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Vectorworks Hardware Survey

Hardware for Vectorworks  

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  1. 1. Hardware for Vectorworks

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Getting a little feedback from the community:

The computer you use currently for the majority of your work in Vectorworks, how do you normally acquire it?

Please choose one of the poll options and if your opinion on the matter is more complex than one of the choices, or if you'd like to chime in with your purchase/upgrade process, please do.

Thank you!

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I am going to have a new computer (windows) built in the next couple of months. Looking at an I7 processor, a graphics card that will handle 3-4 monitors, 24gigs of RAM, a SSD for VW to live on, a RAID HD setup, etc.

Has anyone moved from an I5 to an I7 processor? If so, did you notice an improvement in performance?

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VW KB :: Upgrading your computer for Vectorworks says that "currently Intel's i7 series is the recommended CPU, as the i3 and i5 series processors can be significantly weaker". Personally, I wouldn't bother considering the i5.

Also take a look at this previous discussion thread: iMac i7 Hyper-Threading:

i7. An i5 is a fairly minor cost savings compared to how significantly better the i7 CPU is. Just looking at the raw numbers won't always prove it, but I have used both on both Macs and Windows and the i7 is far superior.

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I agree with Tim, and not JUST because he is agreeing with me!

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I am going to have a new computer (windows) built in the next couple of months. Looking at an I7 processor, a graphics card that will handle 3-4 monitors, 24gigs of RAM, a SSD for VW to live on, a RAID HD setup, etc.

Has anyone moved from an I5 to an I7 processor? If so, did you notice an improvement in performance?

Something to consider in your build spec is video card. Maybe this will be different with VW16 but I was told on the sly that VW plays better with AMD based video cards than nVidia.

I've been able to prove that as my coworker and I had exactly the same rigs in our office, or so we were told by IT.

They were fairly upspec Dell workstations, etc ...

We had noticed that when rendering in OpenGL I was cussing less than him (note cussing still prevailed) We started to goof off one day (oh the joys of being employed at a company) and started doing unofficial bench tests by opening the same file and hitting the render button at the same time, and I always beat him.At first I thought it was a driver issue as I keep my drivers fairly updated. When I went to update the driver on his machine I discovered the nVidia card. We did some research and the 2 cards were comparable spec and price. I pestered the tech support people and was told unofficially that yes the AMD cards do play better with VW.

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Thanks for that tidbit of info Mickey.

I've always over the years been more of a fan of AMD cards, so I'll be sure to get one in the next workstation.

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I wouldn't know about nvidia vs amd, but definitely do not waste money on a quadro card. They do not perform as well as the nvidia gtx series.

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any recommendation as to which video card

in the AMD range

would the AMD FirePro™ W7100 8GB be the oen to go for ?

No, take a look at the R9 and R7 series from AMD instead. Significantly better performance at nearly half the price of the FirePros.

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Most of them so far have Intel integrated cards, which tend to behave poorly at best with a moderately complex file. The Surface Book has an Nvidia card, but it doesn't even report a model number and seems like a custom job between Nvidia and Microsoft, which sometimes have driver issues.

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Hey everyone,

I am currently debating building a machine versus buying one. I have always had a Mac and would love to have the new Mac Pro. However, $3K is a lot to spend. What do you all think, build or buy?

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Three uestions:

1. Do you enjoy working with PC's and digging for information on drivers, interrupts and misc details of the operating system?

2. How highly do you value your time?

3. If you are coming from the Mac side are you talking about building a Windows machine or a Havkintosh?

If you have never built a machine before, you need to be prepared for what could be a lot of extremely detailed trouble shooting with minimal vendor support on the integration.

To do the research on the parts to use, the best place to purchase, to do the actual build and install the software, you are talking about a lot of time.

Windows sort of supports custom built machines. Apple does not support (or actually allow under the licensing agreement) the building of non-Apple hardware.

My estimate is that you will spend 10 to 30 hours building your own machine including research and trouble shooting. After that you still have a machine with basically no vendor support or warranty that you will have to support for its life.

In my opinion, unless you want to make building machines your new hobby, you are much better off buying.

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Pat,

Thanks for the advice, I really appreciate it. To answer your questions:

1. I don’t mind working on PC’s, but would rather keep working on my Mac. I definitely don’t like looking for drivers, interrupts or any of the other information needed to keep a custom built PC working.

2. My time is very valuable, especially this new year as it looks to be a very busy year for me, professionally. I would much rather be able to concentrate on my work instead of dealing with issues associated with building a PC. I have built many PC’s (Windows-based), but definitely get where you are coming from.

3. I was talking about building a windows machine. I have never attempted to build a hackintosh and know that it is not really allowed and I wouldn’t even know where to start

I will most likely take your advice and wait until I can afford to upgrade to a new Mac Pro.

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is there any documentation on how VW works with the Surface line of products?

Anyone with any real life experience on this?

Thinking of replacing my iPad 3 with a Surface but precise model would depend on viability of being able to run VW on occasional basis.

Shame the M model didn't come with 8GB RAM for same price. I would treat it as a direct iPad replacement and anything extra it could do would be a bonus. Not a fan of having the fan on the i5/i7 models.

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Just chiming in here -- if your budget is limited and/or you just prefer extracting maximum value from your older hardware, if you have any Mac with a Thunderbolt port (Mini, iMac, any laptop, even a Mac Pro for that matter,) there are fairly well-tested eGPU (external GPU) solutions now available.

The best of them are custom-built and do require some hardware hacking. I can say that I am completely satisfied with the 3D & OpenGL performance of the Nvidia GTX970 card I have running with/on my 2012 Mac Mini. See the link in my signature below if you want more details.

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I build my own towers. you can maintain last years top of the line prosumer PC for $400-$600 per year if you keep it upgraded. ie: this year a new video card...next year a new power supply upgrade to 1000w...2 years after that there's a new processor, so get the new chipset and mobo because it'll still work w/your ram, video and power.

always buy last years thing. it's cost effective, and not that hard. it does take a little time at the beginning to learn all the details of the hardware interactions, but you soon begin to get a feel for the subject matter and lingo. you do not need to be a rocket scientist, or solder your own front side cache.

if you have all the parts, it'll take you 4hrs-ish to have a computer with win 10 ready to go. you will spend the next week tweaking it. someday, you will eventually create a hardware problem that you didn't anticipate, and you'll be real mad, and you'll just have to wait for the new part to come...

but it always beats a six year old, out of date Mac that you can't replace for less than $3k-$5k

source: i am not a rocket scientist, but i was once a mac user.

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^^ This is how I run all of my personal machines and I highly recommend it if you are hardware tinkering inclined. Buy at just sub-cutting-edge and you can often trounce the best prebuilt rigs for 1/2 or 3/4 the price. My current box at home runs circles around the most recent Mac Pro and cost under $2000: http://jimwtech.blogspot.com/2015/05/a-break-to-detail-what-ive-been-working.html

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I moved from an i5 to an i7 years back and I would never go back. I saw a huge increase in performance.

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Buy at just sub-cutting-edge and you can often trounce the best prebuilt rigs for 1/2 or 3/4 the price

I always research and buy a machine I call just under gaming level

Big puter specs are shown below and it is maybe 18 months old - it has been super duper. Both my puters are running W 10 but held off a while before going down that path - all good though - not just good but great

Also running an Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro Laptop almost a year old - VN7-719G-77ZF - great 17 inch laptop for over here AU $ about $1650.00 new when I bought it

Have to say and some may or may not be; but if doing ok using VW I find the cheapest part of what we do VW itself and then if carefully chosen; hardware

As an example cannot believe our HP T120 A1 plotter only cost here $1550 AU and although we use it a lot it uses little ink and has paid for itself in 9 months

I agree with Jim when it comes to comparing costs of Mac to PCs - PCs can be soooo much cheaper and yet run circles around them

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PCs can be soooo much cheaper and yet run circles around them

I agree that you can go much cheaper with a PC.

But not that Macs would bet more expensive in general.

In practice that was never true for me.

When you really compare the same components, it was always more expensive on

the PC side. Even If you build it your own by parts.

It is just that you have more choice and maybe can choose little lower parts with

a better price/feature ratio that is better suitable to your special needs.

It is quite obvious when looking at Retina iMacs.

The nMac Pro indeed is more a video station than a perfect 3D machine.

In that case I had wished a complete different setup and would get much more

power and compatibility for less money on the PC side.

But I can't imagine to work again with a cheap, ugly, loud, energy consuming and

messily case near my desk.

It is a matter of personal preferences.

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Cheaper for what you actually use, for instance the Mac Pro includes two D700 GPUs and ECC memory, two choices that cost a crazy amount and offer special features that aren't needed for most users doing CAD work.

When you bring the aesthetic issue into things though (Which I don't, most of my workspaces look like a scene from "The Matrix" but thats personal preference) the Mac side starts to get a lot more reasonable than just a straight up price/performance fight.

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That's what I meant. You have more choice on the PC side and you can start at a lower price.

For many users and CAD normal RAM may be better suited.

That is what iMacs are for.

If I would build a PC I would go for ECC RAM anyway as it is more reliable for rendering.

If I start batch rendering over night I can be sure it's finished and doesn't hang the next

morning.

RAM is a bad example as normally it is always cheaper to buy RAM from PC components

like I do for my Mac Book. Just in case of the nMac Pro it was the most current expensive

RAM so that it was cheaper to Apple upgrade, instead of buying cheaper RAM and throw

the smaller modules, that had to be included in all slots, away.

The other differences of Macs beside their component choice, like aesthetic, build quality,

energy consumptions, less need to care about the OS and such things are valued by quite

a minority. This is often bought by restrictions and incompatibility anyway.

If you don't care, why you should you pay for it.

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When you bring the aesthetic issue into things though (Which I don't, most of my workspaces look like a scene from "The Matrix" but thats personal preference) the Mac side starts to get a lot more reasonable than just a straight up price/performance fight.

That is starting to change. The mac pro is in a class in itself as far as a desktop is concerned, but the aesthetics in the mobile space have tightened up. The problem is that the pretty looking machines have the same upcharge as Apple so you loose the PC competitive price advantage.

Separate issue - it seems like gaming laptops are significantly cheaper than comparable mobile workstations. It seems as if it is marketed as a CAD/BIM machine - you are paying an extra 25% compared to a machine with almost identical specs.

Is there something I should watch out for? IAre gaming rigs good for Vectorworks or is there a configuration or component I should look out for?

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