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Best Workstation PC for AutoCAD (Summer 2020)

Written on July 16, 2020 by William George
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Introduction

Here at Puget Systems, specifically in the Labs department, most of the content that we write falls into one of two categories: either long, fairly in-depth articles looking at the performance of various PC components in a given application or recommended system pages, with multiple configuration options aimed at different budgets and lots of supporting data drawn from the aforementioned articles. For some readers, all of that is information overload, though, and they just want a quick question answered: what is the best computer for my needs? We’re going to try answering that question more directly in a new series of short articles, like this one.

Today we are looking at AutoCAD, a computer-aided design program from Autodesk for architects, engineers, and construction professionals. It uses the CPU for most of the heavy lifting, but will also utilize the graphics card when displaying 3D models.

Screenshot of AutoCAD

Screenshot of AutoCAD (from the AutoCAD Blog)

Good PC Configuration for AutoCAD

We'll start off with a good, solid workstation design for AutoCAD - without too high of a price tag. This application performs best with a CPU that has a high clock speed, with little regard to core count, which means that Intel's latest Core 10th Generation processors do very well here. The Core i7 10700K is a solid choice, and pairing it with 16GB of memory will meet Autodesk's recommendation for this program. Likewise, a Quadro P2200 is more than fast enough for most workloads - while sticking with NVIDIA's professional-grade video card family. A fast 1TB SSD will ensure that the system is responsive and offers a solid amount of storage space.

CPU Intel Core i7 10700K 8-core
Video Cards NVIDIA Quadro P2200 5GB
RAM 16GB DDR4
Drives 1TB NVMe SSD

Better PC Configuration for AutoCAD

Stepping up from there, we can move up to the Intel Core i9 10900K with slightly higher clock speed and a couple of additional cores. Doubling the RAM to 32GB, upgrading to the latest generation of Quadro video cards with the RTX 4000, and increasing the storage capacity a bit are all solid upgrades as well. To protect this investment, increasing the parts warranty length is a good idea.

CPU Intel Core i9 10900K 10-core
Video Cards NVIDIA Quadro RTX 4000 8GB
RAM 32GB DDR4
Drives 500GB & 1TB NVMe SSDs

Best PC Configuration for AutoCAD

The best possible hardware configuration for AutoCAD is overkill for what almost anyone using this software would actually need... but here it is, for those who just want to see what it would look like. The video card is maxed-out to NVIDIA's Quadro RTX 6000 with an absurd (for this use case) 48GB of memory. RAM and storage are both doubled again as well.

CPU Intel Core i9 10900K 10-core
Video Cards NVIDIA Quadro RTX 6000 24GB
RAM 64GB DDR4
Drives 1TB & 2TB NVMe SSDs

Please note that this last system is probably overkill. For the vast majority of AutoCAD users, something around the "Good" or "Better" configurations will be ideal - and specifics like the storage setup can easily be adjusted to your needs before you order.

Additional Resources

If you want to know more about workstation performance, we have published several articles over the years looking at how various CPUs and video cards compare in a wide range of professional programs. And if you aren’t sure what you need, or if your workflow includes multiple applications, please feel free to call or email our consultants to get a more personalized configuration.

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Tags: Workstation, PC Workstation, PC, AutoCAD, Modeling