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A gaming and technology blog by TWHL admins Penguinboy and Ant. A music blog by TWHL users Ant and Hugh.

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avatar DiscoStu 16th September 2017, 15:59 PM

I've been thinking about considering contemplating the option of maybe acquiring a new desktop computer. But the truth is, I don't keep up with the industry. I have no idea what's current or what I need or what I can afford.

Right now I have a five years old laptop that serves me well. But being a laptop with integrated graphics, some mildly intensive things like 3D rendering are a pain. The current version* of AutoCAD is also pretty sluggish despite it staying pretty much unchanged in the last decade. Basically what I want is something that can handle AutoCAD and 3D rendering (and some gaming if I ever have time for that).

*ACAD 2016, the oldest Autodesk gives me a student license for. I really liked how 2014 handled but it's no longer up for download.

I'd also really like it to be quiet. Are there quiet fans out there? The constant whine in my last desktops drove me mad. I know there are fanless computers out there but they're crazy expensive. Not going to shell out $3k for a fanless computer.

My current laptop's specs:
- Core i3 2.3GHz
- Intel HD Graphics 3000

So I ask the community: Is there a reliable source where I can catch up on current technology? A respectable publication perhaps? Do you have any advice for such endeavour? Is there anything I could easily miss and I should bear in mind before making a decision?

I strongly dislike W10 so whatever I buy is getting Linux'd.


avatar Stojke says: 16th September 2017, 20:03 PM
Too bad that Autocad wont work on linux.
avatar DiscoStu says: 17th September 2017, 01:23 AM
Wine. If it's just Autocad, I don't care.
avatar JeffMOD says: 17th September 2017, 02:52 AM
I won't make any GPU recommendations because I don't know your rendering needs or budget, and I don't know too much about CPUs, but I can say pretty confidently you should be aiming for minimum 8 gigs of ram, preferably 16 or higher. A small SSD for your OS and a few other slow to load programs in addition to a higher-capacity standard HDD how I have my storage set up right now - the SSD is a huge time saver when booting, but you'll have to watch out for programs trying to default to C:/ (And those who don't give you a choice!)
That might not be an issue for Linux, it's been too long since I've used Ubuntu to recall how installation works on Linux systems.
avatar Kachito says: 17th September 2017, 11:06 AM
Earlier this year, we built for my cousin's-in-law a similar rig. We almost went for 1080p with a Xeon system (at a nice discount), they we're highly recommended at that time for 3d rendering.
Previous plan was a single monitor setup with either a 16gb ram and 960gtx 2 gb(the graphic card would get upgraded at a later time), or 8gb ram and 970gtx 4gb (where the ram would get upgraded 1st at a later time).
They stretched their budget a bit to get 16gb ram and a 970gtx 4gb for a dual monitor setup.

I think nowadays you should first take a look at the Ryzen cpus, they're the best bang for the buck (in most cases) according to reviews.
It's been about 16 years since i've last touched Autocad, so no comment on that, but as a casual user almost everything i used lately has been cpu intensive when it comes to 3d rendering. Off the top of my head, a couple of times i've seen Maya and Substance stress my gpu, but not much else.
Of course, Unreal 4 will give the gpu a run for your money. Pick your poison :)
avatar NineTnine says: 18th September 2017, 00:23 AM
Nah mate if you want Win7 still just have a look around for a 2nd hand computer, you can find pretty decent rigs out there people are selling. I mean it may not be current brand new but if you take the time you can uncover some good stuff, thats how I got my current PC
avatar savvaisnotagirl says: 18th September 2017, 11:18 AM
You can invest in a eGPU for your laptop. There's a bunch online for 200-300$, like the Akitio Node Thunderbolt:
avatar DiscoStu says: 18th September 2017, 21:16 PM
Whoa whoa whoa. I did not know that was a thing. I'm pretty sure this laptop doesn't have a Thunderbolt plug though :(
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