SolidWorks Workstation $2500 Budget

awkwardly awesome

Oct 22, 2010
I finally convinced my work to let me build a workstation PC instead of buying a prebuilt through Dell. My budget is $2500. It has to last me for the next 2-3 years.

My uses are as follows:
Solidworks 2011(open constantly)
Outlook (open constantly)
Chrome(open 75% of the time)
Pandora App
Photoview 360 (SolidWorks rendering app)
Photoshop CS5
Illustrator CS4
Autocad 3D

Right now I am on a Dell Vostro 420. It has a Core 2 Quad @ 2.50ghz, 8gigs of ram and a 9800 GT. I am constantly running into problems with it right now. In SolidWorks, it will freeze for 2-3 minutes at a time if I rotate the part too quickly or even just too much on a large part, the same goes for when I am closing a file. It is also nearly impossible to have more than 1 part open at one time. It runs very slow with assemblies (even 5-10 part assemblies). I can't handle this computer anymore.

I come from the PC gaming world and only just started reading up on workstation stuff. From the sounds of it, SolidWorks won't necessarily benefit from a 6 core processor but a higher clock speed. The Xeon processors and Quadro cards are new to me. So is ECC memory setups.

Running the apps I listed, will a Xeon and Quadro really benefit me? I am a design engineer for a textile company. We mostly make custom bags for the service industry. The assemblies aren't usually more than 50 parts and the parts are usually no larger than a large suitcase. This morning it took 1hr and 8 mins for a high resolution render in Photoview 360. I need to cut that time down as much as possible.

I know I could build a pretty serious gaming setup for that kind of cash but I am not sure that would be what I want for my job.

This is a Xeon setup I pieced together. I personally don't like Intel and have always been a AMD guy.
-Antec 900 Case $99
-ASUS P8B WS LGA 1155 Intel C206 ATX Intel Xeon E3 Server/Workstation Motherboard $230
-PNY Quadro FX 3800 1gig $839
-CORSAIR Enthusiast Series CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V $95
-Intel Xeon E3-1280 Sandy Bridge 3.5GHz LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core $619
-Crucial C300 128gig SSD $232
-Crucial 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) ECC Registered Server Memory $180
-Asus 24x DVD burner $21
-Windows 7 Pro $135
Total: $2453



if you prefer AMD the firepro series would be a good pplace to look: