AutoCAD is a very well known program, and due to its popularity, it’s very important to ensure that your PC is well optimized for it. The minimum requirements of this software include a CPU running at 2.5GHz, 8GB RAM, and a 1GB GPU. For the perfect AutoCAD computer, we would recommend something more powerful.
In this article, we’ll be talking about the components you need to build the best workstation PC for AutoCAD.
CPU – Single-Thread or Multi-Thread?
Different software makes use of the CPU in different ways. To elaborate, certain software has tasks that use multiple cores, but other programs only really use 1 or 2 cores.
Frequency is often conflated with this kind of performance, but this is not always the case. IPC (Instructions per Clock) is another important factor, and benchmark comparisons are more important than comparing GHz.
This makes it important to have the latest generation processor and platform in your system. Each new generation of processor will have increased single-threaded performance over the previous.
The benchmarks above show how CPU performance can very between generations and platforms.
A Threadripper is better for multi-threaded tasks, but is outperformed by a much more affordable Ryzen 7 in single-threaded processes.
A previous generation i9 costs more than the Ryzen 7 and even has a higher boost frequency (5.0GHz vs 4.7GHz) but is outperformed in both areas.
CPU – Frequency
Speed is the most important factor in an AutoCAD computer. As such, we would recommend one of AMD’s Ryzen 5000 series CPUs.
These CPUs are not only fast, but also have a great core count. This could be useful for other programs you plan on using.
CPU – Core Count
While it is true that AutoCAD is generally a single-threaded application, there are some workflows which benefit from more cores. Rendering is one of these areas, along with view related commands like zoom, pan and rotate. This is also true for a lot of modelling commands. These include most geometry modelling and freeform commands.
Autodesk recommends a 4-core CPU with a frequency of 3.0GHz for an AutoCAD computer. This is not enough for us, and we prefer CPUs with at least 6 cores, and frequencies of 4.7GHz or higher.
Similar programs like SolidWorks benefit from the features of a Nvidia Quadro card. However, this kind of graphics card is not necessary in a workstation for AutoCAD. In fact, you would probably get much higher performance from a similarly priced Nvidia GeForce GPU, which is why we prefer sticking to those. Autodesk recommends a 4GB graphics card, so the GTX1650 would be a great choice. This card also lets you connect to multiple monitors or monitors with a higher resolution and framerate.
Depending on what else you plan on using your workstation for, you might want to think about a higher performance graphics card, like an RTX series card.
An AutoCAD workstation can use a lot of RAM if you are working with large, complex assemblies. We therefore recommend at least 16GB RAM as a starting point, but if 32GB RAM fits in your budget it would be the best choice. 32GB RAM will also leave enough headroom to run other applications, as well as making the computer a lot more future proof.
Storage technology has come a long way over the past decade. Solid State Drives are known to be much faster than mechanical hard drives, but they’re also seen as pretty expensive.
It was pretty common to install the OS on a 120GB SSD, and everything else on a 1TB HDD, so that you could at least start up your PC super quickly.
Recently it’s become more viable to just use a larger SSD, from around 500GB to 1TB, and this is exactly our approach with our PCs. Having everything stored on SSDs means you’ll be able to save and load programs, and also transfer data, at incredible speeds. The SSDs we use are M.2 form factor and use the NVMe protocol, which means they take up no additional space in your case, and are even faster than standard 2.5” SATA drives.
Our Apollo systems currently feature PCIe 3.0 SSDs, and our Vulcan and Hydra system include even faster PCIe 4.0 SSDs.
You also still have the option of adding in some HDDs if you need to store projects and media you are not actively working on. We would recommend adding these in at a later stage so you can prioritize parts like the CPU.
Why choose us?
Often when you purchase a prebuilt system, it hasn’t even been switched on. If you’ve taken a look at our “Why Us?” page, you’ll already be aware of our unmatched assembly and testing processes, our swift and effective customer support, and our extensive technical knowledge and expertise.
Our team is comprised of lifelong computing enthusiasts with backgrounds in computer hardware and software, and we’re able to spot and resolve errors before the system is even shipped. By the time you receive your system, the likelihood of any kind of failure is as close to zero as possible. If you do encounter any issues, we’ll most likely be able to sort it out for you remotely, and in that rare case you’ll need to send the system in, you’ll be covered by our 3-Year (or 4-Year) warranty and lifetime hardware support.
Our systems combine the performance of enthusiast grade components and the stability of professional workstations. Yes, there are other places you can spend your money, but in terms of actual performance and quality, we simply have no competition.
As we said before, each Modena Computers Workstation is custom built to the workflow and budget requirements of its user. It’s important to consider other programs you may want to use with this workstation.
During our consultation process, you can let us know exactly which programs you want to use with your machine, and we’ll be happy to help you understand what you need.
Keep in mind that opting for higher performance right out of the gate offers much greater value than getting exactly what you need right now. A higher performance PC won’t need downtime to upgrade any time soon, and will also allow you to complete more work in less time. It could pay itself off a lot sooner than a more affordable option.