System hardware requirements vary depending on the CAD software you use, but the CPU always plays an integral role in overall performance. Read on to learn more about our workstation computers and choosing the best CPU for CAD design.
How the CPU affects CAD
When buying a CPU for CAD, it is important to consider two main factors that determine the performance of the processor – the number of cores and the core. Most CAD-based programs are single-threaded or low-threaded, which means that the primary focus should be on the core frequency – often called core speed and measured in GHz. The higher the core speed, the better the system will work with this workload.
Note: Current processor generators have a Turbo / Boost function, which is basically an automatic overclocking of a single core that the system will provide depending on the load. Do not ignore this specification! For CAD, Turbo / Boost speed is much more important than stock frequency.
The best budget CPU for CAD
To run CAD, the best value-based CPU will be what the biggest Turbo / Boost offers for money.
On Intel’s side, it would be the NEW Core i5-11600k, with 6 cores and 12 threads at 3.9 / 4.9 GHz for less than $ 300. You may find higher individual clock speeds in the i7 / i9 range, but not in that price range. It’s a great option for even professional CAD work with a budget.
AMD Ryzen also offers some great options for hungry frequency applications like CAD. Our recommendation is the Ryzen 5 5600X with 6 cores and 12 threads at 3.7 / 4.6 GHz and a price similar to the Intel option. Although these GHz speeds are somewhat slower, the increased efficiency and IPC improvements from AMD’s latest architecture have generally brought benchmarks slightly higher in CAD applications during our testing. The difference is very small and it is a matter of choice that you choose.
Configure now with Intel Core or AMD Ryzen on our HD60 workstation.
Best overall CPU for CAD
For our professional customers in architecture, engineering and construction who are looking for all the possible performance benefits, the optimal choice is Intel’s new i9-11900k, solely due to the astonishing Turbo speed of 5.3 GHz. Prior to this launch, the only way to bring the closet to that level of performance was through significant single-core overclocking, which is obviously not ideal on a professional workstation. These speeds paired with support for PCIe 4.0 and ultra-fast DDR4 RAM will give your team the best overall CAD performance.
Josh has been with Velocity Micro since 2007 in various roles in marketing, PR and sales. As Director of Sales and Marketing, he is responsible for all direct and retail sales, as well as for marketing activities. He enjoys reruns of Seinfeld, songs from the Atlanta Braves and the Beatles written by John, Paul or George. Sorry, Ringo.
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