CAD station?

I need to design a CAD workstation for a business. I'm going to offer a budget one and a high performance one. I've designed the budget one and need help with the other one

I need:

Motherboard - that can run dual & quad core, needs a lot of PCI slots as well

Video Card (has to support dual monitors)

serial,parralel and at least 4 USB ports

2 IEEE 1394 FireWire ports

Network interface card

It needs to be compatible with

2 x 1TB HD with RAID 0

8GB DDR3 RAM (4GB minimum)

Price is no issue. It's going to be a top of the line workstation, so I want the most powerful parts. They need to be good brand parts as well. I'm willing to spend $3000 on a motherboard and video card (each, not together)

10 points for the first answer, if it's any good.


All I want now is a Video Card that supports 2D and 3D, and a network interface card.

Easy 10 points.

Update 2:

files will be around 500-600MB

Update 3:

files will be around 500-600MB

I'm trying to get a contract to build CAD stations, so i'm building them myself.

Quadro is good for 3D, but I want a card that does 2D and 3D.

1 Answer

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer


    If you want to spec A high end workstation for running 3D CAD apps, you should first find out what CAD software/s they are planning to use.

    You also need to find out what size and complexity of designs the computer will have to work with.

    High-end 3D CAD software such as Pro/Engineer is only supported when it is run on certified platforms from manufacturers like Dell, Sun, IBM and HP.

    Here a link to PTC supported platforms.

    You may find that you don't need to buy the highest spec machine to do the required job. and by doing so you can save a lot of money.

    I personally prefer and recommend Dell Precision workstations fitted with a mid to high-end Nvidia Quadro FX graphics card.

    Dell can be custom built to suit your exact requirements. They also offer on-site support which is essential in a business environment.

    MCAD magazine often has reviews of new CAD hardware and software and is worth a look.


    The Quadro cards can handle both 2D & 3D There are usually graphics drivers that are optimised for different apps. As a general rule If a card can handle 3D high end CAD apps, then it is more than powerfull enough to handle 2D apps like AutoCAD.

    I work mainly with Pro/Engineer Wildfire 3.0, other users in my dept. run Autocad 2008 & Pro/E.

    At the end of last year I specced about 10 Dell workstations for our dept.

    Here's our rough spec.

    O/S: XP Pro.

    (I wouldn't recommend Vista until it is more mature & supported)

    Graphics: Quadro FX3500

    (You could u use a Quadro FX3500 or FX3700, the NVS versions will be under powered for 3D CAD)

    Memory: 2GB.

    We use about 1GB data sets So It leaves 1GB for O/S & office functions. If you choose 4GB is should be ample.

    HDD: 160GB

    We don't store much data locally, we prefer network storage with backup provision.

    Network card: Integrated on motherboard

    Monitor:19" flat panel, 1600X1200resolution, connected via the DVI-D input.

    A high quality, high res, 19" or larger monitor is important .

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