic work than a quadro but again ..a guess

i just asked about the monitor cause ideally id like a dell u2410

im building my new comp cause my laptops graphics card has packed up too!

for our need id build myself, there cant be many dedicated companies for your needs and i bet they charge alot!

  AL47 21:45 16 Jan 2010

yeah id agree with crossbow7, but unless ur serious id go gaming

from what i gather from a quick read the firmares are different with fireGL style being geard to precision [finishing all the rendering precisely] where as the Radeon focuses on speed [fps, doesnt always complete the rendering]

i may have misread tho

apparently youcan 'fix' drivers from fireGL to work with the radeon and gain 'SOME' of the fire GL features

i think!

  GaT7 21:46 16 Jan 2010

If you're into games as well, I think a mainstream/gaming card is likely to suit both activities better than a Quadro/FireGL-type card.

The best advice you're likely to get is from dedicated forums that deal with CAD & similar software. So join a few, post your queries there & see what they think. G

  AL47 21:47 16 Jan 2010

somethings wrong with my timing, i posted that after crossbow7 but its appeared before and my laptops time is also behind!

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