Does any one have any experience (not just opinion) regarding Intel vs ADM processors for AutoCAD? I'm using AutoCAD LT 2011 and quite a bit of Sketchup as well.  I'm in the process of buying a new laptop and have heard mixed reviews regarding Intel and ADM for the programs I'm using. 


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I have an Intel core i7 in my laptop and an AMD Athlon II X4 640 in my desk top using ACAD LT 2012 in both with no issues. I don't use sketchup that often, but have not experienced problems with either when I do. I use the desk top far more than the laptop for what that is worth.


What's your budget? If it's not much, then an entry-level AMD would be better than the entry-level Intel. In the mid and pro range, Intel (i5 and i7) preforms better in tests.

I'd love to keep it under $600 but that is seeming not possible. I actually purchased (2) laptops for under $500 in the last week and have had to return them both. Both have had ADM processors, both have been over 2 Ghz, with dedicated graphics cards,  and at least 4 GB of ram, but for whatever reason both are running AutoCAD slower than my 5 year old laptop which has an Intel Pentium processor, and only 1.6 Ghz, 2 GB or Ram and no dedicated graphics card. Maybe it is because I dont have an Anthon AMD....?

hmm... that is strange. I really don't know why that would be. Maybe you had a lot of crapware running in the background while you were using autocad? How about sketchup? Does it run slower too?

Sketchup actually seemed to run ok. It was just AutoCAD that seemed to slow down. 

The Processor is only a small part of the equasion. What to look for in either machine is a quad core (AMD Athlon II /Phenom II or Intel i5/i7). You should try to squeeze as much ram as possible in there, and fast ram at that (DDR5). You also need a separate graphics card with its own memory with at least 1 gig of RAM and a fast chip (I haven't shopped for one in a while, so I don't know what they are calling their processors anymore).


I personally have an HP desktop with an AMD Phenom II quad core processor, 8 gig of DDR5 ram and a separate graphics card. I have a 1TB 7200rpm hard drive, which is faster than the standard 5400rpm drive. The graphics card is the slow bit in the machine, so it will eventually be replaced. AutoCAD absolutely screams on this. I have also found that Windows7 is a factor in the speed. I tends to choke on some programs you haven't used for a while for some reason. I have noticed considerable slowdowns in Win7 when acessing files and such and plan to dump it for Win8 soon.

If you want to up the performance notch even higher, especially with a laptop, swap the hard disc for a SSD (Solid State Drive). They are expensive, but lighting quick and more energy efficient. This is crucial for programs like photoshop or even autocad which can fill up memory quickly. Photoshop uses the hard drive a lot for memory, so it is a good idea to defrag it once a week if you use it regularly.


AMD makes a bunch of different processors all the way up to 8 cores. I don't know how many cores the software is optimized for, but I plan on eventually upgrading mine to a 6Core Black series, the fastest for my MB. AMDs biggest and baddest chip is the FX series, which I will have to see if it fits on my mobo.

With the laptops, the processors, especially in less expensive models, tend to be the slower ones. AMD APUs are most common (a6-a8 and so on), These combine the graphics core on the same chip as the central processors. These are just fine for most applications, but are a bit too clunky for intensive graphics. They make these chips to save power on portable computers. Intel uses their i3 in most laptops for the same reason. Look for a 'desktop' chip in a laptop, like an athlon/phenom or an i5 or i7 from Intel, just don't expect huge battery life. You will not likely find one for under $700. A good portable workstation will run you $1200 depending on where you are and what other junk you equip it with. I have an older laptop with an Athlon 64 in it and only 2 gigs of ram that runs most AutoCAD just fine. A bit slow on compicated drawings, but it will run. But it won't run Win7 very well (I still have XP and an older version of ACAD on it)

Another think I would consider doing if you have the software on a disc that you can reload is as soon as you get a new machine, wipe it and do a fresh install. This gets rid of all the crap the manufacturer puts on there like free trials and whatnot.


I have been running a 4 year old dell precision m4300 for almost two years now with no problem running 3D, rendering in vray, acad, adobe suite, etc. The dell has a core duo 7200rpm 3Ghz processor, 4GB Ram, nvidia Geforce card, running xp.

I just bought a new custom built desktop with 16Gb Ram, core I-7 7200rpm 4Ghz processor, Nvidia 1Gb Geforce card, 60Gb SSD for the boot drive, dvd burner, wireless, and antec 1200 case with windows 7 64 bit installed for $800. This machine flys through 3D stuff, photoshop, cad, etc, etc...pretty psyched.

Precisions are the 'workstation' class for Dell. They had upgraded motherboards and better memory and HDDs.


Sweet rig and a good price. I looked a building a machine a while back (2 years) and couldn't even touch the price of buying one whole. I ended up buying an HP refurb. It needs some upgrades, but not many and it won't cost a tonne when and if I decide to do it. I just need to fix my scanning computer now.


One thing I forgot to mention is that different versions of autocad will use different resources on your machine. If you run an older version of ACAD, it will not utilize multicore processors. Newer versions will, but from what I have been able to dicern, only in specific situations (not in 2D for instance). This is why an older processor with a faster processing (GHz) and memory can sometimes beat newer processor with more cores and slower processing. Also, the OS wasn't hogging so many resources. XP was the best OS, and still is.  


You can now get two flavors of ACAD as well, 32bit and 64bit. Older versions of ACAD only ran on 32bit, so a 64bit system was a waste, as was running XP because so little software ran at 64 bit and XP could only address 4 gig of ram at the most. Think of the "bits" as a measurement of flow, the more bits, the more data a processor can handle per cycle. The more GHz a processor is rated, the more cycles per unit time. The key is to get the most GHz and the most bits in your processor. Then multiply that by cores or threads. (More pipes, bigger pipes, steeper slope).  


You DO NOT even want to get me started on printers.

Actually, comparing GHz between Intel and AMD or even between different processor designs (particularly differing numbers of cores) as a direct number is like comparing apples and oranges - they may both be fruit/speed, but they're not the same thing.  Intel has a more efficient processor architecture currently, and can out-perform a same or even faster speed processor from AMD or one of their older designs.

You are correct about the multi-core aspect of both ACAD and Sketchup - neither currently use more than a single core except in rendering.

I have to disagree on Win7 though.  I loved XP and stayed with it for quite a while, but I did move on to Win7 with a new machine. I've had no problems with it and find it to be an improvement on XP in several ways, the least of which is being 64-bit and current.  It can be slower when running older versions of programs, say ACAD 2008 for example. This is mostly because Win7 is more secure and doesn't allow programs to directly access things earlier versions of Windows did (Win8 is even more locked down). There's also the 32-bit emulation going, which can have an impact on performance.  If things are slowing down when you try to access things you haven't in a while, it may be because Win7 has drive/performance optimization where it puts frequently accessed programs/files on the quicker areas of the drive and even preloads some of it into memory.

You are right about MHz speeds not really being a good equal comparison, but my point is still valid. Try to get the fastest MHz speed for whatever brand you want to purchase for the very reason that that the software does not access more than one  or two cores simultaneously unless rendering. And even then, ti does not utilize them all equally.


The thing that irks me with Win7 compared with XP is that they messed with the filing system which was not at all broken. It was much faster to access files in XP because it did not have the autoindex (which can take forever) and the preload junk. If you have a lot of files, say archive pics on a DVD it can take what seems an eternity to load with that nasty green bar flashing in your face. You are also correct about the emulation being slow, but there is still a lot of software which does not ultilze 64bit architecture. Just more to consider when you are purchasing a new system.

Thanks- Very helpful


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