I am looking at getting a new PC without spending a fortune. I was wondering if anyone had any advise on chips and graphic cards? Would a single high speed chip with a 256 graphics card be faster than a dual chip and a 128 graphics card? Would a dual chip help at all or only in multitask situations? I am planning on getting at least 1G of ram. I typically do 2-D construction documents. Any advise, knowledge, or experience would be greatly appreciated.
Hello and welcome!
The 1GB of RAM is a good starting point; try and leave room for upgrading to 2GB or more. So depending on the number of RAM slots on the motherboard, you could get 2X 512MB, or you might need to get a single 1Gb stick.
If you get an Athlon 64 X2, or and Core 2 Duo, then you will be helped in multitasking situations (at the moment), but also possibly in the future, if DataCAD goes "multi-threaded". The trend is toward dual cores, as well as more RAM.
I would stay away from dual core Pentium 4 -- in fact, I wouldn't recommend any P4's at this point. They are just too hot, and are not as powerful as the Athlon 64, let alone the Core 2 Duo.
The speed of the video "GPU" is more important than the amount of RAM; though there are lots of cards with 256MB that don't cost too much. If you do larger 3D models, with lots of textures, then the 256MB might help some.
For minimum budget, I would go for an Athlon 64 single core, with a midline 256MB video card, and the 1GB of RAM. The premium for a dual core is ~$125 (and up), while the savings to go to a 128MB video card is much less. The other reason to go with the Athlon 64, is the cost of RAM: DDR is less money than DDR2.
Are you going to build it yourself, or have it built at a local shop?