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Picking the correct computer experience  

Estimable Member
Picking the correct computer experience

Dear all

I am sure there will be a post somewhere covering hardware, I just couldn't find it and set about seeing what was going to deliver the best value for money. The internet and youtube are all a bit gamer orientated as well as being empowered by an apparent unlimited range of credit facilities. 

So, if it isn't the latest, biggest, fastest, bestest money can buy you are after but rather a slicer that works faster than the printer for less than a mobile's what to look for.

I use Prusa Slicer and Fusion 360 so your choices may be different but here's the basics for these packages.

1 - a fast CPU. NOT the biggest number of cores. CAD and slicers will work but do not take advantage of multithreading so one core running at 3Ghz will do you more good that 9 cores running at 2.5Ghz

2- (for Fusion 360, Slicer doesn't care) any middle of the road graphics card that supports DirectX 11 and up. The onboard GPU or GPU that is integral to the CPU will work.

3- 16GB of RAM is recommended but my system, on 8GB, was super zippy (although I couldn't help ordering another 8....nobody's perfect)

4- a solid state drive is not essential but it does make life a lot nicer. You can go large or stick with just enough for the OS and use the existing hard drive as storage.

5 - look for old kit, new kit is aimed at faster everything and your wallet.

My kit - HP elite 8300 SFF quad core i5-3470 3.2GHz (refurbished workstation c/w windows 10 pre-installed) £115. I could have stopped there but...

I added an Nvidia GT710 low profile (which I had from an old pc,  £40 back when I bought it) and a Samsung EVO 860 1TB (this was more expensive than the PC! and over the top at £130 much smaller ones by other makers will do just as well. The extra memory is another £40.

Total £325 from Amazon. 

Hope this helps others looking for kit.







Posted : 17/06/2020 12:54 pm
Noble Member
RE: Picking the correct computer experience

Based on my experience with 16G RAM and SSD you will get the most performance boost.

As long as you don't do any gaming or video/photo processing, CPU (everything above Atom) and GPU are not playing a big role.

Often linked posts:
Going small with MMU2
Real Multi Material
My prints on Instagram

Posted : 17/06/2020 5:52 pm
Estimable Member
Topic starter answered:
RE: Picking the correct computer experience

True...ish. You can game and you can video edit....just don't expect the newest games to run at 140fps or that UltraHD video edits will be a breeze. I suppose its what you want the tool to do, after all you can chisel with a screwdriver and you can undo screws with a chisel (provide dad isn't watching).  The big shocker was that the multi core super duper CPU's are actually slower for what we do.

Posted : 18/06/2020 7:28 pm
Estimable Member
Topic starter answered:
RE: Picking the correct computer experience

Last update on this one from me. Memory upgrade failed (motherboard issue not me) and I arranged a swap of their 2x4GB and my 2x4GB for 2x8GB. In the interim I have been running on 2GB total RAM......guess what. No real drop in performance on fusion or prusa. Windows a bit slower to start but not by a horrid amount. So I reckon I could have gone with the base £115 PC and left it at that.

In short, get the fastest core speed processor you can not the "fastest cumulative speed".


Posted : 11/07/2020 10:39 am
Trusted Member
RE: Picking the correct computer experience



CAD requirements depend a lot on how complex your designs are. The more complex with elements like organic shapes, and the larger the design, the more horsepower you are probably going to need.

Yeah, these days more cores in your processor isn't going to really buy you much you can notice. An i5 will work just fine - but there are limits.

More ram is always more better.

Having an SSD is nice, but not a super game changer.

Video cards, like memory, do matter. Waiting on refresh sucks.

What program you choose also matters. Some require less, some more. I find local programs like FreeCad and even SolidWorks tend to weigh heavier on your hardware than say, OnShape. I can run OnShape on my old Chromebook, (or even my smartphone), with the only hit coming from video refresh because all the heavy lifting occurs in the cloud. But FreeCad would never ever run on it. I find Fusion360 to be somewhat less heavy than SolidWorks, but it still needs some serious hardware to get the best from it.

If you are a serious commercial CAD user, a top shelf gaming rig is a nice start. 🙂 For those of us in it for kicks, there is money to be saved by looking at hardware on the backside of "cutting edge". And money directly saved means more filament bought!

Posted : 11/07/2020 3:44 pm