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First post, by ptr1ck

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I'm head of a CAD department that needs to upgrade workstations. We only upgrade about every 3 years. Last time we got some Dell Precision 3630s in 2018, which are desktops. This year, I am looking to go mobile. Software and cloud services are finally up to snuff when it comes to mobile friendly workflows. It is the way of the future. Historically, my company has been committed to Dell, but my IT director will entertain other system builders for these high performance machines.

We currently mainly use AutoCAD and Navisworks. We are migrating to Revit this year as well as our primary drafting platform. These applications are not built to fully utilize multi-thread.

Specs targeted:
12th Gen Intel - highest clock and IPC we can get (I'd settle for an i7 if clocked higher than i9 for example)
2- NVME drives - boot/applications and other for storage such as 3D point clouds which are HUGE
Nvidia graphics - 3060 or better or Quadro equivalents (A2000?)
64gb RAM
17" screens with ability to support 3 external when "docked"
Windows 11 Pro

We currently have some quotes on Dell Precision 5770 for about $4300 each and I have looked at some Origin machines for around $4000.

What system builders or particular machines do any of you recommend?

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Reply 1 of 11, by buckeye

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I too do CAD but in the piping/pressure vessel field. We've stuck with DELL desktops for over 20 years but our IT guy may have us all switch to laptops so we can shuttle to home when needed.
My setup is local not cloud. Luckily Bricscad gives us that flexibility and it's cheaper too. My 3d needs are not as extensive as yours so any of the latest cpu's and a "solid" geforce works well.

Intel D865GL Pentium 4 2.4ghz. 512MB DDR 400 Quadro4 900XGL 128MB SB Live 5.1 500W 98SE
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Reply 2 of 11, by ptr1ck

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Our focus is mechanical and electrical commercial construction. I'm just completing a large 5-star hotel and conference center. Our models can get quite large with a single level of a building being about 10mb DWG file for a single trade. Point cloud data (3D scan) is absurdly large. The processed data can be in the gigabytes for file sizes. I have worked with one project recently that had a 45gb file size for a scan that is of 4 floors of a hotel.

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Reply 4 of 11, by pentiumspeed

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G0 HP business line high end notebooks with good expansion on memory and one or two SSD spaces, make sure screens is best one and have good GPU.

I have been through Dell and Ienovo, not again. Dell dying boards and fritikcy start up, poor heatsink design. Lenovo with their funny bios and motherboard issues including noisy VRM, lottery screens and again poor heatsinks.

Cheers,

Great Northern aka Canada.

Reply 6 of 11, by chinny22

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I can't remember the exact model as it was 3 years ago, but the HP Zbook but the 2 we had went thought 2 different motherboards and a dock. Admittedly they were the bottom of the range Zbook but no zbook is budget.
2 years ago another customer got a single Dell mobile workstation, both reliability and build quality felt better then the above HP's.

Personally In my experience in the last 10 years working for a MSP (before that is ancient history)
Dell gives you a little more for your money and good after sales support.
HPe really dropped in both quality and support when they split about 5 years ago, They have gotten better so I no longer actively discourage HPe but value for money still isn't on par with Dell
Haven't played with Lenovo enough to be able to make a real comparison with only 2 Legal firms (so not the most demanding hardware wise) who historically used IBM

But in all honesty I think they are all about the same, Business use and especially laptops your not really looking at overclocking, upgrading, etc. ease of contacting somebody when something does go wrong and how fast they come to fix it is what really matters and any of the big OEM brands should be ok.
I'd go with cost, features and how things are at the moment availability if your not locked into any particular brand locality

Reply 7 of 11, by spiroyster

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Another shout for Dell here! Been CAD/CAM developer for 16 years now (including 6 years in M&E commercial building services 😉), always had Dell's and 90% of our customers all used Dell. Some colleagues did have HP's, but not many.

Enterprise contracts have much better support than non-enterprise and any problems we have had have always been sorted very fast by Dell (technician was with us usually within 24 hours). I still use my Dell Precision M6800 laptop given to me 6/7 years ago when I was working in building services (now working in CAM), mainly BEM/Thermal analysis, and it is still a work horse today (was on pretty much constantly for 6 years... when not modelling it was building software, and never missed a beat).

You will need RAM and lots of it for Revit, I presume you are doing referbs and plotting the services from the lidar? in which case there may be some automated cloud stuff avaliable (Autodesk workflows, I know there were for IFC at the time) which could help. As I was leaving, pretty much all (Autodesk) thermal analysis was done on the cloud (IFC ones catching fast, although not as polished as the Autodesk workflows). The last Revit I used was 2021 so things may have changed since then.

We had some pretty large jobs which I used to generate BEM's for... 16 GB was certainly enough for most of these non-federated models in Revit (and even some federated ones). I worked on very large commercial jobs too, Conference centres, Multi-storey hotels (100+ rooms), Airfields etc so appreciate your requirement 😀

Anything modern with enough RAM and you can't go wrong. Do what ever you can on the Cloud if you can, but if not, dedicated servers will do number crunching it a lot quicker. Only specialised tools actually utilised the GPU in any meaningful manner, I don't recall much Autodesk stuff utilising GPGPU so most RTX/GTX would probably be fine (aim for as much VRAM as possible when using lidar). Your biggest problem will be Revit the resource hog. IFC tools are generally a lot lighter on resources and allow larger federated models, but appreciate it depends on the job and not always viable.

Reply 8 of 11, by ptr1ck

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Our workflows don't always involve point clouds since most projects we do are new plan-spec. We do some renovations and change-outs which the scanner is an amazing tool.

I think I've settled on Dell Precision 5770 Mobile Workstation for now. The specs will most likely be i9-12900H, 64gb DDR5, Quadro A3000, 2- 1TB NVME (no RAID). I'm a bit disappointed as this hardware is so new there is little to no information out there on the processors.

I've been warned about working in Revit and how slow it can be with large models. I'm just finishing a nice sized one with 199 rooms, 2 ballrooms and 3 restaurants. We did this with our outdated CAD platform though (Trimble formerly Quickpen, DuctDesigner & PipeDesigner) which as you know is built on a per level basis instead of the whole 7 floors. It was slow enough doing that work. I'm trying to prepare us for drafting full-time with Revit very soon though.

And may I mention how I loathe residence buildings...

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Reply 9 of 11, by cyclone3d

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The Dell Precision 7560 laptops are the bees knees.

The ones we have have the RTX A3000 video cards.

You can have up to 4 nvme SSDs and up to 128GB RAM if I remember correctly.

Yamaha YMF modified setupds and drivers
Yamaha XG resource repository - updated November 27, 2018
Yamaha YMF7x4 Guide
AW744L II - YMF744 - AOpen Cobra Sound Card - Install SB-Link Header

Reply 10 of 11, by buckeye

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The only things about Dell is the bloatware they put on their systems, that and when needing to contact support have to use chat mode
because I can't understand their accent. That's probably more of a function of my hearing loss than anything else.

Intel D865GL Pentium 4 2.4ghz. 512MB DDR 400 Quadro4 900XGL 128MB SB Live 5.1 500W 98SE
Intel SE440BX P3 450 256MB 40GB Voodoo 3000 16MB SB 32pnp 350W 98SE
MSI x570 Gaming Pro Carbon Ryzen 3700x 32GB DDR4 Zotac RTX 3070 8GB WD Black 1TB 850W

Reply 11 of 11, by ptr1ck

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Consumer level Dell systems and support do leave something to be desired. There's no bloatware outside of what Microsoft ships with these days on commercial Dell systems. Also, there's different support for corporations.

"ITXBOX" SFF-Win11
KT133A-V3-DOS/Win98
Nforce2-GF4-V2 SLI-WinXP