Autodesk/CAD Software requirements


This is a question mostly about PC specs, so I’m not sure if there are people who could answer this, but I’m shooting it out here.
I’ve been using two computers because sometimes I’m at a camp away from the apartment 5/7 days of the week. More specifically, a laptop and a desktop computer. I started to notice a bit of a difference between their performance, so I was curious to look up specs and see the difference.
What I want to know from this community that uses CAD software is the specs for their computer that the use and what they recommend for me.
Here are my specs, so someone can tell me if my computer (more specifically, the desktop) is ancient.
Desktop: 8 GB RAM, Intel Core i5,NVIDA GeForce 8400GS
Laptop: 6 GB RAM (?) Intel Core i7, NVIDA GeForce 860M



Intel Core i5 and Intel Core i7 are actually rather meaningless on their own. Instead, give the full processor number, such as Intel Core i7-8700K. CPU-Z can easily get you all the information you could ever want about your computer’s specs.

In any case, assuming you have a decent i5 in your desktop, the graphics card is probably the only thing worth upgrading (an 8400GS is pretty ancient).

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At least for solidworks (never used autodesk), a right GPU + CPU would be very helpful. Our CAD stations in school uses nvidia quadro P4000s and i7 7820X and they run hella smooth, However switching to gaming laptops they dont run very smooth, and when an assembly has a lot of parts it tends to lag out and crashes. I also found out its better to run off intel HD than a GPU thats not made for CAD.

I would recommend using the I7 one. Unless you can update the CPU models, i7’s are usually stronger than i5 performance wise, and also based off the GPU from your desktop, the desktop is a bit ancient. I would use the laptop, and run the CAD software’s off Intel HD rather than the 860M. I have a 1060 and even running it off that is actually slower than Intel HD



If you are currently using a desktop software (Inventor, Sketchup) and are looking for something a little faster and more convenient, I highly recommend Fusion 360. It’s a lot faster because the whole software is cloud-based and you can perform multiple tasks at the same time (i.e. you can run a simulation and work on another design in the meantime). I find really useful and haven’t gone back to desktop since. I’m a Mac user so I can’t really help you out sorry.

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I’m currently running Inventor and Solidworks on a 6700k and GTX 1070. Like Barin said, only saying i5 or i7 is almost meaningless without the full number. The graphics cards your currently running are super ancient in 2018 as Intel’s modern integrated graphics solutions on even the low-end chips like Pentiums will blow the 8400GS out of the water.

If you are only interested in modeling and assembly workflows single threaded performance is the most important factor as SolidWorks and Inventor almost exclusively use single threads in those workflows. A modern core i7 or i5 will do absolutely fine in that case. If you’re interested in simulation and rendering, on the other hand, looking for higher core count solutions like an AMD Ryzen processor which are similarly priced would be recommended.

As far as the graphics cards are concerned, my GTX 1070 has never gone above 15% usage in Inventor and the Quadro lineup is significantly more expensive than the GTX series for the same specs. The GTX series is going to be significantly cheaper and work great, CAD programs will tell you that gaming cards are unsupported but they work just fine. Integrated graphics from Intel are also very usable but a dedicated card is almost always going to be better. I would also recommend staying away from all AMD GPUs for your case.

The more ram you can get the better as well. I am currently running 32GB and have probably used a maximum of 18GB while working. I’d probably recommend using a 16GB kit of DDR4 for a workstation or more if you can get it, but ram prices these days have been rising. If your running on a Hard Disk Drive (HDD) for your storage upgrading to an SSD (I especially recommend the M.2 form factor) will also save you a lot of loading time and they are pretty reasonably priced these days.

What specific components I would recommend would depend upon the budget, but a modern i7 like the 8700k with some ram and a decent drive will run almost anything you want great these days. Puget Systems’ website has some pretty great analysis of different hardware running on Inventor and Solidworks and is a good reference. PM me here or on the Vex Discord if you want some more specific recommendations.



Well, thanks for the helpful responses! That was greatest fear confirmed (graphics card). I should be able to look around and take it from here (i’m actually in Taiwan, where you can walk into almost any store and get computer parts).



Wow are you lucky! Wish I could use a Quadro and an extreme edition lol



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