I'm a year out of school and felt that my laptop was keeping me from wanting to install and learn new software. I built this machine to replace my four-year-old Lenovo W510 workstation laptop as my workhorse computer for design software.
The programs that will primarily have to be run on this computer are: SolidWorks for 3-D modeling, KeyShot for 3-D model rendering, Adobe CS6 programs including Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and Premiere Pro. I will also be installing the Rhino 3D modeling software and Autodesk's Sketchbook Pro in order to learn how to use them. I may also occasionally use this computer to play some games from my steam library, since it will far out power my workstation laptop, which I will from now on use primarily for Internet browsing, email, watching anime, playing smaller indie games and occasional light weight Photoshop editing.
Since this computer was basically built to be a workstation I spent most of my budget on getting a really fast CPU, getting at least 16GB of RAM, and and SSD big enough for installing all the programs I wanted to run. I was debating whether I should get a workstation graphics card like the ATI FirePro V4900 1GB Video Card. SolidWorks has a very narrow list of approved graphics cards but some people reported success using gaming graphics cards. However other people reported that SolidWorks has issues and crashes with gaming cards and drivers. what I found out was that: "The thing here is not so much the speed of the card, but faster is still good. It is mostly using a SW approved card. One that has been tested & approved by SW is much less likely to give you problems, including slower performance. But with that being said many people have had good luck with gaming cards, but it is controversial and you use them at your own risk."
Ultimately decided to go with a gaming graphics card since I wanted to be able to use this for more than just SolidWorks and buying a video card powerful enough for those applications, while still having it be a SolidWorks approved workstation graphics card was just too expensive. I went with a GeForce GTX 760 since I only needed a mid-tier graphics card and in my mind the 760 is at least mid-tier. If I want I can buy a second 760 one later on.
KeyShot's compatibility with the graphics card was a nonissue since it uses the CPU in order to render out images. Also on an interesting note it is my understanding that apparently SolidWorks runs on primarily on a single core. So a faster single core is better than a slower multi core, but a faster multi core is best if your system is used for more than just SolidWorks. So far I've only launched SolidWorks once and have yet to work on a large model in it but so far SolidWorks seems to be working fine.
I bought the Corsair H100i because I heard it was quiet and because I might want to try overclocking the CPU in a month or two. By the way is my first time ever pulling the trigger on buying the parts assembling my own PC. so feel free let me know anything you think I should know or resources I should have for overclocking. Also when installing the Corsair H100i I didn't use any third-party thermal compounds like Arctic Silver, since the Corsair H100i already had some thermal paste applied to it. Is it worth removing that part of the Corsair H100i and reapplying it with Arctic Silver 5?
I will update the CPU and GPU clock rate and temperature, as well as the benchmark results once I settle in more with this computer.