Matching CAD Workstations To CAD Software
Not all CAD software programs are the same so it is imperative that any CAD workstation you buy is best suited to the main application it is expected to run. It is very easy for those not in the know to take the path of least possible resistance, have a blanket policy and buy a bunch of identical computer hardware for multiple CAD applications in use in a business.
As long as the CAD workstations or mobile workstations meet operating requirements they will of course run the programs which is a common argument put forward by buyers and less informed IT professionals. But this approach can be very costly to the business indeed and is a huge mistake.
As a generic example and on a simplistic level to make the point easier to understand, lets look at three widely used applications from the Autodesk stable. AutoCAD (2D), Inventor (3D) and 3D Studio Max (graphics and rendering) and just the processor aspects.
How Many Processors Will You Need?
AutoCAD's 2D versions will run fine on a single or dual core processor CAD workstation currently, as will standard Inventor software. However 3D Studio Max is designed to take advantage of multiple core processors so if it runs in an 8 or 12 core processor configuration it will be massively productive.
But on the other hand if you run it on a dual core processor you are only getting 25% theoretically of it's actual production rate! Would you pay an employee 8 hours a day and only allow them to turn on their CAD workstation for two hours?
Equally why waste money on a 6 core processor CAD workstation just to run AutoCAD 2D?
With just these three applications the CAD workstation memory requirements will also be different for example in a good majority of cases Autocad 2D will run happily with 3-GB of memory where as Inventor could use 16GB or more? Equally each of these applications have different graphic card requirements too.
Choose The Right Graphics Card
AutoCAD would be happy with an entry level workstation graphics card, and Inventor would run better on a mid range workstation graphics card. However 3D Studio Max actually uses the graphics card for processing as well so performs best with a high level CAD graphics card.
So typically CAD workstations are configured to run different applications as each commercial application will have it's own unique configuration requirements in order to give the best return on investments and user productivity.
Unless you are an expert about the specialist software in use in your business or the business you are supporting, the best advice we can possibly give is if you are at all unsure simply give us a call on (281) 445-6161 and we'll be happy to help.
Next we'll discuss more about CAD workstations and multi core processors.