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Buying a computer: a question of graphics cards

by iced327 / July 16, 2010 1:31 AM PDT

I'm thinking of buying a new desktop to run CAD and a friend recommended not buying an integrated graphics card. I did some research, found out what that means and why, and I've narrowed myself down to two options - so I'd like some input from people who understand this stuff.

First option is a Dell i580, 8MB ram, intel core i5-650, and a dedicated NVIDIA geforce gt 220. price: 800$

Second option is an HP 6540y, 8MB ram, AMD Phenom II, and an integrated ati radeon HD 4200. price: 730$

The HP is cheaper than the Dell by 70$, and I'm a college student so every penny counts.

First - I don't play any computer games and I can guarantee that CAD and Matlab are the most graphics/data intensive programs that I'll be running. Could the HP handle it? The CAD program is Pro/Engineer if that helps.

Second - is it worth it to buy the HP and make up the difference in cost by purchasing a graphics card to install myself? I'm eyeing up either the card that's in the dell, or this ati radeon hd 5450, but the price ranges from 50-100$ based on the company that manufactures it. visiontek = 100$, sapphire = 50$. I don't know either company, but clearly a 50$ says something about them.

Keep in mind that I have little money so functional but cheap is key.

Any thoughts and feedback is appreciated!!

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Power supply
by mopscare42 / July 16, 2010 10:24 AM PDT

According to what I could find on the 5450 Graphics card, they recommend a 400 watt power supply.
The Dell you are looking at has a 300 watt and the HP has 250 watt supplies in them.
The i5-650 would be a better choice of processors for what you will be doing as it is duel core with 4 threads at 3.2 GHz.
The Nvidia GeForce GT220 dedicated graphics is probably more than you will actually need doing cad work.
My daughters Dell has that same graphics setup. She does graphics, video editing and plays games on it and it never misses a beat no matter what she does.
It also has DVI, HDMI and VGA outputs on the graphics so you can pretty much use any monitor or TV set for that matter.
The Dell is on sale at BB as well as other places for $759.99.
As you can see I lean toward the Dell not only because it is just a better equipped computer, but because I have seen too many problems with the HPs lately.

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if memory serves correct...
by sensibility / July 23, 2010 4:08 PM PDT

most CAD programs require alot of space memory and most importantly cpu power. so going the way of prebuilt may not be the best idea here but rather custom built. read the requirement of the CAD applications you are using then double everything this sounds extreme. but if it is for your career best to have it work right than crap out before you even try. i would recommend 750 watts i9 12gb ram 1.5tb drives in raid. and a decent gaming card to hold the graphics intensive CAD demands. sounds like a lot of dough to drop. but whats it worth to ya?? wait for the machine to catch up? or have it your way right away??

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