Hardware specs for new computer to run Civil 3D

Trying to decide what hardware to put into your new computer to run AutoCAD Civil 3D?  This takes some research of your own and relying on what other people say.  You may still walk away wondering if you picked the right components.  Here is what I have compiled from a variety of sources to help you cut down the time it takes to research your hardware list.

I did not attempt to find the best prices.  I was only concerned about performance.  First I needed to know what influences performance in Civil 3D.  Peter Funk from Autodesk made a nice concise post on the Autodesk Discussion Group that focuses your priorities down to 4 key components after you get over the no-brainer decision to go Windows7-64bit.  (Why Windows 7?  Better memory management.)

  1. Processor Speed
  2. RAM
  3. Hard Disk Speed
  4. Graphics Card

If  you are ready to start your research (I recommend taking notes) please read the discussion group post to help you understand the reasoning behind the list above.  A good read that covers a broader scope of performance considerations including data management practices is Autodesk’s whitepaper on Harnessing the Power of AutoCAD Civil 3D   Read the discussion group post and the white paper found in the links above then come back here to finish this article.

Civil 3D is very processor intensive so put your choice of processors at the top of your list and get the most speed you can afford.   CPU Benchmarks for high end CPUs has a nice graph showing the PassMark CPU Scores for hundreds of high end CPUs including both Intel and AMD processors. Use this chart to compare what your hardware vendor has to offer for pre-built configurations. 

P4, Dual-Core, Quad-Core, Oh My! is an Autodesk blog post by Justin Ziemba covering his performance metrics on a rendering task in Civil 3D.  Filtering the posts on the Being Civil blog down to the hardware tag you will find very helpful insight on what hardware features matter to a Civil 3D user.

If you are a little fuzzy on this 64 bit thing read the 32 Bit vs 64 Bit FAQ. on Microsoft.com

Yes, it is a lot of work looking up system configurations and comparing performance and price. Consider how much time you spend with your computer getting the right system is a very important decision.  Post a comment to this article and share what you have picked out for your best choice.

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