Selecting the best hardware to enhance your design productivity can be tricky - its certainly harder than trying out new software. Free trials of many software solutions are easily available right from your desk, you download the software, install it and off you go. Of course, as I'm sure you have found, some downloads seem to come with unwanted "extras" like search toolbars from some dubious company you have never heard of. You won't get this with the 45 day free trial of Solid Edge of course - just an excellent opportunity to test out some amazing design software!
Attending a physical event can be a great opportunity to try out new hardware for yourself, this could be a seminar run by your local reseller, or a larger event like Solid Edge University. This year our main SEU event is in Atlanta USA, but we are rolling this out globally and our UK event will be held together with our channel partners Majenta PLM and Prion Cutting Edge on June 4th at Silverstone. At the Atlanta event Solid Edge users will be able to try out hardware from 3 of our event sponsors: 3Dconnexion, Lenovo and Microsoft.
SpaceMouse Wireless from 3Dconnexion - a popular device with our own developers
3Dconnexion supply 3D mice that enable CAD users to perform view and object manipulations more easily. These devices are popular with our own developers and field support engineers and the specific capabilities for Solid Edge users are quite extensive. Being the data management specialist in our marketing group I had mine "borrowed" by a "real" CAD guy and I haven't seen it since! You can check out several videos of 3D mice being used for different tasks in the GrabCAD 3D Mouse Demo Video challenge. And another perspective comes from this tutorial video from a Solid Edge user showing how you can do a surprising amount of view manipulation using just a standard mouse and keyboard! Personally I love the simplicity and ergonomic styling of the SpaceMouse and it would be high on my "must-have" list for facilitating design tasks.
Lenovo ThinkPad w540 – Try one at SEU14!
Lenovo are also sponsoring SEU14 and supplying hardware to support some of the many hands-on classes that we are running. I had an IBM ThinkPad laptop a few years ago and in my experience this was a nicely designed device that was reliable, fast and light. Looking at this Cadalyst review of the ThinkPad Helix, ThinkPads have, not surprisingly, evolved hugely since then. In addition to being able to try out Lenovo hardware first hand at SEU14, Lenovo's Tom Salomone will be presenting on desktop and mobile workstation selection for Solid Edge users. The presentation will include tips on proper hardware setup to support CAD applications, and advice on making the best configuration choices to optimize performance while staying within budget. I definitely need an update on trends in computer hardware and this should be a great opportunity to bring my knowledge up to date.
Users will also have the opportunity to try out the Microsoft Surface Pro 2 that will be used in one of the classrooms. The Surface has been positioned as a device that
Full Solid Edge design sessions can be run on the Microsoft Surface Pro 2
functions both as a tablet and as a workstation. Solid Edge users have been able to run full design sessions on the Surface for some time, and with our ST7 release of Solid Edge that will be announced at SEU14 we are adding support for tablet style finger gestures like swipe, drag and pinch that perform a variety of operations like pan, zoom and rotate in both 2D and 3D Solid Edge environments.
So head on over to SEU14 or a local Solid Edge event and try out some of these new devices for yourself!