CAD Workstation: Just as the design with CAD software for 2D or 3D modeling is a professional discipline that demands high-quality standards, also the equipment and accessories that are used for the development of this type of project, must be in tune with the demands and requirements technological advances. Now more engineers, architects, animators, and professionals or design enthusiasts are incorporating recommended software and hardware (equipment and accessories) to increase their performance and productivity and obtain a comparative advantage over other professionals.
We are talking about CAD Workstation that is a basic design tool along with CAD mice. Here we will tell you what elements to take into account when choosing good CAD Workstation and some of the different options that are available in the market, according to your budget, design needs, and work capacity. Design software requires workstations with certain basic specifications to perform at their best, so it is very important to know how to set up a good machine to get the most out of it. CAD Workstation
If you work with SolidFace or any other quality CAD software and want to make your workflow more and more efficient, you should know that a powerful CAD workstation is required, which allows you to take full advantage of all the software’s functionalities. However, with so many brands and models of machines available in the market, knowing how to select ours is not always an easy task.
The professional who works their designs with a CAD software knows that acquiring a CAD workstation with the power and versatility needed to perform the job better, is a very smart way to increase performance and productivity in any design and engineering studio. Professional workstations for CAD are significantly superior to desktop computers, regardless of their power. They are equipment specially designed to offer the user of CAD applications, greater performance, expandability and stability.
Workstations for CAD have a superior graphics processing capacity and are compatible for example with an error correction code (ECC) memory, which minimizes data errors. In sum, an appropriate CAD workstation helps the professional or the apprentice to optimize his work and make it faster and easier.
Defining priorities to acquire a CAD workstation
One of the first things we should define when looking for a CAD workstation is the budget, how much money do we have to invest? Then identify what your main CAD software is like its usage patterns. If you are looking for better performance in workflows it is imperative to set up a workstation that accelerates the performance of the tasks that you consider most priority. That is, for example, that if the user makes conceptual designs as his main job, a multi-threaded operation, then must choose a machine with the largest number of cores to help him be more productive. Before deciding to purchase the equipment, it is worth checking out what system requirements the software developer recommends, in order to avoid possible incompatibility.
What should a good workstation for CAD basically contain?
The basic configuration of a PC workstation CAD must contain at least the components mentioned below:
One of the most recommended processors for configuring a basic workstation is the Intel Core i7 4-core processor or alternatively an Intel Xeon 4-core processor, which supports an ECC memory needed to handle large workflows in which the 24/7 application stability is guaranteed and data damage is avoided.
Another relevant component in workstations passes CAD is memory. Unlike working on a normal PC, CAD applications require a large amount of RAM to function properly and execute complex tasks. So the more memory the better the performance of the equipment. The device memory must have at least 16 GB of RAM or more at least, depending on the size of the models or data sets.
Professional graphic solution
The graphics card must be specially designed for workstations in which hardware and drivers are included to help improve and accelerate the performance of certain CAD applications. The professional CAD workstation usually includes a high-end graphics card (GPU) such as AMD FirePro or NVIDIA Quadro, which optimize the performance of the most advanced CAD applications.
Differences between CAD workstation and a standard PC
It is important to know how to differentiate the components and advantages offered by a CAD workstation and a standard PC so as not to confuse us when purchasing a work equipment. In addition to the price of these machines merits that we take great care to choose the one that suits us, because a bad decision can cost us a lot of money and not respond to our needs.
Although it seems obvious to mention it, this is the first point. It is very important to be clear if our budget is enough to acquire the equipment we have in mind. Remember that the best machine for you is one that fully meets your work needs. Therefore, you must have a sufficient budget to be able to buy the equipment that your work really requires, the rest can only be luxury. But it should not be forgotten that one thing is conventional PC equipment for a very good price, and another very different work stations, more expensive but more profitable.
Motherboards and workstation processors CAD
Both teams differ in terms of the quality of the motherboard as well as the chipset. Equally in the performance and in the manufacturer’s specifications for the processor. In a workstation PC the processor can be dual-core or quad-core or more, depending on the requirements demanded by the CAD software.
Another important element of the CAD workstation is the memory that is often different from that of conventional equipment. The memories of the CAD workstations have a greater capacity for verification and correction of errors, which allows the stability of the CAD geometry or of any complex calculation to be maintained. Otherwise, a memory error, however small, may cause data loss or file corruption.
CAD workstations must process more data and operate with higher workflows so they are stressed and heated more than other equipment. This requires that the equipment has a better cooling system, since it is subject to very intense work days that can last for many hours or maybe days. On the other hand, a standard PC can only be used in shorter periods because if they do not run the risk of their motherboard or motherboard collapsing.
When using equipment with a poor cooling system, it generates a lot of heat and can cause premature damage to the internal components of the PC and even data loss due to file corruption. Hard drives are prone to damage when they work in an inappropriate environment with excess heat.
Hard drive capacity
Workstations for CAD have a faster hard drive speed than an office PC (its cache is larger), because while a conventional PC opens only image files (no matter how heavy they are) and Word documents or Excel for example, workstations process CAD files that are hyper heavy. A small CAD file can be composed of 100 parts and a large one of up to several thousand separate files.
CAD applications constantly access integrated databases where processes are faster than those of an office PC. A process that takes 5 seconds on a workstation, on a conventional PC with a slow hard drive could take 30 seconds. If during the 2D or 3D modeling process the designer had to perform the same function 5 or more times every hour, it would take a lifetime to fully develop a model.
There are now solid-state units, the price of which is more affordable than before, which offer the user truly substantial data transfer rates at a small additional cost. For a person or a company, the capacity of the hard disk should be a very important component because it often represents a source of delays or low yields of time when considering work as a whole.
These components of the workstations are extremely important to consider, because they are specially designed for these devices and also have special software drivers manufactured to achieve greater performance of the CAD software. The mistake is often made to believe that a game card can replace workstation graphics cards when sophisticated CAD software is run. The result may be that the software constantly causes errors, failures, inaccuracies or data corruption. However, there are exceptions.
CAD software must be run with appropriate hardware at all times. Sometimes by saving some dollars, inadequate work stations are acquired that can cause the company or the user unfortunate losses of money or damage to their files and substantial losses of productivity and profitability. It must also be taken into account that to obtain better performance, the CAD software must be compatible with the hardware. It is not enough that the machine is good, it is also necessary that the software and the computer equipment are perfectly understood.
Recommended CAD workstations
We have already talked about the necessary components of a basic workstation for 2D or 3D CAD design. Now we want to offer you some recommendations based on expert opinions on the best workstations, according to your needs and possibilities. The high-end CAD workstations mentioned below are customizable. This allows you to add or exclude components, as you see fit to create your ideal CAD machine.
It has a memory of up to 3 TB and a storage capacity of up to 48 TB. Not surprisingly, it has been called “the most powerful workstation in the world.” It has a wide range of Intel Xeon processors with up to 56 cores. The Z8, has a large market among advanced users of the market and among its many uses is the 8K video edition, in addition to machine learning and simulation. For those who work with CAD, BIM and animation designs, this is the best machine. Its price ranges from $ 2,460.00.
CPU Solutions CEV-5169
This is another great computer with an expandable memory of up to 64 GB and a storage capacity of up to 3 TB. Brings an Intel Core i7 7700 4.2 GHz UPC and 4 4 cores; it is one of the most recommended for CAD design and video editing. It comes with an NVIDIA Quadro P4000 GPU. It is also fully customizable for companies and professionals in a variety of industry sectors. Its price ranges from $ 2,400.00 and up.
Dell 7910 Precision Tower
It is the most powerful machine with the greatest expandability of this brand. It has a memory of up to 1TB and 20TB of storage. It is compatible with a range of Intel Xeon processors with up to 22 cores, although it comes with an Intel Xeon dual processor, optional RAID for eight hard drives and an available AMD or NVIDIA graphics processing unit (GPU). It is an ideal team for very demanding workflows for representation, simulation and analysis work. Its price ranges from $ 2,070.00.
There are also Digital Storm workstations, all of them very robust and versatile for users looking to improve their work capacity and scale their projects to a huge variety of software platforms, such as:
Likewise, there are other cheaper options for very powerful and functional workstations for CAD professionals. For example:
Laptops and tablets for CAD
These are some of the most recommended equipment to be used as CAD workstations:
HP ZBook 17 G4
The line of HP ZBook workstations, incorporates Intel Core / Xeon processors, professional graphics and NVIDIA Quadro or AMD Radeon Pro GPUs with video memory up to 16 GB. This machine has 4 TB of storage and 4 4 cores. It has an advantage over other CAD workstations in terms of the variety of VR ready configurations. Its price ranges from $ 1,330.00
Razer Blade Pro
While the Razer Blade Pro is designed for games, it also connects to the CAD design as a workstation. In reality, its internal components fulfill this duality of performance perfectly. It has a memory of up to 32 GB and 6 TB of storage. It has an Intel Core i7-7820HK UPC with up to 4 cores and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 10 Series GPU. Its price ranges from $ 1,790 and up.
HP ZBook x2
This equipment comes with a 4.2 GHz Intel Core i7 processor and includes professional NVIDIA Quadro graphics, which provide a pleasant visual experience, to the point that it competes with the best CAD workstations available. It has two 4K screen options and can be used as a laptop and as a tablet. It has a memory of 32 GB and a storage capacity of up to 2 TB. In addition 4 cores. Its price ranges from $ 2,160.00.
Mini workstations for CAD
A variety of equipment is available on the market for users who like to work while traveling or want to take their projects anywhere. The mini workstations for CAD are also powerful machines, whose size very well hides their great power.
Lenovo ThinkStation P320 Tiny. It is the smallest available workstation in the world. Memory up to 32 GB; UPC Intel Core i7-7700T and storage capacity of up to 2TB; 4 cores; NVIDIA Quadro P600 GPU. It weighs less than 3 pounds. Price: from $ 940.
Apple Mac Pro. It measures 9.9 ″ and has a memory of up to 64. Its storage capacity is up to 1 TB; UPC Intel Xeon E5, up to 12 cores and an AMD FirePro D500 / D700 Dual GPU. Price: from $ 2,990.00.
HP Z2 Mini G3. Memory up to 32 GB and storage capacity of 1 TB; Intel Core / Xeon, 4-core and NVIDIA Quadro M620 GPU processors. Price: from $ 800.00
Some references about SolidFace
Behind a good workstation there should always be software for the work to pay off. Our software is among the most advanced today for 2D and 3D modeling, which has allowed it to become one of the most affordable and popular in the market. AEC professionals and students rely more on Solidface to execute their design tasks and projects: drawing, geometry creation, surface visualization and annotation.
Solidface is backed by TrustedDWG technology, which allows you to share and store any project file created on desktop, on laptops or in the cloud. Solidface is compatible with other softwares and with a variety of workstations to help you maximize performance.