Building The Ultimate Design Computer

hello Archinectors,

I have always wanted to build my own beefy Design Computer. Just don't know where to start. Any suggestions?? 


Dec 17, 12 1:50 pm

Core i7 Processor, (or dual Xeons)

24GB ram

2x NVIDA Quardo or ATI Fire GL GPU w/ 2gb VRAM

500 GB SSD for the OS & Programs

500 GB SSD for critical backup

2TB HDD for files 

Blu-Ray Read/Write combo drive

1000W power supply

and a decent, well-ventilated case

Dec 17, 12 2:14 pm

Critical backup ssd? $400 for redundancy...

I'll post my own setup later but first what is your budget? 

Dec 17, 12 3:13 pm

you could raid1 those ssd's.  do ssd's fail?

same with the hdds.  go raid 5 for the redundancy and stripes.  you would need a mobo with at least 8 sata holes (or an extra sata card maybe).  but then, budget wasn't much of an issue with that build :)

since you're getting 2 quadro cards, i assume that's for sli and either a quadro 5000 or 6000.  you're at $4,000 to $8,000 for that build already, so i'd say $400 for redundancy isn't that much.

Dec 17, 12 3:53 pm

no computer in the world will matter if you suck at traditional design... master how to put your ideas on paper by hand first xP

Dec 17, 12 9:30 pm

wow awesome, thanks guys! I'd say my budget would be around $1,000. I got an okay hook up on computer parts at this tech-swap-meet by my house. So i feel like $1,000 would suffice. 

Dec 17, 12 9:36 pm

lol @accesskb - i know right. unfortunately in this day and age technology is starting to rule,  but i alwayd put my ideas on paper before i start any work. Preliminary sketching is always my starting point!

Dec 17, 12 9:53 pm

Good luck in getting the spec that Apurimac is suggesting for 1000$.

I think the spec Apurimac is suggesting is probably the ideal top end machine, but you do not nearly need that much juice for architectural work.

Heres what I suggest

Core i7 processor

24 gb RAM

ATI Radeon 7850 video card

128 GB SSD for C drive

2TB 7200 rpm Hard drive for storage drive

Blu-ray player

There is frankly no need for a RAID setup, just buy a carbonite membership for 50$ unlimited backups for a year, and let it back up every night onto the cloud.

Dec 17, 12 10:38 pm

here you go.  i haven't looked too close at this, but it's a good place to start.  hopefully the link works.

Dec 18, 12 7:55 am

I just bought an alienware Aurora for my work computer.


4.2 Ghz Overclocked i7


Dual 3GB ATI Radeon 7600 GPU


liquid cooling


It doesn't have any of the normal Dell bloatware on it, and it comes with nice utilities for overclocking both CPU and GPUs. The build quality is amazing, and I didn't have to put it together myself. It was also surprisingly affordable. 

Seeing as your budget is what my budget is for a personal desktop, I would recommend the smaller alienware desktop, as that is what I will be buying myself.

Dec 19, 12 11:35 am

I built my own machine recently. Asus Sabertooth Motherboard, Intell i7 3960x Hex Core processor(3.8Ghz overclocked), 32 GB of RAM, Corsaire Liquid Cooling, (2) 500 GB Western Digital Hard Drives, (1) 120 Gb western digital OS drive, an NVIDIA Ge-Force 680x (2gb virtual memory) graphics card with SLI capability, a Sony CD drive, and Windows 7 ultimate with Kaspersky anti virus. Price tag: +-$2,700. I have every design program available that arch firms use. I don't play games, only do work. I built this machine myself with let's from NewEgg and eBay. Imagine how much something like this would cost if you were to buy it from a computer manufacturer like dell or hp... And those are name brands... Falcon Northwest does custom machines and a pc like this can cost up to $15,000... If you are serious about rendering and graphics... Don't get a laptop... Parts become obsolete much faster and there isnt that much variety. I would also advise against Macs... Look at why I built for the same price as a Mac.... You also don't have to worry about running things through boot camp....

Dec 19, 12 4:04 pm

3960x Hex Core processor(4.2 Ghz overclocked)*

Dec 19, 12 4:06 pm

Falcon Northwest uses granite in their can't take them or their prices seriously. 

The challenge is to build a computer for $1,000.

Base Total: $1015.59
Mail-in Rebates: -$55.00
Total: $960.59

Spend the extra $39.41 on a mouse and keyboard
Is it the ultimate design computer? Hell no, but you're on a budget and it's still better than a MBP. 

Dec 19, 12 4:45 pm

My original post was more a dream machine.  Then again i saw an NVIDIA Tesla workstation card yesterday that made my head spin.  Also didn't know there was 4 way SLI.

My first build was a $1000, but I got the monitor for free from an old job.  I still advise building the machine around a core i7 w/ at least 6GB of ram for win7 for design & rendering purposes.  A basic 512mb gaming video card will be fine to start, and a 500 watt power supply should suffice but you'll need more juice if you plan on upgrading components later on.

Win7 runs crazy fast on an SSD, get one for the OS.  I advise them for backup too as they're more reliable than HDDs.  Most performance mobos will have at least 6 SATA adapters, so having an abundance of drives isn't really a problem as long as your case can hold them.  If you do go the SSD route, understand you'll need an adapter if you want to make the 2.5" drive fit perfectly in the 3.5" slots on an ATX case.

Get a decent case with good airflow and buy a couple extra fans and you should still be in for about a grand minus the monitor (protip: used LCD TVs are DIRT CHEAP).  Just don't skimp on the mobo and processor, everything else can be built around that core, and you won't need the pro video cards unless your modeling large projects in something like Revit.

Dec 20, 12 10:11 pm

You don't need more than a 500-600W power supply unless you have some kind of extravagant feature like dual CPUs or a high-end video card. Getting a good reliable brand is more important.

Dec 21, 12 9:24 pm

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