Today, we are choosing among the best motherboards for CAD and engineering. The first thing in this process is to gauge your level of work.
Are you a student or someone working in a small engineering firm, or perhaps you are working on a complex project and have a large budget to spend on an ultimate CAD rig?
Without gauging your needs and where you stand in the CAD and engineering field, finding the proper hardware for yourself, including a good motherboard, will be hard.
For instance, a motherboard suggestion for a student learning the principles of technology design and simulation could be entirely different for someone designing another Burj Khalifa or working on mimicking all of the forces acting upon a jet motor.
Thus, CAD and engineering is a massive umbrella term for the hardware it entails. Generally, however, technology hardware is cutting edge and on par, or even more sophisticated, than gaming-grade PC hardware.
The following article will look at the top motherboards for both CAD and technology. In doing this, we will briefly review motherboards from several price categories that would appeal to designers and engineers at several levels of expertise and budget ranges.
Comparison of The Best Motherboards for CAD and Engineering
List of Best Motherboards for CAD and Engineering
The intention of your CPU will mostly decide your motherboard choice. In any case, the following motherboards have been selected from various price ranges.
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ASUS AM4 TUF B550-Plus – Recommended AMD Motherboard for CAD
An entire ATX motherboard for mid-sized AMD technology and CAD builds. Characteristics middle of the road B550 chipset.
If you have a mean budget and want to go for a few of the most available motherboards for an AMD construct, we highly suggest this for your following CAD construct.
The feature set will maintain parity with these two processor series even if you intend to overclock.
This Motherboard features the B550 chipset. It supports the newer PCIe v4 protocol across the CPU PCIe lanes.
Therefore, the graphics card you install on the top X16 PCIe slot will conform to the newer protocol.
The Motherboard also includes more USB 3.2 Gen 2 USB ports than the inferior A520 chipset and offers multi-GPU support.
It offers a single PCIe x16 slot as well as an X4 slot. The x4 space uses the general purpose lanes, so it conforms to the older PCIe v3. Nonetheless, the Motherboard does provide AMD crossfire support with dual AMD graphic cards.
Compared to the elderly B450 chipset, the B550 offers higher PCIe lanes, usually provides more SATA ports, and WiFi 6 service (should the Motherboard come with built-in WiFi). This particular Motherboard, nevertheless, lacks built-in WiFi.
One essential aspect to notice and among the principal reasons we’ve chosen this as the ideal Motherboard for CAD and Engineering from the mid-sized AMD category is its excellent phase power design of 8+2 VRMs. A good phase power layout is essential for overall system stability and overclocking.
Other important features include 6 x SATA interfaces, 2 x M.2 slots, and 3 x PCIe x1 slots.
So, in a nutshell, we recommend this for a mid-range AMD build for technology purposes.
ASUS TUF Gaming B550-PLUS WiFi AMD AM4 Zen 3 Ryzen 5000 & 3rd Gen Ryzen ATX Gaming Motherboard (PCIe 4.0, WiFi 6, 2.5Gb LAN, BIOS Flashback, USB 3.2 Gen 2, Addressable Gen 2 RGB Header and Aura Sync)
ASUS AM4 TUF Gaming X570-Plus (WiFi) – For High-Performance AM4 Engineering Builds
This comes in the same ASUS TUF collection of the Motherboard as the previous one; hence, its principal audience is gamers.
But if you seek a high-performance motherboard for the Ryzen 7 or some Ryzen 9 CAD build, this Motherboard using a top X570 chipset is precisely what we highly recommend.
Among the key things to note is that, unlike the B550, the CPU and the general-purpose PCIe lanes conform to the newer PCIe v4 protocol.
So essentially, you can install newer components like the Gen 4 SSDs, which may reach speeds of around 7000 MB/s (or more) here.
It also features an even better stage power layout 12+2 and WiFi 6.
A strong processor like a high-end Ryzen 7 or a Ryzen 9 chip requires motherboard sub-components to handle their equilibrium, especially if overclocked. That is where the premium X570 chipset comes into play.
If you’re constructing a high-end technology construct for an engineering company and doing a good deal of CAD simulation, then the chances are that you’d opt for a high-performance chip. It simply makes sense that you pair it with an equally capable motherboard in that circumstance.
ASUS AM4 TUF Gaming X570-Plus AM4 Zen 3 Ryzen 5000 & 3rd Gen Ryzen ATX Motherboard with PCIe 4.0, Dual M.2, 12+2 with Dr. MOS Power Stage, HDMI
Gigabyte A520M AORUS Elite – For Budget AMD Engineering Builds
If you’re short on budget and are still looking for a capable motherboard for your next AMD engineering build, then this is what we recommend.
This is a bare minimum motherboard from AMD chipsets’ newer 500 series lineup. It features the entry-level A520 chipset.
You may have to flash the BIOS to the most recent version in the old chipsets to make the Motherboard usable. But, when compared with the elderly A320, it provides essential improvements. For starters, it includes built-in support for newer-generation Ryzen chips.
On top of that, unlike the A320, in the A520, the CPU and the general-purpose PCIe lanes follow the version 3 protocol.
Even though this is not as good as the B or X collection, which already makes this PCIe v4 for funding and assembling, an A520 chipset is very capable.
The Motherboard features a single PCIe x16 slot since it doesn’t support dual graphics cards. It does contain smaller x1 slots for installing smaller expansion cards like WiFi.
Additionally, this Motherboard doesn’t support overclocking or feature a strong phase power layout. Consequently, this is great for entry-mid-range engineering builds.
So, in short, if you have a restricted budget and if you’re a student just learning the ropes, this is the best Motherboard for CAD and technology, in our opinion, for AMD builds.
Gigabyte A520M AORUS Elite (AMD Ryzen AM4/MicroATX/5+3 Phases Digital PWM/Gaming GbE LAN/NVMe PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2/2 Display Interfaces/Q-Flash Plus/RGB Fusion 2.0/Motherboard)
ASUS Prime B460M-A – Budget Intel LGA 1200 Motherboard
LGA1200 is the socket for the newer 10th and 11th gen Intel CPU. However, unlike the old motherboards featuring the LGA1151 sockets, a motherboard containing LGA1200 can be a bit pricey.
On top of that, since they are generally in high demand, their stocks are hard to discover, especially from the budget range. ASUS Prime B460M-A is fundamentally a budget motherboard using a newer socket.
While a cheaper chipset is available, i.e., the H410, we do not recommend that. An H410 motherboard isn’t built for engineering applications.
The B460 offers support for three screens, 16 PCIe lanes vs. just 6 in H410, and more SATA ports, USB ports, and higher memory support.
Hence, for technology or CAD builds, a B460 chipset is a bare minimum advocated, and because of its price tag, we find it to be one of the best motherboards for CAD and Engineering funding Intel builds.
ASUS Prime B460M-A LGA 1200 (Intel 10th Gen) Micro ATX Motherboard (Dual M.2, 1Gb LAN, USB 3.2 Gen 1 Ports, HDMI, DisplayPort, 4K@60Hz and Aura Sync RGB)
ASUS Prime Z490-A – LGA1200 Motherboard for 10th and 11th Gen Intel CPU
ASUS Prime Z490-A starkly contrasts the ASUS Prime B460M-A in purpose and performance. Even though ASUS Prime B460M-A is more catered toward funding consumers, ASUS Prime Z490-A is a choice for power users.
This, too, features the newer LGA1200 socket, but this provides a lot of additional functionality compared to this B460 Motherboard.
The Z series is considered the top motherboard chipset series for Intel chips. It offers to overclock, has much more PCIe lanes (24 vs. 16 on B460), provides PCIe slots for dual graphics cards, and has a superb phase power design, making it necessary for the high-performance Core i7 and Core i9 processors.
This Motherboard features a superb 12+2 phase power design with sufficient heatsinks for VRMs and your chipset.
But besides the excellent performance and expandability, this Motherboard also features other premium specs like the Realtek S1220A.
While this is a slightly higher-priced motherboard, and you can find cheaper Z490 motherboards in the market, its thermal solution, compared to more affordable Z490 options, makes this a practical choice for us.
All in all, if you would like to go the Intel route and want a high-performance build together with support for overclocking, then this is one of the top motherboards for CAD, in our opinion.
ASUS Prime Z490-A LGA 1200 (Intel 10th Gen) ATX Motherboard (14 DrMOS Power Stages,Dual M.2, Intel 2.5 Gb Ethernet, USB 3.2 Front Panel Type-C, Thunderbolt 3 Support, Aura Sync RGB)
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ASRock X299 Taichi – Intel Workstation Motherboard for Engineering
Workstation motherboards are an entirely different class compared to standard motherboards. They are expensive to have extensive features and expandability to provide and support technical high-performance processors.
ASRock X299 Taichi is a workstation motherboard using all the Intel X299 chipset and LGA2066 sockets. As such, this Motherboard only supports the workstation-grade Intel X Series processors.
These chips can have a whopping 18 cores (36 threads) and good PCIe lanes to run three or more graphics cards at one time.
ASRock X299 Taichi supports three-way SLI or Crossfire (depending upon how many PCIe lanes your CPU can supply ).
Therefore, this is a motherboard for cutting-edge CAD and engineering work in which multiple graphics cards are installed to simulate very complicated projects.
But besides that, everything concerning this particular Motherboard is overkill anyway. From the amount of SATA interfaces in the M.two slot it offers, this is a motherboard for very technical engineering jobs requiring a top-of-the-line system.
This is the best Motherboard for CAD because it’s among the least expensive workstation-grade alternatives for an Intel build.
ASRock Motherboard X299 Taichi CLX LGA2066 X299 256GB DDR4 PCI Express SATA ATX Retail / X299 Taichi CLX /
1 used from $388.00
MSI TRX40 PRO 10G – For AMD Workstation Builds – STRX4
Like the ASRock X299 Taichi above, this is a workstation-grade motherboard for AMD Threadripper builds instead of Intel. This Motherboard features the TRX40 chipset as well as the sTRX4 socket. This also features three-way SLI or Crossfire support and thus is primarily used for handling GPU-intensive work. Like the Motherboard above, this is overkill for a typical technology user or a firm.
In terms of value, we think this provides a better one because it includes PCIe v4.0 protocol for starters and offers an M.2 slot Expansion Card and a 10G Super LAN Card for improved network speeds.
There is no doubt that a motherboard of the capability has its primary functions for engineering, scientific, and designing fields. But at the same time, this isn’t meant for everyone.
If you are working on simple CAD building layout designs, the chances are that you don’t even require a graphics card for that, let alone a workstation-grade PC.
But in any case, if engineering work, perhaps from the data machine or science learning field, requires Threadripper chips, this is a motherboard that I look into.
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How to Choose the Right Motherboard for CAD and Engineering
Technically, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The choice of the Motherboard would depend mainly on the intention of your processor.
A better question would be, what overall system should you build for CAD?
Here are some of the possible scenarios:
Entry Level Setup
Do simple CAD designing such as 2D architectural drawings and MEP layout drawings, and moderate use of software like DiaLux for calculating the lighting lux rate, etc… You don’t reasonably need a high-end system.
You don’t even need to invest in a separate graphics card here. Since most layout drawings are 2D-based, you only need a powerful processor.
2D CAD designing on software like AutoCAD is primarily based on a CPU’s single-core performance. This means you won’t quite necessarily benefit from a higher core count as much as you would benefit from a high-performance single core.
However, a higher number of cores can allow you to multitask quickly and enable you to handle multiple software simultaneously.
Generally, we believe you should aim to get a good processor for an entry-level setup. This could be a Core i7 or a Ryzen 7 processor. Along with that, we recommend investing in about 16 GB of RAM.
If you design light simulation 3D engineering, you can experiment with your budget and get yourself a graphics card. Still, it is an absolute must for light and small engineering and architectural firms.
We recommend the motherboards feature the A520 or B550 chipset for AMD builds (depending on your budget), or the B460 for Intel builds.
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Mid-range engineering and CAD PCs are essentially high-performance PCs by the standards of an average consumer.
These PCs can easily feature high-end Intel Core i7/ Core i9 or Ryzen 7 / Ryzen 9 processors.
A mid-range CAD and engineering PC can work on complex 2D and 3D designs and can sufficiently render engineering simulations.
A good engineering firm can have a couple of these PCs for handling more advanced tasks.
We recommend looking into the Motherboard with the X570 chipset for AMD or the Z490 chipset for Intel for this build.
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The holy grail for any engineer is a workstation PC. These are compact supercomputers capable of handling cutting-edge projects.
In general, most engineering firms do not require a workstation-grade PC. Only the most advanced firms that do engineering and creative designing would find the use of workstations.
A workstation PC can have 64 cores and multiple GPUs. I am calling this overkill for designing a simple architectural building layout design.
However, the premier engineering and architectural firms can also have a creative design element. The thing with CAD applications, particularly where 3D video simulation of an engineering project and live engineering video analysis are required, is that the sky is the limit for the number of PC resources you need.
A good example is where you must simulate all the forces acting on a jet engine or a skyscraper.
Also, while a Single GPU is more than sufficient for most engineering applications, workstations can feature 2 or 3 specialized NVIDIA Quadro GPUs that analyze and visualize data.
So unless you are performing scientific work and processing a lot of data, you don’t reasonably need a workstation-grade PC for your small to medium engineering firm.
But in any case, you have the X299 motherboards for Intel and the TRX40 motherboards for AMD that you can look into if you are interested in a workstation build.
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If you are building an Engineering PC for yourself, then a motherboard is essentially the building block.
However, as mentioned earlier, the choice of Motherboard largely depends upon the processor you choose to go for and your budget.
This article looked at the best motherboards for CAD and engineering from various price ranges and for different engineering purposes.
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