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KieranR

Computer building

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I have an old computer at home that hasn't been fired up in about a decade, there is nothing on it that we need to keep, took all our photos etc off it before we upgraded way back when.  But i want to learn how to build a PC with updated specs that will be sufficient to be able to be used for indoor trainer programs like Zwift etc.  Im sure I can watch some you tube on how to build a PC but as for what bits and pieces of software and graphics cards etc i need i have no idea - can anyone assist.

You will need to be simple with me, i got laughed at by some colleagues yesterday at work when i was asked to write on a post it note how many gig my old work PC had as they were replacing mine, I wrote 4 gig, apparently the language used should have been 4gb.........thats how simple i am!

Thanks

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I muck about with them a bit. I've upgraded bits and pieces in most of our desktops and laptops, like ram, HDDs, cpu's, power supplies, laptop keyboards etc. And pretty much built most or all of my media PC....... But yeah, most of it is winging or YouTube'ing. One simple thing I'll say is before you do anything, grab onto the case chassis to ground yourself (not that I always remember).

I might be able to help a bit..... don't know if I'd trust my advice of course.  Mostly get my stuff online from umart, but others more in the know may have better suggestions.

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My 12 YO son built up his first "gaming computer" about 12 months back, then built one for his brother, one for his mate, another one for another mate, then upgraded his own.  My study is now the game room and it look like the NASA control room.

I think the basics are go to a computer shop and buy:

a case - contains USB ports and power supply (get a 600 watt supply to power the latest and greatest)

a CPU - variants of I5 or I7 but at the end of the day you get what you pay for - see graphics card. 

drives - storage is cheap but the usual thing seems to be put your OS on a SSD (expensive) and other non time critical stuff on a normal (cheap) hard drive

Graphics cards - this is where it all happens - more important than the CPU - you really get what you pay for here. Not necessary unless you are into gaming etc but you can get them from $100 (crappy) $300 (good) or $1000 (really good)

And of course lotsa RAM - the more the merrier.

A good understanding (ie googling) of installing windows etc and drivers for the various bits and pieces is also warranted.

Cabling and wiring is also important and I would advise going to Jaycar and getting a wrist strap when handling sensitive parts - ground to the case of the power supply and make sure it is plugged into the wall (ie earthed).  

I think that sums it up - I am not the expert, my son is way ahead of me - but fire away if you have any questions!

 

 

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2 hours ago, Pete said:

My 12 YO son built up his first "gaming computer" about 12 months back, then built one for his brother, one for his mate, another one for another mate, then upgraded his own.  My study is now the game room and it look like the NASA control room.

I think the basics are go to a computer shop and buy:

a case - contains USB ports and power supply (get a 600 watt supply to power the latest and greatest)

a CPU - variants of I5 or I7 but at the end of the day you get what you pay for - see graphics card. 

drives - storage is cheap but the usual thing seems to be put your OS on a SSD (expensive) and other non time critical stuff on a normal (cheap) hard drive

Graphics cards - this is where it all happens - more important than the CPU - you really get what you pay for here. Not necessary unless you are into gaming etc but you can get them from $100 (crappy) $300 (good) or $1000 (really good)

And of course lotsa RAM - the more the merrier.

A good understanding (ie googling) of installing windows etc and drivers for the various bits and pieces is also warranted.

Cabling and wiring is also important and I would advise going to Jaycar and getting a wrist strap when handling sensitive parts - ground to the case of the power supply and make sure it is plugged into the wall (ie earthed).  

I think that sums it up - I am not the expert, my son is way ahead of me - but fire away if you have any questions!

 

 

And that just went waaaay over my head! i have some learning to do, i don't even know what a CPU is.  Thanks for responding, Ill start googling and at least learn what all the bits are called to start with, I am in absolutely no rush so i have time on my hands.

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2 hours ago, goughy said:

I muck about with them a bit. I've upgraded bits and pieces in most of our desktops and laptops, like ram, HDDs, cpu's, power supplies, laptop keyboards etc. And pretty much built most or all of my media PC....... But yeah, most of it is winging or YouTube'ing. One simple thing I'll say is before you do anything, grab onto the case chassis to ground yourself (not that I always remember).

I might be able to help a bit..... don't know if I'd trust my advice of course.  Mostly get my stuff online from umart, but others more in the know may have better suggestions.

Likewise, that just went straight over my head, Ill start off by learning what all these bits are.  thanks for responding, im sure ill have some questions for you

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I hate to say this, but if you're serious when you said you don't know what a cpu is, I'd consider not giving this a go...... yet ;)

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I used to do this for a living, still have accounts with all the major wholesalers, and have extensive knowledge of the technology.

However, I'm still using a 5yo PC for my daily software development rig, it's running W10, multiple monitors and all sorts of heavy-duty applications - no problems.

We passed the days of needing to constantly upgrade hardware some years ago - part of the reason for the decline in PC sales - and you can now pick up 4-5yo name-brand machines dirt cheap that will be perfectly ok for how most people will use them.

Even with new machines, it's usually cheaper to buy a pre-configured PC from one of the major mfgs than it is to build one yourself, because of economies of scale they have.

The only time it really makes sense to go custom, is when you have a very specific requirement, that can't be bought off-the-shelf, and you know enough about the technology to understand why you need that configuration.

Of course, there is always the hobby factor and some are happy to pay for that as a lifestyle choice, but 9 times out of 10 people build custom PCs for all the wrong reasons.

Unless you know enough to have a clear justification for building a custom PC, then you are better served to buy a cheap PC on ebay/allbids/grays.

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7 hours ago, XCOM! said:

 

Of course, there is always the hobby factor and some are happy to pay for that as a lifestyle choice, but 9 times out of 10 people build custom PCs for all the wrong reasons.

 

This is part of the reason why i want to do it, i want to learn how to do something, I'm not very smart, so its time to apply myself to something and have a go.  I dont have a uni degree or a trade or anything else, ive just floated through life and done ok, but i really am quite keen to learn some things, even just as a hobby.

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Then go for it! Plenty of advice here. You don't necessarily have to have anything super duper. My media PC is running only on an AMD A6 processor, pretty cheap.

Ask away here, and you'll get plenty of advice.

My next but of advice, when to go to put the CPU on the motherboard, make sure it's the right way and don't force it!

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On 6/29/2017 at 1:58 PM, KieranR said:

I have an old computer at home that hasn't been fired up in about a decade,

First thing I'd check is the power supply.

See if you can locate wattage. I'd guess, probably 350 watt.

You're probably going to need 600W plus.

Actual case shouldn't be too hard to re-use, but you'll be replacing EVERYTHING else.

Check out something like these options - http://www.msy.com.au/viconline/content/35-asus-gaming

for general ideas of what you can get, then hook on over to Whirlpool and check out the PC build threads there.

If you're willing to research and wait for the right specials to come along, you can put together something pretty good.

BUT, you're unlikely to beat the costs of a pre-made system.

Biggest thing will be getting the right motherboard/CPU combination.

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27 minutes ago, Tyno said:

First thing I'd check is the power supply.

See if you can locate wattage. I'd guess, probably 350 watt.

You're probably going to need 600W plus.

You'd be surprised... it's pretty rare that even an extreme gaming machine will pull more than 350W.

Of course, having a buffer to cope with start-up surge is good, and more advanced P/Supplies have the ability to power-down their fan when running running on lower %age of their capacity, but the point is that power-demand is over-hyped (by P/Supply mfgs) and it's typically nowhere near what most people think, and even a typical "extreme" gaming machine would be quite happy with a 500W PS.

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On 6/30/2017 at 10:00 AM, goughy said:

 My media PC is running only on an AMD A6 processor, pretty cheap.

 

Hi Goughy,

Is this by any chance the computer your wife uses for photo editing?  I'm currently looking to update our 10 year old pc (and mac is not an option) and looking at one with an A6 processor, just wondering how it would go as I'm looking to get into more editing with this one

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It drives my media PC ok, but I don't think it would be up to any intensive Photoshop work!  I think the a6 is only a dual core processor too.

My wife uses a Dell xps i7 (think first series) desktop that she bought with the proceeds of a Dell contest she won for designing a laptop lid design. And it's starting to get a bit clunky....  it's got a dedicated graphics card and about 24g ram now days.

Actually, she just woke up and I mentioned what you asked and she started laughing :).  Her opinion is you need something about the level of a gaming PC. 

I personally think she needs to clean her system up, and it would run smoother. But she reckons it take Photoshop up to a minute to load on her desktop these days. It is about 7 years old now too.

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On 6/30/2017 at 8:50 AM, KieranR said:

This is part of the reason why i want to do it, i want to learn how to do something, I'm not very smart, so its time to apply myself to something and have a go.  I dont have a uni degree or a trade or anything else, ive just floated through life and done ok, but i really am quite keen to learn some things, even just as a hobby.

Your attitude is awesome! If you are motivated to do a lot of googling and watch a few  youtube videos you can pretty much do anything.  

When I was a student there was one book and one teacher - if you didn't get it there and then you never did. Fast forward to the wonderful world of today and there are hundreds of "teachers" and hundreds of "books" on the internet so you can just keep ploughing on until you get it - and every time you "get it" you get a bit better at "getting it" the next time.

Go for it! :)

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14 minutes ago, Pete said:

Your attitude is awesome! If you are motivated to do a lot of googling and watch a few  youtube videos you can pretty much do anything.  

When I was a student there was one book and one teacher - if you didn't get it there and then you never did. Fast forward to the wonderful world of today and there are hundreds of "teachers" and hundreds of "books" on the internet so you can just keep ploughing on until you get it - and every time you "get it" you get a bit better at "getting it" the next time.

Go for it! :)

Thanks Pete, yes plenty of teachers out there now days, just making time to sit down and not get interuppted for a couple of hours is the hard part, between the kids fighting and the wife nagging...and training.  but ill find some time.

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OK, so i got onto zwift site and found the minimum requirements for a PC to be able to use Zwift OK.  Im sticking with the standard requirements.  So i emailed off Umart for help (there website just bamboozled me) but i found some of the things required.  they then advised me that it would probably be cheaper to buy an already assembled off the shelf PC as these days they come with better components than what zwift is recommending.  A suitable PC from them came in at $1187, now i have no idea whether this is good value or not but here is the parts listing they came up with and the costs.

1 Custom PC Build Fee $95.00 $8.64 $95.00
1 Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64bit OEM DVD $129.00 $11.73 $129.00
1 Asus Prime B250M-K Gaming LGA 1151 mATX Motherboard $99.00 $9.00 $99.00
1 Intel Core i5 7400 Quad Core LGA 1151 3.0 GHz CPU Processor $249.00 $22.64 $249.00
1 Corsair 16GB (2x8GB) CMK16GX4M2A2400C16R Vengeance LPX
DDR4 2400MHz Red $179.00 $16.27 $179.00
1 Antec VSK3500 Micro/Mini-ITX Case, True 500W APFC PSU, USB
3.0, 6 Drive Bays, 4x PCI, 1x 92mm fan, T $79.00 $7.18 $79.00
1 Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1050 Ti OC 4GB Video Card $218.00 $19.82 $218.00
1 Samsung 250GB SSD 850 EVO $139.00 $12.64 $139.00

I dont see why i can't build this with these parts so im going to have a crack, first ill start buying the parts and once i have them all ill start - stay tuned...it may take a while.

PS, my wife wants some comfort mods done to the 4wd so i have two things on the go now, PC build and dual battery set up in the Ute, I have done this before in my old Ute so im pretty comfy playing around with 12v stuff, just have to get my head around it all again, its been a few years.

 

 

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48 minutes ago, KieranR said:

PS, my wife wants some comfort mods done to the 4wd so i have two things on the go now, PC build and dual battery set up in the Ute, I have done this before in my old Ute so im pretty comfy playing around with 12v stuff, just have to get my head around it all again, its been a few years.

This is where Google & YouTube make things real easy these days.

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Since running zwift was specified as the requirement... here's the specs from zwift

  • OS: Windows 7 x64 bit, OSX 10.8
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo
  • Memory: 4GB
  • Graphics: 1GB dedicated GPU, or embedded Intel HD 4000/AMD R5 
  • Hard Drive: 4GB of free space

That's Ivy-Bridge Dual-Core - or in other words, a 5YO+ computer is good enough.

You could pick up a used HP, IBM or Dell computer with Haswell Quad-Core for under $150 e.g. Something like a HP EliteDesk 8300 would kill it.

Edited by XCOM!
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12 hours ago, XCOM! said:

 

You could pick up a used HP, IBM or Dell computer with Haswell Quad-Core for under $150 e.g. Something like a HP EliteDesk 8300 would kill it.

from ebay or somewhere like that do you mean?

 

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1 hour ago, KieranR said:

from ebay or somewhere like that do you mean?

 

Yep - Ebay, AllBids, Grays, etc - name-brand business PCs with HD4000+ (IvyBridge/Haswell era) are plentiful and dirt cheap.

Of course, if money is not an issue, then by all means spend what you like and buy what you like - but if the requirement is just to run zwift, then I'm simply pointing out that you can do it much cheaper if you want to.

Edited by XCOM!

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The Mrs really wants a new PC for her designing etc, an chatting to her about this thread didn't help!  She's gonna have to wait - the nearest Dell set up (equivalent of what she got last time) is 2k, and these new i9's are turning her on!!!! :o

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20 hours ago, KieranR said:

1 Custom PC Build Fee $95.00 $8.64 $95.00
1 Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64bit OEM DVD $129.00 $11.73 $129.00
1 Asus Prime B250M-K Gaming LGA 1151 mATX Motherboard $99.00 $9.00 $99.00
1 Intel Core i5 7400 Quad Core LGA 1151 3.0 GHz CPU Processor $249.00 $22.64 $249.00
1 Corsair 16GB (2x8GB) CMK16GX4M2A2400C16R Vengeance LPX
DDR4 2400MHz Red $179.00 $16.27 $179.00
1 Antec VSK3500 Micro/Mini-ITX Case, True 500W APFC PSU, USB
3.0, 6 Drive Bays, 4x PCI, 1x 92mm fan, T $79.00 $7.18 $79.00
1 Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1050 Ti OC 4GB Video Card $218.00 $19.82 $218.00
1 Samsung 250GB SSD 850 EVO $139.00 $12.64 $139.00

I dont see why i can't build this with these parts so im going to have a crack, first ill start buying the parts and once i have them all ill start - stay tuned...it may take a while.

 

Where you might find savings getting them to do it is the Windows OEM license.

Since they are building the PC, they can give you a cheaper license than you can get buying it separately.

But, there is no reason you can't slowly grab the parts as you have spare cash.

Putting them together is relatively straight forward.

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Even though they don't advertise it, W7 keys still work for activating W10 - you can create an install disk/drive from the W10 Media-Creator (obviously you need another PC) install without a key, then activate with the W7 key. I did a couple on the weekend that way. For that matter, I actually don't think that the activation thing is a big deal with MS if you are ok with getting their ads and can live without some of the features like personalisation - I believe that an inactivated W10 will just keep running in that mode.

Edited by XCOM!

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2 hours ago, goughy said:

The Mrs really wants a new PC for her designing etc, an chatting to her about this thread didn't help!  She's gonna have to wait - the nearest Dell set up (equivalent of what she got last time) is 2k, and these new i9's are turning her on!!!! :o

You should perhaps run the performance monitoring on it and find out how much of that 'need a new pc' is real vs. imagined.

An X299-i9 system would be *WAY* expensive, and I suspect that for all but the most extreme gaming applications an i9 system would sit with System Idle Process CPU @  99.999999999999999999999999999999999999%

Even my 5YO Ivy-Bridge i7-3770K development PC - running SQL-Server, IIS-Server, Visual-Studio, O365, Adobe-Creative Cloud (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, bla bla bla) and a seemingly endless stream of background services & utilities, sits with System Idle CPU @ 90%+ most of the time. The only concession I made for it was to install a cheap Radeon card to support 4 large monitors.

Of course, there is more to performance than CPU, but still...

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She just likes new toys!  A PC/Laptop for her is like a TT bike for us!  And yes, I tell her to clean her system up all the time!  So much stuff loaded it's not funny!  I'd say the next thing will be a 500g ssd to run her os and apps me thinks!

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18 hours ago, XCOM! said:

You should perhaps run the performance monitoring on it and find out how much of that 'need a new pc' is real vs. imagined.

 

This is sound corporate advice, but maybe not if goughy wants to stay married :)

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Ok, im on the hunt on ebay and the likes.  but another thing is our current home PC is very slow apparently, i dont use it but i hear the wife swearing at it all the time!  is there a way i can check to see what is causing this?

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36 minutes ago, KieranR said:

Ok, im on the hunt on ebay and the likes.  but another thing is our current home PC is very slow apparently, i dont use it but i hear the wife swearing at it all the time!  is there a way i can check to see what is causing this?

It doesn't like being sworn at.

 

Look at Task Manager to see what is using up the CPU & memory. Could be some malware/adware that's lodged itself in there slowing everything down.

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4 hours ago, KieranR said:

Ok, im on the hunt on ebay and the likes.

Zwift specify min. Intel HD4000 Graphics, which implies Ivy-Bridge - i.e 3rd generation Core series (or later).

There’s a long list of processors that fit this spec, depending on the implementation, configuration and performance of the box... but basically you are looking for something i3-3xxx, i5-3xxx, or i7-3xxx – with HD4000 graphics and as many cores/threads/cache/etc as you think you can justify the money for. An i5 quad is probably more than enough, but if you are willing to be patient, you'll even find good i7-3770K based machines going for a song.

If I recall... all of the i7-3xxx had HD4000 graphics, but the i5 and i3 varied, and dropped as low as HD2500 – so pay attention to the specs if buying i5 or i3 - unless you intend to add a separate graphics card to bypass the Intel graphics requirement.

Of course, you can step up from there through the Haswell, Broadwell, Sky-Lake, and Kaby-Lake (4,5,6,7) generations, but the prices tend to jump significantly after Haswell.

Edited by XCOM!

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Anyone got any experience with 4K video editing? I'm looking at GoPro...so not the Red video camera! 

I'm looking at something like:

  • i7 CPU
  • 16Gb RAM (with a motherboard capable of going to 64Gb)
  • 4-6Gb graphics card (apparently not really critical to video editing; it's the CPU that does most of the grunt work)
  • 1 Tbb HDD and 128Gb SSD

I know I am in the right ballpark, but I am interested to know if an i5 would suffice? I need to be able to get a good monitor!

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On ‎2017‎/‎07‎/‎11 at 0:02 PM, TimG said:

Anyone got any experience with 4K video editing? I'm looking at GoPro...so not the Red video camera! 

I'm looking at something like:

  • i7 CPU
  • 16Gb RAM (with a motherboard capable of going to 64Gb)
  • 4-6Gb graphics card (apparently not really critical to video editing; it's the CPU that does most of the grunt work)
  • 1 Tbb HDD and 128Gb SSD

I know I am in the right ballpark, but I am interested to know if an i5 would suffice? I need to be able to get a good monitor!

i7-what? vs. i5-what?

That sort of specific performance comparison can only be answered by benchmarks with the required application - you'll need to do some google research.

However, 16GB RAM for a 4K edit-render process... I'd probably be opting for 32GB and an SSD cache-accelerator for the HDD. I use that even on my software-dev system, and it makes a huge perf. difference.

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2 hours ago, XCOM! said:

i7-what? vs. i5-what?

That sort of specific performance comparison can only be answered by benchmarks with the required application - you'll need to do some google research.

However, 16GB RAM for a 4K edit-render process... I'd probably be opting for 32GB and an SSD cache-accelerator for the HDD. I use that even on my software-dev system, and it makes a huge perf. difference.

Thanks for chiming in.

Ok - Intel Core i5 7500 Kabylake 3.4GHz vs something like Intel Core i7 7700 Kabylake 3.6GHz. Obviously the difference is in the cores and threads. All the sites suggest the i7 or the Ryzen 7. The issue with the Ryzen is that it is apparently not good with single thread applications (which is most applications out there). I just thought someone might have some practical experience. 

I think you are right about the 32GB. Memory is relatively cheap.

What is an SSD cashe-accelerator? 

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Typically video editors are heavily multi-threaded when rendering, so a Ryzen 7/7X may well be a good option.

Again, comparing processor specs is not a good way to answer the question, benchmarking the application is the only way you can get a real answer to how much difference they will make for you - e.g. if an i7 saves you 30sec over an i5 and costs $x more... is it worth it to you.

Most motherboards these days have M.2 slots which, if not being used for data drives, can be used as cache drives for a data drive. Intel's Optane is the latest twist on this but Intel's RTS system has provided support of this for ages using standard M.2 devices.

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Is it about porn?  Is that why you didn't want to post the questions in the open forum ;);) 

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1 hour ago, goughy said:

Is it about porn?  Is that why you didn't want to post the questions in the open forum ;);) 

A hahahaha nah not porn. 

Im going to get a new pc, want advice on Mac or Windows?  I need to run autocad

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I'm not an AutoCAD user or expert, but do IT work for a site that is a heavy AutoCAD shop and pickup some info about it.

They are serious users (naval design) and say that the Mac version (native) is still missing some key features they can't live without, but reckon that for the more typical user AutoCAD for Mac 2017 has advanced to the point where it's now an acceptable alternative to the 'real' thing, as most differences are either edge cases or have acceptable workarounds, so you can probably make your PC-Mac choice based on other things.

https://www.autodesk.com.au/compare/compare-features/autocad-products 

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If you're in an environment where you're sharing models and standards, stick with the same version everyone else has - likely Windows.

Spec up your RAM and GPU and stick a SSD in it.

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