Why choose a CAD workstation from a custom manufacturer rather than buy one from a volume PC company?
Performance is a main consideration. Here's a perspective on optimizing for AutoCAD from BOXX Technologies:
Off-the-shelf computer workstations sold by multi-national commodity builders are not optimized for CAD and contrary to what you may have been told by a Dell or HP sales representative, CAD applications do not benefit from multiple CPU cores for design and modeling tasks. CAD applications are predominantly "single threaded" which means that unless you are doing a substantial amount of rendering or simulation (or other multi-threaded tasks) your design software is simply not capable of using the full resources of multi-processor workstations.
It’s quite simple, really. If your workstation is not optimized for single-threaded performance, you’re paying for processor cores you don’t need and won’t use, as well as missing out on peak performance that will keep you waiting instead of creating.
Orbital Computers echoes the same processor approach to CAD:
All our Intel based desktop workstations support Hyper-Threading Technology, which doubles the number of logical CPU cores, leading to drastically improved performance for common multithreaded CAD and video editing functions such as rendering, simulation, and extensive multi-tasking. Many CAD program functions are largely single-threaded, benefiting from the high operating-frequency of our Intel Core i7 and Extreme series processors, while video editing functions tend to benefit from more CPU cores and threads. We carefully select the Intel processors used in our powerful CAD computers to maximize both single and multithreaded performance by striking a fair balance between high operating frequency and multi-core configurations.
And this is the latest BOXX Technologies guidance on RAM and video cards:
16GB is common for AutoCAD users, however, a trend toward higher memory configurations for those working with more detailed CAD assets is becoming more commonplace.
Regarding system memory, you want to be sure you have more than enough to handle your largest AutoCAD assets. You can check the amount of RAM your system utilizes by opening the Windows Task Manager and clicking on the Performance tab. You’ll want to avoid maxing out memory usage as this leads to paging which will slow down your system.
For AutoCAD 2015, we suggest an NVIDIA Quadro graphics card. A common misconception is that you need the most powerful display card to run CAD applications. This is not the case. The main bottleneck in your design workflow will almost always be the frequency of the CPU. If you want to improve display performance, your money is better spent on a high frequency CPU rather than a high end graphics card.
Because of this, we recommend a Quadro K1200 or Quadro K2200 for most users.
What are some of the top commercial CAD packages?
What about open-source and/or free CAD software?
Which topics are the most commonly searched related to CAD workstations?
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A sentence or two describing this item.
The following are some resources for CAD, a blend of software and hardware that enables engineers and architects to design everything from airplanes to furniture. In addition to the software, CAD systems require a high-quality graphics monitor; a mouse, light pen, or digitizing tablet for drawing; and a special printer or plotter for printing design specifications. CAD systems allow an engineer to view a design from any angle with the push of a button and to zoom in or out for close-ups and long-distance views. In addition, the computer keeps track of design dependencies so that when the engineer changes one value, all other values that depend on it are automatically changed accordingly.
It may seem surprising today, but until the mid 1980s all CAD systems were specially constructed computers. Now, you can buy CAD software that runs on general-purpose workstations and personal computers. However, to achieve the best performance most buyers will benefit from specialized high-performance workstations.
Thoughts and rumination on getting the most out of custom workstations, laptops and other PCs.