Smart questions
Smart answers
Smart people
Join Eng-Tips Forums

Member Login

Remember Me
Forgot Password?
Join Us!

Come Join Us!

Are you an
Engineering professional?
Join Eng-Tips now!
  • Talk With Other Members
  • Be Notified Of Responses
    To Your Posts
  • Keyword Search
  • One-Click Access To Your
    Favorite Forums
  • Automated Signatures
    On Your Posts
  • Best Of All, It's Free!

Join Eng-Tips
*Eng-Tips's functionality depends on members receiving e-mail. By joining you are opting in to receive e-mail.

Posting Guidelines

Promoting, selling, recruiting, coursework and thesis posting is forbidden.
Jobs from Indeed

Link To This Forum!

Partner Button
Add Stickiness To Your Site By Linking To This Professionally Managed Technical Forum.
Just copy and paste the
code below into your site.

kasemodz (Computer) (OP)
1 Dec 05 18:00
hi, I'm a teacher and I'm starting a class for engineering. I'm going to install pro engineering software on 30 of my computers. They have a pentium 4 2.8ghz with 768mb of ram. Right now I have been using integrated video card for doing auto cad and stuff. What video cards should I buy for engineering program? I don't want to spend a lot on it. I want to spend about $3000 for all 30 computers, coming out to be around 100 dollars per computer.

If I get an ati radeon 9600xt with 256mb of ram, will that be sufficent to run the program? Do I need to get a video card from the pro engineering website?
justkeepgiviner (Mechanical)
1 Dec 05 18:22
$100 for a computer to run Pro/E?

Are you kidding?

By the way, the program is called Pro/Engineer
kasemodz (Computer) (OP)
1 Dec 05 18:55
how is this card?

Of course, not 100 for each but through wholesale buying the cost for each card should be around 150 to 200, preferably around 100.

This card is supported by the pro/engineer supported graphics card (link above). What do you think? I basically want the the video card to be sufficient enough to learn how to use it and be able to use it for several easy to moderate projects. It doesn't have to the top of the line.
justkeepgiviner (Mechanical)
1 Dec 05 19:11
If you can score that card for$100, it wouldn't be a bad deal.

The video card is what will give you the most headaches, so make sure that you get them from a good source (I've bought "OEM" computer hardware before from some pretty shady places, and I've regretted it in the past).
kasemodz (Computer) (OP)
1 Dec 05 19:35
how would you score that video card for the class? I found a review for it, but I don't know if the performance is good for the class. Here is the review. Obviously there were like fx3000s competing so this card was the entry level, but what do you think of its performance?
kasemodz (Computer) (OP)
1 Dec 05 19:48
btw, does the video card have to be supported by pro/engineer? Can I buy like a radeon series, and use it? Will it be compatible?
Could I go for something like the ati radeon 9600xt and run pro/engineer software? Here is a card i found pretty good deal.
Helpful Member!  looslib (Mechanical)
2 Dec 05 8:35
The Radeon 9600 will not work. The card must at a minimum support OpenGL. I have a Radeon 9800pro that does work for UG and Pro/E.

Graphics cards and drivers are the biggest reason Pro/E fails to perform or crashes. The second is lack of memory. 768Mb is not enough for Pro/E and the OS.

"Wildfires are dangerous, hard to control, and economically catastrophic."
"Fixed in the next release" should replace "Product First" as the PTC slogan.

Ben Loosli
CAD/CAM System Analyst

3dlogix (Mechanical)
2 Dec 05 8:45
The main problem with non-certified video cards is that they have degraded performance the longer Proe runs and the more windows that are open. I can run proe fine any my Dell laptop, using an ATI card, but once I have more than 3 windows open (even just parts), the display just goes to hell.

Your students will be frustrated with a low performance video card, especially in sketcher, and will put the blame on Proe. I used to teach Proe to industry for over 2 years and video card performance was paramount.


Heckler (Mechanical)
2 Dec 05 13:11
The certified video cards and systems on PTC's website are their for a reason.....they want to provide you will some baseline hardware that will run Pro/e at an acceptable level.  Anything less than what they list on their website will affect your performance with Pro/E.  Also, if you run unsupported hardware you will find it extremely hard to get any technical support on issues.

Best Regards,

Sr. Mechanical Engineer
SW2005 SP 5.0 & Pro/E 2001
Dell Precision 370
P4 3.6 GHz, 1GB RAM
XP Pro SP2.0
NIVIDA Quadro FX 1400
(_)/ (_)

"Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success." - Henry Ford


kasemodz (Computer) (OP)
2 Dec 05 18:17
some bad news, i just checked inside the hp computer and there is no agp. I know that agp is much faster than pci, but would a pci port be fine for a video card to run pro/engineer? If so, which card would you recommend?
Helpful Member!  TheFeds (Mechanical)
3 Dec 05 23:51
Hang on a second; this is for a school, not an engineering firm where time is money.

A 9600 Pro will work fine, provided that you are willing to use the right drivers. I've had success with ATI's version drivers, for Pro/E 2001 Student (essentially a really early datecode of 2001). ATI's Catalyst drivers (i.e. the newer ones, within the last three years or so) perform very poorly, however. That more-than-3-window problem is present in new ATI drivers, but not with the version that I mentioned; with it, you can have a dozen windows open, each containing a >50-part assembly, and not run into any trouble. Sketcher is similarly improved using this older driver.

By the way, the Radeons do support OpenGL, however ATI won't certify them for CAD work, because it's not in their interests to do so for a card targeted to average computer users. They'd rather have you pay a ton of money in order to take advantage of the more refined drivers for the professional versions (i.e. the low-end FireGLs).

As for PCI, well, that's not great, but once again, if you can find a card with good driver support, the bus bandwidth will not matter. I can't stress this enough. You're not rendering 75 frames per second of full-motion, high-resolution, high-colour video; you're (generally) spinning low-colour-depth, low-detail parts, for which 30 frames per second is adequate. (Consider, do you notice the choppiness in your 24-to-30 fps TV picture?)

It's ALL in the drivers, with any remotely modern 3-D video card based on an ATI or nVidia chipset. Spend your money on more RAM or a better single-core processor; that's where it's best used.

(I reiterate: much of the above doesn't apply to an engineering firm where a $4000 workstation is the norm, to keep productivity as high as possible. But it will do perfectly well, for a school environment.)
TheFeds (Mechanical)
3 Dec 05 23:57
Clarification to the above:

When I refer to PCI cards, I mean recent PCI cards. An S3 Trio 64+ will not cut it! Try to find a pile of surplus PCI Quadro 4s, GeForce MX440s or low end GeForce 5XXXs. I can't vouch for the drivers on the GeForces, though, since I haven't used them for Pro/E.
justkeepgiviner (Mechanical)
4 Dec 05 4:56
Basic Pro/E classes don't require much from the computers. The largest assembly our students deal with in their first course with Pro/E is about 6 parts.

But- once students enter upper years, the definitely deal with much more complicated designs. I just consulted with one group  in a Mechatronics class whose workcell assembly was in excess of 200 parts. They can't open it up in certain computer labs due to the fact that the video cards can't handle their assembly as a whole.

If you want your students to learn Pro/E, have them use a system that can definitely handle the software. If they are using a system that gets unbearably slow or crashy when Pro/E is running, then their learning experience will go down the drain.

I'd say dig up a lower end Quadro4 card. But like I said, a hundred dollars on a video card to run Pro/E is probably not enough.
Heckler (Mechanical)
7 Dec 05 13:58


(I reiterate: much of the above doesn't apply to an engineering firm where a $4000 workstation is the norm, to keep productivity as high as possible. But it will do perfectly well, for a school environment.)

I think this type of statement is short changing the educational process and resembles thinking from the dark ages of drawing boards.  I've seen entire Formula SAE cars modeled in Pro/E.  Albeit, that's a senior project or a special project but they often use the same lab.  I believe with enough forsight CAD workstations can be productive at the $1000 to $1500 dollar level.

Best Regards,

Sr. Mechanical Engineer
SW2005 SP 5.0 & Pro/E 2001
Dell Precision 370
P4 3.6 GHz, 1GB RAM
XP Pro SP2.0
NIVIDA Quadro FX 1400
(_)/ (_)

"Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success." - Henry Ford


Helpful Member!  FrankCorona (Mechanical)
7 Dec 05 17:02
Go with an nvidia card you will get superb OpenGL support and it will run Pro/E and Solidworks just fine. I was running Pro/E 2001 on a GeForce2 32MB GTS AGP card back in the day on my home machine and it worked great even with 200 part assemblies. Even now, my $100 GEforce 6600 AGP 256MB card runs Solidworks and Wildfire 2.0 just as good as my work machine (3.0ghz IA64, XP x64, 2gb DDR-2, Quadro 3400 PCI-e). You can pick up a 5500 PCI with DDR for about $60 and should be more than sufficient for a classroom.
HelterS (Military)
8 Dec 05 9:50
I second FrankCorona's post. I mirrors my own experiances.
rajendarr (Mechanical)
23 Mar 06 21:38
these days ATI and NVIDIA are selling the graphics cards with 128 mb shared memory. are these ok with the complex assembly  levels Actually I am Planning to buy a laptop with these specs
Ram 1GB
ATI RadeonĀ® Xpress 200M IGP graphics Card with 128 MB shared Memory
Please suggest
Hora (Aeronautics)
24 Mar 06 8:09
3D Labs is another good choice. The card is supported by PTC and is opengl native.

Heckler (Mechanical)
24 Mar 06 10:27

I would suggest going on PTC's website for hardware requirements...print of the list of supported video cards.  Then find the price point that makes sense to your budget then buy a supported card.  PTC and other MCAD companies put a lot of resources into their certified hardware programs because they want the user base to have a computer that first fits the price point and second optimizes the running of the program.  If you want to run Pro/E on a laptop then get a Dell M60

Best Regards,

Sr. Mechanical Engineer
SW2005 SP 5.0 & Pro/E 2001
Dell Precision 370
P4 3.6 GHz, 1GB RAM
XP Pro SP2.0
NVIDIA Quadro FX 1400
(_)/ (_)

Never argue with an idiot. They'll bring you down to their level and beat you with experience every time.

natewebb (Mechanical)
25 Mar 06 13:45
check the scores of various computers running the proe ocus benchamrk at

Hora (Aeronautics)
27 Mar 06 8:35
In my opinion, the reviews written by the people who run ProE on different video cards is more valuable than the scores of benchmark tests.

alphaguru (Aerospace)
25 Jul 06 12:23
For school usages the PCI card should be fine.  I have a student edition that I run at home with a PCI card and I have no problems.  I'd suggest setting a few stations up with a better card and reserving them for students working with large assemblies.  Also if memory and performance is getting to be a problem, you can use that as an chance to teach them how to make shrinkwraps and simplified reps of parts to cut down on memory usage.  At work I sometimes work with assemblies with over 1,000 parts.  Even with 1 GB of ram, 3.0 processor, and a decent card some assemblies can take an hour or longer to load.

Reply To This Thread

Posting in the Eng-Tips forums is a member-only feature.

Click Here to join Eng-Tips and talk with other members!

Back To Forum

Close Box

Join Eng-Tips® Today!

Join your peers on the Internet's largest technical engineering professional community.
It's easy to join and it's free.

Here's Why Members Love Eng-Tips Forums:

Register now while it's still free!

Already a member? Close this window and log in.

Join Us             Close